Andrew Kirschman

Andrew Kirschman was born on January 30, 1831 in Frutingen or Württemberg, Germany, the son of Jacob.

Andrew immigrated to America sometime before 1859 and eventually settled in western Michigan. He was probably living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Rifles, commanded by Captain Chris. Kusterer, on July 19, 1859. (The GRR or “German Rifles” would serve as the nucleus for Company C of the Third Michigan infantry.) By 1859-60 Andrew was working as a shoemaker for Rushe & Betts and boarding on the east side of Canal between Bronson and Bridge Streets in Grand Rapids.

He was 30 years old, working as a shoemaker and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as a Corporal in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was detached as Colonel’s orderly in September and October of 1862, and he reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Ada, Kent County. He was absent on veteran’s furlough during the month of January 1864.

While home in Grand Rapids on veteran’s furlough for thirty days he married German-born Margaretta Wagner (1845-1932), on January 14, 1864, in a double wedding ceremony with another comrade on furlough from Company C, Theodore Castor. (Margaretta was the sister to Peter Wagner, also of Company C.)

Many years later Castor described how the two weddings came about. Castor and his wife Barbara had been married in a civil service, but were in Grand Rapids in mid-January looking for a church to marry them, as their families thought they should be married in a church. While in the city Castor ran into Kirschman

who told me that he was going to get married and his intended wife was a Catholic and he Lutheran. When I told him my business we concluded to have it come off together. So we started to the Catholic Parish to see the Priest and found that he wasn't in town and they didn't know when he would be, when we went to the Lutheran minister who told us that he was ready any time we were and to just let him know when and where. And when at noon at the dinner table told the rest of company C boys about it, they told us not to make any arrangement except to get a private house and family to get the supper and have room enough to accommodate lots of people. I and Kirschman went over on the west side to see one of Kirschman's friends -- a man by the name of Wurfel who had a big house and he told us that the house was free and to come any time we were ready and that he would get up the supper and wouldn't charge the regular price -- so much per meal and take the boys for pay. We told the boys that we wanted the business to come next day and they russeled around and got everything ready. And we four drove up to Wurfel's house -- everybody was there and the house was as full as it would hold. [On January 14,] The boys had invited all their friends and everybody else. And after the ceremony was over supper was served and we had as fine a supper as anybody could get up.

Andrew and Margaretta had at least 10 and possibly 13 children: Charles or Anthony (b. 1862), Jacob (b. 1866), Louise (b. 1867), Amelia (b. 1870), Margaret (b. 1871), Mrs. Rosa Hawn (b. 1875), George (b. 1876), John (b. 1878), Anna (b. 1880), Albert, Edward, Benjamin and Robert.

Andrew returned to the Regiment, probably on or about the first of February, and was transferred as a Corporal to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was reported on detached service from July through October, and by December he was employed in the Quartermaster department where he remained through at least January of 1865. He was employed at Brigade headquarters from February through May, and was mustered out as a Corporal on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Following the war Andrew returned to Grand Rapids where he lived the rest of his life. He resumed his trade as shoemaker, and in 1867-68 he was working at a shoe shop at 57 Monroe, and living on the southwest corner of Gold and Washington Streets. By 1868-69 he was working as a bootmaker for J. G. Kalmbach & Co., and living on the east side of Gold and New York (?) Streets, and he was living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward working as a shoemaker in 1870. He was working as a shoemaker and living with his wife and children in on Jefferson Street Grand Rapids in 1880.

He was living in Grand Rapids in December of 1879 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association; he was also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids and a Lutheran (his wife was a Catholic).

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 654766), drawing $20 per month by 1908.

By 1880 Andrew was still working as a shoemaker and his oldest son Antony was employed as a clerk in a shoe shop. In any case he was still living with his wife and children on Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids’ Eighth Ward. Around 1900 he was residing at 317 N. Broadway, and in 1906 and 1907 at 328 W. Broadway.

Andrew died of organic heart disease at his home at 328 West Broadway, Grand Rapids, on Wednesday, February 24, 1909. The funeral service was held at his residence at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 27, and he was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: block 9 lot 67.

In March of 1909 his widow was living at 47 Delaney Street in Grand Rapids, when she applied for and received a pension (no. 679343).