Posted tagged ‘Ezra A. Patterson’

One Injured After Car Collides with Civil War Soldier

November 19, 2010

Another view of the accident

This morning, a car crashed through the recently renovated fence of the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York, and collided with the headstone of Joseph Bartlett, a Civil War veteran who served with the 81st New York Infantry.  Joseph Bartlett passed away one hundred twenty nine years ago, so he is probably not too upset by the collision.  According to newspaper reports, the man behind the wheel of the car may have had a medical emergency which contributed to the accident.  He was taken to a local hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.  

Pioneer Burying Ground Crash Site 11/19/10. Joseph Bartlett's base in the foreground, with headstone about 15 feet north of the base.

This event gives me the opportunity to illuminate Joseph Bartlett, a soldier who has kept a low profile even as I have illuminated two of the other Civil War soldiers buried at Pioneer Burying Ground – Thomas Wood and Ezra A. Patterson, both of the 108th NY Infantry.

Little is known of Joseph Bartlett’s early life.  He appears to have been born in Oneida County, New York, about 1840.  According to the New York State Archives, Joseph stood 5′ 11″ tall, with hazel eyes and brown hair.  His complexion was fair.  We do know that Joseph mustered into the 81st NY Infantry on October 6, 1861 as a Private and moved quickly through the ranks.  In February, 1862, he was promoted to Corporal.  A promotion to Sergeant followed in September of that year.

The men of the 81st NY Infantry proved themselves on the battlefields at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines.  They fought at Malvern Hill and were present at the siege of Charleston in 1863.  New Year’s Day, 1864, dawned bright and cold.  On that day, Joseph Bartlett re-enlisted with the 81st NY Infantry.  Six months later, at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, Sergeant Joseph Bartlett of Co. I, was wounded in the leg and arm.

Joseph returned to his regiment after recuperating from his wounds.  He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant with Co. F in June, 1865.  After transferring to Co. A, Joseph was commissioned a Captain before mustering out on August 31, 1865. 

Joseph Bartlett's headstone pre-crash

I have not been able to ascertain how Joseph ended up in Pittsford, New York.  His cause of death at the age of 40 is also unknown.  However he ended up at the Pioneer Burying Ground, Joseph took his place as the third Civil War veteran to permanently reside there.  He was predeceased by George P. Walters and Ezra A. Tillotson.  Thomas Wood joined the trio much later, in 1923.

It will take quite some time to assess the damage to the headstones, although it is clear the damage done to some of these older headstones is irreparable.

Hero Highlight – Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

October 26, 2009

Antietam.  What came to be known as the bloodiest day of battle in American history also happened to be the first engagement in which the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry participated.  This was to be the only battle for Ezra A. Patterson of Pittsford, New York, for Ezra did not survive to fight another day.

Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

Ezra A. Patterson was born in July, 1841 to Aaron B. and Jane Ann Hecox Patterson.  While Aaron farmed their land in Pittsford, Jane Ann cared for Ezra and his brother, Mortimer, who was born in 1847.  A daughter, Alice, would be born in 1852.  However, Jane Ann did not live long enough to see her children to adulthood.  She died in 1853 at age 35 and was laid to rest at the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford.  After Jane’s death, Aaron Patterson married her sister, Harriet Hecox.

By 1860, Ezra could be found in Marion, New York working for Marvin Rich as a merchant’s clerk.  Once the War Between the States began, Ezra wasn’t content to work in an office while others went off to fight.  He enlisted in Co. C of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry on July 21, 1862, and was mustered in on August 18th.  Ezra A. Patterson had just celebrated his 21st birthday.  At 5′ 7 1/2″ tall, Ezra was of average stature for those times.  However, he must have been a striking figure with his light complexion, black hair and grey eyes.

Quickly promoted to First Sergeant, Ezra and the 108th traveled first to New York, then on to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Virginia before arriving in Maryland.  They had only mustered in one month earlier.  How much training had they received in the 30 days prior to the bloody battle of Antietam?  They were about to get a trial by fire. 

On the morning of September 17, 1862, the men of the 108th were awakened at 4:00 and told to get breakfast and be prepared to march.  The battle commenced and, at some point, Ezra was wounded in action.  He would have been carried to the field hospital much like his comrade, Franklin R. Garlock, who was shot in the head and the hand.  After over a week at the field hospital, a train of ambulances transported the wounded to Washington.  Ezra was among those in the ambulances. 

Carver Hospital in Washington D.C. was to be Ezra’s last stop.  It was at Carver that Ezra began to recover from his wounds.  In fact, he was well enough to receive a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability on October 14th and be discharged.  His comrade, Franklin Garlock, gave a first-hand account of what happened next in George H. Washburn’s A Complete Military History and Record of the 108th Regiment N.Y. Vols.:  “Here our comrade Patterson formerly of Pittsford, N.Y., was also discharged and was to go home with me, but who was detained, by reason of his papers not arriving from the war-office in time.  He was apparently doing well when I left the hospital, but soon a fatal hemorrhage set in, which resulted in his death, soon after.  He never got home alive.”

Had Aaron Patterson been aware that his son was given his discharge and was coming home?  If so, it must have been a terrible blow to the Patterson family when subsequent word reached them of Ezra’s death on October 26th.  Mortimer, Ezra’s young brother, would be the next Patterson to join the war effort.  He enlisted in June, 1863 in Co. F of the 14th Heavy Artillery.  The official paperwork lists his age at enlistment as 18, but Mortimer was discharged just one month later for “being under 18 years of age”.  In actuality, Mortimer was just 16. 

After 1863, Mortimer disappears from the records.  I am still looking for clues as to his whereabouts.  Aaron Patterson couldn’t bear to live in Pittsford after having lost his son, Ezra.  By 1870, Aaron, Harriet and Alice had moved to Marshalltown, Iowa.   Aaron died in 1878.  Ezra’s aunt/stepmother, Harriet, passed on in 1907.  Alice, Ezra’s only sister, lived to age 83 before dying unmarried in 1935.  They are buried at Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Despite his disfiguring wounds which caused him to lose his eye and a finger, Ezra’s friend from the 108th, Franklin R. Garlock, recovered from his wounds sufficiently enough to attend medical school.  He practiced medicine at Lyndonville, NY before moving to Racine, WI.

Ezra’s body was returned to Pittsford and he was buried at the Pioneer Burying Ground beside his mother, Jane Ann Hecox Patterson.

Pioneer Burying Ground Tour

October 17, 2009
Thomas Wood, 108th New York Volunteer Infantry

Thomas Wood, 108th New York Volunteer Infantry

Thank you to everyone who came out today for the tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground.  Despite the constant rain, we had a nice turnout.

Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson started the tour at the Lusk family plot.  I described how Sarah Hincher Davis Lusk was a pioneer in her own right as she, her six sisters, one brother and parents settled in 1792 the area now known as Charlotte, New York.  After Sarah’s father, William Hincher, died in 1817, her mother Mehitable Moffet Hincher sold 3 1/3 acres of land to the United States Goverment for $400.  In 1822, that land became the site of the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse.  Sarah became a young widow when her first husband, Franklin Davis, died.  However, several years later she met and married widower Stephen Lusk and together they raised a family of 6 children.

Audrey Johnson then discussed the families of Doctor John Ray and Silas Nye.  From there, we headed to the northwest corner of the cemetery to investigate the lives of the Armstrong family.  Caleb Hopkins, the man who gave us the name Pittsford after his hometown of Pittsford VT, followed.  Then we passed by Josiel Farr and his wife Rebecca, whose was the first burial at the Pioneer Burying Ground in 1797.  Ultimately, we concluded with the sad tale of Sarah Wood Osgoodby’s children after discussing her brother, Thomas Wood, who served in the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry.

Unfortunately, the rain cut our tour short and we were unable to discuss the lives of Civil War soldiers Ezra A. Patterson of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry and George Walters of the 1st Battalion of United States Sharp Shooters.  However, I intend to post Hero Highlights for each of them in Illuminated History in the future.

Audrey and I are already hard at work planning a Spring tour at the Pittsford Cemetery.  Please check my Cemetery Tours & Speaking Engagements page for information about this and other upcoming events.

Pioneer Burying Ground Tour on October 17, 2009

September 15, 2009

Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson and I are hosting a tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford on Saturday, October 17th at 10:00 a.m. 

Over 30 soldiers now permanently reside at the Pioneer Burying Ground.  Those soldiers served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.  During our October 17th

Pioneer Burying Ground

Pioneer Burying Ground

 tour, the lives of Civil War soldiers Ezra A. Patterson of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry and George Walter of the 1st Battalion U.S. Sharpshooters will be illuminated.  We will also discuss several of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans, as well as other notable pioneers of Pittsford.

The Pioneer Burying Ground is located at the corner of South Main Street and Mendon Road in Pittsford.  A limited amount of parking spaces are available at the brick schoolhouse on Mendon Road.  Please wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for rain.


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