King Richard Olmstead

King Richard Olmstead was born in October 1, 1842, in Ontario, Canada, the son of Richard (1804-1871) and Rebecca Jane (Wiltse or Wiltsey, 1806-1884).

King’s parents were both born in Canada and married in about 1829 in Johnstown, Ontario, Canada. In 1831 they were living near Athens, Grenville County, Ontario, and probably remained in Grenville County, Ontario until the late 1840s when the family immigrated to the United States. By 1847 the family had settled in Boston, Ionia County, Michigan and by 1850 King was living with his family on a small farm in Boston, Ionia County.

About 1853 or 1854 King made the acquaintance of Rufus Buxton, whose family had presumably settled in Odessa, Ionia County, in the early 1850s. In fact, King and Rufus would enlist together in Comapny D, Third Michgian during the war. By 1860 Richard (who owned $1000 worth of real estate) was living with his wife and son Richard – probably King R. – in Boston, Ionia County.

King stood 5’8” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer living in Ionia County when he enlisted along with Rufus Buxton in Company D on March 8, 1862, at Saranac, for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He was a provost guard in July, absent sick in August, on provost guard duty, probably at the Third Brigade headquarters from October of 1862 through February of 1863, and was an orderly at Brigade headquarters from March through May. He was a Brigade provost guard from June through July, a guard at Third Brigade headquarters from October of 1863 through March of 1864.

It is quite likely that King was shot in the right shoulder during the Wilderness and Spotsylvania campaigns in early May, after which he was hospitalized.

According to Captain Moses B. Houghton who commanded Company D, King was wounded by a shell in the right collarbone on May 5 at the beginning of the Wilderness campaign and subsequently hospitalized. On May 11 King was admitted to Columbian College hospital in Washington, DC, and on May 15 he was transferred to Patterson Park hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. On June 21 he entered the hospital at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland.

He was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick through November of 1864. It is unclear if King ever rejoined the regiment after consolidation. In any case, King was mustered out on March 2 or 8, 1865, at Petersburg, Virginia.

After he was discharged from the army King eventually returned to Ionia County.

He was married to New York native Fidelia Denny (b. 1851), on January 29, 1868, in Boston, Ionia County.

By 1870 King was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Odessa, Ionia County (his parents lived in Boston, Ionia County). They lived next door to Rufus Buxton who had also served in Company D. King and his wife were still living in Odessa in 1880. (Rufus Buxton was still living near by as well. King’s mother Jane was living with her grandson Rufus Olmstead and his wife in Boston, Ionia County.) By 1883 King was living in Saranac. He was still residing in Saranac in 1886, 1888, 1890 and 1894, but sometime around 1895 he was living in Long Beach, California. By 1908 he was living in Monrovia, California, and by 1915 he was residing at 446 Linden Avenue in Long Beach, California.

By 1920 King and Fidelia were living with their nephew Verne Decker and his family in Perris, Riverside County, California. By 1926 King was living at 442 E. 9th Street in Riverside, California. (He had been under the care of his niece and housekeeper, Mrs. Jane Hunter since about 1924. She was reportedly the daughter of Solomon Olmstead, King’s brother.)

In 1875 he applied for and received a pension (no. 139,534), and drawing $8.00 per month by 1883 and $50 and $72 per month by 1926. King was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.

King was probably a widower when he died of heart disease (“angina pectoris” as a result of arteriosclerosis) on August 31, 1926 in Riverside, California, and was buried in Evergreen cemetery on September 2 (presumably in Riverside).