Aaron Pixley Camp Jr. and Samuel Camp

Aaron Pixley Camp Jr., also known as “Comp”, was born 1829, in Shelby, Orleans County, New York, the son of Aaron Pixley Sr. (1794-1884) and Mary (Welch or Welsh, 1800-1886).

Aaron Sr. fought in Crosby’s New York Volunteers and in 164th Regiment (Churchill’s) New York Militia during the war of 1812. He and Mary Welch were married in Hartland, Niagara County, New York on March 1, 1817, and by 1820 were residing in Shelby, Orleans County, New York, where they lived for many years. They were still living in Shelby in 1830, 1840 and 1844, and indeed they probably remained in Shelby for some years. By 1850 Aaron was working as a farm laborer and living with his parents on the family farm (his father owned some $1000 worth of real estate) in Shelby. Next door lived Aaron’s older brother Samuel and his family; Samuel too would enlist in the Third Michigan in the spring of 1861.

By 1856b Aaron Jr. and his parents had moved to Michigan settling in Adrian, Lenawee County and by 1860 was living with Aaron Sr. and his wife in Wright, Hillsdale County; by 1860 Aaron Jr. was working as a farmer and living with his sister Sarah and her husband John Foster in Allendale, Ottawa County.

In 1861 Aaron Sr. and Mary were still living in Wright and indeed lived out the remainder their days in Hillsdale County.

Aaron Jr. was 30 years old and probably living in Lamont, Ottawa County when he enlisted along with his older brother Samuel, in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) According to Bob Bosch, historian of Allendale Township civil war veterans, Aaron was assigned as a washerman in the Regimental hospital soon after being mustered into service, and by November of 1861 he was a nurse in the Regimental hospital.

Aaron probably remained a nurse in the hospital until he died of typhoid fever on May 12, 1862, at Yorktown, Virginia.

Captain Stephen Lowing of Company I wrote home on May 17, 1862, that Camp had died “at the hospital at Yorktown. . . . He had been engaged in the hospital as a nurse for sometime and died of fever which is worse than the enemy bullets.”

While it is possible that his family brought his body back to Ottawa County for burial (though there is no record of this), Aaron was probably among the unknown soldiers buried in Yorktown National Cemetery.

Samuel Camp was born January 9, 1825, in Lockport, Niagara County, New York, the son of Aaron Pixley Sr. (1794-1884) and Mary (Welch or Welsh, 1800-1886).

Aaron Sr. fought in Crosby’s New York Volunteers and in 164th Regiment (Churchill’s) New York Militia during the war of 1812. He and Mary Welch were married in Hartland, Niagara County, New York on March 1, 1817, and by 1820 were residing in Shelby, Orleans County where they lived for many years. They were still living in Shelp in 1830, 1840 and 1844, and indeed they probably remained in Shelby for some years.

Samuel was married on November 2, 1846, to New York native Lydia Shaffer (1825-1894), probably in New York, and they had at least five children: Frederick Eugene (b. 1847), Pixley Aaron (b. 1850), twins James and Orson (b. 1854), Lucy M. (b. 1855) and Oscar (b. 1857) and Frank M. (b. 1861).

Samuel and his family probably resided in Lockport, Niagara County, New York, from 1847 through 1850 and by 1850 Samuel was working as a farmer and living with his family (his father owned some $1000 worth of real estate) on a farm in Shelby, Orleans County, New York; next door lived his parents and siblings including his younger brother Aaron who would also enlist in the Third Michigan.

Samuel and Lydia were living in Niagara County, New York in 1854, and in New York from 1855 until spring of 1857.

By 1856 Samuel’s parents had moved to Michigan settling in Adrian, Lenawee County and by 1860 Aaron Sr. and his wife were living in Wright, Hillsdale County. (In 1861 Aaron Sr. and Mary were still living in Wright and indeed lived out the remainder their days in Hillsdale County.)

By 1860 Samuel and his wife had left New York and joined his family in Michigan and was working as a farmer in Clarendon, Calhoun County. Sometime in the fall of that year he settled in Allendale, Ottawa County where he worked a farm.

Many years after the war, Oscar Foster (who would also enlist in Company I) told of first meeting Samuel Camp in the fall of 1860. Samuel had stopped at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, John Foster, Oscar’s brother. He remained, Oscar recalled, “perhaps a week while he was looking around for a place on which to locate. He had been living somewhere in the south[ern] part of the state.” Foster described Samuel Camp as “about 5 ft, 9 inches in height, broad and full chested, quite a muscular man, and some pretensions as a ‘thumper’, if I remember right. He weighed I should think from 165 to 170 pounds.”

Samuel was 36 years old when he enlisted as First Sergeant along with his younger brother Aaron in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He failed to leave with the Regiment on June 13, 1861, when it departed for Washington, DC, and in fact he died of pneumonia on June 15, 1861, probably in Lamont, Ottawa County. Postwar investigation by the U.S. pension bureau concluded that Camp may not in fact have ever been mustered into either state (May 13, 1861) or United States (June 10, 1861) service, due to his bouts of ill health during the period when the Regiment was forming at Grand Rapids and before it left for the east (roughly April 25 to June 13).

Martin V. B. Taylor, also of Company I, knew Samuel Camp about a year previous to their enlistment and at that time lived about one and one-half miles from Camp in Allendale Township. In his statement given on August 14, 1896, Taylor said that Ottawa County “was a new country then and while I never worked with him regularly I was with him at a great many ‘raisings’ -- the raising of log buildings. I knew him just the same as I did the other neighbors. Have been to his house one or two times before he enlisted. He enlisted about the same time that I did, I think a few days before.”

Martin Taylor told of how the Regiment was given a furlough just before leaving Michigan in June of 1861. “After our enlistment we were quartered in barracks in Grand Rapids” where they waited “to be mustered in the United States service. About three days before [June 7] the muster in [June 10] we were granted furlough for three days to go home and as soon as we returned from this furlough we were discharged from the state service and immediately mustered in the United States service.” He explained, “the furlough we were granted was not a written furlough, the men were merely told that those who wanted to, could go home for three days before being mustered in the United States service.”

Taylor added that soon after enlisting he (Taylor) became “orderly sergeant and had charge of the company book and it ran out, I took an unused portion of the book and copied in it the original roll of the company as it was mustered in. The said portion of book I detached from the company book and have always retained it.”

According to Taylor, “Camp’s name nowhere appears in this copy of the original co. rolls” and “the first I knew anything about Samuel Camp’s being sick while I was at home on [furlough before leaving for Washington, and] then read that Camp had been taken sick on his way home and had stopped at Lamont.” Apparently, they had both gone home of a three day’s furlough just prior to the mustering in of the Regiment into United States service. Camp “lived on one side of [the] Grand River and I on the other, so we went on opposite sides of the river.”

On June 3, 1896, John Foster testified that he “was present during [Camp’s] last illness. He died . . . of pneumonia. He took an awful cold and it settled on his lungs. He got the cold he said and his brother [Aaron] told me so by exposure in the barracks at Grand Rapids. I don’t recall about his getting the cold going swimming. On his return from Grand Rapids he was sick about a week before he died, I should say about five days as near as I can remember. I didn’t see him in the barracks at Grand Rapids. I think he was over there about three weeks. He got a uniform and was buried in it. . . . His brother Aaron went back to Grand Rapids before Samuel died.”

And on August 11, 1896, Oscar Foster told of how he remembered Camp’s illness. “I recollect his sickness because of the fact that the boys when he first commenced to be sick, joked him about it. He had gone to Lamont . . . to arrest Elisha Galuncia who had been with the company in Grand Rapids [but had deserted]. It was said that when Sam Camp went to Galuncia’s house, Galuncia’s wife picked him (Camp) up and threw him out of the house. Camp did not bring Galuncia back with him and the boys laughed at him and said that Galuncia’s wife had made him sick.”

The summary of the special investigator, written on August 31, 1896, said in part that “The testimony of Martin V. Taylor shows that soldier’s name never appeared on the company books. He is corroborated by Capt. Simon Brennan” who had also served in Company I. Indeed, according to a statement given on April 18, 1896, Brennan said that he was “now confident that Samuel Camp was not present with the co. when we were mustered into U.S. service.” After taking eyewitness testimony from family members still living, the investigator felt that the government was “warranted in concluding that [the] soldier was sick as much as five days at Lamont before he died” and that according to testimony of comrades from the company “he was certainly sick in Grand Rapids for at least several days before he went to Lamont.” The conclusion drawn was “that he could not have been in Grand Rapids at the time of muster-in” to federal service on June 10, 1861.

It is not quite clear as to exactly where Camp was buried or indeed even where he died. According to a Grand Haven source Samuel (mistakenly listed as “Campbell”) died at Lamont, possibly of measles (two other Third Michigan soldiers were sick with measles in late June). Samuel was presumably buried in Lamont, although none of the existing records confirm this.

According to the sworn statement of Oscar, one of his children, given in Fargo, North Dakota on November 12, 1896, Samuel died in Lamont, at the house of Samuel’s cousin, Eleanor Waters Barnes. “Father is buried at Lamont,” said Oscar at the time, “He has no tombstone. We can’t find his grave.” Indeed, there seems to be no record of Samuel’s burial in the existing cemeteries in Lamont or Allendale. It is possible of course that he was simply buried at the Barnes home in Lamont or perhaps his remains were taken home to the farm in Allendale for interment on the family farm, which, according to Bosch, was probably in section 28, along M-45 on the southeast corner of 76th Avenue.

Samuel’s widow applied for a pension (no. 979), but abandoned the claim when she remarried one Andrew Rawls on April 3, 1863, in Allendale. Samuel’s children received minors’ pension no. 341,540.