Chauncey Brewer Taylor was born on April 30, 1843 in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, the son of James Hough (born 1811 in Ontario, Canada, died 1873 in Michigan) and Harriet Brewer (born 1811 in New York, died 1854 in Michigan).
James married New York native Harriet on November 11, 1832, in Wilson, Niagara County, New York. and came to Michigan sometime before 1834, and by 1840 had settled in Oakland County. At some point after 1843 James moved his family again, and by 1850 had settled in Eagle Township, Clinton County, where Chauncey was attending school with his siblings. After Harriet died in May of 1854, James remarried to Chloe Stansell that July and the family settled in Allendale, Ottawa County. James was serving as a Justice of the Peace in Ottawa County by the early 1860s.
Chauncey stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Allendale when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his older brothers James and Martin. Another older brother, John A., would join them in 1862. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, many from the eastern side of the County.)
Chauncey was reported sick in the hospital in November of 1862, but eventually returned to duty. He was with the regiment while it was in winter quarters at Camp Bullock, Virginia, near Washington, DC.
On February 12, 1863, he wrote to Catharine Hamilton, a young friend in Grand Rapids.
With pleasure I pen you a few lines this evening to let you know that I am still well and able to take my share of the confiscated property that is to be found in this state, and also, somebody else’s share, if they only let it lay out in the dew, so that it will stick to my hands. I do not mean to insinuate that I ever steal anything, for you know I do not, but I sometimes buy a pig, or a sheep, or a chicken when the owner is gone to mill.
You know I do not take anything that I cannot carry, unless there is someone to help me.
But enough of this.
I arrived in camp the night of the ninth and I have been so lonely ever since that I don’t know what to do with myself.
You see there is no one that knows that I have returned to the army as yet and I have not got any mail until this evening, and that was from home, and I have to find something to busy myself about, and so I have taken to writing to my friends that are far away.
I have written twelve letters since I came here and have worked all the time. The sun gives me lite so I could work to get my house built, so to do nothing but write.
There is nothing to do in camp for me now but to tend to my correspondences.
Catharine write to me as soon as possible for you do not know how I love to get letters from my friends, and I will gladly reply, and as often as you wish to write, and perhaps oftener. Catharine, if you only knew how much joy it is to the joy forsaken soldier to read the letters from friends . . . and to get letters from anywhere, you would write very often, I am sure.
And I hope you will not fail to write, as it is and then I will try to tell you how pleasant it is, and more. I will promise to prove to you that it is very pleasant by showing you how constant I will be and prompt to answer every one you write.
Now how is the rest of the young people that I am acquainted? How is Olive and Louisa and Mr. Barker [?] and all the friends. Please give my kindest regards and best wishes to them. Say to them that I should like to hear from them very much.
Hoping this may find you in good health and to hear from you I remain, Your true friend, Chauncey B. Taylor.
Although Chauncey was reported AWOL in August of 1863, he had returned to duty by the time he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Hamburg, Livingston County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably in Michigan, in January of 1864, and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred as a Musician (probably a bugler) to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was listed on detached service from September through October of 1864. He was reported as a nurse in City Point hospital, Virginia in November and serving with the Quartermaster department in December of 1864, possibly as a nurse, and in March of 1865 was in the Division ambulance train. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
After the war Chauncey returned to his home in Allendale where he lived briefly and possibly worked as a carpenter.
He married Sarah Ellsworth (b. 1859) on August 26, 1865, in Allendale, and they had at least two children: George (b. 1877) and John L. (b. 1879). Sarah and Chauncey eventually divorced.
Chauncey moved to Cheboygan, Cheboygan County, and was living in Evart, Osceola County in 1877 when he became a member of Grand Army of the Republic Sedgwick Post No. 16 in Evart. By 1880 he was working as a common laborer and living with his wife Sarah and their two sons in Munro, Cheboygan County; he was living with Alonzo Carter. He eventually moved on to Wisconsin, living variously in Columbia, Neillsville in 1900 and 1905 and Eau Claire.
Chauncey married his second wife Mary Dunn Sullivan on November 15, 1891 in Leelanau County; they, too, were divorced.
He was married a third time, on June 28, 1893 to Frances or Florence L. Stolliker, in Milwauekee, Wisconsin; this also ended in divorce. He had at least three more children: Joseph B., Louisa B. (b. 1898) and Chauncey Jr. (b. 1901), the last two by Florence.
Chauncey was a member of the 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, a Protestant and he received pension no. 802,503, drawing $25.00 in 1914, raised to $40.00 by 1920.
Chauncey was living in Farmington Waupaca, Wisconsin in 1910 and probably living in Wisconsin in 1911 when he was admitted to the Northwestern Branch National Military Home in Milwaukee. He was discharged and admitted as a single man to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 6717) on October 8, 1914, discharged at his own request on September 20, 1915, readmitted on October 6, 1916, discharged on October 9, 1918, and admitted for the final time on July 8, 1920. (This last admission date of July 8, 1920, must be a typographical error – his death certificate as well as newspaper obituary and the MSH records state his date of death as April 20, 1920.)
Chauncey died of acute dilatation of the heart on April 20, 1920, at Blodgett hospital in East Grand Rapids, and was buried in the Michigan Soldiers’Home cemetery: section 7 row 13 grave no. 34.
In 1924 his widow applied for a pension (no. 1222681), but the certificate was never granted.