Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Genealogist Brother Wrote This

Geo. A. Young, PVT, 1st Wisconsin Volunteers

Amazing story here about this man who happens to be my great-grandfather. Notice that I use the present tense because, in 1938, he became my great-grand-dad. Even if he had been deceased for over twenty-five years, genealogically speaking, his status shall remain as such for eternity.

Upon my wall, which is known in our household as "TheWall," hangs a rusty-looking old document dated 1865, stating that George A. Young, born in Compton, Canada was discharged at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

As far as I know, he was born in Compton, Quebec, Canada, only because I have yet to find any other Compton in Canada that close to the border. His mom, Mary Starkweather was an issue of a Vermont family, hence Compton looks fairly good. However, what was a pregnant Mary doing in Quebec when her home was in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont?

From the family history, told to me by my aunt Emma and her sister, Nellie my grandmother, and my mother, the family had traveled across country in a covered wagon. I must say here that the term "family history" actually means history passed down by word of mouth, or by scraps of paper saved in the family bible -- and if Aunt Emma had not been 93 years old when she related this valuable information, it might have been credible. However somehow they made it to Wisconsin. The name Young has been associated with a fellow named Brigham, but of which again this is only another one of the family hand-me-downs. At Beaver Island there were, at that time, some Mormons established and were farming. Was Barney Young, George’s father, a part of these settlers? Dunno.

George enlisted at Beaver Dam and became a soldier in the 1st Wisconsin Volunteers. On a trip out west, I happened to stop at the Civil War Museum in Madison and found him there in the records; for a meager six bucks, I got a printout of all the skirmishes and battles in which his company participated, the Co. K. What a find!

Finally, in 1865, he was discharged at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and in 1867 he became an American citizen.

It was told to me that he traveled by train (possibly a “side-door Pullman”), to Philadelphia and then to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he was put up with an aunt. It was there that he met and married Fanny Ann Marsh, whom I recollect vaguely. When I was born, we lived in his cottage at 10 Van Ave., Myrtle Beach, Milford, Connecticut.

Such a traveler as he was, I would love to spend some time with him and have him tell me stories of his life, sort of like I would be there, wide-mouthed in awe while he tells me the trip to Wisconsin, his family, his time in the army and his ride to Bridgeport. I think I’d like that.


Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...


Nice piece about George. Y’know I have a Jeremiah Vail (not Jerry Vale) way back in my family’s earliest experience outside of Norfolk, England. Knowing the Vail family as I do, Jeremiah probably departed from his homeland to exercise his rights of free expression of his religious beliefs. He was a blacksmith by trade and set up shop in Salem, Massachusetts ca.1639 and probably wrought some iron there in Salem, married and was later offered a job working a farm for none other than THE Lion Gardiner on Gardiner’s Island which is conveniently located offshore from a place called Oyster Ponds back then and Orient, Long Island, New York today. Back then Long Island belonged to Connecticut if I am not mistaken.

In a nutshell, Jeremiah ancestored a series of Jeremiah Vails, and one in particular a sea captain, was on speaking terms with Edward Teach aka Blackbeard whom he had met in North Carolina.

My grandfather Vail was a very exact and meticulous person and the best way to describe just exactly he was exact was that for fifty-two years as he left his place of work, he would strike match on the same brick to light his pipe

April 21, 2006 9:35 AM  

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