David Carlisle was born on June 1, 1844, in Erie County, New York, the son of New York natives Hamilton Carlisle (1818-1859) and Phoebe Ann Wilcox (b. 1821).
Hamilton was living in Aurora, Erie County, New York in 1840. By 1850 they were living on a farm in Aurora where David attended school with his older brother George (who would also enlist in the Old Third).
Hamilton left New York and moved westward with his family, including his brother Jacob and his family as well as their parents, settling in western Michigan, probably Ottawa County, in 1853 or 1854. Hamilton’s father Ebenezer died in Tallmadge, Ottawa County in 1858 and was buried in Berlin cemetery. The following year Hamilton was killed while felling a tree in Tallmadge.
David stood 5’8” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was an 17-year-old farmer unable to read or write and possibly living in Tallmadge, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on March 15, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Ottawa County, and was mustered the same day; George Carlisle had joined Company I the previous year. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)
David was wounded in the elbow by a musket ball on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and hospitalized on June 8. By July 26, reported one contemporary source, he was in the Christian Street hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “wounded severely in the arm” but “doing very well” and in fact “was out in the city on a pass.” He remained a patient at Christian Street hospital until he was discharged on September 24, 1862 for “anchylosis of elbow resulting from gunshot wound.”
After his release from the army he returned to western Michigan, and was working as a farmer and living in Lamont, Ottawa County in May of 1863. He reentered the service in Company A, Tenth Michigan cavalry on October 7, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Tallmadge, Ottawa County, and was mustered on October 14 probably at Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service. It left Michigan for Lexington, Kentucky on December 1, 1863, and participated in numerous operations, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863-64. Most of its primary area of operations would eventually be in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee.
He was serving as a teamster from January of 1864 through March, and by July he was recruiting for the United States Colored Heavy Artillery. He was sick in Knoxville, Tennessee from November of 1864 through May of 1865, and was honorably discharged June 8, 1865.
After the war David returned to Michigan but at some point may have lived in Illinois. He may have returned to his family home in Montcalm County where he was reportedly living in 1875.
David married Ohio or Michigan native Mrs. Rhoda Jane Bailey Todd (1846-1886) on August 2, 1877, in Kalkaska, Kalkaska County, and they had one child: Phebe (1881-1905); David apparently adopted Jane’s three daughters: Dora (b. 1866) and Nella or Nellie (b. 1869), Rosa (b. 1871). They are all listed as Carlisle in 1880.
By 1880 he was working as a laborer and living with his wife and her three daughters in Hartwick, Osceola County. He eventually settled in Kalkaska, Kalkaska County (his brother George also settled in Kalkaska) where Jane died of consumption in 1886. But by 1893 and 1894 he was residing in the “Peninsula,” Grand Traverse County.
David married his second wife, German-born Almina Bertner Johnson (1843-1900) on October 8, 1891 in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County.
He was living in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County in 1896 and probably still living in Traverse City where Almina died of diabetes in 1900. By the summer of 1900 David was living in Traverse City with his daughter Phebe; also living with them was a boarder, Nellie Myers.
He apparently married the widow and New York native Nellie Myers on September 20, 1900, in Traverse City.
On April 11, 1906 he married New York native Sabra Westbrook Woodin (1854-1922) in Manton, Wexford County. (She had been married three times before.)
By 1910 he and Sabra Westbrook Adams were living on Pells Street in McKinley, Emmet County. 1917 he was living in Manton, Wexford County.
David received a pension (no. 137,806), drawing $17 per month by 1893 and $36 by 1896.
David died of apoplexy on August 23, 1917, in Cedar Creek, Wexford County, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Manton, lot 56.