Sunday, February 07, 2010

Abel B. Palmer

Abel B. Palmer was born in 1840 in New York.

He was 21 years old and residing in Lamont, Ottawa County when he enlisted, probably for ninety days (following President Lincoln’s first call for 75,000 90-day volunteers), subsequently reenlisting as a three-year volunteer in Company B (perhaps on May 13, 1861 when the regiment was mustered into state service) before the Regiment was mustered into federal service on June 10, 1861. (He may have been related to John Palmer, also from Ottawa County and who also enlisted in Company B.)

According to Reuben Randall, who was also from Ottawa County and who also served in Company B, Abel (or “Abe”) was taken sick sometime in mid-July and was confined to the regimental hospital while the regiment was advancing towards Bull Run.

Abel was reported as a teamster in October of 1862, and serving with the ambulance corps -- probably as a teamster -- in November. He was working at Division headquarters from December of 1862 through February of 1863, at Brigade headquarters in March, and serving with the Brigade ammunition train from April through July. He was a teamster at Division headquarters from September 26, 1863 through January 1864. He was still working as a teamster when Charles Starks, also formerly of Company B and also driving an ammunition wagon, wrote home to his cousin in Ottawa County (presumably Reuben Randall formerly of Company B and also form Ottawa County) that “Abe is driving here in the same train that I am in. He is all right. Abe and I have some pretty good times [even] if we are in the army.

Abel continued to work as a teamster in the Brigade train from February through April, and was with the ammunition train in May. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit. He claimed in later years that he had been wounded twice in battle and shot once in the foot.

After he was discharged from the army Abel eventually returned to Michigan settling in Muskegon, Muskegon County where resided for many years.

He married Pennsylvania native Martha Rowe (b. 1845) on February 5, 1865, and they had at least two children: Florence B. (b. in May of 1870, probably Mrs. James O’Hara) and Milo J. (b. 1875).

By 1870 Abel was working as a farmer and living with his wife and infant daughter in Harwood, Norton Township, Muskegon County. (Next door lived Gustave Arndt who had also served in the Old Third.) By 1880 Abel was working as the “night watch” and living in Muskegon’s First Ward, Muskegon County with hs wife and children. Abel was living in Muskegon in 1888, in the Third Ward in 1890 and 1894 at 22 Amity Street, and worked at a variety of trades including carpenter, boom hand and policeman.

It is possible that he was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

In 1887 (?) he applied for and received a pension (no. 889538).

In the spring of 1895 he moved to St. Joseph, Berrien County to live with his daughter Mrs. James O’Hara and her husband.

Abel died of “heart trouble” on Saturday March 6, 1896, in St. Joseph. The funeral was held on Sunday afternoon and he was buried in St. Joseph. In 1896 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 431993).

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