Thomas T. Fallon emigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1859, settling in Freehold. He entered the service of the U.S. Army at Freehold during the Civil War and became a private in Company K of 37th New York Infantry, the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment and served as a sergeant in the 35th New Jersey Infantry until July 1985, three months after the conclusion of the war.
According to history.army.mil,Fallon was awarded the Medal of Honor on February 13, 1891 for his heroism in two battles in Virginia in May of 1862 and a battle in Big Shanty, Georgia in June of 1864.
“Private Thomas T. Fallon received this Medal of Honor for his courage and heroism in battle and I am proud to have worked to help return this award to his descendants, as they are the rightful keepers,” Smith said. “Today we once again honor this man—and Freehold resident—who showed the highest qualities of valor while serving his country in uniform.”
Smith presented the medal of Glenn Cashion, Fallon’s great nephew and a member of the Monmouth County Historical Commission.
After Fallon died in 1916, his medal was returned to the U.S. government and eventually displayed at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.
Fallon is buried in St Rose of Lima Cemetery in Freehold. About three years ago, Muriel Smith (no relation to the congressman), a Borough resident and member of the County Historical Commission, started researching the location of Fallon’s medal, finding it at Dickinson.
Cashion, also a member of the County Historical Commission, determined through a genealogy survey that he was the great nephew of Fallon, and the hero’s surviving next-of-kin.
Muriel Smith petitioned Dickinson to return the medal to Freehold. Eventually the college museum personnel got tired of hearing from Muriel and sent the medal to Fort Knox. Cashion then asked Congressman Smith for assistance in retrieving his great uncle’s medal from the Army.
“Thanks to Muriel Smith and the Monmouth County Historical Commission for their diligent research on Fallon’s record in the Civil War and for tracking down the location of his Medal of Honor; thanks also to the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders and the governing body and historians of both Monmouth County and the Borough of Freehold for their support in this matter,” Rep. Smith said.
“This distinguished honor belongs to Mr. Cashion and his entire family,” Rep. Smith said. “They deserve to treasure the memory of their ancestor who won such great renown.”
Present at the award ceremony were Freehold Borough Mayor Nolan Higgins, Freeholder Lillian Burry. and Honor Guard from the Marine Corps League and ROTC Cadets from MAST, accompanied by their Commander, Tracie Smith-Yeoman (Muriel Smith’s daughter)