Wilbur Bement

Wilbur Bement was born 1834 in New York, the son of Levi H. (b. 1800) and Elizabeth (Briggs, b. 1809).

Massachussets native Levi married New Jersey-born Elizabeth and they eventually settled in New York by 1834 and resided there for some years. Levi moved his family from New York to Georgetown, Ottawa County, Michigan, along with his brother Harley Sr., and by 1860 Wilbur was working as a teamster and living with his family in Georgetown. Next door was the Davis family; three of their sons would join Company G of the Third Michigan in 1861. Nearby was the large farm of George Weatherwax who would also join the Third Michigan, becoming the first Captain of Company I.

Wilbur married his next-door neighbor, Michigan native Martha A. Davis (b. 1844), on July 4, 1860, in Georgetown, and they had at least five children: Elmer (b. 1860?), Eva (b. 1870), May (b. 1872), Vida (b. 1878) and Gracie (b. 1886). (Martha was the sister of James, George and William Davis, all three of whom would join Company G, Third Michigan infantry in 1861).

Wilbur was 27 years old and probably living in Lamont or Georgetown when he enlisted as wagoner in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his first cousin Harley Jr. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)

Wilbur’s sister Clarinda was mentioned by Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I, in a letter home in in January of 1862. Lowing wrote to his brother-in-law Frank Bosworth that apparently Jackson Meeks of Copany I, had gotten Clarinda “into trouble” and was seeking a transfer to another unit to avoid having to return to Ottawa County.

Wilbur was detached from the company sometime during the winter of 1861-62 and appointed Chief Wagoner probably around February of 1862. He was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862, apparently recovered and returned to duty probably driving wagons. From March of 1863 through May he was reported detached with the Brigade wagon train, probably as a teamster. In June he was reported AWOL, but the following month was absent with leave (possibly on furlough to recover his health), and in November was back with the Regimental wagon train. He was absent sick in the hospital by May of 1864, and was mustered out of the service on June 20, 1864.

Following his discharge Wilbur returned to Ottawa County,and by 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife, one child and his mother in Georgetown. By 1880 Wilbur and his family were living in Wyoming, Kent County. He was living in Ottawa Station in 1888 and in West Olive in 1890. He may have been a member of Grand Army of the Republic Thuskittle Post No. 388 in Allendale, although this is not certain, and he his pension application (no. 782,109) was still pending in 1891.

Wilbur died of “exhaustion” as a result of chronic diarrhea, on March 16, 1891. He was buried in Old Georgetown cemetery, Ottawa County.

His widow received pension (no. 320020), drawing $12.00 per month by 1907, the same year she remarried Simon Gristwood.