Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stiles A. Watkins

Stiles A. Watkins was born on January 15, 1843, in Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, the son of Ransel (b. 12812) and Hannah (Hunt, b. 1816).

Vermont-native Ransel married Connecticut-born Hannah and they eventually settled in Vermont, although according to government records Silas’ parents were both born in Vermont and presumably married there.

In any case, Silas left Vermont, probably with his family and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan.

In 1850 there was one Lyman Watkins (b. 1818 in New York or Vermont) working as a carpenter with some $1000 worth of real estate and living with his wife New York native Sylvina (b. 1823) in Allegan village. In 1860 Lyman was listed as a wealthy druggist and living with his wife Sylvina in Allegan, Allegan County, and next door to Lyman lived Edward Wheelock who would join the Third Michigan in 1861.

Sometime between 1850 and 1860 Stiles’ father died and his mother married a wealthy farmer named William S. Hooker, presumably in Michigan and probably in Allegan County. (In 1850 Hooker, then living on a large farm in Allegan County, was married to Vermont native Mary (b. 1821) and they had one child, an infant girl Marcia.)

Stiles was probably the same ‘Silas A.” Watkins who was working as a farm laborer and living with William S. Hooker and his family in Leighton, Allegan County in 1860.

Silas stood 5’6’ with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was a 19-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Leighton, Allegan County when he enlisted in Company F on August 14, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day at Detroit. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, and was wounded by a gunshot on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia.

He was subsequently hospitalized and probably still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, where he was reported as transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps as of September 16, 1863. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern sities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

Stiles was mustered out on July 19, 1865, from Company B, First VRC in Elmira, New York.

Stiles eventually returned to Michigan.

Stiles was married to New York native Delvina L. Cross (1841-1916), and they had at least six children: Alonzo (1868-1916), Emma (b. 1870), Ellen (b. 1873), Alexander (b. 1876), Cornelia (b. 1878) and Thomas C. (b. 1883).

By 1870 Stiles or Styles was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and two children in Leighton, Allegan County, and they were still living on a farm in Leighton in 1880. He was living in Corning, Allegan County in 1888, and residing in Wayland or Leighton, Allegan County in 1890 and in Leighton, Allegan County in 1894. He was working as a a farmer and living with Delvina and three sons in Leighton in 1900. Near by lived Vermont-born Francis R. (b. 1845) and his family. Stiles was working as a a farmer and living with Delvina in Leighton in 1910; next door lived his son “Alle” and his family.

In 1878 he applied for and received a pension (no. 158229), for service in Compny F, Twenty-third Michigan infantry. This was most likely a typographical error and the reference should be to the Third Michigan infantry.

Stiles probably died a widower on July 21, 1923, in Wayland, and was buried in Hooker cemetery, Allegan County.

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