Fairplains cemetery Grand Rapids

David C. Leach

David C. Leach was born on March 7, 1831, in New Hampshire, the son of Ira (1791-1841) and Aseneth (Crowell, 1800-1867).

Ira was probably living in Londonderry, Rockingham, New Hampshire in 1820 and in Windham, Rockingham County in 1830. He brought his family to Michigan in 1835, settling in Jackson County, near Concord, and he eventually moved to Carlton, Barry County in 1837. His family joined him in Barry County in 1839 or 1840, after he had cut a road to his farm and built a cabin.

David married Francis A. Sage (1842-1916) in 1856, and they had at least six children: Major Floris, Colonel M., Captain P. David E., Mrs. Lottie Cunningham (1862-1918) and Mrs. Clara Lamson.

In 1860 David was probably the same David Leach who was working as a cook in Jackson’s Fourth Ward, Jackson County, and was in prison on a charge of passing counterfeit money.

In any case, David stood 5’11” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 33 years old and probably working as a farmer in Barry, Barry County, when he enlisted in Company E on January 27, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Barry, and was mustered January 28. He joined the Regiment on March 29, was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war David eventually returned to Michigan, settling for a time in Hastings, Barry County. By the mid-1880s he had settled in Grand Rapids, and was reportedly residing in that city in 1888 and 1890. He was living in Grand Rapids in the mid-1880s when he testified in the pension claim of George Bellows, who had also served in Company E. David resided at 59 Jefferson Street from 1906 through 1911 and was living at 519 Lexington in 1914.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 533196), drawing $20 per month by 1914.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids for 26 years.

David died of “senility” on Wednesday morning, April 8, 1914, at his home at 519 Lexington Avenue, Grand Rapids, and the funeral was held at the residence at 2:00 p.m. on Friday April 10. He was buried in Fairplains cemetery: section C lot 38.

In late April of 1914 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 785769).

James Congdon

James Congdon, also known as “Congden”, was born December 30, 1827, in Wayne County, New York, the son of Joseph (1792-1849) and Elizabeth (Stanbrough, 1791-1876).

Rhode Island native Joseph married New Yorker Elizabeth sometime around 1814 in Utica, Oneida County, New York. They settled in Wayne County, New York where they resided for many years. James left New York and moved to Michigan and by 1850 he was living with his older brother George and his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

James was still living in Grand Rapids when he married Michigan native Sarah Jane Ellis (1837-1887) on October 11, 1852, and they had at least four children: Ellen (1855-1878), Eva (1857-1858), Arthur D. (1853) and Mary (or Minnie, b. 1859).

James may have been the same James Congdon who was arrested in March of 1859 for trespassing on the land of Dr. Johnson of Grand Rapids. If so, the charge was “Settled by Justice’s costs being paid by respondent.”

In any case, by 1859-60 James was working for his brother at G. R. Congden’s lime kiln on the east side of Water Street between 6th and Ann Streets on the west side of the river, and in 1860 he was living with his own family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward working as a laborer.

James was 32 years old and still residing in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. Although first reported missing in action on August 29, 1862 at Second Bull Run, in fact he had been killed in action. His body may have been brought home for burial since there is a headstone for him in Fairplains cemetery, Grand Rapids: section 1 lot 57. Of course, the stone may be a memorial and he may have been buried among the unknown soldiers whose remains were reinterred in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1865-66 his widow was working as a dressmaker at her home at no. 95 Monroe Street in Grand Rapids, and in 1867-68 she was still working at dressmaking at no. 97 Monroe Street. In 1870 Sarah was still working as a dress-maker and living in Grand Rapids’ First Ward with her daughters Ellen and Minnie. She was still living in Grand Rapids in 1883. In 1863 she applied for and received a widow’s pension no. 8,245, drawing $8.00 in 1883.