Stiles A. Watkins

Stiles A. Watkins was born on January 15, 1843, in Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, the son of Ransel (b. 12812) and Hannah (Hunt, b. 1816).

Vermont-native Ransel married Connecticut-born Hannah and they eventually settled in Vermont, although according to government records Silas’ parents were both born in Vermont and presumably married there.

In any case, Silas left Vermont, probably with his family and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan.

In 1850 there was one Lyman Watkins (b. 1818 in New York or Vermont) working as a carpenter with some $1000 worth of real estate and living with his wife New York native Sylvina (b. 1823) in Allegan village. In 1860 Lyman was listed as a wealthy druggist and living with his wife Sylvina in Allegan, Allegan County, and next door to Lyman lived Edward Wheelock who would join the Third Michigan in 1861.

Sometime between 1850 and 1860 Stiles’ father died and his mother married a wealthy farmer named William S. Hooker, presumably in Michigan and probably in Allegan County. (In 1850 Hooker, then living on a large farm in Allegan County, was married to Vermont native Mary (b. 1821) and they had one child, an infant girl Marcia.)

Stiles was probably the same ‘Silas A.” Watkins who was working as a farm laborer and living with William S. Hooker and his family in Leighton, Allegan County in 1860.

Silas stood 5’6’ with blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion and was a 19-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Leighton, Allegan County when he enlisted in Company F on August 14, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered the same day at Detroit. He joined the Regiment on September 8 at Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, and was wounded by a gunshot on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia.

He was subsequently hospitalized and probably still absent wounded when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, where he was reported as transferred to the Veterans’ Reserve Corps as of September 16, 1863. (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.)

Stiles was mustered out on July 19, 1865, from Company B, First VRC in Elmira, New York.

Stiles eventually returned to Michigan.

Stiles was married to New York native Delvina L. Cross (1841-1916), and they had at least six children: Alonzo (1868-1916), Emma (b. 1870), Ellen (b. 1873), Alexander (b. 1876), Cornelia (b. 1878) and Thomas C. (b. 1883).

By 1870 Stiles or Styles was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife and two children in Leighton, Allegan County, and they were still living on a farm in Leighton in 1880. He was living in Corning, Allegan County in 1888, and residing in Wayland or Leighton, Allegan County in 1890 and in Leighton, Allegan County in 1894. He was working as a a farmer and living with Delvina and three sons in Leighton in 1900. Near by lived Vermont-born Francis R. (b. 1845) and his family. Stiles was working as a a farmer and living with Delvina in Leighton in 1910; next door lived his son “Alle” and his family.

In 1878 he applied for and received a pension (no. 158229), for service in Compny F, Twenty-third Michigan infantry. This was most likely a typographical error and the reference should be to the Third Michigan infantry.

Stiles probably died a widower on July 21, 1923, in Wayland, and was buried in Hooker cemetery, Allegan County.

Arthur Watkins

Arthur Watkins was born on February 22, 1841, in Jordan, Onondaga County, New York, the son of Dennis (b. 1804) and Eliza (Birney, d. 1846).

Maryland native Dennis married Eliza, possibly in New York where they resided for some years. (In 1840 Dennis was probably living in Elbridge, Onondaga County, New York.) After Eliza died Dennis remarried New York native Adelia (b. 1816), probably in New York. In any case Dennis moved his family to Michigan, eventually settling in Bennington, Shiawassee County by 1850 when he was working a farm and Arthur and his siblings were attending school. By 1860 Arthur was living with his father and attending school with two of his younger sisters in Bennington. In fact Arthur lived in Shiawassee County, probably with his family, until the war broke out.

Arthur stood 5’10” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 20-year-old laborer possibly living in Shiawassee County when he enlisted at the age of 20 in Company G on May 13, 1861. By the first of August, 1861, Arthur was sick with a fever in the Regimental hospital, but he eventually returned to duty and was wounded slightly in the head (“left temple”) on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia. He was hospitalized briefly in Washington, DC, and by June 20 had returned to duty having recovered from his wound, “which,” wrote Homer Thayer of Company G, “proved not so bad as first supposed.”

According to one source, however, Arthur was back in the hospital by late summer and was not present with the regiment when it was engaged at the Battle of Groveton (Second Bull Run), Virginia, on August 29, 1862.

It is unclear whether Watkins actually returned to the Regiment since he was reported as absent sick through March of 1863. By May he was in the Brigade commissary department, and was wounded in the shoulder on May 3, 1863, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. He reenlisted on December 24, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, but no credit for the enlistment is given in the records. He was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of February. Arthur was apparently absent sick when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick through July of 1864. He was mustered out July 5, 1865.

After the war Arthur eventually returned to Michigan, settling in Birmingham, Oakland County, where he married Michigan native Juliet Leonard (b. 1847) on December 1, 1866, and they had at least five children: Mabel (b. 1868), Mrs. Arthur Hill?), Harry L. (b. 1869), Myrta A., A. Grayce and Don D.

By 1870 Arthur was working as a farm laborer and living with his wife and two children in Bloomfield, Oakland County; also living with them was his father Dennis. Arthur eventually moved to Detroit, and was working on a Street car and living with his wife and children in on Twentieth Street in the Twelfth Ward. He remained in Detroit until about 1881 when he settled his family in Bellaire, Antrim County, where they ran a boarding house hotel which they had purchased from J. Cook. They engaged in that business for some twenty years.

Arthur was still living in Bellaire when became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association in December of 1894, was a Protestant and he received pension no. 388,894, drawing $12.00 per month in 1901.

According to one source, on “Christmas morning, 1900, Mr. Watkins was stricken with paralysis, and” as a result he was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 3587) on April 3, 1901.

Arthur had another stroke late in 1906 and he died of paralysis at the Home at 6:15 p.m. on June 16, 1907, and his body was sent to Bellaire where his wife had been living. His remains were taken to his home where the funeral was conducted under the auspices of the Masons. He was buried in Lakeview cemetery in Bellaire: lot 506, grave 1.

In July of 1907 his widow was living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 633720).