Sunday, October 12, 2008

Benjamin C. Gardner

Benjamin C. Gardner was born 1841 in Shiawassee County, Michigan, the son of Edward (b. 1817) and Lucy (b. 1814).

New York native Edward married Massachusetts-born Lucy sometime before 1837 when they were living in New York. Between 1837 and 1839 Edward moved his family to Michigan and by 1850 Benjamin was living on the family farm in Chester, Ottawa County. In 1860 Benjamin was attending school with four of his younger siblings and working as a farm laborer and living on the family farm in Chester.

Benjamin stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farmer probably living in Chester, Ottawa County when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company K on May 13, 1861. In February of 1863 he was reported as a guard at the Division hospital, and was a recipient of the Kearny Cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863. He was absent sick from November 4, 1863, through May of 1864, and was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army Benjamin may have returned to Michigan and in 1865-66 was possibly living in Grand Rapids at 64 Bridge Street on the west side of the river.

(In 1870 there was a Benjamin Gardner, age 30 and born in Michigan, working as a farm laborer and living with his wife Saxony-born Betsey and their 11-month-old daughter Mary (b. 1869), with the John Boser family (b. 1825 in Saxony) in Elmwood, Leelanau County.)

In 1870 Benjamin’s younger brother Martin was still living in Chester, Ottawa County. It is possible that his father had remarried (to another Lucy) and was working as a laborer and living with his wife and young daughter in Parma, Jackson County in 1880. Interestingly, in the Grand Army of the Republic 1888 “Encampment Journal,” a man named Nelson Eayes, of Onowa, Iowa was seeking the address of Benjamin C. Gardner, formerly with the Third Michigan infantry.

No pension seems to be available.

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