Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Oldest Civil War Soldier to Enlist from Mentz

With reflections of Memorial Day, I thought I would share some information about the oldest civil war soldier to enlist from the Town of Mentz (based on Ancestry.com records).  Our oldest soldier would be Levi DeGroff.

Levi Degroff served in Company L, 16th NY Heavy Artillery.  He reported his age as 45 at the time he enlisted.  His headstone at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery says he was born in 1809 making him closer to age 54 when he enlisted on Dec 23, 1863.

Less than 17% of the men to enlist here were of age 40 and over.  Less than 2% reported they were age 45.  Of these men, all were older but reported their age as 45, so not to be excluded from service.  Out of the 38 men age 40 and over, 4 would not survive, Patrick Cossin of 16th HART would die of disease at Williamsburg, VA, William Hatfield of 111th Infantry would die of wounds, Abel Mott of the 105th Inf would die of disease at Catlett's Station in Virginia and William Dibehart (Dineheart) also of the 111th would die of disease as a POW at Andersonville, GA. We owe a great debt of gratitude to our soldiers.

The oldest soldiers to enlist from Port Byron and Mentz includes:

Levi Degroff
Aaron Wilson
Henry Dinehart
David Upham

All of the oldest soldiers served in Company L, 16th NY Heavy Artillery.  Aaron Wilson served the last part of his service as the company cook.  David Upham may have been from Butler, Wayne County but enlisted here.

Levi Degroff married Susan A Moon and together they had three children.  They once owned a home on the corner of River and Green Streets.  His daughter Minnie DeGroff married Charles Delanson Quimby.  He also had a daughter named Mary and a son Levi Jr. 

He was a farmer by occupation and received a pension for his service during the war.  Levi DeGroff's obituary indicates he died at Victory, NY in 1890 while visiting on a trip there.  He is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Port Byron.

Levi reminds us that freedom is never free, it comes at the price of many soldier's lives, those who make this sacrifice to serve, protect and preserve the freedoms and liberties that we all enjoy must be commended.  The long tradition of proud military service continues.  This memorial day, I express my appreciation to the many service men and woman who are serving to keep America strong.

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