Monday, November 01, 2010

Jacob Stegg

Jacob Stegg was born in 1829 in Germany.

Jacob immigrated to America sometime before 1857.

He married Miranda Lowry (1822-1901) on January 6, 1857, in Alexandria, Clark County, Missouri, and reportedly resided at one time in Cleveland, Ohio, before moving to Detroit shortly before the war broke out. He was a professional musician and had played with Graul’s Detroit City Band.

Jacob was 32 years old and probably a musician living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Principal (or First) Musician in the Band on June 10, 1861. He was apparently in charge of the Regimental band by the time it left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861. Jacob was reported as “entitled to pay as Sergeant of the First Class Musician from January 1, 1862 to January 31, 1862, and to the pay of Band Leader from February 1 to February 28, 1862.” Jacob was mustered out of service on August 13, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, probably when the Regimental bands in the Army of the Potomac were abolished.

According to eyewitness testimony, however, Stegg may not in fact have been at Harrison’s Landing. August Schmidt, a good friend and former member of Company C, testified to the pension board in 1890 that he and Stegg

were good friends, and it may be that there are only few living that knew him as well. He was Bandmaster in the [Old Third] and went out with the Regiment in June 1861. I believe today that the first cause of his lung sickness was the march through the City of Baltimore, where the Band played Dixie continually from the northern depot to the other depot, a distance of about 2 1/2 miles, and there he drank ice cold water and almost fainted, then again all the long distance through Washington the Band played again and the next day at our first camp near chain bridge Stegg was very sick. After the first Bull Run our Regiment was in camp near the Potomac on Hunter’s place, and we did mostly fatigue duty and the band had rest and Stegg gained his health again, also kept well while we were building Fort Richardson and afterwards took a forward position in the woods from where we did picket duty -- during all that time Stegg was apparently in good condition, and he kept his Band well in hand.

Then we went down the Potomac to Fortress Monroe and then commenced the so-called Peninsula campaign, during that campaign Stegg took sick on the lungs and at times would spit blood after coughing. We often told him to go to the hospital and get cured but he was very ambitious and would not. After the battle of Fair Oaks [May 31, 1862] I cannot say whether I saw him or not, our Regiment was very much on picket duty. Then came the Seven Days fight which was for our (Kearny’s Division) a nine days’ fight. At Harrison’s Landing our Band was discharged but I cannot recollect that I saw Stegg there. The reason I can say so much about Jacob Stegg, is that Jacob was a German and I belonged to the German company C [and he] often, or as often as circumstances would allow, visited our [company and he] often shared our meals. In conclusion I will say that Stegg was a very sick man on the lungs and stomach as well I believe and had he taken our well meant advise [sic] to go to the hospital in time he might live today.

Julius Faenger, formerly Lieutenant of Company C, wrote to the board in 1890 that Stegg “complained of being very sick after the first Bull Run battle” and was experiencing problems with his lungs “spitting blood as far as I can recall he became very sound and strong again during our stay in front of Washington and Alexandria - but was taken severely ill in the campaign of the peninsula having a bad cough and spitting blood.” He added that “The [Regimental] Band was discharged at Harrison’s Landing but cannot say for certain that I saw him there.”

On June 30, 1886, James L. Reed, former Band member and then living in Hastings, Barry County, wrote to Stegg’s widow acknowledging that he faintly remembered “some of the circumstances set forth in the inclosed [sic] affidavit [Schmidt’s?] He did recall that Stegg “complained of some trouble with his lungs. I do not remember any circumstance of the Band having to play as set forth in said affidavit, where the horns, or horn, became clogged with dust etc.”

Rudolph Ludwig of Cincinnati, Ohio, testified in 1888 that Stegg (and probably his wife) rented a room from him in Washington while Stegg was still in the service in early 1862 on into 1863. Stegg apparently worked in Washington as a musician, playing principally the violin. Ludwig claimed that Stegg was “greatly affected by disease of the lungs, causing cough, weakness and other symptoms of such disease and in ‘his] opinion entirely disabling him for manual labor: he was able at times to follow his occupation of a musician . . . but was often disabled from that.” Ludwig did not see Stegg alive again but he lived near Stegg’s widow Miranda between 1871 and 1881.

M. J. Shiff, manager of the Scanlan Minstrel troupe in New York City, testified in 1886 that about January of 1864 Stegg was hired by the troupe, comprised mostly of violinists, and Stegg traveled with the troupe through most of 1864.

By the end of 1866 Jacob was living in Quincy, Illinois where he was undergoing treatment for consumption by a Dr. Julius Guenther between October 22, 1866, and March 1, 1867, when he died of consumption, at his residence on the west side of Tenth Street, between Maine and Jersey Streets in Quincy. He was buried in Woodland cemetery: block 10, lot 17, Quincy. (There is also one Elizabeth Lowry, who died in 1885, buried in the same plot.)

In 1867 his widow applied for and received pension no. 271,740, drawing $8.00 per month beginning in March of 1867 and increased to $12.00 on March 19, 1886. She was still living in Quincy in 1890.

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