John Nelthorpe was born on May 9, 1828, in Norfolk, England, possibly the son of James and Elizabeth.
John may have been living with his family in Great Chesingham, Norfolk, England in 1841. He eventually left England and immigrated to America, settling in western Michigan.
John married Scottish-born Jane Bogue Sligh (1823-1905), sometime around 1852, and they had at least four children: Ida (b. 1857), Frank W. (b. 1859), Hattie (b. 1863) and Fred H. (1869-1935). Jane was the sister to Robert Sligh who also served in Company K, 3rd Michigan Infantry during the war (Robert was killed at Gettysburg).
In 1860 John was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Wyoming, Kent County. Also living with them was 3-year-old Sarah Nelthorpe (born in Michigan) and 17-year-old John Nelthorpe (born in Canada).
John stood 5’9” with gray eyes, fair hair and a fair complexion and was a 31-year-old farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company K on August 2, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, and was sick in Summit House hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from at least mid-July of 1863, probably until he was discharged on September 19, 1863, at Summit house hospital, suffering from consumption of the left lung.
John listed Grand Rapids as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and in 1870 he was working as a stone mason and living with his his wife and children in the 3rd Ward; he eventually moved to Ottawa County. (His son Fred was born in Jamestown, Ottawa County, in 1869, however.) In 1880 John was working as a mason and living with his family in Nunica, Ottawa County; he was still in Nunica in 1888, and he was living in Crockery, Ottawa County in 1890 and in Nunica and in 1895.
John was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association., and in 1895 he applied for and received a pension (no. 357691).
John died of cancer of the shoulder on March 19, 1900, in Nunica and was buried in Crockery Cemetery.
Jane applied for a widow’s pension (application no. 716187), but the certificate was apparently never granted. She was listed as his widow in 1900 and living with her son Fred and his family in Crockery; she died in Muskegon in late 1905.