Saginaw

William Wells - updated 2/7/2017

William Wells, alias “William Gould,” was born on September 8, 1846, in Clinton County, Michigan, the son of Connecticut natives David Wells (b. 1807) and Lucinda Gould (1807-1859).

In 1830 David was probably living in Huntington, Fairfield County, Connecticut. By 1840 David had moved west and was probably living in Novi, Oakland County, Michigan. In 1850 William was living with his family in Westphalia, Clinton County; he was still residing on the family farm in Westphalia in 1860.

For reasons unknown, William took his mother’s maiden name when he became a substitute for Peter Simmonds from Dallas, Clinton County, who was drafted on February 10, 1863, for 9 months.

William stood 5’5’ with blue eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion, and was an 18-year-old farm laborer possibly in in Westphalia, Clinton County when he enlisted in Company B on February 26, 1863, at Dallas for 3 years, crediting Dallas (he may have had some connection with one Anthony Cook also of Dallas). He joined the Regiment on March 10 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia. His medical records, however show that on or about April 14, 1863 he was treated for intermittent fever, and suffering from dysentery May 8-29. In any case, he was shot in the left hip on May 3, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, and admitted to Harewood hospital in Washington, DC on June 15 He returned to duty on June 16, was admitted to the hospital at the convalescent camp near Alexandria, Virginia on July 10, suffering from enteritis and returned to duty on July 30. He was discharged for consumption on August 6 or September 3, 1863, at Camp Convalescent near Alexandria, Virginia.

He listed Westfield (probably Westphalia), Clinton County as his mailing address on his discharge paper. William did indeed return to Michigan where he reentered the service under his real name William Wells in Company I, 10th Michigan Cavalry on August 31, 1863, and was probably mustered into service in Grand Rapids where the regiment was organized between September 18 and November 18, 1863, when it was mustered into service.

The regiment 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. William was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865.

After the war, William returned to Michigan, eventually settling in Saginaw County.

William married New York native wife Mary A. Goodrich (b. 1846-1927), on April 22, 1869, at South Saginaw and they had at least two children: Ada (1870-1946, Mrs. Lockwood) and Bertha (1877-1942, Mrs. Hanna).

By 1880 William was working as a brick-maker and living with his daughters in Saginaw, Saginaw County. He was still living in Saginaw, Saginaw County by 1890 and in 1891. In 1900 William and his wife Mary were living in Saginaw; their daughter Ada Lockwood and her three children were living with them as well as Arthur and Leonard Wells. By 1910 he and Mary were living with their daughter Mrs. Ada Lockwood in Watertown, Clinton County.

In 1880 he applied for and received a pension (no. 448726), drawing $12 per month by 1911.

William died of pneumonia on January 28, 1912, at his home in Spaulding, Saginaw County.

His widow was living in Spaulding, Saginaw County, when she applied in February of 1912 for and received a pension (no. 742693), drawing $30 per month by 1927. She was living in Spaulding in 1920 with her daughter Ada Lockwood.

Mathias Baeker

Mathias Baeker, also known as “Becker”, was born 1836 in Prussia.

As a young man Mathias immigrated to the United States and by the late 1850s had settled in western Michigan. He was living in Grand Rapids when he married Prussian-born Theresa Lux (b. 1838) on February 7 or 11, 1857, in Grand Rapids; the ceremony was performed by Rev. Francis Cuming (who would become the first chaplain in the Third Michigan). Mathias and Theresa had at least ten children: Albert J. (b. 1857), Wilhelm J. (b. 1859), Edward V.M. (b. 1861), Mathilda (b. 1863), Pauline (b. 1865), Augustina (b. 1869), Delia (b. 1877), Maggie (b. 1878), Frank L. (b. 1880) and Hiram (b. 1883).

In 1860 Mathias and his wife were residing in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward where he worked as a cooper.

Mathias was 25 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company C on May 23, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles”, a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

Mathias claimed that during the battle of First Bull Run, on July 21, 1861, he was injured by being ruptured, “which extended into the scrotum by the violence of the action. . . .” He was reported sick in the regimental hospital from November of 1861 through February of 1862, and was discharged for hernia and rheumatism on March 4, 1862, at Camp Michigan, Virginia.

After his discharge from the army Mathias returned to Michigan, living briefly in Kent County, then moving to Allegan and by May of 1868 was living at 822 Harrison Street in Saginaw, Saginaw County, working as a peddler and cooper. He was living with his wife and children and keeping a boarding house in Saginaw’s Second Ward in 1870. He was still living in Saginaw in 1880 with his wife and children, in 1888 and 1890, reportedly suffering from a rupture and rheumatism and in Saginaw’s Fourteenth ward in 1894. In fact, he probably resided at 822 Harrison for the remainder of his life.

In 1888 he applied for and received pension no. 525354, drawing $10.00 per month in 1905. (He may have been a witness for Jackson Bennett’s pension application.)

At some point his wife Theresa was committed to the Michigan State Asylum for the Insane in Kalamazoo, where she died on January 27, 1903. Mathias then married one Catherine Decker (she was divorced from her first husband in 1897), on January 29, 1903, in Saginaw.

Mathias was still residing at 822 Harrison in Saginaw when he died on June 5 or 13, 1905, and was presumably buried in Saginaw.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 833161) but the certificate was never granted.