Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dennis Guernsey

Dennis Guernsey, also known as “Gurnsey,” was born December 3, 1837, in Granby, Oswego County, New York, the son of George Washington (1811-1878) and Catharine (1797-1892).

New York natives George and Catharine were married sometime before 1833 when their first child was born in Granby, New York and they lived in Granby for some years. Sometime after 1848 they moved westward eventually settling in Ionia County, Michigan, probably along with George’s brother Edward and his family, where George was a minister of the United Brethren Church. By 1860 George was working as a farmer and living next door to Edward and his family in Ionia, Ionia County. That same year Dennis was a farm laborer in Lyons working for and/or living with Almond Tuttle in Lyons, Ionia County.

Dennis stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 23 years old and living in Lyons County when he enlisted in Company E on April 19, 1861, along with Ezra Guernsey -- who was his uncle, his father’s younger brother. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.) He was absent sick in the hospital from July of 1862 through September. Dennis was admitted to the regimental hospital on February 21, 1863, suffering from diarrhea. He rejoined the Regiment and was wounded severely in the head and shoulders on May 5, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia and subsequently hospitalized. He was transferred to the Fifth Company, Second Battalion, Invalid Corps, subsequently Company G Sixteenth Regiment Invalid Corps and the Forty-sixth company, Second Battalion, Veterans’ Reserve Corps at Washington, DC, and discharged at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 1, 1864.

After he was discharged from the army Dennis returned to Lyons.

He was probably living in Ionia County when he married Indiana native Esther Ann Linsan (1852-1919) on May 9, 1870, and they had at least eight children, four of whom died at birth, the others being: John L. (b. 1872), Emery (b. 1875), Eva (b. 1878) and George Frederick (b. 1880).

By 1870 Dennis and his new wife were living on a farm near his parents in Ionia, Ionia County. By 1880 Dennis was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Ionia, Ionia County.

He was still living in Ionia, Ionia County in 1883, when he was drawing $6.00 per month for a wounded left shoulder (pension no. 38,071, dated 1864), and he reported in 1885 that he suffered from a partial paralysis of the shoulder, deafness in his left ear and rheumatism. He was still residing in Ionia in 1895 when he testified on behalf of Eli Brown’s pension increase. (Brown was another former member of Company E.)

About 1908 he moved to Fenwick where he resided for some two years before moving back to Ionia. He was living in Ionia in 1910, and in Lyons in 1911, where for many years he worked as a farmer.

Dennis was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

Dennis died a widower of pneumonia, on December 23, 1919, in Ionia Township. The funeral was conducted by the Ionia funeral home, and he was supposed to have been buried alongside his wife in Tuttle cemetery.

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