Friday, April 15, 2011

Stephen G. Wheaton

Stephen G. Wheaton was born on November 7, 1838, in New York, the son of Orson (or Oscar) and Thankful (Tracey?, b. 1805).

Orson had probably served as a musician and fifer and then drum major in Prior’s (Tenth) New York Militia Regiment during the War of 1812. In any case he married New York native Thankful and probably was living in Cattaraugus County, New York in 1840, but by 1860 had settled in Bloomer, Montcalm County.

Stephen left New York, possibly with his family, and eventually settled in Montcalm County, Michigan by the time he married Ohio native Roseanna Comstock (1839-1894) in Montcalm on March 9, 1860, and they had at least one child: Cora (b. 1861). By 1860 he was a farm laborer living with his wife and working for Oscar Gladden, a farmer in Bushnell, Montcalm County.

Stephen was 23 years old and probably still living in Montcalm County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. He was a pioneer from August of 1862 through October. He was still on detached service from November through December, with the Brigade wagon train in January of 1863, and the ambulance train from February through July.

Stephen was under arrest at Washington, DC from September of 1863 through January of 1864, although the charges remain unknown. According to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of E Company E, what happened was as follows: upon returning to Washington from their brief posting in Troy, New York, as security for the draft held there, the men of the Third Michigan were bivoucked at the Soldier’s Retreat where they were apparently served a meal of “swill and stinking meat.” There was some kind of argument and, according to Kilpatrick, “the Capt. and Lieut. [were] knocked down,” following which Wheaton and one other man were placed under arrest.

He eventually returned to the Regiment and on either June 1 or June 2, 1864, he was captured at Gaines Mills, Virginia, confined at Richmond on June 3, and on June 8 he was sent to Andersonville, Georgia. He was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was confined in Andersonville until November 11 when he was sent to Millen, Georgia. He was paroled at Jacksonville, Florida on April 28, 1865, reported to Camp Parole, Maryland on May 11, and sent on to Camp Chase, Ohio on May 18, where he reported on May 19. He was sent to the Provost Marshal of Ohio on May 22, and was mustered out on July 4, 1865, at Detroit.

After the war Stephen eventually returned to Montcalm County where he lived the remainder of his life, working as a farmer for many years. By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $1200 worth of real estate) and was living with his wife and daughter in Bushnell, Montcalm County. (His parents were living in West Bloomer, Bloomer Township, Montcalm County in 1870.) Stephen was living in Fenwick, Montcalm County in 1888, 1890, in December of 1893 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, in 1894, 1906, 1907, and in 1909.

Stephen apparently remarried one Magine or Majina Umsted Pagine (1848-1930) in Montcalm County, on April 24, 1895.

In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 859509).

Stephen was living in Montcalm County when he died of cancer in Bushnell Township, Montcalm County on December 4, 1910, and was buried in Clear Lake cemetery in Fairplains, Montcalm County.

In January of 1911 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 859738).

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