Orin P. Huntley

Orin P. Huntley was born on May 8, 1822, in Erie County, New York.

Orin was probably working as a clothier and living with the George Smith family in Evans, Erie County, New York in 1850. In any case, he left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County -- possibly with his family. In any case, by 1860 Orin was working as a wool-carder for his older brother (?) George who owned a cloth factory in Grand Rapids’ Third Ward; he was also possibly living with George and his family.

In any case, Orin was living in Grand Rapids when he married Mary Pless (b. 1832), on December 2, 1861, in Grand Rapids, and they had at least two children: a son Charles (b. 1862) and a daughter.

Orin stood 5’9” with blue eyes, brown hair an a light complexion and was 40 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on August 11, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, and may have been wounded on May 3, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

Orin was serving as a clerk at First Division headquarters from October of 1863 through November, and reported missing in action on May 8, 1864, at the Wilderness; in fact he was wounded by a gunshot in his right leg, and taken prisoner on May 7 and interned for a time in Andersonville prison. He claimed that that the leg was amputated about 8 inches below the knee by a reel surgeon in the field.

He was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was paroled at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia on September 1. Huntley reported to the Second Division hospital in Maryland on September 3, and was transferred to Camp Parole hospital on September 22 where he was given a furlough for 45 days on October 9, 1864.

Within a week he had returned home to Grand Rapids. On October 17 the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that Huntley, “one of the old Third Michigan Infantry, who lost a leg in the never-to-be-forgotten bloody struggle of the Wilderness, has just returned to his home in this city. Honored by these brave defenders of our country’s flag, and ever may they and theirs , even to the crutches that bear them, receive every esteem and universal respect of all loyal people.” He was to report to the general hospital in Detroit upon expiration of his furlough, and in fact he was admitted to Harper hospital in Detroit on November 17 with an amputated lower third of his right leg. He was discharged on May 5, 1865.

Orin eventually returned to Grand Rapids area where he lived out much of the remainder of his life, and for many years worked as a businessman. In 1870 Orin and his wife and son Charles were living in Ada, Kent County, where Orin worked as an engine-maker. By 1880 he was working as a machinist and living on Spring Street in Grand Rapids’ First Ward with his wife and son Charles who was clerking in a store.

Orin was still living in Grand Rapids in 1883 when his son Charles was arrested and charged with theft. He and his wife were residing at 210 South Division Street in Grand Rapids in 1892, and by 1903 he was living at the Bridge Street House in Grand Rapids where he resided until his death in 1906.

He was a member of Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and of Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids, and received pension no. 45,458, drawing $18.00, and $40 per month by 1906.

Orin was a widower when he died of valvular heart disease on June 19, 1906, in Grand Rapids, and the funeral service was held at 3:00 p.m. on June 21 at Springs’ undertaking chapel. He was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: Custer Post Grand Army of the Republic section, block E grave 10.