The Civil War involved so many of our ancestors and most have left some “tracks” of their participation in the war;  Many of these tracks are now available to us from the National Archives and Records Administration as well as other sources.  In the case of Charles Warren Hartwell, we sent off to NARA and received two different files, one of compiled service records (13 pages) and the other of Pension Files (242 pages).  And after reading these files several times over we’re still not exactly clear on the activities of Charles Hartwell during the war years so we decided to post some of the more pertinent documents and let them speak for themselves.  All of these documents pertain to Charles W. Hartwell, Private, Company D, 4th MichiganCavalry.

Compiled Military Service Records for Charles:

Prisoner of War/Misc. Information  Card

Discharge from Company D., 4th Regiment of  Michigan Cavalry showing enrollment on 30 October, 1863, discharge on 21 July, 1865.  Personal description states that he was born in Linden (Lyndon) Vermont, was 28 years old, 5 ft., 11 inches high with light complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.  Occupation was given as “Mechanic.”

Individual Muster-out Roll dated in Detroit, MI, July 2, 1865, clothing and money advanced and owing, $71 plus a bounty of $25 was owing.  This document shows Charles was taken prisoner on April 10, 1865, paroled April 27, 1865.

Detachment Muster-out Roll dated Edgefield Tenn. August 15, 1865 with an account owing of $76.76 for clothing or money advanced and $25 Bounty paid.  This order was revoked.

Descriptive List of Deserters Arrested dated June 16, 1864 in Ohio.  Record 8/30 “says himself he was assigned same camp and Regiment.”

Muster and Descriptive Roll dated June 17, 1864 listing Charles W. Hartwell as a deserter.

Company Muster Roll for September and October 1864 shows Charles absent and on detached service at Provost Marshal, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Company Muster Roll for January and February 1865 shows Charles as present. March and April show him as absent.

Company Muster-out Roll dated Nashville, TN, July 1, 1865 “Recruit taken prisoner at Columbus, GA  April 16, 1865, Paroled at Columbus, GA April 25, 1865, a subsequent document lists Charles in  April, 1865 as absent, sick at Columbus GA. April 17, 1865.

Roll Rooms, Division A.G.O., dated January 19, 1882 is requesting information on Charles and states that Charles W. Hartwell was “Drafted in 2nd Dist and forwarded from Grand Rapids Mich, December 8, 1869, his whereabouts from that date to September or October ’64 and any record of desertion….. This man was sent from Michigan Draft December 8, 1863 to the 4th Mich Cavalry, Dept ….No officer’s report on file.  He deserted at Nashville, TN, (no date given) arrested May 28, 1864 2nd Dist Michigan and sent to Detroit Mil Post 1.1 18… $30 allowed.  Again arrested June 13, 1864, 10 Dist Ohio as a deserter December, 1863 Kalamazoo, Mich and sent to Columbus, Ohio, June 7, 1864 to Regiment via Cincinnati O. same day, $30 reward allowed.  Delivered at Mil. Post Cincinnati O to Capt McCleery expenses of transfer $5.64.”

Discharge papers dated July 21, 1865 at Detroit, MI. for Charles describe him as 28 years of age, 5 ft 11 inches high, light complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and a mechanic* by occupation.

*Described as a laborer.


These documents were all hand written and so, in some cases a bit difficult to read, but hopefully I’ve gotten the pertinent information correctly transcribed.  In any case these records seem to paint a picture of Charles Hartwell’s military record as unsatisfactory.

The next post will contain several excerpts from Pension Record Affidavits filed after the War.


SOURCES: NATF 86 Compiled Military Service Record for Charles W. Hartwell

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 20, 2011.  All Rights Reserved


The Hartwells filed Homestead application on October 16, 1871 and started working the land to “prove it up” as the saying went. Charles paid the sum of eighteen dollars to start the homestead process.

One of the first things the settler must do build is a house… the Hartwell’s house was described as “of logs, story & half, board floor & shingle roof.  One door & one window.” Improvements to the property were described: “20 Rasberry (sic) bushes and 5000 Strawberry plants.”

This description was given on September 18, 1875 by Calista Hartwell, widow of Charles W. Hartwell.  But wait!  A widow?  No…according to Grace Hooper’s “Pioneer Notes”, Charles left the family shortly after their arrival at South Arm in 1870.  And it’s documented that Charles married Susan Winkworth August 2, 1874. Here’s the text from “Pioneer Notes” as written:

“In 1870 a boat drew in to the dock at the end of South Arm bringing Charles and Calista Hartwell and two children to land.  They had taken up a soldier’s homestead nine miles south and west in Antrim County.  In a short time, Mr. Hartwell left home and soon married another woman.  Shocked and grieved, Mrs. Hartwell was confronted with the necessity of providing a living for her children, but she was a plucky woman and had a fair education so rose to meet the occasion.  She worked at dressmaking and millinery and was appointed postmistress at South Arm and carried on for three years.  Learning that she could prove up the homestead, she undertook the project and received the deed in her own name.  It was required that she occupy the land a certain number of days each month, so she walked seven miles to the Kinney’s and they went with her ahead to break a trail through the deep snow.  The women followed, each carrying necessary things…….she had made her way alone for eight years.”

Homestead application dated October 16, 1871, signed by Charles Hartwell.


Final papers granting the homestead to Calista Hartwell, dated January 20, 1876.


Plat of Echo Twp, Hartwell homestead highlighted and named “W.H. McAllister.”  Calista married Wilson McAllister subsequent to receiving the homestead.


SOURCES: “Pioneer Notes” by Grace Hooper, Fen’s Rim Publications, Elk Rapids, Michigan, 1993

NARA Form 86 Military Service Record for Charles Warren Hartwell

NARA Form 85A Full Pension File #324743 for Charles Warren Hartwell

Which was he….scoundrel or victim?   That’s the question that surfaces as one reads Charles Hartwell’s pension file.

First let me say that the file contained 242 documents and probably more than 3/4 of were applications for pension increases, letters begging the government to increase his pension, and affidavits or letters of support or disagreement.  The remaining documents were administrative orders, summaries of his case, acceptance and rejection letters, and other miscellany.

Charles applied for his invalid pension stating that he suffered from sciatic rheumatism and a shell wound under his left eye, both of these conditions resulting from his military service.  He was granted a pension for service of one year, seven months and 29 days. The first payment on July 22, 1865 was $2, his monthly allotment.

Here are some excerpts from the file:

Basis of Claim: “Alleges in declaration file December 5, 1879, that he received a shell wound of left eye at Selma, Ala, April 2, 1865. That he contracted rheumatism at Montgomery, Ala., April 13, 1865.” This from a document approving a special investigation and reopening the claim.

“Approved for rejection on the ground that there is no record of the alleged shell wound of head or rheumatism and claimant having declared his inability to prove their incurrence in the service.  Dated Nov 28, 1882.”

October 16, 1884 Charles wrote the following letter,  original spelling and punctuation retained:

“To the Department of the interior

Sir I herby state under oath to the best of my knolage of the request you ask of me.  First for three years before I inlisted  I lived in East Haven an Island Pond Vt. my native home and worked at carpenter work that has ben my ocupation through life  since I came out of the army I have lived in township of Hersey Oceola Co Mich and was treated by Dr. Wood I lived at Croton Newaygo Co Mich and was treated by Dr. Trask & Dr. Cory at Martin Hurts House then I moved to Hersey and six years last april I come to Victory where I now live I have ben treated hear by Dr. McConal of Ludington I have never recieved eny reilief from a Doctor for an I consulted verious Doctors an they all tell me that the sciatica canot be cured so I used Patent medisons.

The firs atack of my discease I think about the midle of April 1865 it lasted while the frost was don in the spring and it comenced in the fall when the first frost comes some seasons it is harder then others some of the time for 2 or 3 weeks I cant lay down nor sit Down an some of  the time they give up all hopes of my living threw spill through this I can prove by my neighbors I have never had eney acute Discus I have performed manual laibor for that is all that surports my family but nevr have I don a days work without more or less pain I canot chop my fire wood at eney time I can work through the months of June July August an September very well I have a small farm of 4 acres and poor house to live in an seven in my family to surport an I help to surport – the consitution of the united states. Now will the united states help to surport me an mine as it has promised to do if not Burn this.  (signed) C.W. Hartwell Victory, Mich.”

In 1887, 1888 and 1889 Charles filed for an increase of an invalid pension but had difficulty locating officers who could corroborate his statements.  According to one statement by of the circuit court “he has made diligent efferts sic) to ascertain the whereabouts of …officers or two comrades who were present when he contracted his disability, but without avail.  He requests that the hospital records be accepted to show that said disabilities were contracted in service and in the line of duty.” The file does contain some records of Charles time in the hospital, but doctors who he claimed treated him over the years didn’t remember him except for one who states he was never paid for his services.

There are numerous other letters in file, one from James Peale who was investigating the claim.  He talked with Cyrus Luce, governor, who stated he’d known Charles Hartwell and described him as “a sort of Jack of all Trades…. who when he wanted to could do a good days work, but had formed a bad moral character in the neighborhood and after the war had led a vagrant sort of life.”

Dr. McConnell examined Charles and stated “I find a flesh wound trivial…there are no physical signs of rheumatism and claimant appears to be healthy and robust…..”

John Arnold’s deposition included the information “he came back (from the war) in uniform and lay around for quite a while, he, I think claimed to be on furlough, and my impression is that David M…. who was Provost Marshal at Coldwater came out and arrested him and took him off….”

Note:  Part II of The Life and Times of Charles Warren Hartwell includes military muster roll information about his service as well as his record of  desertion.

Despite the above troubles Charles had with military service he was granted an honorable discharge. His last pension payment increase was granted June 10 of 1918 increasing it to $38 per month. Charles died November 5, 1919.

I started this post asking whether Charles Hartwell was a victim or a scoundrel.  If he had sciatica there’s no doubt he’d have times of major pain and be unable to work.  However the overwhelming amount of data in his pension file points one in the direction of scoundrel. Maybe he was both, hurting and disabled, but working the system to get the most out of his questionable injuries.


SOURCE: Form 85A Full Pension File #324743 for Charles Warren Hartwell


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 25, 2011, All Rights Reserved

Charles Hartwell left Calista some time after they filed for a homestead in 1871.   According to one source Charles ran off with a young girl; yet Calista’s homestead papers state that she was a widow and that Charles had died May 1, 1874.

On August 2, 1874 Charles married Susan N. Winkworth in Hersey, Michigan.  Charles and Susan had five children:

Albertus N. Hartwell, born December 24, 1876, married (1) Alice Barnes 1 January, 1902, married (2) Mary Bartels June 27, 1925

Quincey Hartwell, born August 10, 1882.  Died prior to 1919.

Charlotte E. (Lottie) Hartwell, born October 6, 1885, married Buell Shelley January 6, 1905

George W. Hartwell, born February 22, 1888, married Pearl Williams July 1, 1909, died in August, 1969

William H. Hartwell, born April 23, 1891; married Una Mabel Bonn 6 December, 1913, died in October, 1977

In addition to these children, Charles had fathered two children with Calista: Isabella, born about 1858 and George N.  born in May, 1861.  George N. Hartwell is my husband’s GGrandfather; his story will be told in another post.

Susan (Winkworth) Hartwell died October 3, 1907, Charles Warren Hartwell died November 5, 1919.



NARA Form 85A Full pension file for Charles Warren Hartwell

Family Search Labs, Michigan Marriages 1868-1925, Michigan Marriages 1822-1995, Michigan Births and Christenings, 1775-1995

U.S. Social Security Death Index

Please feel free to contact me for additional information: susaned@me.com


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington February 25, 2011, All Rights Reserved

This obituary was generously shared by Dale H. Leach, descendant of Sylvester Leach. Many thanks to you, Dale!

Obituary Mary E. Bunn (1847-1909)

Mrs. Sylvester Leach Settled With Hus-
band in Arbela – Died Last Week
Central Arbela, June 30–When the
country about Arbela center was new,
Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Leach settled
one mile south of the center of the
township and lived there in peace and
happiness until Wednesday, June 23,
when the wife and mother was called
to her home.
Mary E. Bunn was born in Pennsyl-
vania, but early in life moved to Ohio
where she was married. Four children
came to bless the union. Walter and
William now live in Ohio; Louisa
of St. Charles and Myrtle of Arbela.
She had been afflicted with cancer
and had been a sufferer several months.
She was a member of the M.E. church
of Arbela and of the Grange; was a
kind loving wife and mother, good
neighbor and friend. She will be great-
ly missed in the circle in which she was
an active figure and husband and chil-
dren have the sympathy of all. Her
last words were “I am going home.”
She was 62 years and 10 months old
and the funeral services in the church
conducted by her pastor, were largely
attended and the floral offerings were
many and beautiful. Burial was in
Pine Grove cemetery.
Source: The Tuscola County Advertiser Newspaper – July 2nd, 1909 – p. 6 (microfilm copy) Obituary of Mary E. Bunn (1847-1909)

Records of Dale H. Leach, 21 October, 2010

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls WA, November 12, 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Anniversary Picture

This picture was taken in 1908 at a 35th wedding anniversary party for Enard and Artie Leach… isn’t it wonderful?  Many, many thanks to Dale Leach for making this photo available and for identifying many of the people.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls WA, 11/12/2010, All Rights Reserved

Herbert Loyal EDMINSTER
b. 21 Apr 1861, Henry County, Illinois
& Adele McCullough
b. 16 Apr 1863, New York
m. abt 1879
|    Reuben Walter EDMINSTER
|      b. 11 Dec 1880, Glenwood, Kansas
|      d. 9 Dec 1963, Tacoma, Washington
|    & Anna Marie NEUST
|      b. 7 Jan 1884, Akron, Ohio
|      d. 24 May 1958, Tacoma, Washington
|      m. 6 Aug 1901, Akron, Ohio
|    |    Lillian Della Marie EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 20 Mar 1902, Akron, Ohio
|    |      d. 6 Sep 1978, Tacoma, Washington
|    |    & James Gordon Donnally
|    |    George Shelby EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 5 Apr 1904, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 7 Jul 1990, Olympia, Washington
|    |    & Beatrice Ruth SHERMAN
|    |      b. 4 Jun 1907, Rexton Mackinac, Michigan
|    |      d. 29 Nov 1933, Olympia, Washington
|    |      m. 21 Dec 1923, Helena, Montana
|    |    George Shelby EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 5 Apr 1904, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 7 Jul 1990, Olympia, Washington
|    |    & Geraldine Eels
|    |      b. 4 Mar 1914, Olympia, WA
|    |      d. 15 Feb 1941
|    |    George Shelby EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 5 Apr 1904, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 7 Jul 1990, Olympia, Washington
|    |    & Evelyn Virginia Gribble
|    |      b. 4 Dec 1909, Seattle, WA
|    |      d. 5 Mar 1947
|    |    George Shelby EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 5 Apr 1904, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 7 Jul 1990, Olympia, Washington
|    |    & Nena Aletha (Jones) Stoehr
|    |      b. 10 Jun 1914, Neodeshaw, Kansas
|    |    Mildred Hattie EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 20 Mar 1906, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 4 Jul 1979, Soap Lake, Washington
|    |    & J.M. Doggett
|    |    Mildred Hattie EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 20 Mar 1906, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 4 Jul 1979, Soap Lake, Washington
|    |    & D.O. Hallock
|    |    Mildred Hattie EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 20 Mar 1906, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 4 Jul 1979, Soap Lake, Washington
|    |    & Eddie Graham
|    |    Mildred Hattie EDMINSTER*
|    |      b. 20 Mar 1906, Tarbelo, Kansas
|    |      d. 4 Jul 1979, Soap Lake, Washington
|    |    & Sam E. Woody
|    |    Florence Louretta EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 9 Feb 1909, Basehor, Kansas
|    |      d. 18 May 1998, Helena, Montana
|    |    Clyde Dale EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 8 Dec 1914, Basehor, Kansas
|    |      d. 27 Sep 2003, Rainier, Washington
|    |    & Beatrice Lanor Cozinie
|    |    Esther Ellenor EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 11 Jul 1917, Townsend, Montana
|    |      d. 30 Apr 2003, Tacoma, Washington
|    |    & Robert Luther Beador
|    |    Louis Leroy EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 8 May 1919, Townsend, Montana
|    |    & Dorothy Mae Grobey
|    |      b. 28 Nov 1925, Seattle, WA
|    |    Opal Alhelda EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 20 Jan 1923, Townsend, Montana
|    |    & Erhart Christian Ellwein
|    |      b. 9 Aug 1911
|    |    Reuben Walter EDMINSTER
|    |      b. 18 Mar 1925, St. Regis, Montana
|    |      d. 19 Jul 2006, Tacoma, Washington
|    |    & Mary Louise Burleson
|    |      b. 15 Apr 1925, Tacoma, Washington
|    George Clarence EDMINSTER
|    Hattie Belle EDMINSTER
|      b. 1 Oct 1882, Leavenworth County, Kansas
|      d. 5 Jul 1948
|    & Lewis William Koch
|      b. 2 May 1881, Tazewell County Illinois
|      d. 3 Mar 1963
|    |    Kenneth Harold Koch
|    |      b. 28 Oct 1904
|    |      d. 26 Nov 1904
|    |    Dale Edminster Koch
|    |      b. 3 Oct 1908, Tonganoxie, Kansas
|    |    & Esther Leona Franklin
|    |      b. 29 Aug 1912, Kansas City Kansas
|    |    Helen Louise Koch
|    |      b. 16 Dec 1910, Tonganoxie, Kansas