Monday, April 11, 2016

Military Monday - A different kind of summer soldier

While trying to find details of and explanation for the connection between my ancestor Amanda (Belknap) Garlinghouse and George Prescott, whose home she passed away in, I came across some very interesting information on two individuals - her sons Lacey (yes, his name was Lacey) and Mitchell Garlinghouse. I've had their names in my database for years, but haven't tried to dig up any dirt on them. That's one of the downsides of genealogy research - you only have so much time, and there are way more people in your tree than you could ever have time to research thoroughly. But now that I had a reason to research them, I'm glad I did.

Let's start with Lacey. As I mentioned previously, he married Elizabeth McCormick in 1856 in Wapello county, Iowa. They had at least four kids together - Henry, Edward, Viola, Josiah, and (possibly) Ida (see below). Henry was born in 1862, the same year Lacey enlisted in Company B of the 36 Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry to fight in the Civil War. From what I can tell, he spent the next three years in the military, transferring to the Veterans Reserve Corps in 1864, and serving there until he was mustered out in September, 1865 (a full five months after the Civil War officially ended). His next child was born in 1866, so I'm guessing after his discharge, Lacey and Elizabeth resumed their relationship right where it left off in 1862. Having already found a few other relatives who participated in the Civil War, this was really interesting because he didn't stay with the same unit the entire time like Alexander Shute did. Nor did he die early on in his service like Norton Johnson and George Craddock did. There really wasn't one universal set of experiences in this war (and I'd imagine that's the case for any war), but that idea never really hit home till I was reading about Lacey's service.

After reading about Lacey Garlinghouse's military experience, I started researching his younger brother, Mitchell Garlinghouse. Like Lacey, Mitchell also enlisted to serve in the Union army during the Civil War, but his enlistment occurred in February, 1864. I'm curious as to why he waited so long to enlist, but that's probably unknowable now. Regardless of the reason for his timing, he entered the service of his country on 25 February 1864, and was mustered into Company I of the 8th Regiment of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. Unlike his brother, however, his service ended five months and one day later at Fort Ripley, Minnesota. His enlistment record gives this little tidbit about the reason:

It looked to me like it said 'Dischd for disob. (while ab form Co.)'. I took that to mean he was discharged for disobedience while absent from company. Discharged for disobedience? What kind of disobedience gets you discharged? I've heard of being court-martialed or even executed for rulebreaking, depending on the severity of the infraction, but discharged? That was new. I kept digging around, searching on Fold3 and Google, until I found something in a book titled "Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars":

Now his discharge made much more sense; he wasn't released from service because of disobedience, it was because of disability. He got sick and stayed sick long enough to be let go. Sickness was rampant during the Civil War. Norton Johnson (also from Minnesota) and George Craddock (who served in Missouri) were both killed by sickness rather than bullets or cannonballs. At least Mitchell survived the war and was able to return home. Thus his stint at soldiery was limited to the spring and early summer of 1864.

Sadly, for Mitchell and Lacey, both of their stories ended just a few short years after their military service ended. Lacey's widow Elizabeth applied for a Civil War pension in 1901, and stated that Lacey had passed away 16 Feb 1871. I'm hoping that she misremembered the year, because the 1875 Minnesota census shows Elizabeth living with three children, Viola (6), Josiah (4) and Ida (1). If Lacey died in 1871, then there's no way he could have fathered Ida in 1874, and there's another mystery to solve.  Mitchell fared little better, having passed away before August 24, 1874, when his mother Amanda applied for a Civil War pension in his name. It's sad to think that whatever illness or other disability ended his military service in 1864 may have caused or contributed to his death within the next 10 years.

One thing is certain though - the military events that occurred during Amanda (Belknap) Garlinghouse's life had quite an impact on her family. Two of her three sons served in the Civil War. At least one son-in-law, Paul Groff, served in the Mexican-American War, having enlisted twice during that conflict. I wonder what she thought of the men of her children's generation having to go off to war again and again. It likely wasn't too different from what mothers, wives, and children feel today as we see our loved ones called to risk life and limb in the service of their country. It makes me proud and grateful to live in a country where men and women from all these generations have stood up time and time again to protect our country and our way of life, whether they served for one summer or many summers.


Jana Iverson Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

ironhide781 said...

Wow, thanks!!