Samuel Duram - update 7/12/2017

Samuel Duram was born on May 9, 1840, in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York, the son of New York natives Joseph W. Duram (1798-1857) and Minerva Higley (1798-1847) and stepson of Pennsylvanian Mary Himelberger Boone (1819-1893).

Joseph was probably living in Mentz, Cayuga County, New York in 1830 and in Waterloo, Seneca County in 1840. By 1850 Samuel was attending school and living with his father and stepmother in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York. Samuel’s family left New York and moved west, eventually settling in Polkton, Ottawa County, Michigan (Joseph is buried in Coopersville cemetery in Polkton). In 1860 Samuel was probably working for and/or living with one John Mathews, a farmer in Martin, Allegan County.

Samuel stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 22 years old, possibly living in Polkton, Ottawa County and had been variously employed as lumberman and hostler when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861 -- he was possibly related to brothers Amasa and Andrew Duram, both of Company F, and both of whom had lived in Ottawa County before the war. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) Samuel was suffering from consumption on May 28, 1862, and he remained absent sick until he was discharged for consumption on March 28, 1863, at Camp Convalescent, near Alexandria, Virginia.

Following his discharge Samuel returned to Ottawa County and was living in Eastmanville when he married his first wife, New York native Sarah T. Newton, on December 26, 1863, in Grand Rapids.

He subsequently reentered the service as a Private in Battery L, 1st Michigan Light Artillery on January 4, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Holland, Ottawa County and was mustered that same day. He probably joined the battery at the Cumberland Gap where it remained on duty until June 27 when it was moved to Knoxville, Tennessee where it remained until August of 1865. On August 15 the battery was ordered to Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. Samuel was mustered out with the battery on August 22, 1865, at Jackson.

After the war Samuel returned to western Michigan.

He married New York native Clara L. (1840-1907), on December 25, 1865 in Zeeland, Ottawa County and they had at least two children: Cora L. (1870-1951) and Roy S. (1874-1948). (It is not known what became of his first wife.)

By 1870 Samuel and his wife were living on a farm in Allendale, Ottawa County. Samuel was living in Muskegon in December of 1887 when he became a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and was living in Muskegon in 1888, and 1890. He was living with his wife Clara and his son Roy in 1900 in Muskegon’s 1st Ward, and probably in Muskegon through 1911. He was residing at no. 20 Giddings and as a widower with his son Roy at no. 28 Giddings Street in Muskegon in 1910. Indeed he probably lived most of his postwar life in Muskegon.

He was living in Michigan in 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 628729).

Samuel was a widower when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage January 29, 1913, in Muskegon and he was buried in Allendale cemetery.

William Comstock - update 9/7/2016

William Comstock was born on July 20, 1821 in Berlin, Rensselaer County, New York, the son of Quakers Amos (New York, 1794-1855) and Hannah Upton (Massachusetts, 1793-1865).

Amos and Hannah were married in a Quaker ceremony in Adams, Massachusetts (where Hannah had been born), on November 11, 1813 and settled in Berlin, New York (Amos’ birthplace) where they resided for some years. By 1827 they had moved (back) to Adams, Massachusetts, living there until at least 1839.

William married his first wife, Vermont- or Massachusetts-born Emily M. Hildreth (1825-1897) of South Adams, Massachusetts, on May 13, 1847. They had at least four children: Caroline Maria (b. 1849), Emily Alice (b. 1853), Wallace Bristol (b. 1856) and Lilla May (b. 1859).

In 1850 William was possibly working as a laborer and living in Adams, Massachusetts but he moved his family to Michigan sometime before 1855 when Amos reportedly died in Lapeer County, Michigan. By 1860 William and his family were living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County, where he was working as a carpenter.

William stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was 39 years old and probably living in Tallmadge, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) One source reported that by the middle of August of 1861 William and Hiram Bateman (also from Ottawa county and in the 3rd Michigan) were working in the regimental hospital tending the sick. “We understand,” wrote the Grand Haven News in mid-August, “that Mr. Bateman and Mr. Comstock, both from Lamont, are in the regiment’s hospital, on the camping ground, detailed from their company to aid in the care of the sick and wounded, so that our own acquaintances will receive and prepare for the sick such comforts as have been sent from this village.”

While many men served at one time or another as nurses in hospitals during the war, William may in fact have requested to be detached for just such work. In his obituary written many years later, it was reported that “When in May, 1861, the call came for service for his country, he was among the first to respond, though he shrank from the thought of the possibility of taking the life of his fellow man. God, knowing his heart, soon opened the way for him to serve in ministering to the comfort of the wounded, the sick and the dying, which he did with equal gladness, whether friend or foe.” Reuben Randall, also of Company I, wrote that William was reported as a nurse in the hospital from June 2, 1862, to July of 1862, and on detached service in August, probably as a nurse.

In September he was still absent as a nurse in the hospital, and, according to the Regimental monthly returns, he was discharged “by order” on October 25, 1862, at Edward’s Ferry, Virginia, although his service record reports him as discharged on March 25, 1863, at Rhode Island for chronic rheumatism and varicose veins.

After he left the army William returned to western Michigan and moved his family to Allendale, Ottawa County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and four children in Allendale. By 1880 William was working as a millwright and living with his wife and children in Allendale. He was still living in Allendale in 1890.

According to Bob Bosch, chronicler of the Allendale civil war veterans, William eventually settled on what is now 56th Avenue about 1/2 mile north of M-45 in section 23.

He was living in Allendale in 1883 drawing $6.00 per month (pension no. 158,678, dated April of 1879), in 1890 and 1894, and probably spent most of his life there.

William married his second wife, Nellie E. Ross (d. 1903), on January 13, 1898.

“His last years,” one source noted, “were full of vigor and activity until” the last weeks of June of 1909. He reportedly “became overwearied, which with the excessive heat of the weather rapidly consumed his powers and brought the end.

William was a widower living in Allendale, when, “as the night turned toward the morning,” on July 15, 1909, “he quietly slipped away to be with God.” “He was converted,” noted one obituary,

at the age of sixteen years, living seventy-two years abandoned to Christ, from whom he drew his life and built the stanch character that made him peculiar among men, in understanding and knowledge of the Scriptures, in love, in purity of thought and lifer, in tender compassion for the needy, the unfortunate or erring, which led to rigid self-denial, abundant charity and acts of helpfulness with joyfulness. His was by no means an eye-service but a deep and fixed principle underlay all. Large was his mantle of charity. Of him it may well be said, “Of whom the world was not worthy.” Christ was the source of supply for all his needs, his rock and place of safety.

Funeral services were conducted by the Rev. C. S. Rennels using text from Revelations 7:17 and William was buried in Allendale cemetery.

Harley C. Bement - update 9/7/2016

Harley C. Bement was born January 3, 1835, in Prattstown, Steuben County, New York, the son of Harley (1797-1882) and Eliza (Briggs, 1805-1856).

According to a family source, Harley (elder) was about 14 years old when he enlisted “in Capt. Hugh "Henry" R. Martin's Company, 13th U.S. Infantry at "Skenactady" New York, commanded by Colonel Christie,” during the War of 1812. “Records indicate service in the battles of St. Johns Canada, Little York (later Toronto) under General Pike, Fort George, 2nd Battle of Queenstown, Burlington Heights, Eldridge's Defeat, Wilkerson's Defeat and Plattsburgh. He served as a second sergeant and was honorably discharged July 1815 by a proclamation of the President of the United States while home on furlough at Onondaga, New York.” According to the family history,

In or about the year 1832, he left Bath, Steuben County, New York, and settled for a time at New Haven, Macomb County, Michigan, later moving on to Ingram County, Michigan and became one of the early pioneers of Central Michigan. The family existence was primitive with Harley, an excellent hunter, often providing game for food. Michigan was yet a Territory and their nearest neighbor was four miles away. The area Indians were harmless but given to dishonesty. Apparently he was quite the "Old Boy", often very ornery and few got along very well with him. In June 1839 Harley purchased 40 acres in Putnam Township, Livingston County, and sold it in October same, for a tidy $400 profit. In 1840 they resided in Handy Township, Livingston County where he helped build the first sawmill. In 1844 he owned 80 acres in Leroy Township, and purchased additional land in 1847. Sometime before 1850 his family made a western mover to Georgetown, Ottawa County, where he farmed and lumbered. For eight years prior to the Civil War he ably administered the law as a Justice of the Peace. While at Georgetown, Harley and Eliza were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Eliza died in a disastrous home fire in June or October of 1856. He then married, 27 Feb 1857, Mrs. Anna M. (Wood) Parker, the widow of Ezekiel W. Parker of Ohio. As a resident of Alaiedon Township, Ingham County in 1858 he purchased 40 acres, selling it later that year. In June of 1858 his son Harley C. Bement married Anna's daughter (his step sister) Marinda Parker at Georgetown.

On 19 Jan 1863, in his middle sixties but apparently in excellent health and residing at Georgetown, he enlisted in the Civil War at Grand Rapids. He was assigned to Company F, 7th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry (Capt. Mann) and served as a Ferrier, later changed to Private's rank, in charge of horses in transit from Michigan. On 26 Mar 1863 after an extremely tough winter camp at Washington, D.C., he was admitted to the Washington Columbian Hospital suffering from diabetic complications and diarrhea. On 12 May 1863, at the age of 66, he was discharged from that hospital and the army for disability, suffering from bronchitis and chronic diarrhea, with the comment that he "should not have been enlisted".

His last two decades are cloaked in mystery. Apparently he never recovered from his war exposures and privations and was unable to do a days work thereafter. His daughter Hannah indicated that he was forced to break up housekeeping because of his Civil War disability. According to the 1870 Census records, at age 74, he resided at Leroy with his son Silas; Anna's whereabouts then are unknown. In the 1880 Census (age 86, MA/CT), and an old record book, he resided at least three months in the Ottawa County Poorhouse, and was listed as a Pauper. Anna later applied for his military pension, being turned down more than once, but finally receiving $8 per month a few months before her own death.

Little documentation is available on Harley Bement in the original chronicles. Almost all of the preceding documentation was gathered by Spencer Leigh BeMent of Ann Arbor, Michigan who is believed to be Harley's second great-grandson. He indicated that little was known about Harley's parents and the early facts about him are vague and inconsistent. His birth era and the naming of his children provide some evidence that he is from the Samuel/Silas line. He may be an undeclared last son of Samuel or the first child of Bingham, or one of several other assumptions that are still being explored.

In 1836, when Harley C. was only a year old, his family moved to Michigan from New York, settling in what would become Macomb County. “At first,” wrote one postwar biography, “the family were obliged to go to Mt. Clemens for their flour, and the father frequently carried it on his back the long distance of fifteen miles. The Indians, who were numerous, were usually harmless, although driven to dishonesty, and upon one occasion during the absence of the family stole everything the house held, even carrying away the clothing of the mother and children. The father followed the Indians two days and recovered their table-knives, all ground to fine points, and his wife's silk dress, which had been cut short in the skirt to be worn by the Indians. The daughters’ dresses were served in like manner, and everything which had been carried away was more or less injured.”

Around 1839 or 1840, Harley’s family moved to Ingham County, where his father “assisted in building the first sawmill erected in Hardy, Livingston County, and which was on the County line of Livingston and Ingham counties.” By 1850 Harley (elder) and his brother Levi had moved their families to Georgetown, Ottawa County where Harley Sr. engaged in farming and lumbering. Harley Jr. was educated in the common schools and spent most of his time working on the family farm and in the lumbering business prior to the war.
Eliza died in a fire in June of 1856 and in 1857 Harley Sr. remarried Anna Wood Parker. (Mrs. Parker was the mother of Benjamin Parker who would also serve in the Old Third during the war.)

Harley Jr. married his stepsister Miranda A. Parker (d. 1916) on June 14, 1857, and they had at least 11 children: Elemuel (b. 1858), Harley G. (b. 1860), Medona or Dora (b. 1863), Clemens (b. 1866), Benjamin (b. 1867), Pearl (b. 1870), Priscilla (b. 1873), Anna (b. 1874), Albert (b. 1879), Charles (b. 1881) and Maud (b. 1883).

By the time the war broke out Harley (younger) was living in Georgetown, working a farm next to Stephen Lowing who would serve as Lieutenant and then Captain of Company I; in fact according to Lowing Harley was working for him by the spring of 1861.

Harley Jr. stood 6’0” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 27 years old and working as a farmer living in Georgetown, Ottawa County when he enlisted as Fifth Corporal in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his first cousin Wilbur. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.)
Harley Jr. was wounded three times on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run: first, through his left hand; second, before he could get off the field he was shot in the fleshy part of the right thigh; and third, he was hit by a grape shot, which struck him in the back, tearing his cartridge box into pieces. According to Harley, he was struck by a minie ball in the left hand “and by the same ball at the same time in his left elbow . . . said ball struck near the knuckle of the second finger of his left hand passing through the back of his hand lengthwise passing to and striking his left elbow.” He was eventually hospitalized in New York City and was discharged for disability on December 11, 1862, at Bellevue hospital in New York City.

After his discharge from the army Harley “returned at once to his home and family in Michigan” and “devoted himself to farming and threshing, and for seven years farmed for Edward Cole, of Ottawa County, hauling logs and lumber from the woods to the sawmill.” Indeed, by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Georgetown, Ottawa County.

In 1875, Harley “went to Utah for the purpose of mining, first stopping at Salt Lake City. He remained in Utah one summer, but not finding his mining venture a success returned home and engaged in farming in the Township of Croton,” Newaygo County. In 1882 he moved to a farm of 80 acres in Georgetown (at the southeast corner of Pierce Street and 92nd avenue), Ottawa County. “At the time Mr. Bement purchased his Allendale Township homestead, the land was entirely unimproved, but” by the late 1880s “contained 50 highly cultivated acres. In February, 1892, the residence and contents were entirely destroyed, and since then our subject has erected a handsome two-story frame building at a cost of $1,100.” Aside from the year spent in Utah in 1875, Harley lived all his life in the Allendale and Zeeland areas.

In 1883, Harley’s son Clemens (named after Harley’s brother who had died during the war) was thrown from a horse, and suffered a head injury that left him an invalid for five years, two of which he spent flat on his back unable to turn or move. However, “Science restored him in great measure to health, but excellent care and a large outlay of money was needed to save his life and give him permanent relief.” Harley’s family was, noted one source, “widely known and highly esteemed, occupy positions of useful influence and command the confidence of many sincere friends.” The same year in which his son was injured Harley was residing in Allendale drawing a pension of $6.00 per month (no. 10,487), and increased to $24.00 by 1916.

He and his wife were both members of the First Christian Church of Georgetown, and he may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Thirkittle Post No. 388 in Allendale, in which he served as Post Commander for two years; he may also have been a member at one time of Weatherwax Post No. 75 in Grand Haven, Ottawa County.

Harley was a widower when died in Zeeland, probably at the home of his son Albert, of “general old age” and chronic cystitis a widower, on November 5, 1916, and was buried in Allendale cemetery.