Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sedgwick W. Pettis, Civil War Veteran

Mrs. Pettis appears to be pregnant in this photo.
If that's the case, it was taken in late summer or fall of 1883.
(click to enlarge)

Sedgwick Warren Pettis is the second of four Civil War veterans I'm acknowledging this Memorial Day weekend. All four are grandchildren of William M. Pettis and his wife, Ruth Crandall, of Rhode Island (and later New York). Sedgwick was a cousin of my great-great grandfather, Darius J. Pettis (see yesterday's post).

Readers who would like to know more about the participation of Sedgwick's regiment (or any other regiment) in the war can find that information summarized at Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. If you don't know your ancestor's regiment, you may be able to learn that at the same website by searching first under your ancestor's name. (If at first you don't find your ancestor, try a different spelling. I found Darius J. Pettis listed as Darias J. Pettus.)

For more details about the specific battles a regiment fought in, you'll find the battles described at The Civil War.

Sedgwick's regiment, the 27th Infantry of Wisconsin, saw considerably more action than Darius'. As a result, his service had a dramatic impact on the rest of his life. Read about it in the article below, from Memorial and Biographical Record: Butler, Polk, Seward, York and Fillmore Counties (Chicago: Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1899), Part II: Compendium of Local Biography, p. 702-705. I was so pleased to find that this great Nebraska resource, and many more, have been made available online by the NEGenWeb Project.


SEDGWICK W. PETTIS, deceased.--It is an important public duty to honor and perpetuate, as far as is possible, the memory of an eminent citizen--one who by his blameless and honorable life reflects credit, not only upon his community, but also upon the county and state. In Mr. Pettis, who is now deceased, we find not only one of the highly respected citizens of York county, and one of its honored pioneers, but also a veteran of the Civil war, who devoted the opening years of his manhood to the defense of his country from the internal foes, and whose death resulted from his arduous service. His portrait is shown on another page.

He was born July 3, 1844, in Wyoming county, New York, a son of Zina H. and Amanda (Sedgwick) Pettis, also natives of the Empire state, where the mother passed away. In the latter part of the fifties the father removed to Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, and passed his last days upon a farm there. Our subject was about fourteen years of age when he accompanied his father to Wisconsin, having previously acquired the greater part of his education in the public schools of New York. In September, 1862, at the early age of eighteen years, he joined the boys in blue as a member of Company F, Twenty-seventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. His company was the second of the regiment to arrive at Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, where they were afterward mustered into the United States service, but were not ordered south until the 30th of the following March, going first to Columbus, Kentucky. From that time on Mr. Pettis was in active service until the close of the war, and while on the Camden expedition in Arkansas, April 10, 1864, he received a wound in the left leg, which at the time was not considered serious, but it so affected his nerves as to give him almost constant pain and finally caused his death December 27, 1894.

After the war Mr. Pettis returned to Wisconsin, and in that state married Miss Amanda Townsend, who was born in Monroe county, New York, January 29, 1845. In the spring of 1871 they came to York county, Nebraska, and for their homestead secured the northeast quarter of section 22*, Leroy township, at which time the present city of York contained but two frame houses and one sod shanty. They had one child at that time--Martin, then ten months old. Their first year here was spent in a dug-out and they experienced all the hardships and privations of pioneer life, their stock consisting of only one team, a cow and a pig, and their cash capital fifty cents on their arrival at their new home. Their neighbors were few and far between, but quite a number of other settlers arrived during the following summer and fall. Aided by his good wife, Mr. Pettis succeeded in making a good home and finally was able to surround his family with all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.

After coming to York county the wound he had received during the war began to give him a great deal of trouble, and for many years he suffered with the same. Hoping to get relief he underwent three surgical operations, first cutting out some of the nerves and then amputating the leg above the knee, but these only afforded temporary relief. About two years before his death it was thought best to amputate the leg the second time, and from that time on he was confined to his bed, a constant sufferer until relieved by death. Every thing that kind friends and a loving, devoted wife could do to relieve his suffering was done. He was a prominent member of the Grand Army Post at York, and he and his wife assisted in organizing the Methodist Episcopal church at that place, of which he was ever afterward a consistent and active member.

Mrs. Pettis, who is a most estimable lady, honored and respected by all who know her, still resides on the old homestead in Leroy township. She has two children--Eliza Hart, now a resident of Columbus, Nebraska, and Ruth, at home. Her parents were Hiram and Eliza (Baldwin) Townsend. The father died August 6, 1898, aged eighty-two years. The mother, now seventy-five years old, is a highly esteemed citizen of Sheboygan county, Wisconsin. The father was a native of Vermont, where his mother died, and later during his boyhood he removed to Monroe county, New York, where he was reared and educated. In 1841 he married Eliza Baldwin, a native of that county.

*Note: The 1889 Atlas of Plat Maps indicates T10N, R2W.


Sedgwick Pettis was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Post No. 32, York, Nebraska. He died December 27, 1894, and was buried in the Vernon (aka Pettis) Cemetery southeast of York.


Juliane's granddaughter said...

What genealogist could ask for a more detailed genealogy on an ancestor and to find it in a book was a great find indeed. You were very fortunate. So many clues to lead to other research! Great post.

T.K. said...

Don't you love reading those old local histories? The writing style is like a time machine.

Blog Archive


Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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