Sunday, April 28, 2024

2024 Prompt - War - Jacob Wilcox

Civil War Flag - First Michigan Cavalry

Nancy Ann Simmons

    Josephine Blanche Martin

        Edward Jacob Martin

            Nina Wilcox

                Jacob Wilcox – 1834-1901

                my great-great-grandfather


Jacob Wilcox, my great-great-grandfather
23 Feb 1834 - 23 Jun1901

I honor my 2nd great-grandfather, Jacob Wilcox. He served in the Michigan 1st Cavalry during the Civil War. I have several documents of his Civil War service including 36 years of evidence to request pension benefits. I am proud to have in my possession his Grand Army of the Republic medal. The GAR was an organization of Civil War veterans. Jacob belonged to the Dundee Chapter of the GAR until he died in 1901.


Jacob's Grand Army of the Republic Medal

Jacob was born on February 23, 1834, in Onondaga County, New York. Jacob’s ancestry is a mystery. My first record of his existence is the 1850 federal census where he is listed as living with Oliver Frink’s family as a laborer. The next record I have is his July 5, 1862, marriage record to Margaret Smith in Dundee, Michigan. But the mystery is about his parentage. His death certificate states his father as Isaac Wilcox. But I have not found this Isaac Wilcox yet.


Marriage Certificate of Jacob Wilcox & Margaret Smith
5 July 1861 in Dundee, Michigan

Jacob Wilcox & Margaret (Smith) Wilcox
picture taken shortly after their marriage

Jacob enlisted on Aug 24, 1864, and was 29 years old when he left his wife and a one-year-old son in Dundee, Michigan, and marched off to war. He joined the 1st Michigan Cavalry Co. E and the regiment mustered in Jackson, Michigan, in September 1864 where he waited for orders.


Jacob Wilcox Muster Enrollment
27 August 1864

Margaret and son Hubbard Wilcox
picture taken summer of 1864 as Jacob leaves to go to war

By October 1864 the 1st Michigan Cavalry was involved in the Battle of Cedar Creek in north-western Virginia commanded by Union Major General Philip Sheridan. The battle was fought on October 19 and that was the day Jacob was injured. Jacob suffered a gunshot wound to the left scapula. The ball passed through the center of the bone and emerged an inch to the left of the spinal column. The use of his left arm was slightly impaired. He was transferred to a military hospital in Cumberland, Maryland where he spent the next 5-6 months.


Diagram from Jacob Wilcox's Pension Papers


Jacob was honorably discharged on May 30, 1865, and returned home to Dundee where he applied for an Invalid Pension on September 5, 1865. His pension request was approved, and he received $2.00 a month. Due to the government’s fear of fraudulent claims, Jacob had to be examined by a surgeon every three years and request affidavits from community members to support his claim. All these physicals and affidavits are included in his pension records that I obtained from the National Archives.

Jacob Wilcox's Pension papers
Date of injury at Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia
Date of Discharge 

Jacob not only suffered from the effects of the gunshot wound but also suffered from the conditions and diseases the soldiers acquired while being hospitalized for months. In Jacob’s physicals, he continually complains of weakness and the inability to work as a carpenter as he did before the war. He also suffered from rheumatism, asthma, and throat ailments. Due to the lobbying efforts of the GAR, military pension benefits continued to increase and in 1890 all veterans regardless of injury or illness were able to apply for a pension. Jacob received $4.00 a month by 1880, $10.00 by 1888, and a huge sum of $12.00 a month by 1890.


Jacob Wilcox Michigan Death Certificate
Date of Death 23 June 1901

In 1894 at the age of 50 Jacob requested an increase in pension benefits and was rejected. He began to have heart problems and died at the age of 67 on June 23, 1901. His death certificate stated he died from hemorrhage of the brain and heart complications.


Jacob Wilcox Obituary Notice 
Published in the Monroe Evening News 4 July 1901

His obituary from the Monroe Democrat on July 4, 1901, states that Jacob was stricken with paralysis a short time before his death and leaves three sons and three daughters. Jacob sacrificed like so many of our military veterans and I am deeply proud of my great-great-grandfather, Jacob Wilcox.



Jacob & Margaret Wilcox Family 
Margaret is in the center sitting in a chair with Jacob behind her
Their six children and five grandchildren
picture was taken about 1899

 Read about Michigan's Save the Flag Project

 Michigan's Save the Flag Project


The Michigan Capital Battle Flag Collection

 Michigan Capital Battle Flag Collection






No comments:

Post a Comment