Identifying Alburg’s “Indians” – Update

Great thanks to Bill Skillman for leaving a nice little treasure in his comments to my Alburg “Indian” mystery. His assistance helps to confirm my prior identification of the “four Indians” who enlisted for the town of Alburg, Vermont during the Civil War.

Bill Skillman commented recently to acquaint me with a published transcription of a Civil War Diary kept by Charles B. Mead, Company F, First U.S. Sharpshooters. The diary transcription is provided online in PDF format by the Rutland Historical Society.

Readers interested in the Civil War may want to read all the abstracted diary entries provided by the Historical Society. You can find the diary in Volume 34, No. 1 of the “Rutland Historical Society Quarterly”.

The entry of interest is dated Feb. 14 and is found on page 8 of the PDF version of their newsletter. It reads

Sun. Feb. 14 – Sunday morning inspection. Got up in great style. Rode Col. Williams’ nag some. Charley Burr and Dennis Locklin over today. Three Indians from Western New York came to our Company today – Squires, Laughlin [Lafflin] and Loran.

Four days later there is a second reference to these man when on the 18th Mead writes “Teaching my Indians how to do picket duty.

Now for a brief summary of my findings.

According to town records, four unnamed “Indians” enlisted for the town of Alburg, Vermont sometime during the fall of 1863. These same town records provide names for a number of other men who enlisted for the town during the same period.

Using a number of online resources and the process of elimination, my research suggested four men enlisting together on the 15th of December into Company F of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters where the most likely candidates to be these four “Indian” men. Their names were David Loran, Peter Laflin, George Squires, and Joseph Bero. You can read my original posting at Civil War Challenge – Identifying Alburgh’s unnamed “Indian” soldiers for the details of my research and my follow up  post Civil War Challenge – Mohawk Serve for Alburgh!.

The Civil War Pension File of David Loran confirmed that David was a Mohawk from the St. Regis Community. Testimony within the file stated in a number of places that George Squires was David’s “tent mate” during the war. George was a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Community and is confirmed by the presence of his grave marker in the St. Regis Cemetery showing his Civil War service.

Joseph Bero gave testimony for David Loran. His testimony confirms he was a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Community. I could find no evidence Joseph actually mustered into Company F or any other company of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters despite the fact he is shown as enlisting with the other 3 men. I did find evidence of earlier enlistments for Joseph and a suggestion of desertion, so it is possible he was discovered.

The fourth man has proved to be a problem to document. Peter Laflin died in the service of his company and apparently left no widow or children to claim a pension. The name Laflin shows up in the St. Regis Community but no record of a Peter turned up in the meager pre-Civil War records that I could gain access to.

This simple and brief diary entry of fellow soldier Charles Mead has provided the confirmation I was seeking. This entry confirms that Peter Laflin was indeed an Native man. The entry also confirms that Joseph Bero did not show up with the other three men when they first appeared in Company F of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters.

I may never learn what prevented Joseph Bero from mustering in with his follow Mohawk, but I will continue to keep looking. With help from others, perhaps we can resolve this last question as well.

Before closing for today, I want to take a moment to give a special thanks to Bill Skillman for his valuable contribution. His participation confirms my belief that the Internet has provided historians and genealogists the single most important tool to ever exist. We can now collaborate with people all over the world almost instantly. Working together provides us with the real possibility of solving our most stubborn mysteries and brick walls.

Canyon Wolf 
Copyright ©2011 Ne-Do-Ba – All Rights Reserved
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