Isaac Burbank

Isaac Burbank was born 1828 in Canada.

Both of Isaac’s parents were born in Canada.

Isaac left Canada and immigrated to the United States. By 1850 he had settled in Crockery, Ottawa County, Michigan where he worked as a carpenter and lived with the family of Dr. Charles Kibbey in Crockery. Also living with the Kibbey family that year was 12-year-old New York native Madora McMann and her two younger siblings.

Isaac married 13-year-old Madora McMann (1838-1911) on Christmas Day, 1851, in Crockery, Ottawa County; they had at least seven children: twins Annie and Willie, Charles (1853-1869), Mary (b. 1857), possibly another son Freddie, and a son Richard (b. 1861).

By 1860 Isaac was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Crockery Township, Ottawa County. (Next door lived Thomas Somerset and his family; Thomas would also join the Third Michigan.)

Isaac was 29 years old and possibly living in Kent County or Crockery when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. In July of 1861 he reportedly injured his left thumb and was suffering from lung disease at Arlington Heights, Virginia. He was subsequently hospitalized for two months at Union hospital in Georgetown, and discharged for consumption on September 10, 1861, at Camp Arlington, Virginia.

Following his discharge from the army Isaac returned to Crockery where he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company F, Fourteenth Michigan infantry on December 7, 1861, for 3 years, crediting and listing Crockery as his place of residence, and was mustered the same day. The regiment was formally organized at Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, and Detroit between January 7 and February 18, 1862, ands was mustered into service on February 13. It left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on April 17 and then on to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. It subsequently participated in numerous actions and operations in northern Mississippi and northern Alabama. It marched to Nashville, Tennessee, September 1-6 and was on duty there until December 26; it participated in the siege of Nashville September 12-November 7 but by January 2 it was guarding supply trains near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It remained there until March at it was at Brentwood guarding the rail line between Nashville and Franklin until early July.

For reasons unknown, Isaac was apparently reduced to the ranks, and he was reported as a Corporal and sick in Nashville, Tennessee on April 23, 1863. He was taken sick in July of 1863 suffering from fever and was sent to the regimental hospital where he remained about four weeks. After he recovered he was assigned on detail to cook for the officers but apparently continued to suffer from frequent attacks of illness sometimes lasting several days at a time.

The regiment was on duty at Nashville, Franklin and Columbia until May of 1864. In any case, Isaac reenlisted on January 4, 1864, at Franklin, Tennessee, and was mustered in as a reenlisted veteran on February 5 following his return from Michigan, where he had gone presumably on a veterans’ furlough. The Fourteenth participated in the Atlanta campaign from June to September of 1864, in the March to the Sea November 15-December 10 and the siege of Savannah December 10-21 and in the Campaign in the Carolinas January to April of 1865. It was also involved in the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina March 19-21, in the occupation of Goldsboro and Raleigh, North Carolina and the surrender of Johnston’s army. It subsequently marched to Washington April 29-May19 and participate d in the Grand Review on May 24, after which it was moved to Louisville, Kentucky on June 13. Isaac was mustered out with the regiment on July 18, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

After the war Isaac returned to his home in Ottawa County. By 1870 he was working as a carpenter and he was living with his wife and two children in Spring Lake, Ottawa County, and he was still working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Spring Lake in 1880. In fact, Isaac and his wife lived in Spring Lake, Ottawa County where she ran a confectionery shop and restaurant on Main Street and he worked as a carpenter until he was injured in January of 1881. Apparently he had cut his thumb on a piece of glass and gangrene set in and he nearly lost his arm.

He was living in Muskegon the following year when he contracted a lung disease and was reported to be in an emaciated condition when he entered the Michigan Soldiers’ Home for the first time on January 25, 1886 (no. 197). In his admission to the Home in 1886 he stated that he was married but that his nearest relative was a son and son-in-law (the latter probably Loren Beerman), although he also reported one Madora Burbank as dependent upon his support but he did not describe the nature of the relationship.

Isaac was discharged from the Home at his own request on January 16, 1887, and readmitted on May 19, 1888, discharged on November 9, 1888, when he returned to his home in Muskegon. He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers' Home a third time on April 22, 1889 and discharged June 27, 1892 and was reportedly suffering from “general debility since the war” and paralysis. He was admitted a fourth time on January 5, 1893 and discharged on January 16, 1897; and admitted a fifth time on June 28, 1897 and discharged for the last time on April 5, 1898. During this period he would return to his wife’s home in either Ottawa or Muskegon County.

Sometime in November of 1900 until the spring of 1902 the two of them occupied two separate but adjoining rooms in the Rice block in Muskegon, Muskegon County.

In late summer of 1903 Madora served notice to the pension bureau that Isaac had deserted and abandoned her in May of 1902.

According to testimony he moved his furniture out of the Rice block without telling her and moved elsewhere in the city. He also attempted to have her committed to the Northern Michigan Insane Asylum (evidence of which attempt was a matter of public record as was the censure which Isaac was given in court for attempting such a thing to a person who was in fact not insane.)

On October 7, 1903, just a few weeks before Isaac died, Madora was living at 7 Miller Street in Muskegon when she wrote to the pension bureau seeking to access a share of his pension money. “I have been sick,” she wrote, “ and not able to do much when he left me the last time & I was sick he was gone over a week. I can’t just remember. He left me so many times. He always found a home ready for him. When I was able to work I never complained nor asked him for help until for the last year it is abuse I get he is so miserly.” She went on to describe how he often stays elsewhere in his own room and does his own cooking and that since her son died and her daughter married “that left me no home. He never has taken care of me nor his 7 children” and that when their third child was born she had to go home to her mother’s house to be cared for. She also claimed that he left her on May 16, 1902 and subsequently “served papers on me to put me in the insane asylum as an indigent insane person”.

In early November of 1903 Loren Beerman, who was living on Jefferson Street in Muskegon, testified that

About 1882 [Isaac] came to [his] house and said that his wife had ordered him to leave; that he went to [Madora] personally to bring about a reconciliation, but that she was very emphatic in her statement that she would never allow him to live with her again, and he does not think she has ever cohabited with [Isaac since]; that she has never acted the part of a wife to him, but on the contrary she has done everything imaginable to make life miserable for him; that part of the time they have boarded in the same house but have not eaten at the same table nor slept in the same room; that [Isaac] is not responsible for this estrangement; that he knows of his own knowledge that for the last fifteen years [Isaac] has contributed steadily all he could to his wife’s support, and he is still doing so; that [Isaac] has paid him for her board and has been responsible for her bills; that [he] would be willing to live with her if she would permit him; that no one could possibly live with her in any place.

Isaac was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and he received pension no. 419416 (dated September of 1883), drawing $12.00 per month when he was admitted to the Home in 1886 and increased to $30.00 as early as 1889.

Isaac died on December 13, 1903, of a stomach abscess at his daughter’s (Annie?) home in Muskegon, and the funeral was held at her home under the auspices of Grand Army of the Republic Kearny Post No. 7 (Muskegon). He was buried in Oakwood cemetery in Muskegon: range 13, block 15, lot 2.

In his obituary there is no mention of a widow.

Nevertheless, in December of 1903 his widow was granted a pension (no. 570852), drawing $12 per month. She died the following November but was not buried alongside Isaac. She was buried in Spring Lake in 1911 alongside five of her children.