Category Archives: Bull

From the Archives: Union troops vote for Lincoln

Sepia Saturday 546. For Veterans Day 2020, here is an updated post from the archives about Union Army troops voting at the front in the pivotal 1864 presidential election — a timely offering in this presidential election year. 

On 23 Aug. 1864 — before the Union victories at Atlanta and Cedar Creek, Va., where my ancestor Union Pvt. Arthur Bull was stationed — Pres. Abraham Lincoln asked members of his cabinet to sign a folded note. Then he tucked it away in his a desk drawer. It said this:

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probabl[e] that this Administration will not be reelected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.

Oct. 1864: Pennsylvania soldiers in the Union Army of the James cast their ballots.
Oct. 1864: Pennsylvania soldiers in the Union’s Army of the James vote in the presidential election.  My ancestor’s state, New York, allowed Union troops to vote in the field and mail their ballots to their home county for tabulation. Photo: Library of Congress.

A wartime election

The pivotal 1864 election took place during the U.S. Civil War. There was war weariness in the North. Tremendous loss of life in the Union Army’s spring campaigns, which sent my great-great grandfather to the hospital, had not yielded victories. And in July 1864, the Confederates marched down the Shenandoah Valley and attacked Washington.

This was also the first wartime ballot since 1812. No president had won a second term since 1832. Yet the outcome of the U.S. Civil War, and the country’s future, hung in the balance — since Lincoln’s opponent, Union Gen. George B. McClellan, called for abandoning the fight to eliminate the brutal slavery system.

Allowing the troops to vote

Then the tide turned on the battlefield. Union forces took Atlanta in September 1864 and defeated the Confederates at Cedar Creek in October 1864 — and a new offensive began at the ballot box.

Here, too, Union combatants played a vital role — among them my great-great grandfather Arthur Bull of the 6th NY Heavy Artillery.

Arthur’s home state of New York adopted a law allowing soldiers to vote in the field — the result of a political struggle described in the Smithsonian Magazine article “The Debate Over Mail-In Voting Dates Back to the Civil War.”

Once the law passed, New York faced the daunting tactical challenge of delivering ballots to nearly 400,000 New York State combatants stationed throughout the South.

But delivered they were — giving my ancestor the amazing opportunity to vote for President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and mail his ballot back to Broome County, N.Y., where he lived.

Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota 2011. If possible, citations should also include the URL for the NHGIS site: http://www.nhgis.org"
Votes by county in the 1864 U.S. presidential election. Lincoln won the vote by 60 percent in Broome County, N.Y., my ancestor Arthur’s home county, and received 78 percent of Union soldiers’ and sailors’ votes overall. In two close states, New York and Connecticut, it may have been the troops’ votes that pushed Lincoln to victory. Map: Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota 2011.

How did Arthur vote?

How did my great-great grandfather vote? I have no way of knowing for sure. Yet circumstantial evidence suggests that Arthur probably cast his ballot for “Old Abe,” as Union combatants affectionately called the president.

On 27 Oct, 1864, one of Arthur’s compatriots — Sgt. William Thistleton of 6th NY Heavy Artillery Co. I — wrote this in his diary:

Soldiers were busy sending off their votes. McClellan and Seymore are evidently not favorites with the soldiers.

Lincoln won the vote by 60 percent in Broome County, N.Y. (my ancestor’s home), and he received 78 percent of Union soldiers’ and sailors’ votes overall. In two close states — New York and Connecticut — it may have been the troops’ votes that pushed Lincoln to victory.

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/00650938/
President Abraham Lincoln delivering his inaugural address on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol, March 4, 1865. Lincoln garnered 55 percent of the popular vote throughout the North and was reelected with 212 electoral votes against McClellan’s 21 electoral votes — a decisive mandate to press on with the fight to end the brutal slavery system and preserve the union. Photo: Library of Congress

Lincoln defeats McClellan

In the end, Lincoln garnered 55 percent of the popular vote throughout the North and was reelected with 212 electoral votes against McClellan’s 21 electoral votes — a decisive mandate to press on with the fight to eliminate the brutal slavery system and preserve the union.

I couldn’t be prouder that my ancestor Union Pvt. Arthur Bull was a participant — at the front and at the ballot box — in that historic moment.

Up next: Resuming the series on my dad’s Uncle Albert, who died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of other participants in this week’s Sepia Saturday — and in this month’s Genealogy Blog Party honoring veteran and military ancestors.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1917: Uncle Albert and the Charboneau Doughboys

Sepia Saturday 538Ninth in a series about Albert Barney Charboneau — my paternal grandfather’s brother who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

Albert Barney Charboneau circa 1910. Scan by Molly Charboneau

At the outbreak of World War I, my father’s Uncle Albert Barney Charboneau and his brothers were required to register for the draft.

And this they did, carefully penning their information on cards that have survived into the digital age.

Albert, the oldest brother, was age 33 when he registered in 1918 — giving his date of birth as 15 Feb. 1885, his address as 42 State Street, Dolgeville, Herkimer Co., N.Y. and his wife’s name as Annie E. Charboneau.

He wrote that he was employed as Woodworking Foreman at Julius Breckwoldt lumber works. The registrar described Albert as tall and stout with black hair and blue eyes.

WWI Doughboy statue in Woodside, N.Y. (2020). Selected in 1928 as the best war memorial of its kind by the American Federation of Arts, this statue depicts a returning WWI soldier with bandaged head, holding his helmet with his gun to one side. Photo: Molly Charboneau

My grandfather Ray’s draft registration

Two of Albert’s brothers registered before him. My paternal grandfather William Ray Charboneau registered on 5 June 1917. Born 3 April 1888 in Forestport, N.Y., he was age 29 and described as tall and slender with blue eyes and black hair.

Ray lived on Dolge Ave. in Dolgeville, N.Y. and worked as a warehouse clerk at the Daniel Green Felt Shoe Co. — which had taken over the original Dolge factory complex. Ray also had an exemption from the draft: He was married with three children — my dad’s older brothers Owen, Franny and Hube

Uncle Tom signed up with Ray

Next in line on 5 June 1917 — registered the same day as Ray — was Orville “Tom” Charboneau. Born on 23 April 1892, Tom was 25 and described as tall with medium build, blue eyes, brown hair and slight baldness.

Tom lived at 10 Church St. in Little Falls, N.Y., where he worked as an automobile repairman for C.A. Ross on West Main St. He was single with no dependents.

Uncle Dewey registered in 1918

George Dewey Charboneau, the youngest brother, registered on 12 Sept. 1918 — the same year as Albert. Born 12 June 1898, he was age 20 and described as tall and slender with blue eyes and brown hair.

Uncle Dewey worked as a shoemaker at the Daniel Green Felt Shoe Company — where my grandfather Ray also worked — and lived with his parents Will and Eva (Bull) Charboneau on Cline Street in Dolgeville, N.Y. Unmarried, he listed his father Will as his next of kin.

Wartime service

Of the four, Tom and Dewey were called up — toward the end of the war — and their service was entered onto a roster compiled by the Herkimer County Home Defense Committee of soldiers who were drafted or volunteered their services in WWI.  However, Uncle Albert and my grandfather Ray appear to have performed service of their own in Herkimer County.

More on this in the next post. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1885: First born son, Albert Barney Charboneau

Sepia Saturday 524Second in a series about Albert Barney Charboneau — my paternal grandfather’s brother who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

Studio portrait of Albert Barney Charboneau circa 1910. He often went by the nickname Bert. Scan by Molly Charboneau

My dad’s Uncle Albert, who died in the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, was born on 17 Feb. 1885 in the small hamlet of Hawkinsville — located along the Black River east of Boonville in Oneida Co., New York.

Albert Barney Charboneau — who often went by the nickname Bert — was the first-born son of my paternal great grandparents Will and Eva (Bull) Charboneau.

A North Country childhood

Albert started his life in New York’s North Country — yet his birth year makes it difficult to learn more about his early childhood.

https://mapio.net/pic/p-9170669/
Contemporary photo of the Hawkinsville Dam — near the North Country childhood home of my dad’s uncle Albert Barney CharboneauPhoto: Kris R./mapio

He was born five years after the 1880 U.S. census — and the next 1890 U.S. census was destroyed in a fire. New York State’s 1892 census is not much help, either, because records for Oneida County are missing.

So Albert first appears in the 1900 U.S. census at the age of 15 with the surname variant “Charbano.” He was living in the Town of Forestport  with his parents and three younger brothers — including my paternal grandfather W. Ray Charboneau.

Albert B. Charboneau and family – 1900 U.S. census – Town of Forestport, Oneida County, New York – Source: FamilySearch[1]FamilySearch requires free login to view records.
Name DOB Age Born in Father Born in Mother Born in Job/School
William L. Charbano May 1857 43 New York Canada Fr. Germany Stay. Engineer
Eva M. Charbano July 1867 32 New York New York New York
Albert D. Charbano
Feb. 1885 15 New York New York New York Laborer Sawmill
Ray M. Charbano April 1888 12 New York New York New York At School
Orville N. Charbano April 1892 8 New York New York New York At School
George D. Charbano June 1898 1 New York New York New York

An interesting heritage

This enumeration supports previous research on my Charboneau ancestors. Albert’s father Will Charboneau, a stationery engineer, was the son of immigrants.

Will’s father Laurent Charbonneau  immigrated from Quebec in the 1850s. Will’s mother Ursula Angeline Zinsk was a German-Swiss immigrant who arrived in New York State during the same time period. Both lived nearby[2]ibid.in 1900.

Albert’s mother, Eva May (Bull) Charboneau, was the daughter Arthur T. Bull (my Union Army great-great grandfather) and Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull — whose parents divorced in 1866.

Was Albert aware of his interesting family heritage? Hard to know — but I do hope his parents shared some oral history with him.

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.ny1306.photos.124358p/
Vintage Sawmill in Warren County, N.Y. Albert’s 1900 U.S. census enumeration indicates that he was already at work, at just 15, as a laborer in a sawmill. Photo: Library of Congress

Albert’s lumber job

The other item that jumped out at me from Albert’s 1900 U.S. census entry was that he was already at work — at just 15 — as a laborer in a sawmill.

Lumber and its related products were big business in the Adirondack foothills — with loggers felling forest trees and sending  logs and finished lumber south on the Black River Canal, which fed into the Erie Canal.

At one time Albert’s Hawkinsville hometown had a saw mill, wood products firms and prospects for growth once a railroad line was established.

But those hopes were dashed when the railroad was built further west — and by 1910 the Charboneau family had moved south to up-and-coming Dolgeville in Herkimer County, N.Y.

More on this in the next post. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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References

References
1 FamilySearch requires free login to view records.
2 ibid.