Elijah and Priscilla, Part 3

Part 3 continues the file on Elijah Harris Crabtree from Cal Bivens.

By 1860 the family was settled in a pretty compact area, clustered in Virgil Township, Kane County, Illinois. They were roughly 40-45 miles west of Chicago.

Arnold and Rachel Crabtree lived near his sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Edmund H. Wallace.

Richard and Mary Crabtree lived a ways away from them. Elijah seems to have already been established in the “shanty” on Milt Thornton’s land.

George Giggy and William Crabtree were close neighbors near Elijah and Milt Thornton. Farther down the road lived the Fillmores and the Reads.

I want to back up a bit to Milt Thornton. This is because he seems to have been a good friend of the family. Milton Thornton arrived in Kane County in May 1837, at a time when the cabins of the settlers were few and far between. He was a native of New Hampshire, born in Grafton County, October 20, 1809. His father, William Thornton, was also a native of New Hampshire and a direct descendant of Matthew Thornton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His wife was Polly Bagley, a daughter of Winthrop Bagley, a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Milton Thornton was mostly self-educated, his knowledge was of a practical nature acquired in adulthood. He came west by way of the New York and Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, to Chicago, and crossed the Fox River at Geneva May 24, 1837. He at once took up a claim in the town of Virgil, Kane County, comprised of 275 acres, on which he built a house, and began its improvement.

In his early life, Mr. Thornton was an old-line Whig, and cast his first presidential vote for Henry Clay in 1832. Being a strong anti-slavery man, and a believer in equal rights for all, he voted for John C. Fremont, in 1856, and afterword became a staunch Republican.

At the time the Crabtrees knew him, Milt was married to his second wife, Paulina Bunker. At various times he served as township supervisor, justice of the peace, and road commissioner.

For The Civil War click
Civil War came to the country in the spring of 1861. Elijah and Priscilla’s son-in-law Leonard Gill enlisted as a private in Company I, 1st Maine Infantry Regiment for 3 months service in 1861. When that term expired he enlisted for three years or the war in Company F, 13th Maine Infantry at Portland, Maine. Len enlisted the second time on October 24, 1861 and mustered in the following December.

John Crabtree, Elijah’s youngest son, enlisted on July 16, 1861 at Chicago, Illinois as a Recruit - in Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th U.S. Infantry (Regular Army).

Elijah’s nephew, James Beecham enlisted in Company A, 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry in August 1861.

Another nephew, Arnold B. Wallace and his future brother-in-law, David H. Fillmore enlisted in Company A, 8th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry in September 1861.

Family friend Edward Higginson enlisted as a Private in Company A, 23rd Illinois Infantry in January 1862.

Another nephew, Garrett Beecham enlisted in Company K, 67th Illinois Infantry in June of 1862.

Another nephew, James Crabtree enlisted in Company A, 10th Michigan Cavalry at Grand Rapids, Michigan in October of 1864.

Other friends and acquaintances, and perhaps a few more relatives, also went off to fight in the war.

On December 31, 1862 John was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Stone’s River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On January 3, 1863, en-route to the hospital (probably at Nashville) he died of his wounds. John had been at Shiloh and the tough campaigns that followed. His loss was a severe blow to the family at home.
On April 9, 1864 Leonard Gill was killed in action by a musket ball in the chest. He died at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana during the Red River Campaign. The family stories say that his body was shipped home and that seems to be supported by a death record for him in Portland, Maine.

Edward Higginson was wounded at Maryland Heights, July 7, 1864. He was struck in the left arm and leg by minié balls, and spent the last year of the war in various hospitals from Frederick, Maryland to Philadelphia. He had only very limited use of the limbs afterward.

David Fillmore, by the summer of 1863 a Quartermaster Sergeant, was wounded on July 6, 1863.

Last Statements Military
The Final Statement of the paymaster, Maj. Whitney, in 1864, noted that Pvt. John Crabtree was last paid to June 30, 1862 and pay was due to him from that date to the time of his death – six months. He was also due $100 of an enlistment bounty and $50 due on his clothing allowance.

He acknowledged the death of John based on verbal information received February 21, 1864 from enlisted men certifying that he died on or about January 3, 1863 from wounds received at the Battle of Stone’s River, Tennessee on December 31, 1862.

In response for information from the pension office other documentation was obtained to verify that the subject was deceased. He was on the list of wounded and killed for the 14th Corps after the Battle of Stone’s River. The records indicated that he had been “wounded in the leg.”

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