Monday, November 19, 2007

Anton Bott

Anton Bott, also known as “Batt”, was born January 13, 1837 or 1838, in Germany, the son of Johann Valentine and Maria Margaretha (Balzer, b. 1811).

Johann may have been married previously to one Eva Schwab, and if so that was possibly in 1814 and he had seven children by that marriage, and another 12 children by Maria (Anton’s mother). In any case, sometime before 1863 Anton left Germany and immigrated to the United States, eventually settling in western Michigan.

According to Christof Ockert, who roomed with Anton before the war, Anton settled in Gaines Township, Kent County, before the war broke out and began “keeping company with Katharine Bissot and it was a matter of common knowledge in the community that he was to be married to Katharine . . . as soon as he returned from the war. . . .”

He stood 5’6” tall with hazel eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was a 26-year-old farmer possibly living in Grand Rapids, First Ward when he enlisted in Company C on December 27, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered on January 6, 1864, at Grand Rapids. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.) He joined the Regiment on February 18 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was absent sick, probably from chronic diarrhea, from July of 1864 through May of 1865, probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was discharged from Mower hospital in Philadelphia on June 7, 1865.

After his discharge from the army Anton eventually returned to western Michigan, probably to Grand Rapids. From about 1872 until his death in 1897 he resided at 37 Stocking Street in Grand Rapids, and for years he worked as a stone mason; he was probably a member of St. Mary’s Catholic church.

Anton married Katherine Bissot or Bissott (1847-1936), on April 5, 1866, in Grand Rapids, and they had at least seven children: Katharine (b. 1870), Henry (b. 1871), Albert (b. 1871), Frank J. (b. 1876), Anthony G. (b. 1880), Mary M. (b. 1881) and Caroline Anne (b. 1882). (She was quite possibly related to Henry Bissott, who would come to the U.S. in 1862, join the Third Michigan Infantry in 1864, and settle in Grand Rapids after the war.)

He was probably working as a laborer and living with his wife and one child in Jamestown, Ottawa County in 1870.

In 1889 he applied for and received a pension (no. 481993).

Anton died of stomach cancer at his home at 37 Stocking Street on Sunday, May 16, 1897, at 7:00 p.m., and the funeral service was held at 8:00 a.m on Thursday at St. Mary’s Church. He was buried in Mt. Calvary cemetery: section D lot 254.

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 449288). She eventually remarried one Frank Hammerschmidt, in 1901, in Grand Rapids (he died the following year), and lived for a time on Jefferson Avenue. After Frank died Catharine returned to her old home at 435 (or 37) Stocking, where she was living in 1903 and in 1917.

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