Charles A. Althouse also known as “Auldhouse”, was born July 27, 1835, in Switzerland, the son of Michael and Margaret (Bowne).
Both his parents were reportedly born in Switzerland. In any case, sometime before 1860 Charles immigrated to the United States, eventually moving westward and settling in western Michigan. By 1860 Charles was a laborer living at a boarding house in Norton, Muskegon County, and working in Ira Smith’s lumber business.
Charles stood 5’8” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion, and was 25 years old and probably living in Muskegon when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
On August 29, 1862, during the battle at Second Bull Run (also referred to as “Groveton”), Charles was shot in the left shoulder joint, “the ball entering in front two inches below the clavicle and lodging in the tissues about the joint causing partial paralysis of the arm,” and by early September was reported as a patient in Columbian College Hospital and “doing well”.
In fact, according to the War Department, Charles was treated for wounds from September 1 through November 20. He was discharged on account of his wounds on November 20, 1862, probably at Columbian College hospital, Washington, DC, or possibly on November 18 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. The minie ball remained in his arm for the rest of his life, lodged under the shoulder blade.
In 1862 Charles applied for and received a pension (no. 24,843), drawing $6.00 per month by 1883.
Following his discharge Charles returned to Michigan and was residing in Muskegon where he was working as a sawyer in the mid-1860s, but had probably moved to Big Rapids, Mecosta County when he married his first wife, Ohio native Margaret Stine (1834-1881) of Dalton, Newaygo County, on September 12, 1864, in Big Rapids. They had at least six children: Harvey W. (b. 1865) Lillie (b. 1869), Priscilla M. (b. 1872), Eddie W. (b. 1875), Mina A. (b. 1877) and Frederick (b. 1880).
Charles lived variously in Muskegon, Newaygo and Mecosta counties. He was living in Big Rapids in 1870 and in 1875, and working as a laborer and living with his family in Big Rapids in 1880.
On October 14, 1883, he married his second wife, Eveline Bishop, in Lumberton (?), Michigan, and they had at least two children: Samuel C. (b. 1886) and John L. Victor (b. 1887).
He was in Hungerford, Newaygo County in 1883 and in Norwich and Woodville, Newaygo County in 1888, 1890. 1894 and 1898, and in Big Rapids in 1902 where he worked as a laborer.
He was probably living in Big Rapids when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 3925) on October 27, 1902. He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association the following year, and was possibly a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Andrews Post No. 294 in Big Rapids; in religious matters he was a Protestant.
Charles was discharged from the Home February 8, 1908, and returned to Big Rapids where he lived for a short time, before he was readmitted to the Home the following September.
Charles remained in the Home until he died of stomach cancer on April 4, 1911. Rev. Stark held his funeral at the Home at 2:30 p.m. on April 7, and Charles was buried in the Home cemetery: section 5 row 10 grave no. 14.
In 1920 there was a Victor Althouse (b. 1887 in Michigan) and an Albert Althouse (b. 1868 in Michigan), living in Portsmouth, Virginia.