Wilson

William P. Wilson - update 8/22/2016

William P. Wilson was born in 1841 in Ohio, the son of Vermont natives Clark (1809-1882) and Betsey (Stillwell, 1812-1898).

Clark and Betsey settled in Canada sometime before 1833. Between 1836 and 1839 they moved the family to Ohio and between 1846 and 1848 moved from Ohio to Michigan and by 1850 had settled in Byron, Kent County where William attended school with four of his siblings, including his younger brother Almon who would also enlist in Company F, 3rd Michigan in 1861.

William was 20 years old and possibly living in Kent County, Michigan, when he enlisted in Company F with the consent of the Justice of the Peace (and not curiously enough with the consent of his parents) in Company F on May 13, 1861 along with his brother Almon. William was possibly wounded on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run. In any case he was reported as a patient in Seminary Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, when he was transferred to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania about September 1, 1862.

William was first reported as transferred on January 24, 1863, to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, but a War Department notation in his military service record dated March 7, 1876, canceled that entry and added that in fact he enlisted at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 28, 1862, to serve one year and six months (or roughly until the end of his original enlistment), and was subsequently assigned to Company F, 1st U.S. Cavalry .

He probably returned to Michigan after his discharge from the army and reentered the service as a Private in Company H, 10th Michigan Cavalry, on February 24, 1865 and was mustered in on February 27. He joined the regiment on March 16 and was mustered out with the regiment on November 11, 1865, at Memphis, Tennessee.

William returned to Michigan after the war and by 1870 he was working as a day laborer and living with his parents in Byron, Kent County.

William married Michigan native Mary Lorraine Barr (1846-1938), and they had at least three children: Frank A. (b. 1874), Edith (b. 1877) and Mary or Mamie (1879-1940).

By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Byron, Kent County. (His parents were still living in Byron as well.) By 1900 William and his wife and three daughters were living with Axtyl Barr in Larimore, Grand Forks County, North Dakota. By 1920 Mary and William were living with the Temple family in Larimore, Grand Forks County, North Dakota.

In 1896 he applied for and received a pension (no. 858806). He was a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association.

William died in 1921 in Grand Forks County, North Dakota and was buried in Bellevue cemetery, Larimore, Grand Forks County.

His widow was living in North Dakota in 1920 (?) when she applied for and received a pension (no. 714670). That same year she may have been the same Mary Wilson who was living with her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Ben McDonald, in Minot, North Dakota.


Savillian or Civilian M. Wilson

Savillian or Civilian M. Wilson was born in 1838 in Jefferson County, New York, the son of Abel (b. 1803) and Mary (b. 1807)

New Yorkers Abel and Mary were married presumably in New york where they resided for some years. By 1840 Abel may have been living in LeRoy, Jefferson County, New York, and in 1840 he was probably living in Philadelphia, Jeffeerson County, New York. In 1850 “Cevillian” was attending school with two of his siblings and living with his family in Antwerp, Jefferson County, New York. “Savillian” left New York and came to western Michigan sometime before the war broke out.

He stood 5’7” with gray eyes, black hair and a light complexion and was a 23-year-old furnace-man possibly living in Kent County when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. He was reported sick in a hospital from July of 1862 through February of 1863, and was a Corporal when he was discharged on March 16, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, for consumption of the right lung. “He has been,” wrote the discharging physician, “under treatment in Regimental and Division hospital during the greater part of the time for at least four months.”

In 1864 he applied for and received a pension (no. 42084) but the certificate was never granted.

There is no further record.

Ole Wilson

Ole Wilson was born in 1837.

Ole (or Ola) was 25 years old and possibly living in Grand Haven, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Unassigned on or about January 1, 1862, at Grand Haven for 3 years. He apparently never joined the Regiment and was reported as a deserter.

There is no further record.

Interestingly there was one Mrs. Ola Wilson living at 34 Bridge Street in Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, in 1890.

Merritt Wilson

Merritt Wilson was born in 1838 in Monroe, Orange County, New York, the son of Joseph (1812-1864) and Martha (b. 1820).

New York natives, his parents moved from New York to Michigan before 1853, and by 1860 Merritt was a butcher working for Daniel Savery and living with his family in Lowell, Kent County where his father worked as a constable.

He stood 5’7” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 23 years old and probably still living in Lowell when he enlisted 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.) He was discharged for consumption on July 29, 1861, at Hunter’s Farm, Virginia.

Merritt probably returned home to Lowell where he reentered the service in Company F, Second Michigan cavalry on September 19, 1861, for 3 years, and was mustered on October 2 at Grand Rapids. The regiment left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on November 14, 1861 and was on duty at Benton Barracks in St. Louis through February of 1862. Merritt was reported absent sick from May 6, 1862, and indeed he probably returned to Michigan to recover. In any case, he was reportedly discharged for disability on July 5, 1862, at Detroit.

It is unclear, however, whether he was in fact discharged from the army.

On February 17, 1863, the Eagle reprinted a letter from Merritt Wilson (mistakenly listed as serving in the Twenty-sixth Michigan), written on February 10 from Alexandria, Virginia. Under the heading “From the 26th Infantry.”

To-night [Wilson wrote] our boys are having what the Virginians term, ‘a right smart time.’ They are around town closing up dens where they sell an article to soldiers called whisky, but which more resembles rain water and strychnine; and the boys say it will ‘eat a hole through a cent’. Our Regiment is having all they can do at present, as the town is filled with soldiers. Three Regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserve came in yesterday, from the front, where they have been six months. They have been through all the fights, and suffered severely, yet those that are left look healthy and robust; and, instead of being discouraged or demoralized, as some of the Northern papers say, they are anxious to recruit up, and get back into the field and see it through. I think those Southern sympathizers at the North, who are trying so hard to discourage our army, by preaching up that we never will subdue the South, should be here, and obliged to stand an equal chance with their brother rebels. Our Regiment is very healthy at present, with the exception of a few cases of small pox. Only one case has proved fatal, and that was Lt. [Charles] Bush, of Co. B [Second Michigan cavalry], who was buried yesterday. He was a fine young man, and very highly esteemed by all who knew him. We are expecting to move to the front as soon as the roads get settled; and perhaps you may then hear of the 26th doing something in the way of fighting, if they have a chance.

However, there is no record of a “Merritt Wilson” having enlisted or served in the Twenty-sixth Michigan infantry.

In any case, he was on detached service with the Brigade Quartermaster by the end of 1864. On December 27, 1864, Wilson, then working in the office of the Quartermaster for the First Brigade, First cavalry Division, wrote to the Eagle from Pulaski, Tennessee.

We arrived here yesterday evening [he wrote] with our train, consisting of 80 wagons, after a tedious marching of 8 days from Nashville, and it rained nearly the whole time, making the roads almost impassable. Yet the old Brigade was ahead, driving the Johnnies, and we knew it was in need of rations and ammunition, with which we were loaded; so we pushed on, regardless of the rain, swollen creeks and burned bridges. At Franklin we built a temporary bridge across Rutherford's creek, and passed over very well; but when we reached Duck River were were compelled to lay the pontoons, which delayed us some time; but our Brigade got across directly after the rebs, and met Gen. Forrest on the pike, a short distance from Columbia, where they had a sharp skirmish, taking some prisoners and driving him on through the place. The citizens along the roads say Hood's army is perfectly demoralized, on the retreat, and in a perfectly wretched condition, many of the soldiers being completely bare footed. -- In fact I saw many prisoners coming back who were bare footed and nearly naked. -- Franklin, Columbia and nearly every house on the roads is filled with their wounded, and prisoners are constantly coming in. I think by the time Corp. [sic?] Hood reaches the Tenn. River, he will regret the day he started to take Nashville. Our Brigade consists of the 2nd Mich., 1st East Tenn., 4th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, and 8th Iowa, commanded by Brig. Gen. John T. Craxton. We shall remain here until the roads are better, and furnish the Brigade with supplies and ammunition in pack mules.

The Second Michigan cavalry was mustered out of service on August 17, 1865, possibly at Macon, Georgia.

There is no pension available for Merritt’s service in the Third Michigan infantry or in the Second Michigan cavalry.

According to one source Merritt was buried in Baldwin, Georgia.

It appears that his father enlisted as First Lieutenant in Company I, Twentieth Michigan infantry, on September 26, 1862, and was discharged for disability on December 23, 1863, in New York city. He apparently returned to his home in Lowell where he died in July of 1864. His father is buried in Oakwood cemetery, in Lowell.

His mother applied for and received a dependent widow’s pension (no. 39470) in September of 1864.

Harvey Wilson

Harvey Wilson was born in 1838 in Steuben County, New York.

In 1850 there was on “Hawley” Wilson, born 1838 in New York, living with his parents, Canadian-born Midas (b. 1817) and Elizabeth (b. 1817) and their other children in Howard, Steuben County, New York. In 1850 there was two Harvey Wilsons living in Kalamo, Eaton County, Michigan, father and son, aged 40 and 7 years respectively. In any case, he eventually left New York and came to western Michigan In 1860 there was a “Hawley” Wilson, born 1793 in New York, living in Canisteo, Steuben County, New York, and one Harvey Wilson, b. 1811 in New York, living in Corning, Steuben County, New York.

Harvey stood 5’6’ with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 23-year-old farmer possibly living in Allegan County when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. (Harvey was possibly related to Merritt Wilson who would also reenter the service in the Second Michigan cavalry in the fall of 1861; see below.) He was discharged for a hernia on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia.

After he left the army Harvey returned to Michigan where he reentered the service in Company G, Second Michigan cavalry on September 14, 1861, at Litchfield, Hillsdale County, and was mustered on October 2 at Grand Rapids, giving his residence as Hillsdale County. The regiment left Michigan for St. Louis, Missouri, on November 14, 1861 and was on duty at Benton Barracks in St. Louis through February of 1862. It participated in the siege of New Madrid, Missouri, the siege and capture of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River, in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi, and was assigned to Louisville in September of 1862. It participated in the battle of Perryville on October 8 and numerous actions in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia through the winter. Harvey was discharged on December 18, 1862, at Cincinnati, Ohio.

Harvey eventually returned to Michigan. He was possibly the same Harvey Wilson, age 29 and born in Michigan, who was working as a farmer (he owned some $1200 worth of real estate and was living with his wife, New York native June in Litchfield, Hillsdale County, in 1870. This Harvey was still living in Litchfield in 1880, working as a farmer but apparently married to New York-born Martha (1843-1910); they had one child: Clara (b. 1875). Harvey was living in Ovid, Clinton County in 1890 and 1894.

No pension for service in the Old Third seems to be available. However, one Harvey Wilson of Michigan applied for and received a pension as did his widow Martha.

Harvey died on Saturday, August 26, 1905, presumably at his home in Clinton County, and was buried in lot no. 386, Maple Grove cemetery, in Ovid, Clinton County.

George B. Willson - updated 2/8/2015 NAME CHANGE

Dr. George B. Willson was born in about 1830, possibly in Canada.

Described as “perhaps the brightest man in medicine which [St. Clair County] has ever known,” George Willson came to Port Huron, St. Clair County, from Canada sometime around 1850 and while there studied medicine with Dr. Zeh. He eventually graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1857 (his faculty mentor there was Dr. Stockwell). The eminent geologist Professor Winchell of the university “found in him a congenial spirit and spent days with him in the most enjoyable companionship.”

Dr. Willson was also considered, at least in later years, to be something of an acute diagnostician.

Supposition and guesswork were never satisfying to him. To verify a diagnosis he used every means at his command. In one instance where he was called to see a dying man, he made a diagnosis of cancer of the stomach, which diagnosis was at variance with that of a fellow practitioner. Wishing to verify the existing conditions he asked the privilege of making an examination of the stomach after death. The relatives promised, but when death had taken place the promise was withdrawn. Not to be thwarted, he, accompanied by a medical student, went in the middle of the night following the day of the funeral, to the cemetery, which was located in an outlying, lonely place. There, after removing the dirt down to the coffin removing the lid, he proceeded by the light of a dark lantern, to make an autopsy. He verified his diagnosis, finding a cancer of the stomach; then, replacing the lid of the coffin and covering in the earth, he departed just before dawn, satisfied and paid for all the risks he had run. “At a time,” noted one biographer, when to deal surgical [sic] with the brain was supposed to invite death, he was called to see a man through whose forehead and into the center of whose brain had been driven the breech-pin, with its binding screw, of an exploded gun. With Dr. Willson there was no hesitancy as to what course to pursue; to his mind it was plain that where a missile had gone, and had not killed, he could go. He enlarged the opening in the forehead (it being found necessary) and after removing considerable disorganized matter, succeeded with considerable difficulty in removing the foreign body. The man recovered and lived for many years afterward. 

 George married New York native Cynthia (b. 1833) and they had at least one child: Emma (b. 1858).

By 1860 George was working as a physician and living with his wife and daughter in Flint’s 2nd Ward, Genesee County; also living with them was George Stockwell (b. 1847) and a servant Mary Buryes as well as George’s brother James (b. 1833) who was also a practicing physician.

George was a 24-year-old physician living in Ionia County, Michigan, when he was commissioned as Assistant Surgeon on October 15, 1861

According to Dr. Charles Stockwell of Port Huron, Dr. Willson and Stockwell’s father were avid collectors of curios and during the war Willson apparently sent several pieces of Pohick church, Virginia, to Stockwell. In 1905 Charles testified that he had in his possession two balusters from the church. They were “about 22 to 24 inches long, square base, square top, upper half fluted, square piece near center, lower part turned with one portion of it apparently hand carved with oblique lines; painted light brown.” Stockwell added that he received one piece from his father who had gotten it from Dr. Willson and the other piece from Mrs. S. D. Sanborn who had also received hers from Willson. Stockwell further stated that his father and Dr. Willson “were collecting curios, antiquities and objects of historic interest and that is the reason Dr. Willson sent them to be preserved in our collection.”

Stockwell was asked if he knew how Dr. Willson came by the pieces and he replied he did “not know how sender obtained possession of said articles, whether he got them personally out of the church, or whether he got them from some other person.”

In any case, it appears that George contracted tuberculosis, possibly even before he entered the army, although this is uncertain. His biographer noted: “His spirits, burning and unquenchable, led him to spend night after night, till dawn, in study . . . His physical strength was unequal to the strain, so in a brief time it gave way.”

Dr. Willson resigned from the army on June 15 or 27, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia. He returned to Port Huron and was living there when he wrote an article for the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal in August. He died shortly afterwards, probably in December of 1862.

In 1865 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 88377). By 1870 Cynthia was working as a school teacher and she and her daughter Emma were living with the Stockwell family in Port Huron’s 2nd Ward, St. Clair County. In 1880 Cynthia was working as a cashier and living in Port Huron.

Daniel C. Wilson

Daniel C. Wilson was born in 1844 in Fairfield, Herkimer County, New York, the son of Eliza.

Daniel and his mother eventually left New York and came to western Michigan sometime before 1862.

Daniel stood 5’8’ with gray eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Saranac, Ionia County or Lowell, Kent County when he enlisted with his mother’s consent in Company C on February 22, 1862, at Saranac for 3 years, crediting Lowell, and was mustered the same day. He was reported as a company cook in September of 1862, and transferred to Company F on February 3, 1864, at Camp Bullock, Virginia.

He reenlisted on February 26, 1864, near Culpeper, Virginia, was mustered February 29 and presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in March and probably returned to the Regiment on or about the first of April.

He was taken prisoner on May 6 at the Wilderness, Virginia, confined at Andersonville, Georgia, and was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864. He was reported to be “doing well” but still a prisoner at Blackshire, Georgia in late 1864.

Daniel was paroled on April 28, 1865, at Jacksonville, Florida, sent to Camp Parole, Maryland on May 11, and to Camp Chase, Ohio on May 18 where he arrived on May 19 and where he was mustered out on June 19, 1865.

After the war Daniel returned to Michigan.

He was married to Canadian native Jane.

By 1870 he was working as a farmer (he owned $4000 worth of real estate) and living with his wife in Ronald, Ionia County. He was living in the Maple Rapids, Clinton County area around 1900. By 1907 he was residing at the Bridge Street House in Grand Rapids, and the following year was apparently back in Maple Rapids. In 1910-11 he was living in Belding, Ionia County.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. In 1880 he applied for and received a pension (no. 263235).

Daniel died on June 26, 1913, probably at his home in Belding and was reportedly buried in Oak Hill cemetery, Ionia County.

In July of 1913 his widow was still living in Michigan when she applied for and received a pension (no. 767752).

Almon E. Wilson

Almon E. Wilson was born on May 3, 1843, in Lorain County, Ohio, the son of Clark (1809-1882) and Betsey (b. 1812).

Vermonters Clark and Betsey were married and had settled in Canada sometime before 1833. Between 1836 and 1839 they moved the family to Ohio and between 1846 and 1848 moved from Ohio to Michigan and by 1850 had settled in Byron, Kent County where Almon attended school with four of his older siblings, one of whom was William who would also enlist in Company F Third Michigan. By 1860 Almon was attending school with four of his younger siblings and working as a farm laborer and living with his family in Byron.

He stood 5’7” with gray eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was an 18-year-old farmer probably living in Boynton or Byron, Kent County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861 along with his brother William.

On December 22, 1861, from the regiment’s winter quarters in Virginia, Camp Michigan, Almon wrote home to his “dear parents.”

Your letter came to hand last night. We were glad to hear from home & to hear that you were well. As you requested me to write I will do so now that I have a little leisure [time]. I am well as usual and so is William. He is getting tough as a bear; he weighs 168 lbs near as much as he did when he enlisted. My weight is 152 lbs. We are encamped in the woods about __ miles from Alexandria. Some of the boys are building log houses but our squad keeps their tent yet. We have been raising up our tent about four feet from the ground. There is fifteen persons in our tent, all good fellows.

I was sorry to hear that you had not received that money. I sent ten dollars home four weeks ago today. The reason of my not writing before was because I was waiting to hear from the money. I was obliged to send it in a letter for I could not get to Washington to send it by express. But the capt. Has promised me a pass when we get our next pay which will be in a week or so & then I will try and send some in such a way that it will be safe.

I received a letter from Jane Arnold last Tuesday. She wrote the news of Jesse’s marriage, also Mercy Smith’s. Well I wish them much joy but I must close for it is time for inspection. Give my love to all. Write soon & believe me your affectionate son, Almon E. Wilson.
PS I will send you the portrait of our brigade general.

Almon was sick in the hospital in July and August of 1862, again in November, and was probably absent sick until he was discharged on March 16, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia, for consumption and chronic pleurisy. According to the discharging physician, Wilson “had measles and enteric fever since he came into the service. He is now much emaciated and entirely unfit for duty.”

Soon after he applied for and received a pension (no. 33317).

After his discharge from the army Almon apparently returned to his home in Kent County where he died on March 17, 1864, presumably at his family home. He was buried (or perhaps memorialized) in Boynton cemetery, Kent County.

His parents were living in Byron in 1870. His mother received a “dependent mother’s” pension no. 327,270. She was possibly living in Byron in 1870.