Henry Elias Filkins

Henry Elias Filkins was born 1835 in New York, the son of Henry (1793-1838) and Mumara (Jellett, b. 1794).

New York natives Henry and Mumara were married in 1820 in New York. By 1850 Henry (younger) was living with his older brothers William and Melvin, and attending school with Melvin and they were all living with the family of Alfred Benedict (b. 1790 in New York) on a farm in Otisco, Ionia County, Michigan.

Henry was probably living in Kent County, Michigan, as early as October of 1859 when the Grand Rapids Enquirer reported on October 6 that one Henry Filkins had been involved in a fight in Plainfield, Kent County, on the previous Saturday night, which resulted in Filkins and his antagonist Post both falling out of a window. Filkins, reported the paper, “was examined before Justice Wilson, in Plainfield, last Tuesday and held to bail to make an appearance at the next term of Court, in the sum of $1,000. Failing to procure bail, Filkins has been locked up. It is now said that although badly injured, Post will recover.”

The following year he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with Robert Garick in Plainfield. (Nearby lived a farmer by the name of Elijah Filkins, age 36, with his wife Mary and several children.)

Henry, also known as Elias, was 26 years old and living in Plainfield when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was absent on picket duty during the months of September and October of 1861, present for duty from March of 1862 through October, but reported missing in action on July 1, 1862, at White Oak Swamp, Virginia.

He returned to the Regiment on August 8 at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, and was subsequently required to forfeit $5.00 in October of 1862, by order of Colonel Stephen G. Champlin, commanding the Third Michigan (possibly as a consequence of being tried by a Regimental court martial for being AWOL). He was present for duty from December of 1862 until February 25, 1863, when he was promoted to Corporal, replacing Harvey Briggs who had been promoted. Henry was present for duty in May and June, but detached on July 27, 1863, for recruiting duty in Michigan where he remained through February of 1864. By March he was back with the Regiment.

According to the 1905 Regimental history, “Elias Filkins” was killed in action on May 23, 1864, at North Anna River, Virginia, while “Henry Filkins” was mustered out on June 20, 1864. An examination of both military service records indicates, however, that Henry and Elias were in fact one and the same man, and that Henry was both missing and killed in action on May 23, 1864, at North Anna, Virginia. He was presumably among the unknown soldiers buried near the North Anna.

No pension seems to be available.