Orlando Colwell was part of the large family of Bozeal and Polly (Mary). In 1850, the family was settled and farming in Richland Township with ten children; Orlando was the second youngest then at six years old.
His father was almost thirty years older than his mother. By 1860, Mary was a widow supporting six children on the farm. The census enumerator called them "Calwell."
When he was about 18, Orlando enlisted into Company G, 38th Infantry. It was September 5, 1861, and Orlando was about to enter into a three year term of soldiering.
The regiment was active in Kentucky and Tennessee and was furloughed home on March 24, 1865. The regiment reenlisted as a veteran force (160th Regiment) and returned to Georgia to join in the battles there, particularly Kennesaw Mountain. Then it moved forward with Sherman into the Carolinas, mustering out in August 1865.
Orlando reported on the 1890 veterans' census that he had a gunshot wound in his left shoulder and suffered from a total disability. He was pensioned at $56 a month.
Orlando may have married his wife, Frances Todd, on one of his furloughs home on December 22, 1864. (Perhaps it was after he was wounded.) Her father was Rev. McCartney Todd, pastor of the local Christian church. By 1870, they were settled and farming in Richland Township with two small children, James, 3, and Alice, 2.
At some point, the family moved to Fremont Township, Isabella County, Michigan to farm. When they moved there is not known except that they were there for the 1880 census: Orlando (Orlanda Coldwell as transcribed), Frances, and children, James, Alice, Nelly, Eddy and Della. We also know that they were back when Orlando reported himself on the Defiance, Ohio, 1890 Veterans' Census.
In 1899, they moved to the town of Defiance. In 1900, at the age of 58, he reported no occupation on the census. Several of the sons - James, 33, and George B., 16 - noted they were day laborers. Daughter Rachel and the youngest son, Hudson, then 7, were at home with a grandchild, Frances Williams, 12. The couple reported that they had had ten children, but only seven were living at the time.
In 1905, when their youngest son, Hudson, was just 14, he left the home, determined to find adventure. The Defiance Weekly Express reported on January 27, 1905:
At the time of the census of 1910, Orlando and Frances lived at 513 Ravine Avenue in Defiance. Only their son Jim was at home. He was widowed, according to the census, and worked as a timber cutter. The census also revealed that neither Orlando nor Frances could read or write. Orlando was very active in the G.A.R., holding many offices.
Frances died on May 6, 1916 and her obituary appeared in the Defiance Democrat on May 11:
Orlando followed her in death in 1919; the Crescent-News reported on November 17:
(This is part of a series on Civil War veterans of Defiance County who were part of the G.A.R., Bishop Post, that headquartered in the city. Formed in 1879, the post was named after a local man, Captain William Bishop, Company D, 100th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Army who died as a result of wounds received in battle. The veterans' photos are part of a composite photo of members that has survived. If you have other information or corrections to add to the soldiers' stories, please add to the comments!)