Bio: Steele, Thomas J.
Contact: Lani Bartelt

----Sources: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) 21 Sep 1893

Rev. A. T. Adams, pastor of the M. E. Church here the past year has been assigned to Bruce. Rev. J. Bachman, of Medford takes his place here for the ensuing year.

The Thomas J Steele Family

Thomas J Steele was born 3 Jan 1829 in New York. When he became an adult he immigrated to Sheboygan, Wisconsin. where he lived for a number of years. On 2 Feb 1853 he married Jane Dobbins.

While doing the research for this biography I found an obituary for Jane’s sister, Catherine that said their parents immigrated to Sheboygan, Wisconsin from Morristown, New Jersey. And Catherine and Jane had a brother, Hugh Dobbins of Chilton, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Lani note/Mar 2006 I believe Chilton is in Calumet County, Wisconsin.

Thomas J Steele fought in the Civil War serving in Co C of the 4th WI. Inf. He enlisted 3 Nov 1863 in Plymouth, Wisconsin with the rank of private and was mustered out 22 Aug 1865 with the rank of corporal.

This regiment was organized at Racine in June 1861, with a numerical strength of 1,047. It was mustered in 2 July and was first used in suppressing bank riots in Milwaukee and Watertown. It left the state 15 July and on the refusal of the railroad company to transfer it from Corning, N. Y. to Elmira, it seized the train and ran it to Elmira. It went into headquarters at the Relay house, Md. and later joined the "Eastern Shore" expedition, going to Baltimore in December.

On 19 February 1862, it left for Fortress Monroe to join the New Orleans expedition, but was sent to Ship Island, Mississippi until 16 April. On the 28 April Companies E and G were landed 10 miles from Forts Jackson and St. Philip, after rowing 5 miles and drawing 30 boats loaded with arms and ammunition a mile and a half, while wading in mud and water waist deep.

The regiment, with the 31st Massachusetts, was first landed in New Orleans and took forcible possession of the Custom House. The 4th Wisconsin was occupied in scouting duty in detachments until July 26, when it was sent to Baton Rouge, Colonel Paine taking command of the troops there with orders to burn the city with the exception of the state library, paintings, statuary and charitable institutions.

This order was afterwards revoked on Colonel Paine’s representation to General Butler that the town "would be useful to our army for further military operations." The town was fortified thoroughly by the regiment, which was later ordered to Carrollton, near New Orleans, Company G being detached for service with the heavy artillery, and 40 men were also transferred to the 2nd U. S. artillery. The winter and spring were devoted to picket duty and small expeditions through Mississippi.

The regiment took a prominent part in the battle of Fort Bisland near Brashear City in April. It was then sent to Opelousas, where it met and defeated a large mounted force of the enemy. By order of General Banks the regiment was mounted and thereafter served as Cavalry. It was in numerous skirmishes until ordered to Port Hudson in May as part of the investing force. It took part in the first assault and reached the ditch surrounding the fortifications, having been temporarily dismounted. It was in the second assault on 14 June, losing 140 of the 220 men engaged in the charge.

It returned to Baton Rouge 25 July, and passed the following year in picketing, foraging and preserving the peace in that section, occasionally capturing or dispersing small bands of Cavalry and guerillas. On 27 November 1864, it formed part of a Cavalry force to keep the enemy near Mobile from advancing toward General Sherman.

The winter was passed at Baton Rouge and the regiment was sent to Mobile in April 1865. After the surrender of the latter place, the 4th was sent on a 70-day expedition through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In July it was ordered to Texas and remained there until May 1866, to prevent smuggling, guard against the Indians and preserve the peace.

The regiment was mustered out 28 May 1866. Its original strength was 1,047. Gained by recruits, 982; substitutes, 16; reenlistments, 260; total, 2,305. Loss by death, 350; missing, 23; desertion, 74; transfer, 2, discharge, 474; mustered out, 754.

After the Civil War Thomas moved his family to Clark County, Wisconsin where they settled on a farm about five miles west of Greenwood, Wisconsin; near Humbird, Clark County, Wisconsin. They would farm there until 1889 when they would once more move to Thorp, Clark County, Wisconsin to live out their lives.

Thomas & Jane had twelve children. On the 1880 Census 1880 Census For Warner, Clark County, Wisconsin the family is listed as follows:

Thomas Steele head married male white 51 b 1829 New Jersey farmer Father b England Mother b New Jersey

Jane E Steele wife married female white 41 b 1839 New Jersey keeping house Father b New Jersey Mother B New Jersey

Thomas S Steele son single male white 21 b 1859 Wisconsin laborer Parents both B New Jersery

Malissa D Steele daughter single female white 18 b 1862 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Eliza V Steele daughter single female white 16 b 1864 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jerssey

Henretta Steele daughter single female white 14 b 1855 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Ida M Steele daughter single female white 11 b 1869 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Willie R Steele son single male white 9 b 1871 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Alice M Steele daughter single female white 6 b 1874 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Arthur F Steele son single male white 4 b 1876 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Myrtie L Steele daughter single white 2 b 1878 Wisconsin Parents both B New Jersey

Three more children would be born to Thomas & Jane - Catherine, Lissian and Harry

Myrtle died of typhoid fever

----Sources: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) 25 Sep 1890


Peaceful by thy silent slumber,

Peaceful be thy silent grave;

Thou no more will join our number,

Thou no more our song will know.

Yet again we hope to meet there,

When the Day of Life is fled:

And in Heaven with joy to greet thee,

Where no farewell tears are shed

Lani note/Mar 2006 there is more of this poem that can be seen in her obituary

Jane E (Dobbins) Steele died at her home in Thorp, Wisconsin after an illness of about two months duration. She died of dropsy, heart disease, and liver complaint on 21 May 1901.

She is buried at East Thorp Village Cemetery, Thorp, Clark County, Wisconsin.

Thomas J Steele died at the home of his daughter in Thorp, Wisconsin on 26 Oct 1909. The cause of death was pneumonia and he was eighty years old.

Funeral services were held at the M.E. Church with J.B. Bachman officiating.

He was the father of twelve children, three of whom, Mrs. J. W. Hommel, Mrs. I. A. Smith, and Myrtle, who died at the age of four years, have preceded him into the great beyond. The others are Mrs. Catherine Holmes, Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Geo. Smith, Cox, Wis.; Thomas S. Steele, Thorp, Wis.; Mrs. Lissian Seeley, Rib Lake, Wis.; Mrs. Elizabeth Rusch, Glendive, Mont.; Mrs. Ida Richeleu, Greenwood, Wis.; Wm. Steele, Mrs. Harry Aucutt, Arthur Steele, all of Thorp, Wis."

Thomas J Steele is also buried at East Thorp Village Cemetery.

The following Steele family members are buried at East Thorp Village Cemetery:

Anna Isabel Steele, Arthur F Steele Sr., Arthur Steele Jr., Christina Auerila Steele, Ernest Steele, Jane E Steele, Myrtle Steele, Phylis Steele, Ralph Steele, Roger Lloyd Steele, Son of William Steele, Thomas L Steele, and Thomas S Steele

The following Steel family is listed on the 1842 State census for Sheboygan County

Henry B Steel

The following Steel and Dobbin family are listed on the 1855 Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Census

H Dobbin Plymouth

S Dobbin Plymouth

Thomas Steel Plymouth

William Steel Plymouth

The following Steel and Dobbin family are listed on the 1865 Plymouth, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Census

Solomon Dobbin 2 males 1 female

Wm Steele 3 males 4 females

George Steele 2 males 2 females

***Lani note/Mar 2006 I have also found Charles Pradt and James W Courter on this census

These families would also emigrate to Clark and Marathon Counties, Wisconsin.

The following Steel families are listed on the 1880 Sheboygan Census

Steele, Edgar son born 1876, male, white, born Wisconsin

Steele, Joseph son born 1873, male, white born Wisconsin

Steele, William self born 1801, male, white born New Jersey

These census records can be found at Sheboygan Census Records:

There are also a number of Steele, Dobbin, and Stenson persons buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin which may be of interest to Steele and Dobbin family researchers. The cemetery can be found at

Maple Grove Cemetery, Town of Plymouth. This cemetery was transcribed and contributed by Lois Andrews. Town of Plymouth, Sheboygan County –

The person who seems to have officiated at most of the Steele family members funerals from the M.E. Church in Thorp, Clark County, Wisconsin Rev. J. Bachman. I found this information on him while researching the Steele family




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