William L. Williams

William L. Williams was born in 1832 in New York, the son of Nathan and Abigail (Yeomans).

In 1850 there was one William Williams, age 18, working as a farmer along with his father Nathan (b. 1799 in New York) and mother Sarah (b. 1804 in New York) and living with his siblings on a farm in New Hartford, Oneida County, New York. (In fact Nathan was living in New Hartford in 1830 and in 1840 as well as in 1860.)

William left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by mid-1860. In fact, he was probably living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Artillery, commanded by Captain Baker Borden, on July 16, 1860. (The GRA would serve as the nucleus for Company B, also commanded by Borden, of the Third Michigan infantry.)

William stood 5’8” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 29-year-old carpenter possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted as Fourth Corporal in Company B on May 13, 1861. (William may have been related to Jessie Williams who also enlisted in Company B.) He was absent sick in the hospital in August of 1862, eventually returned to duty and was wounded in the left shoulder on December 13, 1862, at Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was first sent to a hospital in Washington and was probably in the hospital at Fort Schuyler, New York in January of 1863, and absent wounded from February of 1863 until he went home on furlough in August.

On Saturday, August 29, 1863, the Eagle reported that “The many friends in this city of William L. Williams, a gallant and true soldier who has been with the glorious Third from the date of its entering the service up to within a few days past, will rejoice to welcome him home again after so long a time past in the service of his country -- in the field and in the camp. Mr. W. will pass his short furlough with his family and friends, and then return to his Regiment again.” He remained absent wounded, probably in New York or perhaps in Michigan through February of 1864 when he was transferred to Company G, Tenth Regiment Veterans’ Reserve Corps on February 15, 1864 at Fort Schuyler; he also reportedly served in the Fourth Company, Second Battalion, VRC as well.

William was discharged from the VRC sometime in 1864 and returned to Kent County where he reentered the service as Sergeant in Company E, Thirtieth Michigan infantry on December 10, 1864, at Grand Rapids for 1 years, crediting Algoma, Kent County, and was mustered the same day. The regiment was organized in Detroit for 12 months’ service in the state and was mustered into service on January 9, 1865. It was engaged in frontier duty in Michigan along the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers. William was promoted to First Sergeant on May 10, 1865, and mustered out with the regiment at Detroit on June 30, 1865.

After the war William returned to his home in Kent County.

He married New York native Mrs. Sarah H. Sayers (1824-1903) on October 30, 1867, in Walker, Kent County, and they had at least one child: Hattie A. (b. 1868).

It is possible that he was the same “William L. Williams” who, in mid-January of 1871, “pled guilty to the charge of assault and battery, before Justice Putnam yesterday, and paid a fine of $7.00.”

In any case, William was living in Grand Rapids in 1874 and 1885, but by 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and daughter in Tallmadge, ottawa County. By 1888 he had moved to Berlin (Marne), Ottawa count, was back in Grand Rapids in 1893, in Berlin in 1895 and Grand Rapids in 1898, in Tallmadge, Ottawa County in 1900 and for many years worked as a carpenter. By 1910 he was possibly residing on RR no. 18, Grand Rapids Township, Kent County, and on RR no. 13 (?) in 1911.

He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 3454) on September 18, 1900, was dropped from the Home on June 13, 1913, and reentered the home on January 7, 1915. William was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and Grand Army of the Republic Champlin Post No. 29 in Grand Rapids, a Protestant.

In 1888 (?) he applied for and received pension no. 374,260.

William died a widower of nephritis at his home in Walker on Saturday, February 20, 1916, while absent from the Home without leave, and the funeral service was held at his residence at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section C lot 28.

Thomas Corwin Williams

Thomas Corwin Williams was born on March 28, 1840, in Euclid, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the son of George (b. 1811-1899?) and Elizabeth (b. 1814).

New York natives George and Elizabeth were married and had settled in Ohio by 1835. They moved the family from Ohio to Michigan sometime between 1845 and 1850 when they were living in Johnstown, Barry County, where Thomas attended school with his siblings. By 1860 Thomas (or Corwin) was probably living in Rutland, Barry County as was his father George.

Thomas stood 5’9” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a sandy complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer possibly living in Barry County when he enlisted in Company K on December 11, 1861, for three years at Detroit, was mustered probably on the same day. Upon his arrival in Washington, DC, he was hospitalized and never joined the regiment, although he was reported as having deserted on September 21, 1862, at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. In fact, he was sick in the hospital in Washington, DC until he was discharged for consumption on May 30, 1862, at the Patent Office hospital in Washington, DC.

But Thomas was apparently determined to get to the Third Michigan. It seems that Thomas was probably the same “Corwin S. Williams” who was mustered in Company C on December 11, 1861, at Grand Rapids, but was absent sick in Washington in March and April of 1862, and absent sick in the Patent Office hospital in Washington from May through August. It was noted in his service record that he had not served with his company since enlistment, and by October of 1862 he was reported to have been dropped from the company rolls on July 31, 1862, in compliance with S.O. no. 92 (War Department), regarding deserters.

Thomas eventually returned to Michigan, and enlisted as a private in M company, Seventh Michigan cavalry, on June 9, 1863, in Grand Rapids. He may have participated with the regiment in the engagements and actions at Hanover and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in late June and earlyt July of 1863. He may also have been on duty with the Seventh when it participated in Lee’s surrender in April of 1865 and the Grand Review in Washington on May 23.

The Seventh was moved to Forth Leavenworth, Kansas, where it participated in operations against the Indians and Thomas was promoted to Corporal in June of 1865. It seems likely that he weas among the veterans and recruits of the Seventh who were consolidated into the First Michgian cavalry in November of 1865 and he mustered out of service with that regiment at Salt Lake City, Utah Territory on March 10, 1866.

After the war Thomas returned to Michigan. By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $2000 worth of real estate) and living in Rutland, Barry County; also living with him were his mother Elizabeth as well as sister Shary (b. 1854), brother Frederick (b. 1845) and Frederick’s wife Lydia and their son George.

Thomas was married to New York native Anna (1851-1911), and they had at least children: Blanche (b. 1872) and Lula (b. 1875). By 1880 Thomas was working as a farmer and livng with his wife and children in Rutland. Thomas was living in Rutland, Barry County in 1890 and in Hastings around 1900 and by 1911 at 818 Green Street.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association as well as the Seventh Michigan Cavalry Association. He was living in Michigan in 1887 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 427802).

Thomas was probably a widower when he died on December 28, 1928, probably in Barry County, and was buried alongside his wife Anna in Rutland Township cemetery, Barry County.

Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams was born on September 9, 1836, in Michigan, the son of Lyman (d. 1848) and Lucinda M. (Boyden, 1813-1852).

His father may have been living in Washtenaw County, Michigan in 1840. According to one source Jesse’s father died in 1848. In 1850 Jessie was probably the same Jesse Williams attending school with his siblings and living with his mother Vermont native Lucinda and the Secord family in Spring Lake, Ottawa County. His mother died in 1852, and he was living in Ottawa County in 1854, and from about 1859 until 1861 boarded with Justus Stiles, a farmer in Polkton, Ottawa County. “He obtained a fair education, and was compelled to work most of the time to secure himself from want. He was usually employed as a farm assistant, and worked, as he found opprtunity, at the carpenter’s trade.”

Jesse stood 5’8” with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 24-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Wright, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (He may have been related to William Williams who also enlisted in Company B.) He was discharged on July 30, 1861, for hypertrophy of the heart at Arlington Heights, Virginia.

After he left the army Jessie returned home to Ottawa County.

He married Michigan native Ruth E. Dickerson (1846-1916) in 1863, and they had at least five children: Ida L (possibly Loal, b. 1864), a son L. D. (b. 1866), Capitola (b. 1870), George (1872-1897) and Clarence (1874-1903). Sometime around 1865 Jessie moved to Mecosta County, buying a claim of about 80 acres which by 1880s he had some 65 under tillage.

By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $2500 worth of real estate and living with his wife and children in Green, Mecosta County; also living with them was one Ezra Williams, presumably Jesse’s younger brother. Jesse was still living in Green, Mecosta County in 1879, and working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Green in 1880 (he may also have lived in Big Rapids that year as well) and in Stimson in 1890.

He was a Democrat.

In 1874 he applied for a pension (no. 299,598), which was apparently rejected probably in 1885 -- possibly as a consequence of not having been in service the minimum amount of time to qualify, although this is by no means certain.

Jesse died in 1905 presumably at his home in Green, Mecosta County. He was buried in West cemetery, Big Rapids.

Ruth was probably still living in Mecosta County when she died in 1916 and was buried in West cemetery, Big Rapids.

James Charles Williams - update 8/29/2016

James Charles Williams was born in 1844 in Canada.

James’s father was born in England and his mother in Wales.

He was reportedly 21 years old and possibly living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted with his parent’s consent (thus placing him younger than 21) 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.) By early September he was reported as a patient suffering from slight sickness in Carver hospital in Washington, DC. James allegedly deserted on September 29, 1862, but he was in fact discharged on September 29 at Carver hospital, Washington, DC, presumably for disability. (The charge of desertion was removed in 1898.)

It is not known if James returned to Michigan after his discharge. He was apparently residing in New York when he reentered the service as Sergeant in One hundred seventy-sixth New York infantry on December 2, 1862, at Syracuse for 9 months, and was mustered on December 22 at New York City. He was present for duty when he was discharged by Special Order no. 224 (September 8, 1863) from the headquarters Department of the Gulf, New Orleans. Colonel George H. Hanks, commanding Superintendent of Negro Labor, requested that Williams be discharged as “His services will be needed on a government plantation and can be secured provided his discharge is granted.” In fact he had been on detached service working on a government plantation in July and August. The discharge was approved.

It is not known if James ever returned to western Michigan.

He was married to Pennsylvania native Anna E. (b. 1849) and they had at least two children: Carrie (Mrs. Stoughton, b. 1874) and Charles (b. 1875).

James and Anna were living in Ohio in the mid-1870s when their two children were born. James was living in Pennsylvania in 1883 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 867656) for service in both Michigan and New York regiments. By 1890 he was living in Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania. By 1920 James was living with his wife on Holland Street in Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania; also living with them were their daughter Carrie and son Charles.

James died on July 9, 1923, in Warren, Pennsylvania, and was buried in Erie Cemetery, Erie County, Pennsylvania.

In August of 1923 his widow, then living in Pennsylvania, applied for and received a pension (no. 939841).

Charles D. Williams

Charles D. Williams was born on May 2, 1840, in Jefferson County, New York, possibly the son of William R. (1815-1881) and Betsey (b. 1818).

William R. was living in Antwerp. Jefferson County in 1840. He and New York native Betsey werre married probably before 1837 and possibly in New York. In any case, by 1850 Charles was attending school with two of his younger siblings and living with his family in Rossie, St. Lawrence County, New York, where his father worked as a blacksmith. By 1860 they had moved to Michigan and Charles was working as a common laborer and living with his family in Coe, Isabella County, Michigan.

Charles stood 5’11” with light hazel eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 21 years old and possibly living in Isabella County or perhaps in St. Louis, Gratiot County when he enlisted in Company D on June 5, 1861. He was reported serving with the ambulance corps from July of 1862 through January of 1863. In April he was reported AWOL and absent sick or wounded in the hospital in June and July. In August he was reported with a cavalry detachment through May of 1864, although he was also reported “to have been transferred to Invalid Corps. Left the company sometime in 1862. Nothing is known of his whereabouts. Discharged June 20, 1864 at Detroit at expiration of term of service.”

In fact, Charles was “officially” discharged on July 18, 1863, at the Convalescent Camp, near Alexandria, Virginia, for “advanced morbus coxcanus [or hip-joint disease], contracted since enlistment” (he was also noted as “unfit for the Invalid Corps”), and he listed St. Louis, Gratiot County as his mailing address on his discharge paper.

By the time his discharge was issued Charles was already back in Michigan, and living in St. Louis when he applied for a pension. On July 18, the day he was reportedly discharged in Virginia, he was testifying before a justice of the peace in St. Louis. He swore that while in the line of duty “he contracted a disease of the right hip joint and right knee, which first began to trouble him about the 1st day of March 1862 at Camp Michigan, near Alexandria, Va.” He further stated that it “grew worse during the Peninsular Campaign and has continued to increase ever since; and that he can bear no weight on that leg and has no use of it. He thinks the difficulty arose from hurting himself by his own doing & taking cold . . .”

Charles received pension no. 22,293, dated July of 1863, drawing $8.00 in 1863.

Charles was living in Michigan when he died, possibly in Clinton County, or perhaps in Gratiot County or possibly living with his family in Isabella County, on October 14, 1863, and was buried in Salt River cemetery, Coe, Isabella County.

William and Betsey were still living in Coe, Isabella County in 1870. Willliam died in 1881 and was reportedly buried in Salt River cemetery as well. In 1883 his mother applied for and received a dependent widow’s pension -- his father had served in the Eighth Michigan infantry -- (application no. 306463, cert. no. 248904).