Biography of Charles Frantz


This biography appears on pages 206-207 in
"Soldiers' and Citizens' Album of Biographical Record containing personal
sketches of Army Men and Citizens Prominent in loyalty to the Union"
Published in 1890



Charles Frantz, Kenosha, Wis., member of G. A. R. Post No. 230, was born in Minden, Westphalia, Germany, June 24, 1840, and is the son of Frederick and Dora Frantz. His father was a teacher in the public schools of Minden for 55 years and is now, at the age of 82 years, living in retirement on half pay in Minden where his wife died. In 1855 Mr. Frantz and his sister Dora came to America. (His father's family included five children. Herman, his twin brother, is the only one deceased; Fritz is the eldest; Dora is Mrs. Henry Reinholt, of Kenosha; Julia is the youngest.) They landed at the port of New York in February, 1855, and went directly to Kenosha. Mr. Frantz worked on a farm for a short time, when he went to Chicago and engaged as a clerk in a grocery and was so occupied successively at St. Louis and Davenport, Iowa, and finally returned in 1859 to Kenosha where he engaged in the same occupation with R. B. Winslow.

When the recruiting office for the 9th Wisconsin Infantry was opened at Kenosha, he was appointed recruiting officer and enrolled a number of men. On the organization of the command he was made Second Lieutenant of Company C, his commission dating September 7, 1861. He was mustered under it October 29th and left the State Jan. 22, 1862 for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he expected to take part in the expedition under General Lane, and a long march to Fort Scott was experienced to little purpose. When they moved subsequently to Baxter's Springs, they had plenty of miscellaneous military duty in the way of fighting guerrillas and rebel Indians. Through the difficulties with Colonel Wier, the regiment suffered needlessly from marching and when transferred to Salomon's management they proceeded to Fort Scott. When the Army of the Frontier was organized, the 9th was assigned to the 1st Brigade under Salomon. March 19, 1862, Mr. Frantz was promoted to First Lieutenant of Company A. A part of the regiment were in the fight at Newtonia and suffered severely. The command afterwards moved to reinforce the troops fighting at Prairie Grove, Mo., marching on the double-quick 55 miles in a few hours to reach there at nightfall after the battle was over, as it proved, the rebels muffling their wheels and retreating in the night. The command remained at Prairie Grove or Rheas' Mills and was in various expeditions. Mr. Frantz engaged as a scout and in foraging and skirmishing until the regiment went to St. Louis, where they performed guard duty. They went thence to Helena and next to Little Rock. Dec. 25, 1862, Lieutenant Frantz was commissioned Captain of Company G. He was in an expedition to the White River, going to Duvall's Bluff. After several raids and skirmishes through the winter, they remained in the vicinity of Little Rock, Ark. They had been assigned to the 7th Corps under Steele who was ordered in March to join Banks on the Red River expedition. While endeavoring to do so, the regiment was constantly under assault from guerrillas and fought skirmishes which partook of the character of battles in importance. An action with the troops of Marmaduke detained them until news was received of the failure of Banks, when Steele set out on his return to Little Rock with every promise of a battle on the way. The outlook was good for, April 30th at Jenkins' Ferry, Ark., the enemy under Kirby Smith and Price, engaged the Union troops. The fighting commenced before seven in the morning and while the Union troops were crossing the river, Captain Frantz was shot in his left arm by a minie ball. He was taken prisoner and with half a hundred wounded men passed three days in a small log cabin. On the first morning a dozen were found dead. The rest were marched to Princeton, where Captain Frantz suffered amputation of his arm, the regimental surgeon having been retained with the wounded. Four weeks later he went with the others to Tyler, Texas, to the stockade prison, where they were exchanged in February, 1865, and marched thence to the mouth of the Red River, barefooted and under strict guard. Their prison fare was about a pint of cornmeal daily and a small amount of meat once a week. Sometimes they had nothing but unground corn. They went thence to New Orleans and, four weeks later, joined their regiment at Little Rock. Captain Frantz received a furlough, as he was very feeble and after his arrival at home was discharged under General Order No. 15, issued May 15th for the discharge of all officers then on furlough. He proceeded to St. Louis, Mo., where he was mustered out. He returned to Kenosha where he resumed the duties of civil life and gave his attention to recovering his health. His straightforward career in private as in soldier's life recommended him for positions of trust and, in the spring of 1866 he was elected City Treasurer and was twice re-elected. In the fall of 1868 he was elected Register of Deeds. He was appointed Postmaster at Kenosha, was re-appointed successively in 1873, 1877 and 1881, and held the position until August, 1886, when his successor was sworn in. In January, 1887, he was appointed to a position in the land office at Madison, in which he served until June following, when he met with an accident which disabled him for life. He was crossing the track at Kenosha depot when the cable of a gravel train broke and struck him in the back, throwing his body into the air. He was taken home, remained unconscious several weeks and did not leave his bed for seven months. Captain Frantz has borne his misfortune with the same fortitude and courage which characterized his career as a soldier. He has always been an honored citizen of Kenosha, commanding respect and confidence of the community and his name honors the page of history.

He was married Feb. 17, 1870, to Angeline, daughter of Joseph and Angeline (Brooks) Martin and their children are named Charles G., Albert W., Ralph H., Mamie C., Lulu B. and Dora M. The parents of the wife and mother died in Kenosha.





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