When she returned home, she told her friend, Cherrie Spiess, that a similar project should be started in Fayette. With the anniversary of the Civil War underway, Cherrie suggested focusing on veterans of that era and the idea to create plaques honoring the veterans was born.
Ruth obtained lists of veterans from Fayette’s Legion post and from the Fulton County Veterans Service. Then she started digging into historical records for additional information, and she got some help from Cherrie.
The cemetery register at the library designated several people with GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and old county history books off a few more names.
Ruth focused on the military history while Sheila Chonko used her genealogy skills to track down personal information.
Short biographies are now written for nearly 80 Civil War veterans and about 40 have been made into plaques and placed on graves.
Following is a selection of the biographical sketches.
CHARLES L. ALLEN was the son of Isaac and Mary Allen of Enfield, Connecticut. He was born in Monroe County, New York, in 1839. Mr. Allen was a member of the 38th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
He served three years in the War of the Rebellion. He was adjutant and first lieutenant, and resigned in 1863. He was married in 1864 to Susan C. Gamber. They had two children, Carrie B. and Elsie M. Mr. Allen was a merchant who served as a Justice of the Peace and Postmaster in Fayette.
COLUMBUS ARMSTRONG was the son of Samuel B. and Susannah Armstrong. He was born in Ohio in 1840. He enlisted in the 182nd Regiment of Ohio Infantry and was in Company D as a private. He took part in several battles and was honorably discharged at the close of the war. In 1863 he married Ellen Crain in Hillsdale County, Michigan. They had one son, Milton. Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong each lost a brother in the war of the rebellion. Columbus owned a broom handle factory. He died in 1908 in Chesterfield Township and is buried in Morenci, Michigan.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BARNES was born in Maine in 1828 to James and Jennie Barnes. He married Catherine Black in 1850. They had two daughters who died in infancy and a son, James, who lived to become a doctor. Benjamin enlisted as a private in the 87th Infantry in 1862. He served five months in Company K. He contracted malaria and typhoid while in the Army and died of these ailments in 1867 in Indiana. He has a military stone in Maumee, Ohio, and a memorial stone in Fayette.
SAMUEL RHOADS BEER or BAER was the son of Daniel and Sarah Rhoads Beer. Samuel was a private in the 111th Infantry Regiment Company, 23rd Army Corp., second brigade, second division, and was in many battles and suffered much hardship. He mustered out at the end of the war in Cleveland.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1842 and died in Gorham Township in 1921. He married Mary and they had five children. His children spell their name Bair.
LOUIS O. BENNER was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. He enlisted in October 1861 at the age of 24. He was a bugler in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Company G. He mustered out of the Army in January of 1863.
Louis was married to Elizabeth J. Ely (Jennie) in 1867. They had five children. He was a jeweler.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BELDING was the son of Amos and Miriam Jane (Fuller) Belding of Massachusetts. He was born in Ohio in June 1832. He married Lucila Creglow about 1857. They were married for over 50 years and had no children. He was a private in the 21st Regiment in the Michigan Infantry. He served in Company I. Benjamin spent time in an asylum in Michigan because of the trauma in his Civil War past. He was listed in the Census as a farmer in 1880 and as a carpenter in 1890. He lived in various cities in Michigan most of his life and moved to Fayette sometime between the 1900 and 1910 census. In 1910 he was listed as retired and living on Spring St. in Fayette. In 1920 he was living with his nephew Eugene Belding in Fayette and is listed as a widower. He died in Fayette in October 1920.
ASHER ELY BIRD was a private in the 67th Ohio Infantry, Co. A. Asher was born in 1839 and died in 1911. From Census records it appears that his parents died young as Asher and his three sisters lived with Jacob and Catherine Schoonover in 1850 and with Campbell and Martha Ely in 1860. Perhaps these are relatives that have taken the children. In 1863 Asher married Charlotte (Lottie) Van Buskirk who was born in Virginia and moved to Fulton County, Ohio, between 1852 and 1860. They had one son, Harry. Later they adopted a boy named Frederick. Asher worked as a farmer most of his life. In the 1900s he moved to Main Street in Fayette with his wife Lottie.
JOHN W. BIRDSALL lived in Morenci, Mich., and enlisted as a Sergeant in the Michigan 11th Infantry, Company F, in 1861. He was regularly promoted and ended his army career as a Captain. He was born in New York State. In 1869 he married a widow named Lucinda Jarvis Davidson in Hillsdale. John died in 1879 in a railroad accident in Detroit. Lucinda had one son, Frank, from her first marriage. Lucinda and John had no children together.
JOHN LEVI BRINK was born in 1845 to Levi and Elizabeth (Robinson) Brink in Crawford County, Ohio.
John’s parents died within a few years of his birth and he and his siblings were raised by the grandparents, Cornelius and Hannah Brink. John helped his grandfather farm in Gorham Township. John enlisted as a private in the Civil War in the 38th Regiment, Company K. His rank at the end of his enlistment was Corporal. John married Sarah Ann Saltzgaber in 1868 in Fulton County. They had three boys. John worked as a farmer all of his life. In 1910 John and Sarah were living in Fayette with son Earl and his wife Minnie. John died in 1913 in Fayette.
JOEL B. BURNHAM was a private in the Ohio 128th Regiment, Company AD. He was the son of Joseph and Angeline (Brehm) and was born in 1845. He married Fannie B. Moore in 1858 in Lucas County. They had five children. He was a farmer. He was listed as having throat trouble and rheumatism and retired to Fayette where he lived on South Gorham Street. He died in 1915.
HARVEY COLLINS was born in 1828 in New York. His parents were James and Laura (Gould) Collins. He married Nancy Ellen Clark in 1859 in Illinois. Harvey was a private in the Michigan Light Artillery, 1st Regiment, Company I. Harvey and Nancy had nine children. Seven of them survived him. He was a day laborer and a mason. Before 1870 he moved his family to Gorham Township. In 1900 he is listed in the Census as retired and living on Goss Street in Fayette. He died in Fayette in 1912.
WILLIAM JAMES CONNELL was born in 1839 and died in 1910. He was a private in the 100th Regiment of the Ohio Infantry, Company C. He was the son of Dr. Aaron and Mildred Connell. William was the eighth of 13 children. He married Martha Shepardson. They had four children. He was a builder and a landlord.
ALONZO ORISON DEE was born in 1846 to Benjamin and Sarah Dee. He enlisted as a private in the Army in the 100th Volunteer Infantry, Company H, in 1862. He died in 1864 in Knoxville Tenn. He is buried in the National Cemetery in Knoxville. He has a marker in the Fayette Cemetery.
GEORGE T. COTTRELL was the son of Joseph and Maria Lloyd Cottrell of Gorham Township. He served in Company K, 38th Regiment, of the Ohio Infantry. He enlisted as a private and ended his military time as a corporal. He was wounded in 1863 in the battle of Mission Ridge, Tenn. He was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate of disability. In the 1880 census George was residing in Morenci with his wife, Lavina, and five children. He worked in a store. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci.
HENRY B. DANIELSON (also listed as Donaldson in some places) was the son of Daniel and Matilda (Starkweather) Danielson. He was born in 1843 in Gorham Township and served in the 38th Regiment, Company K, as a private during the War of the Rebellion. After the war he married Cornelia S. Elsworth in 1878 in Hudson, Mich. They had no children. They lived in Fayette from the time they were married. Henry died in 1915 in Fayette.
LEMUEL P. DUBOIS was the son of George and Amelia DuBois. He was born in 1837 in Ohio. He enlisted in the 128th Regiment, Company G, as a Corporal and was mustered out as a Sergeant. Lemuel married Virginia Shockey in 1866. They had no children. He was a farmer until the late 1880s and then he became a bank clerk. He died in Fayette in 1905.
WILLIAM HENRY DIVERT was born in 1840 and died in 1915. He was a private and served in the 38th Regiment, Company A. William was born in Pennsylvania and was the son of William and Rebecca (Sickel) Divert. He married his first wife, Sarah, in 1866. They lived in Defiance County and had nine children. Before 1900 they moved to Fayette, Ohio. Sarah died in 1906. William married Anna Belle (Gold) Young later in 1906. His occupation was listed as a farmer.
JOHN GRAHAM EDDY was born in 1841 in Pennsylvania to Abial and Millicent (Tripp) Eddy. John enlisted in the 38th Regiment, Ohio Infantry Company K. He served as a private. In 1869 he married Sarah Heckman in Lenawee County, Mich. They had three children. In 1860 they were living in Adrian. John was a carpenter. In the 1880 census John and his family were living in Gorham Township. John died in 1897 at the age of 56 in Gorham Township.
ASHER BIRD ELY was born in Fulton County in 1843 and was the son of Joseph and Susan (Struble) Ely.
He enlisted as a private in Company G, 81st Ohio Infantry. He participated in battles at Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Corinth and Shiloh. He was severely wounded at the battle of Shiloh and was granted an honorable discharge on account of physical disability. He was long engaged in his trade as a carpenter and builder. In 1866 he married Amelia D. Earick and they lived in Fayette. He served for a time as a Justice of the Peace. In 1899 he moved to Lenawee County and continued his trade there for a few years. He was a noted Justice of the Peace in Seneca Township. He died in 1904.
LEVI ELY was born in 1835 and died in 1913. He was the son of William and Sarah Ely. He was a private in the infantry, Ohio 128th Regiment, Company K. This Regiment was organized in Columbus, Ohio, and they were prison guards on Johnson’s Island near Sandusky. Levi was married to Sarah Ely and they had one son, Carl. Levi was a pastor.
LAFAYETTE ESTERLINE was born in Ohio in 1845 to Jacob and Elizabeth (Rhodes) Esterline. He enlisted as a private in the Ohio Cavalry in 1864. He served in Company H. He was discharged in 1865. In 1867 he married Sarah Shephard in Williams County. In 1870 they lived in Franklin Township. At that time LaFayette was a common laborer. In 1880 they lived in Gorham Township. He lists his occupation as farmer. Sarah died in 1904. LaFayette then married Emma (Allen) Blaker in Hillsdale. In 1910 LaFayette again moved to Gorham Township with Emma and three step-children. In 1920 the census lists the family as living in Fayette. LaFayette retired and Mabel worked a dressmaker. LaFayette died in 1920 in Fayette.