Lewis Charles Olmstead was born June 29, 1846, in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, the son of Orville.
Lewis’s family left New York and eventually settled in western Michigan. By 1860 Lewis was attending school with his older sister Elizabeth (who was working as a domestic) and along with another older sister Mary (who was working as a teacher) were living with the Eli Sheldon family on a farm in Wright, Ottawa County. (Elizabeth would marry George Ames, who was also from Wright and who would also enlist in Company E in early 1864.)
Lewis stood 5’7” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably still living in Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company E on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Muskegon, and was mustered the same day. (His brother-in-law George Ames had enlisted in Company E the month before.)
Lewis joined the Regiment on March 27, and was transferred to Company E, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.
He was reported absent sick from June 2 through October of 1864, and in fact he was treated for chronic diarrhea at Harewood hospital in Washington, DC, and was reported in a Washington, DC, hospital suffering from diarrhea in late July.
He was furloughed from the hospital in at the very end of August for 30 days and returned to the hospital on November 14, 1864, but according to a later statement he asked for and was granted several additional extension sof his furlough, lastying for a total of 100 days -- nevertheless he is listed as having returned to duty on November 21, 1864, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Lewis returned to western Michigan and was living and working as a farmer in Berlin (Marne), Ottawa County in late 1865 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 105782), drawing $4.00 per month in 1875 and $20 per month by 1908. He may have resided in Berlin (present-day Marne) during the late 1860s -- although it is quite possible that he was living in Kent County just across the line from Ottawa County.
He was reportedly residing in Berlin when he married New York native Mariba E. Stone (b. 1850), of Wright, Ottawa County, on September 20, 1868 in Lisbon, Kent County, and they had at least five children: Charles L. (1872), Cora M. (1874), Hattie J. (1878), Glenn W. (b. 1884) and Mariba (b. 1889).
In 1870 Lewis was working as a farm laborer and he and his wife were living with the Eli Sheldon family in Berlin, Wright, Ottawa County; also living with the Sheldon family was Lillian Ames, the 8-year-old daughter of George Ames who died during the war and who was Lewis’ brother-in-law. Curiously, Lewis’ other child Freddie was living with his mother and stepfather in Ottawa County in 1870.)
Lewis eventually moved his family to Nebraska and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Inavale, Webster County, Nebraska. At some point probably lived in Iowa as well. By 1891 Lewis was living in Red Cloud, Webster County, Nebraska, suffering from severe chronic bronchitis; he was still living in Red Cloud in 1908.
He was a member of the James A. Garfield Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 80 in Red Cloud. In 1865 he applied for and received a pension (no. 105782).
Lewis died on June 17, 1908, in Inavale, Webster County, Nebraska and was buried in Pleasant Prairie Cemetery, Webster County, Nebraska.