Rodney Wampole was born on July 30, 1843, in Livingston County, New York, the son of John (b. 1804) and Elizabeth (b. 1814). (The 1920 census lists his birth place as Canada and the online burial record for Washington State veterans’ homes lists his birthplace as Ontario, Canada.)
Pennsylvania native John married New York-born Elizabeth sometime before 1833 probably in New York where their daughter Matilda was born. The family resided in New York for many years and by 1850 Rodney was living on the family farm in West Sparta, Livingston County, New York.
Rodney was possibly the same Rodney Wampole who was 19 years old when he enlisted as a private on May 15, 1863 at Rochester, New York, in Battery L, Fourth New York Heavy Artillery and who reportedly deserted on June 21, 1863.
In any case, Rodney left New York and by late 1863 had settled in western Michigan.
He stood 5’11” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 19-year-old farmer possibly living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company C on December 30, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Spring Lake, and was mustered the same day. It seems that Rodney may have spent little if any time with the Third Michigan. He joined the Regiment on February 18, 1864, at Camp Bullock, Virginia and was absent in the hospital in March.
He was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent sick in September and October. He returned to duty on December 3, 1864, from Beverly hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
After the war Rodney eventually returned to Ottawa County and was married to Eleanor Ackley (d. 1898) in 1866. (Eleanor was the widow of Hezekiah Ackley who had died while serving in the Fifth Michigan cavalry during the war. Roderick Ackley, another former member of Company I who was also from Ottawa County before the war had also served in the Fifth Michigan cavalry. Hezekiah was probably his brother or cousin. In any case, Eleanor received a widow’s pension (no. 27695). After she married Rodney she applied for a minor child’s pension (no. 10686).)
By 1880 he was working in a grist mill and living with his wife in Coopersville, Ottawa County. He resided for some time in Polkton, Ottawa County after the war, and by 1888 he was living in Sullivan, Muskegon County. He was probably the same civil war veteran named “Reuben” Wampole who was living in Coopersville, Ottawa County in 1894.
In 1889 Rodney applied for and received a pension (no. 883492).
Rodney married his second wife Mary E. (1866-1927) in March of 1900 in Illinois. Rodney left Michigan and moved to Washington State around 1901. In 1920 Rodney was living with his wife Mary in Orting, Washington state. (They were probably living at the Soldiers’ Home in Orting.) Rodney was admitted to the Veterans’ Home on January 9, 1923 where his wife died in 1927.
Rodney died either at the Washington State Soldier’s Home in Retsil or in Seattle on May 30, 1935, and was presumably buried in the Home cemetery (as is Mary).