George Francis, Henry Spencer and Wilson David Fargo

George Francis Fargo was born December 7, 1843, in Wyoming County, New York, the son of the son of David Mason (1815-1881) and Sarah Ann (Wilson, b. 1837?).

New York natives David and Sarah were married, probably in New York, and by 1846 David had settled his family on a farm in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. They were living in Warsaw in 1850 when George attended school with his older siblings including his brother Henry who would also enlist in the Third Michigan. The family eventually left New York and moved westward, settling in Ionia County, Michigan.

In 1860 there was one George S. Fargo living in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. In any case, George F. left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan. In late 1863 George’s older brother Wilson, who had joined the Third Michigan infantry regimental band in 1861, wrote home to warn George about the upcoming draft. On December 10, from Saranac, Ionia County, Wilson wrote:

Brother George,

I received your letter but have until now neglected to answer you – and now I have something of importance to communicate to you about the draft. There has been a list of the names of all that are liable to draft printed & posted up for public exhibition and it is ordered that if any are in the town liable to draft whose name does not appear on the list shall be reported to the provost martial. Now then your name is not down & will not be if you keep away from here. Consequently you had better keep away from here till after the draft takes place which is the 5th of Jany. Then you will be all right. But if you must -- deny your age and claim to be 19 this December. I would like to have you come home, would all be glad to see you but the safe way is the best way. Father is quite sick but I think he will be about again soon. All the rest are very well. Write us soon. No more this time. Yours very truly W. D. Fargo

PS since writing the above Juel [?] tells me that Father is not quite as well tonight. You had better come out of the woods near the RR when you come home at anytime we should want you. But keep us posted of your whereabouts.

Friday morning Dec. 11. Father is better this morning so he will get along soon. Let us hear from you at once. W. D. Fargo.

George did avoid the draft – he enlisted.

George stood 5’5” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farmer possibly living in Odessa, Ionia County when he enlisted with his younger brother Henry in Company D on February 9, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Odessa, and was mustered the same day. Their older brother Wilson had enlisted in the Regimental Band in 1861.) (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) Soon after arriving in Virginia George wrote home to his parents from Alexandria. On February 26 he wrote:

We are here in ole Washington . . . we are in the barracks expect to go [to] the Regt today but don’t know for certain. It won’t be long anyway.

The rebels are deserting like the mischief. 20 came here Tuesday and 12 Wednesday. The general opinion here is that the rebellion will not last long. They desert so fast and tell such pitiful stories about their condition. They look ragged and [worn] out. They must give out soon and I hope so. I like it first rate as far as I have got. It is time [to] close. All well [and] tough as snakes. We have a guard to go with us to shit to see if we don’t fall in the shithole and get drowned. . . .You need not write until you hear from us again. Yours in health. George S. Fargo.

And the following day he wrote again to his family from a camp near Brandy Station, Virginia:

Dear Parents, Brother & sister

I write in haste to let you know that we are here under marching orders. We are to cross the Rapidan [river] tomorrow [and] march about 6 miles. The 6th . . . left here today and we are to support them. I am in the 3rd troop [?] we got here today about noon and about 4 o’clock Henry was taken sick but don’t know what ails him. He is not much sick but I don’t think he will be able to go with the Regt tomorrow. He has been exposed to the measles on the road and I would not [be surprised] if he was coming down with them. I don’t feel the best that [I] ever was I tell you. It is a long road from Grand Rapids to Washington. The rest of the boys feel pretty much played out as well as ourselves.

Henry may feel better in the morning. Munson Granger had the measles the next day after he got here and is around again. Don’t go to worrying about him or me either for we will be taken good care of.

We may not get into any fight tomorrow [and will] see some skirmishing if nothing more. The rebs are deserting. . . . It is getting late and I [have to] stop to write any more tonight. Yours in haste, George F. Fargo

George joined the Regiment on March 6 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, but was sent to the Regimental hospital on March 12 where he remained until he died of measles on March 15, 1864, at Camp Bullock. He was presumably buried near Alexandria, Virginia.

His brother Henry would eventually join the regiment in camp. On April 17 Henry wrote to his parents to tell them “You spoke of my expressing George’s things home and I told [?] Wilson [?] that I could send them the first of the week but the Col. Says that every box is opened at Baltimore and no army clothing will be allowed to be sent through so you see I cannot send them but there is George’s vest and shirt and several of his little trinkets.”

In 1881 his mother Sarah applied for and received a dependent’s pension (no. 214,623). She was living in Lansing, Ingham County when she died in 1889.

Henry Spencer Fargo was born April 29, 1846, in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York, the son of David Mason (1815-1881) and Sarah Ann (Wilson, b. 1837?).

New York natives David and Sarah were married, probably in New York, and by 1846 David had settled his family on a farm in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. They were living in Warsaw in 1850 when Henry attended school with his older siblings including his brother George who would also enlist in the Third Michigan. The family eventually left New York and moved westward, settling in Ionia County, Michigan.

Henry stood 5’6” with black eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion, and was an 18-year-old farmer living in Boston or Odessa, Ionia County when he enlisted with his older brother George in Company D, on February 9, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Odessa, and mustered the same day. (Their older brother Wilson had enlisted in the Regimental Band in 1861.) (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

Henry and his brother George arrived in Virginia in late February. On February 27 George wrote home to their parents and informed them that “we got here today about noon and about 4 o’clock Henry was taken sick but don’t know what ails him. He is not much sick but I don’t think he will be able to go with the Regt tomorrow. He has been exposed to the measles on the road and I would not [be surprised] if he was coming down with them.” He also acknowledged that he was feeling well either. In fact George, who never joined the regiment in camp, would die of measles on March 12.

Henry joined the Regiment on March 6 at Camp Bullock, Virginia, and was in camp with the regiment on April 17 when he wrote home to his “Dear father,”

I received your kind letter last night communicating to me such advice that I could receive in no other way . . . and now Father I am resolved to live a different life than I have heretofore. I have been having the ague some but am better now. Father you say that Uncle _____ is coming home from California and you think of going back with him. You want to know what I think of it? Well father if you think it would be a benefit to your health and you can get into business when you get them and not have to work . . . I don’t know but I would go but if you have got to there and go to farming and support your family I would not go for it will cost you so much to get there that you would have nothing to commence with when you got there. If I was out of the army so that I could go with you I should not care so much about it. You spoke of my expressing George’s things home and I told [?] Wilson [?] that I could send them the first of the week but the Col. Says that every box is opened at Baltimore and no army clothing will be allowed to be sent through so you see I cannot send them but there is George’s vest and shirt and several of his little trinkets. I will put them into a little box and send them home. Father you say that Emma’s health is very poor and seem to think she is not long for this world. . . . [S]oon the spring campaign will open and then I am to meet the enemy . . . .Yes father I shall send every cent home I can get except enough to buy my writing papers & envelopes. I will send you four dollars today I think I will risk that much in a letter today. I have sold my watch for ten dollars and I will send you five . . . . I have no more to write so I will close. Good by father. . . .

And on April 19 he wrote home from camp near Brandy Station, to his “Dear parents and friends,”

Today is Monday and I am alone.. Have just finished my washing & am now cooking some beans. . . . The weather here is very warm and pleasant & has been so for several days. I looked for a letter from home night before last . . . I wrote a letter to Harrison the other day but as yet have got no answer from him. Father, do you hear anything more about going to Cal. . . ? How does all off of the horses get along now? Are they getting fat. . ? Do you keep Old Bill yet or have you parted with him?

Father I sent you five dollars in a letter the other day. Have you got it or not? If you have write me about it so I shall know that it got through all right. I have heard that E. B. Bigelow is taken prisoner and they have sent him to Georgia. If that is true he is safe for three years or during the war as well as myself. Stephen Thompson is home sick with the measles. Amelia said in her letter that Emma Brown was there and said she would write to me of she had my address [?] Just tell her I should like very much to get a letter from her. I am always ready to answer a letter as soon as I get one. I have no news to write – we expect to move before long but don’t know how soon. You must all write soon. Give my love to all who may inquire after me. As I have no more to write this time I will close. Hoping to here from you soon. Good by. I am H. S. Fargo

Henry was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, but soon after was taken sick. He was sent from White House Landing, Virginia and admitted on June 15 to Mt. Pleasant hospital in Washington, DC, suffering from chronic diarrhea. From a location on 14th Street, Washington, DC, he wrote home on June 30, 1864, to his older brother Wilson,

Dear brother Wilson,

Once more I sit down to write you a few lines to inform you that I sent by express yesterday forty dollars that being what I can spare this time. I sent it by the Adams Express because I could not the American Express. The agent told me that they make connections with the American Express co. at Pittsburg PA. If that is the case there will be no trouble. I have got . . . the money which I shall keep [it until I] hear from you & if you want me to send you the rest you can write me. I don’t get any letters from you yet but you must write me when you get the money. Now Wils if father wants any money let him have it & you know it becomes a duty as well as a privilege for me to help him all we can if there is any more than he wants you can use it. I shall send my money all home & when there is any more than you fellows know what to do with just see what you can do for me. . . We don’t have anything to do . . . sit down in a chair under some birch trees . . . Ff [?] was here this morning I would give you some ripe apples. We have some that are very nice. I [think I can] get a furlough but the [for the moment] I am [not] interested. I have got a good place & if I leave it I should lose it & when I get back I would have to go to the front. But if I stay here now I shall have a good place all summer. So you see I don’t want to leave here now if nothing happens I will try for a furlough next winter. I have no more to write this time so I will close. So good by for this time. I remain as ever yours truly, Henry S. Fargo

On July 27 Henry was still in Washington when he wrote home to his “dear parents and friends,”

As I have a little time this afternoon I will write a few lines to you. I got a letter from Mother . . . last night and was very glad to hear you are all well. I am quite well today & have written one letter before today. I have some pictures representing some of the battles in which I have been present. You will see that two of the pictures represent the same battle, namely the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. You will see the picture of Hancock’s Division charging the rebel battery. Never did I see such cutting and slashing as was done over those rifle pits. The johnnies fought hard for those cannon that we captured from them. One man of the 3rd Mich was first to turn the rebel cannon upon them.

There is also a little box, which I will send along. The comb is one that George gave me & I have carried it all through the campaign. This is the reason I don’t want to lose it for I will send it home. The little knife I suppose Franklin will claim. I have not much to send the children this time. The little battle I suppose if you have a young lady she will be entitled to that, The gloves I have put in to fill up the box. . .

Henry was discharged on either November 29, 1864 at Mt. Pleasant or on December 1 or 2, 1864, at Finley hospital, Washington, DC, “by reason of being a minor.”

Henry returned to his home in Michigan after he left the army.

He married Michigan native Gertrude E. Perry (b. 1849) on November 22, 1866, in Saranac, Ionia County, and they had at least two children: Eva (b. 1872), Wyona (b. 1878) and Stella (b. 1883).

Henry remained in Michigan until about 1869 when he moved to Kansas. By 1870 Henry was working as an auctioneer and living with his wife (he owned some $1400 worth of real estate)) with the Perry family in East W. Paola, Miami County, Kansas (his father and mother were also living in East W. Paola that year). By 1880 he was working as a stock breeder and living with his wife and children in Paola’s Third Ward, Kansas; two doors away lived Wilson Fargo and his family. Their father lived in Paola in 1880 as well. In about 1888 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and was apparently living in Missouri by 1889 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 625,204). In 1892 Henry moved to Indiana, where he worked as a lawyer and was living in Hartford city, Blackford County in 1908. He remained in Indiana until about 1909 when he moved to Portland, Multnonah County, Oregon. He still living in Portland in 1912.

Henry was probably living in Portland, Oregon, where he died on June 3, 1917, and was presumably buried in Portland.

His widow was living at 772 E. 26th Street North in Portland, Oregon in late June of 1917 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 836868).

Wilson David Fargo was born in February 10, 1838, in New York, the son of David Mason (1815-1881) and Sarah Ann (Wilson, b. 1819)

New York natives David and Sarah were married, probably in New York, and by 1846 when their son Henry was born David had settled his family on a farm in Warsaw, Wyoming County, New York. They were living in Warsaw in 1850. The family eventually left New York and moved westward, settling in Ionia County, Michigan. Wilson was 22 years old and possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in the Regimental Band on June 10, 1861. (His younger brothers George and Henry would both enlist in 1864 in Company D.)

Wilson was discharged on February 28, 1862 at Camp Michigan, Virginia, “as a member of the Band and not as a Musician.” He apparently returned to Michigan, probably to Ionia County, after his discharge. In any case, he was in Saranac, Ionia County, when he wrote on the evening of Thursday, December 10, 1863, to his younger brother George who was in hiding someone nearby.

Brother George,

I received your letter but have until now neglected to answer you – and now I have something of importance to communicate to you about the draft. There has been a list of the names of all that are liable to draft printed & posted up for public exhibition and it is ordered that if any are in the town liable to draft whose name does not appear on the list shall be reported to the provost martial. Now then your name is not down & will not be if you keep away from here. Consequently you had better keep away from here till after the draft takes place which is the 5th of Jany. Then you will be all right. But if you must deny, your age and claim to be 19 this December. I would like to have you come home, would all be glad to see you but the safe way is the best way. Father is quite sick but I think he will be about again soon. All the rest are very well. Write us soon. No more this time. Yours very truly W. D. Fargo

PS since writing the above . . . Father is not quite as well tonight. You had better come out of the woods near the RR when you come home at anytime. . . . But keep us posted of your whereabouts.

Friday morning Dec. 11. Father is better this morning so he will get along soon. Let us hear from you at once. W. D. Fargo.

Wilson was probably still living in Michigan when he married to Mahala (b. 1842) and they had at least two children: Firman (b. 1866) and Henry (b. 1872).

In 1870 his father David was working as a laborer (he owned $1000 worth of real estate) and living with Sarah and two children in East W. Paola, Miami County, Kansas; Henry and his wife also lived in East W. Paola, Kansas.

By 1880 Wilson was working as a real estate agent and living with his wife and children in Paola, Miami County, Kansas, just two doors from Henry Fargo and his family. Their father was also living in Paola in 1880. By 1886 Wilson was living in Anamosa, Iowa.

In 1903 he applied for and received a pension (no. 1089576).

Wilson died on August 14, 1912, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was presumably buried there. In 1912 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 752651).