Reuben Babcock

Reuben Babcock was born about 1829 in Washtenaw County, Michigan.

Reuben’s parents were both reportedly born in Michigan. In 1830 there was one Henry Babcock living in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and in 1840 John, Joshua, William and S. D. living in Washtenaw County. In any case, Rueben eventually moved to the western side of the state and by 1850 was living with Canadian-born Martin Babcock (possibly an older brother or cousin) and his family on a farm in Prairieville, Barry County.

Reuben married New York native Margaret (b. 1831) and they had at least four children: Lois (b. 1852), Hiram (b. 1854), Herbert (b. 1856) and Martha (b. 1858).

In 1856 Reuben was still living in Barry County when he acquired 40 acres of land at the Kalamazoo Land Office. By 1860 he was working as a farmer and residing with his wife and four children in Orangeville, Barry County. Next door lived Canadian-born Sophia (b. 1810) and 20-year-old George Babcock (possibly also born in Canada) and next door to them lived Martin Babcock and his family.

Margaret died in June of 1861, and Reuben married Michigan native Cynthia L. Nichols (b. 1845) on June 5, 1862, in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County.

Reuben stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 36-year-old farmer living in Orangeville, Barry County when he enlisted in Company E on January 29, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Muskegon, Muskegon County and was mustered the same day. He left Michigan to join the Regiment on or about February 10, 1864, but suffered a severe leg injury in a railway accident shortly after leaving Grand Rapids. He was boarding the train in Ionia when he injured one of his ankles. Apparently he attempted to board the train while it was in motion and “he hit his ankle against the step, which injured the bone.”

He made it to Virginia, however, and upon joining the Regiment at Camp Bullock, near Brandy Station, Virginia he was sent to the Regimental hospital. According to Dr. James Grove, who was then serving as surgeon for the Third Michigan, upon examining Reuben shortly after he arrived in camp, he found “a severe contusion of left leg lower third, the limb being at the time so much swollen and inflamed from exposure and exercise as to wholly unfit him for duty.” Reuben was subsequently admitted on March 24 to the Second Division hospital (“Grace church” hospital) in Alexandria, Virginia, with a “contused wound of left leg, lower third”. He was sick in the hospital from March through May

On May 3, 1864, Reuben was transferred to the medical facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was admitted to Satterlee hospital in Philadelphia on May 4, with a contusion of the left leg, caused by an accident (details reportedly unknown by the medical staff).

Although he was probably still absent in the hospital Reuben was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. In fact he never served in the Fifth and in August of 1864 he was transferred from the hospital in Philadelphia to St. Mary’s in Detroit.

Reuben was reported as having been returned to duty on September 16, but by October of 1864 was back home in Orangeville recuperating from his injury. He probably never returned to Virginia and was transferred from St. Mary’s hospital in Detroit to Harper Hospital in Detroit on November 22, 1864, and on furlough from the hospital as of January 25, 1865. He was discharged from the hospital on May 20, 1865, at Detroit.

After the war Reuben remained in Michigan, probably at his home in Barry County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Cynthia and two of his children in Orangeville. By 1874 he was residing in Caldwell, Missaukee County (although he listed his post office address as Manton, Wexford County). By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Bloomfield, Missaukee County. (Martin Babcock had also served in the civil war and was living in Bloomfield, Missaukee County in 1894.) According to the 1883 list of pensioners he was living in Holton, Muskegon County in 1883.

In 1874 Reuben applied for and received pension no. 140,054 (or 140057), drawing $4.00 a month in 1874.

Reuben died on October 29, 1887, possibly in Osceola County (perhaps in Leroy).

His widow was residing in Leroy, Osceola County in May of 1888. She applied for and received pension no. 288274.