Othaniel Sinkey was born in 1842 in Indiana, probably the son of John (b. 1816) and stepson of Lucretia (b. 1821).
In 1850 John may have been a miner working in Dutch Creek, Eldorado County, California; if so he had some $1000 worth of personal property. In 1850 Lucretia Aldrich was living as the head of the household in Franklin, DeKalb County, Indiana; also living with her were two sons Frederick and William. That same year there was one Elizabeth Sinkey, age 28, also living in Franklin, DeKalb County, Indiana, next door to Vermont native Elias Aldrich (b. 1822) and his family. Furthermore, the census record originally listed Elizabeth Sinkey as well as three children all born in Iowa: “Othmer” (b. 1841), Hanna (b. 1845) and Ellen (b. 1848) living with the Moses Kisner family in Franklin but their names were subsequently crossed out and the “omitted” entered into the margins.
In 1850 Richard and his wife were living in Florence, Williams County, Ohio; also living with them was Luke Sinkey, age 21, and Daniel Sinkey, age 19 and born in Ohio. Living next to Richard Sinkey was 28-year-old Abram Sinkey and his wife Malinda; Abram too would settle in Montcalm County, Michigan.
In 1854 Ohio native John Sinkey married New Yorker Lucretia A. Aldrich in Steuben County, Indiana.
In any case, Othaniel’s family eventually left Indiana and moved to Michigan where by 1860 he was working as a farm laborer living with John and Lucretia in Crystal, Montcalm County, where his father (?) worked as a farmer. Also living with John was Pennsylvania native Richard (1790-1861) and Marylander Ellen or Helen (1790-1866) Sinkey, probably John’s parents. (Richard and Ellen are both buried in Burke cemetery, Crystal township, Montcalm County.
) Next door was the farm of Ohio-born Luke Sinkey ( b. 1829) and his wife Michigan native Emily (b. 1836); they had been married since at least 1857 and living in Michigan since that time.
Othaniel was 19 years old and possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company E on May 13, 1861. Othaniel was taken prisoner on June 30 or July 1, 1862, at Malvern Hill or White Oak Swamp, Virginia, paroled on September 18. According to the Richmond Dispatch of September 15, 1862,
Three thousand three hundred of the Yankee prisoners left Richmond on Saturday for Varina to be exchanged. – Such as could not walk were conveyed away in wagons. The officers, of which there were 61, went in carriages, provided for the purpose. As the long line filed past the C. S. Prison, on Cary Street, they greeted their less lucky compeers with a feeble cheer. A small cavalry escort accompanied them down. Another large gang were started for Aiken’s landing, on James River, yesterday morning. During Saturday and Sunday five thousand two hundred and twenty-eight were sent away. This leaves on hand only about seven hundred, a good many of whom are in the hospital under treatment for wounds or disease, who were unable to bear removal. Three Yankee women and eight Yankee deserters, or rather men who came over to us and professed to be such, were sent from Castle Thunder. Though these deserters professed to have left their brethren in great disgust, they were very willing to be sent back to the North. The departure of the prisoners will save the Confederate Government an expense of about $4,000 per day, which was the average that their food as soldiers cost.
He was returned to the Regiment on September 28 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was reported missing in action on October 8 at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. (It is possible that although formally returned to the Regiment on September 8, he in fact remained absent, perhaps sick in a hospital.) In any case, Othaniel was presumably exchanged the second time (if in fact he had been taken, prisoner a second time).
In any case, he eventually returned to duty and subsequently enlisted in or was transferred to the United States cavalry. However, he never reported for duty following his exchange as prisoner-of-war, and there is no further record.
No pension record seems to be available.
John and Lucretia were still living in Crystal in 1870.
Othaniel was married to Canadian native Rhoda (b. 1838) and they had at least two children: William (b. 1869) and John (b. 1873).
Othaniel and Rhoda were living in Crystal in 1868 when they served as witnesses to the marriage of Daniel Sinkey (probably an older brother) and Mrs. Harriet Lindsay, the widow of Captain Arad Lindsay who had once served in the Third Michgian infantry. (Her husband Arad had died during the war while serving as a captain in the 102nd USCT. He had served previously in the Third Michigan infantry.) They were still living in Michigan in 1869 when their son William was born. They were probably living in Canada in 1873 when their son John was born.
In any case, the family returned to Michigan and by 1880 Othaniel was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two sons in Crystal; next door lived his father John and next to him lived Daniel and Harriet Sinkey (along with the Lindsay children).
Othaniel may have been living in Carson City, Montcalm County in 1888. He was apparently still living in Crystal, Montcalm County in 1910. Interestingly, Rhoda, John and William do not appear in any of the census records after 1880.