Henry Nash, alias “John Lewis,” was born in 1822 (or 1831) in New York, ad was possibly related to Amasa (born 1794 in Massachusetts died 1867 in Michigan) and Sophia.
Amasa had fought in the War of 1812 from the state of Massachusetts but at some point moved west, probably settling in Amsterdam, Montgomery County New York by 1820; he was still living in Amsterdam in 1830. Amasa eventually pushed west and in 1837 and 1838 applied for land grants in Lapeer County, Michigan. It appears that he and Sophia soon settled their family in Campbell, Ionia County, sometime before 1850 probably around present-day Clarksville where they lived the rest of their lives.
In 1850 Henry Nash was probably working as a laborer for a farmer by the name of Willson or Wilson in Lapeer, Lapeer County. (There was a John Lewis who was unable to read or write, and probably living in Mayfield, Lapeer County, Michigan, in 1850.)
Henry was probably living in Muskegon County when, for reasons unknown, he listed his name as John Lewis when he joined the 3rd Michigan Infantry in May of 1861. Henry stood 6’0” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 30 years old and still living in Muskegon when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties – there was an Ezra Lewis who also enlisted from Muskegon in Company H.)
(His service record during the war used the name John Lewis, however his pension record reflected the true name of Henry Nash alias John Lewis.)
On November 7, 1861, John was hospitalized, probably in E Street hospital in Washington, DC, suffering from typhoid fever, and he remained hospitalized until January 20, 1862, when he was returned to duty. He was apparently hospitalized again and from July of 1862 through January of 1863, was on detached service as a hospital nurse, and was a nurse in a hospital in Alexandria from February through March.
He allegedly deserted from the hospital on April 28, 1863, and was subsequently dropped from the company rolls as being AWOL under General Order no. 92 (1862) of the War Department. He claimed in 1890 that in fact he had be honorably discharged in May of 1863, although the record does not presently substantiate this claim.
Henry eventually returned to Michigan and lived briefly in Pontiac, Oakland County in the summer of 1865 when, he claimed in 1890, his discharge papers were taken from his trunk. He soon returned to Lapeer County, and may have been working in the Mayfield area in 1866. By 1876, John was residing and working as a farmer in Lapeer as “Henry Nash alias John Lewis.” He was still living in Lapeer in December of 1886 when he applied for a pension; he was still in Lapeer in 1887.
Henry’s physician, Dr. William Jackson of Lapeer, testified in 1887 that he had been acquainted with Henry Nash since before the war. “Since his discharge from the service,” Dr. Jackson wrote, “he has at various times had severe attacks of eczema for which he has had medicines from me.” In June of 1869 Nash suffered from “an exacerbation of eczema and accidentally received a blow upon the head, the whole upper part of the body being in an irritated condition.” He also suffered from “an erysipelas form of disease totally interfering with active labor although he kept about most of the time. On May 19, 1878, he came to see me again suffering from another attack for which I gave him medicines. This last attack or exacerbation kept up until into June.” Dr. Jackson also claimed that Nash suffered from chronic diarrhea and continued bouts of eczema.
In 1886 Henry applied for a pension (no. 591,906) as “Henry Nash alias John Lewis,” but the certificate was never granted.
Henry was still living in Lapeer in 1888 and in Mayfield in 1890.
Henry Nash died on October 6, 1892, in Lapeer County, and was buried in Five Lakes Cemetery, Lapeer County.