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February 16, 2013

Janurieus Surprenant

Januerieus Surprenant,. Courtesy Rollie Surprenant.

Januerieus Surprenant. Courtesy Rollie Surprenant.

            Janurieus was born in the year 1846 to Anthony and Mary Ann Kinmouth Surprenant, the first of seven children.  Anthony and Mary Ann were married July 18th, 1843 in the village of St. Edouard, Napierville County, Quebec, Canada.  Nicholas Lawless attested that he was present and witnessed the wedding.

Janurieus reached his teen years during the difficult times of states rights debates and the question of slavery in the United States.  These disputes came to a head in 1861 and the union was split into the United States and the Confederate States of America.  We will never know what his motivation was, but he enlisted in the United States Army July 19, 1862 at Queensbury, NY.  He became a private in Company A of the 118th Regiment, New York Volunteers.  This was a local unit whose members came from Warren, Essex and Clinton Counties.  He was mustered in on August 29, 1862 at Plattsburg, NY and was to serve for three years.  Below is a chart that gives the war record of the 118th New York Volunteers.

 118th Regiment:  Battles and Casualties, Civil War, New York

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.  New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: November 15, 2007
URL: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/118thInf/118thInfTable.htm

 

As you can see from the chart above, this unit took part in some of the more well-known and hardest fought battles of the Civil war.  By 1864, Janurieus was listed as a Corporal in the army.  After going through two years of his service, misfortune struck during the second Battle of Fair Oaks October 27th and 28th of 1864, the next to last battle that his unit participated in.  Janurieus was captured by the Confederates.  He was held in a Southern prison camp, possibly near Richmond, VA, until the fourth of March, 1865 when he was delivered on parole to the US Government in North Carolina.  Unfortunately, he, as had so many other soldiers, contracted diarrhea during his imprisonment and he died from this affliction March 25, 1865, less than a month before the war came to a conclusion when the Confederate Army surrendered to the Federal Army at Appomattox Court House, VA.  His death occurred in or near Wilmington, NC.

Back home in Queensbury, tragedy also struck the family when Anthony died on October 19, 1864, within days of Janurieus being captured.  He died in St. Albans, VT and the body was returned to Glens Falls for burial.  Anthony left his widow and several small children who were then almost wholly dependent on Janurieus for their support.  He had been sending most of his army pay back home to help out his family.

His mother, Mary Ann petitioned the government for a pension based on her son’s service in the war.  In applying for the pension, she listed her family as follows”

John T. Suprenant, born 10/01/1851

Catherine J. Suprenant, born 11/01/1853

Frederic A. Suprenant, born 02/06/1856

George L. Suprenant, born 07/04/1858

Mary T. Suprenant, born 04/19/1860

Francis S. Suprenant, born 05/18/1862

In testimony on August 27, 1866, Joseph Cross and Frank Roby stated that Mary Ann had a large family of children and they were dependent on her.  They had only a small house and lot with a value of about $500 and believed that she had no other property except for household furnishings that were of small value.  They concluded she was in very poor circumstances.  Another earlier statement, sworn on March 13, 1866 by Frank Roby, stated that he had known Anthony for ten years and had attended his funeral on October 22, 1864.  He testified that Anthony had left a widow with a family of small children and that Anthony and Mary Ann were almost wholly dependent on their son for support.

In a decision approved on October 10, 1867 by the Albany Agency of the Commission of Pensions that handled her claim, she was granted a pension of $8 per month to begin on March 25, 1865.  At the time of her death she was receiving $12 per month with the last payment dated 11/04/1899.   Following is the obituary for Mary Ann Surprenant as it appeared in the Monday November 6, 1899 Glens Falls Daily Times.

Mrs. Mary A. Surprenant, aged 75 years, relict of Anthony Surprenant, died this morning at 2:30 o’clock at her home, 60 South Street.  The immediate cause of death was complications of …(unreadable)…  Mrs. Surprenant was stricken early last week but she had not been well since the death of her son, Frederick Surprenant, who was the Quartermaster Sargeant of Company L, Twenty first regiment and who was killed last July at Calamba, P. I.  The deceased was born in Montreal but had resided in this village for over a half century and was held in the highest esteem by a large circle of friends.  She is survived by three daughters and four sons;  Mrs. David L’Amoreaux, Mrs. P. J. Seery, Mrs. Minnie Brooks, John T. Surprenant, and George Surprenant of Glens Falls;  Joseph Surprenant of Astoria, Oregon and Frank Surprenant of Medley, Oregon.  Joseph Surprenant is on his way east and until his arrival the funeral arrangements will not be made.

The information for this article came from the tombstone of Janurieus in St. Alphonsus Cemetery, Queensbury, NY and Civil War pension papers in the vertical file at the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, NY.  The chart was from the website listed below it.  It should be noted that there were alternate spellings of Janurieus’ name, to wit, Janureus and Januarius.  On one website listing deaths in the 118th regiment, he is listed as Pere Januarius Suprenant, with no explanation.  The spelling I’ve used is the one found on his tombstone in St. Alphonsus Cemetery.

 

Closeup of Janurieus’ Tombstone.

 © February 14 2013, Warren County Historical Society.

Article prepared by Bob Bayle for the Warren County Historical Society.

 

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