Byron D. Gibson

Byron D. Gibson was born 1836 in either New York or Union City, Darke County, Ohio, the son of Archibald K. (1805-1871) and Phebe (b. 1815).

Byron’s parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. Archibald was living in Clinton County, Ohio, in 1830 and 1840. In any case, the family left Ohio and Clinton County in moved to western Michigan, eventually settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County. By 1860 Byron was a painter working with his father and living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward.

Byron was 25 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was discharged on July 29, 1861 at Arlington Heights, Virginia for “a deformity of the right foot from injury received three years” before he entered the service.

After he left the army Byron returned to Kent County and may have reentered the service as a 26-year-old Private, residing in Kent County, who enlisted at Marshall, Calhoun County, on December 14, 1861, in Company B, First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics. Company B was commanded by none other than Captain Baker Borden who had commanded Company B, Third Michigan infantry and who, like Byron, had been discharged for disability earlier in 1861 only to reenter the service. Moreover, it seems Byron’s father had enlisted in Company B, First E & M in September of 1861. Byron was mustered on December 23, and discharged for disability at Shiloh, Tennessee, on April 26, 1862.

It is almost certain that the Third Michigan Byron Gibson, who had once again returned to his home in Kent County, reentered the service in M company, Seventh Michigan cavalry on April 26, 1863, at Ada, Kent County for 3 years, and was mustered June 17 at Grand Rapids, crediting, listing Ada as his place of residence (Archibald himself was living in Ada, Kent County by 1870).

Byron was at a dismounted camp in October of 1863 (probably as a result of illness), and on detached service from August of 1864 through May of 1865. It is not known if he was on duty with the regiment when it participated in the Grand Review in Washington on May 23. On June 1 the Seventh was transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Byron along with the veterans and recruits were consolidated on November 17, 1865, into the First Michigan cavalry, Byron probably going to Company I. First Michigan cavalry, served on duty in the District of Utah from November of 1865 until March of 1866. In any case, Byron was absent sick in December of 1865, and was mustered out with the regiment on March 10, 1866 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Byron eventually returned to Michigan and in 1870 he was working as a painter and living with or working for George Kerr, a sawmill proprietor and farmer in Golden City, Jefferson County, Colorado. That same year Archibald was working as a painter and living with his wife and son Charles -- who was a druggist -- in Ada; he died in Ada, Kent County in 1871.

In 1888 Phebe was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 255411) for her husband’s service in the First Michigan Engineers & Mechanics (he was Drum Major). In 1890 Phebe was probably boarding at 325 N. Lafayette Street in Grand Rapids.