Friday, May 20, 2011

Charles C. Gross - My Maternal 2X Great-Grandfather

Note:  This post will predominately be of interest to the "Ryan" side of my family.

First things first -- how is Charles Gross related to me (and by extension, you)?  I've included a chart for clarification.

Charles Gross was born in Wuerttemberg, Germany about 1842.  I am still researching his German roots and trying to locate an immigration record.  According to one record, he came to Cincinnati about 1858.  I first became interested in him when I was researching ancestors who served in the Civil War.  Charles is one of them.

It's been an interesting journey.  One challenge of family historians is to compile as many facts as possible about an individual and then try to put "flesh on the bones."  So here is a list of the facts:
  • Charles was born about 1841-42 in Wuerttemberg, Germany.
  • Emigrated to the United States about 1858.
  • Listed in the 1860 Cincinnati City Directory as a "laborer" living at 830 Western Row
  • Enlisted in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 10th Regiment, Company I at Camp Dennison on June 3, 1861 for three years of service at the start of the Civil War.
  • 10th Regiment engages in a battle at Carnifex Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) on September 10, 1861. (I think Charles probably engaged in this battle). Union victory.
  • Muster rolls for October, 1861 report Charles "absent without remark."
  • Muster rolls for November to December 1861 report Charles "absent - left in hospital at Charleston, West Va on November 2nd.
  • Muster rolls for January and February 1862 report Charles "absent in hospital in West Va.
  • Records report that he is "not present for any payment" through August of 1862.  Cause of absence in hospital not stated.
  • On September 26, 1862 the unit returned to Cincinnati and Charles was sent to the Main Hospital in Cincinnati.  He was issued a Surgeon's Certificate of Disability on September 27, 1862 for "Bright's Disease of kidneys" -- stricture of urethra for six months standing.
  • Returns to occupation as a baker.
  • Marries Rosina Becker aka Rose Baker on June 21, 1864 in Cincinnati, Hamilton Co., Ohio. Rose immigrated from Lorraine, France.  Although a French citizen, she is ethnically German.
  • Charles and Rose become parents of six children:  Rose (02 may 1865), Julius (18 May 1866), Catherine (March 1869), Carl (Nov 1872), Eliza "Alice" (Sept 1874), and Julia (24 Dec 1877). Catherine and Carl die before age 2.
  • Charles is admitted to Longview Asylum on April 4, 1878 suffering from Bright's Disease and "insanity".  Cause of insanity listed as becoming "overheated at work" resulting in him becoming an invalid.  What may have been heat stroke occurred in 1874.
  • Dies on January 3, 1879 in Longview.  Age 37.
  • Buried in an unmarked grave in Spring Grove Cemetery in Section 48, Lot 76.
  • Civil War Pension Index lists his physical description as 5'7",  fair complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair.  Occupation:  Baker.
  • Certificate of Death states that Charles was a resident of Cincinnati for 21 years at the time of his death.
So those are the documented "facts."  But the facts really don't tell us WHO Charles was.  Over the next few posts, I will try to put "flesh on those bones."  I encourage family, in particular, to let me know if your interpretation of the "facts" differs from mine.


  1. Hi Kathy
    Enjoyed your post.
    1) It would be interesting to note what year he first appeared in the Cincinnati Directory.
    2) Today most physicians think of Bright's Disease a chronic nephritis or inflammation of the kidneys. Your blog mentioned the word "stricture" - was that in addition to the nephritis? It may be that kidney stones may cause a partial blockage. In olden times, the term Bright's might have included any of several kidney or urinary symptoms.
    3) Was he a baker in the military also?
    4) To further research his place of origin, have you tried an obituary or naturalization papers? Castle Garden was open from 1830 to 1892 when Ellis Island opened. If you search on Gross from 1850-1860 there is no Charles. He may have not come through Castle Garden or perhaps immigrated through another port. Are you aware of any siblings. Very often I will have success following a sibling back across the Atlantic.
    John Tholking

  2. John,
    1) As far as I know it was my "C. Gross" that appeared in the Cincinnati City Directory in 1860. That is the earliest I can find a posting for him.
    2)I actually have a copy of the Army's "Certificate of Disability for Discharge". It list his reason for being "incapable of performing his duties" as "stricture of the urethra of __ six months standing." His records also say he was hospitalized in Charleston, West Virginia as metnioned above.
    3) I do not think he was a baker in the military based on the pension records I have.
    4) I've identified a couple of possible siblings, especially a John Conrad Gross, but I've been unsuccessful identifying naturalization records or immigration records so far. I'm hoping you will help me with this.


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