Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chauncey B. Van Deusen

Chauncey B. Van Deusen was born on April 17, 1838, in Horseheads, Chemung County, New York, the son of Walter (b. 1799) and Julia (Kent, b. 1800).

New York native Walter married Julia in October of 1829, probably in New York. Chauncey’s family left New York and came to Kent County, Michigan with his parents in 1848, and by 1850 Chauncey was living with his family in Vergennes, Kent County where his father, who was blind, was working as a musician. By 1860 Chauncey was a farm laborer living with his family in Vergennes where his father owned a substantial farm.

He stood 5’7” with hazel eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old farm laborer probably living in Vergennes, Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on April 17, 1861. Chauncey was eventually promoted to Sergeant and wounded in one of his ankles during the battle at Second Bull Run, on August 29, 1862. “Sergeant Van Dusen,” wrote Dan Crotty of Company F after the war, “commences to hop on one leg, and says something that sounds like swearing, for he is shot in the ankle.”

He was subsequently hospitalized until he was discharged on November 1, 1862, at Hammond hospital in Point Lookout, Maryland, for chronic rheumatism and deafness. The discharging physician wrote that “The rheumatism severely affecting the spine, and causing lameness of the lower limbs, caused by cold taken on duty.”

Following his discharge he returned to Vergennes where he married Canadian native Jeanette McPherson (d. 1842-1925) on May 3, 1863, and they had at least five children: one who died in infancy, Clarence (b. 1864), Lillian (b. 1867, Mrs. Brown), Elizabeth (b. 1873, probably Mrs. Charles P. Beckwith) and William P. (b. 1876).

Chauncey reentered the service in Company G, Sixth Michigan cavalry on January 4, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Vergennes, and was mustered on January 11. He was on detached service in March, and taken prisoner in November. He was imprisoned in Libby prison at Richmond, Virginia, and spent eleven months in Andersonville. He was honorably discharged on June 14, 1865, at Camp Chase, Ohio.

After his discharge from the army Chauncey returned to his home in Michigan. He may have been the same Chauncey "Van Dusen" who, in August of 1866 bought out Lyman B. Lull’s interest in a tool factory in Lowell. In any case, by 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two children in Austerlitz, Plainfield Township, Kent County. By 1880 he was still living with his wife and children in Plainfield and working as a farmer. By 1889 he was living in Rockford, Kent County and in Ionia County in 1890.

He became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1891, and was also a member of the Congregational church, presumably in Rockford. In 1880 he applied for and received a pension (no. 401533).

Chauncey died of “fatty degeneration of the heart” on March 7, 1911, at his home in Plainfield Township, Kent County, and the funeral was held at the Congregational church on Thursday. He was buried in Rockford cemetery.

In May of 1911 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 725194).

1 comment:

a nearly homeless man said...

My grandfather was Donald Beckwith. He gave me his name. His father's name was Charles (a chemist of some repute for Park Davis who developed the first form of digitalis that wouldn't kill the person who took it). Chauncy van Dusen was the name of my great great grandfather and I was told he was in Andersonville. Do you have any more information?
David Snyder

btw, David was a name my Grandfather Beckwith wanted to give the son he never had, so I got the name (among other reasons)