Michael C. McCarthy was born on August 31, 1836, in Ireland, possibly the son of Thomas (b. 1794 in Ireland) and Mary (b. 1798 in Ireland).
Thomas and Mary both left Ireland and immigrated to the United States. Michael left Ireland and settled in western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.
He stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 26 years old, and probably working as a farmer in Polkton, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was listed as being on 20 days extra duty as a teamster in July and august of 1861 and as on extra duty as a teamster in the Commissary department in September and October, and again in November and December of 1861. He was still listed as being on extra duty as a teamster in the Brigade Quartermaster Department in January and February of 1862, as a Brigade teamster in March and April, but was not reported at all in the returns for May and June.
He was listed as a teamster from July of 1862 through January of 1863, a teamster with the 3rd Brigade wagon trains from February through July, reported as AWOL in August, and was at the 1st Division headquarters from September 21 through November, probably working as a teamster.
On December 23, 1863, he reenlisted as a wagoner at Brandy Station, Virginia, was on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to duty on or about the first of February when he rejoined the Brigade trains.
Michael was on detached service as a teamster with the ambulance trains when he was transferred to Company E, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and remained with the ambulance trains through May of 1865. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
After the war Michael returned to Michigan and was living in Coopersville, Ottawa County in 1870 (?).
He married Irish-born Margaret Finnell (b. 1848), on April 3, 1864, in Michigan, and they had at least two children: James (b. 1869) and Michael (b. 1872).
By 1870 Michael was working as a farmer (he owned some $2,500 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and son in Polkton, Ottawa County; also living with him were his parents (?) Thomas and Mary McCarthy and 8-year-old Peter (born in New York). Michael’s property was located near the corner of 88th Avenue and Arthur, approx, 1/8th of a mile east of the intersection on the north side of Arthur in section 20. Michael ‘s son Michael was born in Polkton, Ottawa County in September of 1872.
He was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association.
Michael was killed in railroad accident on May 13, 1872, probably in western Michigan and was buried in St. Mary’s cemetery in Wright Township, Ottawa County.
In 1903 his widow, who had remarried a Mr. Lillie, was living in Michigan when she applied for a pension (no. 784222) but no certificate was granted.