Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Edgar F. Teele

Edgar F. Teele was born in 1825 in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, probably the son or grandson of William (b. 1780).

In 1830 there was one William Teal and one Adam Teal living in Troy’s Second Ward, Rensselaer County, New York, There was one William Teal living in Troy’s First Ward, Rensselaer County, New York, in 1840.

Edgar was married to New York native Ruby M. (b. 1825), probably in New York, and they had at least five children: William H. (b. 1849), Alice B. (b. 1852), Robert (b. 1857) and Helen (b. 1859) and Elizabeth (b. 1861).

By 1850 Edgar was working as a painter and living with his wife and son William, and all were living with New Jersey native William Teale in Brooklyn’s Tenth Ward, King’s County, New York.

They probably moved from New York to Ohio sometime before 1852, then to Michigan between 1852 and 1857, and by 1860 Edgar was a painter living with his wife and children, and another painter by the name of Edward Fitch, in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

On July 2, 1860, Edgar joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, commanded by Captain Baker Borden. (The GRA would serve as the nucleus for Company B, also commanded by Borden, of the Third Michigan infantry.)

Edgar stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 36 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Second Corporal in Company B on May 13, 1861. Edgar was discharged for general debility and chronic rheumatism on November 12, 1862, at Armory Square hospital, Washington, DC.

After he was discharged from the army Edgar eventually returned to Michigan where he reentered the army in Company A, First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics. (Borden interestingly enough, resigned from the Third Michigan in the summer of 1861, returned to Grand Rapids, and reentered the service as captain of Company B, First E & M.)

After the war Edgar returned to Michigan, probably to Grand Rapids. By 1870 he was working as a painter and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward, in Grand Rapids 1874 and 1879, and working as a painter and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward in 1880 but reportedly moved to Chicago sometime in the 1880s. By 1890 he was living in Fremont, Dodge County, Nebraska.

Edgar was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

He was living in Nebraska when he applied for and received a pension (no. 564468).

Edgar was probably still living in Nebraska when, according to one source he died and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Frederick Teadt

Frederick Teadt was born in 1824 in Mecklinburg, Germany.

Frederick immigrated to America and had settled in western Michigan before late 1861.

He stood 5’2” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 37-year-old farmer possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company B on November 19, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on December 23 at Detroit. He was absent sick in January of 1862, and reported AWOL in August. He reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, was subsequently absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was mustered out on June 20 or July 5, 1865.

After the war Frederick returned to Michigan.

He was married to Maine native Almira or Mena (1834-1903), and they had at least two children: Jay (b. 1864) and Anna (b. 1870).

By 1880 he was working as a and living with his wife and children on Grand Rapids Street in Middleville, Barry County.

He was living in Middleville in 1883 when he was drawing $4.00 per month for rheumatism (pension no. 177,825, dated October of 1880).

Frederick was living in Middleville in 1884 when he attended the Sixth Annual Reunion of the Soldiers and Sailors, at Battle Creek, Calhoun County. He was living in Thornapple, Barry County in 1890. Indeed, he probably lived the remainder of his life in Middleville.

Frederick married his second wife Flora E., possibly in Middleville.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and G.A.R. Hill Post No. 159 in Middleville.

Frederick died July 28, 1913, in Middleville and was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery, Middleville.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vincent Taylor

Vincent Taylor was born on December 22, 1839, in Jackson County, Michigan.

In 1850 there was one Vincent Taylor, age 11 years, living with the Hiram Fish (or Fisk) family in Sharon, Washtenaw County, Michigan. By 1860 Vinson was a farm laborer living with and/or working for Curtis Hawley, a “general dealer” (merchant) in Lyons, Ionia County.

He stood 5’8” with dark eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 21 years old and living in Grand Rapids or perhaps in Ionia County when he enlisted as Sixth Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861, but was left behind sick in Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, when the Regiment departed for Washington, DC.

Vinson returned to his home in Ionia County and was residing in Lyons when, on June 12, 1862, he wrote to Colonel Smith in the Adjutant General’s office in Detroit requesting instructions: “I report to you as not fit for service. I have been very sick with the inflammation on the lungs but am slowly [recovering] . My furlough runs out the 14th of this month but the doctor thinks that it will be best for me to stay here a few days longer. But if you think it is best to come there send me a pass and I will come.”

First Lieutenant Andrew Nickerson of Company E, wrote on July 26, 1862, that Taylor had been “absent from his regt since the regt left Mich having been left sick in the hospital at Grand Rapids when the regt left that place. Has reported regularly each month to his company by mail.”

Vinson was carried on the rolls as absent sick in Michigan in July and August of 1862, but was reported as having allegedly deserted on September 21, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was in fact discharged on or about July 1, 1862, at Detroit, on account of typhoid pneumonia.

He gave his mailing address on his discharge paper as Lyons, and eventually settled in Portland.

Vincent married New Jersey native Sarah (1840-1917); she was probably married before and had a daughter Ida Earl (b. 1860) by her previous marriage.

By 1870 Vincent was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and stepdaughter in Portland. He was still living in Portland in 1890 and 1894, and probably lived in Portland the rest of his life.

Vincent was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Megarrah Post No. 132 in Portland. In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 772973).

Vinson died a widower in Portland on November 1, 1918, and was buried in Portland cemetery: E-261-OS.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Samuel C. Taylor

Samuel C. Taylor was born in 1836 in Burton, Geauga County, Ohio.

Samuel left Ohio and settled in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 25-year-old farmer probably living in Allendale, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, probably with his younger brother David. He was possibly related to Chauncey, James, John A., John M., and/or Martin, all of whom would enlist in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

Samuel was absent sick in the hospital from August of 1862 through July of 1863. In fact William Cobb of Company I wrote from Camp Curtin, Virginia, on April 21, 1863, that “Sam Taylor is here in the hospital.” Samuel eventually recovered and was present for duty when he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Hamburg, Livingston County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Michigan, during January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Samuel may have been wounded in the abdomen in early May, either at the Wilderness or at Spotsylvania, was subsequently reported absent sick and was still absent sick when he was transferred as a Corporal to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Samuel remained absent wounded through October of 1864, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Samuel returned to Michigan.

He was married to Michigan native Sophronia C. (b. 1846) and they had at least four children: Minnie (b. 1868), Jayson (b. 1872), Adelbert R. (b. 1875) and Samuel A. (b. 1878).

By 1870 Samuel was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and daughter in Ovid, Clinton County; next door lived his younger brother David and his family. Samuel was living in Ovid in 1880, and in Shepherdsville, Clinton County in 1883 (Dennis Birmingham, formerly of Company F lived near by) when he was drawing $8.00 for injury to the abdomen (pension no. 88,152). He was still living in Clinton County in 1887 and 1890 and in Ovid in 1894.

Samuel is reportedly buried in either South Ovid cemetery or in Blood cemetery in Clinton County.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lyman Taylor

Lyman Taylor was born in 1843.

(He was possibly related to Lyman and Fanny Taylor of Van Buren County, Michigan. In 1860 one Lyman Taylor, a farmer, age 42 and born in Ohio and his wife Fanny, age 30, and born in New York, moved to Michigan sometime before 1854 and were living with their four children in Arlington, Van Buren County. In 1860 there was one Lyman Taylor, b. 1847 in Michigan, living with his father David, b. 1810, and mother Jane, b. 1828 and siblings in Lyon, Oakland County; in 1880 this Lyman was working as a farmer and still living with his parents and his younger brother Charles, b. 1852, in Oakland County.)

Lyman was 18 years old and living in Ionia County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company H on November 21, 1861 in Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on December 13 at Detroit. He is not found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history.

Lyman was reported as absent sick in a general hospital in July of 1862 through August, and allegedly deserted on September 21 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. In fact, he was either still absent in the hospital and subsequently discharged for disability on October 3, 1862, at Edward’s Ferry, Maryland, or he had already been discharged as of June 28 at Detroit.

Either way it does not appear that Lyman reentered the military nor is there a pension available for his service in the Third Michigan infantry.

Friday, December 24, 2010

John Taylor

John Taylor was born in 1824 in Quebec, Canada.

John left Canada and came to Michigan sometime before the war broke out. (He may have been living in Lyon, Oakland County in1860.)

He stood 5’11” with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was a 37-year-old shoemaker possibly living in Kent County or in Allendale, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861 (he may have been related to the Taylor brothers from Allendale). John allegedly deserted on July 29, 1861, at Arlington, Virginia, but in fact had probably been hospitalized and was discharged for right-side inguinal hernia on September 14, 1861, at Hunter's Farm, Virginia.

After his discharge John eventually returned to Michigan and settled in Grand Rapids where he worked as a farmer for many years.

In 1883 he applied for and received pension no. 518221, drawing $16.00 per month in 1896 (?).

John was a widower with no family when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 441) for the first time on November 18, 1886, and discharged on July 30, 1887; he was in and out of the home several times before being admitted to the Home for the last time on March 31, 1897.

John died of senile debility and cystitis at the Home on April 6, 1897, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section 1 row 2 grave no. 33.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Guilford Dudley Taylor

Guilford Dudley Taylor was born on June 1, 1847, in either Vermontville, Franklin County, New York or in Hermon, St. Lawrence County, New York, the son of David (b. 1812) and Nancy (Van Kamp, b. 1807).

Vermonters David and Nancy were married, possibly in Vermont, and eventually settled in New York. The family left New York and moved to Michigan, sometime between 1847 and 1850 when David and his family had settled in Wright, Ottawa County where he worked as a blacksmith. By 1860 Guilford was a farmer living with his parents in Polkton, Ottawa County.

Guilford stood 5’4” with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 14 years old and probably still living in Polkton when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was discharged on October 21, 1861, at Fort Richardson, Virginia, for “general debility” and “deformity of right elbow of long standing caused by fall from horse 10 years since, [which] produced fracture of joint.”

After he left the army Guilford returned to Ottawa County, probably to the family home in Coopersville, Polkton Township where he married Lucy A. Randall (1845-1934), on December 3, 1866 and they had at least two children: Percy (1869-1919) and Fanny (1876-1895) and Guildford (b. 1896). She was the sister of Charles Randall also of the Third Michigan).

By 1870, however, he was working as a shoemaker and living with his father in Polkton, Ottawa County, and Lucy is living with her parents in Coopersville -- also living with her is a 6-year-old boy named Charles Randall, probably named after her brother who died during the war. In any case, there is no mention of “Percy” Taylor in the census for that year. By 1880 Guilford was working as a sailor and living with his wife and children with his father-in- in Coopersville. In 1920 Guilford was living with his wife Lucy and their son Guilford in Coopersville. It is quite likely Guilford lived in Coopersville the rest of his life.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and of the Grand Army of the Republic Randall post. no. 238 in Coopersville, and he received a pension (no. 389732) dated June 6, 1888, increased to $30.00 per month in 1918, and to $72.00 per month in 1924.

Guilford died February 9 or 10, 1930, presumably in Coopersville, and was buried in Coopersville cemetery.

In late February of 1930 his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for a pension (no. 1661926) but the certificate was never granted.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

George Philo Taylor

George Philo Taylor was born on October 9, 1837, in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, Michigan, the son of Levi (1792-1871) and Lucy (Reed, b. 1798).

Vermonter Levi married New York native Lucy in 1818 in Gorham, Ontario County, New York, and by 1819 they were living in Lewiston, Niagara County. They moved to Lockport in Niagara County before 1824 and resided there until at least 1828. Between 1828 and 1837 they moved to Michigan settling in Ypsilanti by the time George and his twin brother William were born. Levi eventually settled in Ionia County, in Cass Township by 1840 and by 1850 was working a a farm in Ionia Township, where George attended school with his siblings. In 1860 George was a student living in Ionia, Ionia County, possibly with his older brother Palmer and his family, where his brother worked as a carpenter. Their parents lived just a few houses away.

George was 22 years old and residing in Ionia when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.) George was reported Regimental Bandmaster in May of 1862, but following the abolition of Regimental bands in the Army of the Potomac in the summer of 1862, George was designated as a hospital steward on August 1, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge George returned to Michigan.

He was married to Michigan native Hannah Beckwith (b. 1842) and they had at least one child: Jean (b. 1868).

By 1870 George was working as a farmer and living with his wife and child in Ionia, Ionia County; next door lived George’s parents. (Levi died in Ionia in 1871.) By 1880 George was a widower and working as a physician and living with his daughter Jean in the village of Loveland, Las Animas County, Colorado; also living with them was his mother-in-law Jean Beckwith. His widowed mother Lucy was still living in Ionia, Ionia County in 1880.

No pension seems to be available.

He reportedly died in April of 1882. Alternatively, he may have been married to Sarah, and possibly died in 1927 and was buried in Spring Lake cemetery, Ottawa County. There was a civil war veteran named George P. Taylor living in Wright, Ottawa County in 1894, and one George Taylor living in Danby, Ionia County in 1894.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

David E. Taylor

David E. Taylor was born in 1840 in Burton, Geauga County, Ohio.

David left Ohio and had settled in Michigan by the time the broke out.

He stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer possibly from St. Johns, Clinton County, or perhaps living in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his older brother Samuel. (Both were possibly related to Chauncey B., James, John A., John M. and Martin, all of whom would also enlist in Company I.) David was sick in the hospital from May 29, 1862, and according to one report he was among the sick and wounded soldiers who had arrived in Detroit Barracks on July 9. He remained hospitalized, possibly in Detroit, until he was discharged for chronic diarrhea on April 30, 1863, at Camp Convalescent, Virginia.

He was married to Pennsylvania native Hannah M. (b. 1843) and they had at least one child: Clara E. (b. 1865).

They were probably living in Ohio in 1865 when their daughter Clara was born but David eventually returned to Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and daughter in Ovid, Clinton County, next door to his older brother Samuel and his family. (In 1880 Samuel and his family were still residing in Ovid.)

In 1869 (?) he applied for and received a pension (no. 345960).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chauncey Brewer, James Monroe, John Abram and Martin Van Buren Taylor

Chauncey Brewer Taylor was born on May 1, 1843 in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of James F. or H. (1806-1873) and Harriet (Brewer, 1812-1857).

Quebec-born James married New York native Harriet and came to Michigan sometime before 1834, and eventually settled in Oakland County. At some point after 1843 James moved his family again, eventually settling by 1850 in Eagle Township, Clinton County, where Chauncey was attending school with his siblings. Sometime in the late 1850s James settled his family farther west in Allendale, Ottawa County where Harriet died in 1857. James was serving as a Justice of the Peace in Ottawa County by the early 1860s and probably remarried to one Clara after settling in Allendale.

Chauncey stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Allendale when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his older brothers James and Martin. Another older brother, John A., would join them in 1862. They may have all have been related to David, John M. and/or Samuel Taylor. all of whom would also enlist in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, many from the eastern side of the County.)

Chauncey was reported sick in the hospital in November of 1862, but eventually returned to duty. He was with the regiment while it was in winter quarters at Camp Bullock, Virginia, near Washington, DC.

On February 12, 1863, he wrote to Catharine Hamilton, a young friend in Grand Rapids.

With pleasure I pen you a few lines this evening to let you know that I am still well and able to take my share of the confiscated property that is to be found in this state, and also, somebody else’s share, if they only let it lay out in the dew, so that it will stick to my hands. I do not mean to insinuate that I ever steal anything, for you know I do not, but I sometimes buy a pig, or a sheep, or a chicken when the owner is gone to mill.

You know I do not take anything that I cannot carry, unless there is someone to help me.

But enough of this.

I arrived in camp the night of the ninth and I have been so lonely ever since that I don’t know what to do with myself.
You see there is no one that knows that I have returned to the army as yet and I have not got any mail until this evening, and that was from home, and I have to find something to busy myself about, and so I have taken to writing to my friends that are far away.

I have written twelve letters since I came here and have worked all the time. The sun gives me lite so I could work to get my house built, so to do nothing but write.

There is nothing to do in camp for me now but to tend to my correspondences.

Catharine write to me as soon as possible for you do not know how I love to get letters from my friends, and I will gladly reply, and as often as you wish to write, and perhaps oftener. Catharine, if you only knew how much joy it is to the joy forsaken soldier to read the letters from friends . . . and to get letters from anywhere, you would write very often, I am sure.

And I hope you will not fail to write, as it is and then I will try to tell you how pleasant it is, and more. I will promise to prove to you that it is very pleasant by showing you how constant I will be and prompt to answer every one you write.

Now how is the rest of the young people that I am acquainted? How is Olive and Louisa and Mr. Barker [?] and all the friends. Please give my kindest regards and best wishes to them. Say to them that I should like to hear from them very much.

Hoping this may find you in good health and to hear from you I remain, Your true friend, Chauncey B. Taylor.

Although Chauncey was reported AWOL in August of 1863, he had returned to duty by the time he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Hamburg, Livingston County. He 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. He was transferred as a Musician (probably a bugler) to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was listed on detached service from September through October of 1864. He was reported as a nurse in City Point hospital, Virginia in November and serving with the Quartermaster department in December of 1864, possibly as a nurse, and in March of 1865 was in the Division ambulance train. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Chauncey returned to his home in Allendale where he lived briefly and possibly worked as a carpenter. He was married to Sarah Ellsworth (b. 1859), and they had at least two children: George (b. 1877) and John L. (b. 1879). Sarah and Chauncey eventually divorced. He soon moved on to Cheboygan, Cheboygan County, and was living in Evart, Osceola County in 1877 when he became a member of Grand Army of the Republic Sedgwick Post No. 16 in Evart. By 1880 he was working as a common laborer and living with his wife Sarah and their two sons in Munro, Cheboygan County; he was living with Alonzo Carter. He eventually moved on to Wisconsin, living variously in Columbia, Neillsville and Eau Claire.

Chauncey probably married his second wife Mary Dunn Sullivan on November 15, 1891 (they, too, were divorced). He was married a third time, on June 28, 1893 to Frances L. Stolliker; this also ended in divorce. He had at least three more children: Joseph B., Louisa B. (b. 1898) and Chauncey Jr. (b. 1901), the last two by Florence.

Chauncey was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, a Protestant and he received pension no. 802,503, drawing $25.00 in 1914, raised to $40.00 by 1920.

Chauncey was probably living in Wisconsin in 1911 when he was admitted to the Northwestern Branch National Military Home in Milwaukee, but was discharged and admitted as a single man to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 6717) on October 8, 1914,and discharged at his own request on September 20, 1915. He was readmitted on October 6, 1916, discharged on October 9, 1918, and admitted for the final time on July 8, 1920.

Chauncey died of acute dilatation of the heart on April 20, 1920, at Blodgett hospital in East Grand Rapids, and was buried in the Michigan Soldiers’ Home cemetery: section 7 row 13 grave no. 34.

In 1924 his widow applied for a pension (no. 1222681), but the certificate was never granted.

James Monroe Taylor was born in 1838 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of James F. or H. (1806-1873) and Harriet (Brewer, 1812-1857).

Quebec-born James F. married New York native Harriet and came to Michigan sometime before 1834, and eventually settled in Oakland County. At some point after 1843 James moved his family again, eventually settling by 1850 in Eagle Township, Clinton County. (Although curiously James M. is not recorded in the 1850 census with his family.) But in the late 1850s th elder James settled his family in Allendale, Ottawa County where Harriet died in 1857. James F. was serving as a Justice of the Peace by the early 1860s and probably remarried to one Clara after settling in Allendale.

James Monroe stood 5’11” with blue eyes, brown hair and was 23 years old and probably living in Allendale when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brothers Chauncey and Martin. Another older brother, John A., would join them in 1862; they may also have been related to David, John M. and/or Samuel Taylor, all of whom would also enlist in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) By late April of 1863 he was sharing a tent with his two brothers John and Martin.

During the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863, when General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was wounded, James and several other men of the Third Michigan became separated from the regiment. In 1888, Taylor wrote to the editor of the National Tribune, the newspaper for the Grand Army of the Republic,

I notice quite a number of articles in The National Tribune of late concerning the death of Stonewall Jackson. I was present at the time Stonewall Jackson was killed. I was a member of Co. I, 3d Mich., of the Third Division (the Red Diamond), Third Corps. Our corps that day had been thrown out nearly five miles in the advance of the main army, following, as we then supposed, Lee’s retreating army; but, as we soon learned, it was one of Jackson’s ruses to draw us out while he made his flank attack upon Gen. [O.O.] Howard’s (Eleventh) Corps. In the afternoon we fell back nearly three and a half miles to within about one and a half miles of our main army, where we found ourselves cut off, with Early’s and Jackson’s troops between us and our army. We formed in line for battle in a large cleared field, where our brigade lay in two lines about 12 feet apart. While we were in line there some person on horseback dashed by us, jumping the rear line about 30 feet to my right, passed between the two lines -- about 60 feet apart, jumped the front line and dashed into the woods to the front and left of where I lay, he coming from the direction of [confederate Gen. Jubal] Early’s command and going toward Jackson’s.

From the description I had of Gen. Jackson I always believed that it was he.

Shortly afterwards, about 11 o’clock, [Gen. David] Birney’s whole division moved forward to that famous night charge, [Gen. Hobart] Ward’s brigade leading, ours following, and Graham’s following us, with orders to make as little noise as possible until we came upon the enemy; then make all the noise possible, both with our guns and throats, which we did to the best of our ability. In this charge we got separated, part swinging to the right and part toward the left. I was near the center, and after the first heavy firing had abated I found myself between two fires. While taking my bearings, the firing having ceased, and studying in which direction to go, I heard a shot, followed by a light volley but a short distance away, and immediately heard the Johnnies saying “the ____ Yanks have killed Jackson,” when I lit out in the opposite direction, and finally came out where we started from.

Capt [Thomas] Tait [sic] and eight others got together from my regiment that night. We got an early breakfast, while the Captain said he would look for the regiment. We swallowed our grub in a hurry, in anticipation of hot work as soon as daylight came; and before sunrise the rebs were peppering it to us form three sides, when, you bet, we did some tall running just about that time. It has always been a mystery to me how we ever escaped form there. I can look back now, and as I imagine I see those long strides and lying coat-tails, I think we must have outrun their infernal lead, to which I attribute our miraculous escape.

We came out at the Chancellor House, after which we found our regiment at the point or curve of our line, about a half mile to the right of the Chancellor House, where we made another charge, led by Maj. [Moses] Houghton in his short-sleeves, a revolver in each hand, and we took in about 500 prisoners in short order. We remained at this point until the close of that battle.

This Spring [1888], I took a trip down through Arkansas. Six miles south of Clinton I took dinner with an old Johnny by the name of Samuel Shannon, of Co. I, 19th Ga., and two other ex-Confederate soldiers who served in Lee’s Army of Virginia. Mr. Shannon was present when Jackson was shot. He held Gen. Jackson’s horse as Jackson mounted and started to the front where he received the shot, as claimed by Comrade Sweet, shot by Rankin, followed by a light volley. Mr. Shannon is positive he was not shot by their men, but by our men; which, with my own knowledge, forever settles with me the manner of Gen. Jackson’s death. Mr. Shannon also says that Jackson passed from Early’s command through our corps that night to his command, which I fully believe.

James was absent sick in the hospital from June of 1863 until he was transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps September 30, 1863, and was possibly stationed in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (He apparently served in Company B, Ninth VRC.)

He married Henrietta Clum in September of 1863, possibly while he was posted with the VRC in Pennsylvania.

James was eventually discharged from the army and returned to Allendale where for some years he farmed on the northeast corner of Eighty-fourth Avenue and Buchanan Street. He was probably still living in Allendale in 1870 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 131252).

In late 1876 or early 1877 James and his brother Martin moved to Kansas to join another brother, John A., and by 1880 James was farming in Ness County, Kansas and living with his wife. James remained in Kansas from 1877 until about 1887 when he moved to Arkansas with John A. where they lived until 1902 (in 1900 James was living in Springdale, Arkansas).

Both James and John A. then moved to the Oakland, California area (Martin returned to Ottawa County) and by 1911 James was residing at 626 Fifty-ninth Street in Oakland, California. About 1919 James was admitted to the Soldiers’ Home in Oakland. In 1920 he was lodging with the Krijczk family in Alameda, California.

James was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

James died on September 23, 1923, in Oakland, and was buried in the Soldiers’ Home in Oakland.

John Abram Taylor was born on April 3, 1835, in Michigan, son of James F. or H. (1806-1873) and Harriet (Brewer, 1812-1857).

Quebec-born James married New York native Harriet and came to Michigan sometime before 1834, and eventually settled in Oakland County. At some point after 1843 James moved his family again, eventually settling by 1850 in Eagle Township, Clinton County, where John was attending school with his siblings. In the late 1850s James settled his family in Allendale, Ottawa County where Harriet died in 1857. James was serving as a Justice of the Peace by the early 1860s and probably remarried one Clara after settling in Allendale.

John A. married his first wife Jane Ann Waters in 1855 (they divorced in 1858), and they had one child, a daughter Harriet Amelia (b. 1856).

John A. was 26 years old and living in either Allendale or Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company I on November 5, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, joining his three younger brothers Chauncey, James and Martin. They may also have been related to David, John M. and/or Samuel Taylor, all of whom would also enlist in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

John A. joined the Regiment December 26, 1862, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, and by late April he was sharing a tent with his two brothers James and Martin. John was shot in the right shoulder on May 2, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, the bullet exiting near the upper part of his arm. He was subsequently hospitalized, and transferred to Seventy-eighth Company, Second Batallion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps on January 15, 1864, at Washington, DC.

He was eventually discharged from the VRC and returned to Allendale. In January of 1865 he married his second wife Amanda Todd (1850-1909), and they had at least three children: Charles H. (b. 1866), Frank J. (b. 1871) and Anna M. (b. 1873). Following the death of Amanda, John married a third time to Susan McFarline.

In 1867 John applied for and received a pension (no. 82351).

John was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and worked as a farmer on 78 acres in section 9 until about 1876 when he moved his family to Indiana and then on to Kansas, where he was joined by his two brothers James and Martin. All three brothers remained in Kansas from 1877 until about 1887 when they moved to Arkansas where they remained until about 1902 when both James and John then moved to the Oakland, California area, where John worked for some years as a cabinet-maker, and Martin returned to Ottawa County.

John A. died on August 27, 1915, in Oakland, and was reportedly buried in Mountain View cemetery in Oakland, California. Curiously, however, the dates of birth & death are left blank in the space reserved for them on his headstone. It is possible that he was buried in another location, quite likely with his third wife.

Martin Van Buren Taylor was born on October 3, 1840, in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of James F. or H. (1806-1873) and Harriet (Brewer, 1812-1857).

Quebec-born James married New York native Harriet and came to Michigan sometime before 1834, and settled in Oakland County. At some point after 1843 James moved his family again, and by 1850 had settled in Eagle Township, Clinton County, where Martin attended school with his siblings. But in the late 1850s James settled his family in Allendale, Ottawa County where Harriet died in 1857. James was serving as a Justice of the Peace by the early 1860s and probably remarried one Clara after settling in Allendale. Martin may have been living in White Lake, Oakland County in 1860.

In any case, Martin stood 5’7’ with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Allendale when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother Chauncey and older brother James M. Another older brother John A. would join them in 1862; they may also have been related to David, John M. and/or Samuel Taylor, all of whom would also enlist in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

In 1896 Martin told of how the Regiment was given a furlough just before leaving Michigan in June of 1861. “After our enlistment we were quartered in barracks in Grand Rapids” where they waited “to be mustered in the United States service. About three days before [June 7] the muster in [June 10] we were granted furlough for three days to go home and as soon as we returned from this furlough we were discharged from the state service and immediately mustered in the United States service.” He explained that “the furlough we were granted was not a written furlough, the men were merely told that those who wanted to, could go home for three days before being mustered in the United States service.”

Martin was promoted to Corporal on July 1, 1862, and to Sergeant on November 1, 1862 (see his wartime journal he kept regarding company logisitc details). He was reported AWOL in February of 1863, but apparently nothing came of this charge, however. Martin apparently returned to Michigan sometime in late February of 1863.

By early March he had returned to the regiment in its winter quarters at Camp Pitcher, near Washington, DC. On March 9, he wrote to two female friends, Kate and Catharine Hamilton of Grand rapids, how much he enjoyed his recent trip back home.

I must say that I never did enjoy myself better in my life than I did that Monday eve [?] and Tuesday morning I went to the . . . school [and was] well until I came to part with my sister at the depot and there I kept up good spirits as long as I was in their presence but it was lonesome enough to sit in the cars and rehearse the proceedings of the past two weeks or so. But I was not enitely alone as Lieutenants [Thomas] Tate and [Andrew] Nickerson & Sergeant [Charles] Van Dusen all of this regiment were just returning to the regiment.

I came via Canady [sic] and NY city. I left the Rapids on Tuesday morning [and] arrived at Washington on Thursday morning. I went to the Provost Marshal [and] got my transportation pass for to return to my regiment the next day. Stayed with my brother [?] that night . . . . I was a little tardy in getting to the boat the next morning consequently did not leave Washington until yesterday morning. Arrived in camp in the afternoon. You could only imagine how lonesome I was. I know you would pity me, the fact is it was a rainy day & the regiment was nearly all out on picket. They did not return until Tuesday. The time did seem long to me & you young people around there were the subjects of my thoughts a good share of the time.

I feel a little more at home now [that] the boys are here. But still I would give (now) all of my old shoes to be back there & free from the army [and] have peaceable times again.

Now you said you would write if I would, pray do so. You cannot imagine how much consolation it is for a soldier to hear from his friends while away off down here in an enemy’s country weith no associates but soldiers.

I would be very much obliged to you for your picture, iff you feel so disposed as to send them.

Give my respects to all the inquiring friends, if any there be.

By late April the regiment had changed its location and the men were busy constructing new quarters for themselves. Still, Martin took time to wrote to his friends, the Hamilton sisters in Michigan, to express his condolences on the recent death of their father.

Permit me once more [he wrote on April 21] to address a few lines to you in reply to your ever welcome letter of the 24th ult. which was happily received and eagerly perused. But sad was the news it contained. I tell you girls I did feel sad to hear of the death of your poor father. To think that you should be left without a father to counsel and guide you. As you know that ll young people no matter what time[of life] do need a counsellor for many a young person has been ruined by being left alone in this dark world & not seeing . . . full enough.

I know full well how to sympathize with you dear friends.

I presume you can remember when my mother died, it was on the 7th day of May, 1857.

So I was quite a small boy then.

And notwithstanding I have a good step mother, yet it does not seem like home.

I am sorry that I did not go on and see your father when I was there. But I suppose that all is for the best, so says the scriptue. The old must die and the young may die. We know not how soon it may be the fate of one of us to follow him. But we must hope for the better. Look always up on the bright side and make ourselves as happy as possible for this is a world of sorrow and trouble at the best. Well I must change the subject for I am incompetent of advising you feel as though I needed some one to aid me in this unfriendly world.

However girls do the best you can and I will try and do the same.

We have changed our quarters since I wrote you before. We are about two and a half miles from the old camp. It is a very rolling country. Our camp is situated on the side of a hill in a little pine grove surrounded by hard wood such as oak, hickory, beech, a little holly and . . . good spring water. Our houses are all nearly of a size neatly arranged in line by company in columns at company distance. The streets between the companies are turnpiked with . . . sidewalks (four feet in width) in front of the houses. My tent mates are Brothers John & James. Our house is built of three-inch plank . . . 10 ft. 6 in long by 6 ft 8 in wide [and] 5 ft high. A good door on wooden hangings [with a] better floor than the most of the Virginia houses have. A neat little table fastened to the side of the house by leather hinges and a large arm chair of our own manufacture. And what makes it so comfortable and pleasant in rthe evening is the . . . little fire place. All who call on us say we have the most comfortable house in the camp.


Martin was promoted to First Sergeant on March 1, 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

Following his discharge Martin returned to Michigan and married his first wife Aliccia M. Brannan (1848-1911) in December of 1864, and they had at least seven children: William A. (b. 1865), Harriett Elizabeth (b. 1870), Florence E. (b. 1873), Annie E. (b. 1875), Ella Maud (b. 1878), Bertha R. (b. 1880) and Nellie A. (b. 1883. He lived for a time in Wyoming, Kent County, but sometime in late 1876 or early 1877 he and his brother James joined their brother John A. in Kansas.

By 1880 Martin was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Ohio, Morris County, Kansas. Martin remained in Kansas from 1877 until perhaps late 1886 or early 1887 when he probably moved back to Ottawa County. He was reported living in Eastmanville and in Allendale in 1888, in Conklin, Ottawa County in 1890, in Wright, Ottawa County in 1894 and by 1896 he was living in Grandville, Kent County, working as a lumberman, carpenter and farmer.

Martin was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, a Protestant and he received pension no. 738,771, drawing $12.00 in 1910, increased to $30.00, then $40.00 and finally to $50.00 by 1918.

Martin was still living in Grandville in 1906 and in fact resided in Grandville until he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 5707) on July 26, 1910, and discharged at his own request on October 14, 1915. He was readmitted on May 3, 1917, discharged on March 5, 1919, and eventually moved out west. By 1920 he was living in the National Military Home in Malibu, Los Angeles County, California. He was soon back at his home in Grandville and was again admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home on April 12, 1921, and discharged for the final time on November 16, 1923.

Martin married his second wife Ohio native Mary Jane Bremmer (b. 1850) in 1923, and by 1925 had reportedly moved to La Honda, California. By 1930 he and his wife Mary were living in La Sierra Heights, Temeschal Township, Riverside County, California; also living with them was Mary’s daughter from a previous marriage, Elizabeth Bremmer (b. 1891 in Michigan).

Martin died on June 12, 1930 in Arlington, California, and his body was sent back to Michigan where he was buried in Grandville cemetery.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frederick Tate

Frederick Tate was born in 1828, in England or in Massachusetts.

Frederick was probably living in Rhode Island when he married Rhode Island native Charlotte E. Hadley (1817-1906) on August 4, 1849, in Providence, and they had at least one child, a daughter Jennie L. (1850-1920), who may have been either physically handicapped or mentally ill.

By 1850 Fred was working in a factory and living with his wife Charlotte in Providence, Rhode Island. Next door lived one Andrew Tate, who had been born in 1820 in Massachussetts. Fred left Rhode Island, probably by himself, and eventually settled in western Michigan by 1860 when he was working as a lumberman and shingle-maker living with and/or working for William Woodruff, a farmer in Blendon, Ottawa County. (Curiously there were four Tate brothers also living in Ottawa County who would join Company I along with Fred; three of them had also been born in Massachussets.)

Although he listed his place of residence during the war as Providence, Rhode Island (his wife remained in Rhode Island during this period), Fred was 33 years old and probably working in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861.

Fred was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862, probably suffering from typhoid fever, and according to the testimony of Captain Thomas Tate of Company I, Frederick contracted the disease “in the field in the following manner. While the company to which he belonged was lying before Richmond he was attacked with diarrhea and chill fever, caused by exposure and over exertion and on the arrival of the Regiment at Alexandria, Va., en route to join Gen. Pope, he was sent to the gen. hospital at Washington, DC.”

On August 25, 1862, Fred was admitted to Emory hospital, Washington, DC where he died of typhoid fever on August 31, 1862, and was buried in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery), probably in section C no. 3256. If so he was mistakenly listed as “William” Tate.

His widow, who was living in Providence, applied for and received pension no. 31,087, dated March of 1864. Subsequently a pension was also filed on behalf of and approved for a “helpless child”(no. 824,774), dated March of 1917. From 1890 to 1892 Charlotte was living at 2 Olney in Providence, working at machine stitching.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alfred, John Jr., Thomas and William Tate

Alfred E. Tate was born in 1842 in Franklin County, Massachusetts, the son of John (1815-1900) and Barbara (1815-1888).

Sometime between 1837 and 1840 his parents moved from England to Massachusetts, and then from Massachusetts to Michigan between 1844 and 1846, and by 1850 Alfred was living with his family in Georgetown, Ottawa County, where his father worked as a laborer.

By 1860 Alfred was living with his family and attending school with three of his younger siblings. He was also apparently was working as a mill hand and living at the Paddock boarding house in Georgetown along with John Finch (Company I), Albert Hayes (Company I), Joseph Ledbeter (Company B), Benjamin Parker (Company I), James Parm (Company I), Thomas Rowling (Company B), Stephen Scales (Company I), his older brother William (Company I), and John M. Taylor (Company I).

Alfred stood 5’10” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 22 years old and probably still living in Georgetown when he enlisted in Company F on February 8, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day, joining his three older brothers Thomas, William and John who had previously enlisted in Company I (and he was possibly related to Frederick who would also enlist in Company I). Alfred joined the Regiment on February 17 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, was absent sick in the hospital in May and may have still been absent in the hospital when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was absent on sick leave from December of 1864 through January of 1865, and was mustered out as a Corporal on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Alfred eventually returned to western Michigan.

In 1871 Alfred married New York native Joanna (d. 1854), and they had at least four children: Frank (b. 1874), Alfred, William and Ray.

He was possibly working as a drayman (if so possibly for his brother Thomas who owned a livery stable in Lowell) and living in Lowell, Kent County in the late 1860s. By 1870 he was living with his parents in Georgetown, Ottawa County in 1870; his father owned $2000 worth of real estate. By 1880 Alfred was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son Frank in Georgetown. And he was living in Georgetown in 1890 and in 1894. By 1895 he was residing in Hudsonville, Ottawa County where he was living from 1906-10 and on R.R. no. 1 in 1911 and 1922, and in Grandville, Kent County in 1916, 1923 and 1925.

Alfred was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and the Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids until he was suspended November 26, 1908.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 791371).

Alfred died on September 14, 1928 or 1929, in Hudsonville, and was buried in Georgetown cemetery: lot 452 grave no. 1.

In 1928 or 1929 his widow also applied for a pension (no. 1627856) but the certificate was never granted.

John Tate Jr. was born in 1844, probably in Leighton (?), Massachusetts, the son of John (1815-1900) and Barbara (1815-1888).

Sometime between 1837 and 1840 the family moved from England to Massachusetts, then from Massachusetts to Michigan between 1844 and 1846, and by 1850 John was living with his family in Georgetown, Ottawa County, where his father worked as a laborer. His father John was still living in Georgetown in 1860.

John stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer living in Georgetown when he enlisted in Company I, joining his older brothers Thomas and William (who had enlisted in Company I in 1861), on August 19 or 20, 1862, at Ionia for 3 years, crediting Georgetown, and was mustered on August 19 at Detroit; another older brother Alfred would enlist in Company F in 1864. John may have been related to Frederick who also enlisted in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

John Jr. joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, and was in the Regimental Quartermaster department in charge of public animals from December of 1862 through November of 1863. In late February and early march of 1864 he was hospitalized, presumably in the regimental hospital, suffering from “intermittent fever” and returned to duty probably sometime in March. In any case, he was present for duty and with his company when he was severely wounded in both of his thighs on May 6, 1864 and subsequently hospitalized. John was probably still absent sick when he was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick through the summer. In fact he was furloughed, probably from a hospuital, in late July. He remained absent sick from the regiment until he was discharged for disability on October 8 at Armory Square hospital, Washington, DC, or on October 14, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia.

After he was discharged from the army John returned to Michigan.

In October of 1864 he applied for and received a pension (no. 35432).

He was probably living in Lowell, Kent County in 1869, when he married Michigan native Fanny or Fannie M. Miller (1850-1926) on September 6, 1869, in Vergennes, Kent County, and they had at least three children: Lizzie B. (b. 1871), Edith Lucy (b. 1881) and John Evert (b. 1884).

By 1870 he was working as baggage agent and living with his wife in Lowell village, Kent County; his older brother Thomas operated a livery stable and lived just two houses away. (His parents were still living in Georgetown, Ottawa County in 1870; his father owned $2000 worth of real estate.) John and his wife were still living in Michigan in 1871 by the time their daughter was born but eventually moved to Kansas. By 1880 John was working as a stock and grain dealer and living with his wife and daughter in Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas; also living with them were Ann Miller, his mother-in-law, a boarder named George Evans and a servant named Lizzie Williams.

John died on February 14, 1886, in Chicago, Illinois, and the body was returned to Concordia where he was buried on February 17, 1886.

Fannie was living in Concordia, Kansas, in 1886 when she applied for a dependent widow’s pension. By 1890 Fannie had remarried to a W. E. Poston and was living in Concordia, Kansas in August of 1890 when she applied for a pension as guardian on behalf of aher two minor children (no. 427013). (She eventually divorced Mr. Poston and remarried to Fernando Page, of Grand Rapids and Washington, DC. Page, too, had served in the Third Michigan during the war.

Thomas Tate was born in 1837 in England, the son of John (1815-1900) and Barbara (1815-1888).

Sometime between 1837 and 1840 the family moved from England to Massachusetts, then from Massachusetts to Michigan between 1844 and 1846, and by 1850 Thomas was living with his family in Georgetown, Ottawa County, where his father worked as a laborer. His father John was still living in Georgetown in 1860.

Thomas was 24 years old and probably living in Georgetown when he enlisted as Fifth Sergeant in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother William. Their younger brothers John and Alfred would enlist in Company I in 1862 and in Company F in 1864, respectively. Thomas may also have been related to Frederick who also enlisted in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

Thomas was promoted to Second Lieutenant April 3, 1862, commissioned the same day, and in October was promoted to First Lieutenant, commissioned as of September 17. He was home in Michigan during the winter of 1863, and rejoined the regiment in early March of that year. Thomas transferred to Company B on May 1, 1863 and promoted to Captain, commissioned March 28, 1863, replacing Captain Fred Stowe.

He was wounded slightly in the right eye on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. According to James Taylor of Company I, Thomas and eight other men became separated from the Third Michigan. About 11:00 p.m., wrote Taylor after the war, Birney’s division,”moved forward to that famous night charge, Ward’s brigade leading, ours following, and Graham’s following us, with orders to make as little noise as possible until we came upon the enemy; then make all the noise possible, both with our guns and throats, which we did to the best of our ability. In this charge we got separated, part swinging to the right and part toward the left. I was near the center, and after the first heavy firing had abated I found myself between two fires. . . . Capt Tait [sic] and eight others got together from my regiment that night. We got an early breakfast, while the Captain said he would look for the regiment.” It is unclear what became of Tate after that.

In any case, Thomas apparently recovered and by the first of September was reportedly in command of Company F. He was on detached service in Michigan, presumably recruiting, from December 29, 1863, through January of 1864, and returned to the Regiment in time for the opening of the Spring campaign. He was shot in the left side of his groin on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and according to Dan Crotty of Company F, Thomas had been severely wounded while leading his company on a countercharge against the rebels. He was admitted to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC on May 12 with a gunshot wound, and sent to Armory Square hospital in Washington on May 20.

He was still absent wounded when he was transferred as Captain to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and remained absent wounded through August. In fact, he had returned home to western Michigan on furlough. On July 14 he arrived at the Rathbun House in Grand Rapids.”The Captain,” wrote the Eagle the next day, “was wounded in battle on the 12th of May last, and he has been in hospital since that time, or up to within a few days past, when he had so far recovered as to enable him to come home. Capt. Tate and the majority of the men in his command were among the reenlisted veterans, who visited their homes in this city and vicinity, last winter upon a short furlough, under the command of Capt. Loring [Lowing].”

On August 22 he applied for an extension of his leave on the basis of his health, and supposedly left on the morning of September 5 to rejoin his command. In fact, in September of 1864 he reported for duty at the draft rendezvous in Jackson, Jackson County where he served through May of 1865 as Acting Assistant Inspector General. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Thomas eventually returned to western Michigan, and soon settled in Kent County. Thomas worked for some years as a tanner, and by the late 1860s he was working and living in Lowell, Kent County, and in September of 1868 was elected as Second Lieutenant of the newly formed Tanner’s Club in Lowell. The club was in the process building a new tannery in Lowell which was to be dedicated the following week.

He was working in the livery business when he married New York native Phebe Southard (1853-1919) on March 24, 1869, in Grand Rapids; they had at least four children: Willie (1871-1872), Maggie L. (b. 1874), George M. (1876-1961) and Bessie B. (b. 1878).

By 1870 Thomas owned and operated a livery stable in Lowell, Kent County and was living with his wife next door to her family; and next door to the Southards was Thomas’ younger brother John and his wife Fanny. John was working as a baggage agent. (His parents were still living in Georgetown, Ottawa County in 1870; his father owned $2000 worth of real estate.)

He was possibly living in Eaton Rapids, Eaton County in 1872, back in Lowell in 1874 where he operated a livery stable and worked as a deputy sheriff. According to the Eagle of April 11, 1874, deputy sheriff Thomas Tate arrested one William Fry who lived a short distance from Lowell and who was charged with raping his fifteen-year old daughter. Tate brought Fry to Grand Rapids, wrote the paper, “last night and lodged him in jail. He did not dare to leave him in Lowell, fearing that the people, in their indignation, would attempt to mob him, perhaps to lynch him.”

By 1880 Thomas was “keeping a livery stable” and living with his wife and children in Lowell. Also working at the stable was his brother-in-law George Southard.

Thomas was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1870 he applied for and received a pension (no. 107093).

Thomas probably died in 1887, possibly in Michigan, and although there is no record of his death on file in Kent County, he may in fact have died in Lowell and may have been buried in Oakwood cemetery or in the Lowell area. (His widow was buried in Oakwood cemetery, 0-114-3 in 1919.)

In September of 1887 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 343829). By 1890 she was residing in Lowell.

William Tate was born in 1840 in Massachusetts, the son of John (1815-1900) and Barbara (1815-1888).

Sometime between 1837 and 1840 the family moved from England to Massachusetts, then from Massachusetts to Michigan between 1844 and 1846, and by 1850 William was living with his family in Georgetown, Ottawa County, where his father worked as a laborer.

In 1860 William was a mill worker living in Georgetown at the same boarding house as John Finch (Company I) company, Albert Hayes (Company I), Joseph Ledbeter (Company B), Benjamin Parker (Company I), James Parm (Company I), Thomas Rowling (Company B), Stephen Scales (Company I), his younger brother Alfred (Company F), and John M. Taylor (Company I). (His father John was still living in Georgetown in 1860.)

William was 21 years old and residing in Georgetown when he enlisted as Fourth Corporal in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his older brother Thomas. Their younger brothers John and Alfred would enlist in Company I in 1862 and in Company F in 1864, respectively; he may also have been related to Frederick who also enlisted in Company I. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

By mid-November 1861, William was in the Union Hotel hospital in Washington, DC. He apparently recovered his health and was present for duty and had been promoted to Sergeant when he was killed in action on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. William was buried in Seven Pines National Cemetery: section D, grave 410, although there is a also marker for him in Georgetown cemetery, Ottawa County.

No pension seems to be available.

His parents were still living in Georgetown, Ottawa County in 1870; his father owned $2000 worth of real estate.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Levi S. Tanner

Levi S. Tanner was born on June 22, 1840, in either Columbus, Franklin County, or Fairfield, Butler County, Ohio, the son of the John B. (1815-1903) and Sarah (Peugh, 1819-1881).

Maryland native John B. married Sarah, probably in Ohio where she was born and eventually settled in Ohio by 1840. Levi’s family moved from Ohio to Michigan probably sometime between 1850 and 1860 when Levi was a farm laborer working for Zebulon Hinman in Sparta, Kent County. He was probably living with his family in Chester, Ottawa County, where his father worked as a farmer. (Nearby lived John Crysler who would also enlist in the Third Michigan.)

Levi stood 5’7” with black eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was 21 years old and residing in Chester when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was reported as a company cook from September of 1862 through October, but had been promoted to Corporal by December 23, 1863, when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids’ Second Ward, and was probably absent on veteran’s furlough, presumably in Michigan, in January of 1864.

Levi probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February and was shot in the right thigh on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. He was subsequently hospitalized in Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, and was still in the hospital when he was transferred as Corporal to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. On August 21 Levi was transferred from Armory Square hospital to Judiciary Square hospital in Washington, where his right leg was amputated above the knee.

He was furloughed on October 25 for 20 days, and while home on sick furlough he married Swedish-born Matilda Sowers (b. 1843) on December 4, 1864, in Walker, Kent County. Apparently he returned to Washington and was readmitted to the hospital on December 9. He discharged on December 29, 1864, at Judiciary Square for “loss of right thigh at lower third from gunshot wound.”

After his discharge from the army Levi returned to Kent County. He was living in Sparta by 1870 when he received an artificial leg from a company in Washington, DC. By 1880 he was working as a shoemaker and living with his wife in Sparta. In fact, he lived in Sparta virtually his entire life, where for some years he operated a store. (His father was still living in Chester, Ottawa County in 1880.)

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and probably a member of the GAR.

Shortly after his discharge from the army Levi received pension no. 38,182, drawing $24.00 per month in 1883, increased to $48.00 in 1906, presumably for his amputated limb.

In 1873 he wrote to the War Department requesting an increase in his pension. On March 13, 1873, he sent a communication addressed to either the Secretary of War or the Pension Commissioner, informing them that “I feel that I had a right [to] have a rise in my pension. I have got so I can’t hardly get around, have to go on crutches most of my time so to get around. My stub [stump] has become so tender, and my armpits get so sore on hot days. If I am not very careful they will scald then [I] got to lie down on my back [with my] arms up over my head for one to three days to let them cool off & heal up. In all it is anything but pleasant, so as it is with me I got to stay at home [and] hear but little of what is going on in the outside world.”

According to a sworn statement Tanner gave in April of 1906, his “stump is now and has been for several years in such a condition as to totally prevent the use of an artificial limb. . . .” And in July of the same year Dr. John Gillett of Sparta testified that in fact he was ‘satisfied that he could with any comfort wear any kind of artificial limb, th stump not being suitable for one. The end of the femur is covered by not more than one-half inch of integument, and is very tender and sensitive to pressure.”

The following year, one Christine Strouhn testified that she had been taking care of Levi for some two years “in undressing and dressing, giving him baths, have helped him in various ways in getting about the house and down and up the steps have run wheel chair down the steps which he has to use in place of crutches in going about on the side walks. . . .”

Levi was still residing in Sparta in 1909 and 1913.

He died on March 4, 1919, in Sparta but his burial location remains unknown; there is no record of his death in Kent County or burial in the Sparta area.

Friday, December 10, 2010

George W. Taite

George W. Taite was born on June 23, 1837 or 1838, in Jefferson County, New York, the son of George W. and Jeanette (Kearns).

George’s parents emigrated from Scotland and arrived in America around 1833, settling eventually in New York. Around 1846 George’s family moved to Wisconsin, probably to Racine, Racine County, where his father was living in 1850; indeed, George’s parents remained in Racine for the rest of their lives.

George left Wisconsin and by 1860 had settled in western Michigan where he was working as a “log driver.” He was living in Muskegon, Muskegon County at the same boarding house with Thomas Waters, William Ryan and George Root, all three of whom would join Company H.

George stood 5’9” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 22 years old and possibly living in Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. George was shot in the left hand on July 1, 1862, at Malvern Hill, Virginia, and transferred from the field to the hospital at Fortress Monroe where he arrived on July 6 aboard the steamer Knickerbocker. He was discharged for disability on October 7, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, presumably for his wounds.

After he was discharged George eventually returned to Michigan and for some years he lived in the Muskegon area, where he engaged in farming and lumbering.

He was married twice (or perhaps three times). He married his first wife, Florence Joslin (b. 1852), on July 1, 1866, and they had at least one child, a son George (b. 1871). (Florence may have been related to George Joslin, who had also served in Company K during the war.)

By 1870 George “Tate” was working as a raftsman and living with his wife and her family in Newaygo, Newaygo County. By 1880 George was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son in Sherman, Newaygo County.

It is not known whatever became of Florence. On February 13, 1883, George married Rhoda Steel. (He may also have been married to one Sophronia and/or to “M.”)

In June of 1875 George himself purchased 60 acres of land in Sherman Township in Newaygo County. He worked that land until 1882 when he sold it to Byron Waters. Beginning in about the early 1870s George was employed as foreman of several local lumbering companies: he was three years with Kell, Wood & Co., of Muskegon and five years with O. W. Squires. In the summer of 1883, George joined with Henry Orton and took over control of the Newaygo County Poor Farm, which then consisted of some 140 acres, 96 of which were under cultivation.

He was working as a farmer in Fremont, Newaygo County in 1883 when he was drawing $6.00 per month for a wounded left hand ( pension no. 100,127); that same year he was possibly working also in Hart, Oceana County.

By 1890 he was residing in Fremont and by 1894 he was probably living in Sherman, Newaygo County (or he may have been living in Elbridge, Oceana County). Sometime in the 1880s George joined the Grand Army of the Republic Henry Dobson post 182 in Fremont; and he was also a member of the I.O.O.F. Politically he was affiliated with the National Party.

George died of heart disease at his home in Fremont on April 4, 1900, and was buried in Maple Grove cemetery in Fremont, section F, row 22.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Herbert Stevens Taft

Herbert Stevens Taft was born on July 27, 1840, in Sheffield or Kingsville (?), Ashtabula County, Ohio, the son of Matthew D. (1810-1891) and Susan (Stevens, b. 1813).

New York natives Matthew and Susan were married around 1835, possibly in New York and by 1837 had settled in Ohio where they lived for some years. By 1850 Matthew and his family were living in Sheffield, Ashtabula County, Ohio, where Herbert attended school with his siblings. Sometime between 1848 and 1849 the family moved to Michigan, and by 1860 Herbert was a student living with his family in Lyons, Ionia County, where his father owned a substantial farm.

Herbert stood 5’8” with black eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and probably still living in Ionia County when he enlisted as Second Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was absent sick from November of 1862 until he was discharged as a Sergeant for chronic diarrhea on January 21, 1863, at Stewart’s Mansion hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

After he was discharged from the army Herbert returned to Michigan.

He married New York native Alice E. Hamilton (b. 1845), on April 4, 1864, in Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, and they had at least three children: Harry (b. 1865), Carleton (b. 1868) and Bertha (b. 1879).

By 1870 Herbert was working as “Keeper of the Poor House” (he owned $14,000 worth of real estate and $2,400 worth of personal property) and living with his wife and two sons in Eastmanville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County. (His parents were still living in Lyons, Ionia County in 1870.) Herbert and his family were living in Allendale, Ottawa County in 1879 and he was farming in Allendale in 1880 but sometime in the 1880s Herbert was back in Eastmanville, Ottawa County.

He and his wife eventually moved out west and by by 1890 he was living in Livingston, Park County, Montana. By 1896 they were living in Helena, Montana where for many years Herbert worked as a minister.

In 1875 he applied for and received a pension (no. 178027).

Herbert died on September 1, 1899 at the Soldiers’ Home in Columbia Falls, Montana, and was reportedly buried in the Home cemetery in Columbia Falls.

Shortly after Herbert died Alice, who was still living in Montana, applied for and received a pension (no. 512159).

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

James Albert Taber

James Albert Taber was born around 1843 in New York, possibly the son of Louisa M. (1810-1879).

Massachusetts native Louisa was married sometime before 1840, probably in New York, and eventually settled in western Michigan. By 1850 “Albert” was living with his mother in Hastings, Barry County and by 1860 “James” was working as a clerk and living with his mother in Hastings, Barry County.

He stood 5’8” with black eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and possibly still living in Barry County when he enlisted with his mother’s consent in Company E on May 13, 1861.

Shortly after the Third Michigan arrived at Camp Blair along the banks of the Potomac, on June 16, 1861, Tabor along with several other hastings soldiers wrote to the editor of the Hastings Banner.

We are all here in Camp in good spirits, occupying an elevated position on the Potomac, six miles north of the city of Washington, and going through the usual performances of Camp life. The days are occupied in drill, and the nights are more or less used for scouting, but we see none of the enemy. There are several regiments encamped close by us, and more coming in every day. The District of Columbia is so occupied by troops that there is, seemingly, scarcely room for another Regiment. Our Fourth of July was very curt [?].

We have about made up our minds that we have left no friends in Hastings; we have written from five to eight letters each, and have received no answers. A few lines from home would do us much good, especially from our friends, if we have any. If money is scarce out that way and our friends are out of postage stamps and envelopes, let them draw on us and they can be accommodated.

“James” was reported absent sick in the hospital, possibly in Philadelphia in mid-July, and from August of 1862 through October of 1863, although Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, reported that “Alembert” was present for duty with the regiment in late May of 1863. Probably while he was in one of the Philadelphia hospitals, he married Mary K. (Miller), of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (In April of 1865 he listed his residence as Philadelphia.)

In any case, James had returned by the time he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Gaines, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, possibly in Barry County, in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

James was shot in the left hip on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and admitted as “James A.” on June 6 to Patterson Park general hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry in June of 1864, and he remained absent sick through March of 1865.

James was a Sergeant when he was sent home to Hastings on a furlough from Baltimore, on October 24, 1864, where he remained until November 13. (It is not known if he went to Philadelphia during thisperiod.)

He rejoined his Regiment in early spring of 1865 and was wounded by a musket-ball in his leg on March 31, 1865, at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia. He was transferred to Lincoln Hospital in Washington, DC, where he died of his wounds on April 18, 1865.

James was reportedly buried on April 19, presumably in Washington, although it was also reported that his personal effects were taken by one William D. Miller of Philadelphia (possibly a brother- or father-in-law), and his body was sent “home” for burial, perhaps to Philadelphia.

In May of 1865 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 60502).

James’ mother died in 1879, probably in Hastings and is buried in Riverside cemetery, Hastings.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ernst Synold

Ernst Synold was born in 1842 in Germany, the son of Charles F. (b. 1810) and Mary or Maria (b. 1808).

His family immigrated from Saxe Gotha, Germany to America, settling in Michigan sometime before 1849. By 1850 they were living in Westphalia, Clinton County where Charles worked as a physician. By 1860 Charles was working as a physician and living with his wife and son Conrad in Lyons, Ionia County.

Ernst or Ernest stood 5’10” with dark eyes and hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and probably living in Ionia County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent as First Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Soon afterwards his father enlisted, as a 45-year-old private in Company B, Sixteenth Michigan infantry in August of 1861.) He was wounded on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but soon recovered and by July he was a color guard. Ernest had, for reasons unknown, been reduced to the ranks by the time he was wounded a second time on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run.

As of early October he was a patient in Presbyterian hospital in Georgetown, DC, and he was subsequently hospitalized through January of 1863. By the end of May he was present for duty with the regiment and was wounded a third time on November 30, 1863, at Mine Run, Virginia. He reenlisted as Sergeant on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Gaines, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, possibly in western Michigan, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Ernest was wounded a fourth time on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and a fifth time on May 12, 1864 at Spotsylvania, Virginia, after which he was again hospitalized. He was still absent wounded when he was transferred as a Sergeant to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and remained absent wounded through July. He was reported as First Sergeant in January of 1865, promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company A on January 1, replacing Lieutenant Daniel Birdsall, and in May he was promoted to First Lieutenant, commissioned May 8, 1865, and transferred to Company K, replacing Lieutenant Franklin.

Ernest was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Ernest eventually returned to Michigan.

He was married to Michigan native Mary (b. 1839).

His parents were living in Lyons, Ionia County in 1870. He was probably living in the upper peninsula when he acquired some 142 acres of land through the Marquette land office in January of 1877.

That same year Ernest applied for and received a pension (no. 160312). By 1880 he was working as a laborer and living with his wife in Menominee, Menominee County; his parents were also living in Menominee that year where his father continued to practice medicine.

Ernest eventually moved out west and by 1890 was living in Quilsene, Jefferson County, Washington.

Ernest died on October 2, 1925, in Hadlock, Washington.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Asslett Swinson

Asslett Swinson was born in 1827 probably in Norway.

Asher immigrated to America and was probably working as a farmer and living in White River, Greenwood Township, Oceana County, Michigan by 1860.

He was 34 years old and possibly living in White River, Muskegon or Oceana County when he enlisted in Company H on April 28, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

He was wounded on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and subsequently died from his wounds on June 24 or 25 at Portsmouth, Virginia. Asslett was probably reinterred in Hampton National Cemetery, but mistakenly listed under the name “C. S. Winslow,” section E, row 22, grave 19.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Ashley O. Swegels

Ashley O. Swegels was born in 1843.

Ashley was 18 years old and possibly living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted with his parents’ consent as Second Corporal in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was discharged for consumption on June 2, 1862, at Newport News, Virginia.

According to one source Ashley also served in the US Navy.

He applied for a pension( no. 757477), but the certificate was never granted.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Willard Sweet

Willard Sweet was born in 1836 in Oneida County, New York.

Willard may have been living with the Cran family on a farm in Vernon, Oneida County, New York in 1850. In any case, he left New York and had settled in western Michigan by the time the war had broken out.

He stood 5’6” with gray eyes, brown hair and alight complexion and was a 25-year-old farmer possibly living in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. He was reported working as a nurse in the Regimental hospital from February of 1863 through May of 1864, and he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Algoma, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, probably rejoined the Regiment on or about the first of February and was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. In July he was reported as a Regimental hospital attendant, was on detached service in October, and a nurse in the hospital at City Point, Virginia from November of 1864 through March of 1865. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

It is not known if Willard ever returned to Michigan.

He was married.

In 1887 he applied for and received a pension (no. 382208).

Willard was apparently residing in Cheney, Kansas, where he died at the age of 57 of dropsy on July 20, 1893.

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 408561).

Friday, December 03, 2010

Ebenezer Sweet

Ebenezer Sweet was born in 1811 in New York.

Ebenezer was married to Scintha (b. 1814), possibly in New York, and they had at least five children: Hannah (b. 1840), Charles (b. 1841), John (b. 1844), James (b. 1846) and Rufus (b. 1848).

They lived in New York for some years – in fact they may have been living in Galen, Wayne County, New York in 1840 -- but between 1846 and 1848 settled in Michigan. By 1850 Ebenezer was working as a cooper and living with his wife and children in Lyons, Ionia County. By 1860 Ebenezer was working as a cooper and living in Lyons with his son-in-law, a butcher named James Sherman (b. 1826 in New York) and his wife Hannah and their daughter Adelaide. Also living with Ebenezer and the Sherman family was Ebenezer’s son Rufus, who was attending school in Lyons.

Ebenezer stood 5’6’ with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was about 46 years old when he became a substitute for one John Pong, who was drafted for nine months from Westphalia, Clinton County, and was mustered in on February 6, 1863. He enlisted in Unassigned, was subsequently transferred to Company B on February 26, 1863, at Westphalia for 3 years, and mustered into service in Detroit. He joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia and was wounded on July 2 or 3, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

He was absent sick from July of 1863 through May of 1864, and was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. Ebenezer was reported absent sick from July 1, 1864, through November of 1864, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Ebenezer eventually returned to Michigan. By 1880 he was living as a widower and working as a laborer and residing with his daughter Hannah and her husband James Sherman, who was working as a butcher in Reynolds, Montcalm County.

No pension seems to be available.

Ebenezer presumably died in Reynolds and was died in Reynolds Township, Montcalm County. In any case he was buried in Reynolds cemetery: old section.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Charles J. Sweet

Charles J. Sweet was born in 1838 in Genesee County, Michigan or in New York.

Charles stood 5’7” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old tailor possibly living in Wyoming, Kent County when he enlisted in Company A on June 10, 1861. He was absent sick in the hospital from August through September of 1862, and was discharged for chronic rheumatism on September 26, 1862, at Fort McHenry, Maryland.

Following his discharge Charles returned to Kent County and was living in Wyoming in 1863 when he married New York native Julia R. Huntley (b. 1845) of Grand Rapids on September 22, 1863, in Wyoming.

Charles eventually moved to Muskegon, Muskegon County and by 1870 he was working as a sawyer in a mill and living with his wife and younger brother Howard in Muskegon’s First Ward. By 1880 he was working as a saw filer and he and his wife were living with his brother-in-law Chancy Newell in Muskegon’s Third Ward. He was probably working as a filer for T. D. Stimson and living at 36 Terrace st in 1887-88 and probably living at 16 E. Diana in 1889-90. He was living in Muskegon’s Fifth Ward in 1894. Charles probably moved to Oregon and may have been lving in Cascade, Clackamas County in 1890, although he had apparently returned to Muskegon’s Fifth Ward by 1900.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 708405).

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, as well as Grand Army of the Republic Kearny post no. 7 in Muskegon.

Charles was married a second time to one Bessie M.

Charles died on October 21, 191, in Portland, Oregon and was presumably buried there.

In 1917 his widow was living in Oregon when she applied for and received a pension (no. 847536).

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

John Sweeny

John Sweeny was born in 1836.

John was married to Emily, probably sometime before the war broke out.

He was 25 years and old and possibly living in Muskegon County when he enlisted 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 shot on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, admitted to Judiciary Square hospital in Washington, DC on June 4, where he died from his wounds on June 7, 1862, and was buried on June 8 in the Military Asylum cemetery (Soldier's Home National cemetery), section C no. 2529.

In 1866 Emily applied for and received a pension (no. 90975).