Photographer's Note

Wearing an authentic Union Army uniform on loan from the De Pere Historical Society, Ron Zahn plays the role of Levi Chase in the “Wrightstown Veterans of the Civil War” re-enactment Memorial Day afternoon at the Mueller-Wright House.

Chase was captured by Confederate forces on July 28, 1864, and spent 11 months in the infamous Andersonville Prison in southwestern Georgia, where he survived a debilitating tenure while many around him died.

According to moderator John Berens’ script, “During the fifteen months that Andersonville was operated almost 13,000 Union prisoners died of malnutrition, exposure, and disease.”

Chase finishes his scripted remarks this way: "I thank God every day that I was one of the survivors. My imprisonment caused me to suffer from rheumatism and general debility for the rest of my life, so much so that in 1880 I was awarded a monthly pension of $2 from the government.

Immediately after my release from Andersonville I returned to Wisconsin and married Orelia Pettit in Fond du Lac on August 20, 1865. We then returned to Wrightstown where I resumed my life as a farmer. Two daughters were born to us, Etta (1868) and Stella (1870). Then tragically my wife Orelia died in 1872 at the age of twenty-two and was buried in Riverside Cemetery. I quickly remarried.

After 1880 I left Wrightstown and moved to Coopersville, Ottawa County, Michigan. I subsequently moved to Polkton in the same county where I lived the remainder of my life until my final years, when I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. After my second wife Carrie died I was married a third time to Virena Jane Simmons in Grand Rapids on October 27, 1909. While Virena was my third wife, I was her sixth husband! I guess like King Henry VIII of England, it took her six marriages to get it right!"

Chase died in 1914 and was buried in Valley City Cemetery in Grand Rapids.

Thanks to John Berens for these excerpts from his well-researched script!

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Additional Photos by Jim Pinkham (jpinkham) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 189 W: 10 N: 183] (870)
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