Cornelius Henry Barkhuff

Cornelius Henry Barkhuff was born 1817 or 1820 in Montgomery, Orange County, New York, possibly the son of William and Rhoda (Cummings).

If he was the son of William and Rhoda his parents were both born in New York and married sometime before 1812.

In any case, Cornelius married New York native Arvilla J. or G. (1827-1865), possibly in New York, and they had at least five children: Edgar A. (b. 1846) , Casper (b. 1849), William (b. 1853), Martha (b. 1854) and Willard (b. 1859).

Cornelius eventually left New York and by 1846 he had settled his family in Michigan. By 1850 Cornelius and his family were living in Albion, Calhoun County, with the Kesley family and where Cornelius worked as a laborer. By 1860 Cornelius was working as a farmer and living with his wife (who was blind) and children in Prairieville, Barry County.

Cornelius stood 5’7’” with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion and was 46 years old and working as a farmer possibly living in Barry County when he enlisted in Company E on December 18, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Barry County; he was mustered on January 5, 1864, at Grand Rapids. Cornelius joined the Regiment on February 10, and was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan infantry Regiments on June 10, 1864, when he was reported absent sick.

According to his military service record, Cornelius was sent back to Michigan to recover his health and was a patient in the Detroit Barracks hospital when he was admitted with chronic diarrhea to Harper hospital in Detroit on October 13, 1864. Although reportedly returned to duty from Harper hospital on November 28, 1864, for reasons which remain unexplained he was in fact transferred to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and remained on the sick list until he was discharged on June 5, 1865 at Satterlee hospital, Philadelphia.

However, Cornelius claimed in 1885 that “after the battle of Spotsylvania [on May 12, 1864] on the march to Coal [Cold] Harbor in 1864 [he] was first sent to hospital at White House Landing, Va. It was a tent or field hospital [and he] was sick from chronic diarrhea and fever. [He] was transferred from there to Washington, DC, Lincoln Hospital [and] from there sent Harwood Hospital ward 7, I think. I was very sick for six weeks or more. I think I was from there sent to Philadelphia . . . to be treated for sore eyes [but] can't tell how long I was in that hospital. But was sent from there to Detroit Mich[igan] and was there treated for sore eyes was in Harpers Hospital think it was ward 4.” He further stated that from Harper Hospital he was returned to Virginia and sent to Camp Distribution, probably near Alexandria. He was again transferred to Harwood Hospital in Washington and back to Philadelphia where he was discharged as noted above.

Following his discharge from the army Cornelius returned to Michigan, probably to Barry County. He was probably living in Hastings, Barry County when he married his second wife, New York native Marian Mosher (1834-1917), and they had at least two children, Ada (1867-1939) and Nellie (b. 1869). (His first wife reportedly died while Cornelius was away in the army in 1865.)

By 1870 Cornelius was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Orangeville, Barry County. Also living with them were his two sons William and Willard, as well as two teenage siblings John and Alice Gillespie (possibly the children of Marian).

Cornelius was living in Prairieville, Barry County in 1873, when he testified in the pension claim of another former member of the Old Third, Reuben Babcock (also from Barry County). In 1880 he was reported as married and was living in Prairieville with the family of Jesse Chase, and working as a farm laborer. He resided in Hastings, Barry County where for some years where he worked as a farmer. Cornelius was living in Prairieville, Barry County in 1884 when he attended the Sixth Annual Reunion of the Soldiers and Sailors, at Battle Creek, Calhoun County. Interestingly he is listed with the Fifth Michigan infantry rather than those in the Third.

In May of 1889 Marian divorced Cornelius (she claimed he had deserted her) and he married for a third time, on January 10, 1893, to a widow by the name of Delia A. Thomas McCluer, in Hastings, Barry County.

He resided at various times in Orangeville, Barry County and in 1890 he was living in Richland, Kalamazoo County.

Cornelius was a member of G.A.R. Sackett Post No. 320 in Prairieville. In 1885 he applied for and received a pension (no. 346,844).

Cornelius was back living in Hastings where he died on May 13, 1898, and was buried on May 14, 1898 in Riverside cemetery, Hastings: block L-north, lot no. 74, grave northeast 1/4-1, having been removed from block G, lot no. 33.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 677036) but the certificate was never granted.