Isaac H. Shekels - update 8/23/2016

Isaac H. Shekels was born on April 16, 1838, in Stark County, Ohio, the son of John W. (b. 1808 in Pennsylvania died in 1881) and Elizabeth Katherine (Yant, born 1812 in Ohio and died in 1875).

By 1850 Isaac was attending school with his siblings and living on the family farm in Paris, Stark County, Ohio. Isaac eventually left Ohio and by 1860 he was possibly working as a fisherman with and/or for John and Cornelius More, also fishermen, in Crystal Lake, Leelanau County.

Isaac stood 5’7” with dark eyes and hair and a dark complexion, and was 22 years old and possibly residing in Mecosta County or in Wright, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. Isaac was wounded by a shell in the right thigh on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and put aboard the Elm City at White House Landing, Virginia, and transferred to the hospital in Washington, DC, where he arrived on June 5 or 6. He remained hospitalized until he was discharged on October 29, 1862, at Douglas hospital in Washington, DC for “shell wound on inner aspect of lower third of right thigh, injuring the muscles extensively and permanently disabling him for duty as a soldier.”

It is not known if Isaac returned to Michigan after he was discharged from the army. He did go to Indiana where he reentered the army as a Second Lieutenant in Company A, 152nd Indiana Infantry. He was mustered out on August 30, 1865, at Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Isaac returned to Indiana after the war.

He was married to Pennsylvania native Harriet Danner (1848-1904) and they had at least nine children: Marietta (b. 1865), Carrie (b. 1870), Catharine (b. 1872), Abram (b. 1875), Elsie (1879-1967), Nellie (1882-1942), Harry (b. 1880), Bernice (b. 1885) and Jesse Howard (1888-1949).

By 1880 Isaac was working as a butcher and living with his wife and children in Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana. By 1884 he was a farmer living three and a half miles south of Elkhart, Indiana, and in 1890 he was living in Concord, Elkhart County. In 1900 he was still working as a butcher in concord, Indiana, and living with his wife and children. By 1903 Isaac and Harriet were living on Cleveland Avenie in Elkhart, Indiana.

He was probably still living in Elkhart when he married his second wife Amanda Brown on March 12, 1908.

In 1910 Isaac was working as a meat cutter for Lloyd Bros. grocers and meats at Elkart and living with Amanda at 409 St. Joseph Street.

In 1911 he sued Amanda for divorce charging here with being a woman of bad reputation. Although a number of sources including Amanda’s first husband, denied that her character was tarnished, it turned out otherwise. According to a local newspaper,

Isaac Shekels was divorced from Amanda A. Shekels today. Mr. Shekels testified that his wife, whom he married in 1906 [1908], spent all of his money, made his home so disagreeable that he could not stay in it, called him a liar frequently, and associated with women of bad character, naming two. Judge Vanfleet denied the divorce at first, saying he could not grant it on such evidence, but after a witness had testified to the general reputation of the women mentioned, he entered the decree. Mrs. Shekels was in court, but made no contest.

Isaac was still living in Elkhart in 1913, in 1914 at 604 Capitol Blvd., in 1917 he was living at 1004 Capitol Blvd in Elkhart.

In 1874 he applied for and received a pension (no. 144548).

Isaac was listed as a widower when he died of prostrate cancer on May 3, 1918, in Elkhart, Elkhart County, Indiana and was presumably buried there (his fist wife Harriet is reportedly buried in Grace Lawn Cemetery in Elkhart).

Calvin P. McTaggert - update 5/2/2017

Calvin P. McTaggert was born in 1836 in Canada, probably the son of Canadians David (b. 1801) and Deborah (b. 1811).

By 1851 Calvin was working as a laborer and living with his family in Hay, Huron county, Ontario, Canada. By 1859-60 Calvin was working as a carpenter and boarding on the south side of Lyon between Division and Bostwick Streets in Grand Rapids, Kent County.

He was 25 years old and probably still working as a carpenter and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Sixth Corporal 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.)

Calvin was a Sergeant when he was wounded at Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, resulting in the amputation of his left arm by Dr. D. W. Bliss on the field on June 1. In early August he was listed as a patient in City Hospital in New York City, and probably returned to Michigan on sick furlough because by the first week of October he was in Detroit at the Michigan Exchange Hotel.

Calvin eventually returned to duty and was reported as Second Lieutenant of Company F on October 7, 1862, commissioned the same day. In fact, Calvin was commanding the ambulance corps, probably near Falmouth, Virginia, from December 6 or 18, 1862, and was on detached service as chief of ambulance corps, Third Brigade, First Division, Third Corps from January of 1863 through April. Although still on detached service, he was transferred to Company H on May 1 and commissioned a First Lieutenant, replacing Lieutenant Thomas Waters.

(McTaggert’s transferals to Company F and later to Company H were probably on paper only and designed, it is assumed, to allow for his subsequent promotions. In fact, he probably never rejoined the Third Michigan following the loss of his arm but instead served in a managerial capacity in the Brigade Quartermaster department commanding the various ambulance units until the end of 1863 when he was transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps.)

From his office in the ambulance corps at the Third Brigade hospital no. 2 at Belle Plain, Virginia, Calvin wrote to the mother of Third Michigan soldier Chester Adams, who was killed at Fair Oaks, sometime probably in 1863.

Mrs. Adams,

I received four letters from the Postmaster of Grand Rapids, asking for information regarding your son. I knew one corporal Chester Adams, he belonged to Co. B, 3rd Regiment Michigan V. He enlisted at Grand Rapids, Mich. & was wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Va., on the 31st day of May, 1862 by a musket ball in the thigh, and was removed to New York City & afterwards died. I do not know whether he had any property or not, as I did not know him previous to his enlistment but I will find out & let you know., He has about four months pay due him. I have forgot the day of the month that he died. I was in the same hospital with him. You can find out the exact day of his death by applying by letter to the surgeon in charge of City Hospital, New York & then I will see the captain of his company & have him send you his descriptive list, stating the time he was last paid & then on the surgeon’s certificate of his death you can obtain his pay. You had better put it in the hands of some lawyer to collect it for you. I will try and ascertain all about his affairs previous to his enlistment & let you know. If you wish ask me any questions in regard to him for further information. Calvin P. McTaggert, Lieut. & Amb. Off. 3rd Brigade 1st Division 3rd Corps Army of the Potomac

From May of 1863 through July Calvin was absent as acting chief of the ambulance corps, but on the night of July 23 he was seriously injured when he was thrown from his horse, resulting in a second amputation of the left arm, also by Dr. Bliss at Armory Square hospital in Washington.

By early August Calvin had returned to his home in Grand Rapids on sick leave. McTaggert, wrote the Grand Rapids Eagle on August 10, “who recently belonged to the Third Michigan Infantry . . . and who is now a member of the ambulance corps in the army of the Potomac, has just returned to his home in this city, on a furlough, to visit his relatives and friends. All loyal men will greet him with a warm welcome and a hearty shake of his single hand.” At noon on August 13, McTaggert left Grand Rapids “for the field of his duties again.”

By early September of 1863 Calvin was again in need of medical attention for his arm. On September 11, Dr. D. W. Bliss, former Regimental surgeon for the Third Michigan and presently in charge of Armory Square general hospital, sent the following communication regarding McTaggert to Dr. Dewitt, in charge of Invalid officers in Washington. “I would respectfully request permission,” Bliss wrote, “ to take personal supervision of [McTaggert’s] case . . . for the purpose of performing an operation his case requires. I make this request at the instance of this officer, and agreeable to my own wishes, as he is a member of the Regiment to which I was formerly attached, and one of my patrons before entering the public service. The medical director informs me that upon your granting this request he will order Lt. McTaggert to be admitted to this hospital for treatment.’ The request was approved.

In December of 1863 Calvin resigned to accept appointment in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the VRC as of November 26, 1863, and was given a furlough in January of 1864. The Eagle reported on January 6, 1864, McTaggert, “of the 3rd who lost an arm in the battle of Fair Oaks, has just returned on a short visit to his friends in this city. The Lieutenant has been appointed Inspector General for Indiana, in the Invalid Corps, and he will leave for Indianapolis in a few days.”

Calvin eventually arrived in Indianapolis where he served as First Lieutenant 39th company, First Battalion, under Colonel Ambrose A. Stevens, formerly Lieutenant Colonel of the Third Michigan, but now commandant of the prisoner-of-war at Camp Morton in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Calvin married Indiana native Martha “Mattie” Gutteridge (1850-1925) on October 3, 1864 in Marion County, Indiana, and they possibly had one child, a daughter named Dora.

By mid-December of 1865 McTaggert was again back at his home in Grand Rapids. “Captain McTaggert,” wrote the Eagle on December 15, “originally of the noble Third Regiment, is in town. The captain lost his left arm at the battle of Fair Oaks and a subsequent injury necessitated a second amputation close to the shoulder, since which it has been quite troublesome. It is now improving and he hopes for its speedy and permanent healing. He has for some time been attached to the Invalid Reserve Corps, and on duty at Indianapolis. He has been ordered here to report by letter to Washington, being now without a command, and is awaiting the action of Congress in the matter of reorganizing the army for a peace footing.”

Calvin was honorably mustered out of service on September 24, 1866, at Thibodeaux, Louisiana, promoted to Second Lieutenant Forty-fourth United States Infantry on January 22, 1867, transferred to the Seventh United States Infantry on May 27, 1869, and promoted to First Lieutenant March 4, 1873.

He was on duty with the VRC at Washington from April 4, 1867 to June 1, 1868, after which he was on a leave of absence until July 10. He was then reported present for duty in Washington until March of 1869, and in Virginia as of April 1, 1869, on reconstruction duty in the First Military District until July 10, 1869, with the regiment in Virginia and North Carolina until April of 1870 and reported enroute to the Dakota Territory to August 1, 1872.

Calvin applied for and received a pension (no. 77347, dated December 18, 1866).

He was again on sick leave to May 1, 1873, back with the regiment in Dakota to May 30, 1875, on sick leave to August 26, 1876, and on recruiting duty at Loganport, Indiana in September 18, 1876, when he died of a drug overdose on September 18, 1876.

According to eyewitness testimony, Calvin was in the habit of routinely taking “chloral” as well as morphine “to produce sleep,” and that he had suffered regularly for at least two years from sciatica, diminished hearing loss and chronic pain in the stump of his arm. He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

In October of 1876 his widow Mattie applied for and received a pension (no. 178,278). By 1878 she was residing at 15 Fourth Street NE in Washington, DC, in 1878, and by 1880 she had remarried. In 1886 she married John Walden in Lebanon, Indiana.

John Gaff updated 11/14/2017

John Gaff also known as Goff, was born July 16, 1843 in Noble County, Indiana, the son of Pennsylvania natives Robert (b. 1793) and Mary (b. 1802). 

Robert and Mary resided in Ohio for some years and were quite possibly living in Columbia, Meigs County, Ohio in 1840. Between 1838 and 1843 moved to Indiana. By 1850 John was attending school with his siblings and living with on the family farm in Washington, Noble County, Indiana. In 1860 he was with his family in Green, Noble County, Indiana.

John enlisted as a private on November 22, 1861, in Company G, 44th Indiana infantry, and was mustered in the same day. He was wounded in the neck on April 6, 1862, at Shiloh and sent to Cairo, Illinois and then to the general hospital in Mound City, Illinois. He allegedly deserted on October 7, 1862.

John returned to Indiana and was living in Green, Noble County, Indiana in June of 1863 when he registered for the draft (listing his former service in the 44th Indiana). 

He was in Michigan when he enlisted in the 3rd Michigan infantry. He stood 5’10” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion, and was a 20-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Maple Grove, Barry County when he enlisted in Company B on February 26, 1863, at Maple Grove for 3 years, and was mustered the same day at Detroit; he may in fact have been a substitute for one Porter M. Harvard or possibly Harwood, who had been drafted March 10, 1863, for 9 months from Maple Grove. John enlisted with another Noble County resident, John Winebrenner – although Winebrenner was put into Company D – and they both credited Maple Grove, Barry County.

John joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, was a provost guard in Division headquarters from September 21 through October of 1863, and was wounded slightly in the hand in early May of 1864. His friend John Winebrenner wrote home to his own mother on June 19 that John had in fact been wounded in the hand on May 1 at the Wilderness.
John was subsequently hospitalized and remained absent in the hospital when he was transferred to Company E, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was apparently admitted from the general hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to Camp Parole hospital at Annapolis, Maryland on June 21, 1864. (There is however no record of his being taken prisoner and subsequently paroled, so how and why he came to be at Camp Parole in Maryland remains a mystery.) He was quite possibly promoted to Sergeant. (In later years he claimed to have served in the 44th Independent Infantry.) In any case, John remained absent sick until he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana. 

It is not known if he returned to Michigan. He did return to his family home in Indiana. 

John married to Sarah Aurena Wirick (1849-1909) on February 7, 1866, in Indiana, and they had at least nine children: Freling W. (1867-1945), Caroline (Mrs. Gappinger), Melissa (1867-1948), Winnie (b. 1870), Callie (b. 1871), Howard (1873-1945) and Arlo (b. 1877), Mentor (1882-1976, Mrs. Herron) and Victor (1888-1977). 

By 1880 John “Gaff was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Green, Noble County, Indiana and he was in Green, Indiana in 1889. In 1902 John was living in Churubrusco, Indiana, when he testified in the pension application of Barnet Hopkins.
In 1880 John applied for and received a pension (no. 357881).

John died on November 6, 1917, in Churubusco, Whitney County, Indiana, and was buried in Christian Chapel Cemetery, Merriam, Noble County, Indiana.

Preston W. Chaille

Preston W. Chaille, also known as "Presley," was born in 1840, in Jennings County, Indiana, the son of William D. (b. 1814) and Huldy A. (b. 1812).

Indiana-born William married Kentucky native Huldy A. and they settled in Indiana. By 1860 Preston was working as a laborer and living with his family on a large farm in Jackson, Decatur County, Indiana.

Preston stood 5’11”, with a light complexion, hazel eyes and black hair and was probably 23 years old and possibly living in Detroit, Michigan, when he became a substitute for one Samuel F. Crampton (or Crampston or Compton), who had been drafted on February 10, 1863, from Elba, Lapeer County, Michigan for 9 months. Preston was reportedly sent to the Regiment on April 23, but in fact never joined the Third Michigan. There is no service record found in that Regiment’s records at the National Archives, nor is he found in the 1905 Third Michigan Regimental history.

Apparently he enlisted as a substitute for one Daniel Crampston (perhaps related to Samuel F. Crampton, see above) in Battery A, First Michigan Light Artillery on April 14, 1863, at Detroit for 3 years, and was mustered the same day. Shortly afterwards he joined the battery and contracted pneumonia sometime in June of 1863, and possibly tuberculosis as well. He was admitted to the field hospital near Murfreesboro, Tennessee on June 14, 1863 where he remained until June 23 and then sent to hospital no. 19 in Nashville, Tennessee on June 16 until Jul 1. He was admitted to hospital no. 4 in Louisville, Kentucky on July 4 to July 19 and then sent back to Michigan and was admitted to St. Mary’s hospital in Detroit on July 25, 1863 where he remained until he was discharged for phtiasis pulmonialis on September 3, 1863.

Preston probably returned to his former home in Indiana. In any case, he was probably living in Indiana when he probably married Louisa J. Bowen on August 22, 1864, in Decatur County, Indiana.

Curiously, in 1870 "Presley" was working as a farm laborer and living with his parents and siblings in Jackson, Decatur County, Indiana; next door lived the very wealthy Bowen family, presumably his wife’s father and siblings. No mention is noted in the census record of Louisa however.

In 1877 he applied for and received pension no. 177412 for his service in the Michigan artillery. That same year he was residing in Greensburgh, Decatur County, Indiana.

In 1880 “Presley” Chaille was living as a widower and working as a farmer with his family in Jackson, Decatur County, Indiana. It is possible that he was living in Florida in 1885 when he purchased 40 acres of land.

There is no further record.