Benson

Photos of five 3rd Michigan men and one woman

I apologize for the poor quality but these were copied (xeroxed) with the photos (carte de visites) still in their plastic sleeves. I plan to return to reshoot with the images out of the sleeve.

Photos from collection no. 242 Grand Rapids Historical Collections, Grand Rapids Public Library.

Thomas Tate of Company I

Thomas Tate of Company I

Phebe Southard Tate, wife of Thomas

Phebe Southard Tate, wife of Thomas

Maj Gen Byron Root Pierce, began the war as captain of Company K, 3rd Michigan Infantry

Maj Gen Byron Root Pierce, began the war as captain of Company K, 3rd Michigan Infantry

Joshua R. Benson of Company G

Joshua R. Benson of Company G

Daniel Converse of Company D

Daniel Converse of Company D

Ernest Synold of Company E

Ernest Synold of Company E

Joshua R. Benson

Joshua R. Benson was born February 1, 1843, in Ontario, New York, possibly the son of James (b. 1809) and the son of Anna.

In 1840 there was a James Benson residing in Canadaigua, Ontario County, New York. New York native James was living in Buffalo’s Fifth Ward, Erie County, New York in 1850 (as was one Allice Benson, b. c. 1790 in New York). By 1860 James H. Benson was working as a laborer, and living with his wife Usiella (?, b. c. 1816) and one Alice Benson, b. c. 1790, in Bingham, Clinton County, Michigan. Also living in Bingham, Clinton County was Joshua’s future wife, Frances Brown.

In any case, Joshua eventually settled in Riley, Clinton County, Michigan where by 1860 he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with John Apthorpe, a farmer in Riley.

Joshua stood 6’0” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 18 years old and probably still living in Riley when he enlisted on May 10, 1861, with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company G. (Interestingly, a JP gave the consent to enlist and not, as one might have expected, his father and/or mother, assuming they were living in Clinton County.)

According to Frank Siverd of Company G, during the first battle of Bull Run, Virginia, on Sunday, July 21, Joshua was taken prisoner, along with one of the Shaft brothers (he does not mention which one) and Oscar Van Wormer, all of Company G. They were captured, wrote Siverd, “by four rebel scouts; they discovered the boys, and they showing too much pluck to be marched into the rebel camp, let them go. It is presumed they made pretty good double quick time from that to camp.”

Indeed, Joshua returned to the Regiment and was present for duty when he was wounded slightly on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. According to Homer Thayer of Company G, Benson had been wounded but it must have been rather slight since Thayer reports him as already back in camp by June 8.

He was present for duty through most of 1862, and in September and October of 1862, he was reported as on detached duty with the color guard, but had returned to the company by the end of the year.

Joshua remained present for duty and had been promoted to Sergeant by the time he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Courtland, Kent County. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February.

He was slightly wounded in the left arm on May 12 or 13, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and subsequently absent sick in the hospital. He soon rejoined his Regiment and was transferred as First Sergeant to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on November 2, commissioned September 18, replacing Lieutenant Daniel Kennicutt, and in February of 1865 promoted to First Lieutenant, commissioned November 29, 1864, replacing Lieutenant Murray. Joshua was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Joshua returned to Michigan and probably settled back in Clinton County where he married New York native Frances M. Brown (b. 1848) on November 19, 1865, in Dewitt, Clinton County, and they at least one child: Alice (b. 1866. (Frances was probably living with her grandparents, Benjamin and Phebe in Bingham, Clinton County in 1860.) They were living in Dewitt, Clinton County in 1866 when their daughter was born.

Around 1867 Joshua moved his family to northern Michigan settling in or near Inland, Benzie County. By 1870 Joshua was working as a farmer (he owned some $1000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and daughter in Blair, Grand Traverse County. (In 1870 there were two young teachers named Sophy and Mary Benson, both born in Michigan living with the William Roberts family in Dewitt, Clinton County.)

Joshua was living in Blair when he died of typhoid fever on June 25, 1871, and he was presumably buried in Blair.

When Joshua died his father’s residence was listed as Clinton County.

His widow had remarried one Mr. Morrell or Murrell by 1880 when she applied for a pension (no. 280268) on behalf of her child, but the certificate was apparently never granted.

John Benson UPDATE 13 July 2018

John Benson was born on October 22, 1831, in Michigan, the son of John Benson and Lorena Hollis.
 

John was married and had at least one child: Alice (b. 1859).

In 1860 Alice, listed as “Allie” was living with Catharine Niles, a schoolteacher in Portland, Ionia County, and her son Jay. That same year John may have been the same “John Benson” living at the Douglas Hotel in Bingham, Clinton County, Michigan, and working as a telegraph superintendent. Also living in Bingham was a day laborer named James Benson, b. 1809 in New York, and his wife.

John was 29 years old and probably living in Portland, Ionia County when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.) He is not found in the 1905 3rd Michigan Regimental history, but he is in the 1905 Regimental history for the 27th Michigan (see below).

He was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862, and from September 11, 1862, through February of 1863 was on recruiting service in Michigan. While in Michigan he was seeking a commission in one of the Regiments then forming in that state, and on November 14, 1862, Major Moses Houghton of the 3rd Michigan and the former captain of Company D, wrote to Michigan Governor Austin Blair. “Permit me,” he wrote, “to call your attention to John Benson a Sergeant of Company D. . . . He has been in the service from the first organization of the Regt filling various positions in the company, with credit to himself and to his Company. We therefore commend him to your consideration for commission in one of the Regiments formed or to be formed in Michigan.” Colonel Stephen Champlin commanding the 3rd Michigan and Lieutenant Colonel Byron Pierce both approved Houghton’s recommendation.

On January 15, 1863, Colonel D. M. Fox, commanding the 27th Michigan infantry wrote to Colonel Smith at Detroit that “Sergeant John Benson has been recommended . . . for a lieutenancy. The governor has referred the matter to me. I can give him the position of Sergeant Major now, which will soon place him in a position to obtain a commission as the governor and his superior officers desire.”

In fact, John was transferred to the 27th Michigan infantry on January 24 or 25, 1863, at Grand Ledge, Eaton County where he enlisted for 3 years, and was mustered on February 24 at Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County. The regiment was organized at Port Huron, Ovid and Ypsilanti and mustered into service on April 10, 1863. The 27th left Michigan for Kentucky on April 12.

John was soon promoted to Sergeant Major of Company G, then Second Lieutenant of Company B in May, commissioned April 30. The regiment participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi in June and July of 1863. John was transferred to Company E and was “commanding the camp” in August. The regiment participated in numerous actions throughout eastern Tennessee during the second half of 1863, including the pursuit of Longstreet and the Knoxville campaign. In late March of 1864 it was transferred to the Army of the Potomac and arrived just in time to participate in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and North Anna in May of 1864.

By May of 1864 John was First Lieutenant of Company I, commissioned March 1, and then commissioned Regimental Quartermaster on April 20, 1864. He was serving with the supply train of the Third Division, Ninth army Corps, from June through August of 1864, and was mustered out with the regiment at the Delaney House, DC, on July 21, 1865. After the war John returned home to Michigan.

He married his second wife Michigan native and widow Mrs. Ellen Chipman Newman (1838-1878) in Clinton County on November 11, 1866, and they had at least two children: Mary (b. 1867) and Blanche (b. 1871). Her husband Edgar had died in Portland, Ionia County in 1862.

By 1870 John was working as a carpenter and living with his wife Ellen and daughters Alice and Mary in Portland, Ionia County; also living with them was Ellen’s son by her first marriage, Julien Newman (1859-1922). By 1880 he had settled in Mason County and was a widower working as a farmer and living with his three daughters in Eden. He was living in Eden in 1890 and 1894 -- nearby lived John Marsh, Sr. who had served in Company E. He was still living in Eden in 1900; also living with him was his daughter Mrs. Alice Bidwell and her three children.

John was living in Michigan in 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 567565).

John was a widower when he died at his home on section 7 in Eden on Saturday morning, June 27, 1903, of arteriosclerosis. He was buried in Lakeside cemetery, Eden Township.

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