Joseph Michael Rounds Sr. was born on probably April 21 or 28, 1808, in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York, the son of Horton (1786-1877) and Araminta or Araminty (Towsley, 1788-1848).
About 1820 Joseph’s family moved from Stephentown, Rensselaer County to west central New York, settling on land in Yates County in 1822.
On January 31, 1828, Joseph married New York native Matilda Carmer (b. 1808) in Canandaigua, New York, and they had at least five children: William Carmer (b. 1830), Susanna (b. 1832) Araminta (b. 1835), Horton (b. 1840), and Joseph Michael Jr. (b. 1842). (Joseph Jr. would enlist in Company G.)
They eventually settled in Jerusalem, Yates County where they lived until at least 1842. About 1844 Joseph Sr.’s father Horton moved his extended family to Michigan, settling in Kent County, and after the death of Joseph Sr.’s mother in 1848 he eventually remarried.
By 1850 Joseph Sr. was working as a cooper in Courtland, Kent County. Next door was William H. Rounds, Joseph’s brother, and next door to William was their father Horton.
In 1860 Joseph was still working as a cooper and living in Algoma, Kent County, with his wife Matilda. Living with them was Ambrose, age 20 (who would enlist in but not be mustered into the Old Third, and instead join the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics). According to the census records Joseph Sr. had been convicted of larceny sometime prior to 1860.They eventually settled in Jerusalem, Yates County where they lived until at least 1842. About 1844 Joseph Sr.’s father Horton moved his extended family to Michigan, settling in Kent County, and after the death of Joseph Sr.’s mother in 1848 he eventually remarried.
Joseph Sr. stood 5’10” with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was reported to be 44 but in fact have been 54 when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861, about the same time when his son Joseph Jr. enlisted in Company G. (Edwin Blair, who also enlisted in Company F, and who was Cedar Springs, had married one Persis Rounds in 1855.)
While the Regiment was en route to Detroit from Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, Joseph fell asleep with his arm hanging out of the train window, and, “When passing a wood pile,” reported the Grand Rapids Enquirer on June 16, 1861, “the arm came into contact with a stick, lacerating the flesh, and dislocating a portion of the bone of the elbow. -- Mr. Rounds returned yesterday, and is here on the sick list. He will join his Regiment when he gets well.” Another reporter who was on board the train noted that “Between Pontiac and Detroit, Private Rounds of Co. F, from Montcalm, met with a severe accident, which will render him incapable of bearing arms. Carelessly putting his arm out of the car window, it came into contact with a woodpile, causing a bad fracture of the bones of the forearm. The brave fellow bore the pain manfully, going on board the boat before making any report to the Surgeon fearing if put on the sick list at Detroit, he would be put in the hospital. However, he will be returned to Detroit tomorrow, as he is useless to the Regiment.”
And in fact “At Cleveland we left G. [Alpheus S.] Williams, [Michigan] Adjutant General [John] Robertson, and Capt. Pittman [Paymaster], who accompanied us from Detroit. Col. Leffingwell accompanies us to Harrisburg. Private [Joseph] Rounds [of Company F], who, as I mentioned in my last, broke the bones of his forearm while coming from Grand Rapids to Detroit, was returned home. He said that he would come on and join the regiment, even if he had to pay his own expenses and serve without pay. His spirit is only an exponent of that of the entire regiment.”
He returned to his Regiment, but was discharged on July 26, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia, for “fracture of olecranon [tip of the elbow] of the process of the ulna,” and according to Dr. Zenas Bliss, Assistant Regimental surgeon, “I think will occasion some permanent disability in the motion of the elbow joint.”
After his discharge from the army Joseph Sr. returned to Michigan and possibly reentered the service at the age of 44 in B Battery, First Michigan Light Artillery on December 9, 1861, at Cedar Springs, Kent County, for 3 years and was mustered on December 16 at Grand Rapids, listing Solon, Kent County as his residence. where the battery was originally organized between September 10 and December 14, 1861. The battery left Michigan on December 17 for St. Louis, Missouri, and Joseph was discharged on February 13, 1862, at Camp Benton, Missouri for disability.
In any case, Joseph reentered the service a second (or third) time at the age of 43 (?) in Company C, First Michigan Sharpshooters on April 28, 1863, at Dearborn, Wayne County, for 3 years, was mustered May 1 at Detroit, listing Algoma as his residence, and discharged on March 4, 1864, at Chicago for disability.
Joseph eventually returned to his home in Michigan and by 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Algoma. Also living with them was his son Joseph Jr. and his family (?).
Joseph Sr. reportedly died on September 12, 1871, and may have been buried in Rockford’s Old Pioneer cemetery in Kent County.
In 1890 his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 355766).
Joseph Michael Rounds Jr. was born on July 23, 1842, in Jerusalem, Yates County, New York, the son of Joseph Michael Sr. and Matilda (Carmer, 1808).
Joseph’s parents were married in New York in 1828 and they eventually settled in Jerusalem, Yates County where they lived until at least 1842. About 1844 Joseph Sr.’s father Horton moved his extended family to Michigan, settling in Kent County, and after the death of Joseph Sr.’s mother in 1848 he eventually remarried.
By 1850 Joseph Jr. was living with his family in Courtland, Kent County. Next door was William H. Rounds, Joseph’s uncle, age 31, and next door to William was his grandfather Horton.
Joseph Jr. was a 19-year-old laborer probably living in New York, unable to read or write when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861, about the same time his father (or perhaps uncle) Joseph (elder) enlisted in Company F. Joseph Jr. was discharged on July 30, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia for secondary syphilis, contracted prior to enlistment.
After his discharge from the army, Joseph Jr. returned to Michigan.
He married Michigan native Eliza A. (b. 1840) and they had at least three children: Abram (b. 1865), James A. (b. 1867) and Matilda (b. 1869).
By 1870 Joseph Jr. was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and children on his parents farm in Algoma, Kent County.
In 1870 he applied for and eventually received a pension (application no. 900109).
Joseph Jr. was living in Grand Rapids in 1888 when he testified in the pension claim of James Austin (who had served in Company I during the war). Joseph was residing in Charlotte’s First Ward, Eaton County in 1890 and 1894.
Joseph died of chronic syphilis and heart disease in Charlotte on November 9, 1908, and was buried in McBain cemetery, Missaukee County.
It is unclear exactly why Joseph’s remains were sent to Missaukee County for burial. We do know that at the time of Joseph’s death, a relative, possibly a brother by the name of Ambrose Rounds, was living in the McBain area. (Curiously, Ambrose had originally planned to enlist in the Old Third but for reasons unknown was never mustered into that Regiment, and instead found his way into the First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics in November of 1861.)