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Dunn/Witt Family


Witt/Dunn Family:

XAVIER WITT, b. December 12, 1811 in Schurheim, Bischwiller, Bas/Rin, France. Married MARY SCOTT. Xavier served in the French army as a grenadier from 1828 to 1832.

Note: Translation of French certificate of good conduct (best translation of poor copy). Certificat de bonne conduit
"52(?) Regiment of the Infantry of the Line, 10th Military Division, Place of _______, France, 1st Battalion Grenadier

"We the undersigned members of the administrative Council of the 52nd (?) Regiment of the Infantry of the Line. Let it be certified that Mr. Xavier Witt, grenadier, born 12 Dec 1811 at Schurheim, State of Bischuiller, County of Bas Rhin - chestnut hair, brown eyes, round forehead, pointed nose, large mouth, round chin, oval face, no particular marks (or scars), body of _20 millimeters - held good conduct during the entire time he rested under the flags and that he constantly served with honor and dignity.

"Personal comment: He was never wounded or sick and he never did anything to prevent the fulfillment of his service obligation and he remained single during his service obligation.

"Made at _________, 11 Dec 1838"

Child of Xavier Witt and Mary Scott:

  • MICHAEL WITT. born Oct 2, 1842 in Schurheime, Alixe, France.  died Oct 26, 1928 in St. Mary's Hospital, Decatur, IL. Resided:  1773 E. Clay St, Decatur.  Occupation:  Merchant.  Married CATHERINE KIRBY, born about October 1852 supposedly in County Limerick, Ireland, died January 12, 1884 in Decatur, IL. Served in Company I, 116th Illinois Infantry. Dates on headstone so worn that dates of birth or death are unreadable. Catherine's date of death, on the opposite side of the stone, are barely decipherable - 1/12/1884, at 31yrs, 3 mo, 3 days. Buried Cavalry Cemetery, Decatur, IL.


Note: Transcript of US Bureau of Pensions form for Michael Witt
Michael was age 19 when enlisted, 5'7", black hair and hazel eyes.

"United States of America Bureau of Pensions

"It is hereby certified that in conformity with the laws of the United States, Michael Witt, who was a private, Co. I, 116th Illinois Infantry, is entitled to a pension at the rate of ninety dollars per month, to commence June 6, 1928.

"Given at the Department of the Interior this sixth day of October one thousand nine hundred and twenty eight and of the Independence of the united States of America the one hundred and fifty third.

"Secretary of the Interior"


William, Maurine, Michael and Bernard Witt. 
 Photo taken in Decatur, IL about 1927.


  • WILLIAM FRANCIS WITT, b. April 5, 1874 in DeWitt, IL, d. December 11, 1958 in Decatur, IL. Married MARY FRANCIS THORPE on Jan 19, 1897 in Macon County, IL.  Mary  b. June 4, 1876, d. September 19, 1934 in Decatur, IL. Buried Cavalry Cemetery, Decatur, IL. Second wife of William Witt was AGNES GRIESBAUM


  • BERNARD PAUL WITT, b. December 12, 1897 in Weldon, IL, d. July 21, 1965 in Decatur, IL. Married VERA MARIE DUNNE on September 8, 1921.
     Vera Dunn:  born: Jan 23, 1897 in Findlay, IL     died: Jan. 16, 1971 in Decatur, IL
        married Bernard Witt on September 8, 1921 at St. Patrick's in Decatur, IL
        Bernard:  born: Dec 12, 1897    Died: July 1965 in Decatur, IL.  Buried in Calvary Cemetery, Decatur, IL.  Vera Dunn was the daughter of Lewis Dunn and Elizabeth Heneberry.  

    Early Witt Marriages in Macon County, Illinois: Illinois State Archives.

     Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763 - 1900

Groom Bride Date of Marriage
WITT, AUGUST          GOLLENGESKI, ANNA 03/22/1893
WITT, JOHN H      NICHOLS, HARRIET M 05/19/1857 
WITT, WILLIAM F       THORPE, MARY F  01/19/1897
PHARES, WILL G         WITT, ARABELLE M           02/12/1896
DODWELL, LEW  WITT, EDA     08/02/1893
WETZEL, JOSEPH G    WITT, ROSA 10/07/1860  

Bernard Paul and Vera Dunn Witt.

Vera Dunn Witt.

From Decatur Herald & Review.  Sept. 1921:  Marriage of Vera Dunne and Bernard Witt.

"The marriage of Miss Vera Dunne and Bernard Witt took place in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Thursday morning at 7:45 o’clock. The marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Father Murphy.  They were attended by Miss Aimee Dunne, sister of the bride and Francis Witt, brother of the bridegroom.

The bride wore a brown Duvet de Laine suit with gray squirrel trimmings and hat and shoes to match. The bridesmaid also wore a brown beaver trimmed suit with corresponding hat and shoes.  The wedding breakfast was served in the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. D. F. Kinney,  354 Main Street. The couple left immediately for Chicago.

During the week a number of parties were given in honor of the bride. Miss Marie Traughber entertained the Octo club in home near Mt. Zion Thursday afternoon. The affair was a miscellaneous shower.  Mrs. C.F. Kekelsen gave a kitchen shower on Monday evening, entertaining about 20 guests. The evening was spent in hemming and decorating tea towels for the bride.

A variety shower was given on Wednesday evening by Miss Irma Dunn in her home 525 W. Eldorado who entertained three tables of 500 with a two course luncheon.  After their return from Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Witt will be at home to their friends in 717 West Eldorado street."

Decatur Herald: Mon. Jan 18, 1971.   Witt

"Mrs. Bernard (Vera Marie Dunn) Witt, 73 of 90 Ridge Lane, died at 7:55 pm Saturday in the Macon County Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Funeral services will be at 9:30 am Tuesday in St. Patrick Catholic Church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. There will be no visitation. The J. J. Moran & Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Mrs. Witt was born in Findlay, a daughter of Louis and Lizzie Henneberry Dunn. She was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church. She was married to Bernard Witt in Decatur, Sept. 8, 1921. He preceded her in death. Surviving are daughters, Mrs. Roger (Shirley) ________ of Decatur and Mrs. James (Maurine) Brown of Peoria, a sister Mrs. Aimee Knowles of Decatur, eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild. The family suggests memorials to St. Mary’s Hospital."


Bridegroom Enters U. of I.  Decatur Herald: Sunday, September 9, 1945.

"Miss Maurine Witt daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Witt, 442 West Prairie, and James Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Brown of Macon, were married yesterday at 10:30 a. m. by Rev. Fr. John Morris at nuptial mass in St. Patrick's Catholic church. They will live in Urbana while he attends the University of Illinois.

The bride wore slipper satin with a sheer yoke trimmed in braid and a full. train. Her full length veil fell from a jeweled coronet with a short veil over the face.

Music was by Mrs. Leo Hayes, organist and Caroline Adams soprano.

Shirley Witt maid of honor and sister of the bride, wore yellow taffeta made with puff sleeves, sweetheart neck, and overskirt of net, and carried a cascade of blue delphinium, yellow chrysanthemums, and pink roses. Her headdress was of matching net with flowers in a short veil.

The bridesmaids, Marilyn Rusk and Rosemary Brown, wore pink and blue, respectively made like the maid of honor's with matching headdresses and bouquets.

Lynn Brown. the bridegroom's brother, was best man and ushers were Howard Amman and Dewey West. Ronnie Knowles was ring bearer.

After the nuptial mass there was a wedding breakfast in the pastel room of the Hotel Orlando for immediate families, and a reception in the home-of the bride's parents from 2 to 4 p.m. The wedding was on their 24th anniversary."


116th Illinois Infantry Regimental Flag  
Although only 50% of this flag remains, enough is seen to identify the fact that it is typical of those manufactured in New York.


116th Illinois Infantry:    Illinois State Archives/Civil War

Michael Witt:  Private, Unit 116 Company I, Decatur.

The ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEENTH INFANTRY was recruited almost wholly from Macon county, numbering 980 officers and men when it started from Decatur for the front on November 8, 1862.

Company F was from McLean county, Company H from Christian and Shelby counties. The Regiment, with the noble and brave Colonel Nathan W. Tupper in command, went into Camp Macon near Decatur, and was mustered into United States service September 30, 1862 by Captain Wainwright of the regular army.

The Regiment remained in Camp Macon until November 8th, when it was ordered to Memphis via Cairo to join General W. T. Sherman’s Fifteenth Army Corps, and was assigned to the First Brigade, Second Division (the same which General Sherman commanded at Shiloh) and the one he selected from his whole army subsequently near Savannah, Georgia to storm Fort McAllister, to open his cracker line, as the General facetiously put it.

From Memphis the Regiment marched to the Tallahatchie River, reaching it on December 13;returned to Memphis and started down the Mississippi on the 20th, and on the 26th reached the Yazoo River and ascended it 15 miles. During the following three days the Regiment received its first baptism of fire, engaging in the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, the officers and men fighting so gallantly as to receive the highest compliments from the veterans of the older regiments in the Brigade. General Morgan L. Smith was wounded in this engagement.

On January 1, 1863, passed down the Yazoo to the Mississippi River, and up that and the Arkansas River to Arkansas Post, where on the 10th and 11th of January it fought its second battle, sustaining very heavy losses. Here Captain Lewis Eyman, of Company E, and Lieutenant John S. Taylor, of Company B, were killed. The casualties in Company B were particularly severe, the company coming out of the battle with but 25 men, in command of Fifth Sergeant, afterward Lieutenant and Captain Christian Riebsame.

In the month of March the One Hundred and Sixteenth went up the Black Bayou and Deer Creek in company with the Eighth Missouri, to save Admiral Porter’s fleet and gunboats worth $3,000,000 from the clutches of the rebels which was done after a hard fight, General Sherman in person and on foot with his own Regiment, the Thirteenth Regulars, coming up at a critical moment to assist in accomplishing the object.

The Regiment engaged in the battles of Champion Hills and Black River Bridge and in the bloody charges on May 18th and 22nd and lost very heavily. Among the losses and casualties were these: Lieutenant Colonel Jas. P. Boyd was shot through the lungs and died of this wound at home in Decatur, Captain Gustin F. Hardy, of Company A, was mortally wounded and died in the hospital. Lieutenant Nathan W. Wheeler, of Company K, was killed May 22d. Captain Joseph Lingle, of Company D, was wounded and died at home, and Captain William Grason, of Company A, was shot through the breast, but recovered. Captain Austin McClurg, of Company B, was wounded, recovered and promoted Major. Then followed the long siege of Vicksburg which ended by the surrender of that stronghold on the 4th of July.

The following day started in pursuit of General Jos. E. Johnston, and chased the enemy to and beyond Jackson, Mississippi, and across Pearl River.On July 25, went into Camp Sherman, near Black River, enjoying a season of rest until after the battle of Chickamauga, when General Grant sent for his trusty lieutenant, General Sherman, and his veterans, to come to Chattanooga.

The One Hundred and Sixteenth embarked at Vicksburg in October for Memphis; from thence marched via Corinth to Chattanooga, which was reached on the 21st of November. During the night of November 23, the One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois and Sixth Missouri Regiments, under General Giles A. Smith, floated down the Tennessee River in pontoon boats to the mouth of Chickamauga Creek, capturing the rebel pickets and holding the position until the whole Corps had crossed over. On November 23, advanced to the foot of Missionary Ridge, after a lively skirmish, during which General Giles A. Smith was severely wounded. (The General’s death after the war was the result of the wound received that day.)

The great battle of Missionary Ridge, Tunnel Hill and Lookout Mountain was fought next day, November 25. The One Hundred and Sixteenth, with the other Regiments of the Brigade, formed the extreme left of General Sherman’s Army, and obtained the credit of turning the enemy’s right flank on that bloody day. Colonel N. W. Tupper, after General Smith was disabled, assumed command of the Brigade, and proved that he was the right man in the right place. When disease, contracted in the service of his country, and of which he died on the 10th day of March 1864, compelled him to leave the army, every man in the One Hundred and Sixteenth felt that he had lost a friend and the nation a patriot.

After the victory of Chattanooga, and without being permitted to return to camp across the Tennessee for blankets or overcoats, the One Hundred and Sixteenth, with other of Sherman’s Army, was hurried forward to Knoxville to the relief of Burnside. The winter was a very cold one, and while the boys could keep warm marching twenty-five to thirty miles during the days, they suffered greatly while camping at night. They would build big fires and hug them close, but the other side would be chilled to the marrow of the bone; rations, also were very short, and when at last the Regiment went into winter quarters on January 9, 1864, at Larkinsville, Ala., the men all felt that they have been on the hardest campaign during their service.

The march from Missionary Ridge to Knoxville, and back to Larkinsville via Tellico and Strawberry Plains and Chattanooga, will never be forgotten by Sherman’s boys who were along. In May, the One Hundred and Sixteenth, with the rest of the Army of the Tennessee, moved against the enemy, and found him at Resaca, GA., when, on the 14th of May, the Regiment was hotly engaged, losing heavily, but driving the enemy across the creek, and planting their colors upon the rebel works. The One Hundred and Sixteenth was repeatedly attacked, but could not be driven from the position gained. It was in this battle that Major Anderson Froman was wounded, and he died in the field hospital.

Then followed in quick succession the battles of Dallas, Big Shanty and Kenesaw Mountain. Captain Thomas White, of Company C, commanding the Regiment, was killed on the skirmish line May 26, at Dallas, and Captain James N. Glore, Company K, was wounded about the same time. The Regiment lost heavily on June 27, 1864, in the assault on Kenesaw Mountain. Among the wounded was Lieut John H. Miller, of Company B.

August 31 and September 1, was hotly engaged with the enemy at Jonesboro. After the fall of Atlanta, and when Hood started for General Sherman’s rear, the One Hundred and Sixteenth assisted in the pursuit of the enemy as far as Gadston, when, leaving the rebels to the care of General Thomas, marched back to Atlanta, and on the 15th day of November went with Uncle Sherman from Atlanta to the Sea, arriving at Fort McAllister, GA., near Savannah, December 12. The next day, December 13, General W. B. Hazen, commanding Division, selected nine regiments, including the One Hundred and Sixteenth, to carry the fort, and within five minutes after the sound of the bugle “Forward” the Regimental colors were on the works and the garrison captured. Lieutenant Isom Simmons, of Company H, was killed in this charge.

After a few days rest in the beautiful city of Savannah, we started on the campaign of the Carolinas, hunting the enemy and finding him first near the swamps of Pocotaligo, chased him through creeks and across rivers, skirmishing constantly until nearing Columbia, S.C., where the Fifteenth Corps, the One Hundred and Sixteenth included, run short of chewing tobacco. Learning that there was an ample supply of the article in the city of Columbia, paid that city a visit on the 17th of February 1865, and replenished stock. After a few days rest resumed march, facing home, crossing the great Pedee River at Cheraw, S.C., then to Fayetteville, N.C., and to Bentonville, where the One Hundred and Sixteenth for the last time encountered its old foe, General Jos. E. Johnston’s Army, and fought its last battle. From Goldsboro, where the army was re-equipped (and it was in need of everything except the musket and forty rounds), the Regiment started picnicking for Washington via Raleigh, Richmond and Alexandria, participating in the grad review before the President in May 1865, being finally mustered out near Washington on June 7, 1865.

The history of the One Hundred and Sixteenth Infantry is identical with that of the Army of the Tennessee from Memphis, 1862, to Washington, 1865. It was never on detached service, but always with the moving column. The Regiment was peculiarly fortunate in retaining through its eventful history the very efficient services of its medical staff, and the members had plenty of work to do. Major Ira N. Barnes, M.D., Decatur, Ill; Assistant Surgeon John A. Heckelman, M. D., St. Louis, and Assistant Surgeon J. H.l Hostettler, M.D., Decatur, all served to the end of the war, and every one of the 350 survivors in 1865 had cause to feel grateful to them. The esprit du corps of the Regiment, under the command of Colonel Tupper, was splendid, and under such Brigade Commanders as General Giles A. Smith, and Division Commanders as W.B. Hazen, retained it to the end of the war.


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