Joel Consider Guild

Joel Consider Guild was born March 1, 1840, in Kent County, Michigan, the son of Consider (1813-1883) and Phebe (Leavitt, 1819-1852).

Consider was one of the very first pioneers in what would become Grand Rapids, settling in June of 1833 along the banks of the Grand River where the village would soon be established. He married Phebe Ann Leavitt in Grand Rapids in 1838 and they settled down in Paris Township. Consider married his second wife Therese Campau McCabe in about 1853 or 1854, probably in Grand Rapids. He eventually sold his farm and moved into the city where he operated several business interests (Guild & Barr, then Guild & Baxter). Shortly before the war Consider purchased a farm in just across the Ottawa County line in Georgetown. By 1860 his son Joel was working as a farm laborer and living with his father and stepmother in Georgetown.

Joel was 21 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids or in Georgetown when he enlisted at the age of 21 in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported detached to the signal service from July of 1862 through September, and in the hospital from October 11, through November of 1862. He returned to duty and was wounded in the left arm on May 5, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and it is not known if he was present for duty with the regiment when it was engaged in the Peach Orchard, just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863. On July 16, 1863, Joel was hospitalized at Hammond general hospital, Point Lookout, Maryland suffering from acute diarrhea and intermittent fever. By September 3, he was considered “perfectly recovered and . . . anxious to join his Regiment.” In fact, it seems quite likely that Joel never fully recovered from his dysentery.

In any case, Joel reported for duty on September 10, and on December 24, 1863, he was a Corporal when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably in Michigan, in January of 1864 and he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred as a Sergeant to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported to have been wounded sometime in August. He was promoted to Sergeant Major on December 13, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia, and in February of 1865 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, commissioned as of November 7, 1864, and transferred on February 25 to Company H, replacing Lieutenant Shontz. Joel was present for duty in March, and officially reported on sick leave in Michigan from June 5, 1865, when, according to one contemporary source, in fact he had gone home on a furlough sometime in late March.

Although reported mustered out on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana, it is quite possible that Joel never returned to the Regiment and was living in Georgetown when he married Mary E. Jenison on June 27, 1865, in Grand Rapids.

In September of 1865 he applied for a pension (no. 57331) but the certificate was never granted.

Joel died in Cascade, Kent County of chronic diarrhea on Sunday, December 3, 1865, and the funeral was held at the Methodist church, corner of Division and Fountain Streets in Grand Rapids. His younger brother George, age 12, had died very suddenly of a hemorrhage on November 30, and they were both interred in Oak Grove cemetery in Grand Rapids. In its obituary for Joel, the Grand Rapids Eagle wrote on December 4, 1865,

Under our notice of deaths in today’s issue, occurs the name of Lieut. Joel C. Guild, late of the 5th Infantry. Young Guild was among the first who sprang to arms under the first call in 1861. He went out as a private in the gallant Old Third. Young, of rather slight build and almost effeminate features when he enlisted, we feared, when bidding him goodbye, on that occasion, that he had undertaken a task to which he was physically unequal, though he had the heart of a lion, with heroic resolution and courage. How fearful was the sacrifice of that glorious pioneer regiment is told in the history of a Champlin, of a Judd, of near eight hundred of its stoutest hearts, who have either yielded their lives for the old flag, or received wounds in its defense. Despite the fears of his friends, however, young Guild, who was in all its battles, gathered strength commensurate with his nerve, and was never off his post, never flagged in the march, till after the famous Pennsylvania raid and the Gettysburg slaughter. His invincible resolution and will had borne him through, and he had attained to a well-knit and hardy frame. His bravery at length attracted the attention of his superiors, and he was promoted, upon the consolidation of the two [Third and Fifth regiments], from a private of the Third to a Lieutenant of the Fifth. But, at last, he was attacked by that most dreaded and insidious scourge of the Southern climate to the soldier , which has at length worn out his body, and his name is added to the long list of victims of a foul rebellion. That the circle of friends who mourn his departure none were ever dearer, than the affections he had secured none were ever stronger. Let us not forget the brave.

In 1866 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 88003).