Tag: Civil War


The thirty-fifth ancestor in my 52-week challenge is my wife’s maternal 4th-great-grandfather, Lyman Eugene WHIPPLE.

According to the information we have, he was born in about 1816 in Smyrna, Chenango, New York to William Walton & Rosina Whipple. Sometime, probably in Ohio in the late 1830s, he married Cheney Mariah HEATH. My wife’s ancestor, Nancy Whipple, was born about 1849 in Ohio.

The 1850 US Census, when his family was living in what was then called Indian Lands, Marquette County, Wisconsin, his occupation was listed as a “Cooper.” According to Wikipedia, “examples of a cooper’s work include but are not limited to [the creation of] casks, barrels, buckets, tubs, butter churns, hogsheads, firkins, tierces, rundlets, puncheons, pipes, tuns, butts, pins and breakers.”

According to his bio, he entered military service August 13, 1862 in Berlin, Wisconsin into the Union Army Company C, 32nd Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.

His first wife, Mariah, passed away in 1864 in Wisconsin. He later married a woman named Catherine and moved to Minnesota. He passed away in Cass County, Minnesota in July 1894 and is buried there.

This post is 35 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

The fourth ancestor on the 52 Week Ancestor challenge was picked using my patented ancestor-o-matic. It’s really just a random number generator and then using that number on my daughter’s ahnentafel chart. This week is William J DAKINS.

William is my wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather on her maternal side. His obituary in the Stevens Point Daily Journal from Stevens Point, Wisconsin says that he was born 29 April 1846 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This matches up with his census records that indicate he was born in Canada. It looks like his family, including father Amos DAKINS and mother Phoeba C (RILEY) DAKINS, moved from Canada to Wisconsin early in his life as they are found in the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin area in the 1850 US Census. In 1860, the family is found further north in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, though close to where William would settle later in life, in Weyauwega.

On 14 December 1864, William did what a lot of other young men in the country did that year, he enlisted to join the Civil War. He was stationed with Company I in the 17th Wisconsin Infantry. At the time of William’s enlistment, the 17th Infantry was involved in the Carolinas Campaign.

In January 1865, Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman advanced north from Savannah, Georgia, through the Carolinas, with the intention of linking up with Union forces in Virginia. The defeat of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army at the Battle of Bentonville in March, and its surrender in April, represented the loss of the final major army of the Confederacy.

Burning of McPhersonville 1865
Sherman’s March Through South Carolina – Burning of McPhersonville, February 1, 1865

The obituary also states that he was involved in the famous Sherman’s March to the Sea, but that looks to have taken place right when William was enlisting, so I’m not sure if he was.

After William returned from war, he married Helen Marion WARNER on 4 October 1871 and they settled on a farm in Plover, Portage, Wisconsin. Together, they had 6 children, including my wife’s ancestor, Mary DAKINS. They lived in Plover until William’s death on 18 April 1916. The obituary says he was ill with heart and stomach problems. He is buried nearby in the Plover Cemetery.

This post is 4 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

My wife’s 3rd-great-grandfather, William J Dakins, passed away on April 18, 1916. He participated in the Civil War with Company 1, 17th Wisconsin Infantry and according to his obituary below, “he was with Sherman on the famous march to the sea and through the Carolinas and participated in many engagements of Sherman’s great campaign.”

I recently finished reading the wonderful book by Megan Smolenyak called Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing. I read another book she wrote a few years back, when DNA testing was still pretty new, called Trace Your Roots With DNA which was also very interesting.

In the book, Megan goes over cases she has worked on throughout her life that involve genealogy or searching for people that need finding. From tracing Obama’s roots to Ireland to finding the next of kin of “unclaimed person” to finding the real Annie Moore, she covers a lot of interesting paths. You definitely don’t need to be a genealogist, or even do any family research for that matter, to enjoy this book. Her writing style makes it easy to follow along and  learn about the detective work that went into everything she does.

I found the chapter named “A House Divided, A Bible Shared” that talked about a family bible that started with a soldier in the Confederate Army and ended up with a Union Soldier from Wisconsin. While the chapter itself was interesting, I perked up when I read the Union soldier was from Company K, Wisconsin 18th Infantry. My 3rd-great-grandfather, Johann LAST, was in Company K, though he was with the 50th Infantry. It seems the 18th Infantry went down to Louisiana and the 50th (from what I can tell) traveled up to the Dakota Territory. Who knows, maybe they crossed paths?

I also enjoyed the chapter, “King of America,” where Megan worked to figure out who would be the King of America today if George Washington would’ve been King instead of President. There is much more to learn about the monarchy than I had originally thought. She explains the differences very well and it’s an interesting read. Obviously, if Washington had been King, the descendants would’ve chosen their spouses differently, etc, but it’s a cool theoretical project to take on.

I recommend this book to anyone, especially genealogists, but any person interested in history or detective work would definitely enjoy it. I read the Kindle version, but the physical version is also available on Amazon.

Since the weather started to get nicer here and the snow is mostly gone, I thought I’d tackle some research involving the cemeteries again. Two of my ancestors are known to have lived and died in the Port Washington, Ozaukee Co., Wisconsin area, but I had yet to pinpoint their final resting places.

I did some research and found that on the death certificate of my 3rd-great-grandmother, Charlotte (STRASSMAN) LAST, she is listed as having been buried at Union Cemetery in Port Washington. This is also where her son (my great-great-grandfather) and his wife are buried. I know I’ve looked through most of the headstones there in the past while looking for other LAST relatives, but I don’t remember seeing it. She did die in 1900, which means the stone may be unreadable/broken/missing/etc. One would also assume that her husband, Johann W G LAST, would also be buried there along with her (or at least nearby.) He did die almost 30 years before she did (more on that later.)

Today, since it was in the 50s outside, I decided to make another pass through the cemetery. I was planning on going anyway to get a requested volunteer photo via Find-a-Grave. I first walked through the stones in the older area figuring it should be in there, but I did not find anything (besides some very hard-to-read stones.) I then hit the next section, which does have some older stones on the edges. I also kept an eye out for military flags, stars, etc, especially the Civil War-related GAR signs. I then found a very worn headstone with the name “JHO. LAST”. I couldn’t make out the dates written on it until I realized it actually said “Co. K, 50th Wis Inf which was his exact Civil War information. Unfortunately, it had no vital dates listed, which I don’t have either. All I had for his death date was “Between 1870-1880” since he was listed in 1870 and then his wife was listed as “widow” in 1880. His birth date was based on the census records.

Click for larger image - John's stone is the small one on the right side, middle. Note the large gap to the left of it.
Click for larger image – John’s stone is the small one on the right side, middle. Note the large gap to the left of it.

There was also no Charlotte LAST stone nearby, or any LAST’s for that matter. I checked the rest of the cemetery and still no Charlotte. Since her death certificate notes that she is here (and most of the family is here) I can only assume her stone is either missing, unreadable or broken. There was a large gap (note in the photo) next to John’s headstone, which seemed out of place, so it is possible that she is there. There is also a stone that just says “Mother” on it near her son, Charles LAST. but he died long after Charlotte. Charles’ wife Augusta is also buried there and the “Mother” stone could be talking about her.

But, that wasn’t the end of the good news for John LAST. It turns out I had his death date right under my nose the whole time. I found a listing of good Civil War indexes on Ancestry and decided to just search them all again. Most of the searches turned up documents I already had. Then I searched the “Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879-1903” database. John was listed as recieving a headstone and on the index card it lists his death date as “14 Aug 1872.” That’ll teach me to make sure I check every database next time.

I emailed the Port Washington Historical Society to see if Union Cemetery has burial index to see if maybe they have a specific plot where Charlotte may be buried. We’ll see how that works out.