Monday, January 03, 2011

Asahel Adams Tewskbury

Asahel Adams Tewskbury was born on June 24, 1836, in Boston, Summit County, Ohio, the son of Elijah (b. 1809) and Matilda (Hinds, b. 1808).

New Hampshire native Elijah married Vermonter Matilda sometime before 1835 by which time they had settled in Ohio. Sometime between 1848 and 1850 Elijah died (probably in Ohio but possibly in Indiana) and Matilda remarried a widower (or divorcee) Justus Waite (or Wait). By 1850 Matilda and her children were living with Justus and his children on a farm in Fairfield, DeKalb County, Indiana. (Asahel’s stepbrother Walter Wait would join Company K of the Old Third in 1861.) Sometime in the early 1850s Justus moved his family to Michigan, settling first in Burr Oak, St. Joseph County, Michigan, and then pushing on to Blendon, Ottawa County.

In 1856 Asahel married New York native Sarah Ann Smith (1838-1874), in Allegan, Allegan County, and they had at least seven children, Orville (b. 1857), Clarissa or Clara (b. 1859), Alice (b. 1861), Ezra (b. 1866), Wilbur or Clarence (b 1867), Matilda (b. 1870) and Arthur A. (b. 1871). Asahel and his wife moved into a house next door to his mother and stepfather. By 1860 he was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife Sarah in Blendon. He still lived next door to his stepfather and mother and on the other side lived Wilbur Scott who would also join the Third Michigan.

Asahel was 25 years old and probably still living in Blendon when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He may have been wounded by a shell fragment on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. In any case, he claimed some years after the war that during the battle he “received an injury by a cannon ball passing in close to his head from which partial deafness of left ear, and slight paralysis of shoulders and neck have resulted. That he was knocked down by [the] cannon ball and rendered unconscious and for some time was unable to perform any duty.” He added that he did not seek treatment for his injury at the time although he was requested to go to the hospital since he had “a great dread of the hospital” and he was treated by the regimental assistant surgeon W. B. Morrison. He eventually recovered but apparently did not rejoin the regiment and was reported as a pioneer from July of 1862 through October. He was possibly wounded by a gunshot in one of his legs near Culpeper, Virginia in mid-October of 1863. In any case he was serving with the Brigade (probably as a pioneer) from April of 1864 through May. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

After his discharge from the army Asahel returned to his home in Blendon. By 1870 he was wortking as a farmer and living with his wife and childrenin Blendon. Sarah Ann died in 1874 and Asahel sent the two youngest children to live with his brother-in-law Milo Smith in Leighton, Allegan County. Around 1876 or so his oldest daugher, Clara, began keeping house for him and took care of him off and on for the remainder of his life, although she was not listed as living with him in 1880 and in any case he eventually married a second time to one Elvira (or Elvina) Chandler (d. 1912). By 1878 Asahel had left Ottawa County and settled in Middleville, Barry County where he was living in 1880 listed as a widower and working on a farm; severalof his children were still living with him. He was living in Middleville in December of 1886 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

He was also a member of G.A.R. Hill Post No. 159 in Middleville, and he received pension no. 614500, drawing $12.00 per month by 1907 and $30.00 per month by the end of 1914.

He probably lived the rest of his life in Middleville, working for many years as as a farmer. According to his daughter Mrs. Clara Reynolds (a widow by 1915), on or about October 1, 1912, Asahel, suffering from “congestion of the liver” and “laGrippe,” became ill enough to require regular and daily attendance (it is possible that he went to live with his daughter but this is not known for certain).

In any case, he remained under her care until he died of congestion of the liver in Middleville on March 1, 1915, and was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in Middleville.

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