Andrew Jackson “Jack” Pelton was born on May 18, 1842, in Leighton, Allegan County, Michigan, the son of Canadian James Pelton (1814-1891) and New York native Elizabeth Hurling (1814-1878).
James and Elizabeth settled in Michigan by 1839 and by 1850 James was working as a laborer and Andrew (listed as “Jackson” in the census for that year) was attending school with his younger siblings in Byron, Kent County.
Andrew was 19 years old and living in either Grand Rapids or Plainfield, Kent County when he enlisted in Company K on November 26, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on December 23 at Detroit. He was possibly related to Alfred Pelton who also enlisted in Company K, Silas Pelton who enlisted in Company B, and Albert and Samuel both of whom would also serve in the Old Third.
Andrew was reported sick in August of 1862. He eventually returned to duty, however, and reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Plainfield. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. “Jack” was wounded in the head on May 6, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, subsequently hospitalized and transferred to Company A, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.
On November 1, 1864, the Grand Rapids Eagle wrote that “A letter, full of loyalty to our country and love of the old flag, has just been shown us from A. J. Patton [Pelton], one of the gallant boys of the old Third -- now of the Fifth Mich. Inf., before Petersburg -- in which the writer says, that the soldiers, though hitherto friends of McClellan, will not, standing as he does on the Chicago platform, and being surrounded by the political managers of the so-called Democratic party, support him for president; that all the soldiers who vote at all, will cast their ballots for President Lincoln. We learn, also, from this letter that Truman Gilbert [Freeman Gilbert], a member of the old Third, from Byron Township, died in the rebel prison at Andersonville, Georgia, on the Second day of July last; and that William Prindle, also of the same command, and from the same place, was, when last heard from, lying very low and not expected to recover, a victim to rebel meanness and cruelty, in their treatment of Union prisoners.”
“Jack” was reported as a Sergeant on April 1, 1865, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
“Jack” returned to Michigan after the war and settled in Gaines Township, Kent County.
He married his cousin Canadian native Elizabeth A. Pelton (1846-1935) on June 8, 1867, in Gaines, and they had at least nine children: Marilla J. (b. 1869), Liberty M. (b. 1872), Edith E. (b. 1873), Elwood Jackson (1876-1953), a son Statie F. (b. 1878), Ruth L. (1880-1933, Mrs. Van Tine), Charles E. (b. 1882), Emily Lucinda (b. 1886) and James I. (b. 1889). (Elizabeth, daughter of Ira Pelton, may have been related to Canadian-born Silas Pelton, who had also served in the Old Third.)
By 1870 Andrew who was working as a farmer was living with his wife and child and they were all living with Andrew’s parents James and Elizabeth in Gaines, Kent County. Andrew was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Gaines in 1880; also living with them was his father James as well as an old widower farm laborer named William Herrick who may have also served in the Old Third. He was living in West Carlisle, Gaines Township, in 1890 and 1895, and indeed he may have lived in West Carlisle for much of his postwar life -- although at one point he may have lived briefly in Allegan County. By 1900 he was working a farm and living with his wife and three children in Gaines, Kent County.
He was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and his widow would become an honorary member of the Association.
In February of 1888 Andrew was living in Michigan when he applied for and received a pension (no. 419041).
Andrew joined Grand Army of the Republic Watson post no. 395 in Grand Rapids in 1891, but was suspended in June of 1898.
Andrew died of apoplexy on January 27, 1901, probably at his home in West Carlisle, and was buried in Blain cemetery, Gaines.
In February of 1901, his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 522570). She was residing in Grand Rapids at 2047 Gardner Avenue, in 1916, probably the home of her daughter Marilla Horton.