Levi M. Booth

Levi M. Booth was born 1841 in Michigan, the son of Norman S. (1807-1881) and Lorinda (Holmes).

Norman, who had been born in Massachusetts, was married to Lorinda, and they settled for a time in New York (where their daughter Julia was born in 1829). Norman left New York and moved westward, eventually settling in Michigan sometime before 1834 when his oldest son Manville was born. In 1842 he married a New York native named Sarah Reed (1824-1883) and by 1850 Norman was working as a merchant and living with Sarah in Bellevue, Eaton County where Levi and his older brother attended school. Norman was also a lawyer and for some years operated a general store in Bellevue. (James and Merrick Reed lived next door with their family; and both of the Reed boys would join the Old Third; one suspects that Sarah was related to the Reed family in Bellevue.)

By 1860 Levi was a clerk working in his father’s store in Bellevue and living with his family.

Levi stood 6’0’’ with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and still living in Eaton County, probably with his family, when he enlisted in the Regimental Band on June 10, 1861. He was reported sick in the hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, in July of 1862, and in fact was a patient at the U.S. General Hospital in Annapolis suffering from an injury or wound of the hand. He was discharged as a member of the Band on August 13, 1862, probably at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, presumably as a consequence of the abolishment of regimental bands in the Army of the Potomac.

After his discharge Levi returned to Michigan where he married New York native Jeanette or Genette (d. 1869), on July 5, 1863, in Bellevue, and they had at least two children: John (b. 1867) and Addis or Addie (1869-72).

Levi was probably still living in Bellevue when he reentered the service in Company H, Eleventh Michigan cavalry on October 24, 1863, at Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County for 3 years, crediting Bellevue, and was mustered on November 7 at Kalamazoo. The regiment was organized at Kalamazoo and Detroit between October 7 and December 10, 1863. It moved to Lexington, Kentucky December 10-22 and remained on duty there until April 28 when it commenced operations in eastern and then southern Kentucky through the summer in Tennessee by late fall of 1864 and southwestern Virginia by early 1865.

In March of 1864 he was serving with the Regimental Band, and was on detached service in Louisa, Kentucky from June through December of 1864.

Levi was transferred to the United States Colored Cavalry (or Troops) in the summer of 1864, and if so was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on July 15, 1864, in the U.S.C.C., although by January of 1865 he was allegedly serving with the U.S.C.T. as of November 1, 1864, through June of 1865.

He was transferred to a new organization of U.S.C.C. in July of 1865, probably on July 20, 1865, to Company B, Eighth U.S.C.C., and was supposed to be organizing Colored Troops in Kentucky. (Curiously he is also listed as having been transferred to Company B, Eighth Michigan cavalry on July 2, 1865.) According to the War Department “Having tendered his resignation for personal reasons, he was honorably discharged by S. O. [special order] no. 494 of September 14, 1865 from this office. The commanding Officer of his regiment states, in an endorsement on his resignation that ‘This officer is totally incompetent and has no interest in the service’. The Commanding general Department of Kentucky referred the resignation to an Examining Board which found him ‘Ignorant and inefficient’ and recommended his muster out of service.”

After the war Levi returned to his home in Bellevue, and was probably residing in or near Bellevue in 1867 when the Charlotte Republican reported that a Levi Booth played shortstop for the Bellevue “Defiance” baseball club (his brother Lyman was catcher and another brother George played first base) during a recent game between the Charlotte “Prairies” and Bellevue “Defiance”.

Levi was possibly living in Kalamo, Eaton County in September of 1867 when his son John was born, but he was associated with the Battle Creek Band by 1868, at least according to Theron Mason who boarded with Levi for some four or five months that year in Battle Creek, Calhoun County.

By 1870 Levi was apparently living alone at a hotel in Battle Creek’s Second Ward, Calhoun County, where he was employed as a leader of a brass band. (The census record for that year makes no mention of either child living with him. In any case, it was reported that John had been sent to live with Levi’s family in Bellevue, although when this occurred is unclear nor is it known why he was sent away. Moreover, the 1870 census for Bellevue does not list either child living with Norman and Sarah.)

Levi had possibly returned to his family home in Bellevue by the time he married his second wife Michigan native Estelle or Estella Harris (b. 1849) on March 27, 1871, in Battle Creek.

By 1880 he was working as a musician and living with his wife Estella in Battle Creek’s Third Ward. Indeed, according to another musician, William Brock, they both worked with the Battle Creek brass band for some 12 years or so.

In 1879 Levi applied for and received a pension (no. 332,875).

Levi died on April 22, 1882, possibly in Battle Creek, and if so was presumably buried there.

In 1883 Estella was living in Battle Creek when she applied for and received a (no. 224,288). She remarried in 1887 to George Bannerman in Battle Creek and in 1889 a minor’s pension application was filed on behalf of his son John.

John O. Booth

John O. Booth was born March 2, 1840, in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois, stepson of Charles Darling and son of Amanda (Tucker, b. 1808).

Vermont native Amanda was married to a New Hampshire native by the name of Booth, probably in Vermont, sometime before 1833 when their daughter Helen was born in Vermont. By 1838 the family had moved to Illinois, and Amanda remarried Vermonter Charles Darling (1813-1872) in 1842 in Fremont, Illinois. (It is not known what became of her first husband.) By 1850 John and his siblings were living with his mother and stepfather on a farm and attending school in Fremont, Illinois.

In any case, at some point before the war John left Illinois and made his way northward into Michigan and the lumbering industry, eventually settling in Muskegon or Newaygo County.

John stood 5’11” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old lumberman, living in Bridgton, Newaygo County when he enlisted in Company K on April 25, 1861. He was sick in the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, or perhaps in a hospital just northeast of the Capitol, from about August 23, 1862, until September 15 when he was apparently transferred to a hospital at Fort McHenry, Maryland, where he remained until he was discharged for chronic diarrhea and hepatitis on November 21, 1862.

After his discharge John returned to his home in Fremont, Illinois where he lived until about 1864; he may also have resided for a time in Libertyville, Illinois.

John married his first wife Jane A. Noble (1842-1909), on November 24, 1869, in Rock Island, Illinois, and they had at least five children: Georgia (b. 1870), John M. (b. 1872), Lemuel E. (b. 1876), James F. (b. 1878) and David E. (b. 1881).

John and his family left Illinois and moved west. From around 1864 (or perhaps as late as 1869) until about 1878 he lived in Buffalo, Scott County, Iowa, before settling in Orleans, Harlan County, Nebraska. By 1880 John was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Fairfield, Harlan County. John was still living in Orleans, Nebraska in 1893. He remained in Harlan County until about November of 1910 when he moved to Des Moines, Iowa. (This was shortly after the death of his first wife and he may have moved to Iowa to live with one of his children.)

John was still living in Des Moines in June of 1912, and by March of 1915 he was residing at 1403 W. Grand Avenue. For many years he worked as a farmer, lumberman and coal dealer.

He married his second wife Alice E. Wade, a widow of Harris H. Wade (d. 1899), on October 10, 1914, at Valley Junction, Iowa.

Soon afterwards he moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he resided until sometime in early 1925 when he became a resident of the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home in Burkett Station, Hall County, Nebraska.

Apparently Alice either died or left him since he was reported to be living alone by 1925.

In June of 1925 one Mary M. Royce, who operated a boarding house in Douglas County, Nebraska, testified under oath that since sometime around the first of March, 1925, John, who had boarded with her, “has suffered a loss of his mental faculties, resulting in periods in which mind is a complete blank. At such times he wanders off without knowing where he is going or having any definite purpose; that he is very weak physically and is apt to meet with an accident or injury or suffer from exhaustion at one of these times.”

Mary Royce further claimed that this occurred the first time about March 15 and that since that time she “has kept a very close watch” of John “and on numerous occasions he has started off again” and she had “to get him and lead him home and watch him until he” regained” the use of his faculties.” She also stated “that these lapses are becoming more frequent and as a consequence at the present time” she “or some member of the family must be in constant attendance upon him; that in addition to said mental trouble he has become very feeble and weak and is not able to look after himself and that somebody must feed, clothe and care for him.”

As a consequence, on August 22, 1925, John, who was then a resident in the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Home in Nebraska, was placed under the guardianship of his youngest son David E., who was then residing in Red Willow County, Nebraska.

By September of 1925, John was drawing $72.00 per month, for pension no. 582,603.

While on furlough from the Soldier’s Home, John died on September 18, 1925, in Buckeye (?), Colorado or Omaha, Nebraska.

Henry W. Booth

Henry W. Booth was born October 7, 1839, in Marion, Wayne County, New York, the son of William and Anna or Ann (Brown, b. 1804).

Sometime before 1854 Henry’s parents moved the family from New York, and headed west, eventually settling in western Michigan.

On October 6, 1854, when he was 14 years old, Henry arrived in Lowell, Kent County, Michigan, along with his brother, E. J. Booth (possibly John Booth), having traveled from Chicago, first across Lake Michigan. As Henry described it many years later, once they arrived in Michigan they then went “by rail to Kalamazoo, by stage to Grand Rapids, and from the latter place to Lowell by team with his brother, . . . who with Loren Chapin was running a general store in the west L of the Hooker house where the Ford hardware is now located.”

Henry further recalled “that 14 old fashioned thorough-brace stage coaches loaded inside and out left Kalamazoo for Grand Rapids that day, with 4 horses to each coach. The plank road between was half built and the balance of the road was mostly bad, in one section of 4 miles everybody walked.”

When asked about the businesses of Lowell at that time Henry replied there was

Toussaint Campau, familiarly known as ‘Two-Cent’ Campau who sold dry goods, groceries and notions in the “Checkered Front” located at about east end of the present auto body factory. William Cobmoosa, an Indian, had a little store just west of the Checkered Front, trading mostly with the Indians. About the place where Hoffman's boat landing is now, Orson Peck had a general store at the steamboat landing on Grand River. Where Geo. M. Winegar's residence stands was a small 1-story shoe shop run by Isaac White and father, father and grandfather of our Frank N. White. Where the Lowell State Bank is, Stephen Denny had a blacksmith shop. Moses Coates had another blacksmith shop a block east and a block north. Charles Smith had a wagon shop a block north of Main Street. Loren Chapin was running a grist mill in the upright portion of the present East side mill, afterwards conducted by Chapin, Booth and Talford. A sawmill stood where the Lowell Cutter factory is, run by water power and a Mr. Jackson, father of Albert, made a record cut of 250 feet of oak lumber in 1 day. A Mr. Wilcox had a hotel on the corner now occupied by the City Hall, but soon sold to Cook & McNair. Azra King had another hotel where the Reed block now stands. These were known as the American house and the Lowell hotel. On the west side were the Snell schoolhouse, a barn and the log school house. On the east side of the Flat River, near the present Oakwood cemetery, was the Ottawa Indian village of about 300 souls.

By 1860 Henry was still living in Lowell and working as a common laborer and/or living with his mother Ann (she was listed head of the household) in Lowell.

Henry stood 5’9” with gray eyes, black hair and dark complexion and was 21 years old and was working as a farmer and probably living in Lowell when he enlisted as a Drummer in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County, and a few from the far eastern side of Kent County, and Eaton County.) It is quite possible that Henry, who had contracted measles and suffered from chronic diarrhea while the regiment was forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids, and before the regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, was left behind along with three dozen or so other troopers. He apparently recovered sufficiently and if he was left behind, soon rejoined the regiment at its first camp, near Chain Bridge along the Potomac at Georgetown Heights. Henry was treated at the regimental hospital at Chain Bridge for dysentery and the effects of measles.

But sometime in spring or early summer of 1862, while the regiment was on the march to Richmond, Henry contracted rheumatism reportedly from exposure. Shortly afterwards he was reported as a hospital attendant in July of 1862, but according to Henry he “was with the regimental hospital a large portion of the time.”

Henry reenlisted as a Musician on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Lowell. He was absent on veterans’ furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. he was subsequently reported on detached service as a nurse in the Division hospital.

Henry was still on detached service as a nurse when he was transferred to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained detached to the Division hospital through July of 1864. He was promoted to Hospital Steward on July 13, 1864, and on September 13 was transferred to the non-commissioned staff, and on furlough in January of 1865. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Henry returned to Lowell.

He married New York native Mary A. Grindell (1847-1904) on March 29, 1866, and they had at least eight children: William (b. 1867), Catherine (Underhill, 1868-1900), Capstrotia (b. 1869), Mrs. Worthy Willard, a boy who died in infancy, another son who died of diphtheria at the age of 5, and another son Charles W. (b. 1873-1905), Ada B. (b. 1879).

In 1870 Henry was living with his wife and two children and working as a farmer in Lowell, and for a time operated a planning mill. According to one report, he had been injured slightly three times during the war “only to get a crippled hand on a saw while running a planning mill for a few months after the war.” Henry also worked as a collecting agent.

He also continued to suffer from the effects of the chronic diarrhea he had contracted while in the army. he stated some years after the war that for several weeks in the summer of 1866 he was confined to his bed as a result of severe stomach problems, and the had been under the regular care of Drs Peck and McDaniel, apparently Lowell physicians. By 1880 Henry was working as a collecting agent and living with his wife and children Kittie L., Charles and Ada, in Lowell. By 1898 he was living in Fallassburg, Kent County, near Lowell.

Except for two years that he lived in Vergennes, Kent County, and his service in the military, Henry lived virtually all his life in Lowell.

Shortly after his wife died in 1904 Henry went to live with his daughter Worthy and her family who also lived in Lowell; he was still living in Lowell in 1914.

In 1889 Henry applied for and received a pension (no. 495218), drawing $30 per month by 1916; he was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 87 in Lowell.

One observer reported in October of 1916 that although he had recently turned 75 years old, Henry “is still quite active for a man of his years and is a familiar figure about town, cordially greeting his old friends daily. He has richly earned the peace and comfort of his journey to the setting sun. May his cup of joy be full and overflowing to the end.”

Henry was a widower when he died of “natural causes” at his home in Lowell on Sunday, December 3, 1916, and the funeral was held at the residence on December 6, under the auspices of the Masonic fraternity. The Lowell Ledger wrote that “Mr. Booth was a man of good mental attainments and business judgment and his advice was frequently sought by many of his friends and as freely given. While Mr. Booth had his faults, he was a faithful friend and a pleasant acquaintance; and all of those who have known him, except those who themselves are perfect, will remember him kindly.”

Henry was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Lowell.