James M. Beck

James M. Beck was born 1826 in Ohio, probably the son of Sophia (b. 1800).

James’ parents were both reportedly born in Pennsylvania.

James was married to Loretta Stillson or Stilson and they apparently had at least three children, who were in James’ custody in 1860: Horace J. (b. 1852), Richard (b. 1856) and Lucretia (b. 1857).

James and his family resided in Ohio for some years. James and his wife moved to Michigan from Ohio sometime before 1852, and were reportedly divorced in 1859. By 1860 James was working as a farm laborer and living with his three children and his mother (?) Sophia in Laphamville, Algoma Township, Kent County.

James stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 34 years old and probably living in Algoma when he enlisted as Fourth Corporal in Company F on May 13, 1861. James was one of the three men wounded during the Regiment’s participation in the Bull Run engagements in July of 1861. According to Colonel Frederick Worden, former First Lieutenant and Captain of Company F, James was wounded near Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia on July 18, 1861, “by a six pound conical shot striking him between the ankle & the knee, knocking him down while marching in the ranks with his company . . . the ball striking the ground and bounding about three feet in front of me and taking down two men, this man one of them, disabling him from the performance of his service duty for some two months. . . .”

James was promoted from Fourth to Third Corporal on August 12, 1861, but for reasons unknown was reduced to the ranks on October 16 (probably as a consequence of a regimental court martial). He was absent on picket duty in October, in January and February of 1862, and by May and June was present for duty.

According to former Assistant Regimental Surgeon Walter Morrison, James suffered a hernia while returning from picket duty near Warrenton, Virginia, on or about August 27, 1862, and he was soon afterwards stricken with dysentery. He was admitted on September 3 to Finley General Hospital in Washington, DC, suffering from debilitas, and was transferred on September 12 to Hammond hospital in Point Lookout, Maryland, reportedly suffering from a gunshot wound. He was returned to duty on September 29. In October of 1862 he was sick in the general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, from October 10, 1862, and dropped from the company rolls in late November to date July 31, 1862. He was in fact discharged for a hernia and chronic diarrhea on November 21, 1862, at the Third Corps hospital near Upton’s Hill, Virginia.

After his discharge James returned to Michigan, and was living in Algoma when he married his second wife, seventeen-year-old Pennsylvania native Lucy Baird (b. 1846), on June 18, 1863, in Laphamville, Algoma Township, and they had at least one child, a daughter Clara (b. 1865).

He eventually settled in Montcalm County where he resided most if not all of the rest of his life. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife Lucy and children in Crystal, Montcalm County (his three children from a previous marriage were also living with them); Sophia was living in Algoma, Kent County, with the Smith family. In any case, James was still working as a farmer and living with his wife in Crystal in 1880 (no mention of children however), as well as in 1888, in 1890, and 1894 and in Carson City in 1896.

He received pension no. 251,896, and was drawing $10.00 per month in 1896.

James died on October 20, 1896, probably at his home in Carson City and was presumably buried there.

The week following his death Lucy, who was still living in Carson City, applied for a pension 643118) but the certificate was never granted. She eventually remarried to a man named Sinky or Sinkey.