Peter Tower Baldwin was born in Hillsdale County, Michigan on October 5, 1843, as the son of Daniel Baldwin and Sarah Ann (Farr or Farrar) Baldwin, natives of the State of New York. Daniel and Sarah married sometime before 1835, most likely in New York.
Both sides of Peter T. Baldwin's his family had strong pioneer bloodlines. On his mother's side, his grandfather was Peter Farrar, a native of Massachusetts. His mother, Sarah Farrar, was born in Niagara County, New York. On the Baldwin side, Peter T. Baldwin's grandfather, Abel Baldwin was a veteran of the War of 1812. Abel Baldwin was also a millwright, sawyer and carpenter. Peter T. Baldwin's father, Daniel Baldwin practiced these same trades. In 1835 Abel and Daniel Baldwin left New York and came to Michigan. Records indicate that they built and operated three different Michigan saw mills. The first mill was located in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

In the fall of 1838, Abel Baldwin and Daniel Baldwin, and Abram S. Quick built a saw?mill on section 26, Maple Grove Township, Barry County, Michigan. The land was owned by John Mott. Mr. Mott was a Quaker the property was known as the Quaker Mill. The Baldwins, Quick and Mott worked the mill on shares. It was the first saw?mill in Maple Grove Township. The Baldwins and Quick operated the Quaker Mill until the spring of 1840. Daniel Baldwin owned two hundred and forty acres in Maple Grove Township. He farmed his own land in addition to operating the mill.

In 1841 Abel and Daniel Baldwin, along with Cleveland Ellis, built a third lumber mill, this time in section 12, Assyria Township, Barry County. At that time Abel and Daniel Baldwin were living on land in section 3 of Assyria Township. The Baldwin's hauled the irons used in the construction of this mill to Barry County from Detroit, Michigan. It was no small undertaking given the state of frontier Michigan roadways. In 1853 the third mill was sold to Belcher Athern and John T. Ellis who operated the mill until approximately 1855. Abel Baldwin died in Barry County.

Daniel Baldwin became a prominent Barry County Citizen serving in a number of positions in the Maple Grove Township government: highway commissioner (1848); justice of the peace (1849); treasurer (1851-52); and director of the poor (1851-52). Daniel Baldwin is identified in one his daughter and son-in-law's biography as the father of nine children. At present, the names of only four of his children are known: Narcissa (born September 12, 1834 in New York), Sally (about 1836), Lydia (about 1839), Peter (October 5, 1843). The Baldwins moved to Michigan while Narcissa Baldwin was still a child. Narcissa Baldwin married Leroy Cumings in Maple Grove December 3, 1850. She and her Leroy Cumings are the subject of a biography in PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF BARRY AND EATON COUNTIES, 695-696 (Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1891).

After Daniel Baldwin's death, Sarah Baldwin remarried and became the wife of Abel Barnum. They lived in Bangor, Berrien County, Michigan . Sarah lived to be at least seventy?six years old and was a long term member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Civil War Years 1861-1865

On August 20, 1861, Peter T. Baldwin volunteered in the Union Army. He enlisted in Dowagiac, Cass County, Michigan. According military records, at the time of his enlistment Peter T. was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a light complexion, light colored hair and blue eyes. Records identify his occupation as farming. Although he could not have known it at the time, Peter T. Baldwin would end up seeing more of his country and more fighting than he ever could have imagined. He enlisted as a private, in Company M, 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment, one of the most famous fighting regiments in the entire civil war. Years later when he had settled in Alba and opened his wagon shop, a biographer noted that Peter T. Baldwin could recite many interesting reminiscences of the old "war days." A review of when and where the first Michigan fought shows that he had a wealth of experience upon which to draw.

The First Michigan Cavalry was raised in the summer of 1861, under Colonel T. F. Brodhead. I had its rendevous in Detroit with other units. On September 29, 1861, the regiment left Detroit for Washington D.C. The unit passed most of that first winter in Frederick, Maryland. In the spring of 1862 the regiment was in active service on the upper Potomac, in the Shenendoah Valley and near the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge. It was engaged in the following actions: Winchester, March 23, 1862; Middletown, March 25, 1862; Strasburg, March 27, 1862; Harrisonburg, April 22, 1862; Winchester again, May 24, 1862; Orange Court-House, July 16, 1862; Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862; and Bull Run, August 30, 1862. Colonel Brodhead was killed during a bloody engagement at the first battle of Bull Run where the First Michigan cavalry alone had twenty men killed and wounded. Overall, in 1862 the First Michigan Cavalry regiment had thirty men killed in action, fifty-eight wounded, and sixty men died of disease.

The regiment spent the winter of 1862-63 near Frederick, Maryland. It performed grand-guard duty along the front line of defenses of Washington in Virginia, extending from Edward's Ferry to the mouth of the Oceoquan River. In late June and early July of 1863 the First Michigan cavalry was almost constantly engaged in fighting.

It was on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg that the First Michigan Cavalry distinguished itself during a pivotal moment in what was arguably the most important battle of the entire Civil War. Two days before the fighting started at Gettysburg, the Michigan Cavalry Brigade composed of the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Michigan Calvary Regiments were placed under the command of recently promoted Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer. This was the Custer who late met his match at the Little Big Horn fame who on June 25th, 1876, when he and the 7th U.S. Cavalry were annihilated by a force of Souix Indians. Custer was only twenty-four years old at Gettysburg and a recent West Point graduate. When Peter T. Baldwin followed Custer into battle at Gettysburg he was almost as old as his commanding General.

On the third day at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Jeb Stuart, the Confederate calvary leader had planned to assault the rear of Meade's army at the moment of Pickett's charge. Custer and the Michigan Cavalry Brigade thwarted Stewart's plan. They shielded the flank of Meade's army, and thus assured the Union victory in the greatest battle of the war. Shortly after the cannonading that preceded Pickett's charge Custer gave the signal Colonel Alger and the Fifth Michigan Cavalry to advance and engage the enemy. Dismounted, they moved from field to field and fence to fence until the Confederate line emerged from behind the Rummel farm buildings and nearby woods. The Wolverine's Spencer repeating carbines helped the Fifth Michigan offset the South's numerical advantage until their supply of ammunition was exhausted. As the men of the Fifth Michigan mounted their horses the Confederate cavalry followed in close pursuit. The Seventh Michigan came to the aid of the Fifth. As the Seventh Michigan moved forward, Custer drew his saber, dashed in front of them and shouted: "Come on you Wolverines!" The Seventh Michigan came straight at the dismounted Confederate cavalry line, which broke and rode for the rear. Custer had lead this charge half way and the then left the regiment continuing on under its leaders. The Seventh Michigan ran into a post-and-rail fence. Under heavy fire it regrouped and resumed the charge up to another fence some 200 yards from the enemy batteries. The Ninth and Thirteenth Virginia cavalries then struck the flank of the Seventh Michigan. The Seventh Michigan then counter-attacked, and while retiring it was struck in the flank by a mounted charge of the First Virginia cavalry, this in turn was met and turned back by the Fifth Michigan under Colonel Alger. Then there was a pause.

Stuart had kept two of his best brigades in reserve. They emerged from the woods northeast of the Rummel buildings. Through Union artillery Generals Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee led a saber charge against the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Michigan cavalry regiments. Then the First Michigan under the leadership of Colonel Charles Town and Custer started at a trot to engage the enemy. When the command to charge was given, they hurled themselves at the gray column, while the Fifth struck at the right flank and the Sixth and Seventh charged the left. The Confederates staggered under the blows to its flanks but it was Town's with the First Michigan Cavalry that went through it like a knife, scattering the gray horsemen like ten-pins. Captain William E. Miller of the Third Pennsylvania stated that the collision between the First Michigan and the Confederate cavalry was so violent that "many of the horses were turned end over end and crushed their riders beneath them." Stuart called his disorganized men together and left the field to the Wolverines. This ended the cavalry fighting on the Union's right flank at Gettysburg.

General Custer's report singled out the First Michigan Cavalry for particular praise: "To Colonel Town, commanding the 1st Michigan Cavalry, and to the officers and men of his regiment for the gallant manner in which they drove the enemy from the field, great praise is due." At Gettysburg, the First Michigan Cavalry had eleven officers and eighty men killed and wounded out of three hundred who went into action. The First Michigan's charge is considered by many military analysts as the finest cavalry charge made during the Civil war. If the First Michigan cavalry's charge had failed, Mead's forces on Cemetery Ridge, the center of the Union's defense position, would have been thrown into confusion and may have been routed changing the course of the war and possibly its outcome. According to family history, Peter T. Baldwin had his horse shot from underneath him at some time during the famous saber charge of the First Michigan Cavalry at Gettysburg. Peter T. escaped without injury. It is not known how long after the fighting at Gettysburg that Peter T. remained dismounted. He may have obtained another horse from a fallen comrade or from the enemy, but if he was not able to do so it probably would have been some time before re could have rejoined his regiment.

Peter T. Baldwin re-enlisted December 21, 1863 and served as a Sergeant in Company M, 1st Regiment Mich. Cavalry. It is fortunate that he did. Men from the First Michigan Cavalry who elected not to re-enlist were sent upon Judson Kilpatrick's ill-fated Richmond raid in February of 1864. Many men were killed or captured. Following his re-enlistment, Peter T. Baldwin would have returned home with the First Michigan Cavalry on veteran furlough during the winter of 1863-64. During the winter the veteran regiment was joined by a new group of recruits.

In late March of 1864, the First Michigan cavalry and the rest of the Michigan Cavalry Brigade joined General Sheridan's cavalry corps at Culpepper, Virginia. In early May the brigade advanced with the army, and soon became engaged in the Battle of the Wilderness, fighting, mounted, during the first three days with the Confederate cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart. During the Battle of the Wilderness the First Michigan had ten men killed and twenty wounded.

May of 1864 was an exceedingly busy month. On May 9, 1864 the cavalry corps set out under General Sheridan on his great raid toward Richmond. That evening the First Michigan Cavalry, followed closely by the rest of the column, dashed into the Rebel depot at Beaver Dam and drove away its defenders. The men spent the night destroying huge stores of accumulated rebel supplies. On May 11, 1864, first Michigan Cavalry was at Yellow Tavern, ten miles from Richmond. Confederate General Stuart was mortally wounded in the Yellow tavern cavalry battle. The First Michigan Cavalry again led a saber charge against the Confederate forces, suffering losses of eleven killed and twelve wounded. On May 12, 1864, the command arrived within a mile and a half of Richmond but could not penetrate the fortifications surrounding Richmond. General Sheridan turned his course towards the Choicahominy. A rebel force occupied a narrow passage through a swamp near the Choicahominy River. The Confederate battery cut down the head of the Union column. Two brigades failed to force a passage. General Sheridan sent to the rear for Custer and his Michigan Brigade, which at once hastened to the front. The dismounted the 5th and 6th Michigan were sent into the swamp on both sides of the road wading into the waist deep mire. When they began flanking fire on the Confederate position, the Fists and Seventh Michigan Cavalry regiments made a charge with sabers drawn and cleared the road for the rest of the corps.

At Hawe's Shop May 28, 1864 the First Michigan had fifteen soldiers killed and wounded. It lost the same number of men two days at Old Church. The First Michigan cavalry fought dismounted with other cavalry regiments in advance of the infantry at Cold Harbor on May 31 and June 1, 1864, losing a total of eighteen men killed and wounded. The regiment was in the thick of the fighting at Trevillion Station June 11 and 12, 1864, where it fought primarily dismounted in engagements with the Confederate infantry. The First Michigan had fifty-one men killed and wounded. In July of 1864 the regiment performed on picket and scout duty. The Michigan Brigade was taken on transports to Washington and from there they marched to the Shenendoah Valley. The First Michigan Cavalry was involved in much of the fighting in the Shenendoah Valley campaign form August to October: Fort Royal, Shepardstown, Smithfield, Winchester, and Cedar Creek. By November 1, 1864, over a six month period the regiment's losses totaled eighty-two killed or mortally wounded in action, one hundred and two wounded, with only thirty-three dying of disease. The Michigan Brigade spent the winter quarters near Winchester.

In late March and early April of 1865 the First Michigan fought at Five Forks. The regiment was constantly engaged in fighting until Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865. The First Michigan was in the extreme advance when Lee decided to surrender and the flag of truce to negotiate surrender passed through its lines. Following the surrender ceremony the regiment moved into the edge of North Carolina and returned to Washington. Immediately after the review of the Army of the Potomac, on the 23rd of May, 1865, was sent by rail and steamer to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This was generally considered shabby treatment of a regiment with such an outstanding war record and was the cause of considerable dissatisfaction. After years of fighting, rather than going home the men were being sent out to the western frontier. Peter T. Baldwin was honorably discharged at Ft. Leavenworth on August 7, 1865.

Life In Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan 1866-1873

Peter T. Baldwin returned to Michigan. In little more than a year after his discharge from the Army, on December 31, 1866 he married Mary C. Moore. Reverend Aaron Rowe presided at the wedding. Together Peter and Mary Baldwin had one son, Clyde L. Baldwin, born April 8, 1868 in Berrien County, Michigan. Mary (Moore) Baldwin died on October 16, 1868 in Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan. Hagar Township is in the extreme northwestern corner of Berrien County and borders upon Lake Michigan.

More than a year after his wife Mary's death Peter T. Married Mary's younger sister Adulia Moore. The marriage ceremony for Peter T. Baldwin and Adulia Moore took place on November 23, 1869, in Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan, at the residence of A. J. Barnum the Reverend Aaron Rowe, Minister of the Gospel presiding. Their marriage certificate is Record No. 399 for Berrien County, Michigan and is dated December 10, 1869. When Peter T. married the second time he was 28 years old. He identified his residence at the time as Grand Mar, Michigan. His occupation is listed as a laborer. Adulia was 20 years old on the day she was married and she was identified as a resident of Hagar, Michigan. Adulia had not previously been married. Adulia was born in Frederickstown, Ohio, on November 5, 1849. Her father was George W. Moore, is identified in the 1870 Census for Berrien County, dwelling and family 175 as being born about 1818 in Ohio. Elsewhere George Moore is identified as having been born in Pennsylvania. Adulia's mother was Elizabeth Buskholder (or Burkholder) Moore is identified as having been born in Pennsylvania in approximately 1818. From Pennsylvania Adulia's parents moved to Knox County, Ohio, and then to Michigan in about 1857 and initially settling at Greenbush, Clinton County, Michigan where Mr. Moore ran a grist and saw?mill. The four other children of George Moore and Elizabeth Buskholder were as follows: Wilbur Moore (born about 1848 in Ohio); Henry Moore (born about 1853 in Ohio); Sarah Moore (born about 1857 in Ohio) and Frank Moore (born about 1858 in Michigan). The wedding of Peter T. Baldwin and Adulia was witnessed by T. A. Barnum, of Hager, Michigan, Mary G. Rowe, of Hagar, Michigan.

Peter T. and Adulia had three children together, George L. Baldwin (September 10, 1870), Sylvia Baldwin (April 29, 1872) and Gertrude Margaret Baldwin (August 19, 1880).Margaret Baldwin who never married. Until 1873 Peter T. lived in Hagar Township, Berrien County, Michigan. In 1873 he moved to Alba, Chestonia Township, Antrim County, Michigan.

Frontier Farming in Northern Michigan: 1874-1879

In the summer of 1874, the Baldwins migrated to Chestonia, in Antrim County, Michigan. The family was one of the first families to settle this portion of Antrim County. The trip north from Hagar, Berrien County, Michigan was not an easy one. According to Lenwood Prentice, a great grandson of Peter T. Baldwin, his grandfather described the route the Baldwin family took coming north from Hager, Michigan. The traveled by ox and an oxcart. They moved north to Elk Rapids, Michigan and stayed for a time. Subsequently they proceeded north to the little town of Central Lake, where they crossed the Chain of Lakes. They went down what is now known as Old State Road to Chestonia, Michigan. They crossed the Jordan River further up Old State Road to the road that went southeast past the old Art Morris homestead, on down the Jordan River on the north side near Penny Bridge. Peter T. and Daniel Baldwin traveled back down to Reed City, Michigan to get the land transferred to them by the State of Michigan. The total cost of the Peter T. Baldwin's approximately 160 acres was $7.71. Daniel Baldwin's eighty acres cost him $4.00.

Peter T. Baldwin assisted in organizing several Antrim County townships. In Chestonia Township the Baldwin family prepared a home for themselves in the forest. Upon his 1874 arrival, Peter T. Baldwin started upon the task of clearing his homestead of one hundred and sixty acres for cultivation. Lenwood Prentice relates that the Baldwin family's residence did not have any floors, windows or doors. Peter T. Baldwin reportedly carried 25 feet of lumber over four miles to make a door and it was the only sawed lumber in the building. Over the course of years the family made many improvements and they enjoyed a good home in pleasant surroundings. Sometime between 1874 and 1877 in Alba Peter T. planted four black walnut trees in a perfect square. Lenwood Prentice believes that they represented Peter T.'s four sisters: Margaret, Narcissa, Sally and Lydia Baldwin, In the late 1940's the trees were logged off.

Alba Businessman: 1880-1923

In 1880 Peter T. Baldwin and his family moved to Alba, Michigan. Peter T. was employed working in a saw mill. Two years later he opened a wagon?making shop in Alba. Peter T. probably learned some of the wagon?making trade from his duties in the cavalry of guarding wagon trains and keeping them moving towards their destinations. From all accounts, wagon train duty was miserable and dusty work despised by Civil War cavalry soldiers.

Peter T. Baldwin's Alba wagon shop was on the ground floor of a three level building the Baldwin family constructed. The family lived on the top floor over the wagon shop. The building also had a basement. In the wagon shop Peter T. Baldwin built wagons, sleighs, cutters, and bobsleds as well as general repair work.

According a Biographical History of Northern Michigan: Containing Biographies of Prominent Citizens, 439 (Bowen & Company 1905), "In politics Mr. Baldwin is a firm Republican, and has been elected to a number of local offices. He was the first township clerk of Chestonia Township, and was also treasurer, supervisor, member of the school board, school inspector and health officer." The same biographical sketch stated that Peter T. could "recite many interesting reminiscences of the old 'war days' and [that he took] a deep interest in the welfare of his old comrades?in?arms." It is probable that wagon service in Alba included a some very interesting stories. Peter T. Baldwin belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic (a Civil War veteran's organization).

Lenwood Prentice also described the impact upon the Baldwin's home when the railroad came through Alba. The railroad was built so close to the house that there was only enough room for a model T Ford to go between the railroad ties and the corner of the building. The windows rattled more than a little when the train went through town. At one time during the winter the train came down from the north with a plow. The snow was about two feet deep and they had freezing rain. When the train came through the snow broke up into four foot pieces that ended up breaking 14 windows in the building. Peter T. contacted the depot master who in turn contacted Grand Rapids. They had all of the windows reinstalled a little after daylight.

During 1890 and 1891 Peter T. Baldwin was involved in the process of applying for a veteran's partial disability pension. On August 6, 1890, Peter T. Baldwin, then 48 years old a resident of Alba that he is partially unable to earn a support by reason to Rheumatism; Piles; Kidney troubles; Palpitation of the Heart; General disability; Varicose veins; Cataracts.

On July 17, 1891, Frank Snyder of Alba Michigan, age 62, and a personal acquaintance of Peter T. for 4 years, submitted the following affidavit in support of Peter T. Baldwin's pension claim.

I know that the above claimant is suffering from disabilities of a permanent nature as follows: Disease of kidneys & heart, Rheumatism, piles, Varicose veins, Cataracts and general disability. I know that his disabilities incapacitate him from performing manual labor to the extent that fully 3/4 of what a well man could ordinarily do. I know they render him unable to earn full support at manual labor. I know claimant sustains a good moral character and said disabilities are not the result of vicious habits. I make this affidavit from intimate acquaintance and personal knowledge of claimant's physical condition. I know him to be a worthy man and make this affidavit that justice may be done in his case.

Ruel S. Reed of Alba, Mich. and J. F. Moore of Alba, Michigan identified themselves as acquaintances of Peter T. for 9 years and 8 years respectively, that he is the identical person he represents himself to be. Sworn to and subscribed August 6, 1890. On July 16, 1891, Nathan Childs aged 55 years, a resident of Alba in the County of Antrim and State of Michigan completed an affidavit stating that he has been well and personally acquainted with Peter T. Baldwin for seven years and that He has suffered during that time continually with diseases of the kidneys and heart, rheumatism, piles, varicose veins, cataracts and general disability, and that his diseases are of a permanent nature. These disabilities disqualify him from performing more than 1/4 of an able bodied man's work and that his disabilities render him unable to earn a full support. I know claimant to be a man of temperate and virtuous habits, and of good moral character, and that his disabilities are not caused by vicious habits.

Peter Tower Baldwin died in Alba, Michigan at 6:30 a.m. on May 9, 1923 at the age of 79 years 7 months 5 days. He had ben an Alba resident for 42 years. Peter T. Baldwin was buried on May 13, 1923 in Star Township Cemetery, Antrim County, Michigan.

On June 19, 1923, Adulia Baldwin applied for a widow's pension under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved May 1, 1920. Adulia was then 73 years of age and living in Alba, Michigan.


Biographical History of Northern Michigan: Containing Biographies of Prominent Citizens, 439 (Bowen & Company 1905).

History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties, Michigan: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, (Philadelphia, D.W. Ensign & Co. 1880).

Portrait And Biographical Album of Barry and Eaton Counties, 695-696 (Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1891).

Volume I , Stephen Z. Starr, The Union Cavalry in the Civil War (Louisiana State Univ. Press 1979).

Volume II , Stephen Z. Starr, The Union Cavalry in the Civil War (Louisiana State Univ. Press 1981).

Jeffrey D. Wert, From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864 (Simon & Schuster 1989).

Samuel Carter III, The Last Cavaliers: Confederate and Union cavalry in the Civil War (St. Martin's Press1979).

The Custer Album: A Pictorial Biography of General George A. Custer, 34-39 (Superior Publishing Co. 1964).

JNO. Robertson, Michigan in the War, 582-584.(W.S. George & Co., State Printers and Binders 1882),

Willis F. Dunbar, Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State, 380-81 (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company1980).

Vol. III Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, 397-405 (Castle Publications ).

This information was provided to the Antrim Genealogy page by Mary Williams.
I would like to thank her for her contributions.

If you have any questions about Antrim County Genealogy and would like to post your Antrim family information
please contact me, Margaret Fallone

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