John Foulks

John Foulks, also known as “Folks,” was born November 6, 1841, in Brant, Ontario, Canada, son of William F. (1816-1889) and Jane (Renwick, b. 1819).

John’s father emigrated from England to America around 1832, settling in Ontario, Canada. He met New York native Jane Renwick and they were married on March 17, 1841, in Ontario, and they eventually settled in Brant, Ontario. Around 1856 William moved his family to Ionia County, Michigan, settling in Keene Township. In 1860 John was attending school with five of his siblings and living on the family farm in Keene. (John’s mother was probably related to the several Renwick families who also lived in Keene before the war; two of whom served in the Third Michigan.)

William was a member of the Democratic party, “and in local affairs was in favor of all progressive movements. In every relation in life he made his mark as an upright and successful man. He was a man of integrity and principle, and he believed in treating others as he desired himself to be treated.” When he died he “left a fine estate of one hundred and twenty acres, the result of a life of labor and industry. He was a man of extensive general information, well known for his liberality to all good and charitable enterprises and an obliging neighbor. He had a keen sense of honor and his integrity was never questioned.”

John stood 6’1” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 21-year-old farmer possibly living in Keene, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on February 12, 1862, at Saranac, Ionia County for 3 years, crediting Ionia County, and was mustered the same day; he was probably related to the Renwick brothers who also enlisted in Company D. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

John apparently spent little time with the Regiment, however. He was absent sick from August through December of 1862, and absent sick in Alexandria, Virginia from October of 1863 through December. He was sick in Washington, DC, from January of 1864 through May, and was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was discharged at the expiration of his term of service at Detroit on either February 9 or 14, 1865.

After his discharge from the army John returned to Keene where he worked for many years as a farmer. His parents were living on a farm next door to the Renwicks in Keene in 1870; they were still living in Keene in 1880. By 1880 John was working as a barber, listed himself as single and living at the Young Hotel in Lowell, Kent County. John was living in Keene in 1890.

Apparently John was married at one time since he noted himself as a widower upon admission to the Michigan Soldier's Home. He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and he received pension no. 934,709.

He was admitted as a widower to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 2292) on November 26, 1894, and worked as a barber, presumably at the Home.

John died of paralysis of the lower extremities on March 10, 1905, at the Home, and was buried in the Home cemetery: block 4 row 17 grave 29.