A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. William R. KIMBALL (1837 – 1924)

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Benjamin Henry KIMBALL

Born: 8 April 1837 in Bedford, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: William was second of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • Benjamin Henry (1845 – 1924) – my ancestor
  • David P. (c. 1848 – 1903)
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: Sarah Isabel HATHLEY (1839 – 1919) on 14 September 1856 in Newaygo Village, Brooks Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

Children:

  • Martha Amanda (1857 – 1875)
  • Edward (dates unknown)
  • Ida Jane (b. 1859)
  • Alice M. (b. 1862)
  • Ruey (b. 1865)
  • Sarah L. (b. 1869)
  • Jesse Malvina (b. 1871)
  • Edwin “Eddie” (b. c. 1878)

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of William Kimbell. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Drafted: 20 September 1864 at Newaygo Co., Michigan into Co. A, 13th Michigan Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Discharged: 8 June 1865 in Washington, D. C.

Biography or Information of Interest: From Portrait and Biographical Album of Newaygo County, Michigan, pp. 259 – 269:

William Kimbell, Sheriff of Newaygo County, resident at Newaygo, was born in Bedford, Cuyahoga Co., O., April 8. 1837. He is a son of William and Amanda (Westbrook) Kimbell, and was reared on a farm, obtaining his education at winter terms of school. From the age of 15 years he was variously engaged until he settled in Newaygo in 1853. In 1843 his parents transferred their family to Kalamazoo Co., Mich., where his father was a farmer. On coming to Newaygo, Mr. Kimbell interested himself in the pursuit which in some of its varied branches was that of nearly all men in active life in this portion of Michigan, namely, lumbering. Soon afterward he began taking contracts, engaging first with the Newaygo Lumber Company and successively with Kelly, Wood & Co., of Chicago, and Lyman T. Kinney of Grand Rapids. He commonly employed a working force of about 50 men.

In 1864 Mr. Kimbell was drafted and assigned to Co. A, 13th Reg’t. Mich. Vol. Inf. He served nine months and participated in the battle of Bentonville, besides doing duty in a number of skirmishes. On receiving his discharge he returned to Newaygo and resumed lumbering. He continued his operations in that pursuit until February, 1881, when he rented the White Cloud House at White Cloud. The hotel was under his management until December, 1881, when he was elected to his present official position and transferred his residence to Newaygo.

Mr. Kimbell was married in Newaygo, Sept. 3, 1856, to Sarah B., daughter of John and Matilda Hathley, a native of Canada, born April 12, 1839. Of eight children born to them six are living: Ida J., Alice M., Ruey, Sarah, Jessie and Eddie. Martha A., eldest daughter, and Edward are deceased.

Mr. Kimbell came to Newaygo in its pioneer days and has been a witness to its varied steps of progress. Two or three shanties constituted its municipality and the adjacent woods were the delight of hunters and trappers. Mr. Kimbell was one to whom the abundance of wild game was a great source of satisfaction, and his exploits as one of the Nimrods of this reason are full of interest. Deer and bears abounded, and one of Mr. K’s accounts records the slaughter, on one occasion, of four of the latter in the evening after supper!

Died: 1 December 1924 in Sodysmith (?), Iowa (cannot find on any map or gazetteer!)

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. William R. KIMBALL (1837 – 1924)

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Benjamin Henry KIMBALL

Born: 8 April 1837 in Bedford, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: William was second of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • Benjamin Henry (1845 – 1924) – my ancestor
  • David P. (c. 1848 – 1903)
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: Sarah Isabel HATHLEY (1839 – 1919) on 14 September 1856 in Newaygo Village, Brooks Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

Children:

  • Martha Amanda (1857 – 1875)
  • Edward (dates unknown)
  • Ida Jane (b. 1859)
  • Alice M. (b. 1862)
  • Ruey (b. 1865)
  • Sarah L. (b. 1869)
  • Jesse Malvina (b. 1871)
  • Edwin “Eddie” (b. c. 1878)

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of William Kimbell. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Drafted: 20 September 1864 at Newaygo Co., Michigan into Co. A, 13th Michigan Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Discharged: 8 June 1865 in Washington, D. C.

Biography or Information of Interest: From Portrait and Biographical Album of Newaygo County, Michigan, pp. 259 – 269:

William Kimbell, Sheriff of Newaygo County, resident at Newaygo, was born in Bedford, Cuyahoga Co., O., April 8. 1837. He is a son of William and Amanda (Westbrook) Kimbell, and was reared on a farm, obtaining his education at winter terms of school. From the age of 15 years he was variously engaged until he settled in Newaygo in 1853. In 1843 his parents transferred their family to Kalamazoo Co., Mich., where his father was a farmer. On coming to Newaygo, Mr. Kimbell interested himself in the pursuit which in some of its varied branches was that of nearly all men in active life in this portion of Michigan, namely, lumbering. Soon afterward he began taking contracts, engaging first with the Newaygo Lumber Company and successively with Kelly, Wood & Co., of Chicago, and Lyman T. Kinney of Grand Rapids. He commonly employed a working force of about 50 men.

In 1864 Mr. Kimbell was drafted and assigned to Co. A, 13th Reg’t. Mich. Vol. Inf. He served nine months and participated in the battle of Bentonville, besides doing duty in a number of skirmishes. On receiving his discharge he returned to Newaygo and resumed lumbering. He continued his operations in that pursuit until February, 1881, when he rented the White Cloud House at White Cloud. The hotel was under his management until December, 1881, when he was elected to his present official position and transferred his residence to Newaygo.

Mr. Kimbell was married in Newaygo, Sept. 3, 1856, to Sarah B., daughter of John and Matilda Hathley, a native of Canada, born April 12, 1839. Of eight children born to them six are living: Ida J., Alice M., Ruey, Sarah, Jessie and Eddie. Martha A., eldest daughter, and Edward are deceased.

Mr. Kimbell came to Newaygo in its pioneer days and has been a witness to its varied steps of progress. Two or three shanties constituted its municipality and the adjacent woods were the delight of hunters and trappers. Mr. Kimbell was one to whom the abundance of wild game was a great source of satisfaction, and his exploits as one of the Nimrods of this reason are full of interest. Deer and bears abounded, and one of Mr. K’s accounts records the slaughter, on one occasion, of four of the latter in the evening after supper!

Died: 1 December 1924 in Sodysmith (?), Iowa (cannot find on any map or gazetteer!)

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. David P. KIMBALL (1848 – 1903)

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Benjamin Henry KIMBALL

Born: c. 1848 in Michigan, probably in Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: David was seventh of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • William R. (1837 – 1924)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • Benjamin Henry (1845 – 1924) – my ancestor
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: first to Edna H. NORTHRUP (c. 1848 – bef. 1871) on 24 September 1865, Newaygo Co., Michigan; second to her probable sister, Mary A. (or E.) NORTHRUP (b. c. 1852) ON 2 March 1871 in Du Page Co., Illinois

Children: David had three children with Edna: Della A. (b. c. 1868), Oscar Alonzo (b. 1869), and Alfonso (c. 1871 – 1877). With Mary, he had Edith (b. c. 1876), Bessie (b. c. 1878), James W. (b. 1881), Alma (b. 1883), and Julian (b. 1884).

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of David P. Kimbell. National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line at http://www.ancestry.com]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288.

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of David P. Kimbell. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 19 April 1864 at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan; private. Enlisted 29 April 1864 in Co. D, 27th Michigan Infantry.

Side served: Union

Mustered out: 8 August 1865 at Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan

Biography or Information of Interest: From the Newaygo County Civil War Veterans website:

The Muskegon Valley Soldiers and Sailors Association was born in September 1883. It originated in the furtile [sic] brain of two or three of the Comrades residing in this village and its first encampment was held that year on the court house square and consisted of four tents and a Corporals Guard of old Veterans who for one day and night enjoyed its campfire and lived over again the scenes of other days.

At this meeting the Newaygo County Soldiers and Sailors Association was formed with S.D. Thompson as its first president. This event having proved so enjoyable it was decided to hold another reunion in this village in September 1884.

In the summer of that year our enterprising townsman John H. Simmons, being then owner of what is now known as Riverside Park, but at that time a bramble bush consisting of oak grubs, briars and decayed timber, very generously set to work with teams and men and at his own expense cleared a portion of it and donated its use to the Comrades for their encampment that year, which was a success, both socially an in point of numbers. Mr. Thompson was reelected president, and another encampment was voted for the following year, 1885, at the same place, which was in every way successful, the attendance being nearly doubled over previous years, Mr. Thompson being again elected its president.

At this encampment it was voted to take it to Hesperia for the year 1886, which was held in a beautiful grove one-half mile east of Hesperia village, and there are none of those who attended the encampment but what carry pleasant memories of the occasion and the good will of the Hesperia people.

At this encampment H. Lever was elected president and it was voted to Fremont for the year 1887. This year was also a success both socially and in point of numbers, and the crowd was handsomly [sic] entertained by the Fremont people. It having been learned that the National Encampment was to be held in Columbus, Ohio, for the year 1888, and as many of the members desired to attend, no officers were elected and no encampment was to be had unless a petition signed by twenty-five members was presented, in which case a meeting should be called, officers elected and a time and place fixed to hold it. This petition was obtained by David Kimbell then a resident of Garfield Township, and a meeting was called at the court house in this village July 28 , 1888, at which Mr. Kimbell was elected president and L.D. Spooner of Fremont, secretary, and it was also voted at this meeting to hold a reunion in the year 1888. The reunion was held at the close of which Rev. C.W. Gardner was elected president, and ha s held the office continuously ever since.

The name of the association was changed at this encampment on suggestion of Dr. D.W. Flora to The Muskegon Valley Soldiers and Sailors Association which has become familiar to every household in this county and wide spread in the state. Since the year 1888 an encampment has been held every year in Simmons’ Grove, now Riverside Park. It is one of the most beautiful groves in the county and peculiarly adapted to the purpose for which it is used. It was purchased from Mr. Simmons by a syndicate of Newaygo people who have spared no pains in fitting it up and have donated its use to this association as did Mr. Simmons while he was the owner. It is situated on the north bank of Muskegon River, within a few rods of Newaygo Village, is a romantic spot where the old soldier can pitch his tent, build his campfire and surrounded by his family and Comrades, enjoy a week of pleasure.

This association has grown from a Corporals Guard, to now the largest in the state. It requires three hundred tents to accommodate the Comrades and friends who come to stay the week. Each year has been an improvement over the proceeding year, both in numbers and arrangement of grounds until they have reached an epoch, wherein they support a daily paper, a valuable adjunct to an encampment of this magnitude.

Great credit is due to the officers through whose management it has attained its success, and it is the earnest wish of the writer that of the few years allotted to the Grand Army before they answer the last bugle call a few days of each year may be spent on this Muskegon River hillside in social reunion with those who side by side fought the battles and won the victory for “Old Glory” which floats so proudly over them.

Seth S. Watrous has acted as secretary of the association since its organization (save one year) and to his clerical ability, energy and good judgment much of the success of the organization depends. That he shall continue at the helm f or years to come is the sentiment of every old soldier on the ground.

Died: 1 April 1903 at Marquette, Marquette Co., Michigan (see the story of how I found his death location after many years of searching, here)

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. David P. KIMBALL (1848 – 1903)

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Benjamin Henry KIMBALL

Born: c. 1848 in Michigan, probably in Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: David was seventh of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • William R. (1837 – 1924)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • Benjamin Henry (1845 – 1924) – my ancestor
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: first to Edna H. NORTHRUP (c. 1848 – bef. 1871) on 24 September 1865, Newaygo Co., Michigan; second to her probable sister, Mary A. (or E.) NORTHRUP (b. c. 1852) ON 2 March 1871 in Du Page Co., Illinois

Children: David had three children with Edna: Della A. (b. c. 1868), Oscar Alonzo (b. 1869), and Alfonso (c. 1871 – 1877). With Mary, he had Edith (b. c. 1876), Bessie (b. c. 1878), James W. (b. 1881), Alma (b. 1883), and Julian (b. 1884).

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of David P. Kimbell. National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line at http://www.ancestry.com]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288.

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of David P. Kimbell. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 19 April 1864 at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan; private. Enlisted 29 April 1864 in Co. D, 27th Michigan Infantry.

Side served: Union

Mustered out: 8 August 1865 at Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan

Biography or Information of Interest: From the Newaygo County Civil War Veterans website:

The Muskegon Valley Soldiers and Sailors Association was born in September 1883. It originated in the furtile [sic] brain of two or three of the Comrades residing in this village and its first encampment was held that year on the court house square and consisted of four tents and a Corporals Guard of old Veterans who for one day and night enjoyed its campfire and lived over again the scenes of other days.

At this meeting the Newaygo County Soldiers and Sailors Association was formed with S.D. Thompson as its first president. This event having proved so enjoyable it was decided to hold another reunion in this village in September 1884.

In the summer of that year our enterprising townsman John H. Simmons, being then owner of what is now known as Riverside Park, but at that time a bramble bush consisting of oak grubs, briars and decayed timber, very generously set to work with teams and men and at his own expense cleared a portion of it and donated its use to the Comrades for their encampment that year, which was a success, both socially an in point of numbers. Mr. Thompson was reelected president, and another encampment was voted for the following year, 1885, at the same place, which was in every way successful, the attendance being nearly doubled over previous years, Mr. Thompson being again elected its president.

At this encampment it was voted to take it to Hesperia for the year 1886, which was held in a beautiful grove one-half mile east of Hesperia village, and there are none of those who attended the encampment but what carry pleasant memories of the occasion and the good will of the Hesperia people.

At this encampment H. Lever was elected president and it was voted to Fremont for the year 1887. This year was also a success both socially and in point of numbers, and the crowd was handsomly [sic] entertained by the Fremont people. It having been learned that the National Encampment was to be held in Columbus, Ohio, for the year 1888, and as many of the members desired to attend, no officers were elected and no encampment was to be had unless a petition signed by twenty-five members was presented, in which case a meeting should be called, officers elected and a time and place fixed to hold it. This petition was obtained by David Kimbell then a resident of Garfield Township, and a meeting was called at the court house in this village July 28 , 1888, at which Mr. Kimbell was elected president and L.D. Spooner of Fremont, secretary, and it was also voted at this meeting to hold a reunion in the year 1888. The reunion was held at the close of which Rev. C.W. Gardner was elected president, and ha s held the office continuously ever since.

The name of the association was changed at this encampment on suggestion of Dr. D.W. Flora to The Muskegon Valley Soldiers and Sailors Association which has become familiar to every household in this county and wide spread in the state. Since the year 1888 an encampment has been held every year in Simmons’ Grove, now Riverside Park. It is one of the most beautiful groves in the county and peculiarly adapted to the purpose for which it is used. It was purchased from Mr. Simmons by a syndicate of Newaygo people who have spared no pains in fitting it up and have donated its use to this association as did Mr. Simmons while he was the owner. It is situated on the north bank of Muskegon River, within a few rods of Newaygo Village, is a romantic spot where the old soldier can pitch his tent, build his campfire and surrounded by his family and Comrades, enjoy a week of pleasure.

This association has grown from a Corporals Guard, to now the largest in the state. It requires three hundred tents to accommodate the Comrades and friends who come to stay the week. Each year has been an improvement over the proceeding year, both in numbers and arrangement of grounds until they have reached an epoch, wherein they support a daily paper, a valuable adjunct to an encampment of this magnitude.

Great credit is due to the officers through whose management it has attained its success, and it is the earnest wish of the writer that of the few years allotted to the Grand Army before they answer the last bugle call a few days of each year may be spent on this Muskegon River hillside in social reunion with those who side by side fought the battles and won the victory for “Old Glory” which floats so proudly over them.

Seth S. Watrous has acted as secretary of the association since its organization (save one year) and to his clerical ability, energy and good judgment much of the success of the organization depends. That he shall continue at the helm f or years to come is the sentiment of every old soldier on the ground.

Died: 1 April 1903 at Marquette, Marquette Co., Michigan (see the story of how I found his death location after many years of searching, here)

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Benjamin Henry KIMBALL (1845 – 1924)

How Related: My 3rd-great-grandfather

Born: March 1845 in Michigan, probably in Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: Benjamin was sixth of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • William R. (1837 – 1924)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • David P. (c. 1848 – 1903)
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: first, my ancestor, Lucy May DICKINSON (c. 1842 – 1873) on 5 September 1863 in Newaygo Co., Michigan. Second, Lydia L. (DAVID) DORWIN (1835 – 1906) on 3 July 1873 in Newaygo Co., Michigan

Children: With Lucy, Benjamin had four children: William Arthur (b. c. 1866), George Ezra (b. 1868), Leota Nellie (b. 1870), and my ancestor, Mary May KIMBALL (1873 – 1950). Benjamin did not have any known children with Lydia, but she had three children in their teens from her first husband at the time of her marriage to him, and he may have been responsible for their support until they married or became independent adults: Loarie (b. c. 1856; a daughter), Ernest W. (b. c. 1857), and Mary Jane DORWIN (b. 1859).

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of Benjamin H. Kimball. National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line at http://www.ancestry.com]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288.

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of Benjamin H. Kimball. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 29 March 1864 at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan in Co. D, 27th Michigan Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Mustered out: 26 July 1865 at Delaney House, Washington, D. C.

Biography or Information of Interest:

Henry and David Kimball and Orson David
By A.L. Spooner

In the spring of 1864, 3 young men from Fremont [Newaygo Co., Michigan] went to Grand Rapids [Kent Co., Michigan] to look for employment. They were Henry and David Kimball and Orson David. Not finding work, they decided to enlist in the army. In a few days they were sent to St. Johns [Clinton Co., Michigan] for training and then were assigned to Company D, 27th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry.

The 27th Regiment took part in several of the hardest fought battles of the Civil War beginning with Vicksburg and ended with the capture of Petersburg, Virginia, April 3, 1865.

It has often been said that there were more casualties in the Civil War than the combined casualties of all the wars since. Some idea of the losses sustained by the 27th Regiment hen be gained from the following letter written by Orson David dated at Petersburg, Virgina, August 8, 1864 and addressed to: “Dear Brother and Sister,” which reads as follows:

“I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you. We had a big fight here on the 30th of last month (Battle of the Crater) but did not accomplish much. My company went into the charge with 34 men and when we came outt, we had 14 left. We lost a great many officers. The ground is black with knapsacks and guns. The talk now is that the whole regiment is coming to Michigan this fad because there are only 84 men in the regiment fit for duty out of 6 companies that came out with me. When our regiment started out last spring, there were 1,180 men and now we have got only 84. I have not got much to write this time, only if there were ever a fellow that wanted to see home and friends, it is myself.”

Source: David, Orson Otis. Photograph. C. 1864 or earlier. Original photograph in the possession of Archives of Michigan Digital Collection [http://haldigitalcollections.cdmhost.com/]. 2008.

Orson David never made it home. He was captured at the Battle of Weldon Railroad and confined to Andersonville Prison and later transferred to Wilmington Prison at Wilmington, North Carolina.

General Sherman reached Wilmington with its fort and prison in January, 1865. The records of the 27th Regiment show that Orson died March 3, 1865 and is buried in the National Cemetery at Wilmington.

After the war, Benjamin married my ancestor, Lucy May DICKINSON. She was the daughter and sister of Civil War soldiers Ezra, Philip Reuben and Wallace William DICKINSON. Together they had four children. At or shortly after the birth of their youngest child, Mary, Lucy died. Mary was raised by Lucy’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary (DICKINSON) and Philip WEAVER. Within four months, Benjamin married Lydia L. (DAVID) DORWIN, widow of Amos DORWIN, and mother of three teens. Lydia was the sister of Benjamin’s friend, Orson. Another David sibling, Able Artemus DAVID, married Benjamin’s sister, Mary Jane KIMBALL. It was only natural that with the Kimball and David families so entwined that Benjamin would marry Lydia, both needing each other for economic support and the raising of young children.

Benjamin was one of two great-grandfathers of my paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS, who had served during the Civil War and were alive during his childhood. Although my grandfather met one of these great-grandfathers (Charles H. ROBBINS) and even attended Grand Army of the Republic reunions with him, he never remembers meeting Benjamin.

Died: 28 January 1924 in Alba, Antrim Co., Michigan (see the story of how I found his death location after many years of searching, here)

Source: Tombstone of Benjamin H. and Lydia L. Kimbell, Plot M-02-02A-026-02-1, Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Michigan. Photograph taken at the request of Miriam Robbins Midkiff by Find A Grave volunteer Jason Felton. Digital copy in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan. Lydia shares his monumental tombstone, which is marked “KIMBELL.” Another alternate spelling is “Kimble.”

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Benjamin Henry KIMBALL (1845 – 1924)

How Related: My 3rd-great-grandfather

Born: March 1845 in Michigan, probably in Pavilion Township, Kalamazoo County

Parents: William KIMBALL (c. 1806 – 1879) and Amanda WESTBROOK (1816 – c. 1882)

Siblings: Benjamin was sixth of eleven children and one of three brothers who served in the Union Army:

  • John E. (1835 – 1910)
  • William R. (1837 – 1924)
  • Fanny C. (c. 1838 – bef. 1853)
  • George Washington (1841 – 1918)
  • Mary Jane (c. 1844 – 1925)
  • David P. (c. 1848 – 1903)
  • Fanny Charlotte (b. c. 1853)
  • Ella A. (b. c. 1858)
  • Lydia P. (b. c. 1862)
  • Lucinda May (b. c. 1866)

Married: first, my ancestor, Lucy May DICKINSON (c. 1842 – 1873) on 5 September 1863 in Newaygo Co., Michigan. Second, Lydia L. (DAVID) DORWIN (1835 – 1906) on 3 July 1873 in Newaygo Co., Michigan

Children: With Lucy, Benjamin had four children: William Arthur (b. c. 1866), George Ezra (b. 1868), Leota Nellie (b. 1870), and my ancestor, Mary May KIMBALL (1873 – 1950). Benjamin did not have any known children with Lydia, but she had three children in their teens from her first husband at the time of her marriage to him, and he may have been responsible for their support until they married or became independent adults: Loarie (b. c. 1856; a daughter), Ernest W. (b. c. 1857), and Mary Jane DORWIN (b. 1859).

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of Benjamin H. Kimball. National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line at http://www.ancestry.com]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288.

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of Benjamin H. Kimball. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 29 March 1864 at Grand Rapids, Kent Co., Michigan in Co. D, 27th Michigan Infantry; private

Side served: Union

Mustered out: 26 July 1865 at Delaney House, Washington, D. C.

Biography or Information of Interest:

Henry and David Kimball and Orson David
By A.L. Spooner

In the spring of 1864, 3 young men from Fremont [Newaygo Co., Michigan] went to Grand Rapids [Kent Co., Michigan] to look for employment. They were Henry and David Kimball and Orson David. Not finding work, they decided to enlist in the army. In a few days they were sent to St. Johns [Clinton Co., Michigan] for training and then were assigned to Company D, 27th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry.

The 27th Regiment took part in several of the hardest fought battles of the Civil War beginning with Vicksburg and ended with the capture of Petersburg, Virginia, April 3, 1865.

It has often been said that there were more casualties in the Civil War than the combined casualties of all the wars since. Some idea of the losses sustained by the 27th Regiment hen be gained from the following letter written by Orson David dated at Petersburg, Virgina, August 8, 1864 and addressed to: “Dear Brother and Sister,” which reads as follows:

“I received your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you. We had a big fight here on the 30th of last month (Battle of the Crater) but did not accomplish much. My company went into the charge with 34 men and when we came outt, we had 14 left. We lost a great many officers. The ground is black with knapsacks and guns. The talk now is that the whole regiment is coming to Michigan this fad because there are only 84 men in the regiment fit for duty out of 6 companies that came out with me. When our regiment started out last spring, there were 1,180 men and now we have got only 84. I have not got much to write this time, only if there were ever a fellow that wanted to see home and friends, it is myself.”

Source: David, Orson Otis. Photograph. C. 1864 or earlier. Original photograph in the possession of Archives of Michigan Digital Collection [http://haldigitalcollections.cdmhost.com/]. 2008.

Orson David never made it home. He was captured at the Battle of Weldon Railroad and confined to Andersonville Prison and later transferred to Wilmington Prison at Wilmington, North Carolina.

General Sherman reached Wilmington with its fort and prison in January, 1865. The records of the 27th Regiment show that Orson died March 3, 1865 and is buried in the National Cemetery at Wilmington.

After the war, Benjamin married my ancestor, Lucy May DICKINSON. She was the daughter and sister of Civil War soldiers Ezra, Philip Reuben and Wallace William DICKINSON. Together they had four children. At or shortly after the birth of their youngest child, Mary, Lucy died. Mary was raised by Lucy’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary (DICKINSON) and Philip WEAVER. Within four months, Benjamin married Lydia L. (DAVID) DORWIN, widow of Amos DORWIN, and mother of three teens. Lydia was the sister of Benjamin’s friend, Orson. Another David sibling, Able Artemus DAVID, married Benjamin’s sister, Mary Jane KIMBALL. It was only natural that with the Kimball and David families so entwined that Benjamin would marry Lydia, both needing each other for economic support and the raising of young children.

Benjamin was one of two great-grandfathers of my paternal grandfather, Robert Lewis ROBBINS, who had served during the Civil War and were alive during his childhood. Although my grandfather met one of these great-grandfathers (Charles H. ROBBINS) and even attended Grand Army of the Republic reunions with him, he never remembers meeting Benjamin.

Died: 28 January 1924 in Alba, Antrim Co., Michigan (see the story of how I found his death location after many years of searching, here)

Source: Tombstone of Benjamin H. and Lydia L. Kimbell, Plot M-02-02A-026-02-1, Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Michigan. Photograph taken at the request of Miriam Robbins Midkiff by Find A Grave volunteer Jason Felton. Digital copy in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Buried: Maple Grove Cemetery, Fremont, Dayton Twp., Newaygo Co., Michigan. Lydia shares his monumental tombstone, which is marked “KIMBELL.” Another alternate spelling is “Kimble.”

9. A Letter from Mother – 25 Sep 1918

Read more about the American North Russian Expeditionary Forces at Footnote.

While Bryan was suffering from influenza and getting ready to be sent to the Railroad Front, his mother was home, worried, having not heard for quite some time from either of her sons stationed overseas.

This letter displayed below was sent to Bryan from his mother, Mary May KIMBALL, also known as Lula WEAVER, on 25 September 1918. The handwriting is difficult to read, and I have made little attempts to correct the grammar and spelling except when absolutely necessary to clarify the meaning, because I feel it lends better to the character and the colloquialism of the writer. It is a typical mother’s letter…full of news, neighborhood gossip, and anxieties:

Home
Muskegon Hts.
Sept. 25, 1918

Dear Bryan,

I have been looking everday for a letter from you boy’s, but will write you a few lines this after noon[.] the sun shines so bright and the air looks so clean and the leaves are changing color it makes any one think that fall has sure come and then will soon be winter. it was a cold rainy week last week was[.] it was the fair week at the Rapids, and over at Hart [The bottom line of the letter is folded under, hiding the end of this sentence and the beginning of the next.]

[…] heard from home. I write ever week and some times twice a week, so I have a letter crossing the old Pond ever week. it has been two weeks ago to day since I saw Sarah. she don’t come up very often any more. and I have not been out to Lakeside for some time but will go some of these day’s. I see by the Papers that the married men without children in class 1 will go to Camp next Oct. I have not seen Curley in a long time[.] I wonder if he has left the Hts[.] I do wish your dad would hunt him up. The other night

our Phone bell rung, and I went to the [?], and a woman ask for Earnest Taylor and I said no he was not here any more, and she said oh I made a mistake I was use to calling 6780, and she wanted the Williams block. and I know it was Ethel. I think Ethel had better let them alone[.] what I have seen of curley[‘s] wife I belive she makes things hot if she get mad.

Mr. Dominee is working at Camp Custer. they are building 300 more barracks. Well Bryan, it made me feel pretty lonesome yesterday (Tuesday) when your car was sold[.] I could not keep the tears back but I do get so lonesome at times but I do try to keep up[.]

I often wish your dad would get in something else, so he would be at home more, and Angie is gone so much of the time, just Donald and myself here alone so much of the time and it get pretty lonesome at times. your dad went over to Grand Haven this morning[.] he has a very bad cold.

Friday Afternoon. Sep. 27
Bryan I did not get your letter finished the other day. and yesterday afternoon I went with Mrs. Dominee she took little Lloyd over to Oak Grove school to Baby Clinic, quite a baby show. so many little ones, and I been

washing to day, but will not write much more this time. I will write a few lines to Lloyd. have not had a letter from either one of you Boy’s in a long time. Do hope will get one tomorrow. have you written to Lloyd yet, granddad is back from the west, but have not seen him [them?]. Sarah has not call me up since a week ago last Tuesday. The girl’s Mildred and Dorothy, say’s to tell you hello, they are going to school. Angie has a air gun now. he and another boy goes hunting nearly ever night after school. Bryan write as often as you can[.] all ways anxious to get your letters. all real well only colds. hoping this will find you well[.] I suppose you are drilling pretty hard[.] do your very best in all things and it will be brighter days to come. write son [soon?] may the Lord watch over you all.[…]

over.

[continued upside down in the top margin of the fourth page]

[…] Is the Pray[er] of your Mother.
with best of good cheer and Love
from Mother
in America
Mrs. A. M. Robbins

P.S. Donald marches around the yard with Angie[‘s] air gun singing the Yank[s] are coming. We have a lot of new records, war songs. Mr. Cobb told me he was going to learn his wife to drive the car, and he would have her come and take me for a ride, he is handy with it[.] made me think of you with the car.

From little Donald [scribbles]
It was no wonder Lula was worried, anxious, and lonesome. Of the seven children she had given birth to, two had died, one was institutionalized, and two were in harm’s way fighting in the Great War. Her husband was a traveling salesman, her teenaged son was busy with school and hunting, and she was all alone at home most times with a four-and-a-half-year-old! And isn’t it incredible that anyone would let that little boy march around with an air gun! Angie (Angelo, Jr.) and/or Lula must have kept it unloaded when they let little Donald play with it, for Don grew up safely to adulthood, serving in World War II in the Navy instead of joining the Army like his older brothers. He also served with the Muskegon Fire Department, and became the Chief of Police for Muskegon Township.
————————————————–
I had fun attempting to figure out who the non-family members were that were mentioned in this letter (see “2. The Family of Angelo and Lula Robbins” for descriptions of individuals of this family group).

Earnest (“Curley”?) Taylor: It’s inferred that Curley may have been living with the Robbins family at one point, but had moved away, was married, and that perhaps Ethel was an old bothersome flame of his (this does sound rather spicy, doesn’t it?). Running a search in Ancestry.com’s World War I Draft Registration database turned up two E(a)rnest Taylors: one was Earnest James Taylor from the City of Muskegon, unmarried; and the other was Ernest Henry Taylor of Muskegon Heights who was married to Ora (? draft card has a poor image). Searches on Curl* (Curley, Curly, Curlie, etc.) gave me eight hits; none in or near Muskegon County. Sifting through the 44 Ethels that appear in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census in Muskegon Heights would not likely be effective…and I’m not sure that this is even the community Ethel lived in at either the time the letter was written, or two years later when the census was taken.

Sarah: This woman sounds like a relative or close friend, but searching through my database of relatives on both Angelo and Lula’s sides of the family tree did not yield a Sarah. I tried both Lula’s biological and adoptive families, as well as future daughter-in-law Marie Lewis’ family, and still came up empty. It appears that she lived a ways away. Making an attempt to find a Sarah in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census would not be very effective. In connection with Sarah, Lula mentions going “out to Lakeside.” There is no community by that name currently in the county or in any of the neighboring counties. Muskegon Heights, however, is only three miles inland from Lake Michigan. Perhaps this was a general location meaning near that lake. There is also a Lakeside Cemetery southwest of the City of Muskegon. I do not have a burial location for Floyd Arthur ROBBINS; could he be buried in this cemetery (his name does not appear in the cemetery’s published records)? Was Lula planning to visit his grave there?

The Dominie Family: At first, I could not decipher the Dominie’s last name written in Lula’s handwriting, so once again I turned to the WWI Draft Registration, using Dom* as my search term. Fred Frank Dominie, with dependent Mrs. Fred F. Dominie, was living at 1701 Mystic, confirming my theory that they were the Robbins’ neighbors. Taking a second look at Lloyd Robbins’ WWI Draft Registration Card, I realized that Fred Dominie was the name of his employer that I had struggled to decipher earlier. Lloyd had worked for Fred; coincidentally or not, Fred and his wife Ella had a son named Lloyd (born in the summer, 1918), too, as well as children Dorothy (b. c. 1903), Mildred (b. c. 1905), Mabel (b. c. 1911), Ralph (b. c. 1913), and Frank (b. c. August 1915). This information I garnered from the 1920 U.S. Census, but the family had moved from Muskegon County by this time, to the East Central area of Michigan, in Mt. Morris, Genesee County. During World War I, Fred apparently used his carpentry skills to build barracks at Camp Custer.

Mr. and Mrs. Cobb: Mr. Cobb apparently bought Bryan’s car; searching the WWI Draft Registration turned up seven Cobbs in Muskegon County, two of which lived in Muskegon Heights and were married: This is assuming the the Cobbs lived in Muskegon Heights and that Mr. Cobb was of the correct age to have registered for the draft. In a subsequent letter from Angelo, Bryan’s father, we learn that the sale of the car enabled the family to buy coal for the coming winter.

I also discovered, with the help of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society, and a recently-discovered cousin on my LEWIS side that Mystic Avenue’s name was changed to Jefferson Street, apparently before the 1920 U.S. Census was taken (believe me, I looked and looked through all 83 pages of Muskegon Heights on that census trying to find Mystic Avenue!). My cousin, Bob Stefanich, asked his son who works as a sergeant in the Muskegon Heights Police Department to check old maps, and they went driving around to try to find Number 1612 – or what may once have been that address. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful. Sanborn maps and city directories might be helpful in this search.

Some of the locations mentioned are the Rapids (probably Grand Rapids, Kent County, southeast of Muskegon Heights); Hart (county seat of Oceana County, north); Grand Haven (county seat of Ottawa County, south) and Oak Grove (a school in Muskegon Heights).

From this letter we can also ascertain that the Robbins had a telephone and a Victrola. They (or at least Bryan) had had an automobile, until it was sold to purchase coal for the coming winter. Money certainly seemed tight, as it often has during wartime, but it is apparent to me that before the war, the Robbins family had lived fairly comfortably as a middle class family. I love how this letter–and deeper analysis–has given me a such a rich description of the home life of my ancestors!

Other posts in this series:
1. A Polar Bear in North Russia
2. The Family of Angelo and Lula Robbins
3. Bryan and Marie – A WWI Romance
4. Bryan Gets Drafted
5. Basic Training at Camp Custer
6. Getting “Over There”
7. Bryan and King George V
8. To Russia, with Influenza
10. A Letter from Father – 7 Oct 1918