Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What I Found at Footnote.com: The Kimball Brothers

View your ancestor's Civil War Veterans Pension Index card.

My distant cousin, Terry Wantz, and his colleague John Braden, put together a book compiled of biographies and obituaries of Civil War veterans of Newaygo County, Michigan. They later uploaded the information to the Internet at the Newaygo County Historical Archives site. An account of the exploits of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Benjamin "Henry" KIMBALL, his brother David P. KIMBALL, and their friend Orson DAVID can be found about two-thirds down this page. According to this account, the three young men left the village of Fremont and headed south to Grand Rapids in Kent County to find work in the Spring of 1864. Their search unsuccessful, they enlisted in the Army, were sent to St. Johns, Clinton County for training, and were then assigned to Company D of the 27th Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry. As it was near the end of the war, they took part in some of the hardest-fought campaigns, including Vickburg and the capture of Petersburg. Orson was captured and was imprisoned first at the infamous Andersonville Prison, and later at Wilmington, North Carolina, where he died.

Henry and David survived the war and returned to Newaygo County. Henry married Lucy May DICKINSON, who gave him four children, dying shortly after giving birth to my great-great-grandmother, Mary May "Lula" DICKINSON. (For those of you following my series about my great-grandfather, William Bryan Robbins, in North Russia at the end of World War I, this was his mother.) Lucy's sister Mary (DICKINSON) WEAVER raised little "Lula," with her own five children, and Henry remarried almost immediately to Mrs. Lydia DORWIN, a widow, believed to be Orson DAVID's sister. Henry's brother David first married Edna NORTHRUP, had three children, and after being widowed, married Edna's sister Mary who bore him five more children.

I had found burial information online for these two brothers--they were buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Fremont--but I could not find where they had died. Henry's burial information stated he died in 1924; David in 1903. Looking at Newaygo County death records turned up nothing. Neighboring Oceana County death records were not filmed by the Family History Library, and I decided to wait to order death certificates from that county clerk, especially not knowing for sure they had died there. Locating them in U.S. Federal Census records in the census years before their deaths was not helpful.

The very first thing I did when I got a subscription to Footnote.com was to go take a look at the Civil War Veterans Pension Index cards. Now, I wasn't expecting to find anything new on these brothers by looking at their pension index cards. I had already viewed images of their cards on Ancestry.com:

I simply was looking through Footnote's pension index cards to see if they had all my Civil War ancestors' cards. I easily found Henry and David's, and discovered that their Footnote cards were different than the ones I had viewed at Ancestry (click on the thumbnails below for free viewing of full-size images at Footnote, along with comments and annotations):

The first difference I noticed was that the word "DEAD" was stamped in the upper left-hand corner of both Footnote cards. And what do you know, their death places (and David's death date) were listed on the bottom of their cards! Eureka!

Alba, Michigan? I had never heard of it! I went to RootsWeb's U.S. Town/County Database and plugged in the location. Alba is located in Antrim County...what in the world was Henry doing there? To my knowledge, there were no extended family members living there. Newaygo County is in the West Central area of Michigan, while Antrim County is further north, not too far from the upper tip of the lower peninsula...just east of Grand Traverse Bay. And Marquette is in Marquette County on the north side of the upper peninsula, on the shore of Lake Superior! I never would have guessed these were their death places in a hundred years! So of course I am now left with the question of why these two were in those particular communities at the times of their deaths. Perhaps ordering their pension files from the National Archives will solve those mysteries.

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