1844 - 1919

 From "Sebewa Recollector," Bulletin of the Sebewa Center Association, Vol. 34, Apr 1999, No. 5

Jacob O. Probasco was born in Sherman Township, Huron County, Ohio, on August 20, 1844, and came to Sebewa and Muir with his family at 12 years of age. He enlisted as a private in the Union Army in June, 1862, at age 17, following the bombardment of Ft. Sumpter. His regiment trained at Grand Rapids (MI) for three months. Then he re-enlisted on September 8, 1862, as a sergeant in Company E, Sixth Michigan Cavalry. He stopped off as the troop train passed through Muir to attend his father on his death bed, then rejoined his unit at Washington, DC. On November 12, 1863, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, the youngest commissioned officer in the regiment at age 19. On May 19, 1864, he was advanced to First Lieutenant, and on December 10, 1864, was promoted to Captain at age 20. Many others from the Sebewa and Ionia County area were with this unit, including Irving A. Brown, William Edwins, and others, and were commanded by James H. Kidd, who himself attained the rank of Brigadier General at age 25. The Sixth Michigan was afterward consolidated with the First Michigan Cavalry.

For the greater part of Jacob’s service the Sixth and First Michigan were attached to the Army of the Potomac under General Sheridan, and participated in all the great battles from Gettysburg to Appomattox, including the engagements at Yellow Tavern, Meadow Bridge, Winchester, Sandy Ridge, Five Forks, Shepherdtown, Travillion Station, Fort Republic, Mt. Crawford, Woodstock, Leetown, Baltimore Crossroads, Cold Harbor, ad the twenty-one day raid from Winchester on the James River Canal. His regiment was second in point of casualties sustained of any cavalry regiment in the Union Army. The General above Kidd was George Armstrong Custer, and during the closing two weeks of the war it was Custer’s relentless spearhead pressure on General Robert E. Lee that helped hasten the surrender at Appomattox. After Lee’s surrender and their participation in the Grand Review at Washington, DC, “Where wave after wave of bayonet-crested blue swept by the reviewing stand”, the regiment was ordered to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and thence to Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. He was mustered out once in October, 1865, but persuaded by General Staggs from the Army of the Potomac to re-enlist for six months in the First Michigan Veterans Cavalry. Fortunately, Probasco was again mustered out in March, 1866, after some fierce Indian fighting in Utah, but well before the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. He was twelve hundred miles from home and traveled eighteen days and nights by stage to reach a railroad terminus for the remaining ride home.

Upon his return from his frontier service in 1866, Captain Jacob O. Probasco engaged in the hardware business at Muir, establishing the first hardware store opened in that then promising village. He took a leading part in the commercial life the the growing town and continued in business for forty years, until his retirement in 1906, in which year he sold his store and lived quietly retired at his old home built by his father in Muir. He was a Republican and held numerous village and township offices, as well as delegate to county and state Republican Conventions. He was an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic and Loyal Legion veterans’ organizations.

On July 21, 1869, Capt. Jacob O. Probasco, was united in marriage to Mary O. Spire, born in Brewertown, New York, daughter of Daniel and Eveann Dominick Spire. The Spires had a farm at the edge of Muir, then retired to the village, where he died in 1908 at age 92 and she survived him by several years. Jacob, Mary and daughter were members of the Church of Christ, Disciples at Muir. Jacob O. Probasco died at Blodgett Hospital, in Grand Rapids (MI), August 1, 1919. Jacob O. and Mary O. Probasco’s children were:
1. Delia O. Probasco, who married Arthur A. Stoddard of Muir.
2. Henry O. Probasco, who graduated from University of Michigan Law School and was a prominent attorney for Michigan Trust Company at Grand Rapids. Henry O. married Claudine Vosberg.

Photograghs of Jacob Ormond Probasco located at the Probasco Family Gallery, photo 1, 2, 3 and 4. (This is located on another web site, use BACK button to return to the Probasco Home Page)


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