Saturday, May 31, 2008

Calvin Curler

Calvin Curler was born May 18, 1839, in Watertown, Jefferson County, New York.

Sometime before the war broke out Calvin left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He stood 6’2” with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion, and was a 22-year-old laborer possibly living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861 along with his younger brother Ira. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Calvin contracted rheumatism in August of 1861, but eventually recovered and returned to duty, although it appears that he spent quite a bit of time in the hospital.

George Vanderpool of Company H said after the war that about the time of first Bull Run he didn't “think [Calvin] was on duty much but was doctoring a good deal. He seemed to be a good faithful fellow enough but gave out easily. I remember a couple of times we started out on picket post and he had to be excused. I think he was excused because he had the rheumatism . . . but it may have been because he was weak from disease. He was not a particular chum of mine." Captain Thomas Waters, also a former member of Company H, remembered in 1899 that Curler “was sick a good deal in [the] fall of 61 at Arlington, but I really can’t say what the trouble was.”And another former Third Michigan veteran, Miles Chubb testified in 1899 that Calvin in fact "was not a tough soldier, that "he was a loose-join[t]ed tall fellow, who could not stand much service.”

In any case, Calvin was shot in the left arm and side on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and admitted to the hospital at Judiciary Square in Washington, DC, where he was reported to be “doing well” by early July. Calvin remained sick in the hospital in August of 1862, and was discharged on account of his wounds on October 29, 1862, at Upton Hill, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Calvin eventually returned to Michigan. He was married to Ohio native Almina or Almira McConnell (b. 1842), possibly in Michigan, and they had at least four children: Margaret (b. 1864), Mary (1866-1917), James (b. 1868) and Louisa (b. 1876). (One of his daughters would become Mrs. A. L. Mugridge.)

Calvin and his wife were living in Michigan in 1864 and by 1870 Calvin was working as a farmer (he owned some $3000 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife and three children in Wales, St. Clair County. He was still working as a farmer and living with his family in Wales in 1880; that same year their daughter Margaret or “Maggie” was also listed living with her grandfather James McConnell and attending school in St. Clair, St. Clair County.

Calvin was living in St. Clair, St. Clair County in 1883, in Smith Creek, St. Clair County in 1888 and possibly in Memphis, Tennessee sometime in the late 1880s. By 1894 he was living in Wales (probably Smith Creek), St. Clair County, in Port Huron in 1895 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, back in Smith Creek in 1904, and in Wales by 1906.

He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Miles Post No. 113 in St. Clair, and he received pension no. 29,260, dated May of 1864, drawing $6.00 in 1883, $17.00 in 1906, and $90.00 in 1929.

Calvin died a widower on June 30, 1927, at Port Huron, St. Clair County, and was buried in Lakeside cemetery: section I, in Port Huron (also buried with him are his daughter Mary and one Sarah Jane Curler, who died in 1927 as well.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

William H. Cummings

William H. Cummings was born 1816 in Cayuga, New York.

There was a William Cummings living in Mentz, Cayuga County in 1830 and 1840 and one Catharine Cummings living in Mentz in 1850. We do know that William left New York state and by 1860 had settled in western Michigan where he was a day laborer working for William Jones’ lumber company in Maple Island, Dalton Township, Muskegon County.

William stood 5’8” with brown eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and was 45 years old and still living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

William was admitted to the regimental hospital on January 1, 1863, suffering from acute diarrhea and returned to duty on January 31. He returned to the regimental hospital on February 19, with diarrhea and returned to the company February 25. He was absent sick in the Division hospital in April of 1863, in June he was a guard at Corps headquarters, and in July was guarding supply wagons.

In September of 1863 he was again hospitalized, but had probably returned to duty when he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Muskegon. 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.

William was absent sick in the hospital in March of 1864, but eventually returned to duty and was promoted to Corporal. He was wounded slightly in the head on May 5, 1864, during the Wilderness campaign. He was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was hospitalized at Little York hospital in Pennsylvania, and Grace hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and on March 17, 1865, was transferred to Company A, Twenty-second Veterans’ Reserve Corps, at Baltimore, Maryland. He was listed as “deserter” as of July 15, 1865 at Camp Dennison, Ohio. Other records note that he was mustered out of service on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

William eventually returned to Michigan, and for some years lived in Muskegon, Muskegon County working as an engineer.

In 1879 William applied for and received a pension (no. 546829).

William may have been married.

By 1880 William was probably a widower working as a farmer and boarding in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. In any case, William was living in LaSalle County, Illinois, when he entered the Illinois Soldiers’ Home in Quincy, Adams County, on November 29, 1887, and by 1888 he was residing in Adams’ County, Illinois, probably the Soldiers’ Home. He was living still living at the Illinois Home in December of 1892.

William was probably a widower and possibly died in the Illinois Home in 1902.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Francis Higgins Cuming

Francis Higgins Cuming was born October 28, 1799, in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, the son of Fortescue or Fortesque and Phebe (Harrison).

According to Grand Rapids historian Franklin Everett, Fortescue, a Scot, had at one time been a “seafaring man” and an officer in the British army during the American revolutionary war, but became disenchanted with his government’s policy toward the colonies and remained in America. According to Chapman’s History of Kent County, Fortescue became “appalled at the magnitude of the task” of subjugating the colonies and decided instead to settle in America.

By 1800 Francis’ father (“Fortune”) was listed as living in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut; and by 1820 only Phebe was listed as living in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut.

It is unclear what became of Francis’ parents, but, according to Jean Heibel, historian and archivist for St. Mark’s church in Grand Rapids, while still a young boy Francis was sent to the preparatory academy of Professor (Rev.) John C. Rudd at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. “His academy”, Ms. Heibel notes, “would attain a reputation as an outstanding institution for a classical education as well as ‘for the deportment and good manners which would stand young gentlemen in good stead in their adult lives’.”

It was a boarding school with some of the young men sheltered within Dr. Rudd’s home. They were required to bring their own bedding but were provided “good meals and laundry done at nominal cost.” During Cuming’s stay at the academy, he and Dr. Rudd developed a friendship which widened and deepened over the years. . . . When Cuming completed his course of study at the academy, he was licensed as a lay reader and, in 1817, was ordained to the deaconate at St. John’s church in Elizabethtown. In 1818, Dr. Rudd sent him forth with a letter to the bishop recommending him as “a gentleman of talents and respectability.”

Cuming was sent briefly to the west, and when he returned, took up diverse missionary duties within his own diocese, preaching occasionally at Paterson, Spotswood, Freehold and Woodbridge, [New Jersey]. In May,1819, he accepted a position in Morristown where he had 30-40 Episcopalians, “though the number of hearers is much greater”. Here he held services once, and sometimes twice, every Sunday. He said, in a report to his bishop: “there seems to be a prevailing wish that there should be an Episcopal church here.”

On 14 Nov., 1819, he began missionary duties at Christ Church in Binghamton, New York. The Journal of the Convention of the Diocese of New York in 1820 reported “He found the congregation by no means in a flourishing state.” Mr. Cuming retorted: “Your missionary is sorry to report that no inconsiderable effort had been made to prevent the prosperity of the church in this place. Her doctrines and usages had been misrepresented and ridiculed. Strong prejudice existed against her form of worship and her principles. These, in many cases, have been removed and your Missionary has some reason to believe that his labors here have not been altogether in vain. He would establish a Sunday school which would boast 165 scholars and a very good organ was set in the church. He was able to establish a mission church at Union, a very respectable farming town adjoining Binghamton. . . ."

Francis received his priest orders in the Episcopal Church from Bishop Hobart in Rochester, New York. He was also reported to be an ardent and prominent Mason.

By 1820 Rev. Cuming had settled into St. Luke’s church in Rochester, New York, where he superintended both the building of St. Luke’s church and its congregation for some nine years, during which time he traveled frequently to New York City, and reportedly laid the foundation for Calvary Church in that city.

It was while he was living in Rochester that he met and married Caroline Abigail Hulbert or Hurlburt (d. 1827) on January 31, 1822, at Auburn, New York. They had three children, Caroline, Frances L. (wife of Mr. Nourse of Allegan County) and a son Thomas (1827-1858).

Thomas was born on Christmas and the very next day his mother died. “As devastated as the young husband and father was, he stayed at St. Luke’s for two more years. Upon his retirement from this pastorate, the vestry wrote: ‘He had taken a very weak parish worshipping in a small frame building into a handsome stone edifice (already enlarged once) and made its congregation the largest outside of New York City.’”

Four years after Caroline’s death, on April 6, 1831, Francis married his second wife Charlotte Hart (1812-1883), and they had at least seven children: Henry Coleman (b. 1832), Elizabeth Jeanette (b. 1835), Mary E. or Hart (b. 1838), Charlotte Rochester (b. 1841, wife of Dr. Reed of Philadelphia), Frances Sinclair (b. 1845), Emily Jane (b. 1848) Ann Wadsworth (b. 1851).

The same year he remarried Rev. Cuming and his family left Rochester and he accepted the rectorate at St. Mark’s church in Leroy, New York, just south of Rochester. According to one report

“he found the parish in somewhat of a depressed state, in consequence of being, for a long time, destitute of regular ministerial services. The Sunday School had become almost entirely extinct. . . .” His first action was to reorganize the Sunday School. In this he was successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of the church [and by the following year had] 105 scholars and 22 teachers, . . .” He would also set up a Bible class which numbered 55 persons and established a Female Benevolent Society; the members beside paying an annual sum each, assembled once every two weeks for the manufacture of articles for sale. All this and more he accomplished during the first five months!

The family then moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where Rev. Cuming served as Rector of the church there. Rev. Cuming reportedly spent much of his time traveling throughout the northern states acting as Secretary and General Agent for the school of the Episcopal Church. Eventually he accepted the rectorate of St. Andrew’s in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Michigan. By 1840 Rev. Cuming was living in Washtenaw County.

On May 24, 1843, Francis was called by St. Mark’s Church in Grand Rapids, and, according to city historian Albert Baxter, was promised a salary of $400 “to be paid quarterly in advance, and the expense of transporting his goods from Jackson or Detroit to this place.” He was also informed that a “house had been rented, with five acres of land, for one dollar a week; and the Doctor was advised to bring with him everything he might need.” He began work on October 1, and “within the first year of the new rectorate it became necessary to increase the seating capacity of the church building.” As the congregation continued to grow and prosper, it was ultimately decided that a new church would have to be built. Construction on the new (and present) St. Mark’s was begun in 1846 and completed within two years.

Charlotte Cuming too was busy in helping the growth of Grand Rapids. According to one source,

The settlement of Grand Rapids, on the west side of the state, dates from 1837; the municipal incorporation from 1850. Here it was Protestant philanthropy that developed the earliest hospital foundations. The details are of liveliest interest to lovers of local chronicles, and to those that despise not the day of small things. For the purpose of devising ways to care for the poor and sick independently of the town poor masters, a meeting was held in the fall of 1847, at Prospect Hills schoolhouse, on the site of the Ledyard Block. Thus began a Benevolent Association under the presidency of Mrs. Francis F. Cumming, wife of the rector of St. Mark's Church, which operated a house-to-house relief work through district visitors. On January 16, 1857, a charter was taken out under the name Grand Rapids Orphan Asylum, by a group bearing a close personal identity with the unincorporated workers of the ten years preceding. A double function was herein authorized, namely, to provide for orphans and destitute children, and to extend relief to sick and indigent persons.

Many years later a former student in St. Mark’s Sunday School remember Rev. Cuming well.

No timid little one could peep in at the door of St. Mark’s on a Sunday morning or linger in the vestibule, and escape the watchful eye of the active pastor and superintendent. With an attractive force, he compelled the faint-hearted and the careless to come in; their names were enrolled and they were, at once, made to feel that they were objects of special personal regard. During the teachers’ exercises, Mr. Cuming would pass rapidly through the aisles, giving cheerful words to the children, addressing them by name or as my son or my daughter, in a manner that would cause the childish cheek to glow with pleasure. Thenceforward the young heart was bound to him, and it did not require the promise of new coats or new shoes, to bring to the church on every recurring Sunday morning, that unfortunate class of juveniles who often have catechisms and coats very much mixed up in their minds, setting the coats against the catechism, balancing accounts and quitting when the coat deteriorates in value, but ever ready to negotiate for the rendering of more catechism on the receipt of more coat.
In conducting the general exercises of the school, Mr. Cuming excelled. He was brilliant where many are only endurable. He fixed the attention and sent away crowds of young ones happy in being compelled to carry a new thought. There were no drones in his schoolteachers and pupils were all enthusiastic. Sunday School was watched for and prepared for with a zest which can hardly be realized by those who dread the spiritless wearing away of the dull Sabbath day.

The Bible was made interesting, geographically and historically. Mr. Cuming prepared a little historical geography, running from Genesis to the new dispensation, using in connection, maps which were suspended before the school. Thus the historical bible which had become fossilized in the minds of many by being constantly before them from babyhood, without producing definite impressions, was illuminated by a flame from the altar.
Never did children go through the wonderful tales of the Arabian Nights with greater zest than we did through the Bible histories and biographies when thus abbreviated and linked in a continuous chain, illustrated and explained by maps and biblical dictionaries.
The sermons which were occasionally addressed to the children, holding them in rapt attention, showed that Mr. Cuming possessed the rare gift of applying learning to the presentation of great truths with childish simplicity.

Francis did not confine himself to the spiritual welfare of the congregation, however. Early in 1850 he obtained a charter from the State Legislature that authorized “the establishment of an institution for academic, collegiate, and theological learning, to be located in Grand Rapids, and known as St. Mark's College.”

According to Canton Smith, a leading member of both the church and Grand Rapids business community, “Rev. Cuming’s wide vision conceived the plan of a seminary of learning to embrace at first an academical course of instruction, and as its means were amplified, to expand into a collegiate foundation. The plan envisioned for the institution of learning was of sufficient extent and merit to meet the educational wants of the diocese.” Unfortunately the plan never found enough support among the community -- or within the church -- and the seminary was never built In 1855 he was presented with an honorary D. D. from Columbia college in the east.

Rev. Cuming also devoted himself to the establishment of other churches in the area, and was instrumental in organizing a church in Plainfield. On January 13, 1857, the Eagle wrote that the Christ Church in Plainfield, Kent County, “was organized some seven years ago [1850], under the immediate auspices of Rev. Dr. Cuming, (Who, although a poor judge of music, is a most persevering and energetic clergyman of ‘the church’).” Furthermore, “Dr. Cuming, from the commencement of the enterprise down to the present day, has contributed not a little of his time, means and labors, in order to keep the congregation together.”

He was also instrumental in establishing the “Mercantile Library Association” in Grand Rapids. in early 1858, and in March of that year Cuming published “the fourth edition of a pamphlet entitled, ‘The Spiritual Character of the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church. By the Rev. F. H. Cuming, D.D.’ -- We have carefully perused the work and find it to be very fair and candid in its treatment of the subject. Not only Episcopalians, but the members of other denominations, ought to peruse the book.”

However, Rev. Cuming’s drive and willfulness often clashed with other strong men in the congregation.

In 1859 a controversy arose within St. Mark’s ostensibly over salary, and there was some speculation that Cuming would resign. In late March of 1859, the Grand Rapids Enquirer wrote, “We stated in yesterday's issue, in report of the Parish Meeting of St. Mark's Church, that Dr. Cuming had relinquished his salary to the Church. In this, we are informed, we were in error -- the Doctor has only relinquished $500 of old arrearages, and received therefore old outstanding claims of the Church to the amount of $300. It is to be hoped, now that these old claims have been taken from the parish books, so as to leave a clear balance-sheet, that they will not be permitted to lie a dead loss upon the doctor's hands, but will be promptly met by the respective debtors therefor. The donation of the Rector amounts to a clear $200. Even if he lose nothing of these debts, his debtors should see to it that their names contribute nothing to a further drain upon his generosity.”

The Enquirer of July 24, 1859 reported that it was the newspaper’s intention

to say nothing whatever relative to the recent action of the congregation of St. Mark's Church in regard to their Rector. And even now we regret that circumstances should have occurred to change such an intention. But a communication and an editorial allusion in the Grand Rapids Eagle, and the article of Mr. [P. R. L.] Peirce in this paper renders the matter anything else but private. Mr. Henry Martin inserts two letters in today's paper, and we also copy the Grand Rapids correspondent of the Detroit Tribune, which alludes to the subject. Thus, it cannot be considered altogether out of place, if we should say a few words in explanation of the matter, as briefly as possible. Tuesday evening, July 12, a meeting of the pew owners of St. Mark's Church was held at the Lecture Room. It was to decide whether they would or would not consent to remit the 10 per cent to which they were entitled, from rent of their pews. And here we may state, that without further formal action, it has been decided, by general consent, not to remit. At this meeting a few others, besides the pew owners, were present, and other matters, than the one for which the meeting was called, were referred to. An adjournment was carried to Tuesday evening, July 19, at the same place. On this occasion there was the largest meeting ever yet held at a business meeting of the male members of the congregation -- for all had been invited to attend.

After the discussion of certain financial matters, a question was raised relative to Rev. Dr. Cuming resigning. He and his friends were desirous of a vote on the subject, at once. He stated that he would resign without delay if convinced that a majority of his flock desired it. A rising vote was taken, and a decision made in favor of the Doctor remaining, by a very large majority. There were no negative votes -- although some present -- how many we are unable to state -- refused to vote at all.

In fact, however, the issue was only superficially about money. The real question was over who would control the temporal as well as the spiritual affairs of the congregation, and the issue was now fully out in the open.

One of Cuming’s parishioners, Henry Martin, sent two open letters, one to the editor of the Enquirer and the other to Cuming himself. In the latter Martin said frankly that the issue was not opposition to Cuming per se but “Opposition to tyrannical laws, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil.” He further argued for the right of the Vestry to transact business, as it deemed fit and necessary without any outside interference.

Rev. Cuming, however, refused to concede that his authority stopped with the spiritual realm, and the problems between Cuming and certain influential members of his congregation simmered just below the surface. He at last tendered his resignation shortly after the first of the year, and he was asked to withdraw it, pending the search for an Assistant Rector to help in the various administrative tasks involved in the care for such a large congregation. Cuming eventually withdrew his resignation, at least for the moment.

In 1859-60 Francis was residing on the northeast corner of Bronson (now Michigan) and Bostwick. As the Union slowly became unraveled in the winter of 1860-61 Rev. Cuming, like so many of his contemporaries, were sorely perplexed at the state of affairs and struggled with what they should do during this most profound crisis. His sermon for the day of National Fasting and Prayer, delivered on January 4, 1861, at St. Mark’s was published in the local newspapers.

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye ever to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.” Joel 2, 12.

Only a few weeks have passed and from almost every State in the Union persons were seen going into “the gates” of the Lord’s house “with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise”. From North and south, and East and West, up rose the jubilant strains. And well they might. For almost everywhere the labors of the husbandmen had been crowned with success equal to if not beyond their largest expectation, and peace and prosperity prevailed throughout our country. But even then though we rejoiced, we rejoiced with trembling. And now, today, the whole nation is summoned to “sanctify a fast, to call solemn assembly”, and in deepest humiliation of soul to send up to God the voice of prayer and supplication.

Why is this? Why, in the midst of the most joyous occasion of the year, and when our temples and houses are hung with festal wreaths and when in accordance with a time honored custom we are exchanging the most delightful greetings, at the commencement of a New Year are we called upon to bend thus in sorrow before God? Alas, beloved, sounds come up from over the land, such as never before, since we became an independent people, were heard in it. The secession of States is spoken of a a measure not only not dreaded but by some desired; disunion is threatened, seemingly without remorse; from the citadel of our much eulogized Republic one of the foundation stones has already been removed, others in it are loosened; and the whole goodly edifice is tottering to it fall.

The possibility of such a calamity is no more, as it once was laughed to scorn, its probability is admitted by those who hitherto were most incredulous of it. The evil stares us fully in the face. The harsh notes of discord, mingled with the glad tidings of our Christmas morn. The song of the angel, peace on earth and good will towards men is all but lost in preparations for war. And instead of the cheerful salutations, which hitherto at this season were heard all over the land, going from mouth to mouth -- friends and relatives, fathers and sons, and sons-in-law, yea brothers who “hanged upon” the same “mothers breasts” are warned that they may be required to be armed against each other in the [coming] war. What then shall be done to avert such a disastrous event? It is not time, it will do no good, to will tend to a more speedy culmination of the evil, to enquire who have been the instigators of it. It is actually upon us, in its incipient, but still in most threatening form -- to be prevented if it be possible -- if not to be met as best we can. What then shall be done? Human wisdom, thus far at least, seems to be incompetent for the emergency; our most profound statesmen are at fault; misunderstanding, prejudices, excitement blind the perception, forestall the judgment, bewilder the minds of men; and a furious and ostracizing fanaticism is all the while fanning the flame of discontent, and seeking to intimidate from any attempt to extinguish it. What then shall be done?

In former times when a people were brought into such an extremity they would humble themselves before God, and turn unto Him “with weeping, with fasting and with mourning”. So God commands, so history shows us even heathen nations have acted. The people of Nineveh fasted, and were saved from destruction to which a prophet announced they were doomed. The children of Israel went up and asked council of God and went and fasted when Benjamin one of the federated tribes rose up in revolt, and had slain thousands. And Benjamin was subdued and received back into the Tribes. Jehosephat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah and then he prevailed over Moab and Acmon. King Darius passed the night in fasting, because of the consignment of Daniel to the Lion’s den; and Daniel was unhurt. Ahab humbled himself and fasted; and the Kingdom escaped, during his day, the merited evil which the Lord was about to permit to fall upon it. The locusts came up to the land making it “a desolate wilderness”; the people “turned to the Lord with fasting and with weeping, and with mourning and the Lord restored the years which the locusts had eaten.”

These are only a few of the many instances which might be adduced, to show how such public demonstrations of grief for misconduct, have availed to procure favor with God, in behalf of those who have incurred His displeasure. Why it should be so, we stop not to enquire. Let it suffice that so God has been pleased to permit it to be. It is not for us to prescribe to our Almighty Creator and rightful Sovereign, what shall be the means by which when sinned against his anger may be averted. Infinitely wise, and abounding in goodness, we may rest assured all his measures under all circumstances must be the best which ever could be devised.

Let us be instructed then by the success with which the duty of fasting has been, in former times, attended, ourselves now to practice it in this our time of need, in this fearful time of our country’s history. And as the danger is imminent, so let our fat be a real one. Let us turn unto the Lord with all our heart. Let us not come together as a mere matter of form, or simply to hear what we ought to do. Let us give ourselves to the performance of the work as those who believe the requirements of God are not to be trifled with; nor profession to be rested in, to the exclusion of corresponding examples; nor that the honoring of the lips will satisfy God while the heart is far form him. Let our fast be a real fast, one persisted in long enough to make the body sensible of the abstinence to which we are submitting; let our humiliation be so marked that it shall be visible to others it has extended to the very soul; let our prayers be the very pouring out of the heart unto God. And let them be thus poured but especially for the members of Congress, the Executive Cabinet and all in authority that they may have both the wisdom and the firmness necessary to enable them to devise and carry out the requisite measures now demanded in this our country’ most critical emergency. Says St. Paul [in 1st Timothy 2, verses 1, 2]. “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, giving of thanks, be made for all me: For Kings and all in authority; that we may led a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty”.

O, would all the people of the land, would all our Christian people be seen today thus engaged -- were they all this day to come up to our sanctuaries of religion, with spirits thus affected, and hence would they go to their closets, there thus afflicting themselves, there bowing in contrition before God and penitently confessing their sins, who can tell what would be the result? Or what might not then hope would be the grace given us, to enable us to know how to act in this day when such lowering clouds hang over us, and the safety of the Union and our own personal safety are so greatly imperiled.

There must beloved have been a cause for our present troubles -- outside of all political action. No people will be given up to be ruined by evil counsels, unless there be first a large amount of personal wickedness, unrepented of. Not then in party or personal bickerings are we now to indulge. Crimination will provoke recrimination. The ulcer is formed; irritation will not cure it. “The plague is begun”, how shall it be staid? The fire is spreading; how shall it be checked and put out? Let us beloved “turn to the Lord, the great Arbiter of nations, with fasting; and weeping and mourning”, and thus seek hi interposition in our behalf. Nor think that we shall thus be engaged in any fruitless work: “Thus saith the Lord; at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a Kingdom to pluck up and pull down and destroy it; if that nation against whom I pronounced, turn from their evil ways, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” And may it not be that we as a people have done enough of evil to provoke the Lord thus to visit us with his chastening rod?

We are a people professing belief in the existence of a God and the divine authority of the Christian religion. As a people we have publicly and in a most solemn manner declared we worship the one Jehovah as he is reveled to us in the bible, and consider ourselves bound to be regulated and to abide by the precepts and principles of that Holy book. Inconsistency then as a nation with that divinely appointed standard of duty we ought no more to think will be overlooked by God, than that he will never call individuals to account for their transgressions. By His Providence he is ever at work in every part of creation, often “brining to pass acts, strange acts”, for the very purpose of making both individuals and nations realize that the Lord He is God. And woe to the nation, woe to the individuals that cease to remember their dependence upon the almighty! Not setting the Lord before them, into excesses of wickedness they will eventually plunge which cannot but end in destruction.

God will indeed do all that He ought -- the very benevolence of His nature will incline Him to do all that He can consistently with His other attributes, to prevent the wretchedness they are thus inevitably precipitating upon themselves. And therefore it is that He so often “maketh diviners mad, and turneth their knowledge foolish”. But beloved though we are professedly a Christian people, how inconsistent is the conduct of a vast many all over the land, with Christian citizenship! and how subversive of every Christian institution! One of the peculiar features and brightest glories of the religion of the bible is its day of sacred rest and holy worship. Let this day be robbed of its religious character, and a night of most fearful evil to out country must succeed. Take it away, and with it will go everything that can be called religion -- all morality, all good order, all desirable civil liberty; and licentiousness and misrule and anarchy will pollute and devastate our dearly bought heritage, invade out much beloved homes and bring down upon us the curse of heaven. it is only from the gospel that correct notions of liberty can be imbibed. It is only as we are properly influenced by the Gospel that we can be in the best condition either to govern or to be governed. We may boast of our patriotism, discourse eloquently upon the rights of conscience, inflame assembled crowds with notions of liberty. “He”, however, “is the freeman whom the truth makes free”; and his conscience is not treated aright, he does not duly respect the rights of his own conscience, who seeks not to have it enlightened with revealed truth. He is not the safe patriot who does not what he can to secure the obedience to the divine laws, and thus to cause the blessing of heaven to rest upon the land. it may be well, beloved, for us all in this our day of humiliation, to examine ourselves whether at the doors of some of us there be not sin in this particular; and whether for this we ought not to fast and weep, and pray not to be dealt with according to our iniquities.

Again: God is the “King of all the earth”. And no more can He be expected to resign his rights and prerogatives to another, than he will exert his power in preserving the Kingdom, or in procuring glory for the people who honor him not. This truth, with a practical living up to it, ought to be the basis on which we rest our hopes, both of personal and national security. But is it so? To place implicit reliance for our success in our undertakings, on our own foresight, or prudence, or plans, or strength, or resources, is the common error of mankind. And richly gratifying to our proud spirit it is, to see adopted the measures we may have recommended, and to behold them successful in their application. In the excitement of the moment we take to ourselves all the credit for objects accomplished, which only “the right hand of God” could bring about. We care not to remember that man’s strength is derived, not inherent; his wisdom a gift, not a birth-right; all his ability of every kind, of grace, not of meritorious claim; and that n His sight “who sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, the inhabitants of the earth are but grasshoppers.” Unfortunate indeed is that community where this spirit has usurped dominion.

Stimulating to the most ambitious projects, and yet disdaining competitors or advisors, who can calculate the dissensions it will be continually fomenting? And see we not, beloved, more of such a spirit among ourselves than we ought? See we at not in the freedom of the press that Palladium of our liberty, so often abused to licentions, to the most low, wanton and unjustifiable personal vituperation? See we not in the toleration of religious opinions for which we are so deservedly eulogized, but which is so often taken advantage of for inculcating the most revolting tenets? See we it not in the freedom of speech so wisely guaranteed by the constitution, now used with the most bitter acrimony, and now persons sought to be deterred from it by threats of personal violence? See we it not, in the sacredness of the pulpit profaned by being used to minister to party strife, or morbid sensibilities? See we it not in laws ignored; decisions of courts repudiated; the constitution overridden; . . . the very word of God either prostituted to sanction violence, the self-will of men, or rejected as the standard of duty because it cannot be wrested to support their delusive and revolutionary theories?
Any people who will set up for themselves, virtually disowning God’s authority, may expect to be left to themselves, and made to know “the Lord reigneth”, by the suddenness, the terribleness with which they will sooner or later hurled form their proud elevation. They that “sow the wind”, must expect “to reap the whirlwind”. Is not this then, beloved, a suitable time in which for us to examine ourselves whether this spirit has not gained an ascendancy over us, and whether we ought not to fast and weep, for the fruits we may now be gathering from it? We had (had we not?) thought our “mountain so sure that it could never be moved”. By the blessing of heaven, a goodly heritage had been secured to us. Embracing every variety of soil and climate; with a government esteemed to be the best of any on the face of the earth; having a territory so vast and almost boundless extent; able to dispose of our lands at a price which placed them within the reach of almost anyone; with a population proverbial for endurance, enterprise, intelligence and courage -- it is not surprising that we have become, during the few years of our existence, a mighty people. And then bound together as we hitherto have been, and supposed we should always be, by the constitution as one man, each pledged to stand by the other, our Union to preserve, let it extend as it might, we gloried too much (did we not?) in our position, in our strength, in ourselves, in our “arm of flesh”, and dreamed not but that we should ever go on in increasing greatness, renown and power. And is not God now rebuking us for our pride, our vaunting spirit, our self-laudation?

If with such dependence upon self to the exclusion of a dutiful submission to the authority of God, we can be charged; then we need not wonder that the breath of his displeasure is upon us, and that we are to be punished in finding that what was our trust is to be our confusion; that we have been leaning upon a reed when we imagined ourselves to be on an immovable rock; and that it was but “rope of sand” and not an adamantine chain which was holding together our glorious, but alas for us! our too-much-gloried-in-Union. For we may pronounce, almost with confidence which prophetic vision would inspire that when by such a spirit we are influenced, ambition will take place of love of country; individual exaltation, or aggrandizement will govern us; and the strife of party, with a thirst for the spoils of office, will eat out from among us everything like pure patriotism. for, beloved, when God is no more properly recognized, served and loved by us; when the yoke of the gospel is spurned; when Christ in his character of Savior has no place in our hearts; when the Holy spirit can no more influence us to the heeding of salvation’s work, the saving of the soul for God, then God has done with us for good.

Our country will then have failed in its grandest mission assigned to us; and we must go on, with others before us who have been so infatuated, proud, selfish and defiant of God, into obscurity, or vassalage or extinction. For thus disowned of God, none of the nations hitherto jealous of our renown need be perplexed as to how we are to be crushed. They will see us, as Pompey saw the Jews, when he sat down before their city, and as Titus afterward beheld them perishing by means of civil dissension more speedily and effectually than could be by foreign force -- will see as the result of our own madness, “Ichabod, the glory is departed”, written upon the walls of the proud Capitol over which floated the stars and stripes, that banner, once by every freeman so dearly prized, covering property and person, in every clime, and which while it there waved, was the beacon of hope to the oppressed of every nation, kindred, tongue and people on the face of the whole earth.

That day of gloominess and darkness has not yet fully come. True, its dismaying shadow is on the mountain. The deep muttering of the storm is borne to us on every southern wind. But O, shall that fearful day ever fully come? Shall it ever be, that our folly and irreverence and impiety shall proceed to such a height as to provoke God to make such an example of us? Are plough-shares be beat into swords, are pruning hooks into spears, and are fields no more to smile with cultivation? the products of every clime, no more as now, to find their way to our doors? Our majestic streams and wide-spreading lake no more as now, to be covered with the barks of commerce? Our people after nearly eighty years of successful experience to be found at last incapable of governing, unworthy to be left to govern themselves because of want of due allegiance to God? Our North and our South, twin brothers brought forth in the stormy time and baptized together in the blood of the Revolution, to be arrayed in deadly strife against each other?

“The war-whoop” again to “wake the sleep of the cradle”? Insurrection to riot in rapine, lust and murder? Civil war to see friends, neighbors, relatives thirsting for each other’s blood? Our country no more to be the land of the brave and the home of the free? Our Union, our glorious Union, the world’s marvel and admiration and hope, where it is not envied or feared, broken up, dissolved, gone? That dreadful day has not yet fully come. O shall it ever thus come?

O, if fasting, humiliation and prayer can prevent it, let us fast and humble ourselves and pray as we have never before done. Let us thus act, “let us thus turn unto the Lord with all our hearts; for who knoweth if He will return and repent and leave a blessing behind Him.” And O, if Compromise, if Concession can keep from us that dreadful day, that day of doom to our prosperity, to our republic, let us in compromise and concession go to the extremest point to which honor will allow us to go. Let ‘the North give up, and the South keep not back.” Let “the North” seek better to understand the South, and leaving their institutions to their own management “give up” all it can with due self-respect. Let the “South”, disregarding fanatical misrepresentation and the unauthorized action of misguided zealots, seek better to understand the North, and “keep not back” what it can, with proper dignity accept. But let not an overweening tenaciousness of self-respect or dignity, let not undue pride, let not an obstinate partisanship be allowed to usurp the place of a magnanimous, conservative Christian spirit. Let not the North, let not the South “love” itself less but let each “love” the country, the whole country “more”. Let each “forbearing one another in love”, each “endeavor to keep” the Union “in the bond of peace,” each praying that both may be truly, savingly influenced by the peace-making glorious gospel of the Son of God. So that neither may be guilty of shedding their brother’s blood.

But if finally the appeal must be to arms, which God forbid! then merging all selfish or party considerations in a heart-burning desire for our just rights and the country’s good, let all of every political name stand shoulder to shoulder, and with faces of flint in defence of rational, constitutional, gospel liberty, the liberty which was our father’s legacy, and which the Word of God assures us we may and ought to have. And for the maintenance of this, looking unto God to uphold the right, let us spare neither treasure nor life. The conflict if it comes, O may heaven avert it! will be such as, probably, the would never witnessed; the desolation such as will cause every eye to weep; the result make a chapter in the World’s history which no on will read without shuddering. But the end, the end -- being of God’s ordering, shall serve as an additional evidence that “the Lord reigneth”, and that “blessed” only “are the people who have the Lord for their God.”

Local historian Franklin Everett wrote of Rev. Cuming “What he undertook he laid hold of with energy, be it the business of his profession, or secular affairs. There was in him a buoyant hopefulness, which was not always prudence. As a clergyman or man of the world, he was always esteemed an able counselor. His benevolence was great, and his personal honor was never doubted. Naturally a leader, he sometimes excited opposition by his determined will, and his fixed purpose to carry his point. His motto seemed to be -- ‘Be sure you are right, and then go ahead’.”

“In personal presence,” wrote Everett, “the air of Dr. Cuming was that of an energetic business man. His positive manner at first repelled, while intimacy proved him a man singularly unselfish, and living in his sympathies and loves; that he was warm-hearted, generous and affectionate. As a preacher, he was impressive and earnest; as a friend, true to the death. He knew no masters but his conscience and his God; and it is believed that the one is stainless in the presence of the other.”

In late April and May of 1861, while the Regiment was organizing in Grand Rapids, at the Kent County Agricultural fairgrounds two miles south of the city, at a place which would be called Cantonment Anderson, the men relied heavily upon the services of local ministers for their spiritual needs, and several were coming regularly to the camp. One of these was Rev. Dr. Cuming.

On May 12, 1861, he addressed the Third Regiment at Cantonment Anderson, and, according to Rebecca Richmond, one of Cuming’s faithful, if youthful, parishioners, “A large number of citizens were present, and the services were interesting and impressive. All joined in singing to the tune of ‘Old Hundred’, the 82nd hymn, Dr. Cuming ‘lining’ it for us in the old fashioned way.” Another wrote

On Sunday last [May 12] the first religious service was held at “Cantonment Anderson” in the afternoon. There was, as you may readily suppose, a large turn out of our citizens to witness the exercises. The day was peculiarly warm and genial, and at the appointed hour, the regiment under the command of Col. Daniel McConnell, formed a hollow square, and having been duly put in solemn ranks, the carriage of the beautiful brass field-piece, belonging to the Grand Rapids Artillery, was run into the enclosure, upon which the Rev. Dr. Cuming, of the Episcopal Church was mounted, and the troops, “having “off hats men”, by direction of the Col. the Dr. opened the services by a short but energetic impromptu sermon, of not to exceed fifteen minutes, delivered in his usual tone and nervous manner, and amongst other of its merits, it had that of “brevity”, which, in times of war, may as well be styled the soul of sermons, as it is at all times of wit. Following the sermon was Old Hundred, led by the Episcopal Church Choir, and then a closing prayer read by the Dr. with great unction, and a spirit which seemed to partake largely of the greatness of the occasion. I ought to mention that the Rev. Dr. was particularly happy in his advice to the soldiers to keep their heads cool and eyes clear, by the frequent use of cold water for a beverage, and to avoid entirely ardent spirits of all kinds.

The most “solemn stillness” reigned during the services, and we heard but one impertinent remark as the Dr. closed, and that escaped from a fanatical mad-cap, who was curious enough to say, as the Doctor dismounted from the cannon, “Well, I wonder if that is what would be called one of the cannons of the church? If it is there is some fire in it yet.” It is proper to add that immediate measures will be taken to arrest said profane individual.

Apparently local clergymen were rotating through the camp providing Sunday services for the troops. Joseph Stevens wrote that at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, church services were held on the parade ground, “Rev. Mr. Somerville officiating, who took his stand on the caisson of the cannon, which made a very good pulpit. It was certainly an imposing sight to see a thousand soldiers and about two hundred spectators formed into a hollow square, to listen to the preaching of the gospel.” Although the Rev. Courtney Smith, “estimable pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Fourth Ward,” had been scheduled to officiate at the cantonment on Sunday,

despite the mud, rain . . . for be it known that these things are yet daily visitors -- a goodly number of our citizens, on foot and in carriages, were on the ground at the appointed hour, but in place of the eloquent, and favorite reverend gentleman above named, I found the cannon carriage occupied by a tall and very graceful person, to me a stranger, who, with a full, rich and sonorous voice, was conducting the religious services. It was the Rev. Mr. Somerville, of the Methodist Church, Lansing. . . . Dr. Cuming, who after the straightest sect is a churchman, performed the 'evening service', and preached in the Presbyterian Church last evening. Can it be that the millennium is really dawning? That the time is really near when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together; the high churchman and the Calvinist pray together; the follower after the Saybrook platform, and he who tells his rosary and beads mess together? Verily, we have fallen in strange times. Let us hope that there will yet some good come out of our denominational Nazareth, through even the dire calamity of war.

On May 26, following morning services and seven baptisms in the afternoon, wrote Richmond, Cuming “addressed the Regiment briefly, made a prayer and a hymn was sung. The doctor has been appointed chaplain of the gallant Third of Michigan, and will accompany them whenever called to take up arms in defense of the constitution and laws.”

Indeed, Rev. Cuming was elected the first chaplain of the Third Michigan infantry Regiment, and, at the age of 62 was the oldest member of the Regiment. In the opinion of the editor of the Grand Rapids Eagle, “This is an appointment which could not be bettered. Whether his congregation will permit him to leave them, is a question for St. Mark's Vestry to decide. But doubtless his resignation will be accepted, in view of the peculiar circumstances which have caused it.” And further, that “the vote, by the Staff and Captains of the Third regt., for Chaplain of the regt., was” 12 for Cuming and 3 for Rev. Dr. Somerville.”

“As this subject is now disposed of,” continued the Eagle, “and as we understand, with very general satisfaction, a few additional particulars are here furnished: On the receipt of notice of his election, Dr. C. immediately called a meeting of the Vestry, and in accordance with the canons of his church, made the matter known to them, as without their consent he could not accept of the office. At this meeting he did not resign the Rectorship of the church, but intimated that he would be glad to have leave of absence . . . if the Vestry would consent to his acceptance of the office. But in his communication to them he stated that should they consent to the arrangement, he desired the Vestry to feel themselves at perforce liberty, to call another Rector immediately, should in their judgment such a measure be deemed advisable. The Vestry refused to take any such step,” and resolved to make do of temporary rectorship for some three months.

On June 11, Rebecca wrote that “This evening Dr. Cuming held a parting reception, and between the hours of seven and ten his house was crowded by his friends and parishioners. It was a solemnly affecting occasion.” Rebecca Richmond wrote in her diary in early July of 1861 that she could hardly believe “our beloved pastor is so far away from us and in the army too.” Indeed, the Grand Rapids newspapers painted a picture of a minister respected and beloved by all the men in the Old Third.

On July 17 the Enquirer reprinted a letter from an unknown writer in the Third infantry that said, in part not only was Cuming’s recent sermon “excellent” but also that “The doctor seems to know the minds of the men with whom he has to deal, and shapes his sermons accordingly. Always when he is speaking the soldiers give the most profound attention. He is universally liked and respected. The sick in the hospital whom he visits daily, are becoming very much attached to him.”

Some of the men in the Regiment felt differently, however. Shortly after Cuming became chaplain of the Third Michigan, and while the Regiment was still in camp near Grand Rapids, Frank Siverd of Company G hinted that Cuming was not well liked by all the soldiers. “Religious services,” Siverd wrote to the Republican, “were held in the afternoon by the newly appointed chaplain. He will be popular if he always studies the comfort of the soldiers as well as he did this time -- that is by preaching brief sermons. It is not pleasant to stand immovable for an hour.” George Miller of Company A wrote home on August 11, “I suppose we will have to listen to old Commings [sic] this afternoon.”

Nevertheless, some of the men of the Third Michigan commended Cuming for his efforts. On December 18, 1861, Dan Birdsall of Company E wrote to the editor of the Hastings Banner that Cuming had established a regimental library for which he was praised.

The Regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, and arrived in Washington, DC, where they went into camp along the Potomac near Chain Bridge (above Georgetown), on Sunday, June 16. However, the rigors of camp life and his age soon began to take its toll on the Reverend, and by mid-September of 1861 Cuming’s health was failing. On September 17 he returned home to Michigan on a 20-day furlough to recover his health.

Rev. Cuming resigned from the Regiment in October of 1861, due to ill health, although he had apparently returned to the Regiment since he was reported by at least two of the men as holding services in October and again in December.

On October 13, Charles Church of Company G referred to him in a letter home, and in December of 1861 Miller wrote that during a recent service held by Cuming, that “Old Doc Cummings disperses the gospel to us on the Sabbath unless it is too cold,” and that his “discourse consists of telling us how awful wicked we soldiers are and agitating on the subject of a big tent for the Sabbath exercises, which he want is the soldiers to buy, take it all around; he is the biggest nuisance of the Regiment. If he was like the chaplains of some of the other Regiments, the boys would take some interest in him, but as it is, its like smoking sawdust to hear him. There was nine out of our company to church last Sabbath and part of them came back before the services were over.”

Eli Hamblin of Company E wrote home in June of 1862.

Today is Sunday. We had had our meeting and have had a good one. It is the first one we had had this spring. Our old chaplain [Francis Cuming] went home when we left Washington and we have a new one now [Joseph Anderson]. It is the first time he has preached to us. We like him first rate. He is a good man. We like him better than we did the other. He is an old man but he is a clever old scotchman. He is around with the men and talking with them and but the other one was not so he talked well to us.

Rev. Cuming’s health remained fragile and he was forced to return to his home in Grand Rapids.

Rebecca Richmond wrote in her diary on May 11, 1862, that he was “still very feeble,” and on May 14 when she and her sister called on Cuming he was “reclining on his couch in a very feeble condition, scarcely able to speak. He is much emaciated, and oh! so changed from the strong, erect man who left us last summer! Can he, too, be passing away?”

Her question was soon answered. Rev. Cuming died of consumption (tuberculosis) on August 26, 1862, at his home on Bostwick Street in Grand Rapids, and was buried in Fulton cemetery: block 5 lot 30.

On June 10, 1863, the Eagle noted that

The Episcopal convention held its 27th annual meeting at Ann Arbor on Wednesday and Thursday of last week [June 3-4]. Among its various proceedings, the Bishop of the Diocese was relieved of the charge of his Parish in Detroit, by the Convention assuming the charge of his support as Bishop.

The next annual meeting will be held in this city -- the first time of its presence in this part of the State.

There was an extended review of the life and labors of the Rev. Dr. Cuming, in the Bishop’s report, which will soon be published. The Standing Committee, in its report, has also the following report:

“In memory of the Rev. Francis H. Cuming, D. D.:

“To the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Michigan, the death of Rev. Francis H. Cuming, D. D., has been the occasion of no unusual sorrow. It is to them the loss of an able and indefatigable laborer in the Lord’s Vineyard, whose efficiency, advancing years seemed more to help than to hinder; of an associate with most of them in the cares and joys of the growing Diocese from its infamy; of one identified by his abundant missionary labors, with so many of our parishes, that throughout our borders he cannot soon be forgotten; and of an ardent, zealous, enthusiastic servant of Christ, the influence of whose life and ministry and counsels could only be towards the enlargement and strengthening of our communion. And a loss like this they know is not to be made up. At the same time, as partakers of the Gospel which he preached, not only with his lips, but with his life, they must recognize in his death his own gain no less than their loss. They feel that he could have left among them no prouder remembrance than that he gave his latest strength to his country, to the ministry of Christ among her soldiers. And seeing in that only the last of many proofs of the heartiness of his Christian faith, and love and zeal, they rejoice to believe that he has gone to his reward. Assuring his bereaved family of their sincere sympathy, they pray for them, that they soon be enabled to feel that hi calm and easy removal out of this life was full of mercy, and that for him it could not be too soon to enter into his rest.”

In December of 1869 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 139053). In 1870 Charlotte (worth some $20,000 in real estate and $2000 in personal property) was living in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward with her three daughters.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oliver M. Culver

Oliver M. Culver was born in 1842 in New York.

Oliver left New York state and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan with his family, probably in the Grand Rapids area, sometime in the late 1850s.

He was possibly the same Oliver Culver who was arrested in Grand Rapids in the summer of 1859, charged with theft. On July 26, 1859, the Grand Rapids Enquirer reported that one “Oliver Culver, a young lad, was brought up, charged with stealing a pair of boots from a man in Alpine. Plead guilty, and was sentenced to pay a fine, or 40 days in County jail. Funds being scarce with him, he choose [sic] the latter, and was committed.”

In any case, by 1860 Oliver was probably working as an apprentice painter in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

Oliver was 19 years old and still living in Kent County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent as Eighth Corporal in Company K on May 13, 1861. (He was possibly related to George Culver also of Company K and/or Noah Culver of Company I.) Oliver was reported AWOL in August of 1862, but he eventually returned to the Regiment.

He was shot in the head and killed on July 2, 1863, while the regiment was engaged in the Peach Orchard, during the second day of the battle of Gettysburg.

He was buried in the Michigan plot, National Cemetery at Gettysburg: section B, grave 18 .

No pension seems to be available.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Noah Culver Jr.

Noah Culver Jr. was born 1820 in Little Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York, the son of Noah Sr. (b. 1779) and Sarah (Fenn, b. 1778).

Connecticut natives Noah and Sarah were married in Connecticut sometime before 1807. A veteran of the War of 1812, Noah Sr. eventually settled his family in Little Valley, Cattaraugus County, New York around 1817. Noah Jr. left New York State and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan, and by 1860 Noah was a farmer living with and/or working for Oscar Sherburn (who would also enlist in Company I), a farmer in Blendon, Ottawa County.

Noah Jr. stood 5’10” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 41 years old and still living in Blendon when he enlisted as First Sergeant in Company I on June 10, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was possibly related to George and/or Oliver Culver, both of Company K. Noah was reported sick in the hospital from August of 1862 through December, and discharged on January 12, 1863, at York, Pennsylvania, suffering from chronic nephritis and rheumatism.

It is not known if Noah ever returned to Michigan. He was probably living in Missouri Valley, Missouri, sometime in the 1880s when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. He eventually returned to his home in Cattaraugus County, New York.

In July of 1864 he applied for a pension (application no. 48260), but the certificate was apparently never granted.

He was reportedly buried in Greenwood cemetery in Cattaraugus County, New York, but subsequently reinterred in Steamburg cemetery, Coldspring, Cattaraugus County, New York.

Monday, May 26, 2008

George W. Culver

George W. Culver was born around 1839.

George was about 22 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company K on May 13, 1861. (He was possibly related to Noah Culver of Company I and/or Oliver Culver of Company K.) George was listed as an orderly to Third Brigade commander General Hiram Berry from August of 1862 through September and from November of 1862 through June of 1863. He was probably in furlough in March of 1863 when he returned to his home in Grand Rapids where he married Jeanette C. McCall on March 22, 1863. (She was probably the same “Jennette” McCall, born around 1844 in Michigan, who was working as a domestic and living with her father Alexander, a shoemaker, in Byron, Kent County, Michigan in 1860.)

George eventually returned to Virginia and was killed on May 5, 1864, during the Wilderness campaign, although it is possible that he died of disease in a hospital in New Jersey. He was buried either among the unknown soldiers at the Wilderness or in New Jersey.

It is not known what became of his widow. No pension seems to be available.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

James Culhan

James Culhan, also known as “Cullen”, was born around 1843, probably in Ireland.

James was 18 years old when he enlisted in the Regimental Band on June 10, 1861.

He was discharged at Detroit on June 13, 1861, on a writ of habeas corpus, reason unknown, but possibly as a consequence of being a minor who had enlisted with the consent of a parent or guardian (or Justice of the Peace).

James' Third Michigan service record notes that he did subsequently serve in the Band of the First Michigan Cavalry, and in fact, he did reenter the service in the Band, First Michigan cavalry on September 23, 1861, while it was being organized at Detroit, giving his age as 29 (!). The regiment left Michigan for Washington on September 29 and was subsequently attached to the Cavalry Brigade, Army of the Potomac to December of 1861. James was honorably discharged on September 4, 1862 at Ball’s Crossroads, Virginia (presumably subsequent to the elimination of the Regimental bands in the Army of the Potomac).

James eventually returned to Michigan after he left the army, and eventually settled in Detroit.

He was married to Michigan native Mary E. (b. 1845), and they had at least one child: Margaret (b. 1880). Mary had been married before to one Mr. Edwards and had four children from her previous marriage: Mary (b. 1864), Annie (b. 1868), John (b. 1871) and Lottie (b. 1874).

By 1880 James was working as a musician and living with his wife and stepchildren on Abbott Street in Detroit.

James was probably the same James Culhan who was a civil war veteran residing in Detroit’s Eighth ward in 1894.

James probably died before 1901, possibly in Michigan. It is reported that one James Culhan, who served in Unassigned, Third Michigan infantry during the war, was buried in Elmwood cemetery, Detroit.

In any case, his widow was living in Michigan in 1901 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 513,551).

Saturday, May 24, 2008

John F. Crysler - updated 11/25/08

John F. Crysler was born in 1842 in Ontario, Canada, the son of Jeremiah (1811-1887) and Rhoda Matilda (Ford, 1820)

Ontario, Canadian natives Jeremiah and Rhoda were married on April 20, 1841, in Ontario, Canada and resided there for many years. Sometime between 1843 and 1844 (or possibly as late as 1852) they left Canada and eventually settled in Michigan. By 1860 John was attending school with five of his younger siblings and living on the family farm in Sparta, Kent County. (Nearby lived Levi Tanner who would also enlist in the Third Michigan.)

John was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Sparta, Kent County when he enlisted with his father’s consent in Company K on August 9, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He died of typhoid fever on May 31 or June 1, 1863, and, according to George Bailey, of Company F who had been temporarily assigned as Regimental hospital steward, he died in the Regimental hospital at Falmouth, Virginia. (He may have been buried initially on the Bullard Farm in Stafford County, Virginia.) John was eventually interred in Fredericksburg National Cemetery: grave no. 5021 (old 127).

His parents soon left Michigan and by 1870 had settled in Marine Mills, Washington County, Minnesota. By 1880 they had moved to Big Bend, Republic County, Kansas where Jeremiah died in 1887. (He is buried in Rose Mound Cemetery in Big Bend.) In 1888 John’s mother Rhoda mother was living in Nebraska when she applied for and received a pension (no. 248,775). Sometime between 1900 and 1910 Rhode went to live with her daughter Florence Vickers, in Billings, Montana. She died in Billings in 1914 and her body was sent to White Bear Lake, Ramsey County, Minnesota and buried at Saint John’s cemetery in White Bear Lake. (Apparently her daughter Hester or Esther had settled there with her husband William Freeman.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lawrence Croy

Lawrence Croy was born September 13, 1839, in Coshoctan County, Ohio, the son of Jacob (1811-1886) and Mary Ann (Schults, b. 1818)

Lawrence’s parents were both born in Ohio and were probably married there sometime before 1837. In any case the family was living in Washington, Coshocton County, Ohio in 1850 and resided in Ohio for some years before emigrating westward. Jacob eventually settled his family in Lansing, Ingham County, and by 1860 Lawrence was working as a day laborer along with his father and older brother Philip and living with his family in Lansing’s First Ward.

Lawrence stood 5’6” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a light complexion, and was a 21-year-old laborer probably living in Lansing's First Ward when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles”, was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He was wounded severely in the leg on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and in early June was among the wounded reported to be in a Washington hospital; although Homer Thayer of Company G wrote on June 20 that Croy was in fact a patient in the State Hospital at New Haven, Connecticut. In any case, he remained hospitalized from July of 1862 through January of 1863, and was discharged on February 13, 1863, at New Haven, Connecticut for “deformity of the left leg in consequence of fracture of the femur from wound received in action.”

After his discharge from the army Lawrence returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company B, Third Michigan cavalry in early spring of 1864, crediting Dewitt, Clinton County, and joined the Regiment in March, possibly at Little Rock, Arkansas. In May Lawrence was reported on furlough, possibly as a consequence of being ill although this is by no means certain. In any case he was discharged for disability on July 10, 1864, at Devall’s Bluff, Arkansas.

Lawrence listed Grand Rapids on his discharge paper as his mailing address but he would eventually return to Lansing, where he lived for some fifty years, working as a laborer.

He married Ohio native Mary J. Elder (b. 1848-1872), on June 15, 1863 in Dewitt, Clinton County, Michigan or in Macomb, Ohio, and they had at least four children: John (b. 1867), Ira Jacob, (b. 1868), Virgel (b. 1871) and one other.

The family lived in Macomb, Ohio for several months before moving to Toledo where they remained for “some time”, Lawrence eventually brought his family to Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan. By 1870 he was working as an engineer and living with his wife in Lansing’s Third Ward. After Mary died in Lansing in 1872, Lawrence placed his son John in the care of a man named Wrath, and another son Ira went to live with his grandmother. Lawrence married his second wife, a woman named Agnes “Belle” Kramer, at which time, according to John and Ira, they returned to his father’s home. Lawrence and Belle had at least one child: Mary Ann. They were separated and subsequently divorced (she eventually married a man named Brooks).

In fact, in June of 1875 “Belle” sued Lawrence for divorce, on the grounds of cruelty and adultery.

The divorce was granted and Lawrence was ordered to pay $5 per week alimony and child support.

On June 15, 1878 Lawrence married his third wife, Margaret Cinderella “Cinda” Fletcher (1858?-1910), in Findaly, Hancock County, Ohio, and they had at least three children: Jesse or Jessie (b. 1886) Wesley (b. 1887) and Thornton (b. 1890).

Lawrence had a total of eight children by his three wives. Other children’s names were: Bert and Mrs. Wayne Gregory.

In his last years he was residing at 444 Grand Street, (North) Lansing.

Lawrence became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in June of 1904, and in July of 1889 joined the Grand Army of the Republic Foster Post No. 42 in Lansing.

In 1863 (?) He applied for and received a pension (no. 16337), drawing $30 per month by 1907.

Lawrence died of paralysis and a “general breaking down” on April 5, 1908, at his home at 412 Lapeer Street, Lansing. One obituary reported “For the last four weeks, the flag on the hall of Charles T. Foster post Grand Army of the Republic has been half mast for some member of the order. The flag was again placed in that position for Lawrence W. Croy who passed away last night. . . . He had resided in Lansing for 50 years.” The funeral was held on April 9 at his home at 2:00 p.m., under the auspices of the GAR. He was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in Lansing: section B, lot 229, grave 7.

In 1908 his widow Cinda applied for and received a pension (no. 665,696).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Daniel G. Crotty

Daniel G. Crotty was born December 27, 1840 or 1841 in County Clare, Ireland, the son of Michael and Jane or June (Tracy).

Daniel left Ireland and came to America, probably settling in Kent County, Michigan by the time the war broke out.

Daniel stood 5’6” with blue eyes, black hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old shoemaker possibly living in Lowell, Kent County in April of 1861 when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He received the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. The Cross, one report said,

is a bronze medal in the shape of a Maltese cross, bearing engraved on its face the words ‘Kearny Cross, and on its reverse side ‘Birney's Division. The medal was one of the very first issued by the government during the war. It was presented to Serg’t. Crotty in 1863, shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville, and while he was on duty before Fredericksburg. Crotty had served under General Kearny up to the time that gallant soldier was killed on the picket line the night of September 1, 1862. Gen. D. B. Birney succeeded Gen. Kearny, and it was in the following year that Gen. Birney distributed among select men who had served under Kearny the famous Kearny medals. Thirty of these medals were given to each Regiment, three for each company. The task of designating the men who were to receive the medals was assigned to captains of the various companies. For his valorous record as a soldier Serg't. D. G. Crotty was selected as one of the three in his company to receive a Kearny Cross.

From that day to this he has treasured this medal as only a true soldier who fought under Phil Kearny can treasure such a badge of honor.

Serg’t Crotty was so near Gen. Kearny when the latter was shot to death that he saw in the dusk of the evening the flash of the rebel musket that sent the fatal bullet.

“We had been fighting that afternoon”, said Mr. Crotty today, “but a storm came up and stopped the battle. After the rain had stopped and just on the edge of night Gen. Kearny rode out along the picket line looking closely after his men, as was his invariable custom. In the dusk he failed to see the rebel pickets and was soon in their lines. They ordered him to surrender, but he wheeled his horse around, put spurs to him and darted for the Union lines, hoping to escape the fire he knew was sure to follow him. Kearny leaned forward in his saddle and as low as possible to escape the bullets. But the aim of the Johnnies was too true. One bullet struck him in the back, a mortal wound, and our gallant and loved commander had met the soldier's fate”. Mr. Crotty has had engraved on the vacant spaces on his Kearny Cross the names of the principal engagements in which he served.

According to Dr. James Grove, Surgeon of the Old Third, in August of 1863, while the Regiment was encamped at Sulphur Springs, near Warrenton, Virginia, Daniel reported sick. “He stated to me,” Dr. Grove said some years later, that he was suffering from hemorrhoids, which “were aggravated by the constipation.” Dr. Grove noted that Crotty “was acting Color Sergeant at the time and did not often appear at Surgeon’s call during my connection with the regiment.”

Daniel was a Corporal when he reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Bowne, Kent County, and was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864. He probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

Daniel claimed years later that he distinguished himself during the battle of the Wilderness in early May of 1864, and in 1900 he attempted to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his participation in that action. In March of 1900, according to one source, Michigan Congressman Bishop sent a letter to then Secretary of War Elihu Root, asking that a medal be awarded to Crotty. The Congressman attached affidavits from various officers who had served in the Old Third,

which make him one of the heroes of the Civil war. Chief among these is a letter of endorsement from Colonel M. B. Houghton, of [Tustin], Michigan, under whom Crotty, who is now a resident of Detroit, served. “Few men in America,” says Colonel Houghton, “can show as brilliant a record as can Lieutenant Crotty. I witnessed his conduct in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil war, in all of which he conducted himself with great gallantry.” Colonel Houghton relates that at the battle of the Wilderness the Third Michigan was in the Division led by General Hancock. They led the attack and drove the enemy back to reserves, where it became necessary to halt and reform broken lines. Houghton stood talking with General [then Colonel Byron R.] Pierce when Color Sergeant Crotty was seen carrying the flag forward into the very front of the enemy. “I wish you would stop Crotty”, cried General Pierce, “and bring back our colors.” Whereupon the commanding officer of the Regiment went forward and induced the courageous Crotty to get out from under fire and in line with his Regiment.

He never received the Medal of Honor.

Daniel was transferred as a Sergeant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was absent on furlough in November. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on May 8, 1865, replacing Lieutenant Ernest Synold of Company A, but he was never mustered as such. Sometime in the late spring the Fifth Michigan was sent to Jeffersonville, Indiana to be mustered out of service (with the regiment). On June 25, 1865 Daniel was admitted to Jefferson hospital in Jeffersonville, suffering from an ulcer on the right arm; he listed his nearest relative as a brother John who was living in Hainesville, Ontario. Daniel was mustered out as Sergeant on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Daniel returned to Michigan and on September 25, 1865, married Michigan native Anne McMahon (1842-1929) at St. Andrews church in Grand Rapids. They had at least 9 children: Elizabeth (b. 1866), George (b. 1868), Daniel G. (b. 1869), Mary F. (b. 1872; Mrs. A. F. Kuney), Margaret A. (b. 1874), John D. (b. 1876), Arthur B. (b. 1878), Francis J “Frank” (b. 1881) and Charles H. (b. 1883).

In 1874 Daniel published the only known book on the history of the Third Michigan infantry Regiment, Four years Campaigning in the Army of the Potomac, which sold for $1.50 a copy and was printed in Grand Rapids by Dygert Bros. He spent much of the year traveling around the state selling copies of the book. As far as we know Daniel did not keep a journal or diary during the war and, sadly, the book appears to be based solely on Crotty’s vague recollections rather than any hard evidence. Nor did he base his observations on any other written work, such as diaries or journals of other soldiers. This lack of attention to specifics, combined with a flowery style of prose makes the work greatly suspect as to its veracity. Of even greater curiosity is that even though Daniel was a member of the postwar Old Third Association and attended many of its reunions, he was never called upon to provide any of the historical details at any of the annual meetings. Rather, it was left to Allan Shattuck, formerly of Company G, who was in fact the official Association regimental historian and who gave all of the historical speeches.

By 1868 Daniel was working as a shoemaker in Pontiac, Oakland County, and in 1870 he was working as a shoemaker and living with his wife and three children in Southfield, Oakland County. (Also living with Daniel was Irish-born Ann Crotty, age 70.) He may have possibly lived for a time in Grand Rapids and Effingham, Illinois briefly, but eventually settled in Muskegon, Muskegon County where he worked as a shoemaker for many years. By 1871 he was engaged in a boot-and-shoe shop on Pine Street in Muskegon, and was constable in 1879, the same year the Grand Army of the Republic Kearny post number 7 was organized in Muskegon and he became a charter member (he transferred to the Grand Army of the Republic Fairbanks Post No. 17 in Detroit in 1897). In 1880 he was working as deputy sheriff and living with his wife in Muskegon. He was appointed Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms of the Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing in January of 1881.

Daniel also worked for some ten years for the Muskegon Milling Company as a traveling salesman. On February 19, 1887, while traveling in northern Michigan, Crotty was injured in a railroad accident and hospitalized in Reed City. Fred Worden, also formerly of Company F and living in Reed City at the time, wrote a letter-at-large, published in the Democrat on February 22, 1887 to his comrades describing Crotty’s recent accident and subsequent difficulties. According to Worden, Crotty was “in poor health in consequence, struggling for a living for himself and family, while on a business trip for a firm in Muskegon, going to Luther on the G. R. & I. [railroad], on the 19th inst., met with a serious injury, and is now lying in the hospital in Reed City, the train running off the track and tipping over, dislocating his shoulder and shattering the edges of the socket, and other injuries, which will take a long time to get over, if not lasting through life.”

Daniel was still living in Muskegon in 1888, 1890, and in 1892 he was a salesman for a wholesale clothing operation out of New York City.

In 1896 Daniel moved to Detroit where he became an instructor in the public schools, and where he spent his remaining years. In 1907, 1912 and 1915 he was residing at 163 Harrison Avenue. By 1920 Daniel was living in Detroit along with his wife Anne, two daughters, his son George and a grand-daughter and five boarders. Sometime in 1921 Daniel suffered a stroke and as a result was partially paralyzed and reported to be “in such a helpless condition that he needs the constant care of another person.”

Daniel was a Catholic, member of Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and received pension no. 268,864 (June of 1888), and drawing $50.00 per month by 1921. He was also involved in forming the Muskegon County Veteran’s Association.

Daniel died of apoplexy at his residence 2835 Harrison Avenue in Detroit on December on 25, 1921, and the funeral was held at 8:30 on Wednesday at St. Vincent’s church. He was buried on December 28 in Mt. Olivet cemetery, Detroit.

In 1922 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 917023).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Corwin Samuel Cross

Corwin Samuel Cross was born January 22, 1841 in Mt. Eaton, Wayne County, Ohio, the son of Henderson H. (1809-1876) and Sarah F (1815-1900).

Both New Yorkers, Corwin’s parents were married in September of 1832 in Trenton, New Jersey. Sometime between 1833 and 1836 the family moved westward, settling for a time in Ohio, and by 1850 Henderson was working as a millwright in Lagrange, Lorain County, Ohio and Corwin was attending school with his siblings. Henderson eventually moved his family to Michigan and by 1860 had settled on a farm in Hastings, Barry County (Corwin is not reported to be living with his family at the time).

Corwin stood 5’1” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company E on March 2 or 4, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered March 21 at Brandy Station, Virginia. He was reported missing in action on June 30, July 1 or 2, 1862, at White Oak Swamp, Virginia, and in fact had been taken prisoner at either Malvern Hill or White Oak Swamp. He was confined at Richmond, Virginia, paroled on August 5 at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia, subsequently returned to the Regiment but was absent sick from August 10 through August 31, 1863.

Although he was reported present for duty in September and October, according to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, he returned from the hospital on October 8, 1863. In any case, Corwin was reportedly absent on a 35-day furlough in November and December and had returned to the Regiment by January of 1864.

Corwin remained present for duty through February and reenlisted on either February 22 or March 21, 1864, at Brandy Station, Virginia, and was presumably absent on a 30 days’ veterans’ furlough. He probably came back to his family home in Michigan, and if so, probably returned to the Regiment in late March or April. Corwin was again reported missing in action on May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and in fact had been taken prisoner on May 12. He was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

Corwin died of disease in Libby prison at Richmond, Virginia, probably on September 29, 1864, and was interred just outside Oakwood cemetery in Richmond, “on top of the hill”; he was also reported to have been reinterred in Richmond National Cemetery: original division I, section B, no. 166.

In 1870 his parents were living in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward where his father worked as a millwright. His mother received a pension (no. 354160) and was living in Grand Rapids when she died in 1900.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

William Edward Creary

William Edward Creary, also known as “Crary” and “Crarey”, was born October 20, 1842, in New York.

William left New York before the war broke out and eventually settled in Michigan.

He was 18 years old when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. William was listed on picket duty as of October 31, 1861. He was reported as a clerk at Brigade headquarters from December of 1862 through July of 1863. In August he was a clerk at the convalescent camp in Alexandria, Virginia, where he remained through September. It appears that William may have suffered from a chronic ailment -- or perhaps he had been wounded.

He was transferred to the Seventy-third company, Second Battalion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps, on October 24, 1863, listing his residence as Ludington, Mason County, and was in the Seventy-eighth company, Second Battalion on June 13, 1864. (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.) He worked as a clerk in the headquarters for the Seventy-eight Company and/or Second Battalion, and in November and December he was listed as present although absent sick at Depot Camp, Company I, Nineteenth Invalid Corps. In February of 1864 he was reported as deserted and in mid-June as working as a clerk in the Provost Marshal General’s office. He was still detached from the Nineteenth VRC to the Provost Marshal General’s office in August and indeed through October of 1865 when he was taken up on the rolls of the Thirty-ninth Company, Second Battalion VRC. By December of 1865 he was detached to the Quartermaster General’s office.

He married Annie Elizabeth Clark (d. 1917), on July 10, 1865 or 1866, in Washington, DC, and they had at least three children: Henry, William and Catharine. (She was probably his second wife.)

William was discharged, presumably from the VRC, on August 23, 1866. He apparently joined the regular army and was appointed as Major and Paymaster on June 23, 1879, and retired on December 22, 1892.

He was on duty at Washington, DC, from July 1 to September 4, 1879, at Fort Lowell, Arizona, to April 19, 1880; at Tucson, Arizona, to May 5, 1880.

The particulars remain unknown but apparently William was under arrest undergoing trial and awaiting sentence at Tucson to November 27, 1880, when, by General Court Martial Order No. 60, AGO, on November 17, 1880, he was sentenced to suspension from rank, forfeiture of half pay for the period of one year, to November 27, 1881.

Nevertheless, he was on duty at Tucson, to April 30, 1883, at San Francisco, to October 10, 1885, and at Cheyenne Depot, Wyoming to March 8, 1887. He was reportedly sick at Fort McKinney, Wyoming, while absent on pay tour, from September 25 to October 13, 1886, and at Cheyenne Depot to February 28, 1887. He was on leave to June 3, 1887, and on duty at Omaha, Nebraska to October 1, 1888. He was at Salt lake City, Utah, to June 25, 1891 and at San Antonio, Texas to November 15, 1892, “when having been examined by a Retiring Board and found incapacitated he was ordered home.”

He was awaiting orders to December 3, 1892 and on sick leave to December 22, when he was officially retired.

According to the Dr. Edward Moseley, the surgeon who examined William for his board review, he found William

suffering from the effects of a partial dislocation of the left elbow joint received at the battle of Gettysburg. The head f the radius has been forced entirely away from its articulation and has formed an anchylosis in such a position that the power of supination is entirely lost, the fore-arm and hand are fixed in a prone position and can be used in no other way. This injury is permanent and disables this arm to the extent of one-half for all purposes of active use in work. His right hand is deformed by the loss of the second and third joints of the fore finger from an amputation required in consequence of gangrene and necrosis of the bones of the ginger following an injury while on a pay trip on the frontier several years ago. The stump of his finger is contracted, deficient in circulation and innervation, and in consequence painfully affected by cold and accidental injuries. His capacity to write, handle money or such other use, is most impaired. In my opinion, this officer . . . is unfit for active service as a Paymaster in the Army.

Although his residence was given as 223 Indiana Avenue, Washington, DC, William was in Jordan Hot Springs, Frederick County, Virginia, when he died on July 22, 1899. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on August 2, 1899: lot 448.

According to his widow, when William died “she was on a visit to the Philippine Islands accompanied by her daughter Katharine Caldwell Creary, and that at that time her two sons Henry Clark Creary and Wm. Ferry Creary were stationed at [the] Islands in the service of the United States.” Henry “was a paymaster’s clerk to Major Sherry” and William “was a 1st Lt. Of the 12th U.S. Inftry.” She added that her husband William had died “at Jordan Hot Springs, Virginia.”

Although a resident of Washington, DC, Annie was living in California in November of 1899 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 553174), drawing $20 per month by 1917 when she living at 181 Infantry Terrace, the Presidio, San Francisco. She was living at Fort Douglas, Salt Lake County, Utah in 1901, but was back in San Francisco by 1917. She was buried in San Francisco National cemetery: Officers 6, plot 8.

Monday, May 19, 2008

David C. Crawford

David C. Crawford was born October 29, 1838, in Michigan, the son of Robert (1794-1884) and Sally (Crooks, 1798-1888).

New York native Robert and Massachusetts-born Sally were married in 1816, and settled in Michigan sometime before 1839. By 1860 David was a law student living with his family in Lyons, Ionia County where his father worked as a farmer.

David was 22 years old and still residing in Lyons when he enlisted as First Sergeant in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.)

While the Regiment was forming in Grand Rapids in late May and early June of 1861, he wrote to the editor of the Ionia Gazette, responding to a recent over the selection of commissioned officers in the Ionia companies.

As there are some very foolish reports circulating relative to some of our boys here, I write this to correct any wrong impressions that may exist. We are all well satisfied here with our quarters and our officers -- we have elected men from Grand Rapids for our Captain and Second Lieutenant, because we wanted men who were capable to fill those places, and we all felt that we were not capable of doing as well as other companies unless we had men that were well drilled, and we have them and are all satisfied and feeling well. We are well provided with provisions and bedding, in good spirits and very anxious to be moving. We were mustered in the service of the State last week by Col. Withesley [Whittlesley] of Detroit, and but one man who refused to take the oath. We number 85 men, rank and file, and a better looking lot of boys cannot be found in the Regiment. I would say to the friends in our County that we have left that they need have no fear for Company E. We are eager to march to the scene of action, and every man is determined to do his duty.

David was promoted from Sergeant Major and commissioned Second Lieutenant on July 19, 1861. It is quite possible that he returned to Michigan sometime in late fall of 1861 since he reportedly married Michigan native Florence A. (1844-1929), probably in Michigan, on November 1, 1861, and they had at least three children: Robert (b. 1867), George (b. 1869) and Daisy B. (b. 1877).

He eventually returned to duty and he was wounded slightly on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. However, some in the Regiment thought he acted less than heroically during the battle. On June 18 Hiel Clark of Company D (one of the two “Ionia companies”) wrote home that although “most of our Regiment fought well, some of them shrunk out though, both privates and officers, the most prominent among the latter class was one [D. C.] Crawford, second Lieutenant of Company E. He is among the wounded sent to Washington but the doctor says there was not a scratch on him or his clothes. He says he will report him for cowardice that would be rough, but it would be right.”

Whether the story was simply camp rumor or contained some truth, we'll never know. It is clear, however, from the existing record that Crawford acquitted himself well for the remainder of the war.

By July of 1862, Crawford was reportedly detached on recruiting service in Michigan, and by mid-September was in Detroit, staying at the Michigan Exchange Hotel. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant on September 22, replacing Lieutenant Peter Granger, and by early October he was in Grand Rapids recruiting for the Regiment. Although he was reported absent sick with leave from June of 1863 through November, in fact he was serving with the Regiment as acting Adjutant in late July.

David was also present for duty as adjutant of the regiment when it was detached to Troy, New York in early September of 1863. He served as Adjutant for the detachment commanded by Colonel Byron Pierce, and composed of the Third and Fifth Michigan regiments and a battery of the Second Connecticut Artillery. According to the Troy Daily Press of August 31, “Col. Pierce has established his headquarters at Capt. Frank Cooley’s office. He is ably seconded by his Adjutant, D. C. Crawford, Esq.” In December he was on detached service in Michigan, presumably on recruiting duty, and was promoted to Captain and transferred to Company G in February of 1864, replacing Captain Joseph Mason.

During the battle of Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864, according to George Waldron, then adjutant of the Fifth Michigan infantry (which together with the Third Michigan had been consolidated into one regiment under the command of Colonel Byron Pierce of the Third), “Capt. [David] Crawford . . . with his company, took one of the batteries and turned it upon the enemy and did good execution upon the fleeing rebels. “

Just before he was mustered out of the service, on June 17, 1864, David wrote from Lyons to the father of Charles Church, one of Company G who had recently been killed in action. “I shall at last write you as all hope is lost that your son Chas was killed on the 8th day of May last at [the] Wilderness, Va. I have waited in hopes that I was mistaken but I think there is no doubt of his death. He had gone ahead of the Regiment to the skirmish line, & was shot just as we received an order to fall back. We had been out to feel of the enemy works & was within fifteen rods of them when he was hit and he could not be got[ten] off the field. I shall make the proper releases this week so that you can get his back pay & bounty. I left the army on the 10th day of June -- my term of service having expired. Any assistance or information I can give you will be cheerfully released to the father of one of my brave men.” He was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864 at Detroit.

After his discharge David returned Michigan, probably to his family in Lyons where he lived for more than 20 years after the war, although he may have lived briefly in Buffalo, Erie County, New York in the fall of 1867.

By 1870 David was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two children next door to his parents in Lyons. By 1880 David was working as a gardener and living with his wife and children in Ionia, Ionia County; also living with them was David’s father Robert.

David was residing in Lyons when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1881. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Dresser Post No. 100 in Lyons. In 1880 he applied for and received a pension (no. 223,289).

He remained in Lyons until at least 1884, and for many years he worked as a surveyor. In fact, by 1893 he was Ionia County Surveyor. By 1888, he was living in Ionia, Ionia County and it is quite likely that he resided in Ionia until 1917.

David died at Belding, Ionia County, on January 11, 1920, and was interred in Lyons cemetery next to Robert and Sally.

In 1920 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 891827).