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The Descendants of Ferdinand and Catherine Zahrli-Fester
Ferdinand Fester was not a particularly tall man. With dark hair and eyes, he seemed as much Mediterranean as German.. Born in 1835 to Augustus and Helena Fester, this man was destined to live a short but exciting and somewhat controversial life until his death at the age of 40 in 1875.
Ferdinand grew up in the small farming village of Brussels in Calhoun County, Illinois. This is approximately 30 miles northeast of Alton. Illinois, in the beautiful rolling hills of the estuarine plain of the Illinois River. No doubt his sister Caroline (who was four years older) spent considerable time looking after young Ferdinand as he grew up. Three other siblings were to follow: Charles (1841), Charlotte (1843), and Louis (1848). This made Ferdinand the oldest son, thirteen years older than his youngest brother Louis.

Ferdinand was 26 years old at the outbreak of the Civil War. He first served in The Third Michigan Cavalry which principally served in the Western Theater. He also put in a controversial stint with the Third Missouri under the assumed name of... It is believed that Ferdiand was performing bounty service. That is to say accepting money to take the place of a drafted man. While that wasn't unusual during the Civil War, it was unusual, to say the least, to do so when one was currently already in the service! Ferdinand survived the war and was discharged from the 3rd Michigan at war's end.