Eli W. Brown updated 2/24/2008

Eli W. Brown was born March 20, 1840, in Columbus, Warren County, Pennsylvania, the son of William F. (1818-1894) and Mary (Ploof, b. 1822).

Massachusetts native William married New York born Mary, and they eventually settled in Pennsylvania (William’s father and family had settled in Warren County, Pennsylvania in about 1833. In 1840 there was one William Brown living in Columbus, Warren County, Pennsylvania, and one William T. Brown living in Freehold, Warren County, Pennsylvania.) By 1850 Eli was living with his parents -- his mother was listed as unable to read or write -- and two younger siblings on a farm in Freehold, Warren County, Pennsylvania. In1856 Eli reportedly left Warren County and moved westward, eventually settling in Eaton County, Michigan, where he lived until 1858, settling thereafter in Portland, Ionia County. Eli’s father William was probably living in Michigan when he married Michigan native Louisa M. Miner (d. 1887) in 1857.

It appears that William was probably living in Michigan around 1859 when his son Jay was born. In any case, William soon returned to Freehold, Warren County, Pennsylvania, and by 1860 was working as a laborer and living with his wife Sarah and four sons – but not apparently including Eli.

Eli stood 6’1” with blue eyes, black hair and a black complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer possibly living in Lyons, Ionia County when he enlisted as Fifth Corporal in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.)

He was wounded on May 3, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, but apparently quickly recovered. According to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, Eli was a Private present for duty with the regiment in late May. According to Kilpatrick, Eli was under arrest in mid-June of 1863, and indeed he was reported as absent under arrest from June through July of 1863, offense(s) unknown. He was listed as absent sick from August of 1863 through February of 1864, when he probably rejoined the Regiment near Brandy Station, Virginia, and reenlisted on March 9, 1864, crediting Grand Haven, Ottawa County.

Eli was absent on veteran’s furlough in April, and probably rejoined the Regiment on or about the first of May. In any case, Eli was absent in the hospital when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He remained hospitalized through July of 1864, and was mustered out of service on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Eli returned to Michigan and was probably living in the vicinity of North Star, Gratiot County, when he married Michigan native Lucy J. Delap (1840-1890), on August 16, 1865, in North Star.

He and Lucy were living in Bad River, Gratiot County in 1870, the same year he purchased nearly 170 acres in Gratiot County, and indeed he lived in Gratiot County (possibly for a time around Stella), from the time he was discharged until May or June of 1871 when he moved to Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska. He remained in Grand Island until the fall of 1876 when he moved to Sidney, Nebraska remaining there until the spring of the following year. He then settled in Black Hills, Bismarck, South Dakota, living there until 1880 when he moved to Billings, Montana; he was reportedly living in Billings in the early 1880s. He moved around quite a bit until about 1885 when he returned to Michigan, settling in Manistique, Schoolcraft County.

By 1890 Eli was still living in Manistique, and although the following year he was reported living in Manistee, Manistee County, he was back in Manistique by 1892. He left Manistique in 1893 or 1894, and by 1894 was residing in North Star, Gratiot County; he was still living in North Star in 1897 and in 1898. For many years he worked as a farmer and as a builder and contractor.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and a Protestant. In 1890 he applied for and received pension no. 715,363, drawing $12.00 per month by 1902.

Eli was a widower when he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home on August 6, 1900 (no. 3436).

Eli died of stomach cancer at the Home on October 29, 1903, and his body was sent to North Star for burial. (See photo G-665).