John grew up in Wayne Township, Ohio. He was the eldest son and had 4 brothers (James, William, David & Martin) & 5 sisters (Sarah, Mary, Margaret, Anna & Emma). He lived next door to his grandparents Lawrence & Fanny Winkler’s house, Uncle Enoch Winkler & his wife Rachel’s house, grandparents Christian & Sarah Alleman’s house, and Uncle George Winkler’s house.2
On 22 Aug 1862, at the age of 21, John Wesley enlisted in Wooster as a Private to serve in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry for the Union Army during the Civil War and on 15 Oct 1862 in Mansfield, Richland, Ohio, John was assigned to Company D of the 120th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.3, A JWW was with the 120th for the length of the regiment’s service, during which two officers & 17 men were killed in action and 6 officers & 275 men died of disease while serving under the 120th OVI.4
During John's time on the Vicksburg Campaign with the 120th, the regiment spent time at Milliken's Bend along the Mississippi River bordering Louisiana and Mississippi. Here John personally identifies that he contracted a horrible stomach bug in 1862/63. The specific cause was never identified, but it plagued him regularly for the rest of his life. Muster rolls identify that John was taken sick and left in the hospital at Memphis, Tennessee on 20 Dec 1862. His recovery time was quick and he mustered back in January. Then again, John was left sick at Perkins Plantation, now Somerset Plantation outside Newellton, Louisiana on 30 Apr 1863 (Gen. Ulysses S Grant commanded the Union Army from this plantation during the Vicksburg Campaign; 25 miles separate Milliken's Bend and Somerset Plantation as they encircle Vicksburg from the north and south). This was only temporary as by the end of May he had mustered back in with his regiment.
Civil War Discharge PapersOn 27 Nov 1864, after mustering out of the 120th, John was transferred to Company E 114th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.5 Here in the 114th regiment, the last years’ of his service were devoted to various detached expeditions, guard duty, etc.
The most action John saw while in the 114th was in the Siege of Spanish Fort at Spanish Fort, Baldwin, Alabama, 2nd-9th Apr 1865. Siege of Spanish Fort, Alabama and assault and capture of Fort Blakely were seen as the last great charge of the Civil War. After the siege JWW was sent to Mobile & Selma, AL.6
On 24 Jul 1865, it was noted that JWW was transferred to Company C 48th Ohio Veterans Volunteer Infantry but for some unknown reason, after mustering out of the 114th, he wound up on roster in Company E of the 48th instead.7 JWW's time in 48th OVI was on Garrison Duty in Post War Houston and Galveston, Texas.8
On 14 Oct 1865, John mustered out of the 48th Ohio Veterans Volunteer Infantry after completing 3 years 2 months and 7 days of service and returned home to Wayne County, Ohio.9
At the age of 29, John Wesley Winkler married Catharine Ann Warner on 06 Jan 1870 at her parent's home in Chester Township, Wayne County, Ohio10, 11 (John's father and Catharine's father owned land adjacent to one another making John and Catharine neighbors.)12, B, E The ceremony was conducted by Rev. P.J. Brown of Congress, Ohio.
Marriage in Wooster Republican (1870)After marriage, John and new wife Catharine make their home at Overton in Chester Township, next to Overton church, where John worked as a farmer. John & Catharine immediately became “parents” as John’s 10 year old sister Emma Alice Winkler moved in with the couple. Their neighbors include his brother David Todd Winkler & wife Rosanna, Catharine’s parents Thomas & Christina Warner, and brother Simon Peter Warner & wife Ida living four houses over.13
They started their own family officially in 1871 when son Thomas was born. Daughter Effie & son William would follow soon after and son Charles would round out the family in 1889.14
After father-in-law Thomas Warner passed away in 1879, JWW acquired the land, eventually sold off his existing land and moved onto the Warner property in Chester, just south-west of the Overton Church where he would retire and let son Charles take over the farming.16
The 1880 Agricultural census gives us a good look at what was going on at John's farm through the previous year. He states he owns 27 acres of farmland in Chester Township valued at $3,000. 21 of those acres are tilled, 2 are permanent orchards and 4 acres are woodland. Of the 21 tilled acres, 5 acres are mown accounting for 8 tons of hay and 2 bushels of clover seed. He owns 3 horses, 4 milk cows and 4 calves. 1 cow was sold, another was sent to slaughter and in total produced 400 lbs of butter. He also owned 12 pigs, 50 chickens and 4 other poultry producing 300 dozen eggs. He grew 500 bushels of Indian corn on 13 acres, 175 bushels of oats on 5 acres, 10 bushels of rye on 1 acre, 400 bushels of wheat on 20 acres and 40 bushels of Irish potatoes on a quarter acre. His farm also had 80 apple trees on 2 acres, 20 peach trees and kept honey bees that produced 40 lbs of honey the previous year.
Death Notice (1913)After John's father Jacob passed away in 1890, John's brother Martin took over the property on Winkler Rd. and brother William would own the rest property which bordered Overton Church to the east.
John would eventually receive a soldier’s pension due to the stomach problems he contracted during his service in the Civil War. Later, on 22 Nov 1899, the pension was increased to $10 per month, after that to $12 and just before his death it was approved to further increase to $25 (which eventually became a widow's pension for Catharine).15, D
By 1910, John was medically re-evaluated for a pension increase and his condition was not good. It hadn't been for years (which is alluded to in his death notice in the paper). Now approaching 70, John's light colored hair has now gone white, his complexion, which was dark against his blue eyes in his youth has now gone pale. He's anemic and emaciated; only weighing 142 lbs. What used to be a 5' 11" frame is now reduced to under 5' 8". He walks with an "uncertain and wobbly" gait and his stomach condition has become completely disabling while attacks are occurring almost weekly, limiting his food consumption to the good days.
John died suddenly on 18 Mar 1913 in Chester, Wayne, Ohio of “Paralysis of the Heart”.17 He was 72 years old. The Civil War Veteran was buried on 21 Mar 1913 at the Overton Church of God Cemetery just down the road from his home in Chester Township, at Lot 2, Block 2, Grave 1 where he now rests next to his wife.18, C
Jacob D. Winkler, 06 Mar 1815 - 06 Sep 1890
Barbara Ann Alleman, 28 Dec 1820 - 23 Mar 1890
Catharine Ann Warner, 21 Jul 1851 - 24 Jan 1942
- Thomas Ellsworth Winkler, 19 Apr 1871 – 09 Dec 1944
- Effie Elmina Winkler, 02 Aug 1873 – 02 Jan 1955
- William Arthur Winkler, 16 Mar 1879 – 08 Sep 1933
- Charles Ralph Winkler, 18 Jul 1889 – 21 Jul 1922
A John Wesley served on the 120th OVI along with his cousins Joseph H Winkler and George Madison Winkler, both of whom were sons of Uncle George Winkler. Both cousins survived the war.
B I cannot say for certain, but I believe that John Wesley spent a short amount of time living with his father and family at Jacob's home on Winkler Road in Overton before he acquired his own property down the road with wife Catharine. Even though we have no records to make this distinction, it makes sense that John would have moved into the area with his father and met Catharine Warner, who lived nearby, prior to marrying and moving almost next door to his parents.
C John was born in the Mechanicsburg area of Wayne Township. After marriage moved to Chester Township on Overton Rd near Overton Church and after his father-in-law Thomas Warner passed away, he sold his property and moved into Thomas' home just south of them, still in Chester. When John's father died 11 years later, brother Martin got the house and property on Winkler Road and William got the land east of Overton Church.
D Inflation estimations are tricky, but this amounts to roughly $300 a month today.
E John and Catharine didn't grow up next to each other. Somewhere around the time John went off to fight in the Civil War, father Jacob sold the family farm John grew up on in Wayne Township and relocated to the Overton/Cedar Valley area of Chester Township. So it's safe to say that John & Catherine weren't introduced or at least didn't get to know each other well until after John returned from his service in the Civil War.
Will I ever find John's Civil War Pension records? I've been going around in a circle with the government for over a year while they have trouble locating the documents. First to DC, then to the VA at St. Louis, then back to DC and again to the VA. (Finally received the documents as of Mar 2018, they were in the soldier's file folder the whole time, no one bothered to look. Apparently, I needed to ask for access to the whole folder instead of just requesting his pension application, because working with the government can be hard. If you ever have to deal with the Veteran's Administration to get records access, it helps to remind them you are looking for records of a long deceased person from the BILS system. The support staff deal so frequently with active service members, recent veterans and their families that they will go into auto-pilot and not hear your request for a CIVIL WAR veteran whose records are not at the National Archives. Multiple time I'd request access to records for "my 3x great grandfather" who "died over 100 years ago", whose grandchildren I never even met and would get an "I'm so sorry for your loss". Again. Auto-pilot. Be clear and repeat yourself if you feel there's any chance you were not heard correctly. It cost me over a year of research.)
Can property transactions at the Wooster Library narrow down a time for the Winkler family's relocation to Chester Township? ...and confirm it's before John's marriage?