John B. Champion

John B. Champion was born around 1835 in New York City.

John left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He married Frances E. “Fanny” Jaycocks (1843-1909), on November 27, 1856, in Otsego, Allegan County, and they had at least five children: Burton B. (b. 1858), Melvan (b. 1860), Edward (b. 1861), Cora M. (Mrs. Andrus, b. 1872) and Edith B. (b. 1877).

By 1860 John was working as a shoemaker and his wife was a tailoress in Allegan village, Allegan County; living nearby was Edward Wheelock who would enlist in Company F.

John was 26 years old and living in Allegan County when he, along with John Calkins and George Bailey, also from Allegan, walked to Grand Rapids on June 4, 1861, to join the Third Michigan then forming at Cantonment Anderson south of city. Although his two friends enlisted in Company F John enlisted in the Band, probably the following day, June 5 or perhaps the 6th.

John was discharged on February 28, 1862, as a member of Band, not as a Musician.

John returned to his home in Allegan where he reentered the service as Private in Company L, Fourth Michigan cavalry on August 12, 1862, for 3 years, and was mustered on August 29 at Detroit. In February and March of 1863 he was treated at the camp hospital for chronic diarrhea, He was transferred on September 1 to the non-commissioned staff as Chief Bugler, and detached with Major Robbins from December 17, 1863, through February of 1864. In January and February of 1865 he was reported absent sick since November 30, 1864. John was mustered out with the regiment on July 1, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee.

John returned to Allegan County after the war, and then moved to Great Bend, Kansas and Le Moss, Iowa, finally settling in Minnesota where he kept a saloon for some years. By 1870 he was living in Winona’s First Ward, Winona County, Minnesota, and was still living in Minnesota in 1888 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 795524). By 1890 he was living in Luverne, Rock County, Kansas. At some point he was admitted to the National Military Home Western Branch at Leavenworth, Kansas.

John died of mitral regurgitation in ward no. 3 of the hospital at the National Home on March 5, 1900. He was interred in the Leavenworth National Cemetery: section 14, row 2-6, grave no. 20).

In May of 1900 his widow was living in Minnesota when she applied for and received a pension (no. 505432), and in fact had settled in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lived with her daughter, Mrs. Cora Andrus, until she died in 1909 and was buried in Oakland cemetery, St. Paul.