Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Benjamin C. Parker Sr.

Benjamin C. Parker was born in 1843 in Florence, Huron County (?), Ohio, probably the son of Ezekiel (b. 1800) and Anna (Wood, b. 1810).

Benjamin’s family left Ohio and moved to Indiana where they were living by 1839. The family moved on to western Michigan, probably settling in Ottawa County, where it quite possible that Ezekiel died. In any case, in 1857 Benjamin’s mother remarried Harley Bement Sr. in Georgetown, Ottawa County. (Harley Jr. would not only serve in the Old Third during the war but would also marry Benjamin’s sister, his stepsister Miranda.).

By 1860 Benjamin was working as a mill hand and living at the Paddock boarding house in Georgetown, Ottawa County, along with: John Finch (Company I), Albert Hayes (Company I), Joseph Ledbeter (Company B), James Parm (Company I), Thomas Rowling (Company I), Alfred Tate (Company F) and William Tate (Company I), John M. Taylor (Company I).

Benjamin stood 5’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 18 years old and residing in Georgetown when he enlisted with his parents’ consent in Company I on May 13, 1861. (He was possibly the brother-in-law of Harley Bement of Company I and may have been related to Charles Parker who was also from Ottawa County and who also enlisted in Company I.) Benjamin was wounded on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, but eventually returned to duty and was promoted to Corporal on October 20, 1862, and to Sergeant on April 1, 1863. He was given the Kearny cross for his participation in the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863, and was mustered out of service on June 20, 1864.

It is not known if Benjamin ever returned to Michigan.

By 1868 he had settled in Tucson, Arizona where he lived the remainder of his life. In 1880 he was single, working as a laborer and living with the family of Manuel Castillo on Montezuma Street in Prescott, Arizona.

He was 37 years old when he married 12-year-old Lucia Bonillas (1868-1906) on September 14, 1880, in Tucson; they had at least five children: Jessie (b. 1881), Amelia (b. 1884), Benjamin C. Jr. (b. 1888), George W. (b. 1890) and Anna (b. 1894). (She was probably living in Tuscon with the family of P. Carsetus in 1880.)

In 1885 he applied for a pension (application no. 610620).

Benjamin died and was buried on July 22, 1893, in Tucson.

In 1909 Lucia was still living in Arizona when she applied for a pension (no. 610620) but the certificate was never granted (she most likely remarried). Subsequently a pension application was filed for a minor child and approved (no. 699277).

Benjamin C. Jr. apparently visited the National Archives in 1940 to see his father’s military service record at which time he wrote his name, address and date on the outside jacket of the record.

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