Stoddard, Charles S., Private, MN 2nd US Cavalry

STODDARD, CHARLES S, Private, Minnesota 2nd US Cavalry, 1864-1865 Officially Unassigned to a Company, Fort Snelling, Minnesota

Born: October 23, 1846, in Hampshire, Illinois,

Married: Laura Belle Gossard, 14, September 1875

Charles and Laura Belle had 2 sons. The youngest son, Harry, was born in 1881.  Harry married Myrtle Rolph and had 3 children. The oldest son, Rolph, had 3 children from whom this member descends.

His father was a Tanner who emigrated from England in 1837 and died when Charles was only 5 years old in 1851.

Personal Life and Military History:

Shortly after the death of his father in 1853, his mother, Catherine, married her second husband, Thomas Smith, and moved to Minnesota with Charles and his younger sister, Martha.    Thomas was a farmer and Charles worked on the family farm until he was 16.

At that time, he tried to enlist in 1863 in the Union Army but was turned down on account of his age.

As a result, Charles went back to help work on his uncle’s farm in Northern Illinois who was away in the Union Army.

He finally obtained his mother’s consent and voluntarily enlisted again in Hastings, MN on July 30, 1864. He was mustered into the 2nd Minnesota Cavalry as a Private assigned to the Company of Captain C. C. Hunt at Fort Snelling, Minn. His duration of service was for one year.  He was responsible for guarding draftees at the garrison who were being mustered into the regular Union infantry, trained, and then sent off for active duty elsewhere. Occasionally he would go out on patrol of the Sioux Indian tribes that were camped just outside the Fort to keep the peace. He wrote in his diary at the time of the suffering he witnessed of the Indians and fellow soldiers who were dying of typhoid fever.  He mustered out of the service on May 11, 1865, with an honorable discharge.  He decided without delay that his life goal was to become a doctor to help heal the suffering of others.

He first saved his soldier’s pay and bought corner lots in Farmington, Minnesota, and then later sold them for a profit. With the proceeds, he made a down payment on a farm near his mother’s home near Castle Rock, Minn. From the earnings of his summer farming, he was able to afford to attend Hamlin University in Redwing, Minnesota for one year.

He then entered Jennings Seminary in Aurora, Illinois, as a university student for 4 years while working on the local farms during the harvest season.  After graduating, he was given a teaching certificate for 1 year and taught school nearby in Castle Rock, near his mother.  He then began the study of medicine in a doctor’s office in Owatonna, MN.  In 1872 he started his first formal medical school training at Bennett Medical College in Chicago, IL, and later graduated from there in 1874. During his visits back to Owatonna, to work for the local doctor in between semesters he met a schoolteacher, Laura Belle Gossard.  She was the daughter of Reverend T.M. Gossard, Pastor of the Methodist Church in Northfield, Minnesota.  After a two-year engagement, they were married on September 14, 1875.

In that same year, he was elected Surgeon of Weiser, MN Post #31 of the G.A.R. and later became its Commander.   From 1876-1878, he was elected Medical Director of the Minnesota Division of the Grand Army of the Republic.  He then became Senior Vice Commander for all of Minnesota.  He was also selected to be the Examining Surgeon for Pensions at Scott and Carter Counties, in 1877.

He practiced medicine for the next few years in southern Minnesota. By then he had become a father of two sons, Thomas born in 1878 and Harry born in 1881.

To further his education and residency he attended to patients at the famous Bellevue Hospital in New York City and graduated from there in March of 1883 with an MD diploma and board-certified Surgeon.

In 1886, he moved with his wife Laura Belle, and his young family to Santa Barbara to set up a medical practice.  Charles served as a beloved physician for 42 years before his death in 1928. His wife Laura Belle became prominent in the local community as one of the founding female members of the board of directors of the Cottage Hospital.  They both were active members of the Grace Methodist church in town. Charles served as a patron for the CA/NV Department of the daughters of Union Veterans, Commander of the local Starr-King Post #52 as well as Department Commander for the CA/NV G.A.R. He also served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Public Health.  He examined the sanitation at local dairies and inspected prisons for safety. He even held a position as a trustee on the Santa Barbara School board in 1898.

After the death of his wife, Laura Belle in 1915, he suggested in 1921, that the local Starr-King chapter of the Women’s Relief Corp name the new Tent #22 in honor of his late wife, Laura Belle, who spent countless hours donating her time to the Relief of Civil War veterans, just as he did.

So, from then on, for over one hundred years, Tent # 22 has been so named in LAURA BELLE’s honor!

He died on May 18, 1928, and is buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery in Montecito, overlooking the Pacific Ocean alongside his wife, Laura Belle. It is said that flags flew at half-mast throughout the city and hundreds showed up for his funeral.

In 1931, 250 persons honored the memory of Dr. Charles S. Stoddard at the dedication of a Redwood tree and plaque that still stands to this day over 100 feet tall on the lawn of the First Methodist Episcopal Church on the corner of Anapamu and Garden Streets in Santa Barbara.  The presentation was made by the representatives of the Starr King chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Women’s Relief Corps auxiliary of the GAR, and the Laura Belle Stoddard Tent #22 of the daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Pamela Stoddard DeWeerd.


Voegeli, Tobias, Pvt., Co. D, MN/WI 9th Infantry

Tobias Voegeli was born in 1832 in Linthal, Canton Glarus, Switzerland, to Thomas and Elspeth Elmer Voegeli.  Canton Glarus was an area in Switzerland where there were a lot of dairymen and cheesemakers.

Tobias emigrated to the United States in 1855 with his wife, Anna Rosine Voegeli, who was also born in Linthel.   They arrived in New York on the  April 17, 1855, and then worked their way west across the country.    They choose to settle in a place similar to their home in Switzerland, in the village of New Glarus, Wisconsin.  In 1857 they moved to Fountain City, Wisconsin, on the Mississippi River.


Tobias stated in his personal war sketch that he “Entered the U.S. Service September 2, 1864, at Little Rock, Arkansas as Private in Company D 9th Minnesota Wisconsin volunteer Infantry, served as Private during my term of enlistment, and was finally discharged as Private June 6, 1865 by reason of close of the war.  Did not re-enlist, was not transferred to any other Command, and was finally discharged June 6, 1865.  Participated in no Battle and was never wounded, never admitted into Hospital, and was never taken Prisoner.”

He suffered from impaired health the rest of his life as a result of poor conditions during the war.  He describes these conditions in his personal sketch.

Our family has in its possession the original “Personal War Sketches from the Civil War” written by members of the Jacob Schaefer Union Post #163 from Minneapolis, of which our grandfather was a member.   Each member of the Post had enlisted and served in various areas of the Union army, and in 1891, 30 years after the beginning of the War, they each wrote in this book, in their own  handwriting, or had transcribed by someone else, his experiences during the Civil War.

Tobias and his brother Gabriel enlisted together in Wisconsin in 1864, and in 1891 Gabriel still lived in Wisconsin.   Tobias lived in Minneapolis in 1891 and so he joined the Jacob Schaefer Post #163, along with the others who had served in the “Grand Army of the Republic” for the Union Army, and who lived in Minneapolis.   My nephew has the original book, in which the soldiers wrote their war remembrances.

The Jacob Schaefer Post was formed by men who had served in different regiments around the country, who lived in Minneapolis, and who also emigrated from German speaking countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, Prussia, Bavaria, or Austria.  They met for a reunion in 1891 in Minneapolis and entered their remembrances of the war in this book.

The story of that meeting is in the book on Pages 1 – 4.

Tobias’ remembrances are the last entry in the book.  I don’t know yet if he was a US citizen at the time he enlisted and I don’t have any records to show that he became a US citizen.   Perhaps he felt the need to contribute to the war effort of his adopted country, or perhaps he was cajoled into enlisting by the Union Army, with the promise of a shortened period of the naturalization process. Tobias mustered out in June of 1865, at the close of the War.

Many of the entries in the book are hard to read, but if you can get through them, they are interesting stories about bravery and pride on the part of the young soldiers.

The last page of the book, the “Index” is not original to the book.   The word “Index” in script  was original, but we added the listing of the soldiers in numeric order.


After the war, Tobias continued to work as a carpenter (cabinet maker) in  Fountain City, and then was appointed to the position of Fountain City’s Postmaster.

He and his wife, Anna, had 9 children, 5 of whom died in childhood.  The surviving children were Thomas ( my great grandfather), Katherine, Heinrich, and Freidrich.

When his wife Anna died, ,he married Kunigunda Koeffler, also widowed, in 1883.   Tobias and Kunigunda moved up the Mississippi River from Fountain City, to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1904, perhaps to be near Tobias’ son, Thomas, and Thomas’ family who owned several drug stores in Minneapolis.

Tobias died in Minneapolis in 1914 at the age of 81, of complications from pneumonia.


Thomas Voegeli

Ethel Voegeli Riebeth

Dorothy Marguerite Riebeth Wilson

Constance Toma Wilson Burns

By Connie Burns

Riebeth, August Reinhold Pvt. – Co. G, 2nd MN Infantry

A. R. Riebeth was born in Germany on 5 August 1844 to John Gotlieb Riebeth and his wife Anna Caroline Grubshinska.  On his Prussian passport he listed his birthplace as Witkowo, and his residence as Braunsfeld.

August had entered the US with a Royal-Prussian Passport dated April 9, 1863, which was good for one year.  He is shown as a “laborer’s son” traveling by way of Berlin and Hamburg, to New York.   “Family affairs” is given as the reason for his journey. 

In his civil war pension papers it appears he went first to Lexington, MO, perhaps because his father and stepmother were there.  This is the area where August eventually married his wife and where they had their first child.

August Riebeth’s military records show that on 15 February 1865 he joined the 2nd Minnesota Infantry Regiment and was assigned to Company “G”.  His papers state that he was a laborer, age 19, and that he joined the Army with a one year enlistment, as a substitute for Ira Peck from Goodhue County, MN.  What consideration Mr. Peck gave him is not known.  

Riebeth used his birth name of Reinhold Riebeth, August and A.R. through life.  Physically, he had grey eyes, light hair, fair complexion, and was 5 ft. 6 inches tall.  These military records show he was mustered out of the Army about 5 months later, on July 11, 1865 at Louisville, KY, after the war ended.

The unit he joined had been formed during the summer of 1861, at Ft. Snelling, MN.  At the time in 1865 when Riebeth joined the army the 2nd MN Regiment had already completed many important battles including participation in Gen. Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. The 2nd MN Infantry Regiment participated in the grand final review in Washington, DC on the 24th of May, 1865.  

August is listed in the US Census of 1890 as a war veteran, noting that he had incurred as a disability “Rheumatism and kidney trouble”.  

In a pension paper dated Nov. 21, 1906, August states that since his discharge (in Aug.  1865), he lived in “Plainfield, Ill. going to collage (sic) to July 1866, and Lexington, MO to March 1869, and Minneapolis until now”.  

Catherine Depenbrink and August Riebeth were married on 8 Oct. 1868 presumably at her family home near Wellington, MO.  A family story explains that she was attending a nearby “female seminary” where she met August Riebeth.  This may have been the Elizabeth Aull Seminary.  

August had been teaching German in the area in 1866-7 after leaving Plainfield College.  A letter of recommendation exists (dated 11 Jan 1867) from Principal Anthony Haynes of the Select-Male High School in Lexington, MO saying that “Prof. Reinhold Riebeth” had been teaching for the “past five months”.  This letter continues, stating that he “has been conducting the German Department of my school” and goes on to relate how pleased he is with Reinhold and that “he can advance students equally as rapid as any teacher in the county.”  

August stated in his Army pension records that he lived in the Lexington, MO area until March 1869.  The family then moved to Minnesota and he worked at and/or was the proprietor of several businesses in Minneapolis until his death.

A.R. Riebeth died at age 69 on 23 May 1914, in Minneapolis.    His wife Katherine died in Minneapolis at age 80 on 10 Aug 1930.  They are both buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.   They had 9 children, 8 of whom survived childhood.   Their 4th child, George Reinhold Riebeth, was my grandfather.

Heiforth, Herman Pvt. – Co. C, 8th Minnesota Infantry

Herman Heiforth was born in Prussia circa 1833-34, according to the 1870 census. He immigrated to the US prior to 1862 when he enlisted from Grant township, Washington county, MN. It is possible he migrated to Washington County to join an older relative (brother ?) William (b. GER 15 Oct 1829), who had come to neighboring Stillwater prior to the 1857 territorial census.

Settled in Grant by the 1870 census, Herman and wife Wilhelmina (b. ca 1845 in Prussia) had one child: John who was born in MN in Dec 1869. The 1875 state census of MN shows Wilhelmina and, by then, three children: William (William John?), 5; Ernest, 3; and Louisa, age 1. Also living with the family was 16 yr old Henry Heiforth, whom I believe was Herman’s nephew. (William and wife Mary had at least 5 children, one of whom was Henry, b. ca 1859)

I have not found Herman in a census before or after 1870. This seems to indicate immigration between Jun 1860 and Oct 1862, and Henry’s possible death between 1873 and 1 May 1875 — which would have left Wilhelmina a widow. William’s wife Mary died 15 Jan 1875, leaving William a widower.

Found in the 1880 census of Stillwater, Washington County, MN, is the enlarged family of William Hyford [sic], wife Wilhelmina, snd Wm’s younger children 21 (Henry), 14 (Emma); then Herman and Wilhelmina’s children William 10, Earnest 8, and Louisa 6; AND a Henrietta 3, . . . a case of “his, hers, and theirs”?

A possible verification of the marriage between Wilhelmina Heiforth and William Heiforth is the Civil War pension information for Wilhelmina, who applied for pension as Herman’s widow in 1905 (Appl #825948; Cert #869341; then as a “Remarried Widow, filed in 1917 (Appl #825948.)  Add to that: one William F/Frederick Wm HEIFORD enlisted in the 2nd MN Inf on 3 Apr 1865 and was discharged 6 May 1865. His pension card shows his death in 1894 in Stillwater; and references Wilhelmina’s pension appl for Herman.

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Cemetery in Grant, Washington Co, is the burial place of Herman Heiforth (d. ?), Mary Heiforth (1875), William Heiforth (1894) and Wilhelmina Heiforth (aft. 1 Feb 1917.)

Family sources accessed Jan 2015.

US Federal Census: 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900.

MN Territorial and State Censuses: 1857, 1865, 1875, 1885.

On 15 Aug 1862, Herman Heiforth enlisted in Company C, 8th MN Volunteer Infantry for a period of 3 years, and was mustered into the company on 12 Oct 1862 at Fort Ridgely, MN. He was discharged on 11 July 1865. This explains why he is not found on the 1865 MN state census taken June 1 of that year.

 History of Eighth Regiment (MN) Infantry:

“Organized Aug 1, 1862. Stationed at frontier posts until May 1864, when ordered upon Indian Expedition. Engaged in the following battles, sieges, skirmishes, and marches: Tah-cha-o-ku-tu, July 28, 1864, battle of the Cedars, Overall’s Creek. Ordered to Clifton, Tenn., thence to Cincinnati, then to Washington thence to Wilmington, thence to Newbern, N.C. Battles of Kingston, March 8, 9,10, 1865. Mustered out at Charlotte, N.C. July 11, 1965. Discharged at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.”

A little known tidbit about the 8th MN Infantry Regiment:

“During that final year of the Civil War, the Eighth claimed to have covered more miles and experienced more variety in its service than any other regiment in the Union Army.

“Minnesota Encyclopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. “Eighth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.” Accessed February 6, 2015.

Military sources all accessed Jan 2015:

 Civil War Records Databases.
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ct/Jan 2015