Wednesday, April 30, 2008

George M. Cook

George M. Cook was born around 1839 in Lorain County, Ohio.

George left Ohio and settled in Michigan where by 1860 he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with Watson Cronkite in Watertown, Clinton County. (Living nearby in Watertown was Ephraim Cook, born around 1823 in New York, and his wife Clarissa and family. They had probably moved to Michigan from Ohio, where they resided for some years, sometime after 1858. Also living with Ephraim and his family was probably his mother Polly, born around 1803 in New York. Living just one farm away form George was the Butterfield family; originally from New York they had settled in Michigan sometime after 1843, and their daughter Adelaide would marry George in 1868.)

George stood 6’2” with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and was 23 years old and still residing in Clinton County when he enlisted as Fifth Sergeant in Company G on May 10, 1861. According to Corporal Joseph Stevens of Company G, George was the “comic singer” of the company, and he also reported that George was apparently sick, presumably in his quarters, in late May of 1861, while the Regiment was forming in Grand Rapids. “It is a wonder there are no more,” noted Stevens, “when we consider the cold and rainy weather for the past week.” In any case George remained sick through May and on into early June.

Frank Siverd, also of Company G, wrote home to the Lansing Republican in early June that George was sick with the measles. He was however, “well cared for." Siverd quickly pointed out that Regimental Surgeon D. W. "Bliss leaves nothing undone that will contribute to the comfort of the sick. To prevent the disease spreading, as soon as the first symptoms appear,” Bliss had Cook, along with several others “removed to the house of a physician, some three miles from camp.”

George eventually recovered from his bout with “measles” and left Michigan with the regiment on June 13, 1861. But it appears that he never fully recovered from his first bout with measles, and was absent sick in the hospital from October of 1862 through December. In fact, according to First Lieutenant Joseph Mason, commanding Company G in February of 1863, “since the time he joined the Regiment he has been subject to sudden attacks of palpitation of the heart & when he had to make the slightest exertion fainting fits ensued.”

George was discharged on February 10, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, by Regimental surgeon James Grove for “chronic valvular disease of the heart, the result in my opinion of acute rheumatism of which he states he had one or two attacks before entering the service.” On March 27, 1863, Homer Thayer of Company G wrote that Sergeant Cook along with several others had recently been discharged.

After his discharge in the spring of 1863 George returned to Michigan where he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company F, Twenty-eighth Michigan infantry on August 23, 1864, at Lansing for 3 years, crediting Lansing's Second Ward, and was mustered on August 25 at Marshall, Calhoun County where the regiment was being organized. The regiment left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky October 26-29 and remained on duty there until November 10. It participated in the battle of Nashville and subsequently occupied Nashville.

In November George was reported as a mounted scout, and in January of 1865 he was absent sick through February, and in March was in a hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, since February 8. In fact the Twenty-eighth had moved back to Louisville in mid-January and on January 18 was moved to Alexandria, Louisiana where it remained until February 19. The regiment was eventually transferred to New Berne, North Carolina in late February of 1865. It participated in the campaign in the Carolinas from March 1-April 26, the advance on and occupation of Raleigh, North Carolina in mid-April, the surrender of Johnston’s army and subsequently on duty at Raleigh until August. George was mustered out of service on June 5, 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina.

After the war George eventually returned to Michigan, possibly to Clinton County.

He was probably living in Clinton County when he married Michigan native Adelaide M. Butterfield (b. 1845) on March 29, 1868, in Clinton County. They had at least one child: a daughter Glen Cora (b. 1869).

By 1870 George was working as a farmer and living with his wife and daughter, and probably Adelaide’s younger sister Ida (b. 1858) in Watertown, Clinton County; next door lived Ephraim Cook and his family as well as Polly Cook, and next door to Ephraim lived Mrs. Cronkite, a widow.

George was working as a laborer when he probably died of an "abscess" in Kalamazoo County, on January 13, 1878, and his body was returned to Clinton County, where he was buried in Dewitt cemetery in Clinton County: section C lot 106 (on the same lot with Julius and Jennie Jardot).

No pension seems to be available.

By 1880 Adelaide was working as a milliner and dress-maker and living as head of the household in Watertown; living with her was her daughter and sister Ida who was also working as a dress-maker.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dennis Conway

Dennis Conway was born in 1830 in Ireland, the son of Margaret.

Dennis left Ireland, possibly along with his mother and by 1860 he was working as a laborer and living with the family of a blacksmith named Patrick Quinn (who had also emigrated from Ireland with his wife Ellen) in Brooks, Newaygo County, Michigan.

Dennis was 31 years old and possibly living in Newaygo County 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.)

He was killed in action on August 29, 1862 at Second Bull Run, and presumably among the unknown soldiers whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1864 his mother applied for and received a pension (no. 79560).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Daniel Gilbert Converse Jr.

Daniel Gilbert Converse Jr. was born 1837, in Parkman or Parkmanville, Geauga County, Ohio, the son of Daniel G. Sr. (1790-1858) and Thankful (Carter, 1797-1869).

Vermont native Daniel Sr. served as a Sergeant in the Second (Fifield’s) Regiment of Vermont infantry in the war of 1812, He was probably living in Vermont when he married Polly Morgan in 1813, and in Randolph, Orange County, Vermont, in 1820. Daniel Sr. was either widowed or divorced when he married Vermont-born Thankful Carter in 1826, possibly in Vermont. In any case, Daniel Sr. settled his family in Parkmanville, Geuga County, Ohio, around 1829 and farmed there for many years; he was living in Parkmanville in 1830, 1840 and 1850. In 1850 Daniel Sr. and his family lived next door to one John Convers and his family, a miller in Parkmanville; John was born in about 1793 in Vermont and was probably Daniel’s brother. In any case, Daniel Jr. was attending school with three of his siblings in 1850. Daniel Sr. served several times as Justice of the Peace and was deacon of the Congregational Church.

In 1855 Daniel Sr. moved his family from Ohio to western Michigan settling in Saranac, Ionia County where he died in 1858. In July of 1857 one Daniel G. Converse bought 40 acres of land through the land office in Ionia County, Michigan.

Daniel Jr. was living in Ionia County when he joined the “Boston Light Guard," a local militia company in western Ionia County, on January 22, 1858. According to one contemporary source he was Second Corporal of the Boston Light Guard, which would serve as the nucleus for Company D, Third Michigan Infantry in 1861.

On April 14, 1858, Daniel Jr. married Ohio native Emma A Chipman (b. 1841), who had been married once before to one Edgar B. Smith, probably in Ohio, and they had at least one child, a daughter, Hester Louise. (Emma was probably the daughter of Ami and Ruth Chipman and was probably living with her family in Boston, Ionia County, Michigan in 1850.)

By 1860 Daniel Jr. was a farmer living with his wife Emma in Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County; also living with them was one Oliver Converse, age 42 and born in Vermont and one Charles Patten, age 6 and born in Ohio who was attending school in Saranac.

Daniel stood 5’9” with gray eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 24 years old and still living in Ionia County when he enlisted at the age of 24 in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

He was reported missing in action at Savage Station, Virginia, on July 1, 1862, and had, in fact, been taken prisoner, possibly while sick in the hospital. He was soon paroled at Richmond, Virginia, and arrived at Old Point, Virginia, near Fortress Monroe, on the steamer John Tucker, on the afternoon of July 11. In late August he was reported among the paroled prisoner-of-war at Camp Parole, at Annapolis, Maryland.

By November 20, 1862, Daniel had returned to the Regiment where he was promoted to Sergeant Major, and in May of 1863 he was absent sick. He was again absent sick in October and November. By December he was detached on recruiting service in Michigan where he remained through March of 1864. He reenlisted on February 26, 1864, while in Grand Rapids.

Although in April of 1864 Daniel was still on recruiting service in Michigan, nevertheless he was promoted to First Lieutenant of Company H on April 1, 1864, at Brandy Station, Virginia, replacing Lieutenant Calvin McTaggert. He was transferred to Company F on May 5, 1864, and then transferred as First Lieutenant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. In July he was promoted to Captain and assigned to Company A on July 30, commissioned as of June 13, replacing Captain Daniel Root, who had been promoted to Major.

In September Daniel was absent sick, but was soon back with his company by October, and on leave in November. He was present for duty in December of 1864, and in February of 1865 he was on recruiting service in Detroit through May. He returned to the regiment from recruiting service on June 8, at least on paper; in fact he may never have left Michigan. In any case, he was mustered out of service with the regiment on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Curiously, no pension seems to be available and there appears to be no further record of either Daniel or his wife Emma.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nicholas Contor

Nicholas Contor, also known as “Canton”, “Courter” or “Konter”, was born 1836 in Prussia.

Nicholas immigrated to the United States, and eventually settled in Michigan. He was probably working as a farmer and living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward just before the war broke out.

He stood 6’0” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion, and was 28 years old when he enlisted in Company C on January 5, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the following day. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

On paper Nicholas joined the Regiment on February 18 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. In fact, it appears that he never left te state of Michigan. He was listed as absent sick in November, and was reported as having died on October 23, 1864, of disease at Detroit, and was buried in Elmwood cemetery: section K, no. 29.

No pension seems to be available.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Robert Connor

Robert Connor was born 1836 in Hinsform, Quebec, Canada.

Robert eventually moved to the United States, and had settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was working as a laborer and residing at Samuel Matery’s hotel in Brooks, Newaygo County.

Robert stood 5’11” with blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion, and was 25 years old and living in Newaygo or Muskegon County when he enlisted in the “Muskegon Rangers” -- which would soon become Company H -- on April 28, 1861, in Muskegon. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was reported sick in the hospital from October of 1862 until he was discharged on November 18, 1862, from the Third Corps hospital near Fort Lyon, Virginia, for a fracture of the arm, which had occurred prior to enlistment.

No pension seems to be available.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Albert A. Connant

Albert A. Connant, also known as “Conant”, was born about 1836 in Chenango County, New York, the son of Shubail (1802-1891) and Clarissa (1802-1881).

New York native Shubail married Connecticut native Clara or Clarissa probably in New York sometime before 1836. The family moved to Michigan sometime after 1843. (In 1850 there was one Shubail Conant, born in 1790 in Connecticut living in Detroit.) By 1860 Shubail had settled his family in western Michigan and Albert was working as a farm laborer and living with his family in Eureka, Montcalm County.

Albert stood 5’10” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 25 years old and possibly residing in Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was shot in the right hand on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and subsequently hospitalized in Judiciary Square general hospital in Washington, DC. By the first of July was reported to be “doing well.”

Alfred was discharged on August 13, 1862, at Judiciary Square hospital, for a gunshot wound to the hand. “The ball,” noted his discharge paper, “passed through corpus of right hand -- anchylosis of wrist joint, incapacitating him for duty for 2 months at any rate -- perhaps always.”

In February of 1863 Albert applied for and received a pension (no. 19316).

It is not known if Albert returned to Michigan after his discharge, and he eventually moved out west. In 1870 Shubail was living with a son (or nephew) Leonidas or Leonard while Clara was living with a son (or nephew) Lurendus, both in Montcalm County.

It is possible that Albert was working as a stock grower and living in Lander, Sweetwater County, Wyoming in 1880. In 1880 his parents were living in Eureka, Montcalm County. Shuabil and Clara are both buried in Eureka cemetery.) By 1890 Albert was living in Johnson County, Wyoming.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thomas Conger

Thomas Conger was born 1839 in Oneida, New York.

Thomas had reportedly been residing in Olance, Huron County, Ohio shortly before the war broke out, and apparently arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, just in time to enlist in the Third Michigan before it left the state.

He stood 5’10” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 22-year-old nurseryman (or gardener) probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was possibly a Sergeant when he was wounded in the hip on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and was subsequently absent wounded in the hospital. In November he was reported as an ambulance driver, and in December was a provost guard at Brigade headquarters where he remained through July of 1863.

In August of 1863 Thomas was reported as both a Sergeant and as "absent without leave" (AWOL), but he eventually returned to duty since he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Caledonia, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Thomas was transferred as a Sergeant to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was shot in the right leg on June 16 near Petersburg, Virginia, and admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC on June 22 with a “gunshot fracture of the right thigh”. The hospital admission records listed him as a single man and that his nearest relative was a sister Carrie living in Olance, Ohio.

Thomas died of a fractured right thigh on July 1 in Armory hospital and was interred on July 3 in Arlington National Cemetery.

No pension seems to be available.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

James Congdon

James Congdon, also known as “Congden”, was born December 30, 1827, in Wayne County, New York, the son of Joseph (1792-1849) and Elizabeth (Stanbrough, 1791-1876).

Rhode Island native Joseph married New Yorker Elizabeth sometime around 1814 in Utica, Oneida County, New York. They settled in Wayne County, New York where they resided for many years. James left New York and moved to Michigan and by 1850 he was living with his older brother George and his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

James was still living in Grand Rapids when he married Michigan native Sarah Jane Ellis (1837-1887) on October 11, 1852, and they had at least four children: Ellen (1855-1878), Eva (1857-1858), Arthur D. (1853) and Mary (or Minnie, b. 1859).

James may have been the same James Congdon who was arrested in March of 1859 for trespassing on the land of Dr. Johnson of Grand Rapids. If so, the charge was “Settled by Justice’s costs being paid by respondent.”

In any case, by 1859-60 James was working for his brother at G. R. Congden’s lime kiln on the east side of Water Street between 6th and Ann Streets on the west side of the river, and in 1860 he was living with his own family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward working as a laborer.

James was 32 years old and still residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. Although first reported missing in action on August 29, 1862 at Second Bull Run, in fact he had been killed in action. His body may have been brought home for burial since there is a headstone for him in Fairplains cemetery, Grand Rapids: section 1 lot 57. Of course, the stone may be a memorial and he may have been buried among the unknown soldiers whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1865-66 his widow was working as a dressmaker at her home at no. 95 Monroe Street in Grand Rapids, and in 1867-68 she was still working at dressmaking at no. 97 Monroe Street. In 1870 Sarah was still working as a dress-maker and living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward with her daughters Ellen and Minnie. She was still living in Grand Rapids in 1883. In 1863 she applied for and received a widow’s pension no. 8,245, drawing $8.00 in 1883.

Monday, April 21, 2008

William Comstock

William Comstock was born July 20, 1821 in Berlin, Rensselaer County, New York, the son of Amos (1794-1855) and Hannah (Upton, 1793-1865).

New York native Amos and Hannah, both Quakers, were married in a Quaker ceremony in Adams, Massachusetts (where Hannah had been born), on November 11, 1813 and settled in Berlin, New York (Amo’s birthplace) where they resided for some years. By 1827 they had moved (back) to Adams, Massachusetts, living there until at least 1839.

William was in his late twenties when he married his first wife, Vermonter Emily M. Hildreth (1825-1897), on May 13, 1847. They had at least four children: Caroline M. (b. 1849), Emily Alice (b. 1853), Wallace B. (b. 1856) and Lilla M. (b. 1859).

By 1850 William was possibly working as a laborer and living in Adams, Massachusetts. In any case, the family moved from Massachusetts to Michigan before 1855 when Amos reportedly died in Lapeer County, Michigan. By 1860 William and his family were living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County, where he was working as a carpenter.

William stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 39 years old and probably living in Tallmadge, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

One source reported that by the middle of August of 1861 Hiram Bateman, also from Ottawa County, along with William Comstock were working in the regimental hospital tending the sick. “We understand,” wrote the Grand Haven News in mid-August, “that Mr. Bateman and Mr. Comstock, both from Lamont, are in the regiment’s hospital, on the camping ground, detailed from their company to aid in the care of the sick and wounded, so that our own acquaintances will receive and prepare for the sick such comforts as have been sent from this village.”

Reuben Randall, also of Company I reported in his diary on March 27 that William was employed as the company launderer. In any case, he was reported as a nurse in the hospital from June 2, 1862, to July of 1862, and on detached service in August, probably as a nurse. In September he was still absent as a nurse in the hospital, and, according to the Regimental monthly returns, he was discharged “by order” on October 25, 1862, at Edward’s Ferry, Virginia, although his service record reports him as discharged on March 25, 1863, at Rhode Island for chronic rheumatism and varicose veins.

In either case, William returned to western Michigan and sometime after his discharge from the army he moved his family to Allendale, Ottawa County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and four children in Allendale. By 1880 William was working as a millwright and living with his wife and children in Allendale. He was still living in Allendale in 1890.

According to Bob Bosch, chronicler of the Allendale civil war veterans, William settled on what is now 56th Avenue about 1/2 mile north of M-45 in section 23.

He was living in Allendale in 1883 drawing $6.00 per month (pension no. 158,678, dated April of 1879), in 1890 and 1894, and probably spent most of his life there.

He married his second wife, Nellie E. Ross (d. 1903), on January 13, 1898, presumably in Ottawa County.

William died a widower, in Allendale, on July 15, 1909, and was buried in Allendale cemetery.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Robert J. and Silas H. Compton

Robert J. Compton was born November 8, 1837, in Catharine, Chemung County, New York, the son of John P. (b. 1810-1871) and Eliza Ann (Woodruff, b. 1813).

Robert’s parents were both New York natives and were probably married in New York about 1832. The following year they were residing in Steuben County, New York, but by 1837 they had settled in Catharine, Chemung County, New York where they lived for many years.

In 1850 the family was still in Catharine where John worked as a carpenter and Robert and his younger brother Silas attended school. The family moved from New York to Michigan sometime between 1855 and 1860, settling on a farm in Tallmadge, Ottawa County when Robert (listed as “Johnson J.) was working as a farmer and living with his family (including his younger brother Silas who would also enlist in the Third Michigan).

Robert stood 6’, with blue eyes, a light complexion and brown hair and was 23 years old and living in Lamont, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861, probably along with his younger brother Silas. He was missing in action at White Oak Swamp, Virginia in July (probably on July 1) of 1862, and returned to the Regiment on August 6 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. He was wounded on July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and sent to one of the hospitals in Philadelphia, where he was possibly employed as a nurse. He remained absent sick from July of 1863 through January of 1864. Sometime in early 1864 he recovered enough to return to the regiment and he was wounded slightly in the arm sometime in early May. He was admitted on May 11, 1864, to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, probably from a Fredericksburg hospital, but his injury was “not sufficient . . . to be retained in ward.” (He had listed his nearest relative a John Compton in Lisbon, Ottawa County.) He was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

After his discharge Robert probably returned to Michigan, and probably to Ottawa County

In 1864 he married New York native Margaret Melinda Shimel (b. 1851), in Ottawa County, and they had at least three children: Mary (b. 1865), Nellie (b. 1871, Mrs. Fred Parker), Robert (b. 1878) and Inas (b. 1882).

By 1870 Robert was living with his wife and daughter in Ravenna, Muskegon County. By 1880 he was working as a talleyman and living with his family in Ludington, Mason County.

Robert may have been working as a laborer in Moorland, Muskegon County in 1886 when he became a member of Grand Army of the Republic Sperry Post No. 337 in Ravenna, and he was living in Ravenna when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in 1887, and at one time he may have been a member of Grand Army of the Republic Williams Post No. 15 in Ludington, Mason County.

In 1912 Robert testified that after the war he resided in Ottawa County for 7 years, Ludington, Mason County for 12 years, Muskegon County for 3 years, Mason County for 2 years, Boyne city for 1 year, Mason County for 15 years and Harrietta, Wexford County for 7 years. (He was living in Moorland in 1888, 1890 and 1894. By 1910 he was living (along with his son Robert and daughter Inas) with his daughter Nellie and her husband Fred Parker, in Slagle Township, Wexford County. By 1912 he was living in Harrietta, Wexford County.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 561783).

Robert died on March 23, 1914, possibly in Harrietta, Wexford County, and if so may have been buried there.

Silas H. Compton was born December 20, 1842, in Catharine, Chemung County, New York, son of John P. (b. 1810-1871) and Eliza Ann (Woodruff, b. 1813).

Silas’ parents were both New York natives and were probably married in New York about 1832. The following year they were residing in Steuben County, New York, but by 1837 they had settled in Catharine, Chemung County, New York where they lived for many years. In 1850 the family was still in Catharine where John worked as a carpenter and Silas and his older brother Robert attended school. (Robert would also enlist in the Third Michigan infantry.) By 1860 Silas was attending school with five of his siblings and living with his family on a farm in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.

He stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and living in Tallmadge when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861, probably with his older brother Robert.

On October 9, 1861, Silas wrote to his aunt, H. M. Wells, from Arlington Heights, Virginia. “We had a heavy rain here night before last and the wind blew a perfect storm. The ground was soft and the pins that holds [sic] our tents got loose so the wind like to have blown them away. In fact we had to hang on and growl to keep our tents in the camp. So much for being a soldier. The Fifth Regiment is encamped about a mile from here towards Munson's Hill. They have got a big name here. They call themselves the fighting fifth. And I hope they will keep up to their name for it is a good name if it is kept good. We hae [sic] also a good name for we call ourselves the basswood third, and I guess we can keep our name good in battle for we do every where else. Every regt has its name and so do we.”

Silas was reportedly absent sick in his quarters in November and December of 1861, and then again absent sick in a general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, in August of 1862, admitted on August 23. He was reported as a corporal in November and December and a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863.

On December 23, 1863, he was a Corporal when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids.

Silas went home on 30 days’ veterans’ furlough in January of 1864, and it was during his furlough that he married Louisa V. Phinney (b. 1844 or 1847), possibly in Lisbon, Kent (?) County; they had one child, a son Frederick.

Silas probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Silas was subsequently promoted to Sergeant on March 1, 1864, and suffered the loss of a middle finger when he was wounded in the hand on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was absent wounded when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864; it is possible that he joined the Fifth Michigan and may have been wounded on August 1, 1864.

On April 8, 1865, he was admitted to Armory Square hospital in Washington, diagnosed with gonorrheal vegitatius, and it is unclear whether he was physically present with the Fifth Michigan when he was mustered out as First Sergeant on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is unknown if Silas returned to Michigan after his discharge from tge army. We do know that he and his wife settled in New York State, and were possibly living in Schuyler County by 1867 when their son Frederick was born.

They were probably still living in Schuyler County in January of 1870 when Silas, then working as a boatman on the Erie Canal was injured when he fell between two boats. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital in New York City where he died on February 2, 1870, of pyremia following an operation for urine retention. Silas was probably buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, on Long Island.

His widow eventually moved back to Michigan settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County, where she remarried one Henry or Patrick McEvilla (or McVilla; d. 1901). She and her second husband moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1898 and she was a widow living at 2220 Market Street in Seattle, Washington, in December of 1918 and October of 1919 when she applied for a widow’s pension (no. 888869) based on the service of her second husband. It is possible that in 1926 she applied for a pension (no. 1555864) based on Silas’ service, but the certificate was never granted.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Robert M. Collins

Robert M. Collins was born January 26, 1825, in New York State.

Robert left New York sometime around 1844, and moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he began work as a printer, working briefly for the Grand Rapids Enquirer. Apparently at one time he was a partner in the newspaper as well. He subsequently engaged in the steamboat business, working as captain of the steamer Olive Branch on the Grand River working from Grand Rapids downstream to where the river empties into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. For a short while in 1852 commanded the steamer Empire below the rapids. In 1849 Robert joined the Alert Fire Company No. 1 in Grand Rapids. (Another member of the Alert Fire Company, Wright Coffinberry would eventually serve as Captain of Grand Rapids' first local militia company, the Valley City Guard, a company in which Robert, too, would serve.)

In 1850 Robert was living with Alfred X. Cary, a hotel-keeper in Grand Rapids, and by 1859 he had entered into the flour merchandising business with Cary. Alfred Cary was the father of Charles Cary, who would enlist in Company A.

Robert married Alfred Cary’s s daughter Elizabeth (b. 1836), probably in 1859 and presumably in Grand Rapids, and they had at least one child, Alfred (1860-1931).

Like his future father-in-law, Robert became active in the growing local militia movement and in June of 1856 he replaced Ezra Nelson as Second Lieutenant of the “Valley City Light Guards.” (At the same time Captain Wright Coffinberry resigned from command of the VCG and was replaced by Lieutenant Dan McConnell, a veteran of the war with Mexico. McConnell would serve as the first commanding officer of the Third Michigan Infantry.)

In 1859-60 Robert was reported working with A. X. Cary & Co., and boarding with the Cary family on the north side of Park between Bostwick and Ransom Streets. By 1860 Robert and Elizabeth were still residing with the Cary family in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

Robert was 36 years old when he originally enrolled in Company K in April of 1861, when the Third Michigan was first organized in Grand Rapids in response to Lincoln's call for troops, but was soon reassigned to the Field & Staff as Regimental Quartermaster.

Organizing a regiment almost from scratch and getting it prepared to enter federal service was a demanding task. On April 19, 1861, he wrote to Michigan Adjutant General John Robertson in Detroit informing the General that his superior, Colonel Daniel McConnell of the Second Regiment (soon to be renumbered the Third) then forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids, instructed him “to inquire of you if we can have the privilege of getting up the uniforms for the 2d Regiment in this city; also what provisions are made for paying for the same; also what amount of clothing will be allowed to each man; also if we can get the quota of arms to equip the bal[ance] of the Regiment forward here. I am informed that this Regiment will be mustered into service as soon as ready which we hope to do in 30 days. By answering the above questions as soon as convenient you will confer a favor on the 2d Regiment.”

Some men in the Regiment had little respect for the Quartermaster, however. On July 12, 1861, just a week before the first major test of the Third Michigan in battle at First Bull Run, George Lemon of Company A, wrote home to his parents to describe camp life in the army. After discussing the various aspects of routine drill and the like, he turned his attention to the food, and to the Quartermaster responsible for their rations. “We have tea for supper with bread and meat. We have coffee for dinner and breakfast. We have rice or bean soup for dinner and pork or beef boiled. Our rations are small we have a pint of coffee with a third of a loaf of bread and a little piece of meat. You may think [it is] enough but our coffee is very weak and we get tired of one thing all the time. The boys of Co. A have got up a petition for to have our quartermaster removed and one put in that will give us something to eat but I don't think we can do it unless our officers have a hand with us.”

Robert remained with the Third Michigan Field and Staff through 1861 and on into the summer of 1862. By August of 1862, however, he had been detached from the Third Michigan and was serving as Acting Quartermaster for the Third Brigade, First Division, Third Corps. The following month he was on a leave of absence in Grand Rapids. He eventually returned to Virginia and by December he was on detached service as Acting Third Brigade Commissary from December 26, 1862, through August of 1863. Curiously, however, he was with the Regiment or at least a portion of it, on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. According to Dan Crotty of Company F, writing some years after the war, Collins had assisted several other men of the Third Michigan in taking confederate General Kemper off the field following the failure of “Pickett’s Charge” on July 3. (The Third had been engaged in the Peach Orchard the previous day.)

Robert was absent sick from September 10 until he was discharged on November 20 to accept promotion in the regular army as Captain and Commissary of Subsistence in the Department of the Cumberland. On November 28, 1863 he was promoted to Captain and Commissary of Subsistence in the Department of the Cumberland, and in early December he returned home on a furlough to Grand Rapids. He returned to duty and came home again in late June of 1864, and was mustered out of service on June 17, 1865, and was home in Grand Rapids by the second week of July.

After the war Robert resumed his various business enterprises in Grand Rapids. By 1867-68 he was back working with his father-in-law A. X. Cary and living on the west side of Ransom between Park and Fountain Streets. In 1868-69 the firm was renamed Cary, Moon & Collins, and was located at the Valley City Mills, at the corner of Bridge and Mill Streets. He may have been ill for a short time in early spring of 1870. That same year he was working as a flour manufacturer (with $20,000 worth of real estate and another $20,000 worth of personal property) and living with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

His health aside, Collins’ business endeavors proved quite successful, and he was still living on the west side of Ransom Street on February 16, 1871, when the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that he possessed $29,000 in real estate and another $20,000 in personal property, an enormous sum in those days. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and the Old Settlers’ Association.

Robert died of an ulceration of the stomach at 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, 1872, at his home on Ransom Street in Grand Rapids. The funeral service was held at his home at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. “Mr. Collins,” wrote the Grand Rapids Democrat on April 20, “has been long and favorably known to all our citizens, and his death has made a gap in the ranks of the old settlers that cannot be filled. All who knew him respected and trusted him. Naturally of a frank, generous disposition, withal of a firm, compact nature, with deep and strong convictions, true and unwavering as a law, he was always a fast friend, a reliable business man and a trustworthy citizen. We knew him intimately and loved him as a brother.”

The high esteem [wrote the Eagle on April 22] and regard of the people of Grand Rapids for the late Capt. Robert M. Collins, was shown by their general participation in the last solemn honors over his remains yesterday. Although the day was very unpleasant, as a cold rain and snow was prevailing at the time of the funeral rites, one of the largest concourses of citizens, members of the F. & A. M. and many of his comrades in the late war, ever seen in this city, followed his remains to their resting place. The funeral was held at his late residence at half past 2 o'clock. After it De Molai Commandery of Knights Templar, of which he was an honored member, the 3 lodges, Grand River, Valley City and Humboldt of F. & A.M., the resident members of the Old Third Mich Inf. with many other members of other Regiments, the Valley City Band and a large number of citizens, formed in procession and proceeded to Fulton st. cem., where he was buried with a Knight Templar's honors by the Commandery. Eulogies are unnecessary. Those who knew him, deeply feel their loss, and words cannot express their grief. They will ever treasure his memory. Such will heartily endorse and mentally add much to the following resolutions which were adopted at a meeting of the Old Third Regt. of Mich. vol. inf., held at the County Treasurer's office on the 21st: “Whereas, it has pleased almighty God to remove from this to a better land our former comrade and fellow soldier, Capt. Robert M. Collins, “Resolved, that while we bow in submission to his will and deplore the loss of one who has shared with us the dangers and privations, the hopes and fears, the dark days and crowning victories of our army life, we will ever cherish the remembrance of his manly virtues and soldierly qualities evinced by a steady devotion to principle, a warm-hearted friendship and Christian patriotism, his coolness and bravery on the field of battle, his sympathy with the sick, the wounded and the dying, and his self-denying efforts to promote the comfort and mitigate the sufferings of his comrades. “That to the bereaved family and relatives of the deceased, and to the honored fraternity of which he was a member, we tender our heartfelt sympathy and condolence. “That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of the deceased; that they be entered upon the records of the Association, and published in the several papers of this city.”

Robert was buried in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: section 7 lot no. 10.

In 1908 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 684736).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barnett C. Collins

Barnett C. Collins was born around 1843 in Chemung County, New York, the son of Benjamin (b. 1804) and Eliza A. (b. 1810).

New York native Benjamin married Connecticut-born Eliza and by 1827 had settled in New York when their daughter Mahala was born. By 1850 Barnett was attending school with three of his older siblings and living with his family on a farm in Dix, Chemung County, New York. By 1860 Barnett (“Barney”) was working as a farm laborer and living with his father in Dix, Schuyler County, New York. Barnett left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by the time the war broke out.

Barnett stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion, and was an 18-year-old laborer probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.) He was wounded on June 17, 1862 near Richmond, Virginia, absent sick in the hospital in July and August, and was discharged on September 29 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, for a gunshot wound to the left arm preventing “the free use of it through adhesions to the superficial and deep facia.”

It is unknown if Barnett ever returned to Michigan. He apparently returned to New York where he was probably living when he enlisted as a private on September 9, 1864 in Company A, One hundred forty-first New York infantry. (This regiment had been recruited in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties in 1862.) It is quite likely that Barnett joined the regiment Atlanta, Georgia, where it remained until November 15, when it started with Sherman’s forces on the march to the sea. The New York One hundred forty-first took part in the siege of Savannah and in 1865 participated in the campaign through the Carolinas. After confederate General Joe Johnston's surrender it marched on to Washington, where took part in the grand review. Barnett was mustered out with the regiment on June 8, 1865, at Washington, DC.

Barnett returned to New York after the war.

He married New York native Julia A. Wakeman (1847-1916), on November 28, 1868, at Havana, New York (renamed Montour Falls by 1910) and they had at least one child: Cora Bell (1868-1940).

By 1869 Barnett also known as Barnet) and his wife were living in New York State. Indeed by 1870 Barnett was working as a farmer and living with his wife and daughter in Watkins, Dix Township, Schuyler County, New York, and his parents lived nearby. He was still living in Dix, New York in 1872, and worked as a laborer. By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and daughter in Dix Township, Schyuler County, New York. (His father Benjamin had apparently remarried to a woman named Mary, b. 1815 in New York, and they too were living in Dix in 1880.) Barnett was reportedly living in Walker, (County unknown), New York in 1893 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1873 Barnett applied for and received a pension (no. 137617) for service in both Michigan and New York regiments.

Barnett died, probably at his home in Watkins, Schuyler County, New York, on June 30, 1910, and was buried in Glenwood cemetery in Watkins (his wife and daughter are also buried with him).

His widow was still living in Watkins, New York, in August of 1910 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 707157).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oren H. or Orin H. Coleman

Oren H. or Orin H. Coleman was born July 25, 1836, in Pennsylvania or in Rensselaer County, New York.

Oren eventually settled in western Michigan.

Oren was 24 years old, stood about 5’8” with grey eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and probably residing in Big Rapids, Mecosta County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. Oren was in the Georgetown Seminary hospital sometime in the summer of 1861. He eventually recovered and was a Quartermaster’s “waiter” from July of 1862 through August, and listed as driving an ambulance from September of 1862 through February of 1864. It is not known if he ever rejoined the regiment or was still driving an ambulance when he was wounded by a gunshot to the right hand during the battle of the Wilderness, probably on or about May 6, 1864. He was subsequently sent to the field hospital where his left middle finger was amputated at the second joint. He was then sent to Lincoln hospital in Washington, DC, where he remained about month before being transferred to Chestnut Hill hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He remained in Philadelphia until he was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

It is not known if Oren returned to Michigan after the war. In fact it appears he remained in Pennsylvania, settling in Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania where he was living in 1872 when he first applied for a pension; and indeed he received a pension no. 118,311, drawing $6.00 per month by 1900.

Oren married Pennsylvania native Isabella Ann Kennedy (1847-1921) on February 10, 1866, in Conshohocken, and they had at least four children: Marette or Marsilla (b. 1867), Lily (b. 1869), a daughter (b. 1873), Isabelle (b. 1880) and Violet (b. 1883). (Isabella could neither read nor write in 1870.)

For some years Oren worked as a tanner, although by 1870 he was working as a teamster (listed as “Owen”) and living with his wife and daughter in Conshohocken, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. By 1880 he was apparently working as an ice and coal dealer or delivery man and living on East Dauphine Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and children; also living with them was Mary Canada, a sister-in-law and three boarders. By 1890 he was residing at 2541 E. Dauphin Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and by 1900 and 1911 he was living at 2510 E. Dauphin Street.

Oren died on February 19, 1912, at his home at 2510 E. Dauphin Street of mitral stenosis. He was buried on February 22 in Holy Sepulcher cemetery in Philadelphia.

In 1912 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 739027). She was residing at 9503 E. Norris Street in Philadelphia when she died in 1921.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

E. R. Sylvester Cole

E. R. Sylvester Cole was born 1842 in Livingston County, New York., the son of John B. (b. 1817) and Sarah (b. 1819).

Both his parents were born in New York and were presumably married there. By 1850 Sylvester (listed as “Err. S” in the census) was attending school with two of his siblings and living with his family in Springwater, Livingston County, New York, where his father worked as a blacksmith. Sometime between 1853 and 1855 his family moved from New York to Michigan, and by 1860 had settled on a farm in Jamestown, Ottawa County.

Sylvester stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 19 years old and working as a farmer possibly in Crockery, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on December 18, 1861 at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Ottawa County, and was mustered the same day. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was absent sick in a general hospital in May of 1862, wounded on August 29, 1862 at Second Bull Run and subsequently hospitalized until he was discharged on October 30 or November 2, 1862 at Point Lookout, Maryland, for the loss of his left thumb as a result of his wounds.

Sylvester returned to Michigan, and he may have settled in Hillsdale County. He apparently reentered the service in Company K, Eleventh Michigan cavalry on October 28, 1863, at Litchfield, Hillsdale County for 3 years, crediting Litchfield, and was mustered on October 31 at Detroit. In August of 1864 he was on recruiting service in Michigan, and on July 20, 1865, he was transferred to Company A, Eighth cavalry. He was discharged from the Eighth cavalry on September 22, 1865.

After the war Sylvester again returned to Michigan, possibly to Hillsdale County.

Sylvester married 16-year-old New York native Mary A. Dugan (b. 1851-1933), on December 25, 1866, in Litchfield, Hillsdale County, and had at least one child: a son Wirt J. (1875-1944).

In 1870 Sylvester purchased nearly 80 acres of land through the Ionia land office in Michigan, and he eventually settled in Litchfield, where he probably lived the remainder of his life. (In 1870 his mother Sarah, apparently widowed, was listed as head of the household and living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County; several of her children were living with her.) By 1880 Sylvester was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and son in Litchfield; his brother Harvey and his family were also living in Litchfield.

He received a pension (no. 10,684?), dated January of 1863, for his service in both cavalry and infantry units.

Sylvester died on March 10, 1884, in Litchfield and was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in Litchfield, row 8, lot 30.

His widow was residing in Michigan in 1885 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 325655). She was living in Litchfield, Hillsdale County in 1890, and she remarried in 1893 to Frank Boxler (d. 1907). Mary remarried in 1911 to one Newton Chamberlain.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Benjamin Franklin Cole

Benjamin Franklin Cole was born in 1830 in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, the son of Marquis or Marcus Lafayette (b. 1802) and Debra (Sherman).

According to one source Marquis or Marcus was born in Pennsylvania and Debra in Palmyra, New York. (Although in the census records for 1880 Benjamin listed his parents as having been born in England. ) In 1830 there were five Coles listed in Palmyra, Wayne County: Abner, Dorastus, Benjamin, Joshua and Marcus; and in 1840 four: Dorastus, Benjamin, Marcus and Samuel. By 1850 Benjamin may have been working as a laborer and living with the John Rose family on a farm in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York. (The Roses were emigrants from England, having arrived in the US sometime after 1842.)

Benjamin married New York native Ann S. (b. 1835), and they had at least three children: Adelia (b. 1857), Adelbert (b. 1862) and Calista (b. 1865).

By 1857 they were probably living in Wisconsin (where their first child was born) but sometime before 1861 moved to Michigan, probably settling in Ionia County.

Benjamin stood 5’7” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion, and was a 31-year-old machinist possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

He was shot in the right foot on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and by mid-September was reported to be “doing well” in Trinity Church general hospital in Washington, DC. He remained hospitalized until he was discharged on February 11, 1863 at a United States hospital (possibly Center Street hospital) in Newark, New Jersey for a fracture of the second metatarsal bone with loss of part of the bone.

Benjamin eventually returned to Michigan, probably to Ionia County.

In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 27890).

By 1870 Benjamin was living on a farm in Sebawa, Ionia County, along with his wife and three children. (He reportedly owned some $3000 worth of real estate.)

According to one family historian Benjamin married his second wife, English-born Anna Boyle (b. 1847), possibly in Michigan and probably sometime before 1872. They had three children: William Franklin (1872-1942), Harry Lee (b. 1877) and George B. (It is unclear what became of his first wife.)

Benjamin claimed that in 1874 he moved to Elkhart, Marion County, Indiana and worked as a machinist for some years. Around 1876 he moved to Kansas and by 1880 Ben was working as a machinist and living with his wife Anne or Anna on Third Street in Florence, Marion County, Kansas. In 1886 (or perhaps in 1892) he moved to Englewood, Kansas, and for some years tried his hand at farming.

Ben and Anna were divorced in 1886, for reasons unknown.

At some point Ben moved to Belle Meade in southwestern Kansas where he filed a claim on Crooked Creek, just south of Meade. According to one source, "soon after he crossed over the border into ‘No man’s land’ (Oklahoma panhandle) and took ‘Squatter’s rights’. He paid $16 at the land office in Beaver city. He built a sod house north of Gate City near the Tuttle Cattle Trail (which ran to dodge city) south of the Cimarron River. There was a hand-dug well on the trail 1/4 mile away from his soddie.”

Benjamin was married a third time to Michigan native Alida May Rounds (1866-1953) on August 28, 1890, in Beaver City, Oklahoma, and they had at least one child, a daughter Ina Roamy (b. 1891).

According to one family source,

Alida came west with her family by way of Hannibal, MO,(Alida taught at an Indian school as a teenager in Missouri), Winfield, KS (two of her sisters married here) and southeast Colorado. The Rounds had moved with seven other families to southeastern Colorado in 1887near present day Springfield. They built a sod church and planted crops but were plagued by drought and later moved to Gate City taking a claim near Benjamin Cole.

It is reported that Alida suffered from some form of cerebral palsy.

By the early 1892 Ben and his wife and daughter were living in Englewood, Kansas. According to the family historian, “Benjamin worked part-time . . . for the Santa Fe railroad, oiling the engines when they turned them on a turntable at Englewood, which was the end of the line. He also had a loom which he wove and repaired fabric.”

Benjamin died of a cerebral hemorrhage resulting from heart disease on May 10, 1898, in Englewood, Clark County, Kansas.

In July of 1898 his widow Alida M. was living in Kansas when she applied for and received a pension (no. 817942).

In 1910 Alida M. Cole was listed as head of the household and living in Englewood, Kansas.; also living with her was her daughter Ina and her husband Missouri native Henry “Lon” Ford (b. 1877). In 1920 Alida was living alone and listed as a widow and as head of the household, in Englewood, Kansas. By 1930 Alida was living with her daughter Ina and her husband and their children in Englewood, Kansas (Henry is reported as head of the household and owns some $1800 worth of real estate).

Alida applied on behalf of a minor child in 1902 or 1912, no. 534,980.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Albert Morris Cole

Albert Morris Cole was born July 10, 1842, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the son of Ezra (b. 1807) and Julia Ann (Howe or Horn, 1825-1889).

Ezra and Pennsylvania native Julia were reportedly married in April of 1840 in Marion, Ohio, and resided in Ohio for some years. Ezra may have been living in Scott, Marion County, Ohio in 1840, and it is possible that he died in Ohio or perhaps in Indiana. In any case, by 1850 Julia and her children were residing with a gunsmith named Oliver Barker and his family in Prairie, Kosciusko County, Indiana, where Albert attended school with his older sister Amanda and Elijah Barker. Sometime around 1859 or early 1860 Julia was married Charles Ostrander and by 1860 she was residing with her new husband at a boardinghouse in Norton, Muskegon County.

Albert was a 19-year-old laborer living in Muskegon County when he enlisted with his parent’s consent 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.) He was reported as a company cook in August of 1862, and was discharged on January 3, 1863, in order to enlist in either Battery F or Battery K, Third United States Artillery. Albert was mustered out on February 4, 1866.

Albert returned to Michigan and was a farm laborer living in Riverton, Mason County in 1880 with his younger brother Francis M. (b. 1852 in Ohio), and his wife and two children. His mother Julia was also living in Riverton in 1880. and working as a dressmaker. Her son 12-year-old George was living with her as well. While living in Mason County Julia would marry a farmer named Elias Taylor and they eventually settled on a homestead in Redington, Nebraska.

By 1890 Albert was living in Pentwater, Oceana County. He was living in Riverton in 1900 and working as a farmer; also living with him in 1900 was his nephew Alphonso Cole. By 1920 he was living alone in Freesoil, Mason County.

In 1894 he applied for and received a pension no 999308 for his service in both the Third Michigan infantry and U.S. artillery.

Albert died of heart disease in Freesoil on August 14, 1922, and was buried in Tallman cemetery in Freesoil: lot no. 17. (Also buried in the same plot is his nephew Alphonso A. Cole, 1881-1935, his wife Alice A, 1881-1957 and their daughter Ellen, d. 1913.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Harlan Page Colby

Harlan Page Colby was born November 14, 1841 in Haverhill, Grafton County, New Hampshire, the son of Luther (1804-1884) and Hannah R. (Page, 1805-1870).

Luther and Hannah were married in October of 1827 in Hebron, New Hampshire (Hannah’s hometown) and they resided in Hebron for several years. By 1830 they were living in Haverhill and 1836 they were in Bow, Merrimack County, New Hampshire. By 1839 they had returned to Haverhill, New Hampshire where they were still living in 1840 and 1841.

In 1853 Harlan’s family moved from New Hampshire to Grand Rapids, and two years later, while attending high school in 1855, Harlan wrote the following “Description of Grand Rapids”.

He first listed the faculty, “E. W. Chesebro, principal; George Chesebro, assistant; Miss Winslow, Recitation rooms; and Miss E. Snow.” He then briefly outlined a history of Grand Rapids: “the County seat of Kent co., lies on [the] Grand River, about forty miles above the confluence with the water of Lake Michigan. The different parts of the town are connected by a bridge, some 900 feet long. Till the year 1831, the site which the city now occupies, was an unbroken wilderness inhabited only by the red men of the forest. In that year, a few French families leave out from the eastern part of the state, and commencing a settlement, laid the foundation of a city destined at no distant day, to become second to none in Michigan.” He continued,

Up to the year 1836, the population increased very slowly, consisting at that time, of about a dozen families. Actuated by a spirit of speculation, this year beheld a large addition to the number of inhabitants, many of whom found to their sorrow and great disappointment that ‘all is not gold that glitters’, that paper cities require a great deal of hard work before they become cities in reality. From that time till the present, it has steadily advanced in size and prosperity, numbering last year [1854] about 6,000 souls. The city received its charter in 1800 [?], the first mayor being the late H. R. Williams, succeeded by R. W. Cole, W. H. Withey, T. B. Church, and W. D. foster. There are five wards each of which is entitled to one alderman. The people are generally emigrants [sic] from the east, the natives coming from New England, New York and Ohio, the foreigners from Ireland and Holland. composed of such discordant materials, society presents a very different appearance from that found in older settled countries [counties] at the east[ern end of the state]. A stranger would find a great want of social feeling absorbable everywhere in communities composed of less antagonistic elements. The site of the city comprises four square miles, lying the one half in the Township of Grand Rapids, and the remaining . . . in the Township of Walker. The ground upon which the city is built is very uneven, being composed of sand bluffs, excepting a narrow strip along the river which is interspersed with swamps, and cut up by ravines and water courses. Although the situation of the town is so unpromising in this particular yet in consequence of its contiguity to an excellent water power, property commands a very high price. Within the bounds of the city the river falls about 19 feet affording mill privileges scarcely inferior to the Genesee at Rochester. Within the limits of the corporation there are 25 machine shops and mills driven principally by water which is directed from its course by a dam thrown across the river and a canal which conducts the water to points where it can be conveniently used.

To show the size of and importance of the town, it may be proper to give the following statistics:6 Hardware stores, 15 dry goods stores, 8 clothing stores, 4 hat and cap stores, 4 furniture stores, 1 curiosity shops, 6 drug stores, 4 book stores, 30 groceries, 5 meat markets; 2 baker shops, 9 wheel wrights, 1 confectionery, 3 engine companies, 3 engines, 1 hose company, 150 firemen, 8 hotels, 4 liveries, 6 steamboats, 8 barges and tows, 4 saddle & harness shops, 8 shoe shops, 100 streets, 4 jewelry stores, 2 printing offices, 4 private schools, 3 public schools, 12 physicians, 23 lawyers, 8 clergymen.

In the number and character of its professional men, Grand Rapids stands proudly prominent. Our physicians are polite, attentive and skillful, one dosing you allepathecally another hydropathecally and a third homeopathecally, while each attempts to convince you that he is not treating you hobbypathecally.

The legal fraternity ranks among its members some of the ablest men of the state, men distinguished for learning and patriotism, men who would do honor to any profession in any country. Nor are the clergy less noted for piety than the lawyers for patriotism. A band of men more devoted to the interests of those over whom it is their duty to watch, cannot be found. “Go search the land of living men, where will you find their like again?”

The churches are distributed among the different denominations as follows: 1. Episcopal - Rev. Dr. Cuming - 400 members; 2. Congregational - Rev. Mr. Hammond - 184 members; 3. Second Congregational - Rev. Mr. Ballard ; 4. Catholic - Rev. Mr. Van Pelmel; Catholic - Rev. Mr. Van Erb - 150 families; 5. Methodist - Rev. Mr. Tappes - 250 families; 6. Baptist - Rev Mr. Prescott - 108 families; 7. Dutch Reformed - Rev. Mr. Klyme. The Episcopal which is the largest and most costly in the city, is built of limestone taken from the bed of the river just below the dam, as are also the Catholic and Old Dutch churches. The new Dutch edifice is of brick while the Congregational, Methodist and Baptist houses are of wood.

The County jail and an old building used sometimes as a church, and sometimes as a court-house, are situated on the west side of the river. Although Grand Rapids is of such recent origin, yet its founders have neglected no effort to secure to their children the blessings arising from a good education. The greater part of the city limits [is] divided into two school districts, the one lying on the east side and the other on the west side of the river. The Union school on the east side of the river is situated on the summit of one of the noble hills which environ the city, and commands an extensive view of the delightful plains and hillsides forming the Grand River valley. Its dimensions are 64 by 44 feet, three stories in height, and surmounted by a cupola from which may be had a most delightful view of the city and surrounding country. This cupola also contains a bell which chimes most disagreeably upon the ear of the tardy schoolboys as “With sachel and shining morning face he creeps like a snail, unwillingly to school” In all its interior arrangements and Divisions, excepting its desks which are an instrument of barbarism yet most excruciating to the luckless scholar who is obliged to be jammed down to them all day, it [is] well adapted to the purpose for which it is designed. There are three large study rooms, six smaller recitation rooms, and two rooms the one used as a dressing room by the girls, and the other as a library and apparatus room.

The city library comprising about 150 volumes and the mineralogical cabinet of the Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History, now in process of being collected, are kept here. The “Faculty” consists of eight female and two male teachers. The school is divided into three departments, in the first of which are taught the alphabet, Reading, Arithmetical Tables, and Primary Geography. In the second department, Spelling, Reading, Writing, mental and written Arithmetic and Geography. In the third department are taught all the [disciplines] commonly [taught] in Union schools. In summing up the character of the school, we may say that the buildings are substantial, its Divisions good, its internal fixtures decidedly bad, and its teachings such as might be vastly improved did not a perverted public taste prevent a more strict and energetic government.

The school on the west side of the river is in a very flourishing condition under Mr. Milton S. Littlefield formerly of Syracuse, New York assisted by Misses Hyde and Chubb. It numbers about 100 pupils with a list constantly [changing] . The old hovel now occupied by this school might be supplanted during the coming summer, by a neat brick building, 40 by 70 feet, and two stories in height. “A consummation most devoutly to be wished”. We can but wish them God-speed.

Situated in the midst of a fertile and rapidly populating country, remote from all other cities and large villages, cozily nestled in the Grand River Valley, secure from the chilling blasts which howl with such relentless fury across the great part of the western country, possessing a water power unrivaled in the state, and enjoying a locality healthy to a proverb, Grand Rapids bid fair, ere long, to become the first, as it is now the second town in Michigan. What shall prevent her? We may confidently assert that it will not be far lack of superior advantages for she possesses them; it will not be on account of the envy or jealousy of her sister towns or villages in other parts of the state, for she has the power to render herself independent in a great measure of them all, but it will be on account of that excessive greed, that ardent desire, that burning thirst for riches which would bring down the golden shower like an avalanche from the mountain regardless of its blighting effects upon all the finer feelings of the soul. May the time be far distant when our citizens shall loose [sic] their public spirit in the inordinate love of self, when they shall clutch for the dross that perisheth unmindful of the privileges of their social position. May Grand Rapids be carried forward on the swelling tide of prosperity, retaining ever a safe pilotage in the intelligence and virtue of her citizens, till she changes her anchorage from the “Valley City” to the “Empire city” of Michigan.

In 1859-60 Harlan was living with his family on the west side of Barclay between Bridge and Bronson (now Michigan) Streets, and by 1860 he was attending school and living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward where his father was a bridge builder. In early 1861 he may have joined the Valley City Guard, the prewar Grand Rapids militia company whose members would form the nucleus of Company A.

More likely, however, he was a member of the Grand Rapids “Greys”, which also included Hobart Chipman who would join the Third Michigan Band. Indeed, according to a roster published in the Grand Rapids Democrat on August 28, 1891, Harlan was one of the original members of the Grand Rapids “Greys”, a small select militia company in Grand Rapids established in May of 1861. According former “Grey” member, Joseph Herkner, “A large number of boys like myself belonged to the Valley City Guard when the war broke out and our parents made such a fuss about our going to the front that we did not go when the other members went out” with the VCG, which became Company A of the Third Michigan infantry. “The first call,” continued Herkner, “disorganized the company and those of us who were left conceived the idea of organizing another company for mutual instruction in the tactics so that in case we were to go to the front we would know something besides how to shoulder a musket. The result was the founding of the Greys.”

Harlan stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and probably still living with his family in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his parents’ consent as First Corporal in Company A on May 13, 1861, but was soon transferred to the Band. He was discharged on November 15, 1861 for aphonia (loss of voice) at Fort Lyon, Virginia.

He returned to Grand Rapids where he was living when he married New York native Maggie M. Spraker (1845-1928) on July 5, 1862 in Grand Rapids; they had one child: Harry L. (1864-1936).

Harlan reentered the service as a Private in Company F, Thirtieth Michigan infantry on December 15, 1864 at Grand Rapids for one year, and was mustered the same day, crediting Leroy, Oceana County. The regiment was organized for 12 months’ service and was mustered into service on January 9. It was engaged in frontier duty along the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers until June. In May of 1865 Harlan was promoted to First Sergeant, and then to Quartermaster Sergeant replacing Sergeant Wiredon. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on June 5, 1865, but was never mustered as such, and was mustered out of service with the regiment on June 30, 1865 at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army Harlan returned to Grand Rapids and according to one report, by early July of 1865 was working as a local musician. According to the Grand Rapids Eagle of July 3, Colby, who had just returned home, “plays a huge brass horn, in the Grand Rapids Band.” He also became involved in the local militia movement and in 1866 he was serving as First Lieutenant in command of the Valley City Zouaves. In fact, Harlan would spend the remainder of his life in Grand Rapids. According to Albert Baxter's exhaustive history of Grand Rapids, in 1865 Harlan, along with James McKee, started a carriage factory, and on “October 1, 1867, Arthur Wood was induced to purchase the McKee interest in the business of Colby, Sons & co. and the firm was changed to Colby, Wood & Co.” On “February 1, 1868 Mr. Wood bought out the other partners. . . .”

According to the Grand Rapids City Directory in 1867-68 Harlan was working for Colby, Wood & co. (Luther and Harlan Colby and Arthur Wood), carriage makers, located on the west side of Waterloo at the foot of Ferry Street, and he was residing at no. 8 Barclay. In 1870 he was working as a wagon-maker and living with his wife and son in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; at some point he was living at 90 Coit Avenue. He served as Superintendent of the old Masonic Home on Reed’s Lake before it burned down, and was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1861 he applied for and received a pension (no. 12080).

Harlan died of myocarditis on Thursday, January 15, 1925 at his home at 643 South Division in Grand Rapids, and his funeral services were held on Monday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at the Masonic temple. He was buried in Oak Hill (North) cemetery: section 10, lot no. 102.

The week after Harlan died his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 958278).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

George Cochran

George Cochran also known as “Cochrane”, was born around 1841 in Erie County, Ohio.

George was possibly residing with a Judge Farwell and his family in Portland, Erie County, Ohio in 1850. In any case he left Ohio and eventually settled in western Michigan.

He stood 5’5” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer living in Mecosta County when he enlisted in Company K on January 31, 1862 at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.

George was wounded on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and subsequently died in the field on August 31, 1862, from his wounds. He was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

No pension seems to be available.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

William J. Cobb

William J. Cobb was born in 1838 in Ohio, the son of Josiah (b. 1807) and Charlotte (b. 1809-1881).

William’s parents were both born in New York and were married in Lysander, New York, on August 30, 1824. They resided in New York State until moving to Ohio sometime between 1834 and 1838, and Josiah may have been living in Detroit in 1840. If so, the family apparently returned to New York between 1841 and 1843, were back in Ohio by 1846 and by 1848 had settled in or returned to Michigan. In 1850 Josiah and his family were living in Essex, Clinton County where William attended school with his siblings. By 1860 William was still living with his family on a farm in Essex.

William was 23 years old and probably residing in Robinson, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County. It appears that William was good friends with the Austin family, originally from New York and Clinton County, Michigan, four of whom would also join Company I in 1861.) On November 6 William wrote home to his “Dear Mother” from Fort Lyon, Virginia.

I now take my pen in hand to let you know that [I am] pretty well at present and hope to find you the same. It is awful rainy and windy here this fall. Most all of the boys have got very bad colds a sleeping in these old tents. When it rains they leak like an old sieve if the wind blows much. I am most sick now with a bad cold. We have frosts and pretty cold nights now. Our summer tents don’t keep much of the cold out now but [we] get along pretty well. We are all in good spirits. We are a going to get out pay now in a few days and the next letter I send I will send home fifteen or twenty dollars. The next letter will have some war news in I think for I heard of a fight in South Carolina but we have not heard the particulars yet. I guess that we will winter in Alexandria, a city about two miles from us. It is in Virginia about 6 miles from Washington. It is the talk now that the war will not last a great while. They seem to think that we will go home about next spring but we can’t tell for there is so many yarns a going here in camp that I can’t believe any of them. I should like to come home and make a good visit but there is no chance until this war is settled. I want to know if my likeness has got home yet. I sent it about two weeks ago. I sent two, one to Olive and the other to father and I have not heard from them yet. I can’t think of any more to write so good-bye. I send my love to all of the children and tell them that I have not forgotten them [even] if I am a good a good ways from home. . . .

On November 16, still at Fort Lyon, William wrote to his “Dear father.”

I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you the same. You seem to think hard of me for not writing to you oftener but I write there letters home where I don’t get one in return. I don’t write them all to you to be sure but I send them to Lewis, Nancy, Mother and yourself so you can hear from me in every letter and then I don’t have time to write very often for one day I have to go on guard and stand 8 hours out of 24 and the other 16 I have to stay around the guard house. Then I come off of guard the next day at nine o’clock so I am tired and sleepy and the next day I am on police, that is I have to bring wood and water for the cook and the next day I have to go out in the woods and chop stockades for to build our fort that we are working on here so I don’t have much time to write. You see they keep us pretty busy here all of the time. We don’t have much time to write or to do anything else. We expect to get our pay this week so I will send you some money. I don’t see why you don’t get more letters from me for I have one to you, one to Lewis, one to Mother and one to Nancy about three weeks ago but I have not got any answer from any of them yet. Now when you write to me I get the letter in five days from the time it is mailed. Now I don’t see why you don’t get my letters inside of three weeks from the time it leaves here. I sent my likeness to Olive by [Albert] Sparks about three weeks ago. He got his discharge and went home. I thought that would be the best way for [me] to send it and then have Olive send it up to you. I got a letter from Olive two days ago but it seems she has not been over there to get it yet. I have not got any news to write this time so good bye. This from your son William to his parents Josiah and Charlotte Cobb.

William again wrote home on November 28, while the regiment was still camped at Fort Lyon.

Dear Father, I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you the same. I received a letter from Lewis last week and was glad to hear from home for his was the first letter that I have received from home in about two months but I suppose money is pretty hard to get hold of so I cannot blame you for not writing oftener so write as often as you can. I sent you ten dollars last week. It started from our office the 24[th] of Nov so I guess that you have got it by this time. I sent seven postage stamps with the money. I sent a letter to mother about three or four weeks ago but I never have heard whether she got it or not. I sent five or six postage stamps to her so you & mother could write to me. Lewis dud not writher whether she had got it or not. I am going to send you and Lewis some newspapers. I want you to keep them to remember me. We hear of a fight most every day but the news comes in the papers so when I get hold of one that has much news in I will send it home. Our officers seem to think that we have got to go to South Carolina but we can’t tell till we get started to go where we are going. We had a grand review the 21[st] of Nov. There was 70,000 troops to the review [and] they had 118 pieces of cannon & 1800 cavalry. I tell you it was quite a sight to see so many men together and then there was 25,000 spectators on the field too. We had to march about ten miles to get to the review ground but I tell you I did not begrudge the marching. Have you got my likeness yet? I have not heard whether Olive has got them or not. If you ain’t got it I will get it taken again and send it to you. I wrote two letters to you, one about two & the other about 5 weeks ago. Did you get them? No more at present only I still remain your affectionate son William J. Cobb to his parents Josiah & Charlotte Cobb, good-bye

On January 31, 1862, from the regiment’s winter quarters at Camp Michigan in Virginia, William wrote to his “Dear Father”.

I now take this opportunity you inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you and all the rest of our folks enjoying the same pleasure. The boys are al well here that you are acquainted with. You did not say whether you got that 5 dollars that I sent you or not. I believe I sent it on the fifteenth but I am not sure and I sent my likeness the same time and you did not say whether you had got that yet or not. I got your letter tonight and was very glad to hear from you all but I am sorry to hear that you are not well but I hope you will soon get better and mother too for I live in hope of coming home sometime and I want to see you both again and all the rest of our folks too. I haven’t had a letter from Olive on over a month. I don’t see why she don’t write unless she has forgot she had a brother so far away from home & friends and I haven’t had but one letter from Lewis in about three months now. I don’t see why they don’t write to me. One of our regiments that is in our brigade had a fight with the rebels. They was out on picket and a nigger come in to their post and told them that about 30 rebels was quartered in an old mill some three miles from there so they give the nigger 5 dollars to show them the way there. The colonel took 50 men and went out there and surrounded the house and shot every one of them but one who gave himself up a prisoner. It was in the night and the rebels had a light in the house. Our men fired three volleys into the house and then closed up onto the house. Some of the rebels jumped out of the windows and our men captured them on their bayonets. The rebels killed one and wounded four of our men that had the fight was the 37 regt of N.Y. We have got to go out on picket in the morning. I have wrote this makes four letters to you this month & two to Nancy and I have got two from you & one from Nancy this month. No more at present so good-by. This from your affectionate son, Wm. J. Cobb to his dear parents Josiah and Charlotte Cobb. I send my love to all the children & yourselves likewise. Good-bye WJ Cobb.

And a week later he again wrote to his father in Michigan.

I now take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present & hope these few lines may find you & the rest of our folks well. I received your letter the 7th & was very glad to hear that you got that money that I sent you for I began to think that it was lost for it has been over 2 [or 3?] weeks since I sent it. We had a little brush with the secesh last Monday down the river to a village called Occoquan. Cornelius is writing to you so I won’t write the particulars for he is writing them. [vertically in the margin of this page:] do you think my profile looks natural that I sent to you[?] Here is some valentines that I sent to the children. Our troops has taken Fort Henry [and] Cornelius is writing the particulars. I have not much news this time. The boys are all well [and] they send their best respects to you. I got a letter from Olive [his sister] & Lewis; they are well. Lewis is chopping wood for Ed Ferry at five shillings a cord. John is lumbering this winter. He has got in 300 logs; he ain’t got but one team. I don’t hardly think we will get back home by next June but I hope we will. If we get back by next fall it will be sooner than I expect to get back. No more at present. Write soon. This letter from W. J. Cobb to his father Josiah Cobb. Good-bye. I send my love to all. WJC

In the spring of 1862 the Third Michigan along with the rest of the Army of the Potomac started out on the Spring campaign. On April 26, from a camp near Yorktown, Virginia, William (writing on the stationary of the Second New Hampshire Volunteers), wrote home to his father.

I now sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living & tuff as a buck & fat as a bear & in sight of the rebels & black as an Indian. I will bet the whiskey if we should come home this summer. You would not know me for we are all tanned up as black as Indiana. Well now for the news. The best news is we all got our pay yesterday & I have sent 30 dollars by express to St. Johns for you and Lewis [his brother-in-law?]. Don’t you think this is the best news? I do. Well now for something else. I see fourteen live secesh this morning. Our men charged on one of the rebel batteries about 9 o’clock this morning & took it. Our loss is 3 killed & 20 wounded. I don’t know what the rebel loss is. Our men have been shelling the rebels for 5 or 6 days. They throw a shell every 10 or 20 minutes so as to keep the rebels stirred up. The rebels had a barracks for about 4000 men about half a mile from our pickets. One of our batteries of artillery went out to the pickets & shelled the rebels out. I see some of the shell bursts right in their houses. It tore them all to pieces & killed [a] good many. . . . Our company is running a steam saw mill now, sawing plank to mount some big siege guns to siege out Yorktown. We have got 100 cannon here that carries a 92-pound ball & 5 that carries a 100-pound ball & one that carries a 200 pound shell. . . . Father I will send you a receipt to get that money I sent you. It needs one to get it. I don’t know when you get it I want you to write right back. When you get it you must tear it open at the end so as to preserve the wrapper & then if the money is in all right why then you can do what you are a mind to with it. You must tear it open at the office where you get it & then if the money ain’t in the package why show it to the express agent & I can get it back here for I got a receipt to show that I have sent it. I got a letter from Nancy & Eunice the other day but I ain’t got any stamps & can’t get any here. I wish you would send me some if you get that money. No more this time. Write back soon as you get that money. Wm. J. Cobb to Josiah Cobb, good-by to all.

And some two weeks later, following the actions at Williamsburg, Virginia, William again wrote home to his family (and still writing on the stationary of the Second New Hampshire Volunteers). On May 12, he informed his family,

I now take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am alive and well. We had a pretty hard fight at Williamsburg but we whipped the rebels. We lost on our side about 1300 in killed and about 2000 wounded. The rebels lost in killed about 2000 & 3000 wounded. Our men buried 700 of the rebels in one day. I traveled over the battlefield the next day after the battle. I could walk on the dead bodies for half a mile without stepping on the ground. The 2nd Mich lost about 160 in killed & wounded, the 5th lost 200 killed & wounded, the 37th NY lost 200 in killed & wounded, the 3rd Mich lost only one man. Our regt supported a battery of artillery so we was not in the thickest of the fight. Our regt is lucky I think all the men we’ve lost in battle is two killed & 4 or 5 wounded. The battle was fought in an old slashing. The rebels were all through the slashing behind logs, stumps and brush & everything, but our men drove them out but many a poor fellow lost his life doing it. They had 5 forts besides but our men charged on them & drove them out of two of them & by that time it was dark so we laid on our arms all night ready to commence the next morning but the rebels left in the night. They left lots of muskets, cartridge boxes, knapsacks, cannon & everything you could think of. We followed them two days & then we was so tired with marching our general let us rest one day. I expect we will start again today for Richmond where we expect they will make another stand. We are 40 miles from Richmond now. The rebels say we will have a big fight there. I don’t know as you can read this but I can’t get any ink. Father, have you got the money that I sent you? I sent 30 dollars to St. Johns by express for you & sent you a letter to let you know that it was there. I sent it the 26 of April. I haven’t had a letter from home in some time. I wrote for you to send me some stamps but I have got some now so you need not send any. No more this time. Write often & I will write as often as I can for we are marching most all the time. It is so damned hot here we can’t carry anything but our guns and accoutrements & a few other things. W. J. Cobb to his parents, good bye.

William was captured on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, held prisoner and returned to the Regiment on December 8, 1862. On April 21, 1863, he wrote home to his father from Camp Curtin, Virginia.

I now sit down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present & hope these few lines will find you the same. Father I sent you 20 dollars the 16th of this month. Have you got it yet? I sent it in a letter. Well now for the news which ain’t much. We are under marching orders & have been for 6 days but it rained the same night we hot the order so we are waiting for the roads to dry up a little before we start on our campaign. Well that is all the news I can think of just now. For something else Ben Austin has got his discharge, Ira [Austin] is at Chestnut Hill hospital ten miles from Philadelphia. Sam Taylor is here in the hospital. The rest of the boys are all well. I don’t know whether you know any of them or not., I guess you know Thomas Somersett, Isaac Duvernay & Gilbert Cooley. Well I can’t of anything more so Good night. I send my best respects to all, from W. J. Cobb to his father Josiah Cobb.

In September of 1863 William was seriously injured in a railroad accident somewhere between New York and Philadelphia. According to one of the Third Michigan’s Hospital Stewards, Warren Wilkinson, “Our journey back to the army was very pleasant with the exception of an accident, which happened – three men being hurt by a bridge while riding on top of a car. We were obliged to leave them in the hospital at Philadelphia. Their names were Wm. J. Cobb, Third Michigan, John Linsea and John Lakle, Fifth Michigan [it is unclear who these tatter men were]. I have been informed that Cobb and Linsea have since died. They were good soldiers and had passed through all the different battles with their regiments."

Indeed, William was admitted to the Broad and Pine Streets hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where, according to his “Record of Death” he died on September 16 from a “compression of the brain caused by his head coming into contact with a bridge while passing under it.” He was originally buried in Glenwood cemetery but reinterred in the Philadelphia National Cemetery: section B, grave no. 489.

His parents were living in Maple Rapids, Essex Township, Clinton County in 1870. In 1884 his father, a widower was living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County, when he applied for a pension (application no. 317,467).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Martin Clyse

Martin Clyse, also known as “Clise”, was born around 1841 probably in New York, and probably the son of Frederick (b. 1815) and Margaret (b. 1820).

Both New York natives, Martin’s parents were presumably married in New York where they resided for many years. Sometime between 1855 and 1857 the family left New York and settled in Michigan. By 1860 Martin was working as a common laborer and living with his family in Salt River, Coe Township, Isabella County.

He was 20 years old and possibly living in Isabella or Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

Martin was accidentally shot and killed by a soldier of the Sixty-third Pennsylvania infantry on March 19, 1862 at Alexandria, Virginia. Curiously, according to the U.S. Quartermaster General’s “Roll of Honor” he was reported as having died January 11, 1864 and interred in Alexandria National Cemetery: section A, grave no. 1275; it is possible that he was in fact reinterred on that date.

His parents received pensions based on the service of their son Jacob Clise (b. 1845 in New York) who was killed at Antietam on September 17, 1862, while serving with the Eighth Michigan infantry: in 1886 Margaret received a pension (337867 and cert. no. 231717) and in 1890 Frederick received one as well (704335 and cert. no. 513169). In 1870 the family was living in Bath, Clinton County.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Peter Clays - updated 02/18/2009

Peter Clays was born 1838 in Bavaria, Germany.

Peter left Germany, and came to America, eventually settling in central Michigan. By early 1861 he was probably living in Lansing or Ingham County when he became a member of the Lansing militia company called the “Williams’ Rifles”, whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

He stood 5’8” with brown eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was 21 years old and working as a watchman probably in Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. He was wounded slightly in the ear on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. According to Homer Thayer of Company G, Peter was already back in camp by June 3. In August he was reported missing in action after the battle of Second Bull Run on August 29, and, in fact had been wounded in the left foot. According to Assistant surgeon Walter B. Morrison, Peter was shot, “the ball entering on the plantar surface of the great toe of the left foot, traversing its entire length and making an exit at the posterior extremity of the heel, carrying away a portion of the posterior extremity of the first phalanx of the toe with a portion of the head of the first metatarsal bone producing anchylosis of the joint also fracturing the posterior extremity of the oscalcis producing tenderness of the heel.”

Homer Thayer wrote to the Lansing Republican on September 2, 1862, that Peter was a Corporal, and by October he was reported absent sick in the hospital. As of October 6 Peter was convalescing at College hospital in Georgetown, DC, and preparing to go home on sick furlough.

Peter remained hospitalized through January of 1863, was still Corporal in March of 1863 and discharged on March 22, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, for a gunshot wound.

On March 24, 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 15527).

It is not known if Peter returned to Michigan and apparently moved out west after the war.

He was married to Sarah Griffin or Underwood (d. 1908), on June 19, 1869, on Salt Lake City, Utah, and they had at least three children: Minnie Bliss (b. 1871), Mason v. (b. 1872) and Ernest E. (b. 1875).

He and Sarah were both still living in Salt Lake City when they were divorced on January 7, 1877 or 1878, although the parting was apparently amicable. According to the decree, “they have mutually come to the conclusion that their welfare and happiness require that they should be separated frrom each, as they cannot live together in peace and union” and further “that they have mutually agreed as to the division of their property, as also to the custody and control of their . . . children.”

Peter was probably living in Utah when he married his second wife, Daisy Victoria Kendall (1858-1931) of Salt Lake City, on July 19, 1880, in Salt Lake City, and they had at least four children: Mark (b. 1881), Delmar Kinny (b. 1883), Ina Vera (b. 1889) and Charles Peter (b. 1892).

Peter was working as a miner and living with his wife at 24 Church Street in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1892 when their son Charley was born. Peter was living in Bingham Canyon, Salt Lake County, in May of 1895 and in January of 1898.

He was still living in Bingham Canyon when he died on December 29, 1898. He was buried in Bingham Canyon.

His widow was residing in Utah in 1899 when she applied for a pension (no. 731020). In August of that year she married 21-year-old Silas Jones in Salt Lake City; they were divorced in 1919 in Salt Lake City. By 1922 she was living at 304 Main Street in Bingham Canyon, Utah. She died in 1931 and was buried in Murray, Utah.