Thursday, December 31, 2009

Martin Neilson

Martin Neilson, alias “Frank N. Muriett,” was born on November 16, 1840, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Martin immigrated to America and by 1860 he was a farm laborer working for and/or living at the hotel of Stephen Corl in Cannon, Kent County.

He stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 20 years old and living in Kent County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was present for duty through December of 1861, but by February of 1862 was listed as a camp guard. He was present with the company in April and sick in a hospital sometime in late June. Martin returned to duty and was shot in the right arm on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. His discharge paper noted that the “gunshot wound in the right forearm [produced] loss of action in the pronator and supinator muscles. . . . The ball entering from behind while in the act of charging bayonets -- at the junction of the upper and middle thirds, striking the ulna and following around this bone from without inwards, to within two inches of the carpal extremity.” According to a statement made after the war, he was shot “in his right fore-arm, just below the elbow joint, and the ball was cut out near the wrist, on the same day, by the regimental surgeon.”

After being shot, Martin was sent to a hospital in Washington, DC (possibly Douglas hospital), and remained there for some five or six weeks, before being returned to the regiment. Other records note that he was hospitalized at Fort McHenry, Maryland, from September through December of 1862. Martin recalled years later that “After remaining with the regiment two or three months his wounds broke out and he was sent to hospital again at the head of 14th Street, Washington, DC.” He added that “He remained in this hospital about two months and then went back to his regiment then stationed near Fredericksburg, Va. Here he remained and the regiment also, until he was discharged.”

He was possibly returned to the regiment (perhaps only on paper) sometime in early fall but was reported sick in a general hospital from November 2. By February of 1863 he was present for duty, but was discharged for disability on March 18, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. He claimed many years afterwards, that for the first five years after being wounded “he had to carry his armin a sling. His wound was painful and he . . . suffered very much ever since with pain in his arm and shoulder.”

It is not known for certain whether Martin returned to Michigan after he left the army, although he may have been living in Cannonsburg, Kent County in late March of 1863 when he applied for a pension (no. 465,298, drawing $17 in 1904) or he may have already settled in Illinois by that time.

What is known, however, is that at some point after the war, and for reasons unknown, Martin assumed the alias of “Frank Murriett.” (There is a War Department notation in his military service record stating that his correct name is “Frank Murriett.”)

In any case, by 1880 he was living in Milford, Iroquois County, Illinois. He was still living in Milford in 1890, and probably resided in Milford for many years.

Martin was married at least twice: first to one Olivia or Olive Holderman, who reportedly died in Gilman, Illinois on November 19, 1872. He was subsequently married (as Frank Muriett) to Harriet “Hattie” A. Reist Yoder (d. 1921), on September 28, 1873, in Buckley, Illinois, and they had at least one child, a son J. A. Muriett (b. 1875).

By mid-1902 Martin was residing in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

In early 1909 he became sick with cancer and died of sarcoma of the left side of his abdomen on November 22, 1909, in Crawfordsville. His remains were sent to Illinois and he was buried on November 24 in Milford.

In November of 1909 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 695,361).

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