Zeph Jeffers

Zeph Jeffers, also known as “Jeph Jeffers,” was born around July of 1837, probably in France.

“Zeph” immigrated to the United States and eventually arrived in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan, around 1856, where he was employed as a mill worker. By 1860 he was working as a mill hand for the Beidler milling company in Muskegon (the same mill as William Gibson who would also enlist in Company H, Third Michigan)

He stood 5’11” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was a 23-year-old baker living in Muskegon when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.) He was first reported to be missing in action on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, but in fact had been wounded by a gunshot to the right arm on August 29, and subsequently absent in the hospital from September of 1862 until he was discharged on January 14, 1863, at Annapolis, Maryland, for “loss of power in and inability to raise the right arm from gunshot wound -- the ball entering at a cromian process and extracted at base of scapula above [the] Dinfering angle.”

Following his discharge “Zeph” returned to Muskegon where he married Prussian-born Mary Lansiff (1845-1918) on May 20, 1863, at the Congregational Church in Muskegon, and they had at least two children: Abner (b. 1865) and Charles (b. 1869), and two adopted children by the last name of Stephen.

Although he found himself exempt from the draft list because he was an alien, he may have nevertheless reentered the service on March 11, 1864, in Company G, First United States Veteran Volunteers Engineers. The regiment was organized in the Department of the Cumberland from the Pioneer Brigade, Department of the Cumberland, on July 8, 1864. It’s primary duties involved repairing railroads, building blockhouses and bridges and in general engineering duties until September of 1865. “Zeph” was discharged with the regiment on September 26, 1865, probably in the Department of the Cumberland.

“Zeph” listed Muskegon as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and after the war returned home to Muskegon where he resumed working in the sawmills. By 1880 he was working as a sawyer in a lumber mill and living with his wife and children in Lakeside, Muskegon County. He was living in Muskegon in 1880 when he joined Grand Army of the Republic Kearny Post No. 7 in Muskegon (although he was suspended from the post in 1893 and dismissed in 1898), in 1883 when he was drawing $8.00 per month (pension no. 93,699, dated 1868) for a fractured right scapula, and was still living in Muskegon three years later when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1886. He was residing in Muskegon in 1897, and indeed, he lived the remainder of his life in Muskegon and by 1894 was residing in the Second Ward where he was working as a baker.

“Zeph” died at his home at the corner of Apple and Fork Streets in Muskegon at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, February 28, 1897, and the funeral was held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday March 3 from the family home. He was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Muskegon: Grand Army of the Republic section, 3-8-6.

His widow was living in Michigan in April of 1897 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 454640), drawing $25 per month by 1918. By 1915 she was residing at 449 Coit ave., in Grand Rapids.