Sunday, January 09, 2005

Another Civil War Ancestor?

I've been looking at the Civil War rosters for Wisconsin recently and am beginning to wonder if perhaps I have more than one great great grandfather who fought in the war. My great grandfather, William Lubach, was married to a woman whose maiden name was Johannah Boettcher. Those who have visited my webpage will know that they are both buried in a small cemetery in Tilden township near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and it is fairly clear that Hannah was the daughter of August and Henrietta Boettcher. August was born in 1835 and died in 1898, which would mean that he was thirty in 1865. Civil War rosters for Wisconsin show only six men named Boettcher enrolled in Wisconsin regiments during the war and only one named August Boettcher, who served in Company B of the 45th Wisconsin. He listed his home in October, 1864, as Mosel, Wisconsin, which is a small suburb on the shore of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan County. Is it the same August Boettcher? The name Boettcher is a German word that essentially means 'barrel maker' and the English equivalent would be something like Cooper which also means barrel maker, so it's a very common German name. The earliest confirmed record I have of any of my Boettchers is Hannah's marriage to my great grandfather, but it stands to reason that the daughter of a veteran would have married someone whose father had also fought in the war, rather than, for instance, a newly arrived immigrant just off of the dock. I'm thinking it's a good bet and one I should be able to confirm fairly easily once I've found someone who will search census records for me in that part of Sheboygan County. If the names and ages of the spouse and children correspond with those in the Tilden graveyard, the evidence would be pretty incontrovertible. Another Boettcher named Charles also served with the 45th as a commissioned Commisary Sergeant. Could he have been August's brother? Nearly 90,000 men were enlisted in Wisconsin during the war, only six were named Boettcher and these two served in the same unit. Looks like a distinct possibility to me. The 45th was formed at the beginning of 1865 and the men of the 45th only served for the first six months of that year. They were assigned to guard duty in Nashville. More than half of the men in Company B were listed as having been drafted into service and as such were not volunteers, although August Boettcher was listed as a volunteer..


Dr. Forbush said...

It's quite interesting investigating your family history. I know, because when I discovered that one of my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War I was excited.

However, I haven't found any proof that any of my ancestors fought in the Civil War.

Craig said...

Thanks for your comment, Doc. I have a Revolutionary War ancestor too, on my mother's side, also a German, one of about 120 young men on a ship who came across during the French and Indian War. The family tree was researched originally in 1909 and updated in the 1960s. My Steele branch of the family lived in Pennsylvania and Ohio until 1861, when they settled in South Bend, Indiana, the same year that the Studebaker brothers got a contract to make wagons there for the Union army. The Steele's were related to the Studebakers by a marriage in Pennsylvania in 1811.