Tuesday, November 27, 2007

William Charles Brace

William Charles Brace was born May 31, 1838 or May 1, 1839, in Bath, Steuben County, New York, the son of Charles (b. 1799) and Elizabeth (Kellogg, 1804-1841).

Charles was probably living in Bath, New York in 1830 and in 1840. In any case, William left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

William stood 5’9” with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 23 years old and possibly working as a printer and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, specifically the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

It is quite possible that William spent little if any time with the company, however, and by September of 1861 he was reported on extra daily duty for the Brigade (reason unknown), and subsequently served with the Third Brigade Quartermaster from October of 1861 through May of 1862. In June he was still on detached service, and was reported as an orderly for Third Brigade commander, General Hiram Berry, from July through October, although he was also listed as absent sick from August 30 possibly through September or even October.

In October he was reported on detached duty apparently still serving with General Berry, and in November he was absent at Brigade headquarters, probably still serving as orderly. By January of 1863 he was a nurse in the Regimental hospital -- apparently he was being treated for primary syphillis -- and the following month he was working as a teamster in the Brigade wagon trains.

William reportedly suffered from “hypochondria” from April 18 to May 2, when he allegedly deserted while being transferred with the wounded to a hospital near Acquia Creek, Virginia; he apparently to Washington, quite possibly to a hospital there. In any case William was suffering from rheumatism and a spinal injury he received -- possibly from a fall off a horse -- at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863, when he was admitted probably sometime in early May to the Second Division hospital at the Baptist Church Branch in Alexandria, Virginia. He was absent sick from April 28, 1863, through May; and in June he was reported as a nurse in a hospital in Washington, DC.

He remained hospitalized, probably in Alexandria, until he was transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps on July 16, 1863 by Special Order no. 315. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) William was discharged as unfit for the VRC on April 1, 1864 from the VRC depot camp at Cliffburne Barracks, DC.

It is not known if William returned to Michigan after the war. He eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio, possibly as early as 1867, where he lived most of his life.

William was married to Susan E. Meeker (1843-1895), and they had at least one child, a son Charles William (b. 1871).

By 1880 he was operating a fish market and living with his wife and son and both his in-laws in Cleveland. By 1887 he was living in the “old Fulton market” area in Cleveland, Ohio, when he attended the annual reunion of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association (although he was not a member), and by 1897 he was living at 35 Fifth avenue in Cleveland. In 1909 he was residing at 10313 Euclid avenue in Cleveland, and by 1917 at 1781 Carlyon road in East Cleveland.

He was married a second time to Jane V. Sanford (1842-1925), on September 14, 1896, in Berea, Ohio (Jane had divorced her first husband Charles in 1888).

In 1897 William applied for and received pension no. 1012463, drawing $30.00 per month by 1917.

William died of a hemorrhage to his bladder as a result of septic uremia and possibly cancer of the prostate, at his home on Carlyon Road, at about 11:13 p.m. on December 27, 1917. The remains were handled by J. H. Brown & Sons, and he was buried in Lakeview cemetery, in Cleveland.

His widow received a pension (no. 852679). Jane was still residing at their Carlyon home in 1918 and when she died in 1925.

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