Austin

Cornelius Austin

Cornelius Austin was born October 25, 1835 in Lysander, Onondaga County, New York, probably the son of Sally (b. 1815).

Cornelius’ parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. In 1850 Cornelius was probably the same Cornelius Austin, aged 14, attending school with his siblings and living in Lebanon, Clinton County, with one New York-born Sally Austin -- and two brothers Eli, aged 16, and John, aged 7, all born in New York. In any case, by 1860 Cornelius was living in Robinson, Ottawa County working as a farmer. (In 1860 his younger brother John was probably living with the Groat family in Essex, Clinton County.) Also living in Robinson in 1860 were Benjamin and Ira Austin, both of whom would also enlist in the Third Michigan.

(It appears that Cornelius may have been related to William Cobb from Clinton County; Cobb too would join Company I in 1861.)

He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 25 years old and still living in Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with Benjamin, Ira and James Austin. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County. )

Cornelius was sick in the hospital in August of 1862, probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he remained through the remainder of the year, and was discharged for chronic diarrhea at Philadelphia on October 23, 1863.

It is quite possible that he was the same Cornelius Austin who returned to Michigan and was married on November 22, 1863, to Anna Vallehide (b. 1846) or Woodchide in Bingham, Clinton County (the witnesses were Mr. And Mrs. John Groat of Bingham). And in fact Cornelius would have been home in Clinton County at the time (see below).

Cornelius was 27 years old when he (probably) reentered the service in Company A, Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry on March (?) 24, 1864, at Essex, Clinton County for 3 years, crediting Essex, and was mustered on April 14, 1864, at St. Johns, Clinton County. (Benjamin Austin, formerly of Company I, Third infantry also enlisted in Company A, Twenty-seventh Michigan but on March 15 at Grand Rapids.)

He was sent to the Regiment on May 2 and quite probably participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and North Anna during the month of May and Cold Harbor in early June. The regiment then moved to the siege of Petersburg, where, according to one Captain Porter Perrin of L company (also known as the First Sharpshooters), Cornelius was shot by a bullet in his left shoulder, near the shoulder blade and came out of the right side of his neck, in a charge on the confederate defenses at Petersburg, Virginia, on June 16.

Cornelius was transferred to the hospital at City Point, Virginia and then sent on to Washington. He was subsequently absent wounded from about June 22 until July 2 when he was furloughed for 30 days. Cornelius returned on August 2 and was returned to duty about August 24.

From September 27 to 30 he was ill with malaria complicated by acute bronchitis. He was admitted to the depot field hospital, Ninth Corps on September 24, and was a patient in the Second Division hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, when he sent home to St. Johns on furlough on October 25. He was ordered to return to the hospital by November 13, and when he failed to report back to the hospital he was reported as a deserter as of November 15. Apparently his furlough was extended to December 9 and he was again declared a deserter when he did not report following the end of his extension.

In fact, Cornelius suffered a relapse while at his home in Clinton County and on November 24 he was examined by Dr. O. C. Joslin, who testified that Austin “was quite low with pneumonia” and “that he lingered with said disease until” December 2 when he died of pneumonia. (There was no record of his death reported in the Regimental rolls.) He was buried in Mt. Rest cemetery in St. Johns.

Shortly afterwards Anna applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 83898), drawing $8.00 per month in December of 1864.

In August of 1865 Anna was married to one John W. Austin, probably Cornelius’s younger brother, and by 1870 they were living in Bingham, Clinton County. John probably served in Company M, Seventh Michigan cavalry and Company B, Eighth Michigan infantry and if so applied for and received a pension in 1877 (?) In 1899 Anna, his widow, applied for and received a pension as his dependent widow (cert. No. 439,956).

Byron G. Austin - update 8/29/2016

Byron G. Austin was born in February 10, 1840, in Wayne County, New York, probably the son of either Isaac (b. 1814) and Harriet (b. 1814) or Alfred/Alferd (b. 1812) and Eliza (b. 1812).

New York natives Isaac and Harriet were married presumably in New York where they resided for some years before moving west, as did New Yorkers Alfred and Eliza. Sometime between 1842 and 1844 Alfred moved his family to Michigan, and by 1850 had settled in Boston, Ionia County. Sometime after 1848 Isaac and his family settled in Michigan and by 1850 they were living on a farm in Berlin (now Saranac), Ionia County; Byron was attending school and living with the Henry Perry family in Boston, Ionia County while two other Austin children (possibly belonging to Isaac and Harriet) were living with the Andrew Eddy family in Berlin, near Isaac’s farm.

By 1860 Byron was working as a farm laborer along with 18-year-old Isaac Austin (probably Isaac senior’s son) in Saranac, Ionia County, living with and/or working for the Hickson Eddy family; nearby lived Isaac and Harriet. Alfred and Eliza and their children were still living on a farm in Boston.

Byron stood 5’9” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion, and was 21 years old and still living in Ionia County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Company E was composed in large part by men from Clinton and Ingham counties, as well as parts of Ionia County.) Byron was discharged on July 28, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia, for an inguinal hernia on the right side supposedly caused by the forced march to Bull Run on July 18 to 21.

Many years afterward, Byron stated that on July 21, “he was detailed to go for water for his company at the battle of Bull Run and while returning with the water his orderly sergeant [probably David Crawford] met him and handed him his gun and said the regiment was in full retreat and loaded with canteens filled with water he started on a run to overtake his regiment. It was over rough and uneven ground [and] he accidentally stepped into a hole and fell. He felt something give way in his groin, accompanied with a smart pain, which proved to be hernia or rupture. While encamped at Georgetown Heights near Washington, DC, he contracted chronic diarrhea or dysentery which brought on piles. . . .”

After his discharge Byron returned to Michigan and possibly went back to work for Hickson Eddy. Some years later one Elmore Eddy stated that he and Byron spent much of the time together between 1862 and 1867, and that during that period of time Byron was frequently sick with chronic diarrhea and piles.

In any event, Byron was living in Berlin (Saranac), Ionia County, when he applied for a pension (n. 394,769) in June of 1863; by 1910 he was drawing $10.00 per month.

He married Michigan native Margaret J. Young on February 1, 1868, in Orange, Ionia County.

By 1870 Byron and Margaret were living in Berlin; also living with them was 3-year-old Albert Eddy.

Byron remained in Ionia County until about 1873 when he moved to Sheridan, Montcalm County, where he lived until 1878 when he moved to Laingsburg, Shiawassee County. By 1880 Byron was working as a barber and living with his wife in Laingsburg, where he remained until about 1885 when he returned to Montcalm County, settling in Howard City, although he was apparently residing and working as a barber in Lansing in August of 1883 when he joined the Grand Army of the Republic Charles Foster no. 42 in Lansing (he was suspended from that post in December of 1884 and dropped in April of the following year).

In 1863 he applied for and received a pension (no. 394769).

He was reportedly living in Howard City in 1888 and 1890, and was probably a member of Grand Army of the Republic Jones Post No. 252 in Howard City; he was also possibly a member of Grand Army of the Republic Curtenius Post No. 192 in Laingsburg, Shiawassee County. Byron resided in Howard City until about 1892 when he moved west, settling in Thurston, Washington state. He lived there until 1897 when he moved to Lewis County, Washington. He then moved from Lewis County to Tacoma in 1906.

For many years Byron worked as a barber.

In 1909 Byron and his wife were living at 4628 J Street in Tacoma.

Byron was still living in Tacoma when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on September 13, 1910. He was buried in Tacoma cemetery on September 15.

In 1910 his widow applied for a pension (no. 953052), but her claim was rejected on the grounds that the soldier did not serve the minimum of 90 days in the military to qualify for a pension, although he in fact did receive a pension himself.


Benjamin F., Isaac and James Austin

Benjamin F. Austin was born 1840 in Onondaga County, New York, probably the son of John (b. 1805) and Eliza (b. 1806).

Benjamin’s parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. In any case, John and Eliza left New York sometime between 1847 and 1848 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 Benjamin was living with his siblings and parents on a farm in Lebanon, Clinton County. (Cornelius Austin, who would also enlist in Company I, Third Michigan, was also from Lebanon, Clinton County.)

Benjamin was married to Mary Prentice (d. 1860) in late 1859 or early 1860.

By 1860 he was working as a lumberman and living in Robinson, Ottawa County, Michigan next door to the Isaac Johnston farm where his brother Ira Austin lived and/or worked. Sometime during the latter part of 1860 Mary died in Robinson.

Benjamin stood 5’7” with gray eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was 21 years old and probably living in the Spring Lake area of Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his brothers (?) Ira and James Austin, and his cousin (?) Cornelius. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County. )

By late June of 1862 he was sick in a hospital in Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia, suffering from fever, ague and consumption. He soon recovered, rejoined the Regiment and was wounded on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. He was subsequently sent to a general hospital, and although still absent sick he was reportedly promoted to Corporal on October 20, 1862.

Benjamin remained hospitalized until he was discharged on April 9, 1863, at the Convalescent Camp, near Alexandria, Virginia, for accidental loss of his fore and middle fingers of his right hand. According to a statement he gave after the war, he lost his fingers while digging a ditch on March 20, “that one David E. Taylor [of Company I] was using the axe, while he was pulling out roots, that the axe in the hands of said Taylor cut off [his fingers]. . . .”

Following his discharge Benjamin returned to Grand Haven, Ottawa County and reentered the service in Company A, Twenty-seventh Michigan Infantry on May 15, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Ravenna, Muskegon County, and was mustered on May 16; he listed his occupation as sailor. (One Cornelius Austin, probably the same Cornelius who had served in Company I, Third Michigan, also enlisted in Company A, Twenty-seventh, but on March 24 in Clinton County.)

It is unclear when Benjamin joined the Twenty-seventh -- the regiment was actively engaged in the Wilderness and Spotsylvania and North Anna battles during May. Benjamin was reported on detached service in August and absent sick from September of 1864 until February of 1865. He quite possibly rejoined his regiment by the spring of 1865 and participated in the Appomattox campaign, the occupation of Petersburg and lee’s surrender. The regiment moved to Washington in late April and participated in the Grand Review on May 23. He was mustered out as a Corporal (promoted probably on June 1, 1865) along with the regiment on July 26, 1865, at Delaney House, DC.

After the war Benjamin returned to Michigan and by 1865 was probably living in Grand haven, Ottawa County when he applied for a pension.

He married his second wife New York native Effie Jane Post (1849-1921), on September 3, 1866, at Grand Rapids; they had four children: Joseph (b. 1867), Jennie (1868-69), Addie (b. 1874) and Mertie (b. 1878).

By 1870 (?) he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and son in Robinson, Ottawa County (his brother James Austin and his family lived nearby). He was living in Greenbush, Clinton County in 1876, but by 1878 had settled in Edgewood, Gratiot County, where he worked as a farmer for many years.

Benjamin was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Hamilton Township in 1880, and in Edgewood in 1883 drawing $4.00 per month (pension no. 57,258) and $12.00 by 1904.

He was still residing in Edgewood in 1888 and 1890, and in fact probably lived most of his postwar years in Edgewood, working as a farmer, although he may have been a member of Grand Army of the Republic Loomis Post No. 2 in Quigley, Branch County.

Benjamin died of cystitis on December 14, 1904, probably at his home in Ithaca, Hamilton Township, Gratiot County, and was buried in Hamilton cemetery.

His widow was still residing in Hamilton Township in 1905 when she applied for and received pension (no. 600369), drawing $90.00 in 1921.

Ira Austin also known as “Astin”, was born 1843 in Lysander, Onondaga County, New York, probably the son of John (b. 1805) and Eliza (b. 1806).

Ira’s parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. In any case, John and Eliza left New York sometime between 1847 and 1848 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 Ira was living with his siblings and parents on a farm in Lebanon, Clinton County. (Cornelius Austin, who would also enlist in Company I, Third Michigan, was also from Lebanon, Clinton County.) By 1860 he was working as a farm laborer in Robinson, Ottawa County, and living with and/or working on the Isaac Stanton farm (near by lived his brother Benjamin who would also enlist in Company I).

Ira stood 6’1” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his brothers (?) Ben and James Austin, and his cousin (?) Cornelius. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County. )

Ira was present for duty from March of 1862 through October, and was wounded at Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862. He was subsequently absent wounded in Chestnut Hill hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from January of 1863 through April – in fact William Cobb of Company I also noted in a letter written on April 21 that Ira was still in Chestnut Hill. In May he was on detached service with the Veterans’ Reserve Corps where he remained through August. However, he eventually returned to the Regiment and was present for duty in September and October.

Ira reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Hamburg, Livingston County, and was absent on veteran’s furlough for thirty days from December 30, 1863. He probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February and was promoted to Corporal on April 1, 1864. He was listed as missing in action on May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, Virginia, and was transferred as a Corporal and a prisoner-of-war to Company I, Fifth Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864 and was mustered out as a prisoner-of-war on June 20, 1864.

There is no further record, and no pension seems to be available. It is likely that Ira in fact died in prison.

James Austin was born March 11 or 12, 1836, in Onondaga County, New York, probably the son of John (b. 1805) and Eliza (b. 1806).

James’ parents were both born in New York and presumably married there. In any case, John and Eliza left New York sometime between 1847 and 1848 by which time they had settled in Michigan. By 1850 James was living with his siblings and parents on a farm in Lebanon, Clinton County. (Cornelius Austin, who would also enlist in Company I, Third Michigan, was also from Lebanon, Clinton County.)

James was married to New York native Julia A. (1837-1904), probably in New York, and they had at least three children: George (b. 1861), Lorna (b. 1865) and Robert (b. 1866). By 1860 he was living with his wife Julia and working as a laborer in Ottawa or Grand Haven, Ottawa County.

James stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, was unable to read or write and was 25 years old and still living in Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861, along with his brothers (?) Ira and Ben Austin, and his cousin (?) Cornelius. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County. )

According to Joseph Rounds of Company G, while the Regiment was engaged in a picket skirmish at Charles City Cross-roads on or about June 29, 1862, several companies were formed behind a rail fence and a shot from the enemy cannon struck the rails in turn striking James in the left side fracturing three ribs and breaking his collar bone, “causing blood to run out of [his] mouth and nose” and knocking him unconscious. Rounds further stated that while James was unconscious, “he was run over by [a] piece of artillery causing a compound fracture of the left ankle.”

James was initially hospitalized in the Regimental hospital near Yorktown, Virginia, and eventually transferred to a general hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which he entered on July 6 or 7. By late summer of 1862 James was probably suffering from an injured foot and hospitalized in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In late July he informed an agent for the Michigan Soldiers’ Aid Association that he believed he would soon be discharged, and in fact, he was discharged for talipes valgus (clubfoot) on August 7, 1862, at the general hospital in West Philadelphia.

After his discharge from the army James may have returned to Lysander, New York but soon found his way back to Michigan where he worked as a mechanic and farmer for much of his life. He was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Robinson, Ottawa County in 1870 (Ben Austin lived nearby) and in Nirvana, Mecosta County in 1886, in Newaygo County in 1888, in Troy Township, Newaygo County in 1890, and at no. 5 RFD in St. Johns in 1905 when he testified in the pension application of his younger brother Benjamin. (He may also lived at one time in Lake County.)

By 1904 James had learned to read and write, and the following year he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. James was a Protestant, and received pension no. 387,815, at the initial rate of $2.00, increased to $15.00 by 1907.

He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 4244) on April 8, 1904, and he was living at the Home in 1907. He was also a member of GAR Grisson Post No. 156 in St. Johns.

James was taken sick on November 18, 1910, and died a widower of pneumonia, at 7:35 p.m. on November 20, 26 or 27, 1910, at the Home. His body was sent to St. Johns for burial in Mt. Rest cemetery.

Benjamin A. Austin

Benjamin A. Austin was born in 1834.

Benjamin A. was 27 years old and living in either Allegan or Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861.

On October 1, 1861, Benjamin wrote to a friend (possibly back in Michigan) to inform him of the latest developments in the regiment.
I am well at present. The rebels instead of [?] firing into Washington have not been within four miles of it, and was glad to get back still further. The other day our men are out several miles up beyond Munson’s hill now but I do not know how far as our brigade is not in advance now. We were though until day before yesterday. Our brigade is composed of the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Michigan regiments and the 37th N.Y. regiment, brigadier general [Israel] Richardson commanding. We expect to have another Michigan reg. Instead of the 37th N.Y. then we will have a regular northern brigade and I am proud to say that major general McClellan as well as [Brig. Gen.] Richardson have the most unbounded confidence in the Michigan boys and we have as much confidence in them as they have in us. General Richardson had his choice to stay in and protect the forts we have been building or take the field and it is supposed he will take the field in fact we have occupied the field so far as a part of us at least. I should be glad to see you and George too but cannot now of course. Give my respects to all. Write soon. . .
And on December 15, 1861, from the regiment’s winter quarters at Camp Michigan Benjamin wrote to the same friend.
I am well at present hoping this will find you the same. I should like to see you very much but suppose I shall not very soon. When the war is over unless I get busted I shall make you a visit for I want to see your wife of course. For you know I am quite a woman man. Well enough of this. We have advanced about three miles towards rebeldom since I wrote you. Our camp is in the woods surrounded on three sides by hills the front looking out upon a plain. We shall probably winter here but may not. We are doing picket duty yet suppose we shall all winter. We are building log shanties to live in instead of tents. Our camp is on the same ground that Washington camped on in 1812 [?]. We see no rebels only when we go out beyond our picket lines, . . . But we hear good news from our boys down south and in western regiments. We have plenty to eat such as it is and good clothes for the winter. [And we] Get out pay regular. But everything is high out here. Apples are three cents apiece for example so you can judge for yourself that the war is doing for this of the country. The weather has been very pleasant for several days. We have had no snow. The ground has not frozen much. I believe that is all at present. Write soon. Give my respects to your wife and all others who may inquire.
Benjamin was killed in action on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and presumably among the unknown soldiers buried at Seven Pines National Cemetery.