Monday, February 21, 2011

Oscar Warren Van Wormer

Oscar Warren Van Wormer was born on September of 1834, possibly in Michigan. According to a family historian “his parents were immigrants from Germany and had been in this country 3 months when he was born.”

In 1840 there was one Oscar Van Wormer living in Shiawassee, Shiawassee County, Michigan. In 1850 there was one Oscar Van Wormer, b. in New York in 1813, married to Elenor living in Flint, Genesee County; and living next door was David Van Wormer, b. 1809 in New York, his wife Louisa, b. 1814 in New York, and their son Oscar, b. 1836 in Michigan.

Oscar was 27 years old when he enlisted in Company G on May 10, 1861. According to Frank Siverd of Company G, during the first battle of Bull Run, Virginia, on Sunday, July 21, Oscar was taken prisoner, along with one of the Shaft brothers (he does not mention which one) and Joshua Benson, all of Company G. They were captured, wrote Siverd, “by four rebel scouts; they discovered the boys, and they showing too much pluck to be marched into the rebel camp, let them go. It is presumed they made pretty good double quick time from that to camp.” He was present with the company through August of 1861 and was detached on “extra duty” as a carpenter at Fort Lyon, Virginia in September and October.

By the first of September Oscar had been was detailed as a teamster, was still absent probably on detached service in October and reported as a company cook in November of 1861 through December. Although he may have been absent sick in a general hospital from November 4. On February 11, 1862, in a letter to the Republican, Siverd described the winter quarters of the company staff, among which was the “lodgings” of Van Wormer. “No. 9,,” wrote Siverd, was called the “Cook Shanty. A log house covered with canvas -- a Virginia chimney and fire place built on the outside. Van Wormer and Wm. Clark presides over the edibles, and are in turn cursed by the majority of the company for not furnishing beef steak every day, when the department only furnishes it about twice during ten days.” He remained present for duty through the summer of 1862.

Oscar was listed as absent sick in January of 1863, and in February reported as having returned from desertion on February 24 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, when in fact he had been transferred to G Battery, Fourth United States artillery on December 24, 1862, at Camp Pitcher, to serve out the remainder of his enlistment. He joined the Regiment on March 4, 1863 at Fort Columbus, New York harbor, and was wounded on July 2 or 3, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. According to a statement given after the war by Elijah Harness, also of G battery, Van Wormer was hit on the “head with a piece of bursting shell which struck him back of his left ear which prostrated him. I saw him while laying upon the ground”

He eventually rejoined the battery and was on detached service in January and February of 1864 at Whiteside, Tennessee from January 30, and discharged probably sometime in June of 1864.

Following his discharge from the army Oscar resided in Indiana for some years.

Oscar was married to Martha Josephine Jones (1834-1927) on December 6, 1868, at Pleasant Garden, Indiana, and they had at least three children: Ola May (b. 1869), Ella G. (b. 1876) and Emma Adelia (b. 1879.

He was living in Roaring River, Missouri in 1876, where he worked as a chair maker, and in McDonald County, Missouri in 1878. He was working as a blacksmith and living in Afton, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), Cherokee Nation from at least 1892 until his death in 1899.

In 1884 he applied for and received pension (no. 838,480.

Oscar died in the Indian Territory (probably Afton, Oklahoma) on July 14, 1899.

His widow applied for and received pension no. 530,555. In 1901 his widow was living in the Northern district of the Indian Territory, Afton. She was living in Zena, Oklahoma in 1927.


Dennis VanWormer said...

The Oscar Van Wormer referred to in the second paragraph is Oscar Fitcherland Van Wormer, the brother of David Van Wormer. David and Louisa Van Wormer did have a son named Oscar who was born in 1836 or 1837, but they were definitely NOT "immigrants from Germany and had been in the country 3 months when he was born." David and Louisa came to Shiawassee County in 1835 - coming from New York state where both of them were born.

I have no information as to what the middle name of Oscar the son of David and Louisa was, but if his parents were recent immigrants from Germany, then the second paragraph does not apply to Oscar Warren Van Wormer.

Anonymous said...


I am a film professor in mid-Missouri continuing research that involves members of the Van Wormer family. Did Oscar have a son named Frank Van Wormer who also resided in Afton, OK? If not, could he have had a nephew or younger relative named Frank who later spent some time in McDonald County, MO/Benton County, AR? Any info would be appreciated.

Thank you,
D. Jason Knowles, MFA