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These pages contain biographical sketches (full or extract) of former Montcalm County residents.

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James Barclay

History of Montcalm County, Michigan
by John W. Dasef - 1916

Contributed by Gerry Christiansen


James Barclay Bio
James Barclay Bio

Cornelius Jeremiah Bigelow

Cornelius Jeremiah "Jerry" Bigelow was born 13 March 1842 in Andes township, Delaware, NY. The family moved to Montcalm County, MI in 1853 and Cornelius was listed in 1860 census as living at home. He married, Montcalm County, on 09 December 1861 Rosannah Osterhout, daughter of William and Lena Osterhout. She was born 16 August 1840 in Cayuga County, NY.
Cornelius enlisted during the Civil War and served in Company D, 3rd MI Infantry.
They lived in New Haven, Gratiot County, all of their married lives. Cornelius was nicknamed "Jerry" to distinguish him from other Cornelius Bigelows in the family. He died 0l March 1899 New Haven township. His widow died 15 February 1908. Both are buried in New Haven township cemetery.

Information provided 2006 by: Bob Montgomery


Cornelius & Rosannah Bigelow
(click photo to enlarge)
Cornelius & Rosannah Bigelow

William Franklin Bigelow


Nancy and William F. Bigelow (seated) in 1860, at marriage.
(standing L-R) Samuel, Sally,
probably Zadock, Elizabeth,Cornelius J.

William Franklin Bigelow was born 27 Aug 1812 at Cambridge, Washington co, NY. During the war of 1812, the family moved to Schoharie co, NY, where he is is listed as "Franklin, age 8," on his father's application for a military pension. On reaching adult years, William followed his brothers to Delaware co, where he married Elizabeth Earl on 16 July 1834. She was born 1814 in New York state to unknown parents. They lived in Andes township until 1853, when they removed to Michigan, following William's oldest brother Elijah.
William settled in Bloomer township, Montcalm county, near Carson City. There his wife Eliza died in July 1859, leaving ten children. William then married (2) on 23 Jan 1860 Nancy Maria Brown, born 3 May 1845 in Medina county, OH. Fifteen years old at their marriage, Nancy is shown as a young girl seated beside William in their wedding photo.
During the Civil War, William enlisted as a private in Co D, 3rd Michigan Regiment, and served from 1864 to 1865, when he was given an honorable discharge, he being unfit for duty after contracting camp dysentery. In order to enlist he had given his age as ten years younger than it actually was, but this was corrected when William applied for a pension.
After the war, William and his brother Cornelius removed to Maxville, Buffalo county, WI, where they lived a nurnber of years (roughly 1869-1875), at which time William returned to Michigan. He settled in New Haven, Gratiot county, MI, and died there 29 Dec 1891. He is buried in a cemetery near Carson City, Montcalm county. His widow Nancy outlived him by many years. Her widow's pension papers show she died at Bay City, Bay county, MI 5 Feb 1925, but there appears to be no county record.

Information provided 2005 by: Bob Montgomery



Eli Bowen

Eli and Anna (Bristol) Bowen
Written by Gerald A. Cory

Eli M. Bowen was born on Handy Township, Livingston county, Michigan, in 1843, the sixth child and fifth son of David and Betsey Bowen. David and Betsey were both born in New York State and had emigrated to Canada and then to Michigan, arriving in Livingston County in 1838. The children of David and Betsey Bowen were Serilla, Philander, Hiram, David, Oren, Eli, Spencer, William, Henry, Emerson, and Julia. The family had settled on a farm near Fowlerville and remained in Livingston County for many years. Eli worked on the farm with his father and attended the common school in Handy Township. In 1860, at the age of 17, Eli was employed by Peter and Sarah Cameron in Marion Township, as a farm laborer and lived at the Cameron home. Also living with the Camerons, was Annie Bristol, Eli's future wife.

Eli continued working as a farm hand until October 1861. Then with the Civil war building up in the East, he enlisted at the age of 18, as a Private in Company K, Ninth Michigan Infantry Regiment. The Ninth Infantry was organizes at Fort Wayne, near Detroit, and proceeded to Jeffersonville, Indiana, and then to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The Ninth became part of the 23rd Brigade, Army of Cumberland, and was commanded by Lt. Col. John Parkhurst. It was the first Michigan Regiment in the Western Department.

In January 1862, the Ninth was assembled at West Point, Kentucky, and embarked on the Ohio River to Nashville, Tennessee. It participated in the march through Kentucky after the Confederate General John Morgan, driving the notorious raider from the state. In April 1862, Eli was stricken with Typhoid Fever, and recovered slowly from that disease. In June, the Ninth formed a portion of a force of 5,000 troops under the command of General Negley and commenced a movement to capture Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Confederates were driven from the city, but not having sufficient troops to occupy the works, General Negley divided his forces and placed them at strategic points in the vicinity.

During July, 1862, the Ninth was garrisoned at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on the 31st were furiously attacked by the Confederate General Forest and his force of 2,500 Calvary. The attack fell heavily upon the detachment of the Ninth. The Confederates rode recklessly into the encampment and a hand to hand encounter took place. After a prolonged struggle the enemy was driven back. Eli's company was evidently encamped elsewhere because the detachment at Murfreesboro was subsequently captured, along with Lt. Col. Parkhurst, and held as prisoner for some time. During November, 1862, the Ninth entered upon the campaign which culminated in the Battle of Stone River, and succeeded in capturing Murfreesboro. The Battle of Stone River was a desperate encounter and when the Union right was crushed during the Battle, the Ninth was employed in checking the stampede to the rear, and by holding the Nashville Pike the disorganized forces were stopped and returned to their commands. The Ninth was subsequently engaged in provost duty at Chickamauga, Georgia, and at other locations extending into Kentucky, during the long campaign preceding the fall of Atlanta.

During the long winter months of 1863, Eli was engaged in guard duty at Elizabethtown and West Point, Kentucky. The encampments were crude and the soldiers had little cover, oftentimes having only straw to sleep on which became soaked with water resulting in severe exposure in cold storms, and added to the misery and hardship of camp life. In March 1863, Eli contracted Typhoid Pneumonia, immediately followed by Typho-malarial fever, and was sent to a hospital at Nashville, and after prolonged treatment was furloughed home. Somewhat later he rejoined his regiment at Camp Chase, Ohio, which was there as paroled soldiers. In December 1863, Eli re-enlisted as a veteran. At that time he was 21 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, of light completion, brown hair and gray eyes.

The regiment rejoined the Army of the Cumberland in February 1864, and entered into the Georgia campaign. The regiment was on provost duty in all the battles between Chattanooga and Atlanta, and when Atlanta fell, did provost duty in that city. The Ninth returned to Chattanooga and then proceeded to Nashville with General Thomas, Commander of the Army of the Cumberland, performing provost duty until September 1865, when it returned to Michigan where it arrived on the 27th and was paid off and disbanded at Jackson. At discharge Eli received a pension of $2.00 per month, and about a year after discharge from service he married Annie Bristol.

Annie Bristol (called Anna) was born on November 26, 1845, at Handy, Livingston county, Michigan, the daughter of Levi and Phebe Bristol. The family had emigrated from New York State into Canada and then, probably about 1838, emigrated to Michigan and settled in Livingston County. Anna Bristol had two sisters older than herself - Sarah, and Jane and one older brother - Levi. In 1860, at the age of 15, Anna was living at the home of Peter and Sarah Cameron, in Marion township.

Eli and Anna were married on April 27, 1867, in the parlor of the home of his brother and sister-in-law - Oren and Catherine E. Bowen, in Cohoctah Township. The marriage was performed by George Cameron, Justice of the Peace, and a friend of the family.

Eli and Anna settled on a farm near the village of Cohoctah, and sometime later, to another farm near Oak Grove. On February 1, 1868, their first child, Estella Bowen was born. In 1869, the family moved to another farm in Handy Township. There during 1870, their daughter Lucinda , was born, and on March 6, 1872, a son, Adelbert Bowen was born. In the fall of 1879, the family moved to Spencer Township, Kent County, Michigan, and settled near the village of Gowen, and during that year, a daughter Susie Jane Bowen was born. About a year later, on June 26, 1880, their fifth child, Rettie Bowen, was born. On July 14, 1883, a son Clyde Bowen was born. Their last child, Montie Bowen was born on June 10, 1886. at this time their address was Gowen, Montcalm County, Michigan.

Eli had not been well since his service days, being afflicted with chronic dysentery and a variety of other service connected ills, and in 1888 he applied for an increase in his pension. According to the pension regulations in force in 1888, a doctor familiar with the origin of the pensioner's illnesses was required to verify original treatment. Dr. William Palmer stated of Eli that " although I have seen him but once since he left the service, I cannot recall with certainty of treating him in the Army, but I know that while the regiment was at Elizabethtown, many of the men were sick and I have no doubt that he was at that time sick as he states as I consider him a truthful man". Eli in comparing his previous state of health with his then poor condition stated, "I was as tough as a knot before I enlisted and never had any acute or chronic diseases. I have lived at Gowen, Michigan, 9 years this fall and working a piece of land for Mr. Cole. If my case is not plane enough I do not want a pension."

Eli's pension had been raised to $4.00 per month in 1887, and was not increased again until 1897, when it was raised to $12.00 per month, based on rheumatism and resulting partial disability. In 1901, he applied for another increase because of increased disability, and required the affidavits of several persons. The following letter was sent to the Commissioner of Pensions by Eli: Sir the reason George Hatfield will not make out a statement of affidavit he made out for me is because he rote me concerning his wife he left and I did not want anything to do with their trouble so did not answer his letter and he is offended and will not make out the paper. and Oren Bowen is offended at me because I made him pay a debt that he owed me, Eli Bowen." The affidavits were eventually obtained but the pension remained at $12.00 per month.

Eli was confined to his bed for quite long periods, but was able to be around also. Mostly, he was confined to his home near Gowen. In the months of May and June 1907, his health deteriorated rapidly, and on June 26, he was stricken with ascites. Eli Bowen died at his home near Gowen, surrounded by his family and friends, at 10:00 pm, June 27, 1907 of Cirrhosis of the liver and ascites. He was 64 years old. His funeral was held at Spencer Mills, and he was buried there on July 2, 1907.

Anna Bowen remained at her home near Gowen. She received a pension of $12.00 per month beginning June 28, 1907. This was raised to $30.00 per month beginning September 1916. Tragedy struck her family when about 1919, her Lucinda, was scalded and died from the effects,

Anna Bowen continued to live near Gowen, and on November 1922, at 8:30 a.m., died at her home. She was 77 years old. She was buried beside her husband at Spencer Mills Cemetery

Submitted by Linda B. Eppinger with permission from Gerald A. Cory

For Questions or info contact:
Gerald A. Cory
504 Walden
Falls Church, VA. 22046-2628



Bowen ~ Bradshaw Family Photograph Gallery

  

submitted by Linda B. Eppinger



Edward Bradshaw

Edward and Hannah (Peasley) Bradshaw
Written by Gerald A. Cory

Edward Bradshaw was born in Orangeville Township, Genesee County, New York State, on August 8, 1832, the son of Edward and Betsey Bradshaw. Young Edward had two brothers older than himself - James and Jerrod and one sister - Clarisa Bradshaw who was born in 1836. The family lived in Genesee County, (later to become Wyoming County) for at least twenty years, being a farm family in that area. Sometime prior to 1850 the elder Bradshaw died, and shortly thereafter Edward removed to Potter County Pennsylvania, where he met and married Hannah Manora Peasley.

Hannah Manora Peasley was born in Ulysses township, Potter County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John and Peasley. Hannah had two brothers older than herself - Ebenezer and Jonathan, and a younger sister Rhoda. The mother of the family died before Hannah was 12 years old, leaving her the oldest daughter of the family in the sparsely populated, wild and mountainous area of Pennsylvania, where life was probably not easy.

Edward and Hannah were married on October 17, 1855, by Nelson Jinks, Justice of the Peace, in the parlor of the home of her parents. The couple moved to Genesee Township, Potter County, and their first child, Anna was born there on May 5, 1857. On October 8, 1861, their second child, Edgar was born. During that same year the Civil War broke out, and on august 26 Edward enlisted as a Private, in Company G. of the 46th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. G Company was raised up from enrollees from the Potter County area, and was commanded by Captain James Graves.

The 46th Regiment was hurried into action in Northern Virginia, and on May 25, 1862, Edward was wounded during General Banks retreat from Winchester. He was wounded by a gunshot - the ball passing through his thigh and near the hip joint. In his own words, the manner in which he received his wound, "was while defending the supply train, the Confederates charged upon us and then and there received my wound." He was taken prisoner and carried on a stretcher to the Union Hotel Hospital, at Winchester, there being treated the latter part of May and the first part of June, 1862. Edward was reported wounded and missing between Strausberg and Winchester, that record being made by the 1st Brigade, 1st division, Department of the Shenandoah, at Williamsport, Maryland, on May 30. In the latter part of June, 1862, Edward Bradshaw returned to Potter County, Pennsylvania, having been discharged at Washington D.C., a paroled prisoner of war.

In the spring of 1864, Edward moved with his family to Spencer Township, Kent County, Michigan, and settled near the village of Gowen. Probably a number of related families emigrated to Michigan during this period. Michigan, as a part of the Northwest Territory, had been thrown open to settlement somewhat prior to this time, but land was still available at almost no cost. Edward's brother Jerrod Bradshaw, as well as some members of the Peasley family also emigrated to the Gowen area. Edward and Hannah's last child, Lena E. Bradshaw, was born at Gowen on May 26, 1874.

The family remained in the Gowen area, farming for a living, until Edward's health began to fail. Then during the fall of 1898, Edward applied for admission for he and his wife to the Soldier's Home at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both were admitted to the home, his disability in being unable to continue farm work was given as chronic rheumatism and disease of the heart. Both were given pensions of $12.00 per month.

In late October 1905, both Edward and Hannah returned to live at Gowen Michigan, and after a short while moved to Belding, Michigan where they probably lived with their son and his family, Edgar and Estella (Bowen) Bradshaw. Their address at Belding was 115 West Liberty Street. There Edward died on November 14, 1910, at 78 years of age.

On March 11, 1911, Charles M. Peasley , was appointed Guardian for Hannah Bradshaw, and on December 30, 1912 she returned to the Soldier's Home at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her pension was raised to $30.00 per month. Hannah Bradshaw remained at the Home the rest of her life. She died there of Broncho Pneumonia, on January 22, 1927, at 89 years of age. Her nearest relative at that time was her daughter, Mrs. Lena Baird, 1013 S. Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Submitted by Linda B. Eppinger with permission from Gerald A. Cory

For Questions or info contact:
Gerald A. Cory
504 Walden
Falls Church, VA. 22046-2628



Bessie Bigler and Archie McKillop

submitted by Bea Jolly

When I started on this journey to trace my roots, I never thought it would be so interesting. First I must say a special thank you to my "Santa Claus" Jan Wheelock of Montcalm Co. (without her the journey would have been very difficult.). Also a thank you to Judy Schuster, Vonnie Thomas, and Ruth Bigler.

It started out because my cousin told me that not much was known about our family. She lives in Michigan, I live in Missouri now. When I was back home on a visit to her house last year, she and her husband took me up to visit my Grandmother Bessie's grave at Riverside Cemetery in Montcalm Co.. There was a large McKillop head stone next to her grave. I asked if that was our Grandfather Archie. She said no. All we knew of him was he died young of a burst Appendix when he was about 35. When I returned to Missouri, I decided I had to know "my family".

On the computer, I found this web site, thank goodness. I knew our family had come from Montcalm Co. I lived in Stanton with my Grandmother Bessie, her second Husband Grandpa Scotty, and Uncle Leland. We lived in the house across from the hotel in Stanton. It was such a happy time for me. I loved Stanton & still do, but for some reason never went back.

To get back to my journey, I posted a query on this web site asking for any information RE: Bessie Bigler and Archie McKillop who had lived near Langston on a farm in the early 1900's. I also sent a letter to all the Bigler's I could find with an address in Montcalm Co. Imagine my thrill and surprise when I received an e-mail a few weeks later from my "Santa Claus" Jan Wheelock. She checks the query board and tries to help people. She works in the library there once a week and does lookups out of the greatness of her heart. She sent me data RE: a census record that listed Grandma Bessie & Grandpa Archie. She also sent me data RE: my Great-Grandpa & Great-Grandma Duncan & Mary McKillop (which I didn't even know about). She also sent me data RE: Marriage, death, & cemetery records. From that data I found out the following:

My G-Grandpa Duncan was an immigrant from Canada whose parents had been born in Scotland. He was born in 1849 and immigrated to the USA in 1869, by 1870 he was in Montcalm Co., Michigan. He met my G-Grandma Mary originally from NY. They married and had 4 children, one of whom was my Grandpa Archie. Archie met & married my Grandma Bessie Bigler. (This for me is where the story gets interesting.) It turns out Bessie was a direct descendant of Elder William Brewster who came over on the Mayflower. My cousin had mentioned that she heard we had connections with a Mayflower family, but not how.

At the same time I received a letter from Ruth Bigler of Gowan, MI. She sent me a clipping from the Greenville Newspaper about an article on Hattie Bigler (my G-Grandma) getting killed by a train while crossing in a horse & cutter at Hale's Crossing. I wrote to the person whose byline appeared on the article. She in turn sent me more history on the Biglers showing that John Bigler married Deborah Brewster of the Mayflower line. All I could think of was "WOW" all this because I posted a query on the Montcalm Co. web site.

This is how Deborah Brewster Bigler came to be buried in the cemetery which is on the Montcalm Co. web site.

Elder William & Mary Brewster came to America on the Mayflower in 1620. They had Jonathan who married Lucretia Oldham who had Benjamin.
Benjamin married Anne Darte, they had William.
William married Patience, they had Ebenezer.
Ebenezer married Elizabeth DeWolf, they had Charles.
Charles married Keziah Owen, they had Eliphaz.
Eliphaz married ? Owens (first name never confirmed). They had Ezra.
Ezra married Hannah Shetler, they had Deborah Brewster, my GGGrandma.

All of the above has been verified by the Mayflower Society General #56,794.

Ezra Brewster was living and farming in Canada at the beginning of the War of 1812. The government of Canada gave him a choice, renounce his allegiance to the New US or leave Canada and his property. He chose to leave. He moved his family to N.Y. where Deborah was born. He then moved his family to Oakland Co., Michigan where Deborah met John Bigler (my GGGrandpa) and married. (John Bigler had been born in N.J. and had moved to MI.)

Deborah Brewster & John Bigler had 11 children of whom one was Barney Bigler (my GGrandfather), who married Sarah Mann in Montcalm Co. They had Valmer (my GGrandfather) who married Hattie Johnson (the one run over by the train). They had Bessie my Grandmother. Bessie married Archie McKillop and had my mother Thelma (who was deaf from a childhood illness). My mother married B. Shoup and had me.

After John Bigler died in Oakland Co., Michigan in 1861, Deborah moved to Montcalm Co. with her 4 youngest children. Some of her other children followed. 2 of her children are buried where she is, East Montcalm Cemetery on the Barney Bigler lot. 2 more are buried in Spencer Twp. in Kent Co, Michigan. 2 more are buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Montcalm Co. 1 is buried in Edmore Cemetery. Deborah & John Bigler had bought a farm North of Greenville while they were living in Oakland Co. The deed is at the Montcalm Co. seat. It appears from the record that their daughter Elizabeth Stern and her husband bought the farm from Deborah.

There are still a lot of Johnsons, Manns, Biglers, and Ellsworths living in and around Montcalm Co. The above names are all part of the Deborah Brewster Bigler line.

Bea Jolly


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