Charles William Smith 1834 – 1910

Charles William Smith was born 10 December 1834 in Ipswich, MA, the first of nine children of John Smith and Betsey Dodge.      

The 1850 census lists the Smith family in Ipswich.  John was a farm laborer, and Charles, at age 15, was also listed as a laborer.  His siblings were Sarah Jane, Emeline, John Allen, Lucy Mary, and Edward.  A brother died as an infant.  Alice and Jesse were born after the 1850 census. 

The 1855 Massachusetts state census lists Charles living at home with his family.  He and his father both listed their occupations as “teamster and farmer”. 

In 1860, Charles lived in Ipswich with an older couple named Frederick and Louisa Mitchell.  Frederick was a farmer, apparently fairly well off, as his farm was valued at $5000, and his personal property at $1000, the most by far on that particular census page.  Charles was a laborer. 

On 13 September 1859, Charles married Mary Jane Barton, daughter of Nathan Barton and Eliza Thayer.  They were married in Rowley, but the marriage was recorded in Ipswich.  This was the first marriage for both, and Charles was a teamster.   

During the Civil War, Charles enlisted in Company B, Massachusetts 1st Heavy Artillery Battalion on 9 October 1862.  He mustered out on 29 Jun 1865. 

HISTORY:  First Battalion, Heavy Artillery.-Majs., Stephen Cabot, John W. M. Appleton. The total strength of the battalion was 39 officers, 1,285 enlisted men, and its only loss during service was 15 men, who died by accident or disease. The organization was originally composed of the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th unattached companies of heavy artillery, but two companies of one year men were added in the summer of 1864. CO. A (1st unattached) was formed early in 1862 and was designed for service in the forts of Boston harbor. It was the first of the many companies raised for this purpose, nearly all of which were subsequently organized into regiments of heavy artillery and sent to the front. Co. B (2nd unattached), was organized in the autumn of 1862, and with the preceding company served as heavy artillery organizations at Fort Warren, Boston harbor, until the spring of 1863. CO. C (4th unattached), was mustered into service April 22, 1863; Co. D (5th unattached), was mustered in on June 6, 1863. These four companies were at this time united to form the 1st battalion, which was enlarged by the addition of Cos. E and F in Aug., 1864, and which were mustered in for one year’s service. The battalion performed garrison duty at the forts in Boston harbor during its entire term of service, though it furnished many detachments for service in the other forts along the Massachusetts coast. Cos. B, E and F were mustered out in June, 1865, and the remaining three in September and October of the same year.

Charles was counted in the 1865 Massachusetts state census with his family.  Son Sidney Lawrence had been born 11 Sep 1861.  At that time, the family lived in the North District of Ipswich, and Charles was a teamster. When son Charles was born 1 Apr 1863, the family lived on High Street in Ipswich, and Charles (the father) was still working as a teamster.  At the time of the 1865 census, Charles listed his occupation as soldier.  A third son, Elmer C, was born in October 1865,

Charles moved his family to nearby Rockport.  They were counted there in the 1870 census.  Charles was a stone cutter, and they lived next door to his brother John.  Charles and Mary had twin sons, Oren Willmoth and Otis Evred, born 15 December 1873 in Franklin MA. Oren died died 13 Jan 1876 in Rockport of scarlet fever, which is strep throat with a rash, most common in children.  His twin Otis died 10 November 1876 in Ipswich, and older brother Charles died 18 May 1877 also in Ipswich, both of typhoid fever.  Typhoid is most commonly transmitted through poor hygiene and public sanitation.

In 1880, Charles, Mary J, Sidney and Elmer lived in Franklin MA.   Charles was a laborer, and Sidney worked in a straw shop (possibly a hat-making business). 

Charles was not listed in the 1890 Civil War pensioner census, as he did not file for a pension until 6 October 1890.    

The 1900 census lists Charles and Mary living on East Street in Ipswich, and Charles is still employed as a teamster.  Living with them is their 13-year-old grandson Chester but I’m not sure if this is Sidney’s son or Elmer’s.    

On 7 May 1908, Charles was admitted to the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Togus, Maine.  His record says that his disability was insufficiency and stenosis (hardened) tricuspid valve heart with arrhythmia, chronic arthritis and rheumatism, and muscular contraction of left ring finger.  The record describes him as born in Ipswich, age 73, height 5 ¾, light complexion, gray eyes and hair. It says he cannot read or write.  He was a Protestant, teamster, resident of Ipswich, married, and his nearest relative Elmer C Smith, son, Ipswich.  He received a pension of $15 which would have gone to the hospital to pay for his care.  

The facility was built in 1858 as a resort hotel, then in 1866 was purchased by the federal government to become the Eastern Branch of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.  Togus was run as a military post where the men wore army uniforms and were subject to military discipline including confinement in the guardhouse for infractions of the rules.  The residents signed over their federal pension in return for their care. Those able to work could earn money by working on the farm or in the shops.  An electric railway provided transportation to Augusta.   In 1904, the population peaked at about 2800 residents.  Some men lived in dormitories, some in small cottages.  Togus became a popular recreation destination for civilians in the area, who came to watch baseball games and military band concerts.  The facility even had a small zoo. 

Charles discharged himself on 8 October 1908.  In 1910, Charles was at the Soldier’s Home in Chelsea, listed as married.  This facility was established in 1882.   

Charles died 29 Sep 1910 in Ipswich.   His residence was Country street, cause of death was chronic valvular heart disease.  His occupation was listed as retired teamster and US pensioner.  His son Elmer was the informant for the death certificate.  The father was listed as John Smith, and his mother as Hannah Lord.  I suspect that when the clerk asked for the father’s name and then “his” mother’s name – Elmer named John’s mother’s name which was Hannah Lord, instead of naming Charles’ mother, Betsey Dodge.  Charles was buried at Old North Cemetery (now also called Highland).  His grave is marked with a military headstone. 

Mary J Smith died 15 October 1910 at the state hospital at Danvers MA of pulmonary tuberculosis and is also buried at Old North Cemetery.


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