Philip Neitz was born on May 19, 1823, in Union County, Pennsylvania.
In 1830 there was one Philip Neitz living in Chapman, Union County, Pennsylvania; and in 1850 there was a Philip Neitz, age 12, living with his father Samuel in Washington, Union County, Pennsylvania.
In any case, Philip was married to Pennsylvania native Elizabeth (b. 1825), probably in Pennsylvania, and they had at least five children: Fanny (b. 1848), Lucetta (b. 1850), Lena Ann (b. 1853), William (b. 1855) and Philip (b. 1858). They moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio probably before 1848 and on to Michigan probably in 1855, eventually settling in Portland, Ionia County in 1857. By 1860 Philip was working as a mason and farm laborer and living with his wife and children in Portland.
He tood 5’8” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 28 years old and probably still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. He was discharged for hemorrhoids on September 25, 1862, at Fort McHenry, Maryland.
After he left the army Philip returned to Portland where he reentered the service in Company B, Tenth Michigan cavalry on October 1, 1863, for 3 years, crediting Portland, and was mustered on October 14 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service. It left Michigan for Lexington, Kentucky on December 1, 1863, and participated in numerous operations, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863-64. Most of its primary area of operations would eventually be in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. He was on detached service in Kentucky in November of 1864 and was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis, Tennessee.
Philip returned to Portland where he probably lived out the remainder of his life. In 1870 he was working as a stone mason and living with his wife and two children in Portland. By 1880 he was still working as a mason and living in Portland with his wife and daughter Lena and her son; also living in Portland was W. W. Neitz, who was possibly his son William. In 1890 he was suffering from “spinal neuralgia,” and was apparently totally blind the last few years of his life.
In 1876 he applied for and received a pension (no. 312477).
Philip died in Portland on Wednesday October 19, 1892,and the funeral was held on Friday October 21.
On October 27, the Ionia Sentinel wrote in part that Neitz “was somewhat of a character in his way. When he first came [to Portland] he was addicted to the use of spirituous liquors, but for which he might have died a rich man. He was possessed of rather more than ordinary talent, and during the period of total abstinence, some years, ago, delivered quite a number of effective lectures on temperance, always carrying the interested audience with him. His greatest weakness was that he was unable to withstand the arts of the saloon men, who thought it especially nice to get him intoxicated.”
He was buried in Portland cemetery: W-22-os.
In April of 1893 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 406516).