Charles W. Furber

Charles W. Furber, also known as “Ferber,” was born 1842 in Ohio, the son of Charles (b. 1808) and Mary (b. 1817).

Charles (elder) left England and immigrated to the United States where he met Ohio native Mary. They were married sometime before 1840 when they were living in Pennsylvania. By 1844 they had moved to Ohio where they resided for some years. Charles and Mary took their family and moved to Michigan from Ohio sometime between 1848 and 1850 when Charles (younger) was attending school with his siblings and living with his family in Leighton, Allegan County where his father was a farmer. By 1860 Charles was a farm laborer living in Leighton on the family farm.

He was 19 years old and probably living in the vicinity of Hastings, Barry County when he enlisted in the Hastings Rifle Company in April of 1861. The company was disbanded shortly after it arrived in Grand Rapids and its members distributed to other companies of the Third Michigan infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson just south of the city. Charles eventually enlisted with his guardian’s or parents’ consent in Company K on May 13, 1861. He was wounded, probably only slightly, on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, but he was nonetheless sent to Carver Hospital in Washington, DC, and then to a hospital at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland. In October he was reported absent sick in a general hospital where he remained through May of 1863.

It is possible that he returned to duty and was either wounded on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, or became ill sometime in May or early June; it is also possible that he never returned to duty but simply transferred to another hospital.

In any case, on June 7, 1863, he was reported in a general hospital in Alexandria, Virginia where he remained through December. But according to Andrew Kilpatrick, also of Company E, Charles was present for duty with the regiment when he was nearly killed in a diving accident while the men were swimming in Hegemon Creek. According to official records, however, he remained hospitalized, as a Corporal, until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.

It seems quite likely that Charles was so seriously injured in his diving into a submerged tree stump in the River that he never recovered.

In 1865 Charles applied for and received a pension (no. 51797). He apparently returned to his family home in Allegan County where he died on October 5, 1865, presumably from wounds or sickness contracted while in the army, and was buried at Hooker cemetery in Leighton. (However there seems to be no marker for him or his family.)

His parents were still living in Leighton, Allegan County in 1870 and 1880.