Ephraim Weston Reynolds is my third great-grandfather. Born August 8, 1838 in Dennysville, Washington County, Maine, the seventh of eight children born to David and Elmira Whitney Reynolds.
His family moved to Machias at some point as they are there in the 1850 US Census when he was twelve years old, and again in 1860 at age 22.
He enlisted to fight in the Civil War the first time on January 7, 1862 as a Private, age 24 – Enlisted in Company K, Maine 15th Infantry Regiment. The 15th Maine “Organized at Augusta December 6-31, 1861, and mustered in January 23, 1862. Moved to Portland February 25, and there embarked for Ship Island, Miss., March 6. Attached to Butler’s New Orleans Expeditionary Corps January to March, 1862. 3rd Brigade, Dept. of the Gulf, to September, 1862.”
He mustered out of the army on 18 August 1862.
It shows that he re-enlisted on June 25, 1863, along with his brothers, Moses, Josiah, Daniel and Benjamin. Josiah and Benjamin were declined due to “disability”.
What would have made them all enlist/re-enlist at this point in the war? On June 13-15 the Battle of Winchester that cost the Union 6000 men, and on June 23, “Forward units of the Army of Northern Virginia begin crossing the Potomac River into Maryland northwest of Harper’s Ferry”
Now, here’s where things get interesting.
According to the 1900 US Federal Census, he married Lucinda McCrossin in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1863. I am going to assume it was before June when he re-enlisted, or perhaps right around then.
Sometime around April or May 1864, Ephraim went AWOL and went back to Machias as his father had died April 9, 1864. The 31st Regiment was gathered at Augusta, Maine in March and April 1864 and left for Washington, D.C. on April 18, 1864. It is likely that Ephraim never headed towards DC.
The 31st served in Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2. Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run, October 27-28. His brother Daniel W. died in the war in October 1864, probably in one of those battles.
He spent the next few years skipping back and forth over the US/Canada border, likely to avoid capture for desertion. A family story said that he’d robbed a Civil War pay train, but an article in The Bangor Daily News from Jan 7, 2014 that my uncle Hank shared hints at bonuses given for those that got others to enlist and who re-enlisted. Perhaps the bonuses for getting all of his brothers to enlist as well as his own re-enlistment bonus were responsible for the ‘sudden wealth’?
Lucinda McCrossin Reynolds gave him eleven children: Sarah (1865-1948), George M. (1867-1921) and my great-great grandfather, Edgar Bliss (1868-1923) born in New Brunswick, Canada.
Henry (1869-1879), Frank Everett (1871), Lucinda Gertrude (1872), Leonice/Bernice (1874), Dora D. (1878), Rebecca Weston (1880), Ephraim Winton (1881-1917) and Maude L. (1882) all born in Machias, Maine.
According to the 1870 US Census, the family was residing in Machias, where they stayed. There are still descendants of this family living in Machias and the nearby towns.
A Congressional Note, dated 1902, from the U.S. Committee on Military Affairs – to remove the charge of desertion from Ephraim W. Reynolds.
Ephraim died on December 2, 1906 in Machias, Washington County, Maine.
On his death record card, his age is listed as 76 years, 3 mos, 24 days. Born in Dennysville, Maine and his occupation was laborer. His father was David Reynolds, mother, Elmira Whitney. Father born in Dennysville, mother in Columbia Falls and his father worked as a milkman. Cause of death: “Heart Trouble” signed by Dr. J.W. Longfellow of Machias.
According to his pension card, on Jan 21, 1882 an invalid claim was filed. On Jan 9, 1917, a widow’s pension application was filed by Lucinda.
Company B, Regiment 31, Maine Infantry & Company K, Regiment 15, Maine Infantry: Civil War Pensions, Pub.Number: T289
Lucinda survived him until 1929, so his pension obviously helped her for many years.