Daniel E Adams – Gunsmith, Soldier, Photographer, Attorney, Skunk Farmer

The Unbelievable Life of Daniel Adams

A gunsmith, soldier, photographer, attorney, and a skunk farmer – it sounds like the start of a joke where the next line should be they walked into the bar. Interestingly enough those are all job titles held at various times by Daniel E. Adams.

On the scale of interesting characters of genealogical research my third great grandfather, Daniel E. Adams, is a jackpot. For the last several weeks I have been slowly pecking away at research on him for this blog…but it seemed the more I dug the more I wanted to dig. His life took many turns that make him an intriguing research subject with countless sources.

Early Life

Daniel E. Adams was born in Canada on 23 February 1832. His parents, Erwin Adams and Charlotte Murray, were of American birth. Shortly after Daniel’s birth, the family moved back south to the United States. Over the next two decades, the family would reside in Illinois and Michigan where most of the family would settle for generations.

Daniel married his first wife, Rachel Hamilton, in Oakland County, Michigan on 23 Sept 1852. There are four known children born to the marriage Flora, Edward Dexter, Arthur Hamilton, and Elmer Eugene. Rachel passed away 5 July 1862 leaving Daniel a widower with four children under the age of 10.

After the death of Rachel, Daniel hired 17-year-old Sarah Ferguson to help care for his children. The two married on 20 September 1863 in Genesee County, Michigan.

American Civil War

On 7 September 1864, Daniel enlisted as a gunsmith in Company G 4th Michigan Infantry reorganized. According to information he provided at the time he was a veteran of the Mexican American War. During his term of enlistment, he would see combat action in skirmishes across northern Alabama.

On 14 May 1865 the train carrying Daniel’s unit derailed while traveling through Tennessee. The train car he was riding in became detached and jumped from the track. Daniel received injuries in the accident. The Army discharged him a month later in Nashville, Tennessee on 7 June 1865.

After the War

Daniel returned home to his family after his discharge from the Army. The 1870 census shows him at home with his young wife, Sarah, and their rapidly growing family. His profession at the time is listed as a photographer and records show he operated the first photograph gallery in Lapeer, Michigan. He would study law while operating the Mammoth Skylight Gallery. By 1872, he was a practicing attorney.

Daniel and Sarah continued to reside in southern Michigan and their family continued to grow. The two would have eight children together.

Eventually Daniel branched out from practicing law and started farming skunks.

Daniel passed away on 5 April 1906 in Genesee County, Michigan. He is buried in the Smith Hill Cemetery in Otisville, Genesee County, Michigan.

Remembering the Korean War

It seems that after over sixty-fives years of war the Korean War may finally be ending.  Many of our combat veterans from the era of active fighting on the Korean peninsula have already passed away. My Grandfather was a Korea combat veteran. He died before they actually achieved peace.

At this momentous time in world history, it seems an appropriate moment to remember one of the Korean War dead from my own family tree.

My maternal grandfather’s family was from an isolated community in the mountains of West Virginia. Coal mining was the predominate form of employment of the region and many of his immediate family, including his father and older brothers, worked in the mines. Military service was the most common way young men avoided going into the mines. Statistically a man had greater odds of getting hurt in the coalmines than he did in the military even during World War II.

My Grandfather’s first cousin, Andrew Calvin Shuck, joined the military. He enlisted in the Army on 8 July 1948. He was twenty years old.

andrew c shuck kia korea service pic credit michael shuck
Photo Credit Michael Shuck

Andrew C. Shuck was born 12 Jan 1928 in Lawton, West Virginia. He was the son of Landon Lawson Shuck and Pina Propps. He was unmarried.  Andrew C. Shuck was assigned to Company F, 5th Calvary Regiment, 1st Calvary Division. When combat broke out on the Korean Peninsula, his unit was one of the early ones to see action.

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Photo Credit FAG

Andrew C. Shuck was also one of the first combat casualties of the Korea War. He was killed 25 July 1950. He recieved the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

andrew c shuck obit killed in korea

It took over a year before Andrew C. Shuck was laid to rest in his home state of West Virginia. By the time they held his memorial in the At the End of the Trail Cemetery several of Andrew’s relatives had already signed up to go to Korea. My grandfather, his brothers, and cousins all flocked to sign up for duty.

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The Korean Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953 effectively ending active hostilities between North and South Korea in a stalemate. My Grandfather died in 2011 without even seeing an end to the conflict that resulted in his cousin’s death. I hope that in 2018, with the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration, peace can finally come between the two Korean nations.

By the numbers:

Active War: 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 (3 years, 1 month, and 2 days)

Total American Casualties of the Conflict: 36,516

Sources:

United States Military Casualties of War Wikipedia

Korean War

Andrew Calvin Shuck Find a Grave

 

 

Jacob Sowle: Abandoned Cemeteries and Unmarked Graves – One of America’s Forgotten Civil War Soldiers

Between family events and trying to kick some version of the seasonal plague, I have struggled to get my next blog post done. With no further delay, I introduce Jacob Sowle.

I decided to feature Jacob Sowle recently upon discovering he was a Civil War soldier that rests in an unmarked grave in an abandoned family cemetery. He was my third great grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side, a link in generation chain leading to George Soule, a passenger on the Mayflower.

Jacob Sowle was born on 10 August 1831 likely in the Montgomery or Fulton County area of New York. His parents were William Dickerson Sowle and his wife Susan. During his lifetime Jacob’s branch of the Sowle family would move west first to Ohio and then onto Michigan.

On 5 May 1852 in Trumbull County Ohio Jacob Sowle married for the first time to Mary Ann DeLong. The couple had four children over the next several years. During that time, the couple followed Jacob’s parents as they left Ohio to settle in Eaton County, Michigan.

jacob sowle mary delong marriage 5 may 1852 trumbull ohio
Marriage Record from 5 May 1852 for Jacob Sowle and Mary Ann DeLong Trumbull Ohio

The 1860 federal census shows Jacob and Mary Ann Sowle living in Brookfield, Eaton County, Michigan. In the household are two sons, William and Riley, and two daughters Susan and Mariley. Jacob lists his profession as carpenter.

1860 census clip jacob sowle
1860 Federal Census Image showing Sowle family

Tragedy struck the family not long after this census was taken. In 1863, Jacob signed up for the Civil War draft. He reported himself as single at the time. His wife Mary Ann died, cause of death and exact burial location are unknown, but it is likely she is likely buried in an unmarked grave in the abandoned Sowle family cemetery in Eaton County, Michigan.

Jacob Sowle draft registration July 17 1863
Jacob Sowle 1863 Draft Registration

Jacob was spared the worst of any of the Civil War but he was drafted into the Union Army in 1865. He would serve nine months and seventeen days in C Company 195 Ohio Infantry. His term of service started on 13 February 1865 and ended on 30 November 1865. His rank was private. Jacob farmed his children out to friends and relatives during his time in the service.

After Jacob’s service in the war, he returned to Michigan. In Michigan, he remarried and fathered five children with his second wife, Esther Loisa Gurnee. Domestic bliss was not in the cards however and by the 1880 census the couple was living apart. Jacob was living in Eaton County as a divorced father raising three of their children. Esther was living in a nearby town with the couples other two children.

Jacob married again for a third time on 15 March 1881 in Eaton County, Michigan to Catherine Ann Wixon. The two would remain married for the rest of Jacob’s life.

jacob sowle death cert
Jacob Sowle Death Certificate showing place of burial

Jacob died 21 August 1904 in Coldwater, Michigan. He was survived by 8 of his 9 children and his son William Sowle provided the information for his death certificate. Jacob Sowle is buried in the Sowle Family Cemetery in Eaton County, Michigan. The grave is unmarked and the cemetery is now abandoned.

Sources:
Title Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 Author Ancestry.com Publisher Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Publisher Date 2016 uPublisher Location Lehi, UT, USA Repository Information Name Ancestry.com
Year: 1860; Census Place: Brookfield, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M653_542; Page: 579; Image: 83; Family History Library Film: 803542
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshall
https://www.fold3.com/page/635070477-jacob-sowle?xid=1945
Year: 1880; Census Place: Brookfield, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: 578; Family History Film: 1254578; Page: 305C; Enumeration District: 077; Image: 0377
Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952
Year: 1900; Census Place: Coldwater, Isabella, Michigan; Roll: 718; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0066; FHL microfilm: 1240718
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/53164249

Looking Back: The Korean War In Photographs

Growing up my Grandfather was one of the influential people in my life. I knew he had been in the Army but he never cared much to discuss his time served during the Korean War.

He always told us he was “just a cook” and played off the fact that he enlisted to calm his fretting Mother after his brother decided to join. In all 3 Shuck brothers would serve at the same time in the Korean War.

 

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The Shuck Brothers Head to Korea

These are some random photos from his collection.