Leavenworth NaCem

Alva M. Weller

Alva M. Weller was born on August 20, 1843, in Bullville, Orange County, New York, the son of Theodore V. (1815-1898) and Elizabeth Ann (Rowe).

His father was born in New York and married Elizabeth probably in New York. The family left New York and moved westward. In 1850 Alva was living with his family in Racine, Wisconsin, and by 1860 Alva was living with his parents in Mason, Ingham County, Michigan. (According to a statement he made in 1914. There is no census record extant for this Weller family in Wisconsin. There was one Alva Weller, age 18, working in 1860 as a farm laborer living with and/or working for Nathan Rowley, a farmer in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan.)

Alva stood 5’11’’, with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 17 years old and probably living in Ingham County when he enlisted in Company G on May 13, 1861. In late 1861 he suffered briefly from diphtheria “which resulted in an affection of the kidneys, throat and rectum and involving the entire right side,” occurring “in Camp Michigan about December 1861,” and that he “was treated in Regimental hospital by Dr. [Zenas] Bliss.”

Alva eventually returned to duty and was wounded about 4:00 p.m. on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. According to Weller, he “was stabbed or pricked by a bayonet from an enemy at the fight or battle of Williamsburg Virginia in 1862. I was wounded at the Second battle of Bull Run [Groveton] by receiving a gunshot wound in the right arm and shoulder.” By early September was reported as “slightly” wounded.

Slight or not, by early October he was in Union Hotel hospital in Georgetown, DC, and was eventually sent to New York City for treatment, and according to his attending surgeon, his wound was caused when he was hit “by a musket ball in the right arm,” wrote Dr. Alex Mott in January of 1863, at the Ladies Home hospital in New York City. The ball then entered “the axillary space at about 1 inch below the coracoid process, passing inward, making its exit at about 1 inch below the head of the Os Brachii posteriorly, shattering the bone about its neck. There was great hemorrhage, continuing 24 hours.”

Weller “Was immediately taken to the rear,” continued Dr. Mott, “but the wound was not dressed for 24 hours, when he was taken to Fairfax Station [Virginia] remaining there until the following day. -- Then sent to Georgetown where he was treated for two months -- wounds dressed with simple dressings discharging freely. On November 4th [he] was put aboard the transport Daniel Webster arriving at this hospital Nov. 9th. About one week before leaving Georgetown an abscess was first noticed, forming below the wound at about the insertion of the deltoid muscle. It was opened and discharged freely. Surgeon removing three pieces of bones. When admitted to this hospital patient was much reduced from continued suppuration, wound looked unhealthy. Very soon hospital gangrene set in but was soon checked with undiluted nitric acid, then simple dressings and disinfectants were applied. The wound is now nearly healed, discharging slightly and the patient is gradually gaining the use of the arm.” Mott noted that as of February 1, 1863, Weller was performing guard duty at the hospital in New York.

Weller was transferred to Company G, Tenth Regiment of the Veterans’ Reserve Corps (or the Second Battalion) on October 29, 1863, probably in New York City, and, according to his pension records, he was honorably discharged on June 10, 1864 at New York City.

After the war Alva lived briefly in Colorado before returning to Michigan where he settled back in Mason.

He was working as a laborer and living in Parma, Jackson County by March of 1868, when he applied for a pension (no. 94964), for a gunshot wound to the right arm, drawing $12.00 by 1901, $25.00 from 1913 and $30.00 from 1915. (His father was working as a stone mason in Sandstone, Jackson County in 1870 and he was in Parma in 1880). In 1890 he was living in Mt. Pleasant, Isabella County. Alva eventually moved on to Kansas where he worked as a plasterer and lived most of his life.

By October of 1897 he was living in Kansas, giving his post office address as Box 201 in Leavenworth, Kansas, and in early 1901 he was residing in the National Military Home in Leavenworth (he listed his post office address as 228 Shawnee Street in Leavenworth), and in 1902 he was living at 425 Cherokee Street.

By November of 1908 Alva was living in the National Military Home in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, and was still living in Dayton in September of 1912 when he was examined by Dr. E. S. Breese in Dayton, who wrote that Weller suffered from a “gunshot wound of right arm. Scar of wound entrance depressed, admits half of first joint of thumb. Situated 2 in above & 1 in internal to upper part of anterior axillary fold. Wound of exit depressed, big enough to admit tip of index finger situated along posterior border of deltoid muscle 2 in above highest point of posterior axillary fold. A large cicatrix, oval, 2x3 in, on anterior surface of arm on level of axilla. The scar is adherent to muscle & bone. There has been great destruction of tissue her. The muscles are pushed off to the inner side of the bone. Results. Atrophy. Measurements of the limb vary from 2 in to 3/4 in smaller than those of left arm. There is very noticeable wasting of the thenar, hypothenar and interosseii muscles. The arm is weak, painful, atrophied, and affected with tremor.”

In August of 1913 he was back in Kansas living at 631 Shawnee Street, and in April of 1914 he was living in the National Military Home in Leavenworth. In November of 1920 he was residing at 509 Olive Street in Leavenworth, and was probably a member of L company in the National Military Home.

Alva apparently never married, and he listed his nearest relative as a niece, Dora Weller, living in Mt. Pleasant, Isabella County, Michigan.

He died on June 10, 1921, in the hospital of the Western branch National Military Home (Leavenworth), of acute cardiac dilatation and chronic myocarditis. He was presumably buried in Leavenworth although he does not appear to be listed in the Home burial records.

Lewis W. Miller - update 8/21/2016

Lewis W. Miller was born in 1825 in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, the son of Massachusetts natives Stephen (b. 1790) and Hannah (b. 1798).

Lewis’s family left Massachusetts and by 1849 had settled in Ohio left Massachusetts and headed west, eventually settling in Michigan. By 1860 Lewis was working as a painter and living with his parents (his father was a wagonmaker with $3,600 in real estate) and two younger siblings in Lansing, Ingham County.

Lewis stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, brown hair and florid complexion and was a 36-year-old mechanic probably living in Lansing, Ingham County when he enlisted as a Drummer in Company G on May 10, 1861. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He was probably injured on May 31, 1862, at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. Apparently he injured his back while carrying a wounded man from the battlefield. In any case, he was probably hospitalized from early June until he was discharged on January 26, 1863, at the 3rd Corps hospital at Fort Lyon near Alexandria, Virginia, for “chronic nephritis & irritation of spine caused by a strain while carrying a wounded man at the battle of Fair Oaks” on May 31, 1862.

On February 10, 1863 he was transferred as a Drummer to Company H, 1st Veteran Reserve Corps and discharged from the VRC on March 18, 1863, at Detroit, reportedly at the “expiration of service” (although that would in fact not happen until June 10, 1864.

It is unknown if Lewis returned to Michigan.

He was apparently living in Nebraska in 1884 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 743551). He was working as a traveling doctor when he was admitted as a single man to the National Military Home in Leavenworth, Kansas, on December 23, 1897, discharged on March 10, 1898. He apparently moved to his brother Hiram’s home in Colby, Kansas (he had listed Hiram, or H. H., as his nearest relative upon admission to the NMH). He was readmitted on June 27, 1898.

Lewis was a member of the NMH when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on July 28, 1909, and was buried in Leavenworth National Cemetery: sec. 25, Leavenworth, Kansas.

John B. Champion

John B. Champion was born around 1835 in New York City.

John left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He married Frances E. “Fanny” Jaycocks (1843-1909), on November 27, 1856, in Otsego, Allegan County, and they had at least five children: Burton B. (b. 1858), Melvan (b. 1860), Edward (b. 1861), Cora M. (Mrs. Andrus, b. 1872) and Edith B. (b. 1877).

By 1860 John was working as a shoemaker and his wife was a tailoress in Allegan village, Allegan County; living nearby was Edward Wheelock who would enlist in Company F.

John was 26 years old and living in Allegan County when he, along with John Calkins and George Bailey, also from Allegan, walked to Grand Rapids on June 4, 1861, to join the Third Michigan then forming at Cantonment Anderson south of city. Although his two friends enlisted in Company F John enlisted in the Band, probably the following day, June 5 or perhaps the 6th.

John was discharged on February 28, 1862, as a member of Band, not as a Musician.

John returned to his home in Allegan where he reentered the service as Private in Company L, Fourth Michigan cavalry on August 12, 1862, for 3 years, and was mustered on August 29 at Detroit. In February and March of 1863 he was treated at the camp hospital for chronic diarrhea, He was transferred on September 1 to the non-commissioned staff as Chief Bugler, and detached with Major Robbins from December 17, 1863, through February of 1864. In January and February of 1865 he was reported absent sick since November 30, 1864. John was mustered out with the regiment on July 1, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee.

John returned to Allegan County after the war, and then moved to Great Bend, Kansas and Le Moss, Iowa, finally settling in Minnesota where he kept a saloon for some years. By 1870 he was living in Winona’s First Ward, Winona County, Minnesota, and was still living in Minnesota in 1888 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 795524). By 1890 he was living in Luverne, Rock County, Kansas. At some point he was admitted to the National Military Home Western Branch at Leavenworth, Kansas.

John died of mitral regurgitation in ward no. 3 of the hospital at the National Home on March 5, 1900. He was interred in the Leavenworth National Cemetery: section 14, row 2-6, grave no. 20).

In May of 1900 his widow was living in Minnesota when she applied for and received a pension (no. 505432), and in fact had settled in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lived with her daughter, Mrs. Cora Andrus, until she died in 1909 and was buried in Oakland cemetery, St. Paul.