Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Sylvester FREDENBURG (1844 - 1879)


Source: Fredenburg(h), Sylvester. Photograph, reproduction. C. 1861. Original photo in the possession of Mary Jane Fredenburg Hittle, Columbiaville, Michigan. 2008.

How Related: My 3rd-great-grandfather

Born: 9 October 1844 (or 1842) in Benton, Yates Co., New York

Parents: Anthony FREDENBURG (1816 - 1881) and Hannah FOX (c. 1816 - 1890s)

Siblings: Sylvester was one of 11 children and one of three brothers that served in the Union Army:

  • Charlotte (b. c. 1839)
  • Amanda (b. c. 1839)
  • Abram (1841 - 1903)
  • Benjamin Franklin (c. 1844 - 1864)
  • Rachel (c. 1847 - 1904)
  • Alonzo (c. 1849)
  • George Cady (1852 - 1930)
  • Lurinda (c. 1854 - 1926)
  • William (c. 1856)
  • Isabella (c. 1856 - 1926)

Married: Mary Jane [--?--] (c. 1840 - bet. 1870-2) before 1865 in either New York or Michigan and Cornelia McCLELLAN (1856 - 1916) on 30 June 1872 in Ridgeway, Lenawee Co., Michigan

Children: With Mary Jane, he had two daughters: Maryetta (b. c. 185) and Sarah E. FREDENBURG (1868 - 1937). With Cornelia, he had three children: Mary Jane (1872 - 1962), my ancestor, named for his first wife; George Franklin (1873 - 1965); and William Anthony FREDENBURG (1876 - c. 1947).

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Source: Civil War Pension Index Cards of Sylvester Fredenburg(h). Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital images purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 14 December 1861 at Penn Yan, Yates Co., New York; private. Enlisted 17 December 1861 in Co. A, 50th New York Engineers (same company as his brother Abram). Enlisted 14 March 1862 at Milo, Yates Co., New York in Co. I, 33rd New York Infantry. Mustered out with company 2 June 1862 at Geneva, Ontario Co., New York. Returned to Co. I, 33rd New York Infantry in November 1862. Re-enlisted 16 January 1864 at Jerusalem, Potter (now Yates) Co., New York. Enlisted 23 January 1864 in Co. L, 50th New York Engineers.

Side served: Union

History of Unit: 50th New York Engineers, 33rd New York Infantry (more info here, too)

Mustered out: 13 June 1865 at Fort Barry, Virginia

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Biography or Information of Interest: Sylvester's discharge paper states he was five foot, six inches high, dark complected, with brown eyes and brown hair. His pension papers were full of great genealogical information, as his widow, Cornelia, applied first for a widow's pension on his account, and then later on her second husband's--a Navy veteran--account. Since both Sylvester and Washington Foster JUDD (her second husband) had been married and had children before marrying Cornelia, there were all sorts of marriage records and affidavits as to the births of the prior children. Unfortunately, Cornelia--being illiterate--had incorrect birth dates for all hers and Sylvester's children (listing all three as being born after his death!) as well as having listed an incorrect regiment for Sylvester's service. In the record of his service, it was discovered that he "deserted at Geneva, N.Y. April 1, '62. Retaken Sept. 1, '62." At his court martial, he was sentenced to a " loss of all pay up to Sept. 30, '62." His records also show he was hospitalized in August, again in September, and still again in October of 1864. Friends of the family attested that he had never been completely well after his return from the war and that he had a persistent cough. His death record states he died of spinal disease. It appears he probably had tuberculosis.

Died: 20 March 1879 in Riley Twp., St. Clair Co., Michigan of spinal disease contracted during the war

Buried: Believed to be buried at Romeo Cemetery, Romeo, Macomb Co., Michigan

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