Thursday, July 30, 2009

John Lindsey

John Lindsey was born in November 4, 1835, in New York.

John’s parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. In any case, John left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan. He was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in September of 1855 when he joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, under the command of Captain Lucius Patterson. (Captain Baker Borden would eventually succeed Patterson, and indeed the GRA would serve as the nucleus of Company B, also under the command of Borden, of the Third Michigan infantry.)

John married Mary R. Dunlap (1839-1907), on July 6, 1860, in Hannibal, Missouri, and they had at least two children: Mary L. (1861-1861) and John L. (1863-1869).

John stood 5’6” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 25 years old and probably working as a carpenter and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on January 1, 1862, and resigned on May 21, 1862, on account of disability.

After his discharge John returned to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service in Company B, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics on December 22, 1863, for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered on January 5, 1864.

John probably joined the regiment somewhere in the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee where it was on engineering duty as well as at Bridgeport, Stevenson and on line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, Tennessee & Alabama Railroad and Memphis & Charleston Railroad building block houses, etc., till May, 1864.

According postwar testimony, “while at Chiamanga [?] Tenn. about the first of August" 1864, John "was detailed to take a prisoner to regimental headquarters at Rome Ga. He slipped when getting off the car [and] fell astride the iron railing injuring his testicles.”

The Regiment was on duty on the Atlantic & Western Railroad building block houses, etc., till September when it was ordered to Atlanta, Ga., September 25. Old members were mustered out October 31, 1864. It remained on duty at Atlanta September 28 to November 15; and participated in the March to the sea destroying railroad track, bridges and repairing and making roads November 15-December 10; in the siege of Savannah December 10-21, in the Carolina Campaign January to April, 1865; in the advance on Raleigh April 10-14, and occupation of Raleigh April 14; in the surrender of Johnston and his army. The regiment then marched to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20, and was in the Grand Review on May 24. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., June 6; then to Nashville, Tenn. Duty at Nashville July 1 to September 22.

John was mustered out as an Artificer on September 22, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee. The regiment was discharged at Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan on October 1.

After the war John returned to his home in Grand Rapids and from 1865 to 1869 worked as a mechanic for Wheeler, Borden & Co and resided at 55 Broadway on the west side of the Grand River. (One of the owners, Baker Borden, had been captain of Company B.)

In 1870 he and his wife Mary were living in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward where John worked as a carpenter. (Next door lived another carpenter who worked for Borden and who had also served in Company B, Third Michigan and with Borden in the First E & M, E. C. Phillips and his family; Phillips had also served in the Third Michigan during the war.)

By 1880 John was working as a publisher and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Seventh Ward. In fact John lived the rest of his life on the west side of the river where he was employed for some years as a furniture worker. By 1884 he was living at 86 Scribner Street in Grand Rapids.

He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1879, and during the Twenty-fourth annual reunion of the Old Third Infantry Association, held in December of 1895, Lindsey spoke briefly about his wartime experiences. His “remarks,” noted the Grand Rapids Democrat, “aroused a considerable enthusiasm. He referred to ‘old company B’, the artillery company that existed in Grand Rapids before the war, and gave a general but brief overview of his own army experience.”

By 1900 John and his wife were living in the Masonic Home near Reed’s Lake, East Grand Rapids (located where the high school is today).

In 1882 John applied for and received a pension (no. 519321), drawing $10 per month by 1901.

He died of cancer of the stomach on November 15, 1901, while visiting in Grant, Newaygo County. His body was returned to Masonic Home for the funeral service which was held at 2:30 p.m. on November 17, and he was buried in Greenwood cemetery, Grand Rapids: section B lot 46.

In December of 1901 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 529827), drawing $8 per month by 1907. In 1904 she was living at 279 Seventh Street in Grand Rapids.

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