Monday, May 05, 2008

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]. 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 [].

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 []. 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."


Bill West said...

Do your Kimball ancestors include
any from Essex County, Massachusetts?
I'm descended from Thomas Kimball and his wife Mary Smith(?)through their
daughter Priscilla who married
John Ames.


Miriam Robbins said...

Sorry to take so long to respond, Bill.

Benjamin and David's father, William Kimball, born Vermont, is the earliest Kimball ancestor I have information about. I believe he was part of the migration of New Englanders to the "fire lands" of Ohio, having recently learned that Vermont and New Hampshire residents actually took advantage of this land offer more than Connecticut residents.

While I don't know for certain, I suspect that William was a descendant of the Puritan immigrant, Richard Kimball, about whom much can be found online. We probably do connect somewhere along the way, Bill.