John H. Laraway was born on May 7, 1835 in Wayne County, Michigan, the son of Hiram (1800-1840) and Mary (Tuple, 1802-1869).
Michigan natives Hiram and Mary were married around 1826 in Michigan and eventually settled in Plymouth, Wayne County by 1833 and in Salem, Washtenaw County by 1835. Hiram soon moved his family to Kent County, settling in the Cascade area. In 1850 John and his brothers William and James were working as farm laborers, attending school and living with their mother in Cascade, Kent County. (Near by lived Albert Durfee, who would also enlist in Company A.) John’s sister Lydia was married to Peter Lawyer, a farmer in Cascade, who would also enlist in Company A.
By 1860 John was a mason working for and/or living with Orleans Spaulding, a farmer in Paris, Kent County. (Orleans’ son Samuel would also enlist in Company A., and Minor Spaulding, who would also enlist in Company A, was also from Paris, Kent County.)
John was 26 years old and still living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported as a company cook in September and October of 1862, and awarded the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. In June of 1863 he was absent sick in the hospital, suffering from intermittent fever, and had returned to duty by late June. Indeed he eventually rejoined the Regiment and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids.
John was subsequently absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, returned to Regiment on or about the first of February, and was absent sick in March. John returned to duty and was shot in the right shoulder on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. He was subsequently hospitalized at Carver hospital in Washington, DC and transferred on May 16 to Patterson Park hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was also promoted to Corporal. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred as a Corporal to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, but soon joined the Fifth Michigan. However, he soon became ill with dysentery and on August 6 was admitted to the First Division hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. He was on furlough in January of 1865, and was mustered out as a Sergeant on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
After the war John returned to Kent County, and for many years lived in the vicinity of Grand Rapids. He may have been working as a bricklayer and boarding at the Barnard House in 1889 and 1890. Around 1893 he moved to Cascade where he lived for many years. By December of 1898, when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, he was residing in Ada, Kent County, and he was back in Cascade in 1906.
In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 568747), drawing $12 per month by 1907.
John died on June 3, 1907, presumably in Cascade and was buried in Cascade cemetery.