Friday, April 18, 2008

A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Willard CROTHERS (1832 - 1871)

How Related: Brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother, Anna CROTHERS

Born: 1832 in Erie Co., New York (probably either in the Town of Erie--now called Newstead--or the Town of Clarence)

Parents: John CROTHERS (c. 1799 - bet. 1840/1844) and Mary "Polly" WYCKOFF (1805 - aft. 1880)

Siblings: Anna (1825 - 1904), unknown girl (b. bet. 1826/1830), William Lewis (1827 - 1872), Moses (c. 1837 - 1877), Elizabeth June (1838 - 1915), and Nancy Amanda CROTHERS (1839 - 1925)

Married: Sarah Jane (SWEARS) FORD (1827 - 1899) on 19 November 1853 in Atlas Twp., Genesee Co., Michigan

Children: Marion Arabella (1854 - 1932) and Sarah "Anna" CROTHERS (1857 - 1932); step-son Charles FORD (1851 - 1903)

Source: Civil War Pension Index Cards of Willard Cruthers. 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 [].

11 August 1862 in Co. K, 23rd Michigan Infantry in Atlas Twp., Genesee Co., Michigan; private. On 15 February 1864, he was transferred out of Co. K, 23rd Michigan Infantry and into the U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps, 152nd Co., 1st Battalion (Invalid Corps), a.k.a Co. I, 5th Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps.

Side Served: Union

History of Unit: 23rd Michigan Infantry; U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps

Mustered Out: 2 Dec 1865 in Detroit, Wayne Co., Michigan


Biography or Information of Interest: While serving in Company K of the 23rd Michigan Infantry, Willard was put on picket duty on 18 October 1862 near Frankfort, Kentucky when he came down with the measles. Apparently, there was also a heavy snow storm (in October? in Kentucky?) and he became very ill due to the measles and exposure. In the morning, he was unconscious and so was taken to a log house in which about 20 other men were also ill and being cared for by an old black woman. As soon as they were able, they were all moved on to join their regiment. Willard, however, immediately contracted tuberculosis and spent the remainder of his military service in one military hospital after another. Finally, he was transferred to the Invalid Corps and later discharged at St. Mary's Hospital in Detroit. He suffered from this wasting disease for over five more years before his death.

Died: 21 February 1871 at his home in Hadley Twp., Lapeer Co., Michigan as a result of tuberculosis contracted during wartime

Buried: Sweers Family Burial Ground, Atlas Twp., Genesee Co., Michigan


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I have lived in Newstead, very pretty country. I hope all of the young men in your series don't die as tragically as the first two!

Miriam Robbins said...

As in any war, there will be too many deaths of fine young men, either directly in battle, or through years of suffering from disease contracted in military life.

So many men died from preventable causes: lack of handwashing by doctors and surgeons, contamination of disease due to close quarters, drinking water from contaminated sources, etc. There were no anti-biotics in those days, and little knowledge of germs.