This isn’t the post I would like to write about Truman Weaver.
Earlier this month, I put the spotlight on Gertrude Weaver. Today I’d like to shine it on her grandfather, my 4th-great-grandfather. For the longest time, he was a brick wall in my tree, and even now I have questions.
Truman Weaver married Mary Ann Vanorsdale, likely in Pennsylvania around 1845, estimating from the birth of their first (known) child the following year. It’s the births of their children that shape my limited timeline of their life together. With their fathers and other relatives, they removed to Trumbull county, Ohio around 1847 (because their second son was born there), and in 1855, they made an entry of land in Tuscola county, Michigan. Their sixth known child was born in the state that year, too.
Truman and Mary Ann’s ninth and last child, Milo Gardiner Weaver, was born in September 1860, some months after the census taker came by. It took quite a search to connect Milo to his father; they were never enumerated together.
Truman enlisted with the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics (Company F) on October 1, 1861. Just about a year after the official start of the Civil War, he died in Nashville, Tennessee. In contrast to the rough sketch of his years of family life, I know a fair amount about his last weeks. Mark Hoffman’s history, “My Brave Mechanics”: The First Michigan Engineers and Their Civil War, contains revealing details, such as the fact that Companies D, F, and G made the most difficult marches of the entire regiment in the early part 1862, and that sleeping on wet and frozen ground undoubtedly contributed to rapidly deteriorating health of the men. By the end of January, 1862, half of the men in Company F were laid up or in the hospital. (Hoffman, 53)
The regiment received orders to march to Louisville on February 23, 1861. They covered 46 miles in two days, and then Companies D, F, and G slept on the steamer Argonaunt. The Argonaunt left Louisville the next day and arrived in Nashville on March 4. And then… “When the regiment left the Nashville area in early April, at least 200 sick men were left behind…” (Hoffman, 52)
Truman Weaver died April 15, 1862. He was one of the two hundred abandoned.
He was interred at the Nashville National Cemetery, grave mark number A.3906. However, there is also a stone for him and his wife (which also includes his son Benjamin and wife) in the Cochranton Cemetery in Crawford county, Pennsylvania—where his family landed after he was gone. It seems likely to me that his older sons made this decision as a tribute to their father since Mary Ann had remarried. It’s bitter, though. Truman Weaver was not forgotten, but he left too soon for his youngest son. Milo had nothing to remember.
The post I wanted to write about Truman Weaver should include more particulars than rough dates and places. It would feature clues about his personality and relationships, and it would be more about the story of his life than the circumstances of his death. Nonetheless, on Memorial Day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is my tribute to his.