Military

“War is hell.” William Tecumseh Sherman

Advertisements

The photo below is my 2nd great-grandfather, Johann Mathias Bruder, in his Civil War uniform. You met him in The Old Homestead, married to Elizabeth Jost, and the father Anna. I obtained this print from relatives in Wisconsin while in my teens. As you can see from the printing on the right edge (inverted), it was printed in July 1977. Technology at that time required you to take a photo of the image to get a negative, then prints could be made from that. Unfortunately, this one looks a little blurry, plus the negative was inadvertently placed upside down during printing. But I figured I’d get grief from everyone if the belt buckle was backwards, so I flipped the image. It’s really hard for me to look at him with the gun in his left hand, though! Perhaps some day I’ll cross paths with the original and can get a clearer scan.

Bruder uniform
John M. Bruder, 1834-1915, Civil War service photo.

His records (including military) use a lot of variant names, which I won’t discuss, now. Some other blog post! I’ll simply refer to him as “John M.” to be consistent.

He and his parents emigrated from Bavaria before 1847 (sister’s birth in Wisconsin), and his father died some time between 1855 (Wisconsin State Census) and the 1860 Federal Census. John M. served two terms as a volunteer:

  • 5 February 1863 – 8 September 1863, Company I, 34th Wisconsin Infantry
  • 30 September 1864 – 6 June 1865, Iron Brigade, Company D, 6th Wisconsin¹

If you looked at the sources, I can hear you saying, “Hold on! different names; different guys!” Not so. Fortunately, despite the 1890 census being almost completely consumed by fire, the 1890 veteran’s census survived.² While it lists his 2nd service date in the top portion, the lower section documents the earlier stint, too. He also applied for a pension. That paperwork lists both enlistments. More on that, later.

Tracking military activity of a unit is not terribly difficult. Based on his service dates, in 1863 he primarily served in the “west.” The 34th moved to Fort Halleck, Columbus, Kentucky. His Company then moved to Cairo, Illinois, at the end of April. It appears he stayed there until he mustered out in September, returning home. None of the information I found gave me the impression that area of the country saw much action.

In 1864 he was drafted and sent further from home. He was involved with parts of the Petersburg seige (June 1864-April 1865). The 6th Wisconsin was at Hatcher’s Run (Boydton Road and Dabney’s Mills), then continued on with the Appomattox Campaign, 28 March – 9 April 1865. They fought near Gravelly Run, Five Forks, and then pursued Lee to Appomattox Court House. After Lee’s surrender, the unit took part in the Grand Review on May 23rd, then moved to Louisville, Kentucky, finally mustering out in July.

You’re wondering about the pension, aren’t you? I’d read articles about the wonderful “finds” in pension packets: birth/baptismal certificates, marriage certificates, family Bible pages, photos. In 2000, before the cost to request it increased, I sent away for his. I heard back a year later, and sent my $10.

It was a little disheartening when the envelope arrived. The photocopies contained none of those precious treasures. Even the application was uninspiring: “Are you married? Yes but dead.”³ No name, marriage date, nothing. Apparently he figured she wouldn’t be entitled to anything, so didn’t waste his time. Same thing with the section for children: “All over 16 years of age.” No names or birth dates. Nothing to confirm what I thought I knew.

But then I delved deeper. He began the pension process in 1887, and it continued until 1912. Initially he was rejected, but finally was granted a $12/month pension (just shy of $300, today) “for loss of left arm above the Ellbow . . . said Arm he lost on August 23, 1884 while sitting on a Grain Reaper intending to cut his Wheat, and while he was unable to notice and see an obstruction in his way . . . was thrown from the Reaper and in the cutting part of said Reaper.”³ He received payments until he died, 8 March 1915. I don’t know if he received “back pay.”

The pages detailed his claim, in his words and those of neighbors and fellow soldiers, giving us a glimpse of their military experience. “While . . . in the line of duty at near Petersburg . . . while on a heavy marching . . . crossing and wading  through a River and swamps up to their breast, and thereafter marching all day in their wet clothes, and it being at the time cold and inclement weather, he contracted a cold, wich caused a Rheumatism, of wich he then and thereafter eversince is suffering and affecting and weakening his Eyes . . . that sometimes he cannot see any person or object if only 10 feet before him”³ No wonder he couldn’t see the obstruction!

Joseph Wetor’s affidavit describes “6th and 7th day of february 1865 before during the battle of Hatchers run . . . disagreable wether of wich we was exposed them times, without tents and blankets, wich we had to leave in camp lasted for some weeks after.”³ John Entringer’s relates a similar experience, adding, “in the mourning being sometimes being covered with Snow or wet allthrough from heavy rain.”³ General Sherman knew what he was talking about!

Filmmaker Ken Burns has spent the last forty years teaching us to observe history from a personal perspective. The pension packet may not have given me the “vital facts” I initially looked for, but I found something far more important.  I saw a partial picture of John M. Bruder’s war experience; one I wouldn’t have, otherwise. I also have his signature. Thank goodness he was initially denied, or the additional descriptions from his comrades in arms wouldn’t have been needed! As far as I know, he didn’t keep a diary, so this paperwork is all we have of that period of his life.

When we visited Appomattox Court House with our kids in December, 1999, I had no idea my 2nd great grandfather had been there before me. I realize he was a lowly private, and not in the parlor with Lee signing the surrender to Grant. But knowing that he was one of many participants to a pivotal day in history makes that day hit closer to home.

Best $10 I ever spent.

1884-1894 BRUDER John M JOST Elizabthe
John M. Bruder and his wife, Elizabeth Jost, possibly taken between 1884 and 1894. While it’s not obvious his left arm is missing, it easily could be.

¹Wisconsin. Adjutant General’s Office, Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume II, https://books.google.com, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, p. 544. 34th Regiment Infantry, Company I; name: Brüder, Mathias.  and   Wisconsin. Adjutant General’s Office, Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865, Volume I, https://books.google.com, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, p. 509. 6th Regiment Infantry, Company D; name: Bruder, John M.

²”United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-R3SC-MZ?cc=1877095&wc=M628-XJQ%3A174322201%2C174474101%2C174320903 : 22 May 2014), Wisconsin > Manitowoc > All > image 15 of 58; citing NARA microfilm publication M123 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

³John M. Bruder (Pvt., Co. D, 6th Wis. Inf., Civil War), pension no. S.C. 859,952, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Record Group 15:  Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

#52Ancestors

The Old Homestead

Be it ever so humble . . .

I have lots of old homesteads in my life:

  • 2 houses in Glencoe, IL, built by Edward M. Haws (Grandpa)
  • 1 house in Deerfield, IL, also built by him
  • the house in Manitowoc, WI, where my dad was born
  • numerous houses in Northbrook, IL, lived in by my mom and her extended family members
  • the Nolan farmhouse in Smiths Creek, MI, from Mike’s family
  • assorted houses in Port Huron, MI, belonging to the other side of his family
  • 2 houses Mike grew up in, in Detroit, MI, as well as his grandmother’s
  • my parents’ 2 houses
  • my own 2 houses

I have recent photos of them all, but today’s winner is the farmhouse in Kossuth, WI–between Manitowoc and Francis Creek. My great-grandfather, Frank Haws, and his wife, Anna Bruder, lived there until 1932, or so, when they sold it and moved to a “house in town” in Francis Creek. It had been in the family since 1850, though.

Haws farmhouse new
Former Haws farmhouse, 6604 County Road Q (New Q), Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It’s north of Shoto Road, and just south of the intersection where the north end of Old Q connects with New Q, on the west side of the road. This photo was taken by my parents in 1999. My dad’s cousin (who grew up in the area) drove with them to find it. Google Maps street view shows the house still there in 2013.

The property was first owned by Nicholas Jost, who purchased it from the government in 1850:

1850 08 10 JOOST Nicholas land description
description of the land parcel purchased by Nicholas Joost [Jost], 10 August 1850: “the South East Quarter of the North East Quarter of Section twenty five, in Township twenty, North of Range twenty three, East, in the District of Lands subject to sale at Green Bay, Wisconsin, containing forty acres,”      https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=WI1410__.187&docClass=STA&sid=l42wzwfj.cni#patentDetailsTabIndex=1

The 1872, 1878, and 1893 plat maps of the area (see snips below) show the property transferring from Nicholas Jost, to John M. Bruder, to Frank Haws.

scan0017
Haws farmhouse in the 1920s, maybe? Frank Haws is probably the man in the hat (by right corner of the window), and Anna Bruder Haws is probably the woman sitting nearest the door. The two young women (standing) are probably grand aunts, but I’m not sure which ones.
1872 kossuth plat map
1872 plat map. The red box is around the N. Jost (hard to read) property described above. The green arrow points to the dot/square showing where the house is located on the property. The double line winding to the right is “Old County Q”–a road that is still there. http://www.2manitowoc.com/1872pl14.html
1878 kossuth plat map
1878 plat map showing the house still there and the property now owned by John M. Bruder. Old County Q is visible. http://www.2manitowoc.com/1878plt14.pdf
1893 Kossuth plat map snip
1893 plat map. The house is still there (green arrow), as is Old Q. Frank Haws now owns the property. http://www.2manitowoc.com/1893plt13.html

Nicholas Jost is found on the 1850 census.¹ I can’t tell if he’s living in this house when the census was recorded, since the land purchase was later than the census date. In 1860, he’s hard to find because his last name was written “Jose” and indexed as “Jase.” The 1870 census² lists his son, Mathias, as the head of household, with Nicholas living there as well. Nicholas still owns the property according to the 1872 plat map, but by the 1880 census, John Bruder is the head of household, with Nicholas (his father-in-law) still living there.

Of course, the 1890 census (mostly destroyed in a fire) provides no help, but Frank is in the house by 1893. I probably need a road trip to Manitowoc to help me nail down the exact transfer dates, but each one is well before the death of the previous owner.

What I find most curious, though, is that the property does not transfer down through the sons, as one would expect. Both transfers are to the spouse of a daughter. Nicholas’s daughter, Elizabeth Jost, was married to John M. Bruder, the next owner. It wasn’t

part of her dowry (if they even did that), because John & Elizabeth married in 1860–long before they acquired the property.

Why didn’t it pass along to her brother, Mathias? While he did work the farm at the time of the 1870 census, he moved his family to Marathon County after that. Why he didn’t stay around and wait to inherit, I don’t know.

Anna Bruder, one of John & Elizabeth’s daughters, married Frank Haws in 1885. That’s twenty years before her father’s death, so the property wasn’t an inheritance. The 1885 Wisconsin census³ still lists John Bruder in that neighborhood, so it wasn’t a dowry/wedding present for her, either. She had four brothers, all living to adulthood. Why were they passed over, for a son-in-law? I have no idea.

While several of the western states (Wyoming, Montana, Utah, among others) granted extensive rights to women long before the rest of the country, Wisconsin was not on the forefront for that. So I find it interesting that this family seemed to depart from the norm, and wish I had a better explanation for it. I’ll keep an eye out for anything that might give me some insight, but won’t hold my breath. Even so, it’s nice to see the old farmhouse still in use, even if it has left my family’s possession.


¹1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Wisconsin, Manitowoc, Manitowoc Rapids; Page 44 (written); dwelling number 207; family number 213; line 18; Nicholas YOST [JOST] household; accessed 21 March 2018. Nicholas YOST [JOST], age 54; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 1002; digital image, FamilySearch Record Search (https://familysearch.org).

²1870 U.S. census, population schedule, Wisconsin, Manitowoc, Kossuth; Page 13; dwelling number 92; family number 85; line 2; Mathias JOIST [JOST] household; accessed 21 March 2018. Cathrine JOIST [JOST], age 35; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1723; digital image, FamilySearch Record Search (https://familysearch.org).

³Wisconsin State Census, 1885, Manitowoc, Kossuth; page 4 (center top), line 6; J. BRUDER entry; accessed 21 March 2018. digital image, FamilySearch Record Search(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6DH7-CS9?i=49&cc=1443713 free); citing State Historical Society, Madison.

#52Ancestors