Based on a review of pension records:
Thomas Schneider was born in 1832 in Prussia.
Thomas emigrated from Prussia to the United States, possibly along with an older brother Mathias and his family, eventually settling in Michigan sometime before 1853, probably in Detroit. He was probably also related to one John Baptiste Schneider (1818-1896).
Thomas was probably living in Detroit when he married Prussian-born Margaret Spielers (1829-1909) on July 8, 1854, at St. Mary’s church in Detroit, and they had at least five children: Jacob (b. 1854), Frank (b. 1856), Susan (b. 1858), John (b. 1860) and Theodore (b. 1862). By 1860 Thomas was working as a farmer living with his wife and three children in Dorr, Allegan County.
He was 29 years old and still residing in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German immigrants.)
According to Captain Israel Geer, commanding Company C in the spring of 1864, Thomas was taken sick on August 15, 1862. He was reported absent sick in the hospital from October of 1862 through November, and sick in a Washington, DC hospital from December of 1862 through January of 1863. According to 3rd Michigan regimental surgeon Dr. James Grove, Thomas was admitted to the regimental hospital at Upton’s Hill, Virginia about October 5, 1862 suffering form inflammation of the lungs. Five days later he was transferred to the corps hospital and, according to Dr. Grove, “has not been in this command since.”
Thomas probably remained hospitalized through May of the following year and was reported sick in Hammond hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland in June. Although he was carried on Hammond hospital’s rolls in July, he reportedly died July 9, 1863, in the National Hotel hospital run by Dr. Zenas Bliss’ (formerly Regimental surgeon in the 3rd Michigan) in Baltimore, Maryland, although other sources claim he died at Hammond Hospital. He may have been buried at Point Lookout, although there is no record of his internment there or in any of the Baltimore cemeteries.
In September of 1863 his widow was living in Grand Rapids when she applied for and received a pension (no. 23318). The following year she remarried to George Steinemann of Manistee. She remarried to John Becker who was listed in 1864 as guardian (no. 42343) when he filed an application on behalf of at least one minor child.
Margaret was probably living in Grand Rapids in 1892 under the name of the widow Schneider, when she married Anthony Van de Kirkhoff in Grand Rapids.