Sunday, May 07, 2017

3rd Michigan Infantry website updated 2017

Following a thorough review of all the biographical sketches of the 3rd Michigan soldiers using ancestry dot com I have updated much of the data on my website: oldthirdmichigan dot org.

I am also in the process of updating the online sketches themselves but will probably not complete that until sometime next year.

Stay tuned!


Thursday, May 04, 2017

John Sayles - update 5/2/2017

John Sayles was born in 1846 in Ionia County, Michigan, the son of New York native Elias Sayles Sr. (1803-1897) and Canadian-born Hannah Showers (1808-1872) and stepson of English-born Eliza Ann Wrigley (1819-1885).

Elias, probably along with his brother Cyrenius and his family, moved from Canada to Michigan sometime between 1843 and 1846, and by 1850 John was living with his family and attending school with his older siblings (which also included his older brother William who would enlist in Company F) in Keene, Ionia County; next door lived Charles and Harrison Soules, both of whom would enlist in Company C in 1861. And not much farther away lived a Sayles cousin, Lyman, Cyrenius’ son, who would also enlist in the 3rd Michigan.

John stood 5’7” with black eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 16-year-old farmer probably living in Lowell, Kent County or in Keene when he enlisted in Company G on April 4, 1862, at Lowell for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. (He may have been related to Lyman Sayles of Company H.) By late June, according to Homer Thayer of Company G, John was sick in the hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, and he remained absent sick in the hospital through September when he allegedly deserted on September 21 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. In fact, he was discharged for consumption on June 24, 1862, at Annapolis, Maryland.

After he was discharged John returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company L, 6th Michigan Cavalry on February 27, 1865, for 1 year at Grand Rapids, age 21, and was mustered on February 28 at Grand Rapids, crediting Keene. He joined the Regiment March 19, was absent sick in May -- he may have missed the participation by the regiment in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23 -- and was discharged, probably for disability, on June 23, 1865, at Washington, DC.

John eventually returned to Michigan after the war.

He married Canadian Mary M. Gardner (1848-1926) on February 21, 1867, and they had at least five children: Rebecca (b. 1869), Lewis (b. 1872), Leon (b. 1874), Grace (b. 1881) and Ida (b. 1884).

He may have been living in Lowell, Kent County by 1870. In 1870 John, his wife Mary and their infant daughter Rebecca were living with Mary’s father in Keene, Ionia County. By 1880 he was working as a laborer and living with his wife and children in Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County. He was living in Otisco, Ionia County in 1890. In 1910 he and Mary were living in Otisco; also living with them were their daughters Grace and Ida and daughter Rebecca Brooks and her husband. By 1910 John was working as a commercial traveler selling pianos and living with Mary and his daughter Ida in Belding’s 3rd Ward, Ionia County. By 1920 John was living in the Soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids.

In 1880 he applied for and eventually received a pension (no. 984966).

John died on June 17, 1921, and was buried in the Michigan Soldiers’ Home cemetery, Grand Rapids: 6-10-2.

In 1921 his widow was residing in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 905653).

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

James Renwick - update 5/2/2017

James Renwick was born on June 30, 1842, in Scotland, the son of Scots John Renwick (1806-1891) and Janet Henderson (1812-1895).

John and Janet were married on November 27, 1835, in Hobkirk, Roxburgh, Scotland. James came to the United States with his family, possibly aboard the Niberma arriving in New York City in July of 1853, eventually settling in Geneva, Ontario County, New York. By 1855 James was living with his family in Seneca, Ontario County, New York. The family eventually moved westward, and settled first in Bedford, Calhoun County, Michigan but in 1858 moved to Keene in Ionia County. By 1860 John and Janet were living in Keene with three of their young children.

James stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D, probably with his cousin (?) William, on February 11, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, crediting Saranac, and was mustered the same day -- Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County. (He and William were probably related to John Foulks, whose mother was Jane Renwick; Foulks also enlisted in Company D and was also from Keene.)

James was wounded in the left hip on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and hospitalized in 3rd Corps hospital at Alexandria, Virginia on September 1, 1862. By the second week of September he was a patient in Washington Street hospital in Alexandria reportedly “doing well.” James was discharged on March 2, 1863, at Alexandria, Virginia for partial anchylosis of the left hip, and listed Saranac as his mailing address on his discharge paper. After he was discharged from the army James eventually returned to Ionia County. By the summer of 1863 when he registered for the draft he was single and working as a farmer in Keene, Ionia County.

On April 9, 1879, he married Canadian Ellen Renwick (1852-1926), in Keene, and they had one child, an adopted daughter, Miss Olive Arnold (b. 1885).

By 1880 James was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Keene; also living with them was one Thomas Blythe, a servant and farm laborer. He may have been living in Ovid, Clinton County in 1883 but by 1888 he was living in Ionia. In 1890 he was residing in Easton, Ionia County, in Keene, Ionia County in 1894 and in Saranac from 1894-95 and 1906-10 and on R. R. no. 12 in 1911. (His home was near a place called Potter’s Corners. William Renwick also lived on R.R. no. 12.) In 1910 he was farming in Keene and living with his wife Ellen and adopted daughter Olive; also living with them was a boarder Homer Osgood. By 1920 James was living in Keene, Ionia County along with his wife and his daughter Olive. By 1922 he was living on R.R. no. 12 in Saranac in 1925 and probably also in 1927.

James was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and on June 15, 1925, he responded to an invitation for the upcoming Association reunion by saying that while he would like to attend “my condition does not permit me to take the journey to Grand Rapids. If any of you could come to my home I would surely enjoy a visit with you as my head is alright.” He added that “What the coming year may hold we can none of foresee, but standing on the threshold let me send good wishes for the year to be.” Toward the end of his life, one observer noted that “Though unable to get around without aid, Mr. Renwick was always cheerful, and retained a keen intellect.”

James became a member of the Masonic Order on March 27, 1865. In 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 67,727), drawing $2.00 by 1883.

James was a widower when he died of pneumonia at his home in Keene, at about 1:30 Saturday morning, May 14, 1927. Funeral services were conducted under the auspices of the Masonic Lodge on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 at the home, and pallbearers were chosen from the American Legion chapter. Mrs. Gleason Gamsby furnished music and the Rev. Regan of Saranac officiated. James was buried in Saranac cemetery: lot 347.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Samuel E. Pelton - update 5/2/2017

Samuel E. Pelton was born on July 5, 1848, in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, the son of Aldrich M. (1823-1895) and Amanda Gray (1828-1873).

Canadian born Aldrich married New York native Amanda sometime before 1846 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 Aldrich had and his family were still living in Grand Rapids where he worked as a carpenter. In 1860 Samuel was attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Walker, Kent County, where his father worked as a carpenter.

Samuel stood 5’6” with black eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 15-year-old farm laborer probably living in Walker, Kent County when he enlisted in Company I on January 23, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Walker, and was mustered the same day. He was the nephew of Silas Pelton and the cousin of Albert and was probably related to Andrew and Alfred Pelton as well.

Samuel joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was transferred to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

Samuel was absent sick in July, returned to the regiment and reportedly wounded severely and captured on October 27, 1864, at Boydton Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia.

In fact, according to Franz Muhlberg, who was then commanding Company I, Samuel “was killed at Hatcher’s Run [near Petersburg, Virginia, on] Oct. 13, 1864, by being shot in [the] right side, and was left on the field. I saw him when he was shot and fell being near him at the time.” He was presumably among the unknown soldiers buried near Petersburg and was possibly reinterred as such in Petersburg National Cemetery.

His father was working as a carpenter (he owned some $9000 worth of real estate) and living in Grand Rapids’ 5th Ward, Kent County in 1870. He applied for and received a dependent father’s pension (no. 388,348), drawing $10 per month in 1890.