Walter W. Waite was born on February 16, 1843, in Lagrange County, Indiana, the son of Justus (b. 1813) and stepson of Matilda (Tewksbury, b. 1808).
Sometime between 1848 and 1850 Ohio native Justus remarried Vermonter Matilda Hines Tewksbury. Matilda’s husband Elijah had died shortly before, probably in Ohio but possibly in Indiana and by 1850 Matilda and her children were living with Justus and his family in Fairfield, DeKalb County, Indiana. One of Matilda’s’ sons was Asahel who would join Company I of the Old Third in 1861 while his stepbrother Walter would join Company K. Sometime in the early 1850s Justus moved his family to Michigan, settling first in Burr Oak, St. Joseph County, Michigan, and then pushing on to Blendon, Ottawa County.
By 1860 Walter was a farm laborer living with and/or working for Edward Carrier in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward. Justus was living in Blendon, Ottawa County. Next door to Justus’ family lived Wilber Scott who would also enlist in company I, Third Michigan.
He stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 19 years old and possibly living in Blendon, Ottawa County or perhaps in Kent County when he enlisted with his guardian’s consent in Company K on May 13, 1861; he was possibly related to brothers Benjamin, Isaac, John and Thomas Waite all of Company I. According to Alexander French of Company K, sometime in early fall of 1861 Walter discussed buying property from Alex’s brother Zerah in Mecosta County.
one of boys here wants to buy land of [from] you on my recommendation. I drew him a map of your village as near as I could from memory and he says that if he could get a lot right north of mine that he would pay the gold all within this payment and the next [referring to his army pay?]
Now what I want of you is to write and tell me if any of those along north of mine is vacant and if they are tell the lowest figure that you will take for them. He is a boy about my age and he says that he tries to keep his money here that he will spend it sure and if he sends it home there will be nothing sure about finding it when he gets there now. I would like to have you be as easy as you can be with him for he is a poor boy like myself.
If those lots are not vacant tell in your next the nearest to mine that is vacant; tell me something more than just the number of the lot and block you know you can tell me where they lay so that I can tell him.
His name is Walter Wait; he is six feet two inches and a half tall. You can depend upon him and most of your money is ready now.
Walter was discharged for consumption and rheumatic arthritis on October 21, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia.
After he was discharged Walter returned to Blendon where he reentered the service in Company B, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 7, 1862, for 3 years, giving his residence as and crediting Blendon. He was mustered on October 11 at Grand Rapids, where the regiment was being organized. The Sixth remained on duty at Grand Rapids from October 13, when it was mustered into service, until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863.
The Sixth occupied Gettysburg, Pennsylvania briefly on June 28 and while it was engaged at Hanover, Pennsylvania on June 30, Walter was reported missing in action. He may have been taken prisoner although this is unclear. In any case he was listed as absent sick from January of 1865 through June and discharged on July 17, 1865, at Detroit.
After the war Walter returned to western Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a laborer and living with his parents in Blendon; also living with them was Thomas Waite (probably a cousin) who had also served in the Third Michigan along with his brothers Benjamin, John and Isaac.
Walter married Michigan native Junia or Jessie S. Sherburn (1856-1939) -- she may have been a sister of Oscar Sherburn formerly of Company I -- and they had at least three children: Lottie (b. 1875), Eva (b. 1877) and Julia (b. 1879).
Sometime around 1876 he settled in the vicnity of Eden, Mason County and by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and three daughters in Eden. He was living in Marble, Mason County in 1883 when he was drawing $6.00 per month for a fractured left thigh (pension no. 126,942, dated February of 1874). He was still living in Marble in 1890 and 1894, but around 1900 he was residing in Scottville, Mason County.
Walter died on July 5, 1905, presumably at his home in Mason County, and the funeral services were held at the North Eden Evangelical church, Rev. Hall of the South Custer F.M. church officiating. According to one report some 400 friends and neighbors attended the service. He was buried in Lakeside cemetery, Eden Township.
In late July of 1905 his widow, Jessie S., was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 615123).