Dennis Birmingham

Dennis Birmingham was born November 20, 1826 in Sheldon, Wyoming County, New York, the son of James and Lucy (Thomas).

Dennis was married to Parry M. Peavey (possibly born in Wales), probably in New York, and they had at least five children: Millard Fillmore (1851-1925), Fred (b. 1855), Ordelia, Lillie and Eva (1853-1877). They divorced in 1862.

Dennis’ brother (or cousin) Robert Birmingham and his family were living in Sheldon, Wyoming County, New York in 1850; also living in Sheldon, New York was 28-year-old David Birmingham, who was residing with the Thomas family.

Dennis took his family and sometime after 1851 left New York and moved westward, settling in Michigan. By 1860 he was a day laborer working for and/or living with John Miller in Ovid, Clinton County (there is no mention of his wife or family). That same year Robert Birmingham (perhaps Dennis’ brother) and his family were living in Duplain, Clinton County (Duplain was adjacent to Ovid Township).

Dennis stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and fair complexion, and was 35 years old and reportedly living in Owosso, Shiawassee County, when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. According to the statement of Captain Israel Smith, who commanded Company F at the time, “On or about” February 20, 1862, at Camp Michigan, Virginia, Dennis, “being in the sick report and excused from doing duty by the Surgeon was sitting in the tent of the 1st Sergeant when a tree blew down and in falling crushed in the side of the tent, striking him on the shoulder and rendering him insensible for some time, and from the effects of which he afterwards never was able to perform the duties of a soldier.” Dennis was discharged for disability on May 12, 1862, at Carver hospital in Washington, DC.

It is quite likely that Dennis returned to Michigan after his discharge, and he was probably living in Michigan when he reentered the service in Company B, Second Veterans’ Reserve Corps on July 14, 1863. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) It is quite possible that Dennis was assigned to the draft rendezvous at Grand Rapids (Camp Lee) and when that was closed down and moved to Jackson, Jackson County, Dennis was probably transferred there as well. In any event, Dennis was discharged from the VRC at Jackson, Jackson County on November 14, 1865.

After the war Dennis probably returned to his home in Clinton County and by 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned some $2500 worth of real estate) and was living with his son Millard in Ovid.

He subsequently married New York native Betsey M. Seeley (1832-1899), on February 26, 1873, in Ovid. By 1880 he was still farming in Ovid and living with his wife; also living with them was his son Millard and his wife and children. By 1883 he was living in Shepherdsville, Ovid Township -- Samuel Taylor formerly of Company I lived near by. That same year he was drawing $4.00 per month for an injury to the back ( pension no. 17,124).

Dennis lived in Ovid Township, possibly in Shepherdsville for the rest of his life. By 1886 he was still living in Shepherdsville when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1888 as well; he was also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Winans Post No. 104 in Ovid. Indeed, he was living in Ovid in 1891 and 1894, and in Shepherdsville in 1902.

Dennis died in Shepherdsville on May 23, 1903, and was presumably buried there.