San Mateo County History

Corporal Caleb Trowbridge

Corporal Caleb Trowbridge.

Born August 30 1849 in New Haven Connecticut and died March 27, 1908 in Redwood City, California. Caleb was the youngest child of John Trowbridge 1811-1893 and Betsy Tomlinson 1812-1900.


  • Adela Louisa Merwin 1850-1930, married 23 Jun 1870
  • Margaret L. Hoffman 1844-1933, married 22 Dec 1883

He joined Company M, 1st Connecticut Cavalry on December 18, 1863 at the age of 14 years. July 1, 1865 he was promoted to corporal at the age of 16 years.  He rode with General Phillip Sheridan in raids around Richmond Virginia starting May 9, 1864 and including the Battle of Yellow Tavern.

Other Battles included:

  • The Wilderness starting May 5, 1864
  • Todd's Tavern May 7 1864
  • Spotsylvania Courthouse May 8 through May 24 1864
  • Ashland Station May 11, 1864
  • Winchester September 1864
  • Cedar Creek October 19, 1864 and
  • Five Forks April 1, 1865

After October 1864 he served under General George Armstrong Custer. He was at Appomattox April 09, 1865 during the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.  His company was en route to encounter General Joseph E. Johnston before his surrender to General Sherman in April of 1865.  His regiment mustered out of service on August 2, 1865. The war was over.

Caleb and his brother Elisha were in the carpentry business in Newark New Jersey after the war according to The History of the Trowbridges. After the Panic of 1873, his business failed he returned to New Haven Connecticut to start a business there. He later moved to Los Angeles, California, where he injured himself when he fell off of a roof while working as a roofer.

It’s not clear how he got to Redwood City since he was in a Veteran’s Retirement Home in Los Angeles after his injury but it may have been to be close to his first wife, Adela Louisa Merwin, who died in San Mateo in 1930.

His great grandfather Capt. Caleb Trowbridge 1748-1799 joined the 1st Connecticut Militia from May 1, 1775 to December 10, 1775. He was with the 17th Continental Infantry on January 1, 1776. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the Battle of Long Island on August 27, 1776. He died of his wounds on August 29, 1776.  His third cousin is Susan Brownwell Anthony (1820-1906). Through his 6th great grandmother, Agnes Prowse Trowbridge (1576-1622) he is descended from Charlemagne (2 April 742 – 28 January 814). This connection was featured on TV show called “Who do you think you are?” on The Learning Channel. They were doing the ancestry of Cindy Crawford. Cindy Crawford had the same 10th great grandmother that Corporal Trowbridge and I share, Agnes Prowse Trowbridge 1576-1622, and through her they traced Cindy’s ancestry to Charlemagne. Since that broadcast there are several internet sites that confirm the lineage.

Agnes Prowse Trowbridge is my 10th great grandmother.

 -Michael Ratliff Lutz 

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