Greenwood cemetery Grand Rapids

Abraham Johnson “John” Whitney update 8/10/2017

Abraham Johnson “John” Whitney was born on January 13, 1820, in Canton, Steuben County, New York, the son of Connecticut native Zerah Whitney (1784-1873) and Jane Demond (1788-1843).

Abraham’s parents were married in Danby, Tompkins County, New York (where Jane was born) in February of 1808 and soon settled in Canton, Steuben County, New York. Zerah eventually moved his family west and by 1832 they were living in Buffalo, Erie County, New York where he was working as a tanner on Ohio Street.

Abraham came to Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan in 1834 or 1836 and in 1840 enlisted in the regular army. He was sent to Copper Harbor on Lake Superior, when war broke out he was sent to Mexico. According to another source, when the war with Mexico broke out Abraham enlisted for five years in the 2nd U.S. Infantry, took part in the battle of Monterrey under Genral Zachary Taylor, served under General Winfield Scott and fought in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras, Churubusco, Chepaultepec and Molino del Rey. After he was discharged form the army Abraham returned briefly to New York before heaidng out to California where he spent 18 months mining for gold. He eventually came to Whitneyville, Michigan, taking up the trade of farmer.

His father Zerah left New York and eventually settled in Hopkins, Allegan County, Michigan. By 1850 Zerah and Abraham were both living with Abraham’s older brother Ezra and his family in Cascade, Kent County.

Abraham married Julia Ann Morse (1833-1865), on April 26, 1852, in Whitneyville. She was the daughter of Benjamin Morse and sister of William Morse both of Lowell, Kent County. William would join the 3rd Michigan during the war as would his cousin, another Benjamin Morse, also from Lowell. Abraham was the uncle of Oscar Whitney who would also join the 3rd Michigan in 1861.

By 1860 Abraham (listed as “A. J. Whiting”) was working as a master carpenter (with $1,200 in real estate and $400 in personal property) and living in Lowell, Kent County, with his wife Julia and two young girls: Adelaide and HelenWhitney. They were all living with Julia’s parents.

He was 41 years old and possibly living in Hastings, Barry County when he enlisted as Second Lieutenant of Company I on May 13, 1861, commissioned First Lieutenant on August 1, 1861, and transferred to Company G, replacing Lieutenant Robert Jefferds. Whitney very possibly joined Company G sometime in late July, and in fact, on August 1, Frank Siverd of Company G, wrote to the Republican that Whitney had just replaced Jefferds as First Lieutenant.

Whitney was generally liked, and the transfer caused no problems within Company G. Charles Church of Company G wrote home on August 8, 1861, that “Our first Lieutenant is a Lieutenant out of Co. I. He is a good one.” And George Miller of Company A wrote home three days later that “John Whitney has been promoted to First Lieutenant of company G. He makes a good officer and is universally like by his men which I find is a great difference from some of those who held this station.” Siverd agreed. He wrote on September 8 that “Lieutenant Whitney commands the company, and is deservedly popular, he knows neither fear nor favor, and when he becomes a little better acquainted with the character of the men he has to deal with, will be entirely successful as a commanding officer.” Sometime in 1861 Whitney’s wife come east to be with her husband. George Miller wrote home on November 11, 1861, that he had just seen “Lieutenant Whitney’s wife the other day. She has got to be quite a lady.” He added that “Whitney is acting as Captain of company G.” Miller wrote his parents that on December 28 that Whitney, accompanied by his wife, left that day for Michigan on recruiting service, and that Whitney would stop by to see his [George’s] family.

Abraham arrived in Detroit on the morning of January 1, 1862, “and reported himself,” wrote the Free Press, “to Colonel Backus, who has all the recruiting in this state, under his supervision. By his directions Lieut. Whitney will shortly be assigned his headquarters, and those wishing to enlist in a first-class Regiment of infantry cannot do better than apply to the Lieutenant for admission to the Third.” George Miller certainly hoped so. He wrote home on January 15, 1862, “I presume Whitney will get some of those fellows at home out here. I hope he will, I should like to see somebody from there first rate.” And on February 11, Frank Siverd wrote to Republican that Whitney was in Michigan “on the recruiting service, and would be glad to receive the names of any who are desirous of entering immediately into active service. ”

By the time the Virginia “Peninsular” campaign began in the spring of 1862, Whitney had rejoined his company. Siverd informed the Republican on May 2 that “Captain Jefferds, Lieutenant Whitney and H. L. Thayer arrived in camp recently. The two latter, from Michigan, were most warmly welcomed.”

Abraham was wounded slightly in the arm by gunfire on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and shortly afterwards commissioned Captain of Company G on June 9, 1862, officially replacing Captain Jefferds. He was absent with leave from July 6, and according to Homer Thayer of Company G, as of at least July 5, Whitney was “sick and at the hospital at Fortress Monroe, but writes me that he will soon be back to join his company.” In fact, Abraham resigned on September 30, 1862.

After he resigned Whitney returned Michigan. By the summer of 1863 when he registered for the draft he was working as a farmer in Lowell; no mention of his prior military service in the record, however.

After Julia died in 1865, Abraham reportedly married New York native Virginia Amanda Chatterdon (d. 1868), on November 17, 1866, in Muskegon, Muskegon County. (Abraham may have been living in Musekgon at the time; in any case, Virginia was from Lowell, Kent County.) After his wife died in Muskegon, Abraham settled in Grand Rapids.

He was probably living in Grand Rapids when he married Englishwoman Frances Bennett (1839-1909), on May 18, 1870, in Grand Rapids, and they probably had at least one child: Willard Johnson (1876-1954).

By 1870 he was working as a blinds maker and living with his wife Frances and two children in Grand Rapids’ 1st Ward: Larry (b. 1858) and Elizabeth (b. 1863; Elizabeth had been born in Ontario, Canada.) By 1880 he was working as a chair maker and living with his wife and son Willard in Grand Rapids’ 5th Ward. He was living in Grand Rapids in 1888 and 1890, indeed he probably lived out the remainder of his life in Grand Rapids, serving as 6th Ward alderman and as a supervisor for the Township of Grand Rapids.

He was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and inducted into the Old Settlers’ Association in January of 1880. He was also probably a member of the Universalist church. He received pension no. 117,186, dated June of 1871, drawing $4.00 in 1883.

Abram died of malarial fever around midnight Wednesday-Thursday, March 11-12, 1891, at his home at 82 Monroe Street in Grand Rapids, and the funeral service was held at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Universalist church. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section E lot 44.

In April of 1891 Frances was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 357977). By 1900 she was living in Grand Rapids’ 6th Ward; her son Willard and his wife Carrie were also living with her.



Samuel White Jr.

Samuel White Jr. was born on October 1, 1829, in Ontario, Canada, the son of Samuel Sr. (1781-1873) and Lydia (Morgan, 1793-1875).

New York natives Samuel Sr. and Lydia were married in 1812 in Preble, NewYork, where they lived for some years. By 1818 they were in Palmyra, New York but by at least 1823 were living in Nissouri, Ontario, Canada. They remained in Canada for a numbere of years. Samuel Sr. moved his family from on to the Grand Rapids area in December of 1836, “with a team of six yoke oxen, and spent New Year’s Day at Gull Prairie, and in the spring of 1837 settled in Walker, where [his father] took up 160 acres on sec. 23 [what is now the Greenwood and Mt. Calvary cemeteries on west Leonard Street], and continued to buy land until he owned about 400 acres.” Samuel Sr. “cut the first road and drove the first team into the wilderness of Walker,” and was described as “a practical miller, and his sons acquired a knowledge of the business that proved useful in a new country.

Local Grand Rapids historian Charles Tuttle wrote in 1874 that upon arriving in the Walker area “Mr. White built the first frame barn west of the Grand River, and soon after erected a saw mill on Indian creek,” and as a young boy Samuel Jr. was reputed proficient in the language of the local native Americans. By 1850 Samuel Jr. was living with his family in Walker.

Samuel Jr. married his first wife, New York native Amy Eliza Root (b. 1835) on March 8, 1851, probably in Kent County, and according to one source they had at least three children: Isadora Monetta (b. 1853), Frederick Emmett (b. 1857) and May Amarilla (b. 1867). They divorced sometime before 1877.

By 1859-60 Samuel Jr. was living with his family on the Muskegon road (present-day west Leonard Street), near the corporation line, and in 1860 he was a farmer living with his family in Walker, Kent County, where his father owned a substantial farm and property. (Dayton Peck, who would also enlist in Company B, worked for Samuel Sr.) On July 10, 1860, Samuel joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, commanded by Captain Baker Borden. (The GRA would serve as the nucleus for Company B, also commanded by Borden, of the Third Michigan Infantry.)

Samuel Jr. stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 31 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as either First Corporal or Sergeant in Company B on May 13, 1861. By late June of 1862 was sick in a hospital in Bottom’s Bridge, Virginia, suffering from debility. He may have been reduced tot he ranks sometime in the summer of 1862 since he was reported as a Private and absent sick in the Regimental hospital from August of 1862 through December.

By January of 1863 he was sick at a hospital in Maryland, and he remained hospitalized, probably in Cumberland, Maryland until he was discharged on April 1, 1863, at Cumberland for a varicose ulcer of the left leg. According to the discharging physician, White also suffered from “scrofula and cutaneous eruption. He had been disabled for duty since June 1862. Protracted and severe marches are the supposed causes of the enlarged veins and consequent ulcer.”

Samuel returned to his home in Walker where he reentered the service as Commissary Sergeant of Company D, Tenth Michigan cavalry on September 16, 1863, for 3 years, crediting Walker, and was mustered on October 2 at Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service. It left Michigan for Lexington, Kentucky on December 1, 1863, and participated in numerous operations, mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee throughout the winter of 1863-64. Most of its primary area of operations would eventually be in the vicinity of Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. He was reported in the commissary department in February of 1864, and promoted to Second Lieutenant on January 31, 1865, at Knoxville, Tennessee, commissioned November 5, 1864, and soon afterwards returned home for a short visit.

He was on recruiting duty in Michigan from March of 1865 through May, and in June of 1865 he was Second Lieutenant of Company C, replacing Lieutenant Hinman. He resigned on August 26, 1865. According to one postwar report White “suffered the loss of an eye and part of the right shin bone from Confederate fire,” however the circumstances are unknown.

Samuel again returned to his home in Walker where for many years after the war he farmed on 80 acres of his own land as well as 35 acres of his father’s property, which he continued to improve. By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $7000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and children in Walker; also living with them was Samuel’s parents. Samuel Jr. married his second wife Mrs. Mary Jane Mercer Schill (b. 1838 in Canada, d. 1922) in 1877.

By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Walker. Samuel operated a steam cider-mill in Walker in the early 1880s, and was living in Grand Rapids by 1882; indeed, he lived the remainder of his life in the Grand Rapids area. In 1879 (?) he applied for and received a pension (no. 271192).

Samuel was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and for many years served as commander of Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Post No. 29. The Eagle wrote on October 2, 1884, that “Samuel White, Commander of Champlin Post G.A.R., having attained his 55th year yesterday was agreeably surprised last evening by about 40 couples of his old comrades and friends attired in sheets and pillow cases. The commander was somewhat surprised and at first thought a graveyard had broken loose upon him, but after becoming acquainted with the situation joined the party and all enjoyed themselves until midnight when they left for home all wishing the commander many more anniversaries.” He remained with the Champlin Post until the membership dwindled to such a level that the few survivors were incorporated into the Custer Post No. 5.

In 1885 Samuel was living in Grand Rapids, in Walker in 1890, in Grand Rapids, Third Ward in 1894, in Comstock Park, Kent County in 1908, and at 315 Walker Street (subsequently changed to 1269 South Fifth Avenue) in Grand Rapids from 1909-11. “He was known,” wrote the Grand Rapids News in 1920, “as one of the best fishermen in the County and until he was 85 shot his allowance of deer each year.”

Samuel died of senility on Monday, July 12, 1920, at his home at 865 Franklin Street in Grand Rapids, and the funeral services were held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the residence. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section K lot 35.

In August of that same year his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 900481).

John Wheeler

John Wheeler was born on May 29, 1839, in Gaines Basin, Orleans County, New York, the son of William K. (b. 1815) and Louisa (Woodward, b. 1818).

Vermont native William married New York-born Louisa and they settled in New York for some years. William was still living in Gaines, New York in 1840, but he moved his family to Michigan (probably from New York) around 1847, and by 1850 John was attending school with an older brother and living with his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County. In September of 1855 John was probably living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, commanded by Captain Lucius Patterson. (Captain Baker Borden would eventually succeed Patterson, and the GRA would serve as the nucleus for Company B, Third Michigan Infantry, also commanded by Borden.)

By 1859-60 John was working as a carpenter and residing with his family on Turner between Bridge and First Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. In 1860 he was a master carpenter working with his father (also a master carpenter) and living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

John was 22 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Musician, probably as Drummer, in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was transferred to the Band on July 1, 1861 when he was promoted to Principal Musician. He was discharged on January 17, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, as a “member of the Band and not as a Musician.”

After he left the army John eventually returned to Grand Rapids. He married Michigan native Carrie Robens (b. 1843) on October 16, 1864, in Grand Rapids, and they had one son: Ernest (b. 1871).

By 1870 he was apparently living with his parents (there is no mention of his wife in the 1870 census) and working for his father who was a s ash manufacturer in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward. He was residing on Turner Street in 1874 when the Democrat reported on October 17, that

Last evening a party assembled at the residence of Mr. John Wheeler on Turner Street, for the purpose of celebrating the tenth [?] anniversary of Mr. and Mr. William K. Wheeler’s marriage day with a tin wedding, the latter named gentleman and lady being father and mother of Mr. John Wheeler. For the purpose of rendering the occasion more enjoyable the proceeding were made a surprise to the wedded pair, who had not been made acquainted with the auspicious event in which they were to be the principal actors. Accordingly, they were invited, among the other guests, and the Knight Templar Band, of whom Mr. Wheeler Jr., a member, also conceived the happy thought and intention of being presented a large number of ‘priceless’ presents, of many devices, and composed of real tin, and no sham, awaited the pair, they having been sent in in advance by friends and acquaintances. It is needless to say that the event was extremely pleasant and vastly enjoyable to all who were there. The music furnished by the band was very fine, and no doubt was quite as deservingly appreciated as were the other portions of the festivities.

John lived in the Grand Rapids area nearly all of his life. In 1880 he was working as a joiner and living with hius wife and son and mother-in-law Maria Robens in Walker, Kent County (his parents were living on Turner Street in the Seventh Ward in 1880). He was residing at 19 Stocking Street in the late 1880s or early 1890s, at 41 Alabama Street in Grand Rapids in 1899 and in 1890 when he gave an affidavit in the pension application of Capt. Baker Borden (formerly of Company B), in Walker, Kent County in 1890, and he was possibly back living in the city in December of 1902 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association; he was probably also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids.

In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 964220).

John was living at 503 Front Street in 1906-1908, in 1909 and 1911.

He was ill only two weeks when he died of pneumonia at his home in Grand Rapids on Monday October 23, 1911. Funeral services were held at Spring’s chapel on Sheldon Street at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 25, and he was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section E lot no. 10.

The following week his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 732810).

David Warner

David Warner was born on September 20, 1827, in Lindorf, Kircheim, Wurtemberg, Germany.

David emigrated from Germany to the United States and eventually settled in Illinois.

He was married to Wurtemberg immigrant Cecilia Standenmeier (b. 1829), in Chicago, Illinois, and they had at least five children: Barbara (b. 1855), Katie (b. 1857 and diedin infancy), Mary (b. 1858), twins Louisa and Alice (b. 1860, Louise died in 1912), and William (b. 1863).

They were living in Illinois by 1855 (when Barbara was born), and then moved to Michigan between 1855 and 1859 (when Mary was born). By 1860 David was working as a carpenter living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward.

David had blue eyes, dark hair and a fair complexion and was 33 years old and living in Kent County, probably Grand Rapids, when he enlisted as a Musician Second Class in the Band on June 10, 1861. He was discharged from the Band on August 13, 1862, at Harrison’s’ Landing, Virginia, “as a member of the Band not as a musician.”

By 1870 he was working as a carpenter in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward and living with his wife and children. David and Cecilia were still living in Grand Rapids, on Gold Street, with their children in 1880. He was living in Grand Rapids in 1888, working as a carpenter and living at 55 Gold Street in 1889 and 1890 and at 257 Gold Street in 1912.

In August of 1887 David was probably living in Michigan when he applied for and received a pension (no. 393650). David was reported as a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in June of 1911.

David was a widower when he died on May 2, 1920, in Grand Rapids and was buried alongside his wife in Greenwood cemetery, section F, lot 30.

Francis Ledoit Ward

Francis Ledoit Ward was born on January 9, 1843, in Orange, Franklin County, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Francis (1818-1896) and Harriet (Stratton, 1822-1854).

Massachusetts natives and first cousins Edward Francis and Harriet were married in 1842 in Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts. They settled in Orange, where Edward’s family lived and where he worked as a lumberman and furniture manufacturer. In 1850 Francis or “Frank” (known as “Ledoit”) was attending school and living with his family in Orange. Harriet died in 1854 in Orange and in 1857 Edward remarried Orange, Massachusetts native Tryphenia C. Harrington (b. 1835 or 1840) in Orange. The family soon moved west, settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan by the spring of 1858. Frank’s father worked as a furniture manufacturer. By 1860 Frank was an apprentice sash-maker apprenticed to Warren Rindge, a harness-maker in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

He was 18 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. At some point Frank was transferred to the Band, and discharged on August 13, 1862, at Harrison’s Landing “as a member of the Band and not as a musician.”

In any case, after he left the army Frank eventually returned to Grand Rapids.

He married Michigan native Etta M. Robinson (1844-1917), on January 9, 1865, in Greenville, Montcalm County and they had at least five children: Winifred (b. 1867), Arthur (b. 1868), Lula (b. 1872), Frank (b. 1878) and Orin (b,. 1880).

They soon settled in Grand Rapids (all of his children were reportedly born there). In 1870 his father (who owned $14,000 worth of real estate) and stepmother were living in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward. In any case, Frank reportedly worked for some years as a music teacher in Grand Rapids, and by 1880 Frank was working as a music teacher and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Seventh Ward. (His parents were living in the Fourth Ward.) Frank probably lived the rest of his life in Grand Rapids.

Frank died of “throat trouble” on November 27, 1881, in Grand Rapids, and was buried in Greenwood cemetery, section E, lot 21. According to both the cemetery burial records the DAR transcriptions online. The DAR also reports that buried with Frank is his wife (?) Etta and a son (?) Arthur (1868-1917).

In April of 1890 his widow was living in Grand Rapids when she applied for and received a pension (no. 280579).

James B. Rhodes

James B. Rhodes was born on July 12, 1841, in Tioga County, New York, the son of James (b. 1808) and Rachel (b. 1812).

His parents were both born in Pennsylvania and presumably married there sometime before 1837 when their daughter Lucy was born. In any case, they moved from Pennsylvania to New York sometime before 1837, then moving on to Michigan while James (younger) was still a boy, eventually settling in Allegan County, and by 1860 he was a lumberman living with his family in Manlius, Allegan County.

James stood 5’9” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion was 19 years old and probably still living in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company I on May 13, 1861. James was reported sick in the hospital from October of 1862 through January of 1863, and was discharged for chronic diarrhea on February 4, 1863, at a hospital in Germantown or in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

James returned to Allegan County where he reentered the service in Company B, Eighth Michigan cavalry on August 8, 1864, at Saugatuck for 1 year, crediting Saugatuck, and was mustered on August 12 at Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County. He joined the Regiment on September 21 at Lexington, Kentucky, was promoted to Corporal on November 1, and was reported missing on November 23 at Henryville, Kentucky. James returned to the Regiment on May 11, 1865, and honorably discharged on June 11, 1865, at Pulaski, Tennessee.

After the war he returned to his home in Allegan County. By 1870 he was working as a plasterer and living at Whitney’s Hotel in Saugatuck (he was probably sharing a room with William Furgeson, another plasterer who was born in Kentucky). That same year his mother was still living in Manlius, Allegan County.

He eventually settled in Fennville where he engaged in the lumber business.

He was married to Helen Fogg (1845-1906) on September 10, 1872, possibly in Whitehall, Muskegon County, and they had at least one child, Harry. James was married a second time to New York native Catharine (b. 1843).

He settled in Holton, Muskegon County in 1876, but around 1888 came to Grand Rapids where he founded the “Rhodes Furnace Manufacturing Company.” For many years James lived on west Bridge Street on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids; in 1908 he was living at 421 Bridge Street and in 1916 residing at 1039 Bridge Street. He was living on west Bridge Street in 1906, in Grand Rapids in 1909 and 1911. By 1920 he was living in Grand Rapids’ Seventh Ward with his wife Catharine.

James was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1874 he applied for and received a pension (no. 358548), dated January of 1885.

He died of aortic regurgitation on Tuesday morning, November 3, 1924, at his home at 1039 Bridge Street in Grand Rapids, and the funeral service was held at the residence at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, November 5. He was buried alongside his first wife in Greenwood cemetery: section P lot 39;

James Reeves

James Reeves was born in 1835 in England.

James’ family left England and immigrated to America in 1836 and settled in Michigan by 1860 when he was a sawyer living with and/or working for Ebenezer Lamoreux in Manluis, Allegan County.

He stood 5’7’’ with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 26 years old and was still living in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company I on May 7, 1861. In fact it was later reported that James lived in the area of Fennville and walked to Grand Rapids in order to enlist.

James was reportedly wounded at the end of June, 1862, near the close of the Seven Days’ Battle and was sent to Harrison’s Landing on the James River. He was reported as deserter on July 1 or 12, 1862, at Malvern Hill or Harrison’s Landing (respectively), Virginia, in fact was admitted to Chesapeake hospital at Fortress Monroe, Virginia on July 1 with a gunshot wound. He was transferred on July 4 to Annapolis, Maryland and was still a patient in Annapolis by early August.

Although he supposedly returned to duty on August 4, in fact he never rejoined his company and was discharged for physical disability on August 7, 1862, at Washington, DC. According to a postwar source, on the day he was to be discharged, August 7, while waiting at the mustering office in Washington, DC, he was “sunstruck” and taken to a doctor. “Consequently he was not at the mustering office when his name was called, and it is supposed the clerk of the mustering office reported him as a deserter.” James subsequently “found himself in a bewildered state of mind in Detroit.”

James returned to Allegan County, and, after recovering from his sunstroke, went to New York City where he reentered the service in the United States Navy for one year. He was a Second class fireman and served aboard the ships Albatross, North Carolina, Seminole and Savannah and was in the battle of Mobile Bay of August 5, 1864. According to one story told many years after the war, “When he enlisted in the navy,” wrote the Herald in 1921, “he intended to serve only one year, but was offered an increase in pay if he would stay. “This,” he often said, ‘was the luckiest decision I ever made in my life as it gave me an opportunity to serve with Admiral Farragut and few men were so fortunate as that.’” After serving about 15 months he was discharged from the Navy.

James eventually returned to Michigan where he reentered the service a second time as a draftee on October 22, 1864, at Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County in Company F, Fifteenth Michigan infantry, crediting Clyde, Allegan County and listing his occupation as a sailor.

He may have joined the regiment just before it left to participate in the March to the Sea November 15-December 10; it was also involved in the siege of Savannah December 10-21, the campaign in the Carolinas, January to April, 1865, the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, March 19-20 and the advance on and occupation of Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as the surrender of Johnson’s forces, the march to Washington and the Grand Review on May 24. James was a Sergeant on April 20, 1865, and he later claimed to have been promoted to Duty Sergeant,” by the time the regiment was moved to Louisville, Kentucky June 1-6 and on to Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 28. James however, did not leave with the regiment but on June 25 was sent to the hospital at Louisville, Kentucky. He remained absent sick until he was discharged on July 26, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.

After the war James returned to Allegan County.

He married Connecticut native Irene (1844-1926), and they had at least five children: Leon, Hattie (b. 1862, Mrs. Crane), Nellie (b. 1869, Mrs. N. A. Herbert), Mrs. Eda Mulder, Mrs. Mamie Bender and Daisy (b. 1871).

By 1870 James was working as a farmer and living with his wife and two daughters in Clyde, Allegan County. He eventually moved his family to Holland, Ottawa County where he worked as a fireman. He was back in Allegan County by 1890 and was living in Fennville. By 1920 James was living in Grand Rapids with his wife and daughters Daisy and Nellie.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, a Protestant and he received pension no. 534,510.

He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 5141) on April 7, 1908, was discharged on September 23, and readmitted to the home on July 10, 1911 and discharged July 21, 1919.

James died at 4:45 p.m. on March 29, 1921, at his home 530 Lafayette Street in Grand Rapids, and the funeral service was held at Spring’s chapel. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section S lot 46.

Dayton Samuel Peck - update 8/23/2016

Dayton S. Peck was born on June 26, 1842, in Sweden, Monroe County, New York, the son of William R. (1807-1876) and Lucy (Bathrick, 1808-1848).

William and Massachusetts native Lucy were married about 1830, and eventually settled in Monroe County, New York. In 1846, when Dayton was 4 years old, his family left New York City and

took the canal boat from Brockport and rode as far as Buffalo. There was a short railroad ride in between Buffalo and where we left the canal, and the train ran so slow that we could get off and pick blackberries while the train was going. We took the lake boat to Detroit and took another boat around the lakes, through the straits of Mackinac and down the west coast, stopping at Cheboygan, Racine, Milwaukee and finally Chicago. My brother Freling nearly fell overboard but one of the sailors caught him. Claude tells me that my brother Manser had told him that when the boat stopped at Cheboygan my father went on shore and hurriedly called on a relative of his there by the name of Winship. We took another boat from Chicago to Grand Haven, there we took a river boat, the Algomah, to Grand Rapids, where we arrived in September, 1848. My father went to work for Butterworth in the foundry and later for W. T. Powers. My sister was married in 1849 in a house we lived in on Ionia Avenue, to Oceanus Van Burch. My father purchased a farm in Paris Township and I went to school there. Afterwards I lived with my sister and her husband on their farm.

By 1850 Dayton’s family was living in Paris, Kent County, Michigan, where his father, who had apparently remarried a Canadian woman named Julia (b. in Canada in 1824) was working as a carpenter and Dayton and his siblings, including his younger brother Freling who would also join the Third Michigan, were attending school.

On July 2, 1860, Dayton joined the Grand Rapids Light Artillery, one of the local militia companies under the command of Captain Baker Borden, who would eventually command Company B in the Third Michigan. That same year Dayton was a laborer working for and/or living in Walker, Kent County with the family of Samuel White, who would also enlist Company B.

Dayton stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (His younger brother Freling would join Company B in late 1861.) The Regiment left for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861, and it was shortly after setting up camp at the Chain Bridge that Dayton got to shake hands with President Lincoln. On July 4, the President, Peck claimed many years afterwards, “drove down there [Chain Bridge] along with his colored driver, and took his hat off to us boys there who were manning that battery [at the Bridge] and shook hands with all of us. I remember the words he said to me when he shook my hand, ‘I sleep sounder nights than I would if you were not here.’” He added in 1925 that he believed he was “last one left who shook hands with President Lincoln the fourth of July, 1861 at that place.”

Dayton was wounded slightly in the right arm on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and by the end of the year was on duty at Brigade headquarters. He was employed as a Brigade butcher in January of 1863, was working at Brigade headquarters in April, in the Brigade commissary department (probably as butcher) from May through July and a Brigade butcher from November through May of 1864. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.
After he was discharged Dayton returned to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service in Battery G, First Michigan Light Artillery on November 29, 1864, for 1 year, crediting Assyria, Barry County, and was mustered the same day. He joined the battery on February 17, 1865, probably at Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama, where it was on garrison and outpost duty until April 10. The battery participated in the capture of Mobile on April 12 and garrisoned the defenses of Mobile until July 19 when it was sent home to Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan, arriving there on August 2.

Dayton was mustered out with the battery on August 6, 1865, at Jackson.

Following the war Dayton returned to the Grand Rapids area and from 1867 to 1868 he was working as a butcher for Hill & Tuxbury, and boarding at the Bronson House in Grand Rapids. He married his first wife Delilah Ellen Hoyt on March 18, 1868, and from 1868 to 1869 was working for John Ryle and living on the northwest corner of Turner and Pearl Streets, on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

He was still living in Grand Rapids in 1874, and was still working as a butcher when he married his second wife New York native Jennifer Dunphy (1845-1906) on January 21, 1875 (it is not known what became of his first wife), and they had at least two children: a son O. D. (b. 1878) and Fred (b. 1880).

In 1875 one newspaper described Peck as the “proprietor of the meat market on Lyon Street in the Leppig building, one of the best in the city.” The paper added that this was “Peck’s old stand, and his old friends will find him out there.” By 1880 Dayton was working as a butcher and living with his wife and two sons on Lyon Street in Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward.

Dayton lived in Grand Rapids through at least 1888, was residing in Walker, Kent County in 1890, back in Grand Rapids in 1892 and living in the 8th Ward in 1894. By 1895 he had moved to Sand Lake, Kent County where he worked a farm for some years. In 1900 he was living with his wife Jennie and two sons in Nelson, Kent County. but by 1903 he had returned to Grand Rapids. He was back in Sand Lake and possibly in Tustin, Osceola County in 1906.

He was a widower when he married his third wife, New York native Isabelle McBride (1851-1918) and in 1910 they were both living in Byron, Kent County; Dayton probably lived in Byron from 1910 to 1913. In 1915 Dayton was living at 222 Ridge Road in Grand Rapids.

Dayton was again a widower when he married his 4th wife, Ida (b. 1875) and by 1920 they were living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dayton was still living in St. Petersburg, in 1922.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids. In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 595084).

In 1925 Dayton was living at 173 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg where he died on April 2, 1926. He was presumably buried in St. Petersburg. He was buried in Royal Palm South cemetery, St. Petersburg: block 147-3.

Charles R. Calkins

Charles R. Calkins was born December 4, 1836 or January 4, 1837, in either Unadilla, Otsego County, or Chenango County, New York, the son of Sylvanus or Sylvester (b. 1798) and Jane (Vanderberg, b. 1806).

Sylvanus was living in New Berlin, Chenango County, New York in 1840. In any case, by 1850 Charles was attending school with his two siblings and living with his parents in Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, where his father (listed as “Sylvester W.”) was working as a shoemaker (the Vanderberg family lived nearby). it is not known if Charles left New York on his own if he moved west with his family. By 1860 Charles was probably working as a sash-maker for Warren Rindge in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward. That same year his mother (?) Jane was working as a nurse for and living with the George Judd family in Grand Rapids’ First Ward; George and his brother Samuel would also join the Third Michigan in 1861.

Charles stood 5’7” with black eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and was 24 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, specifically the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

According to a statement he made after the war, sometime in the fall of 1861, while serving with the regiment in its camp near Alexandria, Virginia, Charles was taken with chills and a fever and in “November 1861 was seized with pneumonia and placed in [the] regimental hospital” where he remained for about three weeks and then came home in a furlough. He was reported absent on furlough from January 23, 1862 and reported as still in furlough through the end of April, 1862.

He was reported at home sick on furlough in Grand Rapids in June of 1862, and on June 13, 1862, he wrote to Colonel Smith commanding the military rendezvous in Detroit inquiring what he should do about his furlough and his presumed discharge. He began by saying that in a recent issue of the Detroit Free Press he had seen

a notice to soldiers on furlough to report at your office. So I will state my case and await your advice [as to] what to do. I am a private of Co. A Capt. Judd (before he was killed) 3 Mich regt of infantry. I was taken sick in October [and] obtained a furlough the last of February. I was suffering with bronchitis when I came home and am now got [have now gotten] my furlough renewed [extended]. The next time I reported I sent my surgeon’s certificate for a discharge but did not hear any more for sometime but reported regular[ly] when my time expired. When Capt [Charles] Lyon went back [to the Regiment after] recruiting here for our Regt he said that I never would be fit to soldier anymore very soon anyway, and he would see what the Col. had done. Shortly after Lt. Lindsey of co. B resigned and came home and Col Champlin and Capt Judd sent word by him that my papers were properly made out and sent to Washington and that I ought to have had them before this time but to rest easy and he [Lyon] would make it all right.

Calkins added that Colonel Stephen Champlin, commanding the Third Michigan and who had recently been wounded, was “on his way home and I think the best way is let wait until he comes.” He also said that he asked the Kent County clerk to write “to the Auditor Gen to look for my papers now if they shouldn’t come shall I report to you [Smith] I have lost my health in the army and it seems as so I ought to be entitled to an honorable discharge but the pay is not what I am after but the thing has run long enough and the prospects are that I will not be able to do anything this summer at least. Please send me a letter by return mail with your advice.”

It is not known what Colonel Smith’s reply was, but apparently Charles was ordered to report to Detroit where he was examined by a Dr. Pritchard who found him recovered sufficiently to be returned to his regiment in Virginia. Charles claimed some years later that while en route to his regiment he took sick again and was admitted to a hospital in Baltimore.

By mid-July he was reported in Hygeia Hospital near Fortress Monroe, in “feeble” condition and “of little use as a soldier.” In fact, he was apparently suffering from typhoid fever. He was soon transferred up north, and on July 10, 1862 he was admitted to the general hospital at Fifth & Buttonwood Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, suffering from bronchitis. (Variously known as either fifth Street hospital or Buttonwood hospital.) He told an agent for the Michigan Soldiers’ Aid Association who interviewed him in Fifth Street hospital in Philadelphia that he thought he would soon be discharged, and indeed, he was discharged for bronchitis on August 2, 1862, at Philadelphia. (Charles claimed that he was admitted to Buttonwood hospital in Philadelphia and discharged from there as well.)

According to one report Calkins had contracted pneumonia during the war and “was sent home to die, but proved the surgeons in error by living nearly fifty years.”

Following his discharge from the army Charles returned to western Michigan.

He married New York native Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keeley (1845-1915) in 1863, and they had probably at least four children: Carrie (b. 1866), Mary E. (b. 1868), Emma (b. 1870), Clarence A. (1872-1894) and Frederick (b. 1876).

By 1867-69 Charles was working as a cabinet-maker and living on the west side of Broadway between Fifth and Sixth Streets in Grand Rapids, and in 1870 he was living with his wife and four children in the Fourth Ward working as a blinds-maker. By 1880 Charles was working in a furniture factory and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Seventh Ward; by 1881 he was residing at 149 Broadway in Grand Rapids. In fact he lived his postwar years mainly in Grand Rapids, in the Second and Sixth Wards, working as a cabinet-maker, and then operating a grocery business for some years on east Bridge Street Hill. In 1889-90 he was probably living at 346 Broadway, working for T. W. Allen in 1889 and C. C. Comstock in 1890.

Charles was a member of both the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids, and in 1881 he applied for and received pension no. 268315.

He resided at Eleventh and Broadway Streets for more than 25 years, probably at 344 Broadway, and in about 1906 he retired to a farm near Cascade. He was living in Cascade in 1907.

When he became ill in the summer of 1910 he was taken to his daughter’s home at 445 South College Street in Grand Rapids, where he died of apoplexy on July 26, 1910. Funeral services were held at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Schmidt, at 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, July 29, and he was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section P lot 17.

His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 708759).

Almond D. and Baker Borden

Almon D. Borden was born 1836 in New York, the son of Baker and Hannah. (See Baker’s biographical sketch which follows below.)

Almon came to Michigan with his family in 1837, at the age of one year, settling first in Saline, Washtenaw County and in 1838 in Lodi, Washtenaw County. Baker moved the family to Lyons, Ionia County in 1841 and eventually settled in Grand Rapids, Kent County around 1848. By 1850 Almon was living with his family and attending school with his younger siblings in Grand Rapids.

Almon was living in Grand Rapids when he married Michigan native Ellen E. Robinson (1840-1860) on January 20, 1859.

By 1859-60 Almon was working with Baker as a carpenter on the east side of Turner Street between Bridge and First Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, and in 1860 he was working as a carpenter and living with his wife Ellen in Grand Rapids’ Fifth Ward. (His wife’s parents were living in the Fourth Ward, next door to Wilson Jones who would also join the Third Michigan infantry and two doors from Baker Borden, Almon’s father.)

Almon was 25 years old and probably still living and working in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as First Lieutenant in Company K (Baker Borden was in fact Captain of Company B) on May 13, 1861. In July of 1862 Almon was absent with leave for 30 days, and apparently returned home to Michigan. He eventually rejoined the regiment and by October he had been promoted to Captain of Company K, commissioned as of August 26, 1862, replacing Captain Abram Whitney and then Captain Charles Lyon.

On May 30, 1863, Almon was court martialed for being absent from his post without proper authority during the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863.

Specifically, he was charged with “Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline” in that he “did leave his company and Regiment on the morning of the 3rd day of May 1863, when the said company and Regiment, were in front of and expecting to be engaged with the enemy every moment, and did not return until about noon of the next day. This at or near Chancellorsville, Va. on or about the 3rd and 4th days of May 1863.” Second, he was charged with being “Absent without leave” in that he “did leave his company and Regiment without the consent or knowledge of his commanding officer, Col. Byron R. Pierce, and did remain absent nearly two days. All this while the Regiment was engaged with the enemy, at or near, Chancellorsville, Va., on or about the 3rd and 4th days of May 1863.” Borden pled not guilty to both charges and specifications.

The court martial was convened near Falmouth, Virginia, at the headquarters of the Second Brigade, First Division, Third Corps, Brigadier General J. H. Hobart Ward as president of the court which consisted of Colonels Samuel Hayman of the Thirty-seventh New York, Thomas Egan of the Fortieth New York, A. S. Leidy (?) of the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, Peter Sides of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, Byron Pierce of the Third Michigan and Lieutenant Col. E. Burt of the Third Maine; Major W. C. Taylor of the Twentieth (?) Indiana was the Judge Advocate. Following the pleas, Lieutenant Andrew Nickerson of the Third Michigan was called as a witness for the prosecution:

Question by the Judge Advocate: State your name, rank, and the Regiment to which you belong. Answer: Andrew Nickerson, First Lieut. Third Mich. Vols. Question: Are you acquainted with the accused Capt. A. D. Borden, if yes, how long have you known him? Answer: I have known him since June 1861. Question: What do you know, if anything, of the accused leaving his company and Regiment on 3 May, 1863, while said Regiment was expecting to be engaged with the enemy Answer: I saw Capt. Borden on the morning of the 3rd May. I saw nothing more of him until the next day about 3 or 4 o'clock. Question: Who has command of his company during his absence? Answer: I have. I am Lieut. in his company. Question: Did he turn over his command to you when he left? Answer: He did not. Question: At what time did he return? Answer: It was my impression that it was the afternoon of the 4th of May.

Sergeant Reuben Tower of Company K, was then called as a witness for the prosecution:

Question: What do you know,if anything of Capt. Borden, on 3rd May 1863, leaving his company, when his Regiment was expecting to be engaged with the enemy? Answer: I know that he left. He was with the company on Saturday night when we went into a charge. When we came out we formed and went into rifle pits. He was with us then. I missed him on Sunday morning. He returned on Monday afternoon. Question: Who had command of his company during his absence? Answer: Lt. Nickerson.

Colonel Byron R. Pierce of the Third Michigan then called:

Question: State what you know of Capt. A. D. Borden leaving his command on 3rd May 1863, whether or not he left by your permission. Answer: He did not have my permission or consent to be absent. He first I saw of him was on Monday afternoon. I was commanding the Regiment at the time. Question by the Accused: Did I not join the Regiment before they changed their position on the morning of the 4th and took the second line of rifle pits? Answer: I can't remember of seeing him in the morning.

The Court then adjourned until the morning of May 23. When it was reconvened, Regimental Assistant Surgeon Walter B. Morrison was called for the defense:

Question by the Accused: Did you see me on Sunday morning May 3rd, if yes, what was said and done by me? Answer: I saw Capt. Borden on Sunday morning May 3rd. I saw him at a house in the open field, about one mile in rear of the Brigade. The Captain said he wanted some medicine. I told him to remain at the house and I would be back in a few minutes. That was the last I saw of the Captain until that afternoon. I next saw him down by a brick house near the hospital at that time he started back to join his Regiment. Question: Did you not tell me that I had better stay in the hospital until the next morning? Answer: Yes sir. That evening I told him so. Question: Did I not start in company with the Major for the Regiment, the next morning? Answer: I could not say.

Following a day of testimony the Court adjourned until the morning of May 23. After testimony was concluded, Borden then read a statement in his defense. He said that as he had been feeling unwell on the morning of May 3, and had gone searching for the Regimental surgeon.

On the morning of the 3rd, feeling unwell I thought best to see the Regimental Surgeon and learning that he was at a house near by I went over to consult him -- Supposing it to be but a short distance and not expecting to be absent more than fifteen or twenty minutes I neglected to ask permission to be absent. On arriving there I met Asst. Surgeon Morrison. Stated to him that I wished to see him. As he was mounted over his horse at the time [he] requested me to remain where I was -- that he was going away for a few minutes but would soon return -- About this time the rebels made the attack our troops commenced falling back and the Surgeon not returning I thought best to return to my Regiment. I was informed that they had marched past towards the large brick house (formerly Gen Hooker's head quarters) towards which I directed my steps. -- While stopping at this place I saw a portion of the Seventeenth Maine and Thirty-seventh NY Vols. Marching to the rear I inquired of one of the men for the Third Mich Vols. [and] he stated [that] they [were] ahead marching to the rear and I marched in company with them to the large field near the ford. Not finding my Regt. I started for the front. When within about one half mile of the front I met Asst. Surgeon Morrison again I stated to him the condition I was in -- He said he had established a hospital near by and that I had better remain there all night as the Major was there and I could return with him in the morning -- Which I did joining my Regt. about 7 o'clock a.m. on the morning of the 4th.

Upon examination by the accused, former Hospital Steward and now acting Assistant Surgeon Walter Morrison admitted that indeed Borden had been to see him that morning. Borden asked “Did you see me on Sunday morning May 3rd, if yes, what was said and done by me?” Morrison replied that he had in fact seen “Capt. Borden on Sunday morning May 3rd. I saw him at a house in the open field, about one mile in rear of the Brigade. The Captain said he wanted some medicine. I told him to remain at the house and I would be back in a few minutes. That was the last I saw of the Captain until that afternoon. I next saw him down by a brick house near the hospital at that time he started back to join his Regiment.” Borden then asked “Did you not tell me that I had better stay in the hospital until the next morning?” To which Morrison said yes. Borden asked Morrison if he did not see him leave with a Major for the Regiment, the following morning? Morrison said he could not say.

After deliberating the court found Borden guilty both charges and specifications and sentenced him to “forfeit all pay an allowances that are or may become due him, and that he be dismissed from the service of the United States.” He was cashiered on June 8.

On June 7, while the regiment was at Belle Plain, Virginia, David Northrup of Company B wrote to a former Company B soldier, Fred Stow discussing this incident.

You mention the report of the arrest of James [Bennett] and Almon Borden. It is too true. Their sentence is as you hear. Capt. Borden dismissed with pay [and] James cashiered, dismissed without pay. It is the opinion of all that it is unjustly hard on James. It ought to be reversed the two. Borden ought to go without pay. The charge against James was deserting his company before the enemy. He went in with us the night of the charge and was not seen till Monday morning. We all supposed him killed or taken prisoners. But Monday morning he made his appearance. He is with Al[mon Borden] in Washington at present. I do not know what they intend to do. Now do not tell anyone that I have written anything about it. It must be a severe blow to his father. I presume he will take it hard. James has been anxious, very, to get out of the service but I think at too great a sacrifice. I am very sorry and do not know hardly how to express my thoughts. I should rather have sacrificed my life than to have to have such a thing to think of. I would not let this be public even to his friends if they do not know it. You will see it in the Herald of June second or third. I do not remember which. I have not got through but must close for the want of more room.

After he left the army Almon eventually returned to Grand Rapids and from 1867-69 was probably working as a carpenter for Wheeler, Borden & co., and residing on the north side of Third Street between Turner and Lincoln Streets.

It appears that at some point after the war he married a New York native named Julia (b. 1847) and that by 1870 he was working as a sash maker and living with his second wife in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward. (Baker too was living in the Fourth Ward and also working as a sash maker.)

Almon was a member of the Old Settlers Association, and a witness at his father's wedding in 1872.

He apparently never applied for a pension.

While the reasons are obscure, at some point between 1872 and 1880 Almon was admitted to the State Asylum for the Insane in Kalamazoo, where he died of “general paralysis” on January 20, 1880. The body was reportedly returned to Grand Rapids, where the funeral service was held at the Second Street M.E. Church (also Baker Borden’s church) at 2:00 p.m. on January 21, conducted by the Rev. James W. Robinson, pastor. There was also a private service at the home at 1:30 for friends of the family. According to the Democrat, the funeral service was attended by members of the Old Settler’s association as well as several old Third veterans, and Borden’s remains were reportedly interred in Greenwood cemetery: section B, lot 45.

Baker Borden was born April 24, 1814, in New York State.

Both of Baker’s parents were reportedly born in New Jersey. In any case, Baker was married to New York native Hannah (1809-1872), and they had at least three children: Almon D. (1836-1880), Sophia (b. 1837-1851), Hellen Eliza (1841-1862) and Charles (b. 1846).

In 1835 Baker was still living in New York and serving as a sergeant in a New York state militia regiment; he was probably still living in New York in 1836 when his son Almon was born. Baker brought his family to Michigan settling in Saline, Washtenaw County in 1837, and soon afterwards moved to Lodi, Washtenaw County where in 1838 he organized a militia company of home guards “because,” wrote the Herald in 1899, “of the Fenian difficulties that were then disturbing the country. At the height of this excitement, many Michigan men were going to Canada to take an active part in the war that was raging. The company of which Capt. Borden was the commanding officer voted to cross the border and enter the active warfare then in progress. It was owing to arguments brought to bear by the Capt. that this rash [action] was given up and for this wise action taken at this crisis, Captain Borden received the personal thanks of the governor and other state officials.” He was still in Lodi the following year (1840).

In 1841 Baker moved to Lyons, Ionia County where he began working as a builder and contractor. Baker remained in Lyons for several years and in 1848 he brought his family came to Grand Rapids and was at that time reported to be the only architect and builder in the city. By 1850 Baker was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids.

On July 12, 1855, Lucius Patterson organized a company of state militia, the Grand Rapids Artillery, with Borden serving as First Lieutenant, and in April of 1858 Borden replaced Patterson as Captain of the company; indeed he would continue to command the company until it was reorganized as Company B in the Third Michigan in April of 1861. In 1859-60 Baker was working as a carpenter with Almon (who was probably his son) on the east side of Turner between Bridge and First Streets, on the west side of the Grand River, and in 1860 he was a master carpenter living in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.

Baker was 47 years old and still living on the west side when he enlisted as Captain of Company B (Almon joined Company K) on May 13, 1861. On July 29 he wrote to the Adjutant General of the United States Army, asking him “to accept the immediate and unconditional resignation of his commission as Captain in Co. B 3d Regt. Michigan Infantry and would ask for an honorable discharge from service under such commission on account of ill health of himself and family. I am troubled with a chronic hemorrhoidal disease which in all justice renders me unfit to do duty.” On the same day Regimental Assistant Surgeon Dr. Zenas E. Bliss certified that Borden was indeed “incapable of performing military duty from the fact of his having hemorrhoids . . . which has troubled him for fifteen years past, and which has been increased by recent exposure and fatigue resulting from the recent march to ‘Bull Run’ and the retreat.”

In fact, Borden resigned on account of hemorrhoids on July 30, 1861. He was replaced, George Miller of Company A, wrote home on Sunday, August 11, 1861, by First Lieutenant Fred Shriver of Company A. Miller noted simply that “Captain Borden . . . has gone back to the Rapids.”

Baker indeed returned home to Grand Rapids, where he was reported to have reentered the service as Captain in Company B, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics at the organization of that unit on September 12, 1861, when the regiment was formally organized at Marshall, Calhoun County. On October 2, 1861, he wrote to Michigan Governor Austin Blair asking whether a commissioned officer who had previously been mustered into U.S. service and then resigned under honorable circumstances on account of disability could be reinstated as a commissioned officer in another Regiment. While Blair’s reply is not known, Baker was accepted into the Michigan E & M, and probably mustered in with the regiment on October 29, 1861.

The regiment left Michigan for Louisville, Kentucky on December 17 and was broken into at least three detachments almost immediately. Company B was probably on duty at Green River, Kentucky, building storehouses, fortifications, etc., until February of 1862 when it and the regiment advanced to Bowling Green, Kentucky and then advanced on to Nashville, Tennessee February 14-28. The regiment was Engaged in building railroad bridges at Franklin, Columbia, Murfreesboro, etc., till April.

He resigned on account of disability on February 23, 1862. “The men,” wrote Private Albert Graves of Company E on February 9, “regret his loss like that of a father for he is a model captain.” Private William Calkins of Company B wrote home that something besides a disability was involved. He told his wife that Borden “has resigned on the account of our being deceived and he is going to do what he can to have us mustered out.” Calkins was concerned over the issue of pay rates for volunteer engineers and he infers here that Borden resigned in large measure due to his unwillingness to tolerate the failure of the government to pay the engineers more money.

Others were not so convinced of Borden’s virtuous character as Graves and Calkins. Captain James Sligh, also of Grand Rapids and who commanded Company F of the E & M was apparently informed by his wife that upon arriving in Michigan Borden had been critical of Colonel William Innes, then commanding the E & M. “Col. Innes,” Sligh wrote home to his wife on March 29, “says that fear and nothing else was the cause of Captain Borden resigning as they were just to the point of moving forward to attack the enemy when he applied for his discharge and it has some little appearance to it when we remember his first resignation and the charge Col McConnell made against [him] at that time. And again if an officer has inadvertently enlisted men under a false idea, he should have honor enough to stick by them to the last and share their difficulties and danger and endeavor to get for them their rights and not leave them because he can resign and they cannot.” In Sligh’s estimation, Borden, who not only had shown the white feather had enlisted the company with promises of pay increases as engineers and then when such a raise failed to materialize simply resigned. Sligh’s reference to Colonel McConnell of the Old Third having made a charge against Borden is also curious, since no mention of this is found in the present record.

Whatever the circumstances, following his discharge from the Michigan E & M in 1862 Borden reportedly went to Kansas, “in the hope,” wrote the Herald in 1899, “of bettering his life and it so happened that he arrived in Lawrence on the night before the famous Quantrill raid in which almost every man in that town was slaughtered. Captain Borden escaped by the merest chance. He had fled to a cornfield in the rear of the hotel in which he was staying at the first alarm. He was seen and pursued by one of Quantrill's men who ordered him to halt. Borden turned about and faced the rebel and told him he was perfectly defenseless. The guerrilla was just about to shoot when Captain Borden made a Masonic sign which was recognized by the rebel who happened to be a fellow Mason. He not only spared his life but aided him to escape.”

Shortly after this incident (if in fact it took place) Baker returned to Grand Rapids where he lived the remainder of his life. From 1867-69 he was co-owner of Wheeler, Borden & Co., a sash and blind factory run on an eight-hour day schedule, on the site of the old Engine House no. 3 in Grand Rapids, and was living at 16 Turner Street. Although his business soon failed, Borden remained a firm advocate of the eight-hour workday for the rest of his life, and he continued in his trade for the rest of his life. By 1870 he and Hannah were living in the Fourth Ward where Baker worked as a sash-maker (he owned some $3000 worth of real estate and $7500 of personal effects), and his son (?) Almon was also working in the sash business and he too lived in the Fourth Ward.

Baker married his second wife, Mary A. Belknap (1827-1887) on November 6, 1872, in Grand Rapids (his son Almon and daughter-in-law Julia Borden were witnesses).

Baker was working as a mechanic in 1872, and in 1880 was listed as a builder and living on Turner Street with his wife and two step-sons in Grand Rapids. (Two doors away lived Henry Marvin who had also served in the Third Michigan.) He was working as a carpenter in 1890-91, a builder in 1892 and in 1894, was a wagon-maker for Belknap & Co. in 1895, as a wood-worker in 1896, a carpenter in 1897 and a wagon-maker in 1898, and from 1890 to his death in 1899 he lived at 20 Turner Street.

He married his third wife, Ellen Lucina Stockwell (b. 1843) on July 18, 1888. (She had been married before to one Edgar Borden in 1862. As far as is known there is no known connection between Baker and Edgar.)

Baker was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids and was the post chaplain at the time of his death. In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 634957). Baker also belonged to the Old Settlers’ Association, the Old Residents’ Association and was elected an officer in the Doric Lodge F & A. M. number 342. Baker was also a founding member of the Second M.E. church (where Almon’s funeral service had been held).

Baker died of mitral disease of the heart on January 18, 1899, at his home at 20 Turner Street.

Borden’s funeral, held at the Second M.E. church at 2:00 p.m. on January 20, was “one of the largest . . . that has been held for some time in this city . . . and his friends turned out en masse to pay to his memory the last possible tribute of their respect”. Members from the Champlin post G.A.R as well as the Old Settlers’’ Association were in attendance, while George Judd, formerly of Company A, ordered all members of the Old Third to meet at Sweet’s hotel at 1:00 p.m. in order to attend the funeral as a body. Borden always took “an active part in all national and local matters,” wrote the Press, and “he was widely known, loved and honored by all who knew him.”

“One of the notable persons,” wrote the Herald, “who came out of the city to attend the funeral was the Rev. [Amos] Wakefield, the Methodist minister, who was the past of the first church established on the west side of the river, the church which was the predecessor of the present Second Street M.E. Church. . . . The Rev. Wakefield is located now in Middleville and has attained the ripe old age of 70 years.”

Services were conducted by Rev. Joseph McCarthy, pastor of the Second Street M.E. church, and took his text from second Corinthians, verse 1. It was reported that Rev. McCarthy confined his remarks “to a eulogy of the deceased, the speaker dwelling upon his record as a patriot, citizen and churchman.” A “quartet choir sang ‘Home of the Soul’, ‘Soon we'll Gather at the River, ‘It is well with my soul’. The casket was draped with a large American flag and was covered with a mass of roses and call lilies. The Old Third Inf. comrades of Mr. Borden contributed a wreath of beautiful yellow roses, and white roses were given by the neighbors of the deceased. . . . A large procession of relatives and friends followed the remains to Greenwood cem. Services at the grave were conducted under the auspices of the Doric lodge of Masons.”

Baker was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section B lot 45.

After Baker’s death Ellen struggled to make ends meet and eventually sought access to Baker’s pension, in addition to taking in boarders. John Wheeler, a former member of Company B and a lifelong resident of Grand Rapids, wrote in 1899 that he

had been personally acquainted with the late Baker Borden since . . . 1849 and with his present widow Ellen Borden since year 1888. I have been a near neighbor. I have met & seen them frequently. She has not remarried; she remains his widow. To the best of my knowledge and belief, she Ellen Borden has not sufficient income for her support only from her daily labor. That she has to pay $70 interest on the $1000 mortgage of her house and lot that her taxes are $14 per year, insurance about $15, water tax on or about $12 per year. That her income from the rents of her rooms when occupied (as at present) is on or about $19 to $21 per month. She has atr present one day boarder who pays her $2 per week.

The Special Commissioner for Pensions investigating Mrs. Borden’s case found otherwise to be the case. “This claimant,” he wrote in October of 1900,

is a strange woman. She has no friends and the relations of her late husband dislike her. She is said to have a very bad temper and I also heard that her mind was not just right. At times but to me she appeared to be a grasping, prudent stingy woman, she deliberately concealed the fact that she had the note of H. P. Belknap for $1000, and when I found out about it by Miss Nellie Borden and went back to her she at first tried to evade the matter. H. P. Belknap is entirely responsible financially and the note is good for its face. I am surprised that John Belknap did not tell me of this as he is a responsible businessman but he covered this up as will be seen by his attachments [to the report]. I saw the $1000 note he holds against Mrs. Borden’s property; the interest payments are all endorsed upon it but there is no credit on the principal. I am thoroughly satisfied now that all sources of income and property rights of claimant in this state are given herein but I think some urging should be made at her old home in New Hampshire as she may have some interests there covered up. [She did. See below.] The woman is thoroughly greedy. She got this city property deeded to her as a marriage settlement and I understand that she charged her husband board at $2 per week but5 they lived together until Mr. Borden died. He was a highly respectable man. . . .

Mr. Sims, the Special Commissioner, in concluding his report on this case, recommended that a thorough examination of Mrs. Borden property in New Hampshire be undertaken.
In fact, sometime in the fall of 1901 Ellen left Grand Rapids and returned to New Hampshire. In response to a request from the federal government to explain whether she ever drew a pension from her first husband, Edgar Borden who had served in a New Hampshire regiment, Ellen wrote on that she “felt obliged to break up housekeeping [in Grand Rapids] and come east . . . to visit my relatives, in order to save expenses, and put my building [presumably in Newport, New Hampshire] in repair so as to keep my tenants.”

His widow eventually received a pension (no. 547424).

James D. Bennett

James D. Bennett was born March 4, 1841, in Michigan, the son of John Delivan (1811-1887) and Mary Ann (Borden, 1811-1866).

New Yorkers John D. and Mary were presumably married in New York where they were living by 1832 when their oldest son Joseph was born. John brought his family to Michigan and had settled in Lodi, Washtenaw County by 1838 when his son William was born and was probably living in Salem Township, Washtenaw County by 1840. By 1850 James was attending school with four of his older siblings, including his brother William and they were all living on the family farm in Lodi. John D. eventually moved his family to the western side of the state, settling in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

In December of 1859 James was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, a Grand Rapids militia company made up mostly of men from the west side of the Grand River and commanded by Captain Baker Borden, who would become the first captain of Company B, Third Michigan infantry. (Baker was probably related to James’ mother Mary. In fact, Baker first settled his family in Lodi, Washtenaw County in the late 1830s before moving to the western side of the state.) In addition, James’ older brother William B. may have been the same “William D. Bennett” who joined the Grand Rapids Artillery on June 16, 1860. (In turn, this may have been the same "William W. Bennett" who also served in the GRA and subsequently in Company B, Third Michigan Infantry.)

In 1859-60 James’ father was manufacturing vinegar on the west side of Turner Street between Second and Third Streets on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, and in 1860 James was living with his family in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward and possibly working as a tinsmith. Next door lived Elisha O. Stevens who would also join the Third Michigan.

James was 21 years old and still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Fourth Sergeant in Company B on May 13, 1861. James was promoted to Second Lieutenant, commissioned on October 27, 1862, replacing Lieutenant George Remington.

He was probably present for duty with the regiment from the time it arrived in Washington in June of 1861 until May of 1863 when he was court-martialled shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

At 10:00 a.m. on May 25, 1863, James was court martialled at Second Brigade headquarters, First Division, Third Corps, near Falmouth, Virginia, for being AWOL during the battle of Chancellorsville, on May 2, 3 & 4 of 1863.

Specifically, he was charged with, first, “Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline” in that he “did leave his company and Regiment on the night of the 2nd day day of May, while said company and Regiment were engaged with the enemy [at Chancellorsville] and did not return until the morning of the 4th day of May 1863.” Second, he was charged with being “Absent without leave,” that he “did leave his company and Regiment without the consent or knowledge of his company commander (First Lieutenant Alfred Pew) or Regimental commander (Colonel Byron R. Pierce), and did remain absent about two days. All this while the Regiment was engaged with the enemy at or near Chancellorsville, Va., on or about the 2nd, 3rd & 4th days of May 1863.”

Brigadier General J. H. Ward presided over the court which consisted of Colonels Samuel Hayman of the Thirty-seventh New York, Thomas Egan of the Fortieth New York, A. S. Leidy (?) of the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, Peter Sides of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, Byron Pierce of the Third Michigan and Lieutenant Col. E. Burt of the Third Maine; Major W. C. Taylor of the Twentieth (?) Indiana was the Judge Advocate. The accused was asked if he had any objection to any member of the court and replied no. First Lieutenant Alfred Pew, First Sergeant William Coughtry and Sergeant David Northrup (all of Company B) were called as witnesses for the prosecution. Bennett pled guilty to both charges and specifications, was found guilty on both and sentenced to “forfeit all pay and allowances that are or may become due him and that he be cashiered.”

On June 7, while the regiment was at Belle Plain, Virginia, David Northrup of Company B wrote to a former Company B soldier, Fred Stow discussing this incident.

You mention the report of the arrest of James [Bennett] and Almon Borden. It is too true. Their sentence is as you hear. Capt. Borden dismissed with pay [and] James cashiered, dismissed without pay. It is the opinion of all that it is unjustly hard on James. It ought to be reversed the two. Borden ought to go without pay. The charge against James was deserting his company before the enemy. He went in with us the night of the charge and was not seen till Monday morning. We all supposed him killed or taken prisoners. But Monday morning he made his appearance. He is with Al[mon Borden] in Washington at present. I do not know what they intend to do. Now do not tell anyone that I have written anything about it. It must be a severe blow to his father. I presume he will take it hard. James has been anxious, very, to get out of the service but I think at too great a sacrifice. I am very sorry and do not know hardly how to express my thoughts. I should rather have sacrificed my life than to have to have such a thing to think of. I would not let this be public even to his friends if they do not know it. You will see it in the Herald of June second or third. I do not remember which. I have not got through but must close for the want of more room.

Interestingly, on October 31, 1864, the War Department informed Michigan Governor Austin Blair that the sentence of Bennett’s court martial “is hereby removed, and he can be recommissioned an officer of Volunteers”, presumably to serve in the colored troops. And in fact James served as First Lieutenant in Company C, Thirteenth United States Colored Heavy Artillery. The Thirteenth had been organized at Camp Nelson, Kentucky on June 23, 1864 and was attached to the District of Kentucky (Dept. of Ohio) until February of 1865 and then to the Dept. of Kentucky until November. It was in garrison duty at Camp Nelson, Smithland, Lexington and a variety of other points in Kentucky. The regiment was mustered out of service on November 18, 1865.

After the war James eventually returned to his home in western Michigan and by 1865-66 was working as a clerk and living at 34 Fourth Street on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, next door to one J. H. Bennett.

No pension seems to be available.

James apparently never married and was probably working as a tinsmith when he died of consumption in Grand Rapids on November 24, 1867. His funeral service was held at the West Side Presbyterian Church (where the funeral of Francis Barlow of Company I had been held in 1864), and he was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section C lot 1. (David Northrup would also die of consumption in Grand Rapids in 1876 and he too was buried in Greenwood cemetery after a funeral at the Presbyterian Church on the West Side.)

James’ headstone describes Bennett as “A sacrifice in the slaveholder rebellion.”

His father John remarried one Emma, who died in 1878.