Friday, April 30, 2010

Reuben Randall Jr.

Reuben Randall Jr. was born on November 24, 1836, in Portage, Ohio, the son of Reuben Sr. (b. 1796) and Ruby or Ruba (Stark, b. 1801).

New York native Reuben Sr. married Vermonter Ruby and they settled in Ohio. Reuben Sr. brought his family to Michigan in 1842, and was among the first settlers in Lamont, settling in Tallmadge Township, Ottawa County.

By 1850 Reuben Sr. worked a farm and Reuben Jr. attended school. By 1860 Reuben Sr. was still living in Tallmadge where he and his brother Benjamin worked a large farm. Next door to Reuben Sr. lived a farm laborer named Matthew Wright who worked for Silas Hedges; Wright would also join Company I. And not far away lived Charles Randall, Reuben Jr’s cousin, who worked for another of the Hedges family and he too would join the same company.

Reuben Jr. stood 5’7” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 24-year-old carpenter probably living in Tallmadge when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861, along with his cousin Charles. On July 20, 1862, Reuben wrote home to his brother and sister from the field near Bull Run, Virginia.

You must excuse me for not writing before this. I have had so many letters to write and so little time and now I must write a family letter and you must pass it around. We left Camp Blair last Tuesday about 4 in the afternoon and continued our march until about 9 when we halted till morning. We then marched by the city of Germantown intending to go to Manassas Gap. We routed the rebels at Germantown and took several pieces of artillery and another portion of our brigade took possession of the Fairfax C. H.

The same day we halted that night within two miles of Centreville where the rebels had a battery erected but when we got [there] they had evacuated and fell back to a place called Bull Run where we found them. As we came up they fired on our advance guard. The artillery went in and opened on them and followed them. The first gun was fired at 25 past 12 in the afternoon and at 5 past 5 we fell back about a mile and a half where we could get water and encamped for the night. Although we retreated we did not consider ourselves whipped, but we had a pretty warm time of it and I played a game that was new to me. That was dodging Cannon Balls. Yesterday we came back to the same spot and halted and laid on our arms all day and all night but had no engagements with them except the pickets – they did some firing at one another but there were none of our boys killed or hurt.

We formed in line of battle last night and stood in readiness to give them the last we had if they advanced on us. They fired several volleys at random thinking to draw us on but were disappointed. I want you to understand that there was only our brigade that went in on them and I don’t think that there was more than 800 [?] out of our four regiments but there was a large force of them and well fortified at that. We are waiting now for reinforcements to come up and tomorrow intend to attack them with some 50 or 60 thousand and drive them out, take them prisoners or die trying.

I don’t know as there is much of any more news to write or I suppose you hear it all by the way of the papers. I want [you] to let Riley Mickam to read this – I promised to write to him and I have not time to do so at present for while I am writing I don’t know what minute I may be called on to fall into ranks. We expect a heavy battle tomorrow and after it is over I will write you and tell you how we make it. Now I want you all to write me as often as you can and tell me all the news. Direct it as before and they will be forwarded wherever we are. Give my best to everybody and tell them to write. I want to tell you that Abe Palmer and Henry Calkins were both sick and did not come with us. We left them in the hospital at Camp Blair.

On December 1, Reuben wrote to his brother and sister from Fort Lyon, near Alexandria, Virginia.

I now sit down to answer your letter which I read some time ago but have not had an opportunity to answer before. I am not very well at present. I took a severe cold about 2 weeks ago by standing guard one night – in the rain and have not been able to speak a loud word for the last week but I am so that I am around and on light duty but I don’t do much. Charley [Charles Randall?] is getting along as well as could be expected but he had the typhoid fever – the worst kind. I don’t suppose I can tell you any news for you get the papers as soon as we do. We are not doing anything at present but standing picket. I have not been out lately for I cough too much. I could not keep still enough. There may be news in a few days for there is pretty heavy cannonading going on down the river this morning.

There was an accident happened to some of the troops one day last week. As near as I can learn there were some 5 or 6 wagons and 17 men went out on a foraging expedition. They went 4 or 5 miles beyond our picket lines and had got their wagons loaded and went into a house to eat dinner and not thinking it necessary to post a sentinel to look out for breakers [?] they stacked their arms in the yard and all went in and the next thing they knew a body of secesh cavalry had surrounded the house and taken possession of their arms and teams. So all they could do was to surrender and make the best of it but I think it will be a lesson to all the rest of us.

And now Wellman I am a going to send father $25.00 in a few days and he says he will give me his note at 70 [?] percent and put it any ones hands that I said and I want you to keep it for me till father orders but I only ask simple interest. I don’t know yet how I shall send it. I am going over to the Lincoln Cavalry tomorrow to see George Averill. He expects to start for home this week and if he does I shall send it by him but if he does not I think I will get it in United States notes and send it in a letter. Charley Randall will send some at the same time. If you see George or Schuyler tell them that George Marshall is in Washington. I expect him over here in a few days and now another favor. I will ask of you is to do what you can to keep Ben at home if he has not enlisted already. I got a letter from George Baxter a few days ago and he tells me he has enlisted – it was something. I did not expect to hear from him for I told him better but of course he has a right to do as he chooses but I know he is not able to stand camp life. Where is Charlotte and how does she feel about it?

And now a question or two more. I want the particulars of the theft committed by Miss Helen Combs and who did Guy Streeter marry? I heard he was married but did not hear to [whom].

Write all the news and write soon. Give my respects to all inquiring friends.

His cousin Charles Randall gave Reuben a small diary into which he begin making entries on Christmas day, 1861. Reuben was sick in his quarters from January 7-9 and on January 10 he had two teeth pulled which apparently was the cause of his being ill in bed.

On May 8, Reuben wrote to his brother and sister from camp near Williamsburg, Virginia.

As I have a few leisure moments I thought I would improve them by writing to you. We are now near the village of Williamsburg. I suppose you will hear all about our movements in the newspapers before our letters reach you. The rebels left Yorktown last Saturday night and we followed them the next day and on Monday overtook them and had a pretty severe engagement. The fight commenced early in the morning and was kept up until after dark. The rebels slid out in the night leaving their dead and wounded behind.

Our regt. was not in the fight. They took one regt. from each brigade of our division to go around to the left for the purpose of supporting a battery of artillery to prevent the rebels from flanking us. Well, they choose our regt out of Berry’s brigade so we had to go but as it happened they did not undertake to come around in that direction. So we did not get a chance to fight but we passed over the battlefield the next day and I never want to see another such a sight – I will tell you about it when I get home. We are under marching orders tonight and expect to start in the morning and then we expect when we stop again it will be in Richmond.

Well it is nine o’clock and the lights will have to be out in a few minutes. So I can’t write any more. The boys send their respects. Give my love to all and reserve a share for yourselves. Please write again soon and I will write again the first opportunity.

Reuben was shot in the left thigh on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia and eventually sent to the hospital at David’s Island in New York harbor. On June 25 he wrote home from David’s Island.

As I have nothing else to do I thought I would drop a few lines to you. I am getting along first rate. Shall soon be as sound as ever if nothing happens to put me back. I hope to be able to join the regt again in a few weeks. There are five of here from the 3rd. We are all doing well. I have not rec’d a letter from anybody since I was wounded. But I guess I will get a heap of them when they do come. I have written three to the boys in the company and four or five home. So I think I ought to get some before long.

We are having fine times here. Nothing to do but eat and sleep and sit around and have fun. The people around here are very kind to us. They bring us any quantity of nice things and would more if the doctors would allow it. But we are first rate. I have no news to write for we do not have news on this Island. I will enclose general Kearney’s report of the Battle of Fair Oaks so you can see what our division done. I think it is about as good as the average. You will see he speaks well of the Michigan men.

Well I don’t know as I have anything more to say so good bye for this time.

On July 5 he was still in the hospital when he wrote his brother and sister from David’s Island.

I received your kind letter Wednesday and also one from Claudius the same day. I was very glad to hear from you again. I am gaining every day. Have got so that I can walk without crutches but am some lame yet. They say that yesterday was the fourth of July but I did not see anything that looked like it nor hear anything that sounded like it but then it is all in a person’s lifetime. I expect to have a grand celebration after the war is over and we all get home again. I did think of coming home on furlough but the report here is that they are a going to give any more furloughs so I suppose I shall be obliged to give it up but if there is any chance for one I will have it – but you need not expect me for I may not come but I will if I can. You spoke about money. I am very much obliged to you for your kind offer but have just received fifteen dollars from [cousin] Charley Randall and can draw two months pay anytime I go to New York. So you will see I am pretty well provided for in that line. If I can get a furlough for thirty days I am all right but if I can’t get more than fifteen days I don’t know as it would be worth the while to go for I would only get there one day and come back the next. You must tell all of our folks that I am getting along first rate but don’t tell them that I am coming home for then if anything should happen that I should not come you know they would be disappointed. I have not much to write of anything going on the Island. We don’t have any news here.

Give my love to everybody and reserve a share for yourselves.

He was discharged on July 14 from David Island’s Hospital, and returned to the regiment. He was soon back in the hospital, however, and on August 28 he wrote home from Emory or Armory Square hospital in Washington.

Here I am in the hospital again and the prospects are pretty fair for staying some time. My health is pretty good but my lameness is no better than when I left home. I was with the regiment a week and only walked one day and I was so sore and lame the next morning I could hardly move. So the surgeon gave an order for a ride in an ambulance and I rode the rest of the time. I left the boys last Saturday morning. They went out by railroad to join Pope’s army and I cam here. Silas Compton is here with me. The rest of the boys are all well or at least they were when I saw them last – I presume they are fighting before this time. We don’t get much news that can be defended or there are rumors of all sorts afloat but they are of no account when you get the Official Reports of the generals then you can tell how things are going on but there is one thing certain that Burnside, McClellan and Pope have formed a junction and are about to make a grand move somewhere. The troop[s are coming in here every day and being sent where they will help to strengthen the army and things begin to look different form what they did a week or two ago. The rebel prisoners that came in now all seem to think that the Southern Confederacy is about played out and it seems to be a general opinion that the thing will be finished up in a short time. We all hope for the best.

I want you to write as soon as you get this and tell me all the news, whether anyone has enlisted or not, whether they are going to draft. Tell Ben and Schuyler not to enlist but to stand their chances of being drafted. I wrote to Uncle Schuyler the first opportunity after I got to the regiment and mailed the letter at Yorktown. I suppose Charley’s death nearly killed his mother. The boys that were with him said he died very easy – it was like going to sleep. You don’t know how I missed him while I was with the boys. It turned very lonely without him. Give my love to all and write as soon as possible. Tell father and mother I am well and doing well.

Reuben was discharged from the army on September 29, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, for a gunshot wound, the “ball passing through upper fifth of thigh, causing cicatrix interrupting free use of the limb.”

After he left the army Reuben eventually returned to Michigan and may have been living in Muskegon, Muskegon County when the first draft was conducted in the town in June of 1863.

In any case he soon moved back to Ottawa County and lived the rest of his life in the area of Lamont, Tallmadge Township: he was living in Lamont in 1888, 1890 and 1894. For many years he operated the only grocery store in Lamont, and he also reportedly operated a tin-shop in Lamont. He was appointed postmaster in Lamont in 1876.

Reuben Jr. was still residing in Lamont in 1883 when he was drawing $3.00 per month in 1883 (pension no. 106,188, dated May of 1872); that same year he was living next door to Hiram Bateman, formerly Company I, in Lamont, and in December of 1885 he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

He married New York native Elvira Velzey (1846-1934) in 1865, in Lamont, and they had at least eight children: Dewitt (b. 1867), Wilber (b. 1870), Franklin “Frank” A. (b. 1871), Fred H. (b. 1876), Mary E. (b. 1880), Belle E. (b. 1886) and John V. (b. 1890).

By 1880 Reuben was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Tallmadge, Ottawa County.

Reuben Jr. died of peritonitis and dropsy in Lamont on October 2, 1903, and was buried in the Lamont cemetery, next to the graves of Hiram and Henry Bateman (Henry, son of Hiram, had also served in Company B).

In late October of 1903 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 564304).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

George M. Randall

George M. Randall was born in 1837 in Lenawee County, Michigan.

By 1850 George was attending school along with two younger siblings and living with a farmer named Levi Webster and his family in Madison, Lenawee County.

George, who was unable to read or write, was married to New York native Mary (b. 1837), also unable to read or write and they had at least one child.

By 1860 he was working as a machinist living with his wife who was working as a tailoress and dressmaker, in the house of William Kulsapple, a shoemaker in Lansing’s First Ward.

When the war broke out George stood 5’5” with brown eyes, auburn hair and a light complexion and was a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G. Apparently, he didn’t wait for the “Rifles” to finish filling up (which would not be until May 6), and instead apparently went to Muskegon, where he enlisted at the age of 24 in Company H on April 28, 1861 (he listed his place of residence as Lansing).

George was sick in the hospital from October of 1862 through December, and a provost guard at Division headquarters from February of 1863 through June. He reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Lansing First Ward, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably in Michigan, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. George was reported as a Corporal when he was killed in action on May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and was presumably buried among the unknown soldiers at the Wilderness.

In 1866 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 30683). She eventually remarried to a Mr. Porter and in 1870 (?) she applied for and received a pension on behalf of a minor child (no. 143425).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daniel A. Randall

Daniel A. Randall was born in 1814 in Orleans County, New York.

Daniel eventually left New York and settled in Michigan. (There was a Daniel Randall or Daniel A. Randall married to Jane (also born in New York, c. 1816) and they had at least four children: Darius B. (b. 1840), Caroline M. (b. 1841), Mary Jane (b. 1845) and James K. (b. 1847). They left New York, eventually settling in Michigan sometime before 1840, and by 1850 “Daniel F.” and his family was living in Victor Township, Clinton County, Michigan where he worked as a farmer.)

Daniel was probably the same A. Randall, age 41, who enlisted as a private at the age of 41 on October 28, 1861, in Company A, Thirteenth Michigan infantry, in Prairieville, Barry County. He was discharged for disability in Detroit on July 18, 1862.

Daniel stood 5’10” with blue eyes, auburn hair and a fair complexion and was a 49-year-old farmer and living either in Prairieville, Barry County, or Leighton, Allegan County or Bath, Clinton County when he enlisted in Company E on December 22, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Leighton, Allegan County, and was mustered on January 20, 1864. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.)

Daniel joined the Regiment on February 10 and was taken prisoner on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. He was possibly confined for a time in Andersonville, Georgia. In any case, he was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and paroled in Charleston, South Carolina on December 6, 1864.

Daniel died of typhoid fever and scurvy on December 10 or 13 in Charleston and was buried in the “race course” prison in Charleston, South Carolina.

In April of 1865 his widow, one Alice L. Randall, living in Michigan, applied for and received a pension (no. 74317). And in 1867 a guardian named J. Amerman applied for and received a pension for a minor child (no. 152311).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Charles Edward Randall

Charles Edward Randall was born on May 5, 1835, in Rouse’s Point, (just a few miles north of Coopersville), Clinton County, New York, the son of Schuyler (1807-1893) and Sarah (Stancliff, 1805-1886).

New York native Schuyler married Vermonter Sarah at Rouse’s Point, New York on July 23, 1829 and by 1840 Schuyler was probably living in Champlain, Clinton County. By 1850 Charles was working as a farmer and living with his family in Champlain, New York.

According to family historian Max Riekse, Schyuler brought his family to Coopersville, Ottawa County, around 1850, joining his brother Reuben Sr. who had settled in Lamont, Ottawa County, in about 1842. Another brother Benjamin would also join them in Ottawa County. By 1860 Charles was a farm laborer living with and/or working for Jeremiah Hedges, a wealthy farmer in Tallmadge, Ottawa County. (Matthew Wright, who would enlist in Company I, worked nearby for Silas Hedges, and next door to Silas hedges’ farm lived Reuben Randall Sr., Charles’ uncle. His son Reuben Jr. would also join Company I.) That same year Schuyler was living in Polkton, Ottawa County.

Charles was 26 years old, stood 5’10,” with a light complexion, blue eyes and light hair and residing in Polkton, Ottawa County when he enlisted as Fifth Corporal in Company B on May 13, 1861, along with his cousin Reuben Randall Jr. By the fall of 1861 Charles had been struck down with typhoid fever and he was sick in the regimental hospital in October and November. He was treated in the regimental hospital and, by mid-December was convalescing. Dr. Bliss, the regimental surgeon recommended that Charles be given a furlough to go home and complete his recovery.

Apparently Colonel Champlin, then commanding the Old Third agreed and while the regiment was in winter quarters at Camp Michigan, near Alexandria, Virginia, in late December of 1861, Charles was given a 30-day furlough to go home to Lamont, Michigan. He departed on December 30th and returned to the regiment on or about the 1st day of February, 1862.

Charles never did recover his health, however. He died of typhoid pneumonia on August 1 or 4, 1862, in the Regimental hospital at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. Charles’ cousin Reuben wrote home on august 28, 1862, that “I suppose Charley’s death nearly killed his mother. The boys that were with him said he died very easy – it was like going to sleep. You don’t know how I missed him while I was with the boys. It turned very lonely without him.”

He was buried in Glendale National Cemetery: section B, grave 165. It is possible that his family arranged to have his body returned to Michigan since there is both a government stone and a private marker for Charles Randall in the family plot in Coopersville cemetery in Ottawa County (see photo G-384).

His father was still living in Polkton, Ottawa County in 1870. In 1887 his father was a widower still living in Michigan when he applied for and received a pension (no. 251173).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walter D. G. Quigley

Walter D. G. Quigley was born around 1843 in Portsmouth (?), New York.

Walter left New York and headed west, eventually settling in western Michigan where by 1860 he was working as a laborer living with his older brother (?) Robert in Croton, Newaygo County; another older brother (?) George lived near by.

Walter stood 5’9” with gray eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Newaygo County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was hospitalized in the Regimental hospital on September 1, 1861, and discharged to return to duty on or about November 1. In 1889, former Second Lieutenant of Company H Thomas Waters testified that “on the Peninsular campaign in the summer of 1862 in the White Oak Swamp, Virginia, [Quigley] was troubled with rheumatism. He got so bad with it that he was sent off to the hospital and did not come back to the company again.”

In fact, during the Peninsular campaign of 1862 Quigley contracted dysentery followed by rheumatism near Richmond, Virginia, and on or about June 25, 1862, was sent to Newton University hospital in Maryland where he remained until about August 15 when he was transferred to the convalescent camp near Fort McHenry, Maryland. He remained at Fort McHenry until he was discharged on October 3, 1862, for general debility and chronic rheumatism.

Walter returned to western Michigan where he reentered the service in Company D, Sixth Michigan cavalry on August 27, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 1 year, crediting Croton, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on September 21 and was generally present for duty. However, h was reported at the dismounted camp in City Point, Virginia, in April of 1865, absent sick in May and discharged on June 26, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. According to William Sagan, a former comrade in Company D, Quigley “was a man of good habits and always did his duty when able but he was afflicted with rheumatism and rheumatism of the heart a good deal.”

After the war Walter returned to Michigan and lived in Mecosta County from 1865 until about 1871, although he may have resided for a time in Evart, Osceola County.

He married Maine native Susanna or Rosanna or Rose Gerrish (1846-1898) on October 4, 1866, in Newaygo County, and they had at least three children: Blanche (b. 1867), Lillie M. (b. 1868) and Flora M. (b. 1870).

By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living in Deerfield, Mecosta County. By 1880 Walter was working as a hardware merchant and living with his wife and children in Evart, Osceola County.

He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in 1881 when he was living in Cedar Springs, Kent County, and in 1886 he applied for and received pension no. 547,838.

In the summer of 1881 he may have been the same Walter Quigley who was working in partnership with a man from New York, whose name was also Quigley, to establish telephone lines in the area of Rockford, Kent County. By January of 1886 Walter was living and working as a merchant in Big Rapids, Mecosta County. Quigley claimed in a statement he gave the pension bureau on May 24, 1912, that after the war he lived in Grand Rapids until 1882 (in fact it was Cedar Springs), when he moved to Superior, Wisconsin where he resided until 1896; in 1891 he was living in Superior at 513 1/2 Tower Avenue, West Superior, Wisconsin.

In 1896 Walter moved to Turtle Lake, Wisconsin where he lived from 1896 to 1914, and in February of 1913 his landlady, Florence Gaffney, stated under oath that Quigley had been very feeble for some four years, that he had boarded with her for over three years and wasn’t able to walk some two blocks to go downtown. She further stated that it wasn’t “safe to leave him alone at any time for [he had] very bad attacks of heart trouble.”

Walter died, probably a widower, on September 1, 1914, in Turtle Lake and was presumably buried there.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thomas G. Putnam

Thomas G. Putnam was born in 1844 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Thomas left Ohio and came to western Michigan where by 1860 he was a farm laborer and attending school in Grattan, Kent County, and working for and/or living with the family of F. Chapman, a wealthy farmer.

He stood 5’4” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 17 years old and still living in Kent County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company A on May 13, 1861. Thomas was described by George Miller of Company A and a tentmate in the winter of 1861-62, as “a good little fellow.”

Thomas was wounded slightly in the leg on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and by early September was a patient in Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC. He remained hospitalized until November when he was discharged for consumption on November 12, 1862, at Armory Square hospital, Washington, DC.

Thomas returned to Grattan after his discharge from the army.

In December of 1862 he applied for a pension (no. 6542), but the certificate was never granted, and the claim presumably abondoned.

Although no record of his death or interment is available, Thomas was reportedly buried in Ashley cemetery, Grattan.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

James S. Pugh

James S. Pugh was born around 1849 in Knox County, Ohio, the son of Ananias "Peugh" (1825-1886) and Zerilda (b. 1827).

Both Ohio natives James’ parents were married in 1848 in Knox County, Ohio. Sometime after 1849 the family left Ohio and by 1850 had settled on a farm in Chester, Ottawa County, Michigan. They were still living in Chester in 1859 and in 1860 James was attending school with two of his younger siblings and living with his family in Chester. The family eventually moved to Wexford County where Ananias died in Colfax in 1886.

James stood 5’5” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Six Corners, Chester Township, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company H on December 30, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Alpine, Kent County, and was mustered January 5, 1864. (His sister Mary married Perry Crandall, who would also serve in Company H.)

James joined the Regiment on February 17, and was shot in the right buttock on May 5, 1864 at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was admitted on May 12 to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC, and transferred on May 18 to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was admitted to Summit House hospital. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was remained absent wounded until he was mustered out on May 31, 1865 at Detroit.

James eventually returned to Michigan.

In February of 1866 he applied for and received a pension (no. 147755).

By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his parents in Lisbon, Chester Township, Ottawa County. He may have been living in Muskegon County when he married Canadian native Eliza E. McWilliams (b. 1856) on October 31, 1875 in Muskegon County. (Eliza’s family had been neighbors in Chester, Ottawa County in 1860.) By 1880 James was working as a laborer and living with his wife in Haring, Wexford County.

James died on October 31, 1912, in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, and is presumably buried there.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Samuel T. Pryor

Samuel T. Pryor was born around 1840.

Samuel was 21 years old and probably living in Newaygo County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. Although he was reported AWOL in August of 1862, Samuel was serving with the ambulance corps in January and February of 1863, on duty at Brigade headquarters from March through July, absent sick in a hospital in Washington, DC from September 13, 1863, through May of 1864, and was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

It is not known if Samuel ever returned to Michigan.

Samuel was married to Sarah E., and by the end of the nineteenth century he was living in California where he applied for and received a pension (no. 1013686).

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and was possibly living in a veterans’ home in California in 1911.

He probably died on November 5, 1923, a the Soldier’s Home in California and was buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery: plot 35 10 RW/A.

In February of 1924 his widow was living in California when she applied for a pension (no. 1635728).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gabriel D. Pruden

Gabriel D. Pruden was born in 1828 in Romulus, Seneca County, New York.

In 1830 there was one John Pruden living in Romulus, New York and in 1840 one J. Pruden in Romulus.

In any case, Gabriel left New York and settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was working as a farm laborer and/or living with the Fitch family in Sparta, Kent County.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 33-year-old farmer possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company I on March 8, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.

He was reported in the hospital from May 28 through August, and allegedly deserted on September 21, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. In fact, he was discharged on September 25, 1862, at Fort McHenry, Maryland for “hypertrophy of the liver.”

After he left the army Gabriel apparently returned to western Michigan where he probably died. He was buried in South Casnovia cemetery, Muskegon County, next to Rachel and Philander Thompson. (Rachel Pruden, probably Gabriel’s sister, was born in 1829 in Seneca County, New York, married P. A. Thompson, born in 1829 in Pennsylvania, in 1850, possibly in New York. In any case, Philander settled in Casnovia, Muskegon County in 1853 and apparently lived out the rest of his days there as did Rachel.)

There is no pension available.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Joseph E. Proper

Joseph E. Proper was born on March 27, 1842, in Hector, Tompkins County, New York, the son of Henry (b. 1798) and Judith (b. 1805).

In 1850 Joseph was attending school with his older sister Nancy and living with his family in Hector, New York.

Joseph left New York and was probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted, probably in late April or early May of 1861, reportedly in Company B under a Captain Pierce – Company B would be commanded by Baker Borden -- but probably in Company K, commanded by Captain Byron Pierce. (Byron Pierce commanded Company K not B (that company was under the command of Baker Borden), and Byron’s brother Edwin would command Company E but that had probably not been formed by the time Proper enlisted. Therefore, the newspaper reports of his company assignment are probably incorrect, and it is unknown today which unit he actually belonged to, B or K but probably the latter.)

In any event, he was never mustered in either state or federal service. Joseph died at Cantonment Anderson of “congestion of the brain” on May 8, 1861, and was buried that same day in what is now the Watson Grand Army of the Republic Post lots in Oak Hill cemetery, the Rev. Courtney Smith officiating.

“What is more melancholy,” asked the editor of the Enquirer, “and more impressive than a soldier's funeral? The roll of the muffled drum the plaintive notes of the fife in the mournful funeral dirge, remind us that with all these bright scenes death does not desert us. We could not help thinking when the funeral escort of the young soldier who died, moved slowly by with the company ‘left in front and arms reversed,’ how little the young soldier had thought that death would find him here; how little he had thought of leaving his bones short of the ‘tented field’ -- how little he had thought that his comrades would bear him to the grave before their first march -- Verily in the midst of life we are in death.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

William Prindle

William Prindle was born in 1840 in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Daniel (b. 1805) and Mary L. (b. 1805)

Connecticut natives Daniel and Mary were married, presumably in Connecicut and resided there for many years. sometime between 1847 and 1850 Daniel moved his family to Michigan and by 1860 William was working as a farm laborer, attending school with four of his younger siblings and living ont he family farm in Byron, Kent County.

He stood 5’7” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and possibly residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. William reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Plainfield, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough during January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was taken prisoner on May 6, 1864 at the Wilderness, and was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

William was probably confined at Andersonville, Georgia, and then transferred to Florence, South Carolina late in the year. According to Andrew Pelton, also of Company K, Prindle was still in Andersonville by late October, and, Pelton wrote home, “when last heard from, [was] lying very low and not expected to recover, a victim of rebel meanness and cruelty, in their treatment of Union prisoners.” In fact, William died probably on November 11, 1864, while a prisoner-of-war at Florence. He was also reported as having returned to the Regiment on April 26, 1865, at Burkville, Virginia, and having died the same day in Burkville.

Prindle’s mother, who was still living in Byron in 1870, possibly widowed, received a dependent’s pension no. 31,606, drawing $8.00 in 1883.

Monday, April 19, 2010

John R. Price

John R. Price was born on July 1, 1816, in South Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey, the son of Xerxes (1777-1845) and Nancy (Letts, d. 1829).

At the age of 15 John decided to go to sea and went to Brooklyn, New York to undertake a 3-year cruise aboard the Hornet. He was dissuaded from this venture and instead became an apprentice carpenter, moving to Batavia, Genesee County, New York, in 1831. (In 1830 his father, who had worked as a potter, was still living in South Amboy.)

In 1834 he headed west to Michigan and settled in Sandstone, Jackson County, where he worked as a carpenter, and three years later, in 1837, he moved to Albion, Calhoun County, where he engaged in the manufacture of fanning-mills.

In 1843 he took up farming, and on March 15, 1843, he married Jane Powell (1818-1904) in Marengo, Calhoun County. They had at least four children: Mrs. Clara Wood; Mrs. Mary J. Twait; Elizabeth J. or Ella J. (probably Jane E., 1857-1863), and William A. (b. 1860)

In 1847 John moved to Lansing and, according to the Portrait and Biographical Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, “in June he bought a tract of land all covered with timber, upon which he built a house and in February of the next year removed hither. This is the same place where he now resides and it comprises 4 acres within the limits of Lansing and near to the business portion of North Lansing.” He would also acquire a farm in Olive, Clinton County, although he continued his interest in the business of manufacturing fanning-mills, and he operated a “Seymour” saw-mill in North Lansing for less than two years. In 1850 he was a fanning-mill maker living his wife and child in Lansing, and in 1860 he was living with his wife and children in Lansing, First Ward.

By the late 1850s John had taken an interest in the organization of a militia company in Lansing, and on March 4, 1859, was elected and commissioned captain of a newly formed company in Lansing, the “Williams’ Rifles” (possibly named after General Alpheus S. Williams, one of the leading figures in the Michigan militia movement in the late 1850s).

“We understand,” wrote the Grand Rapids Enquirer on March 25, “that a new Rifle Corps has been raised at Lower Town, numbering forty men, to be armed with Minnie Rifles, and the new patent Spring Sabre bayonet. The bayonets can be detached and worn as side arms. The above is a new arm, and there are only forty in the State. A list of officers has not been received, but we learn that John R. Price, Esq., has been elected Captain, and Mr. Robinson, 2d Lieutenant. Success to them.” Although the “Rifles” was placed in the first class of companies in the Michigan State Militia by the end of 1860, it nevertheless ranked seventeenth in order of merit out of a total of nineteen recognized militia companies statewide.

When was broke out in 1861, the Williams’ Rifles naturally served as the focal point for those men in the Lansing area who desired to enlist, and on April 30 the Enquirer wrote that at present the “Two military companies at Lansing are already full. The ‘Williams Rifles’, Captain John R. Price, have over 90 men on their roll. Another company is being formed. Miss Jennie Hayes of Lansing, has offered her services as nurse in one of the Michigan Volunteer Regiments.”

By the first week of May “The Williams Rifles of Lansing,” reported the Enquirer, were “fully officered and manned; and, as we learn, have been appointed to fill the vacancy created in the Third Regiment, by the disbanding of the Portland company. The Lansing State Republican says: ‘We learn this company has received orders to march immediately to Cantonment Anderson, city of Grand Rapids. Now let the citizens of Lansing show their liberality by giving them such aid as they may need to enable them to respond at once to the requisition.’”
The “Rifles” boarded the Ramshorn on the morning of Monday, May 6, and ate dinner at Owosso. According to one eyewitness report “Everywhere along the route cheers and hearty greetings saluted them. At St. Johns a large multitude had assembled, with the Brass band, and saluted us with enthusiastic cheering, the band playing various national anthems.” The company arrived at Grand Rapids about 7:00 p.m. “and immediately preceded to ‘Cantonment Anderson,’ under the lead of Q.M. [Robert] Collins. They had their arms with them, and presented a fine and soldierly appearance. -- We are informed that the ranks of this company are more than full. Several of the prominent citizens of Lansing accompanied this troop to our city.” Price was 44 years old when he enlisted as Captain of Company G.

Ten days after their arrival at “Cantonment Anderson,” one of the members of the “Rifles” wrote home to Lansing describing their accommodations.

“Camp Anderson occupies the County fair grounds, 1 and a half miles from the center of the business portion of the city. It comprises about 40 acres, surrounded by high paling, with convenient buildings for quarters and men's rooms. The ground is oak openings, high and dry, with a well of fine soft water. A more convenient and healthy location could not have been selected.

“On Tuesday [May 7] our company was inspected by the Surgeon, and 33 were passed by the Surgeon, took the constitutional oath, and were mustered into service.

“The officers are gentlemanly, and assiduous in their efforts to make the third Regiments thoroughly efficient, and in this city they are heartily seconded by the volunteers.

“All our boys ask is, that they be allowed to remain in the camp for drill and martial exercise until they are called into the field. They like the location, the officers, and the fare, are satisfied that every effort will be made to render their camp as comfortable as a camp can be made.”

Near the end of May, Captain Price, who had been ill for some time, returned to his home in Lansing. On June 5, the Republican wrote that Price, “who has been in the city for the past ten days, left for Grand Rapids yesterday. He has, during his absence, obtained some forty recruits for the Third Regiment, all from this place and Owosso. He reports the soldiers in good spirits, and spoiling for a fight. We learn that only about thirty more men are wanted to fill up the Regiment.”

Due to continued ill health, however, Price was forced to remain in Grand Rapids when the Regiment departed for the east on June 13, 1861, and he superintended the three dozen or so men from the Regiment who also remained behind due to sickness. On June 16 the Detroit Free Press reported “There are now in Grand Rapids about 35 members of the Third Regiment, who were on the sick list, and were not able to leave with their Regiment. They are under the care of Doctors Platt and Aldrich, and will go forward as soon as able, with a few others who are yet absent on furlough. Capt. Price has been left in charge of these men, with orders to join the Third Regiment as soon as circumstances will permit.”

Third Michigan Adjutant Edward Earle, who had also remained behind in Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, wrote on June 22 to Adjutant General Robertson. Earle was responding to an inquiry from Robertson over the status of the soldiers remaining in Grand Rapids. “I would state [the Adjutant wrote] that in all probability there will not be over twenty (20) men that will be enabled to leave with me on Monday next [June 24]. A number of our men are now on furlough. Some of which do not expire until Tuesday next [June 25]. These furloughs were given to men who had been sick, and would not be able to go. The certificate of the Surgeon I will bring with me. -- Captain Price wishes to know what disposition is to be made of those left behind, and whether he is to remain here or go on. He will be in Detroit Monday evening. We shall leave on the 11:20 train Monday morning and suppose arrangements will be made for our transportation.”

There seemed to be a persistent lack of communication between Detroit and Grand Rapids. On July 1 the Michigan state Adjutant General Robertson wrote to Captain J. W. Pierce in Grand Rapids, “Will you please inform me how many men of the Third Regiment are ready to leave for Washington. I have no report from Captain Price since he went back to Grand Rapids.” Two days later, on July 3, Price placed the following notice in the local papers: “All soldiers of the 3rd Regiment out on furlough or otherwise, are requested to report themselves at the Bronson House, Grand Rapids, immediately.”

Price then wrote to the Adjutant General on July 4, 1861, remarking that “I expected to have reported myself long before this time to you from Grand Rapids and have put of[f] from day to day to report from here hoping that I should be well enough to go there[.] I came home to stop a day or so and was taking [sic] with a fever and have some fever yet but am able to get up some today I think I shall be able to go in a day or two. I have written all most every day to the Rapids and received a letter this morning stating that there would be some 10 or 12 [men] well and ready to go by the first of the week[.] There are three here that say they will be able to go by Tuesday next. Sergt. Wilkinson says that there are two that won't be able to go then at the Rapids. I have to ask pardon for my tardiness in responding myself to your honor [as] you asked me to do.”

Price’s failure to leave with the Regiment in June caused some controversy in his own hometown. Writing shortly after the Regiment left Grand Rapids the Lansing Journal charged that Captain Price had no intention of going forward thus impugning his bravery. The Eagle felt constrained to defend Price. It wrote that while it was “true at one time,” but

with a reservation. He intended to remain with the Company unless satisfactory officers -- satisfactory alike to the Regimental staff and to the members of the Company -- could be chosen. Two of the members of his family have been unwell for several months past; one of the constantly and seriously unwell. At the same time was he engaged in a business which required close and active superintendence. It is not strange, therefore, under all these circumstances, that he should have preferred to remain at home. He was desirous, from patriotic motives to march South with the Regiment; but, if his presence could be dispensed with, duty required attendance upon his family. Hence, it was true that he did not at first anticipate that his presence would be absolutely required with his Company. But, from the first day of his arrival in Grand Rapids, the Regimental staff, and the men under his command, united in a strong desire that he should retain his position. In obedience to that desire he has done so; and, probably, when those words meet the reader's eyes, Captain Price will be on his way towards Washington, in charge of such men as are able to travel, who were left behind in this city, through sickness or otherwise, when the Regiment departed. He has fully equipped and prepared himself for the campaign, and will be again at the head of his company. He was ordered to remain in this city, by his superior officers, to take charge of the men left behind, and to see to the return of the articles which were loaned for the use of the soldiers at Cantonment Anderson. In all that he has done, he has pursued on the strict line of his duty; and none but the most fault-finding or malevolent could be induced to assail him in the manner in which the editor of the Lansing Journal has chosen to do in the article head, “A Disgraceful Affair.”

The Lansing Journal also questioned the motives of the city of Grand Rapids in the organizing of the various companies of the Third Regiment. The Eagle wrote in response to these charges,

Not content with thus abusing one of its own reputable citizens, the Lansing paper sees fit to can an undeserved slur upon our city. It represents that one of Grand Rapids’ “ambitious citizens” obtained the command of the Lansing company. There is not the least shadow of truth in this report. The Williams' Rifles [Company G] have no other officers except those whom the members of the company have voluntarily elected, and none who is a citizen of Grand Rapids. The only foundation for such a statement, is, probably, an expression which was obtained from the company several weeks ago. -- At a time when Captain Price supposed that circumstances would not allow him to retain his command, he desired an expression of the company as to whom they desired for his successor, in case he felt impelled to resign. We understood, at the time, that the men named only two persons, both of whom were citizens of Grand Rapids, and Lieutenants in the Third Regiment. If the Lansing company is ever officered or commanded by any citizen of this place, the Journal editor may rest assured that it will only be in obeyance to the wishes and request of the men, who are members of the Williams' Rifles.

The editor of the Journal has evidently allowed himself to be imposed upon, as some others have been by some one or more of them who started for the war, but as they approached the actualities of the camp, were taken off by a kind of white “liver complaint,” and as an excuse for their own disgrace have turned to vilifying those who do not follow their example and the citizens of Grand Rapids generally. We advise our brothers of the quill to be a little more cautious. . . .” and beware any “who attempt to slur the fair name of our valiant officers of our city.”

The article also defended, by inference, the choice of Edwin Pierce to command Company E - the Ionia and Portland boys - and pointed out that Company G, the Lansing group, were both officered by men from Lansing and not from Grand Rapids.

Meanwhile, among some of the men in Company G in Virginia, there developed a serious concern about the absence of officers at the “front.” On July 5, Frank Siverd of Company G wrote to the Republican asking “If Captain Price is not to return, and we little anticipate that he will not, an effort will be made by the company to induce Captain Elder [of the Elder Zouaves] to assume command of the Williams’ Muskets.”

However, on the night of July 9 Price departed for Washington, “in charge,” wrote the Enquirer the following day, “of 12 of those of the 3d Regiment who were left behind on account of sickness. There still remains about a dozen who will go on their way as they are able to.” Price joined the Regiment just before the it departed from its encampment at Chain Bridge, but no sooner had the Regiment departed from its quarters than Price had been taken ill on the march near Vienna, Virginia and was obliged to return to Washington. On July 19 Siverd wrote that Price had been taken sick the first night out from their camp in Washington and returned to Camp Blair, near Chain Bridge.

Charles Church, a private of Company G, was more blunt in his assessment of Price’s behavior since the Regiment left Chain Bridge. He wrote home on August 8 that “Captain Price completely sneaked out,” presumably during the Bull Run affair, and he noted that as of July 20 his company still had no captain.

On July 31, 1861 Price officially resigned on account of disability, and he was succeeded by Lieutenant Robert Jefferds, and in letter dated August 1 Frank Siverd wrote that Lieutenant R. B. Jefferds had been appointed to replace Captain Price, who had resigned. “Captain Price resigned,” said Siverd, “because he could not well do otherwise. He broke down and was really very sick on the first days march. It requires a much stronger constitution than he possesses to withstand the fatigue of a forced march, and we want officers who can always be with us. Price goes to the seashore to recruit.” Siverd further observed that “Full one-half the officers in the Regiment have changed since the Bull Run affair.”

After Price resigned he returned to his home Lansing where he lived the remainder of his life, alternating between his house in the city and his farm in Olive, Clinton County. By 1880 he was working as a house carpenter and living with his wife and children in Lansing’s First Ward.

He was living in Lansing in December of 1882 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and during the business meeting of the Tenth annual Old Third Michigan Infantry Association reunion in December of 1882, “On Motion, the old banner of the Regiment was turned over to the State Museum at Lansing, and Capt. Price, of that city, appointed a committee to convey it thither.” Price was living in Lansing in 1888 and in the First Ward (North Lansing) in 1890.

No pension seems to be available (probably as a consequence of not having served the minimum 90 days).

On March 16, 1893, the Lansing Sate Republican reported the details of the Fiftieth anniversary celebration held for Price and his wife. “It is very seldom,” wrote the paper,

that as distinguished or a company composed of so many of Lansing's old pioneers assemble together as gathered last evening at the home of J. W. Twaits and wife, 827 Cedar Street north, to celebrate the golden wedding, hence the fiftieth anniversary, of Capt. J. R. Price and his wife, parents of Mrs. Twaits.

Capt. Price, aged 77 years, is a hearty, strong veteran of the war, and has been a resident of Lansing since 1848. At this advanced age he is healthy and strong, and to look at him one would hardly think he had passed three score years. Mrs. Price, aged 75 years, is not as well preserved, yet as the aged couple stood last evening under a bower of flowers and were once more united in holy wedlock, they seemed the picture of health and happiness, standing as they did, their whitened heads bowed before the alter [sic] of Hymen, slowly repeating the words of the minister of the gospel, which one-half century ago bound them together, to battle the trials of this life. Rev. A. S. Zimmerman assisted by Rev. H. S. Jordan and Rev. W. S. Sly, performed the ceremony which took place at 7 o'clock. After the ceremony the entire company seated themselves at the wedding banquet which had been spread in the dining room and for two hours held high festival, toasting the aged couple.

After the wedding feast the spacious parlors once more became a scene of enlivenment, and the remainder of the evening was spent in making the presentations of numerous and costly gifts to the bridal couple. The first gift was the present of Mrs. Price to her husband of a beautiful crazy quilt, the work of her own hands. Among the other presents were several beautiful chairs, a large quantity of gold pieces, and many gold knives, forks and spoons.

The company present included not only many prominent citizens of Lansing, but also a large number of relatives from abroad, numbering in all about 175.

Among the relatives from a distance were Mrs. L. Houghton of New York, niece of the bridal couple; Mrs. Mattie Driggs, Galesburg, Il., niece; Mr. Dean and wife, Cyrus Cowen and wife of Parma, Mich., the ladies being nieces of the couple; Frank Normington of Ionia, nephew; F. R. Parker and wife, niece, of Battle Creek; Mrs. Carry Anderson, sister of the bridegroom, Mrs. M. W. Tanner, niece, of Saginaw; Joseph Powell, brother of the bride, and wife, of Ionia; Rev. Charles Hulbert, of Detroit, cousin; Hon. A. E. Cowles and wife, niece, and Mrs. William Howard, niece, of Mason.

Among the guests of the city who are among the oldest residents of this vicinity, were Joseph Warner and wife, S. L. Kilbourne and wife, S. R. Greene, L. Gillett and wife, Mrs. J. A. Kerr, Mrs. James M. Turner, Mrs. E. Longyear, Mrs. J. Longyear, A. G. Scofield and wife and many others.

During the evening several original poems, written for the occasion, extending congratulations to the aged couple were read, and several very fine musical selections were rendered by the Millard quartet.

In the final years of his life, wrote the Portrait and Biographical Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, “Those who are the loudest in their own behalf are not always appreciated most highly by their neighbors, and the reverse of this fact is also true, as may be attested to by every one who knows the ‘old Marshal’ of Lansing, Ingham County. Capt. Price, who was Marshal of this city in its first days and held the office until within the last few years,is not a man who speaks his own praises, but he is warmly appreciated by every man, woman and child in this city and his resignation from that office on account of age was deeply regretted. His services to the country are appreciated by those who know his story and genuine regret is felt that technicalities should have derived one who is so worthy from receiving a pension as a token of a nation's gratitude.”

Price served a term on the School Board, was Commissioner for Highways, and served on both grand and petit juries, and was the first Marshal of Lansing. He was also an elder in the Franklin Street Presbyterian church and was at one time Superintendent of the Sunday school. He was, according to the Album, a Republican “of the old-fashioned kind and a true patriot in every sense of the word.”

John took sick in October of 1894, and was confined to his home. He recovered briefly in December, but was again confined to his bed, “and was a patient sufferer until death came to his relief.”

John died of dropsy in his home at 524 North Cedar Street in Lansing on July 11, 1895, and was buried on July 14 in Mt. Hope cemetery, Lansing: 10-95-A.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Charles A. Price

Charles A. Price was born in 1837 in Belknap Crossing, Wyoming County, New York.

Charles left New York and eventually settled settled in Michigan. It is possible that he was living in Lansing just before the war broke out. In fact, he probably became a member of the Lansing militia company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 24-year-old sawyer probably living in Lansing when he enlisted as Third Corporal in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Charles was possibly related to Captain John R. Price of Company G, who was also from Lansing.) Frank Siverd of Company G wrote on July 19 that Charles had not been in the ranks that day as he was disabled by heat and exhaustion, probably from the previous day’s action at Blackburn’s Ford, near Bull Run. He soon returned to duty, however, and Siverd reported that he was among those who were in the ranks and ready for duty on Sunday, July 21 at Bull Run. On September 5 Siverd noted that “A detachment of our Company under command of Corporal Price had been on the outposts for several days, and a number of them boast of having had a shot at a ‘secessher’.”

During the course of the war, Price wrote a series of letters home to his sister Media (or Medea).

On February 16, 1862, he wrote

It is a bright pleasant Sunday morning & perhaps you are going to church when I am far from it. I came off guard this morning, the rebels have been firing their big guns all night from their battery down the river. They set fire to small boats going up & down the river but they don't amount to much. The 5th Regt. goes out on picket this morning. They have just passed our camp. They have lately got a brass band which plays finely. We have plenty of music, three good bands within a half a mile of each other. Ours is considered the best in the Brigade because they have had more practice. . . . I washed the dishes this morning & I thought that I would let you know what they are. There is five of us now in the tent or hut. We have five tin cups, three tin plates, five spoons & two knives, that is all except . . . a kettle which we use over our stove. Two men do the cooking for the whole company; that is boil the meat, tea & coffee. The bread is cooked in Alexandria but we are living first rate just now and could get us more crockery if we wanted it. One of my chums has lately received a Motherly Chest from home & a valuable one too, filled with eatables that relish: cakes, dried fruit & preserves, 20 lbs of butter, sausages, dried beef & I bought a sack of buckwheat flour and we are now living like fighting cooks getting fat & sassy. We are bound to whip out the secesh or never go back to Michigan. We hear nothing about getting discharged or a furlough. The latter would be next to impossible as there are so many applications at this time. We have lately heard of excellent news, the capture of several important rebel forts, but you will hear all about it before this will reach you. We long for the order to march that we may have a hand in closing them out & then happy we will be to come back. As dinner (buckwheat cakes and bean soup) is about ready I will close.

On March 8, 1863, he wrote his sister from a camp near Fredericksburg, “I am well & think of coming home on a furlough. I cannot have but fifteen days. Was sorry to hear Sarah was so feebly, but cheer her up. We will have a good time. It may be some time before I can get my furlough, but think I will be there some where from the 20th to the 25th. . . . It is Sunday, we have just come in from inspection. It is raining. Some . . . dreary day. No news to write.”

Indeed, he was absent on furlough in March of 1863, but eventually rejoined the Regiment and was a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863.

He wrote his brother from a camp near Warrenton, Virginia, on July 30, 1863, that after the past month the Army of the Potomac was about exhausted

and the men are pretty well fagged out. In your letter you spoke of the Draft. Have they commenced drafting yet? If so who is drafted? Since the last battle our Regiment looks small, I assure you, if they are to be filled up the sooner the better I think. 9 from each Regt of the three year troop of this corps have been sent back to the different states -- to bring on conscripts, 1 capt., 1 1st Lt, 1 2nd Lt, 3 Sergt, 3 privates went from our Regt. They left us yesterday [and] were to report to Detroit. LT J. B. Ten Eyck went from our Co. (G). You have probably heard all the details of the fights at Gettysburg long before this. It was a hard fought battle with heavy loss on both sides. The rebels fought desperately but . . . that they were badly whipped. Orin Wade fell Thursday July 2nd. Early in the forenoon our Regt was then near the front supporting the skirmishers; he was Corp and one of the color guard. Our company was next to the colors [and] he was struck by a piece of shell near the right shoulder blade; it cut his back back and lodged in his lungs. He said that he could not live; he spoke of his folks [and] said that it would kill his mother. He seemed to worry more about his folks than he did [about] himself. He said that he was willing to die if that was to be his fate. He wanted me to write to his folks and send his memoranda home. I helped put him on to a stretcher but did not take his book. He was carried to the rear and died the next morning. I did not see him after he was put on the stretcher. 5 of our co. were wounded, one killed. We all had warm places; one ball went through my . . . book & some letters that I had in my side pack. I will not complain if they do not come any nearer. Sergt. Bissell, Mrs. V._____ brother, was wounded in the thigh (not seriously). He was taken to Baltimore Hospital. We crossed the river on our return back to Va., at Harper's Ferry. We had a skirmish with the rebels at Manassas Gap last Thursday. We drove them back out of the mountains. Loss in our corps was 100 killed and wounded. I don't know how long we are to stay here. We got some clothing yesterday morning some of the men have not had a change of clothes since we left . . . the 11th of June marching through dust, heat sweat rain & mud. We are a [sad] looking lot & need some rest if not but a few days. I cannot write more this time; don't know as you can read this; please write to me soon. Tell mother I often think of her.

From a camp near Sulphur springs in Fauquier County, Virginia he wrote on August 7, 1863,

It is very warm here today & has been for the last three or four weeks. We have a pleasant camp near the springs & are putting up shade bushes around the tent & are making our selves comfortable as we can, though we are in the fields & near the enemy & liable to march at any hour. I think though the summer campaign is over we may stay here some time until cooler weather and they send on some conscripts to fill up our small regts.; we have seen some rough times Media since I bid you good bye in your happy home in quiet Maple Rapids. I have often thought of you and the rest of the folks at home and often ask myself the question Shall I see them again; yes, I think I will. God only knows he has bless me with health & spared my life through many battles. Never a battle but some one is killed & many wounded. Our capt [Jos. Mason] was killed at Chancellorsville; Thurston (a private) was killed at Gettysburg, 5 others wounded, 2 sergt. & 3 privates, Sergt. Bissell (Mrs. Vanscoy's brother), was wounded in the groin and leg, not seriously though. I heard from him the other day, he was at Baltimore Hospital with many others from the Regt. getting along comfortably, but it will be some time before he will be able for duty. I have seen Lyon's once since the battle; he came out all right. I do not flatter myself that we have seen our last battle. I think there will be much more hard fighting before our time is out. The surrender of Vicksburg and the defeat of Lee's invasion in MD. & Penn. will be severely felt by the rebels, but they do not think of giving up, and have men enough to fight a long time yet. If Charleston & Richmond should fall then their case would begin to look hopeless. But, I believe, they would fight a long time then. Are they drafting in Michigan now? We do not hear much about it here. I think if our regt are going to be filled up the sooner the better. There has been a detail from each Regiment of three years' troop send back to bring on conscripts. Lt. Ten Eyck went from our company [with] 8 others from the Regt. They were to report to Detroit [and] they may be sent from there to different parts of the State. If Ten Eyck goes any where near Maple Rapids he will call on you. He is a fine fellow & a good friend of mine. I did not send him there after Myron nor any of the rest of them, but if they are Lucky enough to be drafted I would like to have them come in this Regt. I do not apprehend Myron, George or any [of] the rest around there will be drafted. If they should, tell them not to play up $300 men but to come ahead, balls will not hurt a man until they hit him, although the come very near sometimes.

Charles was left in New York City in August of 1863, when the Regiment passed through on its way to Troy, New York, but rejoined it by the time he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia crediting Lansing, Fourth Ward. He was on veteran’s furlough in April and May of 1864 (and not in January like all the other reenlistees from December of 1863). According to the official records, Colonel Byron Pierce commanding the Third Michigan informed Michigan Adjutant General John Robertson on April 22, 1864, that First Sergeant C. Price had been promoted to First Lieutenant of Company G, as of May 1, replacing Lieutenant Homer Thayer.

Price was taken prisoner on June 8 or 9, near Cold Harbor, Virginia, and transferred as a First Lieutenant and as a prisoner-of-war to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. According to the War Department, he was taken prisoner on June 22 near Petersburg, Virginia, taken to Richmond on June 24, sent on to Macon, Georgia and confined at Camp Asylum near Columbia, South Carolina.

He was reported missing in action from June 9, 1864, through May of 1865, returned to the Regiment on May 5, 1865 and in fact was paroled on March 1, 1865 at N. Ferry North Carolina. Charles was eventually furloughed and went home to Michigan in early april, after which he returned to the east and by the end of the month was at Camp Parole, Maryland. He mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is unclear whether Charles returned to Michigan immediately after his discharge.

He married Ann E. Jenne (1840-1920), on December 11, 1866, in Litchfield, Medina County, Ohio, and they had at least one child, Charles A. (1867-1927).

Charles and Ann eventually settled in Fulton, Gratiot County.

Charles died of “rheumatism which affected his heart” on January 7, 1868, and was buried in Ithaca cemetery, Gratiot County .

Ann applied for and received a widow’s pension (application no. 544288).

His widow remarried one John W. Price (d. 1898) in St. Johns in 1873 and they were divorced in 1884. By 1916 she was residing in Ithaca, Gratiot County, and received a widow’s pension (no. 847884), drawing $25.00 per month in 1920.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shinar Preston

Shinar Preston was born on August 15, 1839, in Ohio, the son of William (b. 1803) and Margaret (Barnhard, b. 1818).

Vermont-born William married Ohioan Margaret probably in Ohio sometime before 1837, by which time they were living in Ohio. By 1840 William was living in Harris, Ottawa County, Ohio, and by 1850 Shiner or Shinar was attending school with his siblings and living on the family farm in Harris, Ottawa County, Ohio. About this same time William died and Margaret brought the family to western Michigan. For a time they lived in Big Prairie and Croton, Newaygo County, after which they settled in Dayton, Newaygo County. Shinar bought 120 acres of land about five of which were improved. He settled on the land right away.

In 1860 Sinar as working as a farm laborer and living with his mother and siblings in Dayton, Newaygo County. Two houses away lived John Barnhard, one of the two Barnhard brothers who would join the Third Michigan, and next door to John lived his father or grandfather Simon Barnhard.

Shinar stood 5’8” with dark eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was a 22-year-old farmer living in Dayton when he enlisted in Company K on March 2 or 12, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered March 2 or 12. He was sick in the hospital in March of 1862, allegedly deserted on September 21 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, and returned to the Regiment on June 23, 1863, at Gum Springs, Virginia. He was serving with the provost guard at First Division headquarters from December 29, 1863, through March of 1864, and was reportedly on detached service in May, although he was probably taken sick or perhaps wounded on May 6.

Shinar was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick until he was transferred to Company B, Nineteenth Regiment Veterans’ Reserve Corps, on August 9, 1864. It is quite possible that Shinar was a guard at the confederate prison at Elmira, New York, where he was mustered out on March 12, 1865.

After his discharge Shinar returned to his mother’s home in Newaygo County, and in fact he lived the rest of his life in Newaygo County.

He married New York native Eugenia Dickinson (1846-1914) on March 17, 1872, in Dayton, and they had at least 10 children: Reno S. (b. 1866), Nellie L. (b. 1868), Lester P. (b. 1871), Nettie E. (b. 1872), Kearney N. (b. 1874), Mary or Marie O. (b. 1877), Frank C. (b. 1879) William F.; and two children died in infancy.

After Eugenia died in 1914, Shinar married his sister-in-law (Eugenia’s sister) Mrs. Hannah Brooks (1852- 1929) in 1915.

After he returned home from the war Shinar added to his land holdings and by the early 1880s had accumulated about 360 acres, 200 of which were under cultivation. He held the offices of Highway Commission Inspector and Justice of the Peace.

He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Henry Dobson post no. 182 in Fremont, as well as the Fremont Grange No. 49, and a Republican.

By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living in Dayton, Newaygo County, with his wife and children; next door lived one L. R. Preston, possibly a brother. He was in Fremont, Newaygo County in 1888 and in Dayton in 1890 and 1894. And by 1920 he was living with his seocnd wife Hannah in Fremont; and they were still living in Fremont in 1930.

He was living in Michigan in May of 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 851385).

Shinar was a widower when he died of “senility” on November 11, 1932 at his home at 124 Elm Street in Fremont and was buried in Maple Grove cemetery, Fremont: section C, row 3.

Friday, April 16, 2010

George W. Prescott

George W. Prescott was born on September 20, 1836, in Monticello, Otsego County, New York, the son of Price Howard (b. 1804) and Rebecca (Thomas, b. 1804).

Both New York natives, George’s parents were probably married in New York sometime before 1835 and settled in Otsego County, New York. In 1840 Price was living in Exeter, Otsego County. In 1844 his family moved from New York and settled on a farm in section 36 in Grand Rapids. By 1850 George was living with his family on a large farm in Grand Rapids. By 1860 George was a farm laborer living with his family in Grand Rapids Township, where his father owned a substantial farm and his mother was listed in the census for that year as “insane.”

George stood 5’11” with hazel eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 24 years old and probably still living in the Grand Rapids area when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was absent sick from October 11, 1862, through March of 1863. According to a Dr. Dorr at Ascension general hospital in Washington, DC, “Prescott was attacked with rheumatism on or about the 3rd day of October 1862, at camp on Upton’s Hill, Va., and has not done duty since that date.” He was discharged for chronic rheumatism on March 11, 1863, at Ascension hospital.

(There was one George W. Prescott who enlisted in Battery L, First Michigan Light Artillery at Fenton, Genessee County, in 1864 and was mustered out on August 22, 1865.)

After his discharge from the army George returned to Grand Rapids and began farming on 80 acres in Paris Township, Kent County, where he specialized in seed growing. “In the culture of the latter,” wrote Chapman in his History of Kent County, “Mr. Prescott exercises the utmost care, and in every case warrants his seeds true to name.”

He was living in Paris, Kent County in 1867 when he married Michigan native Agnes Powley (1846-1884) on November 27, 1867, in Paris (she was the sister to John Powley who had served in Company K), and they had at least four children: Jane (b. 1868), Ada C. (b. 1869), Jennie A. (1872-1883) and Byron J. (1874-1875).

George was working as a farmer and living with his wife and child Jane in Paris Township in 1870, and in 1880 he was still working a farm and living with Agnes and two daughters in Paris. Indeed he lived in Paris for more than thirty years.

In late December of 1881 Agnes “filed a bill of complaint in the circuit court Saturday praying for a divorce from George W. Prescott whom she married in November of 1867. She charges him with extreme and long-continued cruelty, and prays for the custody of the children Ada C. aged 12 and Jennie A. aged 9. The requested preliminary injunction was granted.” However, Jennie died in early March of 1883 and Agnes herself died the following year.

Prescott soon developed something of a reputation for eccentricity.

The year after Agnes died, the Grand Rapids Democrat reported that Prescott had acquired the title of the “Michigan Crank.” Apparently he was “visiting the bog show at New Orleans and is seeing all there is to be seen. He was very much interested in examining old war relics a few days ago and accidentally discharged a mitrailleuse, the ball passing through the post office. He was arrested and on trial pleaded his own case and was set free. He explained that ‘he didn't know the darned thing was loaded’. He has secured the title, ‘The Michigan Crank’.”

George was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids, until he was suspended November 26, 1908. In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 19338).

He apparently remarried to one Anna.

He died of bronchio-pneumonia in Cascade Township on September 24, 1910, and was buried in Martin cemetery: W6-A.

In 1914 (?) his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 839880).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

William Franklin Pratt

William Franklin Pratt was born in 1841 or in 1845 in Ingham County, or in Deerfield, Michigan, possibly the son of Isaac (b. 1815) and Mary (b. 1819).

New York natives Isaac and Mary were married sometime before 1837 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 William was living with his family in Onondaga, Ingham County, where his father worked as a carpenter.

William stood 5’3” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 19-year-old sailor and farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was reported missing in action on June 30 or July 1, 1862 near Richmond, Virginia (probably White Oak Swamp), and eventually returned to the Regiment on August 8. He was reported as having “straggled behind regiment without leave.”

He was absent sick in the hospital from October through November of 1862, but recovered and was returned to duty. He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, and was subsequently on veteran’s furlough through January of 1864.

William failed to return to the Regiment, however, and on February 29 was reported a deserter as of February 7, 1864; he was also reported as having deserted from the general rendezvous in Michigan on March 16, 1864. He was arrested on March 21 at Grand Haven, Ottawa County and was under arrest in April in Detroit, but had apparently returned to the Regiment by the time he was taken prisoner on May 9, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia. He was initially confined at Richmond, Virginia, and on or about June 8 was sent to Andersonville, Georgia. He was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. William was admitted to the prison hospital in Andersonville on October 11 , 1864, reportedly suffering from scorbutus. He was paroled at Jacksonville, Florida, on April 28, 1865.

William was discharged from the service per General Order no. 77 (War Department), dated April 28, 1865, although he is otherwise listed as being mustered out at Camp Chase, Ohio on June 19, 1865.

William eventually returned to Michigan after the war.

He married Michigan native Sarah Lucinda Brown (b. 1855) on July 23, 1872, in Grayling, Crawford County or Mitchell’s Camp, Grant, Iosco County, and they had at least two children: a daughter Azuba Ann (b. 1874) and Martha M. (b. 1877).

By 1874 they still living in Grayling, but by 1880 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife (Laura?) and two daughters in Ingersoll, Midland County. By 1890 he was living in Bentley, Bay County.

In 1891 he was living in Michigan when he applied for a pension (no. 1034050) but apparently died before the pension was granted.

William died of scurvy and the effects of sunstroke on March 29, 1892, in Bentley and was presumably buried there.

In May of 1892 his widow, who was unable to read or write, was living in Birch Run, Saginaw County, Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 393566). She remarried in 1899.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

John J. Powley

John J. Powley was born in 1844 in New York, the son of Peter (b. 1807) and Melinda (b. 1812).

Both New York Natives John’s parents were married on December 13, 1839, in Nyack, New York and were living in Buffalo, New York by 1849. The following year the family had moved to Oswego, Oswego County, New York where Peter worked as a baker and John attended school with his siblings and lived with his family. They moved west and eventually settled in Michigan. By 1860 John was a student living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward where his father worked as a baker. John was described as “a smart active lad and a great help to his parents of whom he was very fond.” (In 1867 his sister Agnes would marry George Prescott who had served in Company A of the Old Third.)

John was 17 years old and probably still living with his family in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. Although he was first listed as missing in action on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, in fact, he was either killed in action at Second Bull Run or wounded that day and left on the field where he presumably died. It seems fairly certain, anyway, that he was not taken prisoner. He was presumably among the unknown soldiers killed at Second Bull Run whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery. John was said to have been “an estimable lad and his death on the field of battle was much lamented by all who knew him and an irreparable loss to his parents.”

In the early 1880s, John’s mother applied for a dependent pension (which she eventually received, no. 199,919).

In 1882 Gilbert Vandermere, a neighbor who lived next door, testified that he knew Malinda and her husband Peter since 1861. He stated that Peter “did not contribute to any great extent his earning toward the support of his family, all the money he earned nearly went for drinking and something else, rather than towards the support of his family, his physical condition was all right, with the exception of his drinking, . . .”

By 1889 Malinda was living as a widow at 430 Fountain Street in Grand Rapids.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

George W. Powers

George W. Powers was born on April 9, 1843, in Cayuga County, New York, the son of Luman A. (1808-1872) and Jane (1826-1871).

Both New York natives his parents were married sometime before 1842 (Jane was perhaps 16 years old at the time) probably in New York where they resided for some years. Sometime between 1843 and 1846 his family moved from New York to Michigan where they were living by 1846, settling in Kent County in 1847. By 1850 George was attending school with his older sister Caroline and living with his family in Grand Rapids where his father worked as a blacksmith. By 1860 George was a farm laborer living with his family in Grand Rapids Township.

George stood 5’7” with black eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living with his family in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with his parent’s consent in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was reported sick in the hospital from November of 1862 through January of 1863. He eventually recovered and was returned to duty.

On February 13, 1863, George wrote from Camp Pitcher to Catharine Hamilton, a girlfriend of his good friend Henry Beckwith, also Company A.

I understand from a letter from Sarah that you would like to have me send that picture that I got out of Henry's knapsack after the Battle of Groveton [Second Bull Run] and you would send me one, and as I have just returned from the hospital I will send it which I shall expect one in return in a very few days. I would of sent it while I was in the hospital but the picture was at the Regiment. I will also send one of Anna Thompson in his knapsack and pocket. You can tell Anna that Henry had his pretty one that she sent him last winter in his pocket when he was killed, so I could not get it. I suppose you girls are having nice times there this winter. Do you have any nice sleigh rides this winter? Oh how I would like to be there.

George was a Corporal when he was reported missing in action at Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. He returned to the Regiment in October and was on leave from October 30. He returned to the Regiment and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Plainfield, Kent County. He probably returned to his home in Michigan on a veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and rejoined the Regiment on or about the first of February.

George was taken prisoner on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and transferred as a Corporal and prisoner-of-war to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. (He was reported missing in action from May 6, 1864 through June, and restored to the rolls as a prisoner-of-war on July 10, 1864, through September.) He was confined in the prison at Andersonville and escaped while being transferred from Andersonville to Charleston, South Carolina, on September 19, 1864. According to the Eagle of October 27, 1864,

The friends of George Powers, of the 3rd Mich. Inf., veteran Regiment, who have mourned him as dead, and, we believe, held honorable funeral services over his supposed departure to the spirit land, will be happily surprised to meet him face to face, and to find that he is yet bodily -- in the land of the living. Young Powers has just returned an escaped prisoner. He was taken by the rebels in the great battle of the Wilderness, on the 5th of May last, and with other prisoners conveyed to Andersonville, Georgia, and in which horrible place he remained until General Sherman captured Atlanta. The rebels then fearing Andersonville would be the next place upon which Sherman would move, for the purpose of relieving the Union prisoners there -- conveyed them to Florence [South Carolina] for safe keeping, and while en route for that place, Powers and two others, leaped from the cars, and thus made their escape. He and his comrades traveled nights, and in various ways managed to deceive the enemy by professing to be in the rebel service, and thus passing their several lines, succeeded in reaching our forces at Port Royal, South Carolina, and from which place, they were forwarded to New York and thence home. Young Powers says the rebels are all for General McClellan for President, while the Union officers and soldiers are, almost to a man, wherever he has been, for the reelection of President Lincoln.

Following his escape George returned to the Regiment on October 15 and he was mustered out of service on October 18, 1864 as a “supernumerary.”

After his discharge George returned to Sparta and resumed farming in Algoma where he was living in 1866 when he married his first wife Michigan native Emily Ewing (1844-1877) on December 19, 1866, in Grand Rapids Township. They had at least four children: Hattie C. (b. 1869), Mary E. (b. 1871), Lulu E. or Ella L. (b. 1873) and Freling W. (b. 1877, who may very well have been named after Freling W. Peck, formerly of Company B, who was sheriff of Kent County in the 1870s).

By 1870 George was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife and daughter in Sparta Center, Algoma Township, Kent County. (His parents were living in Grand Rapids in 1870.)

George was probably also one of the two witnesses at the wedding of Andrew Myers of Sparta, Kent County, who had also served in the Old Third Michigan infantry.

George married his second wife, Ontario, Canadian native Issa Sharring (b. 1859) on December 11, 1879 in Sparta.

By 1880 George was working as deputy sheriff and living with his wife and four children in Sparta; living nearby was another former member of the Old Third, James Parm, who was working as a laborer and residing with his son Joseph.

For many years George worked as constable, deputy sheriff and city detective in the Grand Rapids vicinity. He maintained a home in Sparta, where, as deputy sheriff he was working night patrol in the 1880s. He was living in Sparta in 1874, 1879, 1882 and 1885, and in Grand Rapids at 18 Ransom Street in 1890 and in the Third or Fourth Ward in 1890-91, in 1893 and in the Fourth Ward in 1894. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, a member of the Michigan Association of Union Ex-Prisoners of War, and in March of 1882 was installed as an officer in the Kent County chapter no. 106 Royal Arch Spartans at Sparta.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 923544).

George was shot and killed in the line of duty on August 22, 1895.

The Grand Rapids Democrat wrote on August 21, 1895, that the Chicago & West Michigan “fast” train from Chicago “was held up by five robbers at gun point about 2 and one-half miles north of Fennville -- just south of the Kalamazoo River.” They had assumed there would be an express car but early reports placed their haul at $7.00 from the conductor and two watches from the engineer and fireman. In fact they took at least $100. 00 from the American Express company and possibly much more. All five men escaped.

On August 23, the Democrat reported that

Detective George W. Powers was shot and fatally wounded at 11 0’clock last night while attempting to arrest two men on board the north bound Grand Rapids & Indiana train at the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee junction. The men boarded a Lake Shore & Michigan Southern train at Dorr station last evening, their suspicious actions and resemblance to the description of the robbers . . . attracting the attention of the brakeman, Charles Rupert. Upon arriving at Eagle Mills the men left the train and Rupert reported his suspicions to George B. Wells, giving an accurate description of them.

Later in the day the watchman at the West Fulton Street railroad crossing, to whom Rupert had told his story, saw two men, evidently the same ones, walking up the track toward Bridge Street. On the way they met officer Tatroe and inquired of the way to the West Bridge Street depot. Just before ten o’clock Patrolman Drew met them on Bridge Street and they asked what time the train left going north. Their appearance in this vicinity had in the meantime been reported to Chief Carr and detectives were detailed to look out for them. It was thought that they would endeavor to go still further north and Detectives Gast, Jakeway, Youngs and Powers were dispatched to the junction with instructions to watch all outgoing trains. As the Grand Rapids & Indiana train, which leaves Union depot at 10:45, pulled up, a detective entered each car, Powers going into the smoker.

Occupying one of the seats were the two men he was looking for and he attempted to place them under arrest. In an instant one of them pulled his revolver and fired, the bullet striking Powers in the right cheek, passing upward and backward, penetrating his skull and lodging near the top of his head. The wounded man staggered and fell and in the attendant excitement the assassin and his accomplice rushed for the platform, leaped from the car and dashed away. Powers was carried into the depot and the ambulance was summoned. Pursuit of the fleeing men was begun at once. Detectives Smith and Darr, with a patrol wagon full of blue coats, were hurried to the scene and a systematic search was at once instituted.

Powers was taken to Butterworth hospital and Drs. Catlin, Welsh, Schurz and Wooster were called. The wounded man was delirious and raving wildly, and the physicians were of the opinion that he could not recover. He was reported dead at 1;20 this morning without having regained consciousness.

The description of the two men is as follows, given by Officer Drew, who had ample opportunity to notice them closely: One is about 40 years old, five feet, eight inches high, weight about 180 pounds, full, reddish face, with heavy dark-brown beard. He wore an old dark-colored suit and wide brimmed black slough hat and carried a brown leather grip slung over his shoulder. The other was considerably younger, apparently 20 years old, five feet, six inches high, weight 150 pounds, smooth, spare face, and dressed in a dark suit, with soft black hat.

Detective George W. Powers was considered one of the most efficient officers in the city, having been engaged as an officer for about 18 years, serving in the capacity of constable, deputy sheriff and detective. He was appointed as detective six months ago. He formerly resided at Sparta, where he held the office of deputy sheriff through several County administrations, and came to the city during Col. Bishop’s last term. he was 51 years old and leaves a wife, Dr. Ossie S. Powers. They had no children but though it could be positively learned, it is thought he had some children by a former wife. Their home is at 205 Ottawa Street. Mrs. Powers was at the hospital when he died.

It is quite well settled that the men who are responsible for Mr. Powers’ fate are members of the Fennville train robbing gang. Definite descriptions of the desperadoes have been sent to all the surrounding towns, and every available officer was put on duty last night. Recruits were added this morning and it seems almost impossible for the murderer to escape. It is thought that they first made their escape to the woods northwest of the junction, and the woods are made a leading point of search though every Avenue of escape known to the officers ha been guarded.

Within an hour after the shooting occurred Sheriff Woodward had notified the authorities of all outlying towns, to keep a sharp lookout for the murderers. In addition, every available deputy was immediately set to work, several being sent out with teams in order to cover all adjacent territory thoroughly. Superintendent Carr also ordered out as many officers as could be handled, some of whom were given teams to reach distant points. With all wise precautions it is thought t hat the men must soon be located, although it is possible that they will not be found until daylight.

A short time after the shooting a young man was found walking along the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee tracks a short distance west of the depot. He was arrested and taken to headquarters. he gave his name as Bart Ferguson and stated that he was on his way to the Haan farm, where he was employed picking peaches. While his story was thought to be true, it was considered best to detain him and he remained at the station during the balance of the night.

After Detective Powers had been reported dead he revived, but not enough to give hope for recovery. Life lingered until 3:25 when a message from the hospital announced his death.

On August 24 the Democrat wrote that the killers were still at large. The paper also reported Detective Jakeway’s statement that Powers took the first car and he the second. After he had gone through the car as he

stepped out the front door of the train had started up and I swung off onto the platform. As I did so I glanced into the windows of the smoking car and saw George’s arm up, as though reaching for the bell cord. The same instant I saw the flash and heard the report of a revolver. I immediately made a jump for the train and entered the rear door of the smoker. By this time all was excitement and the aisle was filled with passengers. I crowded through them until I reached the front end and stumbled against George’s body lying on the floor. I put my arm under his head, pulled him out from under the seat, the blood was spurting from the wound, completely covering his face, and I soon saw that he was dead or dying. I then laid him down and turning to the passengers asked if someone would telephone police headquarters what had happened. Meantime the train had come to a full stop, showing that the engineer had received the bell and that George had pulled the cord. I left the train and called to the other boys to stop those men if they could, that they had killed George.

We followed down the road in the darkness but soon found it impossible to follow the trail. The next I saw of George was when the ambulance arrived and we placed him on the stretcher. I boarded the train again and went with it as far a Mill Creek for the purpose of securing the names of passengers who witnessed the shooting.

One of those passengers who occupied the seat directly behind the man who did the shooting said that when Powers entered the car the two men were occupying the two front seats in the coach, the older one with the beard on the west side, the younger one sitting opposite him on the east side. The officer approached the man with the beard and asked “Where did you get aboard the train?” The man replied “At West Bridge Street.” “Where is your partner?” asked Powers. “Across the aisle,” was the reply, at the same time pointing to the young man. “Is that your grip?” asked Powers, as he noticed a hand-bag lying at the feet of the younger man. “It is,” was the reply. Then Powers reached for the bell-cord and pulled it. As he did so the older man rose leisurely from his seat, as though ready and willing t give himself up and accompany the officer. When he had reached a standing position and almost face to face with Powers he suddenly pulled a revolver from his outside coat pocket and discharged it directly in Powers’ face. The whole affair occupied but a moment and as soon as the shot was fired the two men rushed out the front door and off the train, taking the grip with them.

According to William Stevens, the conductor of the train, he told a reporter for the Democrat on August 24 that

“When my train pulled into the West Bridge Street depot C. H. Shirley, ticket agent, informed me that he had sold tickets to two suspicious acting men and pointed them out to me, sitting in the two front seats facing each other. While we stood on the platform talking the one they call the big man -- and he wasn’t so very large either -- moved over to the car window as if to hear what we were talking about. As soon as he did so I walked away, in order that his suspicions might not be aroused. When we got to the junction I dropped off the train just about where Powers was standing and told him the men he wanted were in the forward end of the car. I then went ahead about my usual work, while Powers entered the car. I am not positive just how long we stopped, but should think a minute or two. After speaking to the operator and receiving my orders I signaled the engineer to go ahead, at the same time swinging onto the rear end of the baggage car. Just as I stepped aboard the report of a revolver rang out and two men dashed out of the door and off the train. The train had stopped after going about six feet, showing that the engineer must have had a bell signal. As the men jumped from the car I also dropped off, and saw the men running west from the depot. I then went into the smoking car and saw Powers lying in the aisle with blood pouring from his wound. I immediately reported the occurrence, and as soon as Powers had been carried out proceeded on my trip. The whole affair was done as if in the twinkling of an eye and it is impossible for me to give any information of value regarding the shooting. I think, however, I would know the men if I should see them again, as I had a good look at them at the West Bridge Street depot. From the passengers in the car I learned that Powers came in the front door and after scrutinizing the men closely, walked to the other end. He then retraced him steps and after speaking a few words reached for the bell rope, when the older of the two men jumped to his feet and fired. I am quite positive that the other detectives immediately set out in pursuit of the murderers, but as I was not acquainted with any of the officers but Powers, cannot be sure on this point.”

Powers’ murderer was reported to be one John Smalley who was shot and killed on August 24 by Deputy Sheriffs Spofford and McBain in Wexford County.

However, on August 30 the Democrat reported that Smalley was not in fact the man who killed Powers, nor was he involved in the train robbery. It is not known whether the killers or robbers were ever apprehended. The Democrat interviewed one John Schobey, a veteran police officer who said that Powers was the first Grand Rapids policeman to be shot and killed in the line of duty in 14 years. “‘Still’, said Schobey, “‘none of us can tell just how soon we may get it, and while many criticize poor Powers for not having taken more precautions, I believe he did only what any other in his position would. He was only trying to do his duty’.”

George’s funeral was held from his residence in Sparta, and he was buried in Myers cemetery in Sparta: 0-71-1.

In 1896 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 453597).