John Fletcher Early, the son of Methodist Bishop John Early
and Elizabeth Rives, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia on June
7, 1830. He attended the Virginia Military Institute from
August 4, 1848 through July 4, 1850, but did not graduate.
Prior to the Civil War he moved to Louisiana, where he was
affiliated with the Southern Methodist publishing house. In
May 1862 he enlisted in Captain C. E. Fenner's Battery,
Louisiana Artillery and served until the end of the war. His
military records describe him as being 5 ft. 11 1/2 inches and
having a dark complexion, gray eyes and dark hair.
Following the war, Early was employed by railroads in
Nashville, Tennessee and Sanford, Florida. He married Eliza
Bostwick and the couple had four children. Early died in
Sanford, Florida on September 28, 1894.