VRC

Charles Wilkinson

Charles Wilkinson was born in 1822 in England.

Charles left England and came to the United States. He married English-born Isabell (b. 1829), possibly in England; in any case they had at least one child, a daughter Charlotte (b. 1850).

By 1850 he had settled his family on a farm in Crockery, Ottawa County, Michigan. By 1860 Charles was farming and living with his wife in Coopersville, Polkton Township, Ottawa County. Their daughter Charlotte is not listed as living with them but one Henry Hudson (b. 1857 in Michigan) is listed with the family.

He was a 40-year-old farmer, probably living in Coopersville or Polkton, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on August 12, 1862, at Grand Rapids, crediting Polkton, Ottawa County. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) Charles joined the Regiment on September 8 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. He was missing in action May 2, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia, and returned to the Regiment on October 3 when he was reported as driving an ambulance -- interestingly in November he was also reported as an exchanged prisoner-of-war at Camp Convalescent near Alexandria, Virginia. It appears he may have been taken prisoner on May 2 and exchanged on or about November 15.

In any case, he was absent sick from December of 1863 until he was transferred to Company C, Twenty-second Veterans’ Reserve Corps January 15, 1864, at Washington, DC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern sities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) It appears that Charles died shortly after being transferred to the VRC.

In December (?) of 1864 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 48207). (In 1870 one Henry Hudson, age 13 and born in Michigan was a farm laborer living with and/or working for the Collins Barnes family in Polkton.)

DeForest F. Wheeler

DeForest F. Wheeler was born in 1834 in Canada, the son of Henry (b. 1790) and Ann (b. 1808).

Connecticut native Henry married New York-born Anne and they settled in New for some years. Sometime between 1833 and 1834 the family moved to Canada and between 1836 and 1844 settled in Ohio. Sometime after 1846 henry moved his family west and by 1850 had serttled on a farm in Wright, Ottawa County, Michigan where Deforest attended school with two of his siblings. His father and several siblings were still living in Wright. Ottawa County in 1860.

DeForest was 28 years old and possibly living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was reported as an ambulance driver from September of 1862 through March of 1863, and was absent sick in the hospital from April through July, although he was also reported as a deserter on April 1, 1863, at Detroit. Apparently he had been furloughed in March for 30 days, and was to have returned on April 1, but failed to report and was thus classified as a deserter. In fact, he was transferred to Company A, Twelfth Veterans’ Reserve Corps in June of 1863 and was mustered out as a Private of the VRC on December 30, 1864.

He apparently reentered the service on February 8, 1865, as a First Lieutenant in the Two hunded and third Pennsylvania Infantry and was possibly transferred to Company B Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania infantry.

It is not known if DeForest ever returned to Michigan.

He was married to Pennsylvania native Anna S. (b. 1845).

Deforest and his wife eventually settled in Texas by 1878 and he was probably the same “D. T.” Wheeler who, in 1880, was working as a stone cutter and living with his wife and daughter in Precinct 2, Grayson County, Texas. In any case, DeForest was living on North Houston Avenue in Denison, Grayson County, Texas in 1890, reportedly suffering from a wounded ankle.

In 1884 he applied for and received a pension (no. 393901) for service in the Third Michigan, the VRC as well as the Pennsylvania regiment.

DeForest probably died in 1891, and probably in Texas.

In October of 1891 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 437354).

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.


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 Freeman

John Freeman, also known as "John H.," was born 1836 in Geneseo, Livingston County, New York.

Sometime before the war broke out John left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan. He may have been the same John Freeman working as a mill hand for the Hubbard mill in Muskegon, Muskegon County in 1860.

He stood 5’11” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion, and was a 25-year-old sawyer probably living in Crockery, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. He was absent sick from April 28, 1863, through May and in June was a nurse in a general hospital in Washington, DC through November. He remained absent sick until he was discharged for “tuberculosis contracted since enlistment” on May 2, 1864, at Augur hospital in Washington, DC.

Although John was declared “Unfit for the Veteran Reserve Corps,” he was nonetheless transferred to the VRC on May 12, 1864, at Washington, DC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) He may have been mustered out in June of 1864 at the expiration of his term of service.

In any case, he listed Grand Haven, Ottawa County as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and may in fact have returned to Ottawa County after the war.

There is no further record and no pension seems to be available.

Peter Paul Bergevin Jr.

Peter Paul Bergevin Jr., also known as “Begervin” or “Bergervin”, was born May 20, 1840, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the son of Peter Sr. (b. 1804) and Calista (b. 1794).

Canadian natives Peter Sr. and Calista were presumably married in Canada, possibly in Quebec. In any case, Peter was proficient in speaking French, and at one point claimed to be fluent in the French language. While Peter Jr. was still a small boy his family left Canada and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan. By 1850 Peter Jr. was working as a laborer along with his older brother Joseph and living with his family in Oceana County where his father worked as a laborer for a wealthy lumberman named Charles Mears.

By 1860 Peter’s older Joseph was working as a laborer in Muskegon, Muskegon County. Presumably Peter joined him shortly before the war broke out.

Peter Jr. was 21 years old and living in Muskegon, Muskegon County, when he joined the Muskegon Rangers in April of 1861 as Third Sergeant. (In 1860 one Joseph Bergevin, a 23-year old Canadian, was working as a sawyer and living in Muskegon.) The “Rangers” were a local militia company formed in Muskegon soon after the fall of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, and were reorganized into Company H of the Third Michigan infantry which was then forming at Cantonment Anderson in Grand Rapids. And as a result, Peter subsequently enlisted as Third Sergeant in Company H on May 13, 1861 (according to his pension records as of May 28; in fact it was probably April 28). According to another member of Company H, Charles Brittain, “Peet was a first rate fellow.”

Peter was shot by a musket ball in one of his shoulders on May 30 or 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and hospitalized briefly in Washington. He eventually returned to duty and struck by a shell shot in his right leg on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. Peter was sent to Armory Square hospital in Washington, DC, where he suffered the amputation of his right leg above the knee.

On July 18, while recovering from his wounds near Alexandria, he took the time to write to the sister of William McKernan who had also been wounded at Fair oaks but who died of his wounds. “Madam,” Peter wrote,

I am under the painful responsibility of informing you that your dear beloved brother died in Washington Hospital Judiciary Square July 6th. The cause of this long delay on my part for not writing sooner, is on account of your address not having it with me. The last letter I sent you before you got the money [?] I was then nearly certain that he would not live for he was very bad & was getting worse & worse all the time. As concerning his death I have little to say. He died very easy, was well taken care of until the last moment & was decently buried. I will now bring this to a close by endeavoring to explain to you what few effects he has got here coming to him. He has here one shoulder strap coat one pair of pants one pair of shoes one cap & he has paid up to May 1st, 1862 so he has pay coming from that date up to July 6th/1862 & there is his bounty money & Land Warrant if such can be got. About that you can tell as well as I can where you are by applying to some Now then to get these things, as I understand his father is dead [so his] mother is next legal person to get it & no [other] person can so long [as] she is living. More than this. Mrs. McKernan has to prove herself by proper authority in the town or country where she lives that she is the identical mother of this said deceased William McKernan. For this she can apply [to a justice of the peace or mayor of the city after she has forwarded sufficient papers to prove this she then has to make an application stating all concerning his death, what battle he was wounded [in], the state & where he died & when & also stating the names of all his effects & up to what date he was paid & stating about his bounty money & land warrant. I suppose you know when he was wounded & where it was. [It was at] the battle of Fair Oaks on the 31st of May. [He was] shot through the foot. Now I think that the rest you can see for your self on this letter. More I think the surest way for you to get this is to apply to some member of Congres or a Senator if I was going to remain here I could get it for you & it would not cost a centy but I was wounded at the same battle William was & have now got well & in a day or 2 I am going back [to] join the Regiment again. This [is] all I can think of. Any further information needed on my part will be rendered with pleasure. Direct to P. P. Bergevin, Co. H, 3rd Regt Mich Vol. Washington D. C.

Peter was promoted to Second Lieutenant on September 1 replacing Lieutenant Benjamin Tracy, and in November was absent wounded and then AWOL, but by December he was reported wounded in a hospital in Washington, DC.

On December 23 William Drake of Company A was passing through Washington on his back to rejoin the regiment and stopped in to see Peter who was reportedly staying at a private home on C Street. “He has lost his right leg above the knee,” Drake wrote to a friend in Michigan, “(carried away by a shell at Bull Run/62) he can’t go out & is waiting for Govt to furnish him with a Patent limb – poor fellow – he complains of being lonely – While I was there he looked out of the window – at some school children at play and turned sharply, ‘Drake, I tell you that sight makes me almost cry sometimes.’” Drake also reported that the Third Michigan’s former Colonel, now General Stephen Champlin had stopped by to see “the other day – Don called on him also.”

He remained hospitalized from January of 1863 through September, and resigned his commission on October 18, 1863, in order to accept an appointment as Second Lieutenant in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps (the “Invalid Corps”). According a hospital chaplain, Peter was on duty with the Seventy-fifth VRC and along with his company of men were doing guard duty and any other services which might be required of them at the U.S. hospital located at Fourteenth and Massachusetts avenues in Washington, sometime between late 1863 and early 1865.

In August of 1865 he was assigned to the the medical director for the Department of Ohio, at Detroit, but those orders were revoked and he was instead ordered to report to the assistant commissioner, District of Columbia, for assignment in the Freedman’s Bureau. He worked at the Freedman’s (Campbell) Hospital in Washington and was reported “in charge of public property”.

In January of 1867 he was assigned to the Freedman’s Village in Virginia, and he remained in that post until October of 1867 when he was ordered to report to the commissioner for the bureau. At one point he reportedly served in Seventy-fifth company, Second Battalion VRC. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) In any case, Peter was mustered out of the VRC on January 1, 1868, possibly at Washington, DC.

After his release from the army Peter went to work as a civil agent for the Freedman’s Bureau, and was working in that capacity and probably living in Washington in February of 1869 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 95,999.

Peter lived in Washington for the remainder of his life. From 1881-83, he was living at 742 Tenth Street northwest in Washington working in the U.S. General Land Office.

He divorced his first wife Martha A. in December of 1881, and was awarded custody of their infant son.

Peter was working as a clerk and still residing on Tenth Street when he married Lydia Alcorn (1847-1916) of Philadelphia, on July 8, 1886, in Washington, DC.

He was reported in Lincoln Post No. 3, Washington, DC, in 1890. Peter was apparently living alone in rented rooms in the Frost household in Washington in 1892.

Peter had been sick for about three weeks when he died of congestion of the lungs on August 6, 1896, at his home at 618 Third Street northwest in Washington. According to Dr. George Lattimer, who attended Bergervin, his death was the result of valvular heart disease itself a consequence of his having contracted rheumatism several years prior to his death. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

His widow eventually returned to Philadelphia where she lived out the rest of her life (although her body was returned to Washington for burial at Arlington). She was living in Philadelphia when she applied for and received a pension (no. 436,031).

Benjamin Alspaugh

Benjamin Alspaugh, also known as “Allspaugh” or “Alspauch”, was born July 22, 1842, in Sandusky, Ohio, the son of Henry and Eva (Herring).

In 1840 there was one Henry “Alspeck” living in Ballville, Sandusky County, Ohio. By 1850 Benjamin was attending school and living with the George Orr family in Ballville, Sandusky County, Ohio. (That same year a number of Alspaugh children were scattered to various other families in Ballville as well.) By early 1861 Benjamin had left Ohio and settled in western Michigan, possibly in Ionia County.

He stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, fair hair and dark complexion, and was a 18-year-old farmer possibly living in Ionia County when he enlisted with the consent of the Justice of the Peace in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

Ben was present for duty in late summer of 1861, but by the end of October was reported sick in his quarters and by the end of December was sick in a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. He was on detached service serving as a hospital attendant as of February 28, 1862, probably in Alexandria. He remained detached through April, and by the end of June he had returned to duty and was reported as company tailor in July of 1862. He was listed as sick in the hospital in August where he also served as a nurse, and by the end of October Benjamin was in Cliffburne hospital in Washington, DC. He remained in the hospital until December 24, 1862, when he was discharged for a varicocele at Washington, DC.

It is not known if Benjamin returned to Michigan after his discharge from the army. He may in fact have returned to his family home in Ohio where he reentered the service in Company I, Forty-first Ohio infantry, on October 10, 1863, at Salem, Ohio, for three years, and was mustered on November 18.

By February of 1864, he was on recruiting duty in Ohio, but had returned to the Regiment by the end of April. He was wounded by a gunshot in the left arm and chest on May 27, 1864, while his company was engaged at Pickett’s Mills (near Dallas), Georgia. Benjamin later claimed that “the ball passed in just above his left elbow and passed through and came out on the under side of his arm about half way between his elbow and shoulder joints, fracturing the same, and destroying the use of his arm by cutting all the muscles.” He also claimed “another ball struck his breast bone fracturing the bone [and] some pieces have come away.”

He was subsequently transferred to Camp Dennison, Ohio where he remained through the summer. By the end of October, he had been transferred to a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, where he apparently remained through April of 1865, and was quite likely transferred to Company A, Seventeenth Regiment of the Veteran’s Reserve Corps perhaps as early as January 16, 1865. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

Sometime after the end of April Benjamin was transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. Benjamin himself reported that he was treated in hospital no. 1, in Nashville, where he remained from June 16 until sometime in November, and that he was transferred to the VRC in November, after which he was sent to Indianapolis with the VRC. He very likely served as a guard at the rebel POW camp, Camp Morton just outside of Indianapolis. If so, the camp commandant was another former member of the Old Third, Colonel Ambrose Stevens.

In any event, Benjamin was reportedly discharged Indianapolis for disability on May 1, 1865. Apparently he suffered from “contraction of tendon of biceps & atrophy of muscle & arm contracted to a right angle” as a result of his wounds.

Benjamin probably returned to Ohio after his discharge, and was living in Oak Harbor, Salem Township, Ottawa County, Ohio, when he applied for pension no. 71953 (for service in the Ohio infantry), and was drawing $72.00 per month by October of 1927.

He married his first wife Ohio native Susanna or Susan Hall (b. 1845?) in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1866, and they had at least seven children: Isaac (b. 1867), Henry, Albert A. (b. 1869), Willie F. (b. 1874), Edward, Alta (b. 1877) and Myrtle (b. 1879).

Benjamin and Susan were living in Ohio probably from 1867 until at least 1879 when Ben moved his family to Nebraska, settling on a farm in Loup, Merrick County by 1880. He apparently returned to Michigan by 1894 when he was residing in Bertrand, Berrien County (as was another civil war veteran named Henry Alspaugh).

It is unclear what became of Susanna; one source claimed Benjamin deserted her.

In any case, Benjamin was living in Alden, Antrim County when he married Harriet “Hattie” Ritter, on June 15, 1910, in Bellaire, Antrim County. She had been married twice before. According to Hattie, “I had known Alspaugh but a short time before we were married. But I had known his people for twenty years before that even took place and had heard about him through them. When we had revival meetings at Central Lake [Antrim County] where I was living, he came there and took a great interest in the meetings and having gotten better acquainted we soon got married.”

According to Hattie’s later testimony, Benjamin deserted her sometime after they were married. In fact, in June of 1915, Benjamin left Hattie to attend a soldier’s reunion Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, for four days and from there he went to Oak Harbor, Ohio to take care of his dying sister. After she died he went to live with his nephew, John Rhineberger.

Shortly afterwards Benjamin left Michigan and returned to Ohio and was living in Ottawa County, Ohio, when his wife Hattie attempted to gain access to part of his pension. According to Hattie,

The first year after we were married my husband and I got along pretty well. The first thing that brought discord came through my daughter, Maude Ritter. . . . It was not her fault; it was no one’s fault. Alspaugh paid her way here from Central Lake, she was sick, and she was to stay here until she could get better and work out. Now what happened was this: She saw an advertisement in the newspaper where a work girl was wanted to work in a family in Harbor Springs. She answered it through the mails. About the time she thought she should have an answer she started to go to the post office. Then soldier [Alspaugh presumably] bossed her. He told he that as long as she was under his roof she had to obey him and he forbade her going to the post office. I wanted her to go because I desired that she should get the place. So she went to the post office and when she returned he put her out of the house. He did it kind of roughly but he did not throw her out. He carried her out. Then I took her to Mrs. Harpers’ house here and got her shelter and she later got a place in Bellaire. While he was putting my daughter out of the house and was about to tread on her dress, the best one she had, I tried to get the train of her dress out of her way and he threw me up against a post and hurt my arm so that I had to have it bandaged. The arm bled freely. I went away with the girl but I did not stay at Harper’s place. I went to Old Lady Tyler (dead), she bound up my arm for me. Alspaugh had made his threats what he would do to me if I came home and so I did not go home until I got Prosecuting Attorney Meggison to home with me. It seems to me it was away over a week at that time and when I did come back I came with Meggison because I was afraid to come back myself. I was always afraid of him because of his awful temper, swore at me so much, damned my soul to hell and wanted to domineer over me in all respects and show his authority. When I came back he would not let me have anything to eat for pretty nearly a week, he would go down town and buy his eatables and got into that little room and eat them and would make his coffee in the woodshed. I wrote to Meggison asking if I could buy some groceries at the store on his credit but Meggison wrote me a very saucy letter and did not tell me whether I could do this. This all occurred in 1911, latter part of July and forepart of August. I remember that it was not long afterwards that the resorters were returning to their homes. After I came back to the house we lived together thereafter until he left me June 15, 1915, but never as man and wife should live. He never took me anywhere and would not allow anyone to come and see me. He would dress up and go away to the reunions just like a single man, would never offer to take me. He would not give me any money; if I asked him for any he would say: “It is too bad about you; I have no money for you.” I asked him for ten cents to buy postage stamps with one day and he said the same thing, said he had no ten cents for me. I never refused to cohabit with him. He locked me out of his room the next night after I came back after he had put my daughter out of the house and he always kept the room locked afterwards. The night of the day we were married we slept in this house. That night at bed time he said: “No Hattie, you have been used to sleeping by yourself, you better sleep in that little front bedroom.” I thought he was joking or playing a trick on me. So I went and got in bed with him and I slept with him right along until he put my daughter out of the house. After that I could not get into his room. He kept the room locked and carried the keys in his pocket. The room had two doors, one opened into another room in the house, one out onto the porch. He claims that I would not clean up his room and wash the bed clothes but I could not get into his room and even if I had been able to get into the room I had nothing with which to clean it with, no soap, nor any money to buy any. All the time we slept together (in that same room) it was kept clean and nice. But he continually smoked in bed even when I slept with him and I complained about that. Then he would damn and curse me and say “Oh, you are so nice!” There were four years I could not get into that room. It then got into a filthy condition, was full of bed-bugs, and he mashed their carcasses on the walls and the blood-stains are there yet. And he set the bed on fire and one time we had quite a conflagration, the house nearly burned up, it was in danger of burning. He went out and locked the door with his pipe in there burning, and that set it afire. He called on Hattie” that day to carry the water. I carried the water and he dashed the fire out. That was the first time I had been in that room for a long time. But as soon as the thing was over he locked it up again.
As I stated I never refused to cohabit with him but he did refuse to do so with me in the manner I have stated above.
When he locked me out the first time I rapped on the door and Called, “Ben, let me in”, but he would not answer. During all this four years I did his cooking for him and we ate at the same table. He provided well when he was there but when he would go away (and he sometimes would go to Ohio or out to work at the carpenter trade) he would leave me nothing. He went to Ohio one time and stayed seven weeks and never wrote me or sent me any money and I had a hard time getting something to eat. But his people always came to my rescue. His own people have been my main stand-by. That same fall, 1911, I was to take the Ross cottage washing in order to make a little money. Elias Alspaugh’s wife, my sister-in-law, told me I could get the wash. My husband heard what was said to me and he went and locked all the utensils up, tubs, washboards, kettles, and everything, in the shed on the back end of our lot and I could not get them. Then I appealed to Mr. Meggison to see if I could have the soldier to provide for me. But while he was here I asked him about the matter of my husband locking my washing utensils up and he said they were mine to use and that I would be justified in breaking the lock and with two witnesses present, Lena Tyler and Lena Anderson, I broke the lock.
No one can make me say I do not like the man because I do not like his ways. He is a rough, profane man, one with a very loud voice, and was always abusing me.
Q. Now it appears that he went away June 15, 1915, you and he had been living in the same house some four years just prior to that date, eating at the same table, but not sleeping together?
A. Yes, about four years that arrangement had been in effect but we lived in the same house five years to a day.
Q. State al the circumstances attending his final departure on June 15, 1915.
A. He went away on the morning train south, to Traverse City. The train goes about 9 a.m. I knew he was going to the Soldiers’ Reunion there that day. He was all dressed up and sat out on the porch until about train time. He was just as jolly that morning as he could be, talking to the neighbors, and bantering with them. The last thing he did was to bring in an armful of wood and place it in the wood box. Then he went into his little room, locked the screen door, the door covered by the screen door, then came out locked the other door form the outside, placed the keys in his pocket and went to the train. He took no grip; he took his trunk. He told Ben Holly and his wife (now in Richmond, Indiana) that he was taking his trunk so that they would not steal his blankets, that they stole them the year before [presumably at the reunion?] That was his excuse. It seems that he intended to go away and leave me because he never came back but I had no intimation that he was going to desert me, the neighbors did not know anything about it either. No, he and I had had no words about the time he went away, everything had been running on as usual. He stopped at Traverse City because other old soldiers told me they had seen him there. But from there he went to the Soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids and stayed until just before pension day in September (1915) and then he went to Oak Harbor where he has since remained. [The Pension Bureau concluded that Benjamin in fact had never been a member of the Home in Grand Rapids.]
No, I have never received a letter from him since he went away and he has not contributed to my support since he went away. I have been on the town twice since he went and they wanted to place me in the County [Poor] House but I would not go there. I hear from him indirectly through his people here.
Q. Do his people here take your side of this matter or his side?
A. Oh, they all take my side; they stand up for me and they help me. They almost kept me through the last winter. I would not wish to neighbor with better people than his people here. He has one brother here, Elias Alspaugh.
Q. Are they not unfriendly to soldier?
A. Well, when my husband went away they were not on such good terms. My husband did them a mean trick. Nobody can keep on good terms with my husband.
Q. The soldier stated in answer to your allegations that you first left him; that he put the girl out of the house because she was of bad moral character; is that a correct statement?
A. I stated that I went away with the girl when he put her out of the house and that I returned in about a week. But my daughter was not of bad character, she was a good girl.
Q. Soldier alleges that since that episode you never treated him right; never did any washing, mending, nor care for his bed room, that he had to hire his washing and mending done; what have you to say in regard to that statement?
A. Why I have explained why I could not do those things. He kept everything under lock and key. I could not get at his things, so how could I do these things? I did all my housework just as far as I could get at things. After this episode soldier phone to my daughter at Bellaire at Mr. Matthewsons [or Matthews], where she was employed, and asked her to come and stay a week with us. She came and soldier bought her a beautiful dress while she was here and the whole week she stayed there was nothing good enough on the table for her. Soldier felt sorry for what he had done, probably. This was in the spring of 1914, I believe.
Q. He alleges that you continually found fault with him, that he did not dare to take a bath in the house for fear of getting some water on the floor; that he had to bathe out in a shed; that you told the neighbors that he soiled the bed, that he was impotent, and caused a public scandal, in a word; how about that statement?
A. I deny those statements. While we were cohabiting together I washed his feet often and they smelled awful. And I would have bathed him all over all the time if he woould have allowed me to do so. There is no truth in that statement. No, I did not find fault with and nag him. I would not have dared to do so. He would have cursed and swore at me. Once when I asked him for money he said “You are always nagging”, that was what he said to me one time. I do not remember that he ever soiled the bed. I know that he made that statement. I have a photographic copy of his allegations. I did tell a neighbor woman that he was afflicted with selfabuse [masturbation?] and that was what ailed his head.
Q. Did you call your husband vile and indecent names?
A. No I never did.
Q. He states that you did so.
A. it is not so; I was not brought up to use bad language. I never swear profanely. Neither do I ever use vile or indecent language. My husband is very untruthful. He will also steal.
Q. Now, he states that the reason he went away that it was impossible for him to live with you or in the same neighborhood on account of your talk and gossip about him; is that so or not so?
A. That is not so. It was he who did the gossiping. I did not get any chance to go about and gossip about him. He did not like for me to go any place nor for anyone to come to visit me but after he went away I went about among the neighbors to learn what he had been telling on me. I was afraid of him; I was afraid he would knock me down. No, I never said that I sent my first husband to the penitentiary. Soldier heard my testimony in the Listenberger case when I made my statement before Mr. Grant sims, a pension examiner. I told Mr. Sims that my first man had been sent to jail and that under other circumstances he might have been sent to the penitentiary. Soldier lay on the lounge and heard all this and stated when I got through “The old woman has the thing down fine.” I never made the threat that I would send my last husband, Alspaugh, to the penitentiary. I never threatened to drive him away either. I would have been afraid to do so. But he put me out of the house the first September after I married him. That was over his putting up some stoves. He misconstrued a peaceable remark I made and took umbrage at it and opened the door and said “Go” and I went up to his folks but when he found out that he did not understand what I said he got me back again.
Q. If he should wish to come back here would you live with him again?
A. No, I will not live with him anymore. I am free from him and if I can get a support from him I would rather not have him about, he is too quarrelsome.
Benjamin testified on April 24, 1916, that his wife left him on or about July 12, 1911. “She left me,” he added, “for the reason that I no longer would keep her daughter in my house.” Benjamin further stated that he “put her daughter out of the house because she was a woman of a ban [sic] moral character, [and] ever since that time my wife has not treated me as a wife ought to treat her husband.” Apparently Hattie went to the County prosecuting attorney, Thomas Meggison, who asked Benjamin “if I could not take Mrs. Alspaugh back.” Ben replied, “that I did not chase her out.”

Hattie returned to their home and, according to Benjamin’s statement, “began packing up her things preparing to leave the way it looked to me, but she did not leave.” He added that “from the time she came back she never done any washing, mending or took care of my” bed or bedroom and that if he “wanted any washing or mending done I had to do it either myself or hire it done.” Furthermore, they “did not cohabit together from that time on” and Hattie slept in one room and Benjamin in another. He noted that his wife continually found fault with him. “I did not even dare to take a bath in the house for fear of getting a few drops of water on the floor.” As a result, “I had to take a bath in the shed.”

He reported that one night in the fall of 1911, while suffering from diarrhea, “I could not get out of me bed soon enough [and] left a few spots on the bed sheet.” He said that Hattie went around the neighborhood telling their neighbors “I had done a job in bed.” Apparently Hattie also told their neighbors that Benjamin “was no good any more [and] that I could not get an erection.” She also called Benjamin “vile and indecent names and never did treat me with kindness and respect so that it became impossible for me to live with her any longer, or live in the same neighborhood on account of the talk and gossip of my wife.” Benjamin also testified that Hattie “told me that she sent her first husband to the penitentiary and that she would send me there also. She further said that if she could not send me to the Penn. [sic], then she would drive me away the same as she did her second husband, Martin Ritter.”

According to the statement of Thomas Meggison, Hattie contacted him in the summer of 1915. She swore to him that Benjamin threatened her with bodily harm or death. Meggison then went to their house to investigate the charges and “found that there was no foundation for the complaints” and that in fact “he was satisfied that the real instigator of the trouble was” Hattie herself. Meggison further stated that Benjamin stayed with Hattie, at his urging, longer than Meggison believed he should have, and that when he did leave her he left “her with a comfortable small house to live in.”

Benjamin testified in October of 1917, that after he and Hattie were married they lived together

In the village of Alden, Antrim County, for five years to the day after we were married, and I could not stand it any longer to live with her and then I left her June 15, 1915, and have not seen her since then and have had no correspondence with her since them and she has never written to me since I left her, not a word of correspondence either way between us since I left her.
I did not tell her the day I left, that I was going to leave her, but I had told her many times before that, that I was going to leave her if she did not stop her nagging and bullyraging me, and she had made her brags to me that she would drive off and had told our neighbor James M. Park that she was going to drive me off and he had told me she told him she would drive me off before I left her. Just as soon as I married her I took her to my little home there in Alden and she wanted to drive me off, so that she and her daughter would have my home, as that was what she told to Minerva Soper, who told me. I told the claimant a good many times that Minerva Soper had told me that she, claimant, wanted to drive me away so that she could have my home. She would shut the neighbor’s chickens up in the wood house and try and get me to kill them and she said she would cook them, and I knew she was trying to get me in a trap and would be the first one to tell it and to get me in trouble. I would let the chickens out and shoo them home, as they were Mrs. Soper’s chickens. I got afraid of claimant’s lying tattling tongue and had to leave her.
Question – why did you not tell her on June 15, 1915, or just shortly before you let [sic] her, that you were going to leave her for good and not return?
Answer – I did not, that was all. I had told her just a few days before I left her that I was going to leave her, if she did not do any better, and she did no better was the reason I left her. She would not clean my room or do my washing, as she would never give me any reason. Since I left her she has claimed she did not clean my room because I kept my door locked, but there is not a word of truth in that statement. There were two doors to my room; one an outside door that was kept locked and the other was form the dining room, and that door from my room to the dining room would shut but would not be locked as it was a warped door and could not be locked. There was a lock on that door but no key for it while I was there and never was locked while I was there.
The first trouble I had with my wife was a little over a year after we were married, over her daughter Maud Ritter. [She] came to our house sick and was there ten months. While she was sick I paid the doctor bill and for some clothes for her, and after the doctor told me she was well and able to support herself, I told her I wanted her to leave and support herself. I did not want here around there, as she was not what she ought to be anyway, and the claimant told me that Maud could stay there as long as she pleased. The first time I told Maud to leave she went away and was gone seven days and came back and I found her there when I came home at noon, and told her she could not stay there and if she was there when I came home to supper I would put her out. When I came home to supper Maud was still there and I told her she would have to leave, and she said she would not as she was sick and her mother told her she could stay there if she wanted to, and I then put my hands under Maud’s arms and dragged her out in the yard, and all the time I was taking her out her mother kept fighting me and struck me and nearly tore my shirt off and called me an old brute. I said brute or not I did not want her there. I took Maud out in the yard and sat her down on the ground and she got up and went down town and her mother went with her, and claimant was then gone a month, and twice while she was away she brought atty. Meggison there to the house. The last time she brought Meggison there she told him I had threatened to kill her, and I asked him if he believed any such stuff as that and he said he did not, right before her. Meggison asked me if I would take her back, and I said I did not chaise [sic] here away, was all the answer I made. Then the next morning she came back and said she was going to leave and commenced packing her things and was three weeks packing up her things, but she never left. For the first week after she came back I did my own cooking and I do not know where she ate her meals, and then she got to cooking and setting things on the table for me to eat, and I told her if she could not sit down and eat with me she need not cook for me and after that she would sit down and eat with me. I would not eat the food she cooked for me unless she would eat the same food, as I was afraid she would dope me, as she was up to all kinds of tricks.
Up to the time I put Maud out we occupied the same bed, but when she came back after I put Maud out she took the room where Maud had been. I asked her three nights . . . to come on and go to bed in my room and she told me to shut my mouth, as she would go to bed when she got ready. After I asked her three times to come to my room to bed, I made up my mind I would not ask her any more and I never did. She left my house and my bed on her own hook when I put Maud out, and she came back on her own hook as I never asked her, but when she did come back I did ask her to come on and go to bed in my room, but she sat up all night in a big chair the first night after she came back, and after I asked her three nights to come to bed in my room I never asked here again. Sometimes after that she would be gone for 3 or 4 days at a time, but I did not know where she would go as I did not bother about her. Sometimes she would ask me for money and I would give it to her and sometimes I would not. I gave her money for clothes and what ever she needed as long as I was with her. I did everything in my power to try and get along with her, but it was no use, as there was not a day but what she would find fault with me in way or another so I could not stand it any longer. Maud never came back to my home and stay over night after I put her out of the house. I would allow her to come back to visit her mother when she wanted to but to stay any length of time. I left her because she was all the time finding fault with me and lying about me. She would tell the neighbors I would steal, and went with another woman and would take things out of the house and give them away, and the she would tell dirty stories about me, that I had lost my manhood, such dirty stories about that, around to the neighbors, and I could not stand it any longer. I stood it as long as I could and then got out.
I have never applied for a divorce from her, and never expect to, as I would not spend another cent for her. When I left the claimant, I went to the soldier’s reunion at Traverse City, Mich., four days, and then I went to my sister at Oak Harbor, Ohio, as she was helpless, and took care of her until she died last August, and since then I have been making my home with my nephew, John Rhineberger. I never expect to live with my wife again and never expect to have any thing further to do with her.
I admit my wife is of good moral character and in needy circumstances, but she left me in the first place and when she came back she did not come back as my wife as she never occupied the same room with me as my wife and did not treat me the way a wife ought to. She got whatever she wanted at the store of C. H. Coy, for three months after I left her and I paid the bill and then notified Mr. Coy not to sell her anything more on my account.
I did not forbit Maud Ritter to go to the post office for any mail of her own., Why should I? I did forbid them from getting my mail. When I put Maud out of the house claimant claimed I hurt her arm, and had her arm bandaged and made a great fuss over it, and had Dr. Hoag look at it and he just laughed and said it was not hurt. There was not a scratch on it. That is just one of her lies. I did not lay a hand on her, and never did, I would not be guilty of such a thing. After I put Maud out I did not take the claimant any places, as I did not care to, but she went places wherever she wanted to and could have anyone come and see her she wanted to. I did not swear at her, because I am not a swearing man and never was. I am a member of the church, and not a swearing man. I did not lock her out of my room the night after she came back after I had put Maud out as I never locked her out of my room. She never was without soap, and all things that a woman needed to keep house with, as she always had plenty of everything, as can be proven at Mr. Coy’s store. I never did smoke in bed. One day when I was in my room the corner of the mattress caught afire and half a wash basin put it out, and that was as near as the house came to burning down. I never did know what caused that fire, but had my own idea about it.
The seven weeks she speaks of when I was in Ohio, was when I was called to Ohio, at the time my sister was sick and I was then with my sister until she died, and claimant knew where I was at that time and I had made arrangements at the grocery store for her to have whatever she wanted before I left, and she always had what ever she wanted from the store whenever I was away. I did not write to her because I never had much education and cannot write much besides my name and it is difficult for me to write.
I did lock my wash tub and wash board in my shop shed, because my tub was a large tub and she did not use it as she had a tub and wash board of her own that she used, and I did not want mine standing out to the weather if it was not to be used. I did tell her she could take in washing, because if she could not do my washing for me she could not take in washing for some one else. The lock to that shed never was broken while I lived there. I never went to the Soldiers’ Home at Grand Rapids after I left her. I never went to any Soldier’s Home.
I did think claimant’s daughter, Maud, was of bad moral character, because some man telephoned my house, and I answered the phone, when the man wanted her to come to Traverse City and stay with him.
After I put Maud out of my house, about the spring of 1911, Maud did come to my home while I was away for 2 or 3 days. I did not telephone or ask her to come, but when I came back she was there, as she had been working for Mr. Matthews in Bellaire, and he had given her some cloth for a dress but there was not enough of it and I got her some more to finish it as she was nearly naked and needed the dress, and I had enough of a heart in me to give her a dress when she needed it. Maud was there maybe a week at that time, as I would not have her there any longer, but I did not want to keep her away from coming to see her mother, but I did not want her, and she was not in my home overnight while I was there after the time I put her out. The time she was there nearly a week, after I had put her out, I was away at work and got home only about once a week. She never washed my feet but one time and that was in hot water when I was sick in bed. She would not let me bathe myself in the house for fear I would splash the floor, and I did have to go out in my shop to bathe myself.
She has called me vile and indecent names lots of times, all kinds of names. (Here deponent repeats the names she called him some of which are so indecent they are not fit to make a record of.)
The first September after we were married we did have some words and she said she would go away, and I said well then go if you want to, and she did got to my brother, to my brother Elias, but I did not open the door and tell her to go.
She went out herself, and came back that same evening, and said she had not said she was going to go, and I said well then I did not understand her, and that was all there was to that. Some things she did not talk plain any way as her upper teeth were all gone.
I never had any words nor any trouble with my brother Elias before she got in the family and then I had trouble with him and all kinds of trouble.
Lena Tyler is a gossip and so is the whole family of my brother Elias. If she was present when the lock of the door to my shop was broken, it has been since I left there, as it was never broken before I left.
As to the disposition of Hannah Alspaugh, I do not want to hear it as I would not believe her under oath, and do not want any thing to do with her.
I never did smoke in bed while I lived in the house of my brother Elias. I would lie on the lounger and smoke sometimes, and he did that himself.
I do not care to hear the testimony of Victor F. Tyler, as he has been in the insane asylum at one time and I do not think he is now responsible for any thing he says. He is my brother’s son-in-law, and he is as big a gossip as his wife Lena. He is not a willful liar, and I always liked him, but I do not think he is responsible.
As to the final statement of my wife, that she knocked at my door and call[ed] out to get in my room after she came back to my house after I put her daughter out, when she went away for a month, I will say it is false as she never did knock at my door and never called to me. She was gone a month before she came back. I never did keep her locked out of my room, and I never had a key for that door. I did tell the neighbors she would not wash my room and would not wash my clothes or keep my room clean, and she took neighbors in there herself to show them how dirty the room was when I was not there and how could she do that if it was locked?
I did keep my washing utensils locked up as I have stated, as she used her own. She did keep the rest of the house clean, except my room, as she is a good house keeper and a good cook, but she would never clean my room and never would do my washing after I put her daughter out of the house. She would never give me any reason why she would not clean my room or do my washing.
I did have Mrs. Carruthers do some washing for me, and had others do my washings for me.
It was shortly before I put Maud out of the house that she went to the preacher, John Priestly, who now lives in Kewagan, about seven miles from there, and complained to Priestly that I did not provide enough for them to eat, so Mr. Priestly went to the dep. Sheriff, Leonard Armstrong, to go with him to my house to investigate, and they walked in while I was at home, but I did not know they were coming. I sat still in my chair and told them to go through the house and they went where they pleased, and they looked in the pantry, and when they left, Mr. Priestly said he was satisfied they had both lied, meaning my wife and her daughter. My tool chest never had a lock on it. I never did ask Maud to come to my home after I put her out, I did not want her there.
As to the testimony of claimant’s daughter, Maud or May, she did visit at my home for 3 days in July 1910, and in November she came again for over night and December 1910 she came again just after her still born child was born, and she stayed at my home continuously for ten months until I carried her out, as I have described. I did not throw here out through the screen door. She knew why I put her out. I never did request her to return to my home after I put her out, and when she did return, it was when I was away at work. She never bought me a Christmas present. She had nothing to buy anything with.
At the time I left claimant to go to Traverse City, to the reunion, June, 1915, I had decided to leave her at that time, for good, before I left home. It was premeditated, as I thought that was a good time and a good excuse to get away without any wrangle or saying any thing about it and I never intended to go back to claimant when I left her as I thought the easiest way to get away from her was the best without any more words with her.
According to the report of the special investigator examining the case for the Pension Bureau, Hattie had been “divorced from two former soldier husbands.” Still, Hattie and Benjamin reportedly “lived harmoniously together form the date of their marriage until June, 1911, when the pension forcibly put the [Hattie’s] daughter out of his house, and from [that] time until [Ben] left [Hattie], June 15, 1915, the situation” was, as one of the witnesses reported, “’a rough house’.”
The evidence clearly shows that from the date the pensioner drove the claimant’s daughter from his house the claimant did all in her power to make the pensioner’s home life unbearable; and that on account of such treatment and her stories about the pensioner (unfit to print) he was justified in leaving. The claimant’s witnesses, although relatives of the pensioner, are prejudiced against him, and their knowledge of the facts is not so good as that of his witnesses who live in the immediate neighborhood.
By December of 1916 Benjamin was living in Oak Harbor, Ohio, reportedly taking care of one of his sisters who was dying of cancer. By 1918 he was living in Green Spring, Sandusky County, Ohio. By 1920 he was living in the Ohio State Soldiers’ Home in Perkins Township, Erie County, and in August of 1925 was living in the Home suffering from near-blindness, deafness and senile dementia.

Benjamin was probably living at 4124 Vermont Avenue in Detroit, when he died on October 25, 1927. He was presumably buried in Detroit although it is also possible that his body was returned to Ohio for interment.

Samuel Aldrich

Samuel Aldrich was born in 1820 or 1826 in Uxbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

He reportedly served in the Mexican war, and if so it was quite likely while he was still residing in Massachusetts.

Samuel married his first wife, Irish-born Eliza Sherwood (b. 1816) in 1852, and they eventually settled in Michigan. By 1860 Samuel was working as a shingle-maker and living with Eliza (who was working as a tailoress) in Norton, Muskegon County.

He stood between 6’5” and 6’7” tall, with blue eyes, gray hair and a fair complexion, and was probably 40 years old and living and working as a sawyer and shingle maker in Norton when he enlisted on April 29, 1861, as Sixth Corporal in F company, crediting Spring Lake, Ottawa County. (Curiously Samuel did not join either the Muskegon-based Company H or the Ottawa County-based Company I.)

Samuel was present for duty through February of 1862, and then absent sick in his quarters in March and April and also in May and June.

Apparently, on May 5, 1862, while “on the march from Yorktown to Williamsburg,” Virginia, Samuel was carrying “the Regimental colors and marching much of the way very rapidly on the double quick when near Williamsburg, being a large and very tall man, he could not endure the excessive fatigue became exhausted and Major Byron R. Pierce, commanding the Regiment, finding that” Samuel “could not keep up with his Regiment told him to fall out and give the colors to another which he did. About two days after this,” about May 8, “varicose veins made their appearance around, above and below his left ankle, also upon his left leg nearly to his hip.”

He was listed as absent sick in a general hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, from August 18 through the end of the year. And indeed, he was subsequently hospitalized at Patterson Park hospital in Baltimore during all or part of the months of August and September. In August of 1862, he was reported sick in the hospital, and was dropped from the company rolls on December 30, 1862 at Camp Pitcher, Virginia.

From Patterson Park he was transferred to West’s Building hospital in Baltimore, where he remained about three months. He was then sent to the Convalescent Camp, in Alexandria, Virginia where he remained until he was discharged on February 16, 1863, for varicose veins of both legs, although he claimed in later years that he had been shot with a poisoned bullet, which produced the varicose veins.

After he was discharged from the army, Samuel returned to Michigan and was probably living in Lenawee County when he married his second wife, Anna Odell (b. 1818) on November 23, 1863, in Ionia County. (It is unknown what became of Eliza.)

Samuel subsequently enlisted in the Second Veterans’ Reserve Corps on December 19, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids’ First Ward. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.) Samuel may have been assigned to the rendezvous camp in Jackson, Jackson County. In any case, he allegedly deserted from Company B, Second Regiment, VRC on either April 6 or July 6, 1865.

After the war Samuel lived in Grand Rapids where he woked as a laborer and at one time resided at 36 Waterloo Street. He was probably still living in Grand Rapids when he was admitted to the Central Branch, National Military Home, in Dayton, Ohio on April 1, 1867, and was eventually discharged from the NMH. He again returned to Michigan and was living on Ottawa Street, in Grand Rapids in 1870 when he applied for a pension (no. 113,746, drawing $6.00 per month in 1887). He claimed he was suffering from the effects of varicose veins dating back to May of 1862.

Samuel was working as a laborer and living in Montague, Muskegon County, Michigan when he married his third wife, the widow Sarah Griffin Sargent (d. 1903), on December 3, 20 or 30, 1872, in Oceana County, Michigan. (Sarah was the widow of Fernando Sargeant or Sergeant, who had served in the reorganized Third Michigan infantry.)

It seems that Samuel had neglected to divorce Anna, however, and had apparently abandoned her. In 1875 Sarah reportedly “filed a bill of complaint” against Samuel claiming that when they were married he had another wife, thus nullifying their marriage. She was also seeking divorce from Samuel on the grounds of cruelty. It is not known whether the divorce was granted or not.

Samuel was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Henry Post No. 3 in Montague, Muskegon County, and of Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids.

In 1880 Samuel was a resident of the NMH in Dayton, listing himself as married and his occupation as lumberman, and he was still in the National Home in Dayton in 1883.

In any case, Samuel was reportedly residing in Grand Rapids when he returned to the National Home in Dayton, Ohio where he died of pneumonia on January 22, 1888. (It is curious that he did not choose to go to the new Michigan Soldiers' Home in Grand Rapids.) He was buried in the Dayton National Cemetery in section G, row 8, grave 12.

In 1897 Sarah was living in Licking, Texas County, Missouri, but by 1901 she had returned to Michigan and was living in Muskegon; she applied for a pension (no. 658553) but the certificate was never granted. In fact it appears that she reapplied for a pension based on the service of her first husband, Fernando Sargent.

Miles Seymour Adams updated 12 July 2018

Miles Seymour Adams was born 1830 in New York State, probably the son of New Yorker Alanson or Addison Adams (b. 1802) and Scottish-born Anna or Sarah Glenn (1800-1882).

Sometime after 1842 (when their son William was born) the family left New York and eventually settled in Michigan. (They were possibly living in Grand Rapids in 1846 when their daughter Margaret Sarah died.) By 1850 Miles was probably working as a blacksmith along with an older brother and his father and living with his family in Grand Rapids, Kent County. By 1856 he was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Valley City Guard, the first local militia company established in the Grand River valley (many of whose members would serve as the nucleus for Company A, Third Michigan infantry in the spring of 1861.) Miles would eventually be promoted to First Corporal of the VCG.

By 1860 Miles was working as a blacksmith with his younger brother William and they were living with their mother Sarah (who was listed as head of the household) in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; also residing at the same address was Ellen Adams.

Miles was 30 years old and probably still living with his family in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as Third Sergeant of Company A, on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, many of whom had served in the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)

He was wounded in the right shoulder on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia and subsequently sent to the City Hospital (possibly Cook’s) in New York City, where he was treated for his wounds from June 8 to July 21. On July 18 he was sent home on furlough from the hospital in New York, and arrived in Detroit on the evening of July 23.

Although he was still absent in Grand Rapids recovering from his wound, Miles was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company K on August 12, while the regiment was at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, and commissioned as of July 1.

On August 14, four days before his furlough was due to expire, Miles requested an extension of his furlough from the Adjutant General in Washington, DC. His request was accompanied by an endorsement from two prominent local physicians, Doctors Charles Shepherd and Oscar Chipman, who both recommended that Adams be discharged for disability. By the end of October he was reported as absent sick at Grand Rapids.

Although Miles eventually returned to the Regiment in Virginia his wounds continued to bother him. On February 11, 1863, Regimental Assistant Surgeon Walter Morrison wrote that he had examined Adams “and find that he is suffering from the effects of a gunshot wound received in the right arm under the shoulders [at Fair Oaks] totally disabling him -- the arm being paralyzed and very much atrophied -- rendering him unfit to perform the duties of an officer or soldier, besides, affecting his general health through the nervous system rendering him unable to perform a day’s march with a column. I further declare my belief that a recovery is uncertain and that he is entitled to a pension.” Adams submitted his formal resignation five days later, on February 16.

Apparently there were rumors going around the Regiment that Adams’ resignation had not been accepted. “Lieutenant Adams,” wrote Sergeant Charles Wright of Company A, on February 5, 1863, “formerly of my company” had “received a severe wound in his right shoulder, which has totally disabled him from the use of his arm in the battle of seven pines [Fair Oaks], has had his discharge returned, disapproved, to these headquarters, stating that although he was deprived of the use of one arm his bodily health was good and he should be returned to duty. Now this is one of the most absurd ideas I ever heard of, to hold a man in the service after having lost the use of an arm, and suffering the pain he does every day, for indeed he does suffer, for I see him every day, and to return his discharge papers disapproved.”

Colonel Byron Pierce, then commanding the Third Michigan in fact approved Miles’ resignation on February 5; General David Birney, Third Brigade commander, subsequently accepted Adams’ resignation on February 18 and General Daniel Sickles, Third Corps commander, approved it on February 20, 1863.

After his discharge from the army Miles returned home to western Michigan, and in early 1864 was defeated in his bid for election as City Marshal of Grand Rapids. The Eagle wrote on March 30, 1864, under the headline, “Soldiers Not Wanted” that “Miles Adams, crippled for life in the battles on the Peninsula, under McClellan, has twice been a candidate in the Democratic City convention for the office of City Marshal, and has been defeated each time. This year another soldier was one of his competitors; but both were unceremoniously voted down. Soldiers stand no chance in that party.”

Following his bid for election as City Marshal Miles enlisted in the Veterans’ Reserve Corps, and was appointed a Second Lieutenant in the VRC on August 22 and assigned to Company A, Twentieth Regiment VRC as of September 5. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

By the first of September Miles was in western Michigan, and in fact on September 1, 1864, he married Anna C. Reed (1830-1914), half-sister of Peter Lawyer (also of Company A, Third Michigan), in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan; Benjamin Tracy of Grand Rapids, another former member of the Old Third, was one of the two witnesses at the wedding. Miles and Anna had at least two children: Cora (1867-77) and Alfred R.

Miles may have remained with the VRC garrisoned in western Michigan, probably in Grand Rapids and/or Jackson, Jackson County (where the draft and recruitment depot moved after Camp Lee closed down in Grand Rapids) although this is no means certain. In any case, Miles was posted to “Camp Cadwallader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July of 1865 to November 28 when he was relieved and directed to proceed to his home and report thence, by letter, to the Adjutant General of the Army for orders.” He remained at home until he was discharged “to date” June 30, 1866, per S.O. No. 37 from the AGO on July 3, 1866.

In 1867 when Miles applied for a pension the examining physician noted “His right arm is hopelessly disabled. The fingers of right hand are turned in towards the palm . . . the wrist being partially stiffened. The only use he has of the arm is to bring food to his mouth,” although “aside from appearance sake he would consider himself about as well off if his arm had been amputated.”

In February of 1863 Miles applied for and received a pension (no. 68821), drawing $24 a month by 1902.

Miles was elected (finally) City Marshal of Grand Rapids in 1868. His office was located at 34 Canal, and he was residing on the northwest corner of Jefferson and Wealthy. He was working as a blacksmith and living with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids at 66 Jefferson Avenue in 1870. That same year his mother Sarah (?) was living alone in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward next door to her son William and his family.

Miles and his family were living at 97 Ransom Street in Grand Rapids when the Grand Rapids Democrat of August 19, 1877, wrote that Adams and his wife had recently suffered the loss of their ten-year-old daughter, Cora, who died of acute gastritis. Funeral services were held from the home on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. The family placed the following poem in the newspaper:

A light from our household gone,
A voice we love is stilled;
A place is vacant at our hearth
Which can never be filled
A gentle heart that throbbed but now
With tenderness and love,
Has hushed its weary beatings here
To dwell in bliss above.
We call her dead, but Oh we know
She dwells where living waters flow.

Miles was living in Grand Rapids in 1883 and in September of 1885 when he became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. He was also a member of Grand Army of the Republic Custer Post No. 5 in Grand Rapids. In fact he probably lived the rest of his life in the city. Miles also worked as a mail agent for some years. He was still living in Grand Rapids in 1888, 1890, and by 1902 he was living with his son Alfred at 284 Quimby Street -- it is quite possible that by the time his wife had been committed to the Insane Asylum in Kalamazoo.

Miles was still living with his son Alfred when he died of pneumonia brought on by exposure on December 17, 1902. (It is possible that he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.) According to the Herald of December 18, he apparently wandered away from his home on Monday and “was found Tuesday afternoon eight miles out on West Bridge Street road, lying asleep in the snow and nearly dead from cold and hunger. He had been missing from home about 24 hours and had walked the entire distance in the snow, insufficiently clad. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia. For some time the aged man has been afflicted with dementia that caused him to wander from home. A close watch was kept on him, but a few times he escaped the vigilance of friends. About two months ago he wandered for two days and was found in the vicinity of Englishville [Kent County]. Deceased was a mail agent running out of Grand Rapids during the latter part of his life up to a few years ago, when he was incapacitated.”

Miles was buried on December 19 in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids: block 4 lot 4, grave 10 next to his brother William. Sarah is buried in lot 13 block 10 along with one Elizabeth V. Adams, who died in 1884.

His widow Anna applied for and received a pension (no. 565539), drawing $12 a month in 1914. By 1903 his widow was reported as a patient at the “Michigan Asylum for the Insane” at Kalamazoo, and under the guardianship of one Blanche Outhwaite of Muskegon, and then under the care of Elizabeth Much of Grand Rapids. Anna died in 1914.

Note that Miles' headstone, left, mistakenly lists him in the 20th Michigan Infantry; in fact, after his service in the 3rd Michigan he was transferred to the 20th company VRC.

Note that Miles' headstone, left, mistakenly lists him in the 20th Michigan Infantry; in fact, after his service in the 3rd Michigan he was transferred to the 20th company VRC.