Left to right Nelson Frost, Harrison Whitmore and Al Sherburn.  Photo used with permission of Jason Pate.


Albert Sherburne (full name John Albert Granger Sherburne) was born on September 9, 1838 at Canandaigua, Ontario, New York, the son of Hezekiah and Mary Sherburne. The family moved to Sycamore, DeKalb County, Illinois, sometime around 1847.

When war broke out, Albert enlisted on 16 September 1861 at DeKalb, Illinois, and was mustered into service on October 5, 1861 at Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois. His physical description at the time of his enlistment described him as being 5’11”, with a dark complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. His occupation was farmer. His brother, Benjamin, had also enlisted in the same battery, just a few days before.

He suffered with the measles while at Camp Butler early in his service. In May or June 1863, he was deafened in both ears as a result of the loud artillery in battle. His condition would be so bad that in later years, he had difficulty hearing regular conversation just a few feet away from him. On January 15, 1865, at Eastport, Mississippi, he was captured by the Rebels, and shortly thereafter was sent to the notorious Andersonville Prison. He remained P.O.W. until April 28, 1865, when he was paroled in Florida, and he was discharged on June 12, 1865 at Springfield, Illinois.

Albert returned to Sycamore for a short time after the war, then moved to Allegan, Michigan, where he was a teamster on the route from Allegan to Kalamazoo. On June 11, 1869, Albert married Elizabeth Noggle, a local schoolteacher. Soon after their marriage, the Sherburnes moved to Clarksville, Iowa, and then Wynot, Nebraska, where they homesteaded around 1872. Driven out by the grasshoppers, the Sherburnes returned to Allegan, Michigan.

The couple had five children: Frederick, Minnie, Anna, May and Margaret.

In 1897, disputes about the importance of educating the children, particularly the girls, drove Albert and Elizabeth to separate. His drinking may have also been a contributing factor to his marital strife. Elizabeth provided for her family by working in a dressmaking shop, ensuring that her children could attend school.

When the couple separated, Albert deeded the home and a milk cow to his wife, then headed west, joining some of his siblings in Iowa and Nebraska. He drifted at times to relatives in New York, back to Michigan, and to his son near Chicago. Albert seldom stayed for long in one place, and apparently found work as a teamster and laborer, usually residing with friends or relatives. Though some of his siblings felt strongly that Albert should divorce Elizabeth, he refused, concerned that she would get “everything he had.”

Albert died of a stroke at his sister’s home, Mrs. Marietta Thompson, on February 1, 1914 at Wynot, Nebraska, where he was buried.

SOURCES: Albert Sherburne military service record file, National Archives. Albert Sherburne pension file, National Archives.