Levi Rathbun

Levi Rathbun was born on December 27, 1839, in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, the son of Orsemus (1813-1896) and Elizabeth “Betsey” (Cook, b. 1816).

Orsemus worked a farm for seven years in Allegany County, New York, then moved to his birthplace of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, where he married Tioga County native Betsey in 1835. They lived in Tioga County until September of 1844 when he brought his family to Kent County purchasing 80 acres of land soon followed by an additional 160. In 1845 Orsemus was elected the first Justice of the Peace in Caledonia Township, Kent County. In 1850 Levi was living with his family in Caledonia where his father worked as a farmer, and by 1860 he was a farm laborer still living with his family in Caledonia.

Levi stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and probably still living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was discharged for pleurisy on May 27, 1862, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After he was discharged from the army Levi returned to Michigan, and settled for a time in Grand Rapids where he was working as a blacksmith in 1865-66.

He married Michigan native Alzina M.M. Streeter (b. 1848) on April 16, 1865, in Middleville, Barry County, and they had at least four: Sylvia Idella (b. 1866), Willis G. (b. 1869), Charles R. (b. 1872) and Lena May (b. 1874).

Levi eventually returned to Caledonia where he was living with his wife Alzina and two children and working as a farmer in 1870. (His father also lived nearby in 1870.) He was still living in Caledonia in 1879, farming in Caledonia in 1880 (his brother Thomas lived nearby as did his parents and another brother Franklin), in 1882 and 1885. At one point Levi owned 66 acres on section 26 in Caledonia. Indeed, Levi spent most of his postwar life in Caledonia, probably in the vicinity of Labarge, where he was living in 1883 when he was drawing $4.00 per month for an abscess of his back (pension no. 16,531).

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association (noted in Association records however as “indigent status”) and a member of G.A.R. Hill Post No. 159 in Middleville, Barry County. He was also a Republican.

Levi died of an intestinal obstruction in Caledonia on April 14, 1901, and was buried in Barber cemetery.

In May of 1901 Alzina was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 528412).