Alfred Pelton was born on April or May 24, 1841, in Canada.
Alfred eventually left Canada and moved to Michigan, eventually settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County along with at least two other Canadian-born Peltons Aldrich and Silas; Silas would also serve in the 3rd Michigan.
Alfred stood 5’5” with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was probably related to Andrew Pelton who also enlisted in Company K, Silas Pelton who enlisted in Company B and Albert Pelton, son of Silas as well Samuel Pelton who would enlist in Company I in 1864.)
Alfred was probably wounded slightly in the head on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, and by the second week of September he was in Wolf Street hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. (He claimed in 1887 that he had been Sergeant of the company in late 1862.) Alfred eventually returned to duty and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Cannon, Kent County. He was absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February.
Alfred was reported absent sick in the hospital in March Or probably just late April) of 1864, suffering from Intermittent fever. He eventually returned to duty and was shot in the right arm on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. He was hospitalized soon afterwards and was still absent sick when he was transferred as a Sergeant to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained absent wounded through October and probably until he was discharged on January 15, 1865, in the field near Petersburg, Virginia, for a gunshot wound of the right arm causing a loss of “motion of the limb and he is unable to use a musket.”
After his discharge from the army Alfred returned to Grand Rapids.
He was working as a farmer in Gaines, Kent County when he married Grand Rapids native Eliza J. Dennis (1843-1927) on August 28, 1868, at Grand Rapids. They had at least five children: Viola (1869-1956), Mabel (1871-1956), Aldrich “Aud” (1875-1904), Agnes (b. 1878), Clarence (1882-1901) and Leota. (Andrew Pelton was also from Gaines Township.)
In July of 1874 Alfred was appointed Postmaster for Ross, Kent County. By 1880 Alfred was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Byron Township, Kent County. He was residing in Ross, Byron Township, by December of 1883 when he became a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, as did his son Aldrich (named for Alfred’s brother), and in fact, he probably lived in Ross for the rest of his life. In 1883 Alfred was drawing $12.00 per month for a wounded right arm (pension no. 51,891). He attended the excursion to Gettysburg for the dedication of the Michigan monuments in 1889, and he was living in Ross in 1890 suffering, he claimed, from the effects of a gunshot wound to his left arm, left hip and back of the head (although he had been reportedly been wounded in the right side).
He was possibly living in Dorr, Allegan County, in the early 1890s.
His health gradually declined and he was seriously injured in the spring of 1893. According to Alonzo Green of Byron Center, on or about April 11, 1893, Alfred came to Green’s warehouse to pick up some flour “and while loading” his goods “the team attached to the wagon started forward then backed up as’ Alfred “was standing in the wagon back of the high backed seat” and “the movement threw [him] upon the seat causing severe injury to his injured right arm causing him to fall dow[n] fainting upon the bottom of the wagon box.”
Alfred never recovered from his fall. He died of myocarditis, noted by his attending physician as a result of “wounds received in the war,” in Ross on April 20, 1893. He was buried in Jones cemetery, Dorr, but subsequently removed to Oak Hill cemetery: section A lot 87.
During the business meeting at the 26th annual reunion of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1897, the case of the widow of Alfred Pelton was discussed. She claimed to have been “beaten” out of her pension by a “foolish petition of physician and judge,” and the association strongly recommended that someone assist her. It is unknown if anyone in the Association did in fact help her, although eventually she did apply for and receive a pension (no. 577050), drawing $30 per month by 1927. Subsequently, there was also a pension application (no. 678,195,) submitted on behalf of a minor child but the certificate was never granted. By late 1927 Eliza was living in Byron Center, Kent County.