Silas E. Thurston was born in 1840 in New York, the son of Susan (b. 1816).
New York native Susan Thurston and her 9-year-old son Silas were living with the family of Lyman Church, a grocer in Genesee Falls, Wyoming County, New York in 1850. (Susan was still listed as Thurston and she and Silas were reported at the end of the Church family listing int he census records for that year.) By 1860 Susan had married Mr. Church and Silas was working as a day laborer and living with his family in Genesee Falls. According to Susan the family left New York and in August of 1860 settled in Flint, Genesee County, Michigan. Silas was possibly living in Lansing, Michigan, in the Spring of 1861 when he became a member of the Lansing company called the “Williams’ Rifles,” whose members would serve as the nucleus of Company G.
Silas was 21 years old and probably living in Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. According to Frank Siverd of Company G, by the end of the year he had been detailed as a hostler. He was reported as hostler for the Regimental surgeon in September of 1862. (His stepfather Lyman died of insanity in Flint in 1862.)
Silas was wounded in the lungs on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. Silas was originally buried in George Rose’s field but subsequently reinterred in the Michigan plot, Gettysburg National Cemetery: section A, grave 4.
Sometime around 1868 Silas’ mother moved to Lynden, Illinois, where she resided for about seven months, then ten months in Delavan, Wisconsin, in Pavillion, Michigan for seven months and back in Delavan where she was residing in 1869 when she applied for and received a dependent mother’s pension (no. 301207).