Simon Peter Barnhard

Simon Peter Barnhard was born November 9, 1844, in Ottawa County, Ohio, son of Jacob (b. 1809) and Lucinda (Reed, b. 1820).

After the death of his first wife, Sarah in 1836 Jacob married Ohio-born Lucinda or Lorinda Reed (b. 1820) in 1840, probably in Ohio. Sometime in the late 1840s the family moved from Ohio to Chicago where they were residing between 1847 and 1848, but within two years had moved across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. According to one source, after living in Muskegon for about a year, local “Indians poled them up the Muskegon River in two canoes to Croton and while there Indian boys were his playmates and companions.”

Another source wrote that there were “No villages . . . in existence and all was a barren wilderness where they settled, nobody but roving trappers being in this part of the country. Their means of transportation from Muskegon to Croton was via the Muskegon River. . . .” (It is possible that only Simon’s older half-brothers, Horatio and John made the initial trek westward in the 1840s, the remainder of the family staying in Ohio until the mid-1850s.) In any case, by 1855 the family had settled in Dayton, Newaygo County, reportedly building the first house in the Township. In 1860 Simon was a farmer living with his parents in Dayton.

Simon stood 5’5” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Dayton when he enlisted in Company K on August 9, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. (His two older half-brothers John and Horatio had enlisted in March of 1862 in Company H, which was made up predominantly of men from Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Simon joined the Regiment on September 8, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was present for duty from September of 1862 through February of 1863. He was wounded in the right thigh at Chancellorsville, Virginia on May 3, 1863; he was also reported was missing in action. And in fact, Simon had been taken prisoner at Chancellorsville on May 3 and paroled on May 15 at United States Ford (near Chancellorsville), subsequently admitted to the Corps hospital and then sent on to Washington, DC.

He eventually returned to the Third Michigan (at least by October of 1863) and was present for duty through early spring of 1864. On May 6, 1864, he was wounded a second time, in leg and left elbow at the Wilderness, Virginia, and subsequently hospitalized. He was transferred to Company K, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported absent wounded. He probably never joined the Fifth Michigan and was discharged for disability on December 5, 1864, from Columbian Hospital in Washington, DC.

After his discharge Simon returned home to Newaygo County.

He married Sarah Augusta Randolph (1848-1940) in Newaygo County on December 25, 1866. They had at least seven children: Wellington Emer (1868-1928), Edward (1869-70), Zella (1871-1948) Elwood Irving, Lula May (b. 1872), Charles Ward (b. 1874), and Clara Augusta (b. 1876).

Apparently Simon went back to school for one year, and subsequently taught school for another four more years. During this time he purchased an 80-acre farm adjoining his parents’ land and lived there for some 11 years; in 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Sheridan, Newaygo County. He eventually moved Fremont where he engaged in business; in 1882 he was reportedly working for the Patron’s Cooperative Co. He was living in Fremont working as a merchant in 1883 drawing $16.00 per month for a wound to the left elbow (pension no. 35,561).

About 1890 he sold his business interests in Fremont and moved to White Cloud, Newaygo County where he engaged in business and farming ventures for the remainder of his life. He served as clerk of Dayton Township, as school inspector, village councilman and school trustee in Fremont and village trustee in White Cloud, and he was living in White Cloud around 1905.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and also very active in the local Grand Army of the Republic Henry Dobson Post No. 182 in Fremont, serving as the post’s Sergeant Major at its inception in 1883 and as Senior Vice Commander in 1886. Politically he considered himself an Independent. He was also a member of the Congregational Church.

Simon was reportedly stricken with “paralysis” (possibly the result of a stroke) on August 24, 1912, from which he never recovered. He died of “paralysis” at his home in Denver, Newaygo County, on May 24, 1913, and the funeral was held on May 28 at the Congregational Church, Rev. George Benford, former pastor of the church, officiating. Simon was buried in Prospect Hill cemetery in White Cloud: sec. B, row 2.

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 770052).