Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Morning Star, May 19, 2019, pg. 3
Each year at this time we feature one of Albionís Civil War veterans who was a member of the local E. W. Hollingsworth Post No. 210 of the Grand Army of the Republic, the national Civil War veterans organization. This year we are featuring Charles A. McGee (1845-1922). Charles was born in Liberty, Jackson County in 1845, and came with his parents to Rice Creek, Calhoun County, northwest of Albion, at the age of three. In 1862 at the age of 18 he enlisted as a soldier in Company F of the 11th Michigan Cavalry, from which he served the Union until being mustered out at Jackson in 1865. Company F consisted mainly of men from Calhoun County.
The 11th Michigan served mainly in Tennessee and Kentucky, and finally in Georgia at the end of the War. Their battles included Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Battle of Pickettís Mill.
Following the War McGee moved to Table Rock and Elk Creek, Nebraska. There he operated a hotel for a few years, but returned to Michigan and Rice Creek and joined Rice Creek Protestant Methodist Church in 1878. He transferred his membership to the Albion Methodist Episcopal Church when he moved to Albion, and served on its board of directors for many years.
Charles was a faithful member of the local Albion G.A.R. Post No. 210, and served on the Soldiers Relief Commission. He was married to Vira Hanchett on October 25, 1886; the couple had one son, Ralph, who died at the age of 12. The family lived for many years at 920 N. Eaton St. in Albion, then finally at 216 Austin Avenue in the early 1920s.
At the time of Charles death on July 16, 1922, his subsequent funeral was conducted by the Rev. Isaac Riddick of the local G.A.R. Post No. 210, and Methodist minister Dr. Wilbur Diehl. Charles was not buried in the ground at Riverside Cemetery however. He is one of the few military veterans interred in the Riverside Abbey along the north edge of the cemetery near the Kalamazoo River, in Crypt C-3. Each spring, flags are placed in markers on the graves of our military veterans. Because the Riverside Abbey is locked, a couple of flags are placed on wooden sticks in the ground outside of the Abbey door, but the public doesnít know for whom they were placed. Perhaps a plaque could be mounted on the side of the Abbey containing the names of the veterans interred therein, and a flag holder mounted there.
From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of Civil War veteran Charles A. McGee, and another photograph of his nameplate in Riverside Abbey, with the inscription on the stating "Charles A. McGee 1845-1922. Co. F. 11th Mich. Cav." How many of our readers have been inside Riverside Abbey?
Charles A. McGee, Co F, 11th Michigan Cavalry
Charles McGee Tombstone
All text copyright, 2020 © all rights reserved Frank Passic