John Utter was born on August 4, 1844, in Canada. His family lived in Michigan, and he enlisted in the Company K 22nd Michigan Infantry on August 7, 1862. His regiment was in the Battle of Chickamauga where he was taken prisoner on September 29, 1863. He was confined to Danville, Charleston, and Andersonville, where he endured the cruelties, hunger, and miseries of the rebel soldiers. At the time of his capture, he weighed 150 pounds; while in prison, he suffered from gangrene in his third tow which he amputated himself with a dull knife to save his life. He was a prisoner of war for 15 months and weighed 92 pounds when paroled on December 13, 1864.
After the war, Mr. Utter moved to Peshtigo to work in the lumber business. He married Ada Phillips, and they were residing in Peshtigo on the night of October 8, 1871. Mrs. Utter and her two children burned to death. Mr. Utter survived, and after the fire married Sylvia Phillips, aunt of his first wife.
The Peshtigo Historical Society, in an effort to bring greater awareness to the organization, shares stories taken from the soldiers and citizens album of Biographical Record which contains personal sketches of Army men and citizens. A history of the Grand Army of the Republic was published by the Grant Army PUblishing Company in 1888.