Born 1825. Died December 27, 1906.
William Wanders is the father of Adelia Wanders; the grandfather of Florence Sullivan; the great-grandfather of Wilfred Sullivan, Anita Hucksam, and Barbara Galvin; the great-great grandfather of William M., Rita, Clint and Jon Galvin, John, Tom, and Steven Sullivan, and Barbara Mione and Anita Cichocki. Wanders is the great-great-great grandfather of Ann, Clare, Lynn and Christine Mione, and Rob, Bunny, and Dave Cichocki, and Emily, Stacy, and Eddie Sullivan, and Matt, Jeremy, Kerry and David Galvin, and Tara Weber; the great-great-great-great grandfather of Ryan Weber.
Birth and Family
William Wanders was born in 1825 in Elberfeld (now Wuppertal), a suburb of Dusseldorf, in the Kingdom of Prussia. William’s father was also William Wanders. His mother’s name was Wilhelmina Frankhold. Both of his parents were born in Germany.
William was 5′ 6 1/2″ tall, light complexion, blue eyes, probably dark hair.
William emigrated to the United States probably in the early 1850s. Massachusetts had strict immigration laws up until 1849. According to Florence Sullivan (LeBlanc), Wanders helped his uncle, who was a French General, escape, possibly from the Alsace-Lorraine area.
Marriage and Children
Wanders met Ann “Annie” McCarthy, an Irish emigrant, in Boston and married her on June 9th, 1855. It was his second marriage and her first; the ceremony was conducted by a Justice of the Peace. Their first child, Adelia Adeline Wanders, was born on May 24, 1859, at 1 Church Place in Roxbury (Boston). Their other children were: William J., Josephine, Mary, Florence (“Flossie)”, James Edward (“Eddie”) and John Francis (twins), Julia, and Ann (“Annie”).
Civil War Years
The 20th Massachusetts was a famous Boston regiment, popularly known as the “Harvard Regiment” because many of its officers were recent graduates of Harvard University.
Many of the enlisted soldiers, however, were German-Americans like William Wanders. The officers included Major Paul Joseph Revere, the grandson of Paul Revere, and Lieutenant Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., the future Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The commander of the regiment was Colonel William R. Lee, of Roxbury; a classmate of Jefferson Davis at West Point. Captain George Nelson Macy, whose family later started Macy’s, led Wanders’ Company B.
The 20th Regiment made camp, known as “Camp Massasoit,” on July 10, 1861, at Readville Station (a section of Hyde Park) near the Neponset River. The regiment, except for Wanders’ Company B, was mustered into the United States Army on July 18th. Company B refused to take the oath unless their present acting company officers were commissioned, and, therefore, was not mustered into service until July 26th by Captain Chipman
The 20th Regiment, armed with Enfield rifles which it carried throughout the war, left Camp Massasoit at 4 p.m. on September 4th 1861 and boarded a train for Groton, Connecticut. The regiment then took the steamboat “Commodore” to New York. After passing through New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore (with rifles loaded due to recent unpleasant experiences of Union soldiers there), the 20th arrived in Washington on the morning of September 7th. The regiment was then stationed near Poolesville, Maryland and was given picket duty, as part of General Stone’s Corps of Observation, on the Potomac.
Wanders engaged in his first action in October 1861 when the 20th Massachusetts fought at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. The 20th received 194 casualties (38 killed or fatally wounded) in the battle. Company B fought on the left flank. For the rest of the winter, the 20th remained on picket duty on the Potomac between Edward’s Ferry and Seneca Mills under Lt. Col F. W. Palfrey (Col. Lee was captured at Ball’s Bluff). Wanders probably performed well in the battle since he was promoted to Corporal sometime between October 1861 and June 1862.
The 20th Regiment was briefly sent to the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in March 1862 as part of Dana’s Brigade, Sedgewick’s Division. By the end of March, the regiment was recalled to participate in the Peninsular Campaign as part of General Sumner’s 2nd Corp.
The Peninsular Campaign, fought from May-July 1862, was the first major campaign of the war for the Union Army . General McClellan, who had recently assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, arranged for about 100,000 Union soldiers to be floated down the Chesapeake Bay to Yorktown, Virginia. Following a minor battle at Yorktown, the Union Army fought a series of battles, known as the Seven Days’ Battle, designed to capture Richmond. Wanders was wounded in the first major battle of this campaign, the battle of Fair Oaks (known as “Seven Pines” in the South), fought on May 31 and June 1. Wanders sustained wounds from shell fire which caused anchylosis of the lower jaw and near total deafness in his right ear. As a result of his wounds, Wanders was discharged on August 8, 1862 in Philadelphia.
Wanders enlisted a second time in Company A of the 19th Regiment of the Veterans Reserve Corps in June 1864. The Veterans Reserve Corps was comprised of veterans who had been wounded but were still capable of providing some service behind the lines.
One of the main tasks of the Veterans Reserve Corps was guarding Confederate soldiers in prisoner-of-war (POW) camps. One of these POW camps–located at Elmira, New York–was known as “Elmira Prison.” Wanders was discharged in November 1865 at Elmira. It is likely, therefore, that Wanders served as a guard at Elmira Prison, which was guarded by New York State and Veterans Reserve Corps troops.
A New York State Prison known as the “Elmira Correctional Facility” currently occupies the ground where the civil war prison camp was once located. *Interestingly enough, his great-great-great granddaughter Ann Mione (Mazzoli) later attended Elmira College from 1999-2003. Her lacrosse team often had to do a team run from the College down to the Prison and back.
The Wanders family expanded rapidly during the war. Mary J. Wanders was born on October 10, 1861. Josephine Wanders was born in late December 1862. Annie Wanders was born in 1863. She must have been the twin of Julia A. Wanders who was born on August 10, 1863. Annie remained single and lived most of her adult life at 47 Prentiss Street, along with her sister Flossie and her mother Adelia. Annie, Adelia, and Flossie, raised the Foleys (possibly Martha, Francis (“Frankie”), and Roger in their home. It is not known what happened to the parents of the Foleys. Annie died on February 23, 1953 at the age of 89.
In 1866, Wanders and his family moved to Ohio, possibly to be near Ann McCarthy’s brother who had emigrated to Ohio earlier. Their next child, William J. Wanders, was born in Cincinnati in 1866. In 1867, the Wanders family returned to Massachusetts and purchased a house at 47 Prentiss Street, Roxbury (Boston); William and Ann lived at 47 Prentiss for the rest of their lives. The Wanders had twins, John Francis and James Edward, on June 30, 1868, at 47 Prentiss.
The Wanders’ twins (John Francis and James Edward and Josephine and Annie) were to be the first of three consecutive generations of twins. Wander’s daughter Adelia and Louis LeBlanc had twins who died at birth. Wanders’ granddaughter Florence and Edward Sullivan had twins (Anita Hucksam [Sullivan] and Wilfred Sullivan) on June 17, 1917.
In 1872, John Francis Wanders was born on Ocotober 12, also at 47 Prentiss St. Florence Nellie “Flossie” Wanders was born in either 1878 or 1879. Like Annie Wanders, she remained single and lived most of her adult life at 47 Prentiss Street. After the Wanders’ home at 47 Prentiss was demolished and turned into a housing project, Flossie lived at 31 Horadan Way in Boston. Flossie worked as a clerk for the railroad at South Station in Boston. She died of cerebral vascular disease at the age of 87 on October 3, 1966 and is buried at Old Cavalry Cemetery in Mattapan.
Josephine Wanders, age 17 years and 6 months, died on June 30, 1880 as a result of being accidentally burned. According to Florence Sullivan (as reported by Anita (Hucksam) Cichocki), Josephine apparently fell and hit her head on the hearth. She was probably knocked unconscious by the blow and perished subsequently from the smoke or fire.
William Wanders spent his career first as a polisher, then as a varnisher, in a Boston piano factory (name unknown). Wanders was awarded a pension on June 6 1890 due to his wounds during the Civil War. The pension was for $12 a month from November 1887 and for $17 a month from August 1888 until his death.
Death and Burial
On December 27, 1906, at 47 Prentiss Street, Wanders died at 81 years of age of chronic bronchitis. He is buried, with his wife Ann Wanders (McCarthy), at Old Calvary Cemetery in Mattapan.