John Beard

John Beard, also known as “Baird”, was born 1847 in either Rome, Oneida County or Essex County, New York, the son of Dexter F. (b. 1825) and Catharine (b. 1828).

Dexter and Catharine were probably born in Vermont and possibly married there, but soon settled in New York and may have resided in Essex County, New York. In any case, by 1844 they were living in New York. In any case, by 1850 Dexter (“D. F.”) had settled his family on a farm in Rome, Oneida County, New York where John attended school with his older sister Louisa. The family eventually left New York and moved westward, moving to Michigan sometime between 1850 and 1855. They eventually settled in Manistee, Manistee County, where by 1860 John was living with his family and where his father worked as a carpenter.

John stood 5’ 7” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 17 years old and probably still living in Manistee when he enlisted in Company I on February 6, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. He joined the Regiment at Camp Bullock, Virginia on February 17, and was shot through both hips by a minie ball on May 5, 1864 at the Wilderness, Virginia. Specifically, the “musket ball entered outer surface of left buttock & passing directly across through muscles and above anus, made its exit from corresponding point on outer surface of right buttock.” He was subsequently admitted on May 11 to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, transferred to Company I, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported as absent wounded.

John was granted a furlough from the hospital to go to Chicago, Illinois and/or his home in Manistee commencing June 13 and ending July 13, 1864. He failed to return to the hospital on time and on July 31 he was declared a deserter from the hospital. Interestingly, while home on leave in Manistee, Beard was in fact seeking an extension of his furlough through a certificate of disability.

On July 13, the day Beard was originally to have reported back to the hospital, he was examined by Dr. Lothrop Ellis, a Manistee physician. Ellis certified that he found the soldier “suffering from a gunshot wound through both hips” and was unfit for travel. On August 3, 1864, Dr. Ellis wrote to the War Department that he found Beard to be “suffering from a gunshot wound in the right lateral wall of the abdomen received by the accidental discharge of a gun in his hand on the 16th day of July and that in consequence thereof he is in my opinion unfit for duty & unable to travel.”

It is not known if John ever returned to the hospital, although he was reported absent sick in the hospital until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865 near Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war John was married to New York native Lillian (1855-1894), and they had at least one child: Harry (b. 1875).

By 1875 John was probably living in Michigan when his son was born. In any case, by 1880 John was working as a lumberman and living with his wife Lillie and son Harry in Grand Rapids’ Eighth Ward, at 166 W. Bridge Street. He was probably still living in Grand Rapids in 1883, drawing a pension (no. 28,348) $2.00 per month for gunshot wound to both “nates” (buttocks), and was still living in Grand Rapids in 1890.

John probably died near Marne, Ottawa County, and was buried in Marne (old Berlin) cemetery. His wife Lillian is also buried in Marne.