Timeline of Pittsford Soldiers


  • Five Civil War soldiers buried in Pittsford, NY enlisted in the first weeks of the war.  They were:  RICHARD AMBROSE (13th NY Volunteer Infantry), HENRY MUELLER (8th NY Infantry), THEODORE E. SHEPARD (13th NY Volunteer Infantry), WILLIAM W. SHEPARD (13th NY Volunteer Infantry) and GOTTLIEB SNYDER (13th NY Volunteer Infantry).
  • Private RICHARD AMBROSE, who enlisted in Co. E, 13th New York Volunteer Infantry on April 23rd, is brought up on mutineering charges in August and sentenced to hard labor at Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas.
  • JAMES R. CHAMBERLIN, son-in-law of former Pittsford Supervisor Ira Bellows, enlists as a Captain in Co. A, 3rd New York Volunteer Cavalry on August 31st.  After the Civil War, James Chamberlin would found the Chamberlin Rubber Company, which is still in existence today.


  • At the end of March, RICHARD AMBROSE returns to the 13th New York Volunteer Infantry and serves until he is discharged in 1865.  Upon his death in 1891, Richard is buried with military honors.
  • GEORGE B. WILTSIE, brother of James M. Wiltsie, enlists in Battery C, 4th New York Heavy Artillery on August 12th.
  • WILLIAM HENRY COOK enlists in Battery C, 4th New York Heavy Artillery on August 14th.  His younger brother, NATHAN MULFORD COOK, enlists in the 6th Co., 1st Battalion Sharpshooters on August 21st.
  • The death of WILLIAM HENRY COOK by typhoid fever, on October 3rd, is mentioned in GEORGE B. WILTSIE‘s wartime diary.  Brother NATHAN MULFORD COOK also succumbs to illness just weeks later, on October 28th.  They are buried beside each other at Pittsford Cemetery.
  • EZRA A. PATTERSON of Co. C, 108th New York Volunteer Infantry dies of a hemorrhage on October 26th.  Ezra had enlisted only three months earlier.  Ezra’s first and last battle was at Antietam, where he was mortally wounded.


  • On February 12th, MATTHIAS L. LORD, son of Nathaniel Anson Lord and nephew of State Senator Jarvis Lord, enlists in Patrick O’Rorke’s 140th New York Infantry as Assistant Surgeon.


  • ROBERT AMBROSE, oldest of the four Ambrose brothers who served the Union during the Civil War, is mortally wounded during the battle of Laurel Hill and succumbs to his wounds four days later, on May 14th.
  • GEORGE B. WILTSIE is captured by Rebel forces on August 25th.  As a POW, he is first housed in Libby Prison, then Belle Isle before spending nearly five months in captivity at Salisbury Prison.


  • Death of GEORGE B. WILTSIE on March 21, 1865 in Annapolis, MD due to typhoid fever brought on by starvation during his incarceration at Salisbury Prison.  George is laid to rest in Pittsford Cemetery beside several of his siblings.


  • Local Civil War veteran MATTHEW P. EWING and his business partner, Hiram Bond Everest, found the Vacuum Oil Company on October 4th.  The company produced a lubricant used as harness oil for horse-drawn carriages.  Years later, Vacuum Oil Company was sold to Standard Oil, eventually becoming Exxon-Mobil.  Matthew Ewing is given credit on Exxon-Mobil’s website for conceiving Mobil’s legacy.  Matthew Ewing was a member of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry.


  • Civil War veteran and entrepreneur JEFFREY N. BIRDSALL opens a grocery store with fellow businessman James Martin Wiltsie.  Birdsall had served two years during the War with the 33rd New York Volunteers.  Wiltsie’s brother, GEORGE B. WILTSIE, served with the 4th New York Heavy Artillery and died in 1865 of typhoid brought on by exposure during his time as a POW in rebel prison camps.


  • John Zornow met his death on December 3rd on the Central Railroad near Schenectady when he fell beneath the wheels of a train.  John’s son, WILLIAM ZORNOW, enlisted in the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry at age 16 and was Pittsford’s youngest Civil War soldier to die in service.  John and his brothers, Charles and Gustav, were German immigrants who settled in Pittsford.  Their descendants started the Zornow Funeral Home, which was in existence until February, 2010.  


  • MATTHEW P. EWING, formerly of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry, dies on December 31st.  Matthew was the founder of the Vacuum Oil Company, and also ran a cider mill in Pittsford with his only son, GEORGE P. EWING, also of the 108th.  Matthew was buried at Pittsford Cemetery.


  • DENNISON J. WILLARD dies on June 8th at age 36.  Dennison’s family members were long-time members of the Pittsford community.  His younger sister, Helen Willard, was married to William Agate for over 50 years.  Dennison served in the 77th New York Infantry during the Civil War.  His father, Dennison Sr., was in the War of 1812 and a great-grandfather participated in the French and Indian War.


  • EDWARD WHEELER, former 2nd Lieutenant of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery, loses three fingers in a box cutting accident on the 17th of June.


  • Civil War veteran JOSEPH BARTLETT, formerly of the 81st New York Volunteer Infantry, dies on March 28th at age 40.  Originally from Redfield, New York, Bartlett is laid to rest at the Pioneer Burying Ground.


  • March 22nd death of EDWARD WHEELER, age 41.  Edward’s father, Aaron Wheeler, was a well-respected farmer in Pittsford.  Edward is survived by his wife, Sarah and young son Clarence.
  • Death takes ALEXANDER S. MILLARD on April 24th at age 51.  Alexander served with the 26th New York Independent Light Artillery Battery during the Civil War.  Throughout 1865, Alexander kept a wartime diary, the original which is now housed at Auburn University.  Alexander’s father, Sylvanus Millard, was a prosperous farmer in Pittsford.


  • JOHN BUCKLEY BACON, veteran of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry, and his brother Conrad Bacon of Middletown, Connecticut purchase the general store on South Main Street from C. H. Armstrong.


  • On March 27th, Frederica Rogers of the Sutherland family marries store owner JOHN B. BACON.


  • W. MILLER SHEPARD dies on November 19th at age 43.  Miller served in the 22nd NY Cavalry in 1865.  His parents, William and Mary Barnes Shepard, were among the first settlers of Pittsford.  Miller was also a first cousin to THEODORE E. SHEPARD, who enlisted in the 13th NY Infantry in April, 1861.


  • The body of THOMAS McNALLY, of Co. G, 14th U.S. Infantry, was found in a burned out barn located in Bushnell’s Basin.  Sadly, Thomas’ wife, Mollie, had died several months previously.  The McNallys left a son, Frank, to mourn their passings.


  • Rev. T. F. PARKER and his wife, Julia, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in November.  Rev. Parker served in Co. A, 44th NY Infantry during the War.


  • JOHN H. THURMON, a private in the 2nd Missouri Cavalry on the side of the Confederacy, dies at age 76 and is buried at Pittsford Cemetery.  He is the only Confederate soldier buried in Pittsford, NY.


  • Death of Major HARVEY E. LIGHT, two days before his 87th birthday, in Pittsford NY.  Major Light was a member of the 10th Michigan Cavalry.  Three of Harvey’s four brothers also enlisted in the Union Army.


  • ARTHUR M. NEWTON celebrates his 88th birthday.  Arthur, a member of Co. H, 176th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War, has the distinction of being the last surviving member of G.A.R. E. J. Tyler Post #288 of Pittsford, NY.

3 Comments on “Timeline of Pittsford Soldiers”

  1. Theo Says:

    Truly a wonderful resource and a labor of love, thank you.

  2. Darius Ogloza Says:

    Any details on Thomas Wood?

    • Thomas Wood served with Co. C, 108th New York Infantry. He enlisted as a private on August 19, 1862, and became ill following the battle of Antietam. Thomas received his discharge with a surgeon’s certificate of disability on April 27, 1863. Following his discharge, Thomas returned to Pittsford, New York, where he married, raised a family and died in 1923. He is interred in Pittsford’s Pioneer Burying Ground.

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