Family:Whitney, William Garrett (1840-1915)

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William Garrett Whitney (Jonathan7, Ami6, Jonathan5, Jonathan4, Jonathan3, Benjamin2, John1), son of Jonathan7and Ann Jane (Garrett) Whitney, was born 13 Dec 1840, Allen, MI, and died 7 May 1915, Allen, MI. He was buried in Allen Cemetery, Allen, MI.[1]

He married 23 Apr 1874, Allen, MI, Elizabeth (Marshall) Kay, daughter of Charles John and Elizabeth A. (Hyland) Marshall. She was born 7 Mar 1843, Kent, England, and died 14 Dec 1916, Bronson, MI, or Bethel, MI. She had married firstly, 1 Oct 1864, New Market, ON, Thomas George Kay. He died 7 Jul 1870, London, England. She was buried in Allen Cemetery, Allen, MI.[2]

William was a farmer and a Civil War veteran who received a pension from the U.S. Government.

Enlisted in U.S. Civil War in Co. B, 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, 24 Aug 1861. On 20 Sep 1863, he fought in the Battle of Chickamauga, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. On 1 Mar 1865, he was promoted to Captain. On 16 Sep 1865, he was mustered out of service at Nashville, TN.

As the enemy were about to charge, this officer went outside the temporary Union works among the dead and wounded enemy and at great exposure to himself cut off and removed their cartridge boxes, bringing the same within the Union lines, the ammunition being used with good effect in again repulsing the attack.

Date of issue: 21 October 1895.

Sergeant William Whitney was one of nine soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, on September 19 & 20, 1863.

His own account of the incident is as follows:

"LIEUTENANT WILLIAM G. WHITNEY, of Company B, Eleventh Michigan Infantry, tells of a unique way of replenishing the empty cartridge pouches of the men of his company as follows:
"'Noon of the 20th of September, 1863, found our brigade--Stanley's--Negley's Division, Thomas' Corps, on Snodgrass Hill, a part of Missionary Ridge. We were about 120 yards east of the Snodgrass House. The brigade consisted of the Nineteenth Illinois, Eighteenth Ohio and Eleventh Michigan, about 700 men, placed in line of battle as follows: Nineteenth Illinois on the right, Eleventh Michigan on the left, and the Eighteenth Ohio in reserve. We were expected to repel the assault of Preston's and Kershaw's divisions of Confederate infantry. Their losses alone during the afternoon were twenty per centum more than the whole number of our brigade. During a lull in the storm of battle we threw up a temporary breastwork of stone, rails and logs. About 5 P.M., after repulsing five successive charges of the enemy, we found ourselves without ammunition. The enemy were about 100 yards in our front, preparing for another charge, and their sharpshooters were firing at every man who showed his head above our light works. Their dead and wounded lay in great numbers, right up to our works. They were [illustration] armed with Enfield rifles of the same calibre as our Springfield rifles. I don't know what prompted me, but I took my knife from my pocket, stepped over the works, and, while my company cheered and the rebels made a target of me, I hurriedly passed along the front, cutting off the cartridge boxes of the dead and wounded, and threw them over to my company. Thus I secured a few rounds for each of my men. The enemy made one more charge and was again repulsed. Darkness settled down on us, and ended the terrible battle of Chickamauga.'"[3]

A short biography:

"WILLIAM G. WHITNEY, of Allen Township, is the son of that well-known old resident, Jonathan Whitney, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. He was born in this township, Dec. 13, 1840, and while being reared to farm pursuits, his early education, begun in the common schools, was completed by attendance at both Hillsdale and Albion Colleges. He spent the winter of 1860-61 in Illinois, then returning to his native township, enlisted on the 24th of August following in Company B, 11th Michigan Infantry, in which he was promoted first to the rank of Sergeant, and subsequently, Jan. 7, 1853, received the commission of Second Lieutenant.
"Lieut. Whitney commanded his company at the battle of Mission Ridge, and on the 3d of July, 1864, was promoted in front of Atlanta, Ga., to the rank of First Lieutenant. At the first-mentioned battle he was complimented in the presence of his brigade for meritorious conduct before the fire of the enemy. After the fall of Atlanta he was appointed military conductor on the Chattanooga & Knoxville Railroad, in which capacity he served until the 1st of March, 1865. He was then given a Captain's commission, and also made Provost Marshal of Cleveland, Tenn., which position he held until in August, 1865.
"Capt. Whitney now rejoined his regiment, which was stationed at Knoxville from that time until being mustered out. He was in all the engagements of his regiment, including the battle of Chickamauga, where he was wounded slightly in the right hand. Upon receiving his discharge he continued a resident of Knoxville two years, engaged as baggage master and conductor on the Knoxville & Chattanooga Railroad. This contract ended, he returned to his native township, and engaged in farming until the spring of 1887, having a body of land 130 acres in extent. At that date he transferred this to the care of a tenant, and removed to Allen Village, where he now resides.
"Our subject was married in Allen Township, April 23, 1874, to Mrs. Bessie Kay, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Marshall, and widow of Thomas Kay, who died in London, England, July 7, 1870. Mrs. Whitney had by her first marriage one child, a daughter, Lottie, who is now living in Allen Township. Of her union with our subject there are three children living--Anna L. M., H. Jennie May and Frederick W. G. One child, a daughter, Mary, died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Whitney are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and politically, our subject votes the Republican ticket. Socially, he belongs to C. J. Dickinson Post No. 6, G. A. R., of Hillsdale."[4]

Child of George Thomas and Elizabeth (Marshall) Kay:

i. Charlotte Kay, b. 13 Oct 1866, Allen, MI; d. 8 Jan 1908, Allen, MI; m. ca. 1885, George Alvin Swick.

Children of William Garrett and Elizabeth (Marshall)(Kay) Whitney:

i. Anna L. Maud Whitney, b. 10 Jan 1875 (twin), Allen, MI; d. 1957, MI; m. 1905, Charles Fowler.
ii. Hannah Jenny May Whitney, b. 10 Jan 1875 (twin), Allen, MI; d. 17 Jan 1912, MI; bur. Allen Cemetery, Allen, MI;[5] m. 1898, Harrie R. Parish.
iii. Frederic William G. Whitney, b. 23 May 1877, Allen, MI; d. 1960; m. 1907, May Belle Eldred; no children listed in census records.


The middle name of Garrett for him does not appear in the records discovered. Diane G. Whitney found out that fact from descendants. Her assistance in that matter is gratefully acknowledged and greatly appreciated. --RLW


William S. WHITNEY 39 Self M M W MI Farmer NY IS. OF MANN Elizabeth WHITNEY 36 Wife F M W ENG Keeping House ENG ENG May WHITNEY 5 Dau F S W MI MI ENG Maude WHITNEY 5 Dau F S W MI MI ENG Fred WHITNEY 3 Son M S W MI MI ENG Lottie KAY 13 SDau F S W MI Attending School CAN ENG Henry E. DRYER 34 Oth M M W HANOVER Farm Laborer HANOVER HANOVER

304 315 William G. Whitney Captain B 11 MI Inf 24 Aug 1861 29 Sep 1865 4y 1m 5d Allen, MI Slightly wounded, Chronic Rheumatism, and Heart Disease


1.^  Find A Grave memorial #7716277, William G. Whitney.

2.^  Find A Grave memorial #19268980, Elizabetth M. Whitney.

3.^  Walter Frederick Beyer and Oscar Frederick Keydel, comps., Deeds of valor: from records in the archives of the United States government; how American heroes won the medal of honor; personal reminiscences and records of officers and enlisted men who were rewarded by Congress for most conspicuous acts of bravery in battle, combined with an abridge history of our country's wars. (Detroit: Perrien-Keydel Co., 1901), vol. 1, pp. 269-270.

4.^  Portrait and biographical album of Hillsdale County, Mich. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1888), p. 893.

5.^  Find A Grave memorial #22711809, Jennie May Whitney Parish.

Copyright © 2013, 2017, 2019, Kenneth L. Whitney, Robert L. Ward, and the Whitney Research Group.