Joel Consider Guild

Joel Consider Guild was born March 1, 1840, in Kent County, Michigan, the son of Consider (1813-1883) and Phebe (Leavitt, 1819-1852).

Consider was one of the very first pioneers in what would become Grand Rapids, settling in June of 1833 along the banks of the Grand River where the village would soon be established. He married Phebe Ann Leavitt in Grand Rapids in 1838 and they settled down in Paris Township. Consider married his second wife Therese Campau McCabe in about 1853 or 1854, probably in Grand Rapids. He eventually sold his farm and moved into the city where he operated several business interests (Guild & Barr, then Guild & Baxter). Shortly before the war Consider purchased a farm in just across the Ottawa County line in Georgetown. By 1860 his son Joel was working as a farm laborer and living with his father and stepmother in Georgetown.

Joel was 21 years old and probably living in Grand Rapids or in Georgetown when he enlisted at the age of 21 in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported detached to the signal service from July of 1862 through September, and in the hospital from October 11, through November of 1862. He returned to duty and was wounded in the left arm on May 5, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and it is not known if he was present for duty with the regiment when it was engaged in the Peach Orchard, just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 1863. On July 16, 1863, Joel was hospitalized at Hammond general hospital, Point Lookout, Maryland suffering from acute diarrhea and intermittent fever. By September 3, he was considered “perfectly recovered and . . . anxious to join his Regiment.” In fact, it seems quite likely that Joel never fully recovered from his dysentery.

In any case, Joel reported for duty on September 10, and on December 24, 1863, he was a Corporal when he reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, probably in Michigan, in January of 1864 and he probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. He was transferred as a Sergeant to Company A, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported to have been wounded sometime in August. He was promoted to Sergeant Major on December 13, 1864, near Petersburg, Virginia, and in February of 1865 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, commissioned as of November 7, 1864, and transferred on February 25 to Company H, replacing Lieutenant Shontz. Joel was present for duty in March, and officially reported on sick leave in Michigan from June 5, 1865, when, according to one contemporary source, in fact he had gone home on a furlough sometime in late March.

Although reported mustered out on July 5, 1865 at Jeffersonville, Indiana, it is quite possible that Joel never returned to the Regiment and was living in Georgetown when he married Mary E. Jenison on June 27, 1865, in Grand Rapids.

In September of 1865 he applied for a pension (no. 57331) but the certificate was never granted.

Joel died in Cascade, Kent County of chronic diarrhea on Sunday, December 3, 1865, and the funeral was held at the Methodist church, corner of Division and Fountain Streets in Grand Rapids. His younger brother George, age 12, had died very suddenly of a hemorrhage on November 30, and they were both interred in Oak Grove cemetery in Grand Rapids. In its obituary for Joel, the Grand Rapids Eagle wrote on December 4, 1865,

Under our notice of deaths in today’s issue, occurs the name of Lieut. Joel C. Guild, late of the 5th Infantry. Young Guild was among the first who sprang to arms under the first call in 1861. He went out as a private in the gallant Old Third. Young, of rather slight build and almost effeminate features when he enlisted, we feared, when bidding him goodbye, on that occasion, that he had undertaken a task to which he was physically unequal, though he had the heart of a lion, with heroic resolution and courage. How fearful was the sacrifice of that glorious pioneer regiment is told in the history of a Champlin, of a Judd, of near eight hundred of its stoutest hearts, who have either yielded their lives for the old flag, or received wounds in its defense. Despite the fears of his friends, however, young Guild, who was in all its battles, gathered strength commensurate with his nerve, and was never off his post, never flagged in the march, till after the famous Pennsylvania raid and the Gettysburg slaughter. His invincible resolution and will had borne him through, and he had attained to a well-knit and hardy frame. His bravery at length attracted the attention of his superiors, and he was promoted, upon the consolidation of the two [Third and Fifth regiments], from a private of the Third to a Lieutenant of the Fifth. But, at last, he was attacked by that most dreaded and insidious scourge of the Southern climate to the soldier , which has at length worn out his body, and his name is added to the long list of victims of a foul rebellion. That the circle of friends who mourn his departure none were ever dearer, than the affections he had secured none were ever stronger. Let us not forget the brave.

In 1866 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 88003).

Robert Guild Barr

Robert Guild or Guild R., also known as “Ban”, was born October 8, 1839, in Paris, Kent County, Michigan, eldest son of Robert M. (1813-1910) and Mary W. (Guild, d. 1909).

In 1826 Robert M. moved from New York to Ypsilanti with his parents, and as a young man of 21, he settled along the banks of the Grand River in 1834, the year after the first permanent settlement was established in what would become Grand Rapids. According to one source, Robert M. “prospered rapidly and engaged in” a variety of trades throughout his life in Grand Rapids: he worked as a musician and was reportedly much in demand at the time, he also worked as a carpenter, and eventually opening a meat business and for a time he manufactured matches. “These matches were plain, primitive sulphur and brimstone variety and were dipped carefully by hand.”

Robert M. met and married Mary Guild, the daughter of Joel Guild, one of the founders of Grand Rapids. (Joel had settled along the banks of the Grand River in 1833).

Little is known of the early life of his son Robert G., who was commonly called “Guild” Barr. By 1859-60 he was boarding on the east side of Spring Street between Island and Oakes Streets, and in 1860 was working as a marble cutter living in Grand Rapids' First Ward.

Guild stood 5’8” with brown eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 21 years old and still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted on May 28, 1861, in Company A. (He may have been a member of the Valley City Guard, the prewar Grand Rapids militia company whose members would form the nucleus of Company A, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

He was shot in the right side of his abdomen, at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862, and subsequently absent sick in the hospital in July of 1862. It was said in later years that he was wounded so badly at Fair Oaks “that the surgeons supposed he would not live, and hence his wounds were not dressed until about 48 hours after” he was brought in to the hospital. “But,” wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle in 1875, “nature rallied, and after a long prostration under hospital treatment, he was discharged . . . came home and so far recovered as to be able to ride on horseback.”

In fact, however, he soon rejoined his Regiment and was wounded a second time, in his right side, at Second Bull Run on August 29, 1862, and was hospitalized until he was discharged for disability on December 12 at Detroit. According to his discharge paper he received a “wound on the right side of [the] abdomen, passing through the right ilium below the crest, three inches from the spinal column a very severe wound producing lameness and deformity. . . .”

After his discharge from the army Guild returned home to Grand Rapids and ran for constable of the First Ward in April of 1863 but was defeated by John Duris.

Soon afterward, he reentered the service as a Second Lieutenant in Company E, Tenth Michigan cavalry on July 10, 1863, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was commissioned July 25th. (The Tenth was formally organized in Grand Rapids between September 18 and November 18, 1863.) In mid-August he had opened a recruiting office for the Tenth cavalry in Abel’s Block on Monroe Street. The Grand Rapids Eagle described Lieutenant Barr as “a big-hearted, whole-souled young man, who will ask no services at the hands of his command that he is not ready and willing to perform at the sound of the bugle.”

On September 4 “A war meeting was held at North Brownville,” Kent County, wrote the Eagle, “for the purpose of getting recruits for the Tenth Cavalry. The meeting was quite large and very spirited. It was addressed by J. D. Edmunds and B. A. Harlan, of [Grand Rapids], resulting in the enlisting of several brave boys under Lt. Barr, with a fair prospect of getting more of the same sort.” Soon after leaving the meeting, however, “a rather amusing incident involving Barr and his brother-in-law Jim Fisk, owner of Fisk’s tavern. It seemed that while Barr and Fisk

were returning from the war meeting, held at North Brownville, last evening, the hour being late, or rather early this morning, and both parties having fallen asleep, their horse necessarily took his own course, and regardless of his sleeping load, ran against a stump a short distance beyond the Lake House, and capsized the buggy, broke a wheel to pieces, and ran away. The unconscious riders were, of course, suddenly aroused from their slumbers by being so terribly joggered and unceremoniously spilt upon the ground. Fortunately, they were not injured and had but a short distance to walk ere they reached a stopping place.

Guild was formally mustered into the Tenth cavalry on October 22 at Grand Rapids, and by the end of October of 1863 was serving with the Regiment in Tennessee. In December he was absent sick since December 12 at Frankfort, Kentucky, and absent sick at Point Burnside, Kentucky from February 26, 1864, but by April of 1864 was with his company on detached service at Knoxville, Tennessee.

In August, Guild, along with some 40 others from his Regiment, were captured during the battle of Flat Creek, near Knoxville. Some years later, however, the Eagle claimed that he had been taken prisoner near Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, “by Wheeler's Confederate cavalry, and actually robbed -- stripped of all but his pants and shirt -- marched 3 days barefoot, and was then paroled.” After being paroled, he took leave on September 5, and returned to his home in Grand Rapids. He informed the editor of the Eagle, that “everything going on well in Knoxville and vicinity, where he has been, and everybody in favor of Lincoln for President.”

In November Guild was back on detached service at Knoxville, and in December he was again sick in Knoxville, although by January 21, 1865, he was serving as a member of the general court martial in Knoxville, and remained as such through March. On or about March 27 Guild was ordered to proceed to Washington and be examined for possible transfer to the Veterans Reserve Corps, but the record is unclear as to whether this order was in fact obeyed.

From April through May he was at the “dismounted” camp at Knoxville, reportedly at home in Michigan during May and June and was honorably discharged on May 28, 1865, to accept promotion; he was commissioned a First Lieutenant January 6, 1865, replacing Lieutenant Dunn, and he returned home to Michigan on sick leave for 20 days from June 26, and between July 18 and 25 he attempted to extend his furlough. By September and October of 1865 he was on duty with his company. Guild was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis.

After the war Guild returned to his home in Grand Rapids where he resumed his work as a stone and marble cutter, and in 1865-66 was living at 31 Spring Street. By 1867-68 he was residing on Paris Street and working for William Laraway & Co.

Guild married New Jersey native Caroline “Carrie” Harding (1840-1872) on May 1, 1866, and they had at least three children: Clyde (1867-1872), Hattie (1869-1873) and Clara (1869). (The two girls may in fact have been twins.)

Carrie died in childbirth on October 17, 1872 (probably giving birth to a fourth child who also died it would appear), and their five-year-old son Clyde died 11 days later; Hattie died about a year after that and Robert was left with one daughter, Clara Bell. (According to her pension application filed some years later Clara was reportedly born March 22, 1869, at the home of one Jacob Harding, probably Carrie's family, in White Lake, Oakland County, although she is not listed in the 1870 census along with the other members of her family.)

In 1870 Guild was working as a stone cutter and living with his wife and two children in Paris.

Guild was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1863 he applied for and received pension no. 12321.

He lived the remainder of his life in Grand Rapids, working as a stone-cutter.

In the early 1870s Guild was stricken with cancer. It was reported in the Grand Rapids Democrat of August 20, 1875, that he seemed to recover his strength, but his health failed for the last time and he died of cancer at his home near Reed’s Lake on October 18, 1875.

The Eagle wrote in its obituary that Robert was “A young man of fine promise, he was among the first who sprang to arms in defense of the integrity of the nation, in company A of the ‘Old Third’ Mich. Inf., which with such heroism and at such terrible sacrifices, won imperishable honors at the beginning of the war.” The paper added that he was a “Brave, generous, and as ardent soldier as ever went forth to do battle in a righteous cause, [and] was with his comrades in the front where his Regiment met its hardest fate and severest losses.” Further, that “Guild Barr was one of nature's noblemen, kind, loving, generous, genial and sociable.” The paper also noted that “a darling girl about 7 years of age, is left an orphan.”

The funeral took place at Allen Durfee’s funeral parlor on October 22, and former Old Third comrade George E. Judd acted as one of the pall-bearers. Guild was buried in Oak Hill cemetery: section 2 lot 28.

Some years after Robert’s death a pension was filed on Clara's behalf (no. 380672) but the application was rejected in 1893 on the grounds that Clara had passed the age of 16 by the time her father had died. In fact the application reported Guild's date of death as 1885, the year Clara turned 16, when in fact it was 1875. certificate was never granted. Clara was reportedly living in Pittsfield, Washtenaw County by May of 1888. Cuirously one F. C. Crittenden is listed as "guardian for a minor," presumably Clara, in 1898 when she would have been nearly 30 years old, and living in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County, Michigan. By 1904 Clara was living in Santa Barbara, California.

By 1880 Robert’s father was living with his daughter and her husband, William Laraway, in Grand Rapids Township.