Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - John Tompkins

John J. Tompkins

Representing: Union

G.A.R Post

  • Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, Snohomish Co. WA

Unit History

  • 7th Michigan Infantry G
  • 6th US Cavalry E

See full unit history

John  Tompkins
Full Unit History

1861 MI
Mustered In: 8/21/61 Monroe, MI
Mustered Out: 7/5/65 Louisville, KY
Discharged: 7/7/65 Jackson, MI

August, 1861
Mustered In: 1861
Mustered Out: Still Active

Regimental History


  The 7th was a three- year eastern-theater/Army of The Potomac regiment.  Recruited from within the state "at large" it was mustered into Federal service in August, 1861.  It departed Monroe, MI on September 5th of that year.  

  In the spring of 1862 it was with Union Gen. George McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign in Virginia. During that period it fought at Yorktown, Fair Oaks, The Peach Orchard, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale and Malvern Hill.  In August it was engaged at 2nd Manassas. Throughout all these actions the regiment's losses were severe, but "the ardor of the men never failed."

 September, 1862.  Ranks of the 7th - both officers and men - were decimated during the carnage at Antietam/Sharpsburg, MD. The regiment concluded the battle year of '62 at Fredericksburg, VA where it volunteered to cross the Rappahannock in pontoon boats under enemy fire in order to assist Union engineers in bridging that River. Reaching the opposite bank, it charged the Rebels and captured a number of prisoners. 

  1863. The 7th entered the Pennsylvania Campaign reaching Gettysburg on July 2nd. Assigned to Cemetery Hill, it held that position until the close of the battle. During that conflict the unit lost 44 killed and 44 wounded during two days of fighting. It then joined in the pursuit of the Rebels as they retreated back into Virginia.
  On August 20th the regiment sailed from Alexandria, VA to New York, NY and remained there during that city's draft-related riots. Leaving there in October it travelled south to rejoin the Army of The Potomac and fight a spirited battle at Bristol Station, VA. The unit marched, fought and built earthworks until December when many officers and men re-enlisted. Shortly thereafter those re-enlisting returned home on a 30 day furlough.

  With 1864 opening, the 7th reassembled at its old camp located at Berry's Hill, VA It remained there until early May when it joined Union Gen. U.S. Grant's forces as they moved southward into Virginia in the Overland Campaign which would ultimately bring an end to four years of bloody civil war.  At Spotsylvania Court House (5/8/64) it suffered great loss. To follow that up, on (5/31/64) it was involved in the disastrous charge at Cold Harbor.

  Crossing the James River, the unit arrived before Petersburg where it assisted in building fortifications and participated in many actions before that fortified city. Actions there included Deep Bottom, Reams Station, Hatcher's Run and Boydton Plank Road. 

  When the fortifications of Petersburg were breached in April, 1865, General Grant commenced his famous flank movement around the fallen city.  The 7th took a conspicuous part by moving to High Bridge and Farmville and was on the march when Confed. Gen Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9th.

  After Lee's surrender the 7th marched to Richmond and from there to Washington City where it participated in the Grand Review. From there the regiment ordered to Louisville, KY where it received final muster before being sent home to Michigan for disbandment.  



  The 6th U.S, regular Calvary, "The Fighting 6th", was organized in August, 1861 to serve the U.S. Government for three years. This eastern theater unit, which spent a vast majority of its Civil War history with the Army of the Potomac and its affiliations, took part in sixteen major and minor battles during The Rebellion.

  Actions of 1862 included Union Gen. George McClellan's Peninsula Campaign in Virginia, the September, 1862 battle of Antietam, MD and the horrific Federal defeat at Fredericksburg, VA.

  1863 found the 6th at the second battle of Winchester, VA in that state's Shenandoah Valley. What followed in June was the battle of Fairfield, PA, a precursor to the battle of Gettysburg. During the Fairfield action Union Gen. Stoneman's troopers moved into the rear of Confed. Gen. R.E. Lees forces then stationed around Chancellorsville, VA.

  In May, 1864 and thereafter, the 6th was involved in Union Gen. Grant's Overland Campaign as Federal   forces moved south into Virginia. Actions during that period included The Wilderness and the siege of Petersburg.  Detached from the Army of The Potomac, the regiment also saw action Virginia's Shennandoah Valley.

  After Confed. Gen. Lee's surrender to U.S. Grant on 4/9/65 the 6th’s Civil War days were over.  However, in October, 1865 it moved into Texas as part of the Reconstruction. From there the 6th was stationed in many locations and, in the mechanized era, received many assignments which continue until the present day including deployment in Iraq. 

Soldier History

SOLDIER: (7th)
Residence: Lapeer, MI   Age: ca 20 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 8/6 or 22/61 Lapeer, MI   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 8/22/61 Lapeer, MI          
Discharged: 10/24/62 to 6th U.S. Regular Cav.
Highest Rank: Pvt.

SOLDIER: (6th)
Residence: Lapeer, MI   Age:  ca. 21 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 10/26/62 Baltimore, MD   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: Date stands as 8/22/61
Discharged: 8/22/64 Harpers Ferry, VA
Highest Rank: Pvt. 

Family History


  John J. Tompkins was born sometime during the Year of Our Lord 1841. His birthplace was in Great Barford, Bedfordshire, England.  The names of his parents are not known. Also not known is if he had any siblings.

  The Tompkins family reportedly came to America in 1853 when John was about twelve years of age. Where they settled is not reflected in available documents. The elder Tompkins did later become a naturalized citizen of the U.S.

  The first U.S. documental sighting of John comes from the U.S. Census tally for 1860. At that time he was residing in Oakland, Oakland County, Michigan with the family of William and Esther Fosdick.  Single, he was employed as a farm laborer.

  The year following the 1860 census, with America newly involved in what was to be a brutal, bloody four years of civil War, John heeded the call to arms of his adopted country and joined the U.S. Army for a period of three years.. Throughout the remainder of 1861 company muster rolls noted him as "present" for duty.

  1862. In June of that year Private Tompkins' unit was involved in the 7 Days Battles during Union George B. McClellan's Virginia Peninsula Campaign.  While records are somewhat unclear on the matter, it appears that on June 30th, during the battle of The Peach Orchard the private suffered from a case of sunstroke. While his present/absent status is not stated during the three months that followed, on 10/24/62 he was discharged from the volunteer infantry in order to serve the remainder of his enlistment with the 6th U.S. Regular Cavalry. His vital statistics at the time of his movement from the infantry to the cavalry were: Age - 21; Height - 5' 8'5"; Eyes - gray; hair - light - Complexion - light. His months with the 6th, even though the unit was very active in terms of combat involvement, appear to have been benign.

  Departing the service in 1864, it is not documented where John settled.  Most likely, however, it was back in Lapeer County, MI.  It was likely there because on 12/3/65 that was where he married Jane N. Gray.  On 11/16/66 in Rich Twp. Lapeer County, MI the couple's first child, son John Franklin "Frank "was born.  Tragically, shortly thereafter on 12/28, Jane died, likely from childbirth complications.

  While there is no documentation to prove it, John probably remained in Michigan after his wife's passing. We say that because it was in Oceana County within that state that, on 10/11/68 he remarried to Caroline Amelia Chander (b.June, 1850 PA). The 1870 census found the couple residing in Bristol, Kenosha Co., Wisconsin with William and Cornelia Turk.  John appears to have been a laborer on the Turk farm.  Interestingly, there is no mention of any children in the household. As "Frank" would appear in later census tallies, he had survived infancy, but was apparently raised - at least in his early years - by family or friends while his father re-established his life.  
  On June 7, 1871 Caroline bore John a daughter, Hattie Viola. . Four years later June 20, 1875 (in Michigan) she birthed a second child, son Harry E. These would be the only children from the union of James and Caroline.

  Within a year of Harry's birth, the Tompkins departed Michigan for the relative wilds of southwest Washington Territory.  Why? Documents do not explain.

  Once in the Pacific Northwest, the Tompkins, residing in or near the community of Washougal, Clark County, WA Terr., visited the U.S. Land Office located in that county's "city" of Vancouver. There, on 5/11/76, John made a homestead filing claim payment of $21.78 on 157.05 acres of land in nearby Skamania County. On 9/12 of that same year, the family moved onto the property and constructed their first house.

  The census of 1880 found farmer J.J. Tompkins and family - wife C.A. and sons Frank (b. 1867 MI) and Harry (b. 1875 MI) residing in Skamania, Skamania County, WA. Terr. Noteworthy is the absence of daughter Hattie. Available documentation indicates she died in Portland, (OR), apparently sometime between 1876 and 1880. Why she died is not documented.

  On June 14th of the following year, local record keeping noted "payment has been made in full on homestead claim.  Entire claim (is) valued about $1000. That record notation included the following details regarding improvements to the land: 16' x 20' house, 28' x 44' barn, with shed, 10'x16' woodshed, 10'x10' chicken house, out house, about 25 acres under fence, small orchard and some "small fruits". According to this neighbor's affidavit, about another 40 acres were "slashed". Tompkins also swore that he and his family had lived on the homestead the entire time except for two, three month periods when absent for purposes of locating livestock.  The homestead was patented. On April 6th of the following year John J. Tompkins was granted United States citizenship by the U.S. District Court of Oregon.

  Jump ahead from 1882 to 1885.  On February 22nd of that year a female child named Nettie/Nellie Ethel was born.  Available documents do not indicate where the birth occurred, nor to whom. All that is noted is that the child was later adopted (by John) "at Seattle, Washington." 


  1889. The Tompkins’s family is no longer on their homestead in Skamania, County.  They have moved northward up western Washington, Terr./State to the King County community of Houghton - now part of the City of Kirkland - on the eastern shore of Lake Washington across from the City of Seattle. Exactly when and why the northward move had been made is not documented. Making up the household at the time were J.J. (John) age 48, a laborer, C.A. (Caroline) age 39 and H.E.  (Henry 12 b. MI). That same configuration in 1892, with the exception that John then noted his occupation as "undertaker".

  Dropping back two years to 1892, John, living in Kirkland (Houghton), but with a Redmond address began the paperwork process to attempt to obtain a U.S. Government invalid pension based on ailments which he claimed traced back to his days of Civil War soldiering. At age 49, he reported himself to be wholly unable to earn support by reason of sunstroke (suffered) while in the line of duty at (The) Peach Orchard in the state of Virginia on or about 6/30/62. He further claimed he had been entitled to a pension "all these past years," but (had) never applied for one until now. With his address now noted as Kirkland, that process continued into February of 1894. Ailments from which he suffered at the time included sinusitis which results in fullnesa and rush of blood to the head, a fullness under his eyes, nasal droppage from nose and shortness of breath. He also suffered from a weak back, injured knees and rheumatism.  Most of the proceeding was attributed the 7 days battles sunstroke, but some was the result of his having fallen off of a steamer 21 (or so) years previously  and having landed on his knees. A medical exam conducted at the time primarily reads as follows: "Age 53, 5'7". Has pretty well described his case in terms of list of symptoms - talks in a rambling manner, so it is hard to extract history of his case.  No evidence of sunstroke present unless slight congestion of eyes can be attributed to that.  Heart and lungs normal. Slight (problem) in knees.  Slight stiffness, but no restriction of motion. Claims rheumatism in thighs and legs as well as lumbar muscles, but no appreciable atrophy.  Some slight pain in stooping.  Well-nourished for his age.  Some callousness in hands from working in garden.  Says attacks come on him at any time and prevent him.......... (Unfortunately, here the document page ends and the concluding page is not available.) The pension seeking ritual continued into 1898 with a medical conclusion that the former soldier was able to do about 1/2 of an ordinary man's labor but he says he is better than usual. Despite such input, no pension was apparently granted – at least at that time.

  From 1896 comes information that in Minnesota a child named Gerryice “Georgia” N. Minlann was born.  That child would later be adopted by the Tompkins in Seattle. 

  The census  of 1900 in Kirkland, King County, Washington noted the Tompkins household consisted of John (b. 1/1841 England, married 30 years), Caroline A. (b. 6/1850 PA 2 ch 1 liv), Nellie E. (b. 2/1885 MN) adopted daughter and Georgia N. (b. 7/1896 WA) adopted daughter.  In this tally John lists his occupation as "minister." Later that same year minister John and wife Caroline divorced.

  On January 19, 1901 the following letter was sent to Washington State Congressman, the honorable W.L. Jones in Washington, D.C.: "Dear Sir.....Mr. J.J. living in Kirkland, WA and suffering from slow paralysis. (He) is absolutely unable to do manual labor and has been in this condition for several years. (He) has applied for a pension.  (The) below signers are neighbors and friends (who) recommend (a) pension be granted a.s.a.p."  Was a pension still denied? Maybe not. We shall see..............

  June 17, 1902.  On this date in Seattle, Washington John rewed to the twice previously married Mary M.  (nee Sage)  Crandall. The late Mr. Crandall (b. 1840 IN or 1841 NY) was a Civil War veteran who died on 7/18/97 in Snohomish, WA and was buried in that community's Woodlawn Cemetery. The union would produce no children. Mary would remain with John until his passing.

  While documentation is unclear on the matter, perhaps the letter sent to Congressman Jones in early 1901 did have some short and long term impacts on Mr. Tompkins' pension search as evidenced by the following from February 29, 1904: 58th Congress. 2nd session senate calendar no. 1068. Mr. Foster of Washington from the committee on pensions submitted the following report:

  The committee on pensions to whom was referred the b. (HR 5155) granting the increase of pension 
     to John J. Tompkins have examined the same report.  The report of the committee on invalid pensions
     of the House of Representatives hereto appended is adopted and the passage of the bill is   recommended

     House report is as follows:

               John J. Tompkins - now age 63 - has never applied for a pension under the general law
             but is now pensioned under the act of 6/27/90 at the rate of $12 per month for total
             disability due to disease of brain and spinal cord.

               He alleged that his troubles were due to sunstroke received in the service in the state
             of VA around 6/30/62 but as above stated, filed no claim under the general law nor the
             records of war..........

               When examined on 12/12/00 board of surgeons at Seattle stated as follows; he has marked
             case of sclerosis of the posterior clums of the spinal cord which, however, cannot be
             referred to sunstroke by us. His memory and mental faculties are manifestly impaired.
             He has some muscular rheumatism in the lumbar region which accounts for his lameness     in              the back.  He gives every evidence of a weak mind and is daily becoming less and less
             stage.  The muscular power of both hands is greatly weakened.  Left is more markedly
             weakened,. He has partial paralysis, part of the conditions which fall under
             locomotive ataxia. His present condition is a well-marked and advanced spinal sclerosis.

               His movements in walking are uncertain.  He cannot easily stand with eyes closed.  He
             has a constrictive girdle around the body.  The muscles show slight atrophy. The upper
             extremities show beginning sensory and motor disturbance. His bowels and bladder show
             the usual paralysis.  The heart is hypertrophied. We find that he is wholly disabled by
             reason of sunstroke, affection of the mind, debility and locomotors ataxia.
               Testimony filed with our committee sets forth that the beneficiary suffers from locomotive
             atraxia; that he is in a condition that requires the constant care and attention of his
             wife; that unless he is closely watched he is liable to fall at any moment; the he has
             no means of support except his pension of $12 per month; that he has a reasonably
             comfortable home, but that neither himself nor his wife are able under the circumstances
             to earn support.

               An increase of pension from $12 to $30 is justified. The passage of the bill is therefore

  On March 31, 1904 old soldier John J. Tompkins pension was increased to $30 per month.
Another census.  The year was 1910; the location was just north of King County in Snohomish, Snohomish County, WA.  Apparently John had moved into the home of wife Mary. That household included just he - married 3 times – and Mary - also married three times.

  John J. Tompkins former Civil War infantry and cavalryman last received a pension payment of $30 on June 4, 1916. Survived by his biological children except daughter Hattie and his two adoptive daughters, he died on August 16th of that year and was buried in Snohomish, Snohomish County in the Woodlawn Cemetery. Mary died ca. 9/23/16. Her final resting place in Woodlawn Cemetery.


Buried at Woodlawn Cemetary Snohomish

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