7 Heroic Winans Brothers

their father
the brothers:
a wandering brother?
a sister?

Upon the occasion of the 229th anniversary of our nation's independence, we salute seven kinsmen who enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War, serving in six different units from four states. I learned about this family through two of their descendants, Glen Richard Winans and Jay D. Winans, who provided most of the information here. At first I was going to produce a simple listing of the brothers and their units, but once I learned a little about them, I became fascinated by their story and wanted to discover more and more about their lives. This page is the result of that quest. It'll continue to grow and develop as we find more information.

The seven brothers trace their line to our common Winans ancestor as follows:

Father -- John B. Winans. The seven soldiers' father was born about 1800. I say "about" because of the usual imprecision of early census data. His 1840 census entry below implies he was at least 40 years old at the time of that census, in June. If he's the 20-29-year-old male in Benjamin's household in 1830, he could have been born after June 1800, and if he's the 16-18-year-old male in the 1820 census, that would put his birthday after August 1801. (See Benjamin's page for 1820 and 1830 census data.) John's 1860 and 1870 census entries list his age as 60 and 70 years old respectively. Both of the latter censuses give his birthplace as Ohio.

Although 1800 was very early in the settlement of Ohio, there was already a Winans presence by then. The History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, page 429, lists Lewis Winans and Andrew Pryor among the defenders of White's Station when it was attacked by Indians 19 Oct 1793. Page 431 lists a John Winans among the early settlers of the area. Since John and Lewis were both common given names for Winans boys at that time, we can't positively identify either of them. Glen Winans speculates that this was the John Winans who married Sarah Pryor, daughter of Andrew Pryor, in 1770 as mentioned on page 12 of Alice Winans Egy's book.

Glen wonders whether the Lewis Winans who helped defend White's Station might have been the son (age 21) of the John Winans mentioned elsewhere in the Hamilton county history, or the father (age about 75). As reported in the Staunton township records both father John and son Lewis owned land adjoining each other and paid taxes in 1816. Glen has been unsuccessful in locating father Lewis during this time period, but believes John's brother Benjamin (Glen's 3g- grandfather) followed them, bringing Lydia (9 years old in 1793) who married her cousin Lewis. Benjamin must have had a second wife who mothered John B in 1800. If any of our readers is descended from any of these early settlers and can figure out which John and which Lewis they were, we welcome your input.

In 1840, in Spring Creek township, Miami county, Ohio, John Winans was listed with eight boys and a girl:

Names of
Heads of Families
John Winans13310010000000001010000000

According to Mrs. Egy, John B. Winans married Mary Ann Clemons. The Miami county, OH, marriage index lists an 1823 marriage between John B. Winans and Polly Clemens. In the 1860 census, They were enumerated in Amador township, Chisago county, MN, along with sons Amos and George. Mary Ann is listed as 56 years old, born in Ohio. She doesn't appear in the 1870 census, which lists John with son James' family in Adair county, MO.

Brothers. The seven sons of John B. Winans who served in the Civil War are:

Given NameAge (1861)Date enlistedUnitRankDetails of service
William3820 Mar 65Co B, 11th IN InfPVTMustered out 26 Jun 65. [Should this date be 26 July 65, when the entire regiment mustered out?]
Isaac Newton351861Co B, 31st IN InfCAPTResigned Nov 62. Lived near Gosport, Indiana, and also served in the U. S. Army during the Mexican war.
Ira1331861Co B, 31st IN InfSGTMay have also served in the Mexican War. Severely wounded at Ft. Donelson, discharged due to wounds.
Amos301861Co F, 11th IL InfPVTDied 13 Mar 62 from wounds received at Ft. Donelson. Probably buried in Nashville National Cemetery.3
Benjamin F.2291862Co E, 110th OH InfPVT20 Nov 63 transferred to Veterans Reserve Corps. Buried in Edinburg, IL.3
James M.277 Jun 61Co H, 14th IN InfPVTDischarged 10 Apr 1863 for disability. Moved to Adair county, MO, before 1870. Buried in the Highland Cemetery in Wichita, KS.3
George W.2518611st Ind Batt, MN Light ArtPVTDied 16 Oct 1874 at Dayton (OH) Soldiers Home, buried Dayton National Cemetery.3

The information above agrees with Mrs. Egy's book, except that she lists a Grace, with no information, instead of George. I believe this to be a transcription error. For complete information on battles and campaigns in which each brother participated, click on the link in his Unit column to see the unit's page at the Civil War Archive's Regimental Index.

Glen writes:

John B. Winans' children were all born in Ohio, moved to Indiana, then to Minnesota, except William who stayed in IN. The Minn State Census Board, (1857 Minn State Census, Chisago county, Langlois Falls, Twp 37, Range 22 W, Oct 16, 1857: pg 183B) shows all the families living near each other.

William, said to be a Baptist minister by Alice Winans Egy Woolley, didn't enter the army until all his six younger brothers served and lived their tragic circumstances. He also had seven children, his wife had died July 1863, and he had remarried March 1864. He must have felt obligated to leave his children to enter the service... Amos died from wounds at Fort Donelson and left a new wife with an unborn child. His brothers Isaac and Ira were also at that battle.

Benjamin F served and was transferred to Veteran Reserves. There were a lot of soldiers who were transferred because of sickness. He was a United Brethern Minister and must have been a carpenter since I have a table he had built soon after the war. James M was a farmer and was reported as a gardener in the Kansas 1900 census.

George W was a farmer and could have spent some time at the U. S. Soldiers and Sailors home near Dayton prior to his death there 10/16/1874. This 627-acre National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was originated April 1866...

Another brother, John W. Winans, who was 32 years old, does not appear to be the John W. Winans from the 154th regiment of IN infantry in the Civil War. He was possibly the John W in the 1880 census at Kimshew, Butte county, CA...

I hope others can add to this.

There are two John Winans listed in the 1860 census for California, but I haven't been able to identify either as the eighth, or wandering, brother. Glen supplied the following excerpt from a letter written by Benjamin F. Winans' daughter, Ivy (Winans) Barton to Major Ira Winans:

Dec 18th 1923

...My uncle John went to Cal after he came out the war: He was a real woman hater, so my father said. He never looked at a woman in his life so there would be no heirs of his. His partner came back to Ohio, father said, & told the family that uncle John had struck it rich in the gold hills [?] and he was at Marysville, CA, but was thinking of leaving there. They wrote to Marysville & the letter came back. They never heard from him again...

The mention of John's coming out of the war raises a question as to whether he might have served in the Civil War after all.

Glen has filled in some more information on the family's stay in Minnesota...

My niece LJ Winans found John B Winans (spelled Wainan) & wife M.A. and all the boys and wives, except William (who stayed in Indiana), in Chisago county, Langlois Falls, Minn, Twsp 37, Range 22 W on Oct 16, 1857 page 183 B. This was shown in the 1857 Minnesota State Census.

She shows the families living on lines 29, 17, 33, & 36 in different households but in the same neighborhood. She also notes spelling and numerical mistakes abound in the censuses.

It shows John W, Amos, and Benjamin all 25 years old. My calculated age of these boys would be 28, 26 and 25 respectively in 1857...

I suspect the other boys went back to Owen county Indiana where they moved probably after John B's father Benjamin Winans died in 1842. William I think married in Indiana in 1842.

John W Winans possibly moved to Calif at that time before the Civil War.

Benjamin F. Winans married Sedenia Ellen Cramer in Miami county in 1854 and was living in Spring Creek at the time of the 1860 census. He enlisted in an Ohio regiment. After the Civil War, he moved his family to Mason county, Illinois, where they were living at the time of the 1870 census. Sedenia was born 4 Aug 1836, possibly in that part of Virginia which became West Virginia during the Civil War.

Winans and Statler. Ben and his family were accompanied in their move to Illinois by Sedenia's sister Eliza Cramer, who married Joseph Statler in 1852 in Miami county. There were a number of Statler families who came to western Ohio in the early 1800s. One such settler was Christopher Statler, who married Frances "Fanny" Winans, a younger sister of my 3g-grandfather. We don't know how Joseph is related to these other Statlers, except that everybody in Miami county seems to be related to one another!

The 1870 census listed Benjamin and Sedenia immediately after Joseph and Eliza. The sisters' mother, Priscilla, was living with the first family. Also living with Joseph and Eliza in that census, and in the 1880 census, was Ben and Sedenia's daughter, Eliza Elnora "Nora" Winans, who was born in 1864 in Ohio. By 1880, Ben and Sedenia had moved to neighboring Christian county, leaving Nora behind with Joseph and Eliza. There must be a story here, since Ben left Nora just one dollar in his will.

Ben and Sedenia lived the rest of their lives in Christian county, Illinois. Sedenia died in 1892 and Ben in 1900 and both are buried in Edinburg. In 1900, their son Joseph A. Winans (who was working as a coal miner) and his family were living nearby in Sangamon county.

Isaac Newton Winans wrote the story of his service during the Mexican War some twenty years later in a "journal" which in typed, transcribed form, fills 93 pages. Researcher Dixie Richardson donated the original to the Indiana Historical Society. Transcribed copies are in the Gosport History Museum and the Owen County History/Genealogy collection at the Owen County Public Library in Spencer, IN. This Winans historian later migrated to Kansas. According to an Owen county web site, Isaac was married:

  1. 24 Mar 1853, to Emily Cheatwood. There is a burial at Cuba Baptist Cemetery in Montgomery township, Owen county, IN, which could be this woman. The listing says only:
  2. 22 June 1858, to Jane Davis.

Isaac's obituary appeared on page 3 of the Newton Kansan for 15 Feb 1882:

DIED. -- Capt. Isaac N. Winans, of Richland Township, died at his home last Friday night, of lung fever, at the age of 56 years, and was buried at the cemetery near this city Sunday forenoon, the services being held at the Baptist church, of which denomination Mr. Winans was a minister. The burial services were conducted by the members of the G. A. R., of which the deceased was also a member. Mr. Winans came to this county about four years ago from Indiana, and was an upright and highly esteemed citizen. He was a soldier of the Mexican war, and a captain in the late war. The following resolutions were offered at Judson Killpatrick Post, No. 36, G. A. R., after the burial of Capt. Isaac N. Winans on Saturday, Feb. 12, 1882:

Be it Resolved, That in the death of comrade Isaac N. Winans, our Junior Vice Commander, that Judson Killpatrick Post, No. 36, G. A. R. has lost a most efficient officer and worthy comrade; the community a good citizen; the family a beloved husband, father and brother. He has given his last command and received his last orders to meet the Supreme Commander of the Universe.

And Be it Resolved, That this Post sincerely sympathize with the relatives of our deceased comrade.

And Be it Further Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be furnished the papers for publication, and that a certified copy be sent by the Adjutant to the family of our deceased comrade.

Post Adjutant.

Post Commander.

Ira Winans now has a page of his own in this Carey Family Album, thanks to Glen and Jay's detective work, which we invite you to visit.

Amos Winans. According to an Owen county, Indiana, web site, Amos was married:

  1. 13 July 1851, to Margaret E Doyle, and
  2. 11 Nov 1860, to Nancy J Sill.

Where is Amos Winans buried? In July 2006, Glen wrote with further information on Amos Winans:

Chuck, I am convinced this is the tombstone of Amos G Winans who died from wounds received in the battle of Fort Donelson which occurred Feb 15, 1862. His middle intial G is shown in the township of Amador in the county of Chesago in the 1860 Minn census. Chip Curley was kind enough to photograph it for me at the Nashville National Cemetery. He must be a professional photographer and has quite a display of pictures taken around Nashville that are shown on his web site.

The identity of this grave site eluded me for so long because of leaving the s off of Winans but mostly because it shows him from Mich instead of Illinois. The Roster of Company F 11th Illinois Infantry shows he died Mar 13, 1862 of wounds.

I find that no Michigan units were at Fort Donelson. There are two other Winans buried at this cemetery including Wilton Winans who died 7/25/1865 who served from 9 Mich Inf. This could have caused a mix up when people were transferred from their original graves.

Thank you for the detective work, Glen. I did some more sleuthing of my own, looking up this soldier's grave at Interment.net's list of burials at the Nashville National Cemetery web site and found only:

Winan, A G, PVT F 11 MICH INF, Plot: C.7026, *

I find it interesting that the company and regiment number both agree with Amos' correct information! The asterisk indicates the information has "not been verified as accurate by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs." Unlike most of the other entries in the list, no date of birth or death is given. I checked the rosters of both incarnations of the 11th Michigan Infantry at the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System web site and could find nobody named Winan or Winans in either roster. I agree with Glen that there's a good chance he has located Amos Winans' grave and have added the photos from Nashville National Cemetery which Chip took to our Winans photo scrapbook.

James Winans at Antietam. Glen did some more detective work, discovering a list of 14th Indiana casualties in page 3 of the 22 Sep 1862 issue of the Parke County Republican of Rockville, IN, which includes:

Jos M Winans, right arm and left breast

I believe this entry actually refers to James. The battle of Antietam was the costliest single day of warfare in American history. A reported 23,000 men were killed, wounded or reported missing. In the 14th Indiana, of 320 officers and men engaged, 30 were killed and 150 wounded. A photograph of the monument at the battlefield honoring the 14th, along with its text and a map, can be seen at the National Parks Service site.

James is listed at an Owen county, Indiana, web site, as having married Mary A. Creach 8 Oct 1863, just a year after Antietam. After the Civil War, James moved to Missouri. The 1870 census listed him and his father near Ira in Paulville, Adair county, MO. According to Glen, James M. Winans was one of the pensioners on the 1883 Pension Roll for Adair county, receiving $4 per month. Glen located the following entries for James and his wife at the Highland Cemetery site and had a friend in Wichita photograph their grave, which makes no mention of his Civil War service:

Winans    James M.         28 Dec 1834  14 May 1906  15 May 1907  4 115  5
Winans    Mary Ann          6 Nov 1842   4 Mar 1913   8 Mar 1913  4 115  4

James' burial date above would seem to be in error.

A sister? And who is John and Polly's one daughter? Jay Winans answered this question, writing:

The sole sister of the one wandering and seven heroic brothers was a woman named Phebe Winans, who married Campbell S. Bradshaw on January 27, 1846, in Owen County, Indiana. I don't know exactly when Phebe was born, but I would guess that she was the second child of John B. and Maryann, as William was born in 1822, Isaac in December 1825, Ira in June 1827, and all of the others after Ira, Ira being the fourth born. Interestingly, Phebe Bradshaw apparently filed for divorce in Owen County but then dismissed the complaint in May of 1861.

Jay guessed well as to Phebe's age. In the 1860 census, Phoebe and C. S. Bradshaw were enumerated along with their five children in Putnam county, Indiana, just north of Owen county. Both were listed as being 37 years of age.

1 Jay's great-great-grandtather.
2 Glen's great-grandfather.
3 We have photographs of these brothers' graves and of some of their descendants in our Winans photo album.
This page was last updated 22 Sep 2011.