unknown burial

Where is Casper Thenner?

Casper Thenner was born in 1831 in Germany. He stood 5’4” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 30-year-old laborer possibly living in Shiawassee or Kent County when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. (Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers.)

Casper was taken prisoner on July 1 or 2, 1862, at White Oak Swamp, Virginia, confined at Richmond, Virginia, and paroled in mid-September. He was returned to the regiment on either November 15 at Alexandria, Virginia, or December 20, 1862, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia.

He reenlisted on December 21, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia, crediting Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward, and was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably returned to the regiment on or about the first of February.

Thenner was transferred to Company I, 5th Michigan Infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864.

He  was  taken prisoner on December 6, 1864, at Jerusalem Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia and was sent from Petersburg to Richmond on December 10, 1864. Casper was paroled at Cox’s Wharf, Virginia on February 5, 1865, and furloughed as a paroled prisoner of war.

Casper returned to Grand Rapids, where he was examined by Dr. Charles Hempel. Dr. Hempel certified on March 20, 1865, that Thenner was “suffering from chronic diarrhea and general debility and is not able to travel and I further certify that in my opinion he will not be fit for duty in less than twenty days.”

Casper died of chronic diarrhea on May 27, 1865, in Grand Rapids and "his funeral was attended and the remains followed to the grave by a company, under command of Captain [Theodore] Hetz, of heroes, once members of the old Third. According to a local newspaper he was buried in the “city cemetery”.

This much we know. What we don't know is exactly where he is buried.

According to the online resource Findagrave.com, Casper was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery (Hall and Eastern streets). Certainly a number of men who died during the war are interred in the Watson GAR Post lot in Oak Hill but there was never any mention of Casper in the earliest records (newspaper or burial) and it seems unlikely he was interred there. Plus, the Grand Rapids Eagle reported that a procession of his former comrades "followed" the coffin to the grave, which lends credence to the theory that he was buried in Fulton since it was located right at the edge of town (Oak Hill was then out in the country). Finally, Fulton was the "city cemetery" during the war.

Since Casper was German- or Dutch-born it is, of course, possible that he was buried on the west side of the city but, again there is no reason to presume that to true beyond the simple fact that many European immigrants lived on that side of the river. Anyway, quite a few Dutch immigrants who died in the mid-nineteenth century are in fact buried in Fulton Cemetery. (For example, Martiena Van der Stolpe died in 1864 and Pieter Van der Stolpe died in 1866 and both and are buried in division 9 of Fulton.)

So, assuming Casper was buried in Fulton, where is his grave?

One starting place would be at what is today the back side of the cemetery but during the war a burial place of distinction. A number of other Old 3rd men who died during the war are interred at the top of the hill, in division 7: Lieutenants Peter Weber, Charles Cary, and Peter Bogardus and Captain Samuel Judd, while Brigadier General Stephen Champlin is buried in his own section right  next to division 7.

Along the same ridge is division 8 which then slops downward to division 9 and the western boundary of the cemetery. It is in division 9 that Margaret "Maggie" Ferguson was buried in 1861. She had sewn the regimental flag presented to the regiment by the ladies of the city shortly before the regiment left Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861. He grave remained unmarked until sometime after the war when the Old 3rd Association paid to have a marker erected on it.

While there is little evidence beyond "reasonable speculation" to assume he is buried in division 8 or 9, I believe that either would be, at this point, the "most likely" location. Barring the discovery of sexton's records dating back to the mid-1860s, we cannot confirm tCasper's burial location one way or the other.

So, the question remains: where is Casper Thenner?

John August

John August was born 1844 in New York, New York, son of Restram.

Restram left New York and brought his family to Michigan, eventually settling in the western part of the state. By 1860 John was working as a farm laborer, living with the John Stockholm family and attending school in Eureka, Montcalm County.

John stood 5’11” with blue eyes light hair and complexion, and was an 18-year-old farm laborer possibly living in Eureka or perhaps in the vicinity of Saranac, Ionia County when he enlisted with his father’s consent in Company F on March 3, 1862, at Saranac for 3 years, and was mustered April 31, 1862. He joined the Regiment soon afterwards and was wounded, left on the field and reported as missing in action on August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run (Groveton). According to Captain Thomas Tate, who at one time commanded Company F, John had been shot in right leg on August 29.

In fact John had been taken prisoner, exchanged and as of October 6 was in College Hospital in Georgetown, DC. He was officially returned to the Regiment on December 30 at the general hospital in Georgetown, but in fact never physically rejoined the regiment and was discharged for disability on January 14, 1863, at Camp Banks, near Alexandria, Virginia. An examining surgeon noted that his right femur was fractured and had healed improperly, resulting in a shortening of the right leg by one inch, and that he also suffered from “some lameness”.

After his discharge from the army John apparently returned to Michigan and was probably living in Otisco, Ionia County in April of 1863 when he applied for and received (in November of 1863) pension no. 20734, drawing $4.00 per month. (The John Stockholm family had settled in Otisco by 1870.)

In 1870 there was one John August (born about 1846 in New York), working as a barber and living at a boarding house in Fremont, Dodge County, Nebraska. In any case, John was reportedly living in Odessa, Ionia County by 1894.

Rollin W. Atwood - updated 12/29/2016

Rollin W. Atwood was born on September 17, 1839, in Lenawee County, Michigan, the son of Lucius Atwood (1805-1849) and New York native Hannah Atwood (1807-1878).

In 1835 Seth “Attwood” purchased 240 acres of land in Michigan and died the following year in Rome, Lenawee County. In 1840 Lucius Atwood was living in Seneca, Lenawee County. He probably settled his family in Michigan sometime after 1832.

In 1850 Hannah and her daughters Emily (b. 1831 in New York), Michigan-born Martha (b. 1834), Malissa (b. 1841) and Eunice (b. 1845) were living in Seneca, Lenawee County and Charles Atwood (b. 1832 in New York), was listed as head of the household. Rollin is not found in the public records until 1860 when he may have been working as a farm laborer and/or living with the James Baldwin family in Douglass, Iroquois County, Illinois. In any case, he was possibly living in Lenawee when the war broke out and he came to Grand Rapids to enlist in the spring of 1861.

Rollin stood 5’9” with hazel eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was a 21-year-old farmer when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. He was discharged for consumption on June 25, 1862, although according to at least one source he was a patient at the U.S. general hospital in Annapolis, Maryland sometime around the first of August.

By June of 1863 Rollin was back at his family home in Seneca, Lenawee County when he was listed on the Civil War Draft Registration. Rollin reentered the service in Company A, 13th Michigan Infantry on September 3, 1864, at Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County for one year, listing his residence as Kalamazoo and crediting Comstock, Kalamazoo County. However, it seems likely that Rollin never joined the regiment near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee where it was on duty in the fall of 1864. He was reported absent sick in February of 1865 and admitted to Harper Hospital in Detroit on April 15, 1865, quite possibly still suffering from consumption. Rollin was discharged at Detroit on July 14, 1865.

Rollin returned to his family home in Lenawee County. In 1870 Hannah and her daughter Eunice were living in Seneca village, Lenawee County.

Rollin died on October 10, 1872, presumably in Lenawee County, and was buried with his family in Oak Grove Cemetery, Morenci, Lenawee County. There seems to be no pension available.

Samuel Anderson - updated 4/5/2015

Samuel Anderson was born around 1846 in Tallmadge, Ottawa County, Michigan.

By 1860 Samuel was attending school and living with a wealthy miller named Thomas Woodbury and his family in Lamont, Tallmadge Township.

Samuel stood 5’5” tall with brown hair, brown eyes and with a dark complexion, and was an 18-year-old farmer living in either Lamont, Ottawa County or in Muskegon County when he enlisted on February 3, 1864, at the age of 18 in Company E, in Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Muskegon and was mustered in on February 4. Samuel joined the Regiment on February 10 and was listed as missing in action on May 12 at Spotsylvania, Virginia, and it seems that Samuel had in fact been taken prisoner. In any case, he was transferred as a prisoner-of-war to Company E, 5th Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the 3rd and 5th Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and was reported as a prisoner through November of 1864.

There is no further record.

Sometime in the late 1860s the War Department was asked by persons unknown to investigate Samuel’s military history, and, on February 10, 1868, the War Department placed a notation in his service record stating that their “Investigation fails to elicit any further information relative to this soldier.”

There seems to be no pension available.

William T. or S. Agard

William T. or S. Agard was born 1831 in Leroy, Lake County, Ohio.

In 1850 there was a 19-year-old William Agard living with a farmer named Duncan Campbell and his family in Pawling, Dutchess County, New York.

In any case, William eventually left Ohio and settled in Michigan. He was probably living in White Oak Township, Ingham County, when he married another White Oak resident, New York native Lora Sheldon on July 20, 1857, in Bunker Hill, Ingham County; they had at least one child, a daughter Mary (b. 1858).

By 1860 William was working as a laborer and living with his wife and child in Delta, Eaton County. Two houses away lived Orville Ingersoll who would also join the Third Michigan infantry.

William stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a fair complexion, and was 30 years old and working as a laborer and living in either Delta or Lansing’s Second Ward when he enlisted in Company G on August 8, 1862, at Lansing for 3 years. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles”, was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.) He was mustered the same day, and reported to the Regiment at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, on September 8.

Shortly after joining the regiment in Virginia William contracted typhoid fever. He soon recovered but then suffered a relapse. According to Edgar Clark, also of Company G, William was sick for only several hours before he died in the Regimental hospital at Falmouth, Virginia on December 6, 1862. He was buried at 4:00 p.m. the same day. (Presumably, William was buried near Falmouth although this remains uncertain.)

In 1865 his widow Lora applied for and received a pension (no. 63881). She apparently remarried one James Maskow, who, unknown to Lora, was already married. Lora divorced James and was living in Lansing when she married David White in 1870 at the home of A. J. Sheldon in Lansing. David was killed in a railroad accident two years later and in 1879 Lora married William Sunt (he died in 1889).

City, Big Rapids, Woodville, Cadillac, Fish Creek (Montcalm County) and Edmore, all in Michigan.