Saturday, April 30, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Stewart Wishard

Stewart Wishard was a brother to my husband's great, great grandfather Robert T. Wishard.  Stewart was born 22 Aug 1825 in Fleming County, Kentucky, but his family had moved to Shelby Co, Indiana before he was four.  He seems to have been something of a restless soul - he lived in several different places and married four or possibly even five times - he had children by four wives.  His wives [there is evidence some died, but were there also divorces?] and children have been difficult to trace.

By the beginning of the Civil War, Stewart was living with his second wife and the two daughters he had with her in Davis County, Iowa.  I believe I found one of his two sons of his first wife living with her brother's family back in Johnson County, Indiana, in 1860.  The other son was probably with his first wife's sister's family in Shelby County, Indiana.

Stewart Wishard enlisted in the Union Army, but in the 10th Missouri Infantry Volunteers, Company D, as a Sergeant.  His enlisted in July of 1861 and was discharged at St. Louis in November of 1864.   After the War he moved to Alabama where he was found in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses in Madison County.  In 1881, Stewart married for the fourth time in Jackson County, Alabama.

On 3 Oct 1888, Stewart made declaration for his Civil War pension before the judge of the Probate Court in Jackson County, Alabama.  He stated his age as 66, which was about three years older than he actually was.  Stewart was 6 ' 1 1/2" tall, blue-eyed with brown hair.  While in the line of duty at High Hill, Missouri, during the month of August, 1861 he contracted chronic diarrhea with resulting piles and prolapse of bowels, by reason of exposure. He was treated at High Hill that fall by Dr. Payne and at various other places. He served three years and three months and has not since been in the military. Since leaving the service he has resided in Alabama & Iowa, occupation that of farmer. He was a farmer and in sound health when he enlisted but he is now greatly disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.

The muster roll cards in the pension file show that Stewart was absent, sick, several times, and that he was admitted to the Regimental Hospital at one time with disease of the kidneys and another time with lumbago.  He had a 30-day furlough in the summer of 1863, to go to Bloomfield, Iowa - I suspect this could have been about the time of the death of his second wife.

Stewart's pension was $6 per month, increased to $12 in 1890.  Through the years, there were many medical reviews and additional testimony required.  Here is one of affidavits given in 1890 for proof of his disability.
12 Jul 1890. Affidavit of James C. Quigley of Bailey, Hand County, South Dakota. He was acquainted with Stewart Wishard while at Corrinth, Mississippi, the Spring & Summer of 1862. He had contracted diarrhea and resulting piles with relaxation of the bowels and was terribly reduced. He rallied some time in the fall and winter and kept with his command but was not fit for severe duty at all or very little. After discharge, I lived neighbor to him for two years, 1867 & 1866, at Drakeville, Iowa when he moved to Alabama. All this time he suffered & showed the effects of his disability. When he enlisted he was a strong stout energetic man, a good true soldier and stuck to the service and his duty so far as able. I knew him for at least five years.

By 1891, his physical examination showed he had trachoma of both eyes, as well as chronic diarrhea.  In 1892, Stewart said his sight had become imparied about 1877 or 1878 and he didn't know the cause.  His acquaintances from Madison County, Alabama, continued to provide testimony about his inability to work.  He also asked for a higher disability rating because of his deteriorating health, but perhaps didn't get it because his pension continued at $12 per month.

By 18 May 1893, Stewart Wishard was found at the National Military Home, in Grant, Indiana.  He was admitted to the Marion Branch of the National Home for disabled Volunteer soldiers in September of 1895 and his pension was transferred to the Pension Agency in Indianapolis.

Here is a webpage of the Marion Branch home that has both a picture of the home and picture of the men in the dining hall made 1898 while Stewart Wishard was a resident.  I find this picture incredibly sad.

In February 1898, his martial status was requested which helped me confirm and place some of the wives and children.  Stewart said he was a Widower and his wife's maiden name had been Webb [she was the fourth wife]. He didn't give any record of the marriage, nor did he answer the question regarding previous wives. He was asked to give names of children living and their date of birth. He had no record of their births but gave these names: John Thompson, William Thomas, Sabrina, Susana, and Myrtle.  I had found probably two other children in census records, apparently deceased by 1898.  [I know that John and William were sons of the first wife, nee Sarah Harris; Sabrina and a daughter Surena were born to the second wife, Frances Huffman; Susanna and possibly a son Willy/Wylie? were born to the third wife, Olive Elvia "Alla" Jenkins; and Myrtle was the daughter of the fourth wife, Sudie Webb.  There is also a marriage record in Alabama - Stewart Wishard to Jane Phillips, 6 Jun 1887 - but Jane is mentioned nowhere else.]

There was a request for the military and medical history of Stewart Wishard in 1903 and the subsequent answers reveal new information that he had been wounded in the thigh in the battle near Iarka, Mississippi on 19 Sep 1862.

On 10 Jun 1905, Stewart Wishard stated that he had a daughter that was blind, married to a blind man, and he was inquiring if there was any pension provision for dependants.  There was not.  [The blind daughter was Myrtle, born December of 1884, apparently the only child of Stewart's fourth marriage to Sudie Webb.  In 1900, Myrtle Wishard, age 17, was in the census, living at the Institute for the Education of the Blind in Indianapolis.]
Then the following two documents appear in the pension file.
11 Jul 1906 Marion Branch National Home for D.V.S., Indiana. Stewart Wishard, late D Co, 10 Regt MO, Pension, Certificate #762466, DIED at this Branch on the 11th day of Jul 1906. Stamped: Rec'd 18 Jul 1906.

14 Jul 1906 Marion Branch, National Home. Stewart Wishard died at this Branch Hospital on 11 Jul 1906. He died of Senility; he was a widower. Next of kin: Mrs. Myrtle Brinkman, daughter, Kokomo, IN

Steward Wishard is buried at the Marion National Cemetery, Grant County, Indiana.

The story doesn't end with Stewart's death.  In 1903 Myrtle had married William A. Brinkman.  The 1910 census lists both of them as "Blind" - and there were three young children.  Myrtle also indicated they had lost a child prior to 1910.  William Brinkman was quite a bit older and had been twice married.  He was born in Ohio, his parents born in Germany.  His occupation given as "a Peddlar on the Street".
In 1907, Mrs. Myrtle Brinkman hired a lawyer to write to the Pension Bureau to inquire if, as the daughter of a pensioner, and blind, she would be entitled to any pension.  She receive the following:
11 Jul 1907
Reply to Mrs. Myrtle Brinkman, 138 Indiana Avenue, Kokomo, Indiana. In response to your communication of the 3rd instant, received the 5th, wherein it is stated that you are the daughter of Steward Wishard.....There is no provision of law under which pension can be granted to the child of a deceased soldier or sailor by reason of permanent helplessness or otherwise, who was over sixteen years of age at the date of the father's death. Commissioner of the Bureau of Pensions, Dept of Interior.
I found the pension file of Stewart Wishard to be one of the most intriguing I've ever read.  He is the only relative I've discovered that actually lived in one of the homes for disabled veterans.  The saga of the blind daughter Myrtle was also interesting - certainly she was able to marry and have children, although one does wonder how they provided for the children.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - William Wishard

Robert Thomas Wishard, one of my husband's great, great grandfathers had brothers that also served in the Civil War.  His older brother William and William's son Abraham served in the same company with him, although the father and son were not in service at the same time.  William and another Wishard brother, Stewart, were both disabled by their wartime service and both have massive and very interesting pension files.  I will describe the files in separate posts.

William Wishard, born 28 Feb 1815 in Fleming County, Kentucky, was not a young man when he answered the call to serve his country.  He was 46 years old, had buried his first wife then married her sister and had a total of eleven children when he enlisted - one more son was born following the War.   I believe that his service shortened his life.  William enlisted 31 Aug 1861 as a sergeant.  By September 20th he had been promoted to the First Battalion's Commissary Sergeant.  His residence was Bloomfield, Davis County, Iowa.  He was discharged for disability in August of 1862.

From the pension file I found out what had happened to William Wishard.  William's first application for his pension was dated 30 Mar 1864.  In his affidavit, he stated that at a place called Pea Ridge in Arkansas on 7 Mar 1862, during the battle of Pea Ridge he was injured when his horse jumped a rail fence, straining his back and spine. He was thereafter unable to perform any military duty and the injury continues so that he is incapacitated from earning a living.  William was a resident of Davis Co Iowa, aged 49 and he had been a Commissary Seargent of Company A, commanded by Lt. M. L. Baker, 3rd Regt of the Iowa Cavalry commanded by Col. Cyris Bussey for the "suppression of the rebellion in certain States". He volunteered at Bloomfield on 30 Aug 1861 for three years. He was discharged at St. Louis and had his certificate of discharge.

The deposition of M. L. Baker of Van Buren County, Iowa, described the injury and disability:  "On or about the 7 of Mar 1862 while in the service and line of duty and in the battle of Pea Ridge, he received an injury of the spine by his horse jumping over a rail fence with him during the fight. He was afterwards unable to perform military duty up until his discharge and is now unable to earn a living by manual labor. The said soldier was in good health at the time he entered the service; the above disability affected him while in the service and at his discharge by rendering him unable to ride and a good part of the time he is confined to his bed."

There was of course a physician's examination which confirmed the injury to the spine; the doctor's evaluation was that Wishard was about one-third disabled.  He did indicate that William had continued pain in the small of the back.

Also interesting is a Muster Roll card after the injury which states "Absent without Leave".  It is a very good example of the fact that the muster rolls simply indicate that whoever was taking the roll did not always know why someone was not present.  The soldier was either there or he was not and presumptions for the absence were made.

On 5 Apr 1866 Margaret Wishard [nee Breeding], age 41 years, applied for her Widow's pension. William had died 20 Feb 1866 at his home in Davis County, Iowa, of disease of the spine, kidneys, and back, which disease was contracted in the service of the United States. She was married to said William Wishard 15 Jun 1843 and has remained a widow ever since he died. Her husband left five surviving children under the age of sixteen: Wm aged 11, John 9, Henry 7, Sarah J. 4 & George Curtis age nine months. She further states that Pension Certificate #27718 was issued to her said husband on 29 Apr 1864. Margaret Wishard made her mark, witnessed by Elisha Wallace and Abram Wishard [Elisha was a son-in-law and Abram, her stepson that had served with his father].

Incredibly, Margaret's pension application was rejected, apparently because William had not continued to have his examinations every six months.  Margaret died in 1871.  
Due to changes in the pension laws over time, the minor children of William discovered they were entitled to payments and on 26 May 1883, the five children who were under age sixteen in 1866, made application for what they should have been paid. The five children were now aged 28, 26, 24, 21 and 18. They all signed with their own signatures - Wm. A. Wishard, John O. Wishard, Henry Wishard, George C. Wishard, and Sarah signed as Sarah J. Lester, formerly Sarah J. Wishard.  
Additional documents in the file included the affidavit of Dr. D. C. Greenleaf of Bloomfield, dated 8 May 1884. He was acquainted with soldier for 16 years prior to his death & had treated him the last seven days of his sickness from 13 to 20 of Jan 1866 inclusive when he died. He had been sick for a long time. He complained of his back and having received injury while in the Army and I am of opinion he had chronic inflamation of the cord [spinal] in its lower portions. The nature was obscure but it is evident he suffered much. Said disease contributed largely to his death if not the whole cause. This affiant was present at the birth of his daughter Sarah J. Wishard born 8 Aug 1861.

One of the sons of William, John O. Wishard, testified to the following on 7 May 1887.  He is 30 years old and lives in Bloomfield. He has the family Bible of William and Margaret Wishard, now deceased in which is recorded their family record ....dates of birth of their children. Requests the Clerk of Davis Co Court to copy and certify the entries relating to the births of Wm. A. Wishard, John O. Wishard, Henry Wishard, Sarah J. Wishard and George C. Wishard.

William Allen Wishard was born December the 14th A.D. 1854
John O. Washard was born March the 2nd A.D. 1857
Henry Wishard was born February the 25th A. D. 1859
Sarah Jane Wishard was born August the 8th A.D. 1861
George C. Wishard was born January 23rd 1865.

"The above were written in different shades of ink and have the appearance of having been written for a long time; the book containing the entries is old and well worn. I am well acquainted with affiant John O. Wishard and certify that he is a Credible person."
Signed: W. D. Leech, Clerk District Court
[I find it amazing that the court clerk evaluted the Bible much as any genealogist or family historian would!  Too bad he didn't tell us the copyright date.]

Affidavit of Silas Breeding, who was a brother to Polly and Margaret, was dated 22 Sep 1887 at Bloomfield.  He was age 67 years. "I was well acquainted with the soldier prior to his first marriage in 1837. He was married in that year to Polly Breeding...who died in Shelby Co IN about January or February of 1843. I have personal knowledge from being present at her funeral. Said soldier again married to Margaret Breeding in Shelby Co IN on or about Jun 1843. I was acquainted with Soldier up to time of his death 20 Jan 1866. His widow Margaret Wishard was remarried to James L. Thompson about Feb 1869 and she died in January 1871. From personal knowledge."

Elisha and Nancy Wallace both testified on behalf of her siblings. Nancy was the first child of the second marriage; Elisha had witnessed his mother-in-law's earlier application.

Copies of both of William Wishard's marriages are in the file, as well as a copy of the widow Margaret's remarriage.

The children received the pension:
29 Dec 1887 #239503 Original Pension of Minor Children.
A note in the margin of the approval says "Pay on their own vouchers".  William A. was to receive Minor Pension at the rate of $8 per mo beginning 21 Jan 1866 [day following his father's death] until 13 Dec 1870 [when he reached age 16]. John O. to receive until 1 Mar 1973. Henry until 24 Feb 1875. Sarah J. Wishard, now Lester, until 7 Aug 1877, George C. until 22 Jan 1881. There is a note that William T. Deupree, guardian of George C. Wishard is not now recognized - George was by now of an age he didn't need a guardian. Unfortunately George died of a hunting accident before he actually received his voucher - he had a liason with an unmarried woman who attempted to claim George's share for a daughter said to be the child of George C. Wishard.  That claim was rejected.

William Wishard is buried Lester Cemetery, Cleveland, Davis County, Iowa.

William's son Abraham served in the same unit his father had served in, and his uncle Robert Thomas Wishard was in at the time of Abraham's enlisted.  He, too, has a pension file but I have not yet accessed it.  Called "Abram" like his grandfather, the young man was age 23, a resident of Drakesville, Iowa, but born in Indiana, when he enlisted 15 Mar 1864 in Company A of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry Regiment.  He was mustered into the company the next day.  Abram was wounded 16 Apr 1865 in Columbus, Georgia, and mustered out of the service at Atlanta on 9 Aug 1865.  The pension index card indicates that Abram filed for his pension on 25 Oct 1879, and that minor children also filed.  Grave stone records of Davis County, Iowa, as copied by the WPA show that Abraham died 24 Dec 1893 and is buried Lester Cemetery where his father is also buried.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Robert Thomas Wishard

All of the Civil War ancestry I have described previously were my family - my husband had Civil War ancestors as well, though not quite as many.  And, just as in my family, there were soldiers on both sides of the War.

Robert Thomas Wishard was born 12 Nov 1829 in Shelby County, Indiana, the youngest child of Abraham "Abram" Wishard and Sarah Reynolds.  Abram had served in the War of 1812 - his father, William Wishard, in the Revolution.  Sarah's father also fought in the Revolution.  Robert married Lavinia Carney, 16 Oct 1853 in Shelby County, but they left Indiana for Iowa about 1857-58, settling in Bloomfield, Davis County.  By the time of the War, they had five children including a set of female twins, one of whom would be my husband's great grandmother.  In truth, the twins were born about four months after Robert enlisted.  Lavinia surely had her hands full while he was away and he served almost the entire war.

Robert Wishard's service record is online, along with that of his brother William and nephew Abraham, who served in the same unit:

3rd Iowa Cavalry Roster - look under Company A.

Wishard, Robert T. (Veteran.) Age 32. Residence Davis County, nativity Indiana. Enlisted Aug. 31, 1861, as Sixth Corporal. Mustered Sept. 7, 1861. Promoted Fifth Sergeant Sept. 20, 1861; Fourth Sergeant Nov. 18, 1861; Company Quartermaster Sergeant June 30, 1862; First Sergeant Feb. 25, 1863. Re-enlisted and re-mustered Jan. 1, 1864. Promoted First Lieutenant March 1, 1864. Resigned Sept. 23, 1864.

With three years service, there are many Muster Cards included in the Service file.  There is a record of a furlough in November of 1861, but not in December when the twin daughters were born.  He was ill in the hospital in Janury of 1862.  It is noted that he received one month's pay and a month's furlough when he reinlisted early in 1864.  The unit was stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas for several months and he was away, scouting in Mississippi, in June of 1864.  Robert was honorably discharged from the Army of the Tennessee at Memphis.  Histories of his unit reveal that among their many battles, the unit fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, probably against my great, great grandfather Tom Comstock.

Infant twin sons had died and two more children had been added to the Wishard family by 1870 and they had moved to Appanoose County in 1867.  Soon after the 1870 census, the Wishards moved to Fannin County, Texas, near the small town of Ladonia, in the heart of Texas cotton-growing country.   Bonham, in Fannin County, had been the headquarters for the Western Army of the Confederacy - Fannin County seems to be a strange choice of residence for a man that had served so long in the Union Army.  I wish I could ask why the decision was made!

Robert T. Wishard applied for his Texas Civil War Pension after he was kicked by a horse while in the stable, suffering a double hernia as a result and no longer able to work or farm.  [A fairly simple surgery would fix him right up today - the only solution then was to fit him with a truss.]    There is a physical description - he was 5'7" tall, blue eyes, dark hair, and weighed 127 pounds at age 62.  His application was approved in the amount of $12 per month commencing 5 Aug 1890. The pension was increased to $20 per month effective a month before his death in 1907.  Robert and Lavinia and some of their children and grandchildren are buried Oak Ridge Cemetery in Fannin County.  I have visited their graves; they have matching stones. 

I believe this tintype to be a picture of Robert Thomas Wishard.  I found it in my husband's grandmother's cedar chest [her "hope" chest] after her death.  It was folded inside heavy brown paper and on the outside written in her hand was "my grandpa"  Of course she had two grandfathers but there are other tintypes of the Wishards that seem to have been made at the same time.  On the back of the paper frame, written in pencil is "This be thy Sweetheart in all the days to come as by your leave".  It is no longer readable but I copied it when it was.  This picture as well as one I believe was Lavinia made about the same time had been slightly colorized - his cheeks are very slightly pink and his patterned tie has a pale blue background.

The next picture isn't from the Civil War, but since the twins were born in December of 1861, I'd guess the picture was made not too long after - perhaps about 1868.  I thought I should share it. The tintype has grown quite dark - the paper frame is as yellow as their father's but I lightened the picture to show the little girls.  The picture is the twins, Emmazetta and Henrietta Wishard with "a little friend" between them.  I do not know which was which - I believe they were identical twins.  Henreitta "Etta" was my husband's great grandmother - Emma never married and is buried near her parents. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - The Harmon Brothers

Another of my great, great grandfathers was William Alexander Harmon - as far as I know, his Civil War service was of a week's duration.  At least four of William's brothers also served in the Union Army.

The Harmon men were sons of James Harmon and Philadelphia Dickerson, whose fathers had both served in the Revolution.

Robert John Harmon, the fourth child but the eldest son, was born 21 Feb 1824, Marion County, Indiana.  He enlisted as a private in Company A, 86th Indiana Infantry on 1 Aug 1862; he was discharged 2 Jan 1863.  Possibly his enlistment was only for three months, he may also have suffered an injury or illness.  On 13 Jun 1881, Robert J. Harmon applied for his invalid pension which he did receive.  He died 1900 in Oklahoma and his wife, Sarah (Dye) Harmon then applied for her widow's pension.  This is a file I have not yet obtained from the National Archives.

William Alexander Harmon, was born 7 Jan 1826, Marion County, and married on 17 Jun 1847 in Boone County, Indiana, to Emma Elizabeth Miller.  By the time of the War they had five children. William enlisted on 7 Oct 1863, as a Private in Company G, Indiana, 102nd Infanty Regiment, 10 Jul 1863, and was mustered out a week later, on 17 Jul 1863, at Indianapolis. This was a minute men regiment called up for citizens' defense when word was received that a Confederate force of 6,000 cavalry had crossed the Ohio River and was moving on Corydon. The 102nd was organized in Boone County and numbered 623 men. It left Indianapolis the next day by rail, traveling to Vernon, where Company K was mounted and sent in pursuit of the enemy. The unit was moved to DuPont, thence to Osgood and on the 14th of July to Sunman's station. It returned to Indianapolis on July 17th and was mustered out.

James Dickerson Harmon was born 8 Jan 1828 - some old family letters refer to him as "Jay".  It is possible he served as well, but more than one James Harmon was in the Union Army and the information available on the Internet has not indicated that any of them enlisted in Boone County where Jay was living at the time of the War.

Nelson S. Harmon was born 5 Jun 1833.  He married Catherine Wilson, 19 Jun 1853 in Boone County, and had three children at the beginning of the War.  Nelson enlisted in Company L, Indiana 3rd Cavalry Regiment on 23 Oct 1861.  He was mustered out of the 3rd Cavalry on 15 Dec 1864 at Savannah, Georgia, and transferred to Company A, Indiana 8th Cavalry Regiment the same day.  Nelson was mustered out of the 8th Cavalry Regiment on 20 Jul 1865 at Indianapolis, IN, having served pretty much the entire War.  The Indiana Civil War service records have not been filmed so little can be discovered online other than just the most basic information.

Francis Marion Harmon, born 8 Feb 1835, married Minerva Utterback about 1856.  By one of those strange genalogical quirks, I am kin to both.  Francis was a great, great grand-uncle.  Minerva was a 5th cousin, several times removed, her family going back to the ironworkers at the Germanna colony in Virginia.  The family had moved to Iowa before the civil War began, living near Minerva's parents, and had at least three children.  Francis was wounded in the War, then died of typhoid fever.  Letters he wrote to his family just before his death, as well as Minerva's letter informing a brother of his death, have been transcribed on the Utterback GenForum message board.

Francis M. Harmon, whose residence was Glenwood, Iowa, enlisted 10 Oct 1861, as a Private, in Company F, 15th Infantry Regt, Iowa. He gave his age as 26 and was mustered in on 18 Nov 1861. He was severely wounded in the hand on 6 April 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, and died of typhoid fever at the division hospital on 1 Jun 1862. He is buried at Pittsburg Landing, now Shiloh National Cemetery - a picture of his grave marker is on their website.  There were 760 soldiers of the 15th Iowa, of that number there were 185 casualties, killed, wounded, or missing, at Shiloh - nearly a fourth of the regiment.

The youngest son [and youngest child] of James and Philadelphia was Charles, born 25 Dec 1844.  The parents both died in 1847 and Charles lived with his older brother Jay. With all those brothers in service, he apparently could not to wait to "join up".  The family tradition is that he first enlisted before his 16th birthday, but he should have turned 16 in December of 1860, before the war started.  Charles was likely not quite 18 at his first enlistment.  Whatever may be the truth of that story, his older brother Jay got him released from that first enlistment in Company L of the 3rd Indiana Cavalry, and took him home.  Charles did enlist again 9 Apr 1863, Company A of the 8th Cavalry.  His brother Nelson served in both companies as well.  Charles was mustered out on 20 Jul 1865 at Indianapolis, along with Nelson.  He may also have an invalid pension file that I have not yet ordered from the National Archives - the Index card for Charles Harmon lists both companies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Enoch's Brothers

Enoch Adamson, one of my paternal great grandfathers, had at least one brother that also served in the Civil War.  I belive he actually had two brothers in the war, but I have not been able to positively identify the record of one of them.

The Adamson brothers were sons of Andrew Jackson Adamson, born 21 Dec 1817, Wayne County, Indiana, died 27 Oct 1869, Bremer County, Iowa, and Rachel Ann Garner, born 1816, Highland County, Ohio, died 25 Sep 1898, Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana.

Edom was the eldest Adamson child, born about 1835 in Delaware County, Indiana.  He married Lydia Timmons on 26 Apr 1860, Howard County, Indiana.  They had two children before the War.  Edom enlisted 12 Dec 1863 at Kokomo, Company A of the 130th Indiana Volenteers, commanded by E. W. Penny.  He was honorably discharged 21 May 1865 at Madison, Tennessee.

Edom Adamson applied for an invalid pension [File #50-334754] because of disability following the Civil War but was apparently rejected as he could not find doctors nor officers to back up his claim.  After reading the evidence, I believe he was entitled to the pension.

Edom first filed 15 Jan 1880; Edom stated he was then age 43 and a resident of Delaware County, Indiana.   At Nashville, Tennessee about March of 1864, he contracted a cold which settled in the lungs. Later near Decatur, Georgia, in the month of October he contracted chronic diarrhea. He has suffered from both since the War and cannot perform the manual labor required for farming. He received treatment in the Hospital at Madison Indiana, Ward 4, December 1864. Since leaving the service he has resided in Indiana, now living in Gilmore, Madison County, Indiana. One of the witnesses to his original declaration was Jonathan P. Adamson [a great-uncle, brother of his grandfather David Adamson.

From the Surgeon General's Office, 5 Aug 1881.  Edom Adamson was admitted to General Hospital, Madison, Indiana, Dec 9, 1864, from the soldier's home in Indianapolis with "Naphralgia". Mustered out 22 May 1865. No further record. [An Internet search indicates no disease called naphraliga, but nephralgia is pain of the kidneys.]

Physical examaintion by a Dr. Lomax in 1881, concluded that Edom did not have a permanent disability.  He did discover a slight irregularity in the dilation of the air cells of the left lung. He found no physical signs of chronic diarrhea although patient stated the diarrhea recurred about every two weeks for three or four days at a time. He described Edom as being 6' 1" tall, weight 165 lbs., complexion dark, age 45.
Testimony of a family physician seemed most damaging.  On 8 Feb 1882, Andrew F. Dayhuff of Kokomo certified that he was a regular practicing physician of 29 years standing. He was the Family Physician of Jackson Adamson, father of Edom Adamson, for about 10 years and was acquainted with Edom. He first commenced practicing with the family about 1854 until about 1864 when Jackson Adamson moved away from Howard County. [Andrew Jackson Adamson's family moved to Iowa, although some of the older sons did not.] He was acquainted with the older members of the family especially, and saw Jackson quite frequently and visited his entire family. He never heard of Edom having any disease of any kind and felt safe in saying that if anything of the kind had existed he would have been called to see him. "I considered him a stout hearty young man and to all appearance free from any disease whatever. This is from personal recollection."  Note:  it seems to me that Dr. Dayhuff may not even have seen Edom following the War!
Edom could not find the doctor who had been his hospital doctor; another doctor admitted he had forgotten him; there were no reigmental hospital records to be found. 
In additional testimony, Edom did say he had returned to Howard County, Indiana after the war, but from 1872-1876 had lived in Bremer County, Iowa and then returned to Indiana. 
24 Mar 1883. Affidavit of Robert Dungan, age 46 years, of Kokomo. He had known applicant Edom Adamson since 1860, lived two miles from him and saw him every few days. He knew him to be healthy and stout at the time of his enlistment. A day or two after his discharge he looked like a skeleton and was greatly reduced and emaciated. "I last saw him about two months ago and he does not look as healthy and stout as when he entered the service. When he was home on furlough in 1864, he was feeble and could hardly walk."  At least two other men of the community testified to similar conditions concerning Edom's health, and mentioned a terrible cough.
Also in 1883, two officers claimed they did not remember the state of Edom's health during the war and weren't prepared to furnish a statement.   Another doctor did file report that Edom had a chronic cough.  In December of 1885 a form letter was sent inquiring about the men of the community who had testified on behalf of Edom Adamson - the reply was "So far as I have personal knowledge and so far as I can learn, the written names are all considered honest men, and at the same time they are all men of but little force. Their testimony should be corroborated by something more substantial."   [I find this statement contradictory and condescending - either the men were "honest men" and truthful, or they were not!]
Edom Adamson had already died - on 14 Feb 1885 - a son continued to try and obtain recompense.  On 3 Dec 1885 there was a letter to Edward W. Davis, one of the earlier deponents, asking for another statement in his own hand. He stated that, "He knew Adamson had measles during his service and a bad cough. He met him again about four years ago and he was in very bad health. He still had a bad cough which was the cause of his death."

Edom's claim was reviewed the last time on 1 Nov 1887 and rejected on 14 Nov 1887 as he was deceased and no one within the knowledge of the Pension Office was entitled.  No widow's claim was made and, in fact, in 1870, Lydia and the children were not living with Edom, but were in the houshold of Charles Starr and his wife Patience in Cass County, Indiana.  By the 1880 census, Edom was living with his mother and two of his sons were with them.  I don't know if Edom and Lydia might have divorced and she remarried, or if she passed away before 1880.
The second Adamson brother was my great grandfather Enoch Reuben Adamson - his Civil War story is found in another post.  He did receive a pension for his service.
A third Adamson brother was John, born in 1843, and certainly of the right age to have served in the War.  The problem is a plethora of John Adamsons.  And I have not found any record of this John after 1860.  The service records for the soldiers from Indiana are not included in the database on  
There is a John N. Adamson who enlisted on the same day as Edom and in the same company, 30 December 1863, Company A of the 130th Indiana Infantry Regiment.  He was a Private.  He is noted as being mustered out 2 Dec 1865 as a Corporal.
However, the child John Adamson, brother of Edom and Enoch, was not shown with a middle name or initial.  And I have not found John following the War. 
I have found a John N. Adamson living in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois in 1900 and 1910.  He gave his birth as Aug 1846, which seems a little late for the John of my search, but he was born in Indiana.  He had a younger wife, Emma, and a stepdaughter.  The problem with this John is that censuses show a John N. Adamson, age 3 in Wayne County Indiana in 1850 and age 13 in Randolph County in 1860 - a son of Simon and Anna Adamson.  This man used the middle initial "N" as a child and later in life - he would seem most likely to be the John N. Adamson of the 130th Regiment.
There was also a John Adamson in Co. G of the 57th Regiment serving along with Enoch Adamson.  In fact there may even have been two John Adamsons in the 57th Regt.  A Private John Adamson of Kokomo was killed in battle at Stone River, on 31 Dec 1863. And John W. Adamson of Kokomo was killed in battle at Kenesaw on 23 Jun 1864.  Since nothing can be found about John after the War, perhaps he was one of the soldiers who paid the ultimate price.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Enoch Reuben Adamson

Although most of my Civil War ancestors were in the 5th generation, one of my great grandfathers was a combatant.  Enoch Reuben Adamson was born Feb 1840 in Indiana - he was, of course, a Union soldier.  His service record at the Nation Archives reveals that he enlisted 19 April 1861 at Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana, for three months.  The Union planned on a short war.  He was mustered in as a private in Company F of the 6th Regiment, Indiana Infanty - the company later became Company D.   He was mustered out at the end of the three months.  Enoch re-enlisted in Company G of the 57th Regiment and was mustered in on 2 Aug 1861, for three years.  He enlisted this time as a 1st Sergeant and attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant by the time of his resignation.

After the war, 18 Oct 1868, Enoch married Mary Elizabeth "Molly" Harmon.  They married in Holt County, Missouri, where her family had moved, but they had possibly known each other back in Indiana.

The pension file for Enoch and then for his widow Mary was quite a treasure when I discovered it.  The Adamsons are the family of my birth father that I never knew and the work I have done on the family has been without family stories or traditions.  Enoch and Mary moved quite a bit and I doubt that I would ever have been able to trace them had not the file detailed every move as Enoch applied to have his pension transferred.  I don't know that I would have found their marriage record, as Enoch's family was living in Iowa at the time he married Mary.  The pension file even contained a list of all their children with birth dates.

From the pension file, I found out that he was sometimes absent from his unt, serving back home as a recruiting officer.  Enoch resigned his commission and from the service on 22 Nov 1864.  A surgeon's certificate stated he was afflicted with chronic rheumatism causing enlargement of the right knee, disabling him for duties required of an officer.  A dispostion in the file by Hosea Tillson, surgeon for the 57th, said that Lt. Adamson's first attack of rheumatism was in 1863, while camped near Mufreesboro or on the the move from there to Chattanooga.  He frequently prescribed for him and excused him from duty until the time of his resignation.  The Assistant Surgeon of the 57th, also testified to treating him and stated the rheumatism was caused by exposure to severe weather conditions during Adamson's service.

Depositions document the residences of Enoch.  Nathan H. Beals of Bremer County, Iowa stated in February of 1883 that he had known Adamson since 1856 back in Howard County, Indiana.  In 1861, Beals had moved to Iowa and Enoch's family moved there in 1863, living near Shell Rock.  After the war, Enoch had joined his family in Iowa.  Beals knew that Enoch moved to Kansas about the first of the year in 1872.  He also knew that Adamson had never had rheumastism before the war, but had been incapacitated about half the time he lived in Iowa.

James H. Rodman and Thomas W. Walker, of Moline, Kansas, had known Adamson well since early 1872.  Rodman had known him when they both lived in Indiana.  In 1880, Adamson and his family went back from Kansas to Kokomo, Indiana, for a visit, but afterward settled in Pierce City, Missouri.  The years they knew him in Kansas he had suffered with rheumatism of his right leg - the knee and leg would swell until he was unable to perform manual labor.  

J. W. Tate of Pierce City, Missouri, had known Enoch R. Adamson since Mar of 1881, when he had first come to Pierce City to live.  Adamson had always suffered with rheumatism of his right knee and leg.

In 1898, Enoch was asked to complete a form detailing his wife's full name and maiden name, the date of their marriage and by whom married and where the marriage was recorded, and the names and dates of birth of all his children.  The form was fully completed and signed by Enoch R. Adamson.

In 1908, Enoch asked for an increase in his pension based on the fact that he was now totally disabled in his right hip and leg.  His pension was increased to $17 [the original amount awarded was never found in the file].

Enoch died 7 Jan 1910.  Mary wasted no time in making her widow's application, which was done on 19 Feb 1910.  The family was living in Rogers, Benton County, Arkansas.  Unexplainably, Enoch had died in McAlester, Oklahoma - he is possibly buried in Rogers near a daughter who had died in 1905.  Mary's brother, James N. Harmon, still living in Boone County, Indiana, and the postmaster of Zionsville, stated he was present when Mary married Enoch.  Solomon Foster testified he had known Mary since she was 16 - before she married - in Oregon, Holt County, Missouri, and had been there when she married Enoch Adamson.  Foster had moved to Benton County in 1892 and found the Adamsons already living there.

In the 1910 census taken on April 25th, Mary and her two youngest sons were living with the family of Elisha Harrison in Chester,Crawford County, Arkansas, about fifty miles away from Rogers.  The Harrisons apparently had a quite large house as they had five children still at home and there was a third family counted at the dwelling.  I have no idea how she came to be acquainted with the Harrisons in this neighboring county, perhaps she was simply renting from them.  Chester was a much smaller place than Rogers and I'm not at all sure why a widow and two boys would move there.  On 27 July 1912 her son Ray Adamson marrried Elisha's daughter, Mary May Harrison.  The Harrisons had been living in Crawford County since 1888 having moved there from Illinois - the families had not previously crossed paths.

Mary Adamson was dropped from the pension rolls on 4 Nov 1915, having been paid last on 4 Aug 1912.  Surely she had died and perhaps is buried in the cemetery in Rogers near her daughter and husband.  If Enoch and Mary are there, the graves are unmarked.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Mathew Mayberry

My great, great grandmother, Letitia Ann Mayberry, born 18 Sep 1844 in Floyd County, Virginia, married Joseph Christopher Wood just before the Civil War, 3 Feb 1860, Crawford County, Arkansas.  Joe Wood's Civil War story can be found here.  Letitia's parents, Charles and Ellen (Thompson) Mayberry, moved to Franklin County, Arkansas soon after the 1860 census.  Letitia lived out her life in Crawford County; she died 7 Jul 1926.  Letitia was the second child in the family, only her older brother Mathew, born in 1843, was old enough to serve in the Civil War.

Mathew married probably in 1869, but left no children.  He made his home in Logan Co, formed from Franklin Co, Arkansas.  He did get a feature article in Goodspeed's "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas"; p.367, published 1891.  The name is spelled Maberry in Goodspeed - just one of many versions of the surname which is found often in colonial Virginia as Mabry.  In my family, we spell it Mayberry.  Maybury or Mabury are also favored spellings.

The Goodspeed article states this about Mathew's service:
" 1863 he enlisted in Company K, Eighth Missouri Infantry, C. S. A., and was a participant in the battle of Prairie Grove. On May 10, 1863, during a skirmish in the Indian Territory, he was wounded in the leg and disabled so that he did not enter the service again. He was captured shortly afterward, paroled, and came home."

Mathew's service record from the National Archives, available on by subscription tells a slightly different story.  The truth is likely somewhere in between.

Mathew's record, like so many Confederate records is obviously incomplete. His name is spelled both Maberry and Mayberry on his service cards. He enlisted as a Private, Company K, Hunter's Regiment, Missouri Infantry, on 10 Jun 1862 in Crawford Co, AR, for three years. Capt. Mankin was the enlisting officer.

Hunter's Battalion consisted of seven companies, originally as cavalry, and was organized 31 Aug 1862. Other companies were added and it became known as Hunter's Regiment 15 Sep 1862. Its designation was changed to the 8th Regiment Missouri Infantry, and finally to the 11th Regiment.   I have noted in researching my relatives in the War that apparently the Missouri companies did recruit soldiers quite far south into Arkansas.  I'm not sure why, but the evidence is plain.

Mathew was noted as "Absent, sick, 25 Dec 1862". He was present March & April of 1863. The Muster Roll for April 30 to Aug 31, 1863, states, "Deserted June 10th 1863 from Austin, Ark." Another record card describes officers and soldiers who have ceased to belong to Parsons' Brigade, Mo. Vols. and shows his enlist,emt as 10 Jun 1862 and his departure at Austin on 10 Jun 1863, "Deserted". A List of Absentees, from the 11th Missouri Infantry Brigade, Price's Division, 26 Jan 1864, stated that Mathew Maberry's present company was not known - that he was supposed to be with Cooper's Command. A second record of men of Price's Division who are now absent from their commands in the Cavalry, 16 Feb 1864, list M. Maberry "Supposed to be with Cooper's Command".

It should be noted that "deserted" had little meaning the Confederacy, particularly in the very disorganized Western command. Units were formed, combined, disbanded for the winter. Or the person charged with keeping the muster rolls was unaware when a soldier had been injured or captured, or even had a special assignment - the soldier was simply present or absent and if there was no known cause for his absence, he was assumed to have deserted, because so many of them did just leave. Often without food or proper clothing, or because of troubles at home, the soldiers simply left and went home for a time, later rejoining the first company of soldiers they found.  An injured soldier stood a better chance of recovery if he was able to get home, too.  Chances are reasonably good that the article in Goodspeed is correct regarding the outcome of Mathew's Civil War service.

Mathew Mayberry married Lou Ann Sewell in 1879 in Logan County, Arkansas, according the the article, but the 1870 census suggests it may have been 1869 instead.  The Goodspeed article stated that the Sewells had been pioneer settlers of Logan County.  The article also related that Mathew owned 137 acroes of land - he had been elected constable for the Short Mountain Township in 1886 and was still serving at the time the article was written. 

I have not found Mathew in the 1900 census - there is a Mathew Maberry listed in Short Mountain Township, but not one single bit of the data matches anything else known about this man - not the age, place of birth, wife, years married, nothing.  Unless it was related to the enumerator by a neighbor that didn't know them well at all, or by someone suffering from dementia, it isn't the same person.  By 1910, Lou Ann was a widow living with a sister.  An online database states that Lou Ann Sewell Mayberry died in 1919, but says that Mathew died 1912 - he was already dead in 1910.

I would love to know when Mathew died and where he is buried.  You can find my email addy by clicking on my name to the right, please drop me a note if you know!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Josie's Brothers

One of my great grandmothers was named Philena Josephine Allen - not surprisingly she shortened her name to Josie.  If Philena had not been written in early census records, probably we would have never known about that part of her name.  Josie was the youngest child in her family, born in 1856.  In 1876, Josie married John Jefferson Hays, son of Elias Hays whose Civil War service can be found here. I have found Civil War records for Josie's three oldest brothers.  They did not join the same armies - the eldest, Augustus, joined the Union Army.  Henry and Nat joined the Confederacy.  Brother against brother.

Augustus A. Allen, born 21 May 1841 in Sevier County, Arkansas, lived most of his married life in Scott County, Arkansas, but fought in a Missouri unit on the Union side during the Civil War - he filed for his Invalid Pension on 20 Mar 1877, his wife Mary Keeton filed for widow's pension [7 Apr 1883 - Augustus died 9 Jan 1882] until she remarried [24 Apr 1884], and a Minor's Pension Application was filed for the two younger daughters on 1 Sep 1887.  Mary refiled some 10 years after the death of her 2nd husband and that application lingered in limbo for about six years before she finally received her payments.  The file is lengthy and contains numerous medical reports and examinations.

During the war, Augustus contracted lung fever [pneumonia] and chronic diarrhea. He was hospitalized at a regimental hospital, sent to a hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, and eventually sent north to Wisconsin for treatment.   He never really recovered and was considerably debilitated; double pneumonia attributed to his weakened condition and his death in January of 1882.  It is obvious from all the testimony of his neighbors and medical evidence that Augustus was a very sick man for years.
Augustus enlisted 15 Sep 1863 and was mustered in 30 Oct 1863, in Co F of the 8th Regt of the Missouri Cavalry and served under Col. W. F. Geiger; later attached to Co K of the 11th Regt. His description given as 5' 6", light complexion, auburn hair, blue eyes. [a medical exam later says he was 5' 10'] He was discharged 17 Jul 1865 at Little Rock, Arkansas.

When Augustus applied for his pension he had trouble with proof of his service because he didn't know the whereabouts of any of his old Regiment. He had served in Missouri but his home was ever in Arkansas. When he was discharged at Little Rock, his unit was in St. Louis. Augustus was eventually awarded pension of $6 from Jul 18, 1865, ending 9 Jan 1882 when he died. He was deemed to be one-half disabled. I'm not sure any of the pension payment was actually received before his death.

A letter written by Dr. Jennings on 15 May 1883, states that he was personally acquainted with Augustus A. Allen and his father previous to the War and knew full well how both suffered on account of their union principles. He could not provide any additional specific history of his treatment, but thought that might be found in the St. Johns Hospital [in Little Rock] case book.

A letter written by Dr. Elijah Leming on 15 May 1883, stated that he had attended Augustus A. Allen in his last illness, double pneumonia, proving fatal on the third day. "Some two or three weeks before I was called to see him he was attacked with pneumonia while coming from market (some forty miles distant) and was attended by my brother Dr. J. K. Leming. He recovered slowly. I was called to see him on account of the absence of my brother and found the patient much emaciated and his strength gave way rapidly. This was the only time I have treated him but have known him as an acquaintance ...he often complained of pain of the not think he was able to do more than half the amount of manual labor a healthy man should do."
One of the depositions given when Mary applied to reinstate her widow's pension after the death of her second husband [Wiley Snell Robinson] was that of Thomas W. Stone, 20 Oct 1921. Mr. Stone was a real estate dealer and had known all the parties involved. He had been in Scott County for 71 years. He pointed out that he knew of Augustus A. Allen's family from the early days and that he was commonly called "Bud" Allen.

Henry Clay Allen, Josie's second oldest brother, was born 16 Nov 1843.  He married Ann Eliza Hays, daughter of Elias Hays and brother to John Jefferson Hays - but that was after the War, in 1868.  Henry served in the Confederacy.  Annie E. Allen applied to the state of Arkansas for Pension as a Widow of a Confederate Soldier on 9 April 1923 - Henry had died in December of 1912.  She did receive the pension but the Arkansas papers do not give dollar amounts.

Proof of Henry Clay Allen's service came from B. R. Jacobs of Idabel, OK who said he had known Henry C. Allen for about 60 years and that he was a Confederate soldier in Company E Infantry of 19th Arkansas, Hardies Regiment, Churchill Division from about Dec of 1862 to about May 1865, Lee's Surrender. Affidavit was dated 27 Apr 1923. F. M. Cecil, of Vandervoort, Polk County, AR, also testified that he had known Henry C. Allen for sixty years and that he served as stated by Mr. Jacobs; testimony dated 2 May 1923.

Annie was incapacitated for manual labor by reason of old age and had no property exceeding $500 not including the value of her homestead. She had no income in excess of $250 per year.  Annie filled another Questionnaire from the State Auditor's Office in 1932 and was by then living with her daughter Lula Phillips in Van Buren, Arkansas.  Lula was the youngest of their ten children. Annie and Henry are buried in unmarked graves in a small cemetery in Crawford County, Arkansas, near where they lived their entire married life.

A third brother, Nathaniel Orrin "Nat" Allen, born 12 Feb 1844, also served in the Confederacy - in the very same unit with Henry.  They appear to have enlisted together and were discharged at the same time.  Nathaniel was born in Polk Co, Arkansas and died there 29 Sep 1933, age 89.  He did move to Texas after the death of his first wife, Sarah Lebow, in 1878, but was back in Polk County just in time for the 1900 Census.

Nat applied for his pension 1 Apr 1924 when he was 79 years old. Nat stated that he was incapacitated due to old age.  A doctor's examination by T. B. Young concurred that his health was feeble on account of old age.  F. M. Cecil, also of Polk Co, made affidavit on 2 May 1925, that he had known N. O. Allen for sixty years and he had served as stated in Company E, 19th Regiment [Hardies], Churchill Division from December 1862 to May 1865, Lee's surrender.  He stated further that Allen was honorably discharged and had never deserted. 

About three months after the death of Nat, in Dec of 1933, his widow Ella (Rebecca Ella Coker his third wife) applied to continue the pension.  She had married Nat on 10 Jan 1894, Red River County, Texas.  She had to certify that she had lived in Arkansas for at least five years, had no property exceeding $500 [she said her homestead was worth $400] and no income over $250 per year [she had none except the pension].  No amount for the pension is stated.

Nat's funeral home records refer to him as a "Southern Soldier".  Nat and Ella are buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, near Cove, Polk County, Arkansas - where his parents are also buried.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Joseph Christopher Wood

Another of my great, great grandfathers saw Civil War Service.  He was Joseph Christopher Wood, born 1841 in Adair County, Missouri.  In the early 1850's the family made the trip across the entire state of Missouri to Crawford County, Arkansas - Joseph's mother died soon after they arrived.  He and his father, William Wood, made the long trip back to the northern border of Missouri where William took a second wife, then recruited her entire family to head south with him to a milder climate.

Joe Wood married Letitia Ann Mayberry in 1860 in Crawford County - they had eleven children, perhaps only the first infant son who died young was born before or during the Civil War.

According to his application for a Civil War Pension, which was approved 12 Aug 1920, J. C. Wood's Civil War Service was in Woosley's Regiment of Infantry from Arkansas. "Left beside road with sick furlough shortly after Hindman evacuated Ft. Smith in 1863 or spring of 1864." Gratis Comstock and A. S. Matlock signed Proof of Indigency with K. M. Comstock acting as Notary Public.

Gratis Comstock and Albert Sidney Matlock were Joe Wood's sons-in-law married respectively to his youngest daughters, Zella and Minnie Wood.  K. M. Comstock was his grandson, son of daughter Lucretia Ellen who had married James Monroe "Mon" Comstock.  K. M., or Kenney M. Comstock, was my maternal grandfather.  Gratis and my grandfather were 2nd cousins on the Comstock side of the family.

The application was made became of incapacity, as well as poverty.  J. C. Wood suffered from infirmities and feebleness of old age, varicose veins and asthma in the winter.  He was age 79.  O. M. Bourland, a local doctor, had examined him and declared him totally disabled, 7 Aug 1920.  My grandfather had also notarized the good doctor's statement.

Thomas Howell testified he himself was a Confederate Soldier during the War, to the best of his recollection, in Company B of Clark's Regiment at the time of his discharge.  He remembered that during his service he saw J. C. Wood in the Confederate service as a teamster.  Howell signed his statement on 31 Jul 1920 before R. S. Wilson, Notary Public.   Thomas Howell was also the uncle of one of J. C. Wood's daughters-in-law.

Woosley's Regiment was actually a cavalry unit - Woosley's Battalion. It is possible that Joe Wood's memory was a bit faulty. Only a single Muster Roll card survives to record his Civil War Service. He enlisted 15 Nov 1862 in Crawford County, Arkansas, for three years, as a private in Company D of Brooks Regiment which was also designated at times as the 2nd Regiment and the 34th Regiment. Nearly all the other recruits in Company D were from Sebastian County - the neighbor county of Crawford and location of Ft. Smith. The Muster Card was for March & April of 1863. J. C. Wood was Absent, on detached service at Teamster by order of Col. Brooks, Nov. 15th 1862. Since he was not with his unit, perhaps he was with Woosley's at the time he became ill.  Gen. Thomas Hindman's army did evacute Fort Smith in late August of 1863.  Family tradition is that Joe Wood fought at the Battle of Pea Ridge - the 34th or Brooks Regiment, was at the Battle of Prairie Grove, December of 1862, but probably not at Pea Ridge.  Both battlefields are in northwest Arkansas, not far from Fayetteville.
Within the next year or so, Joe Wood and his father and their familes left the war-torn northwest Arkansas area and moved to Iowa, just across the border from where they had once lived in Missouri.  According to the family tradition, they stayed there only about a year and moved to Kansas for perhaps two years.  The second child of Joe Wood's was born in Iowa in 1865, the third child, my great grandmother, was born in Kansas in 1867.  Both Wichita in Sedgwick County, and Douglas County, have been suggested for the residence of the Woods in Kansas, but I've not been able to find a record.  By the time the fourth child was born in 1869, the families had all returned to Crawford County, Arkansas.
After the family returned to Arkansas, Joe Wood had a shoe repair shop at the village of Arkalo, then he added groceries. He built a store in 1880 at Hickory Grove with accommodations for his family upstairs. When he decided to add a post office, there was already another Hickory Grove in Arkansas so it is said that he may have renamed the town "Uniontown" at that time.  He was Uniontown's first postmaster, appointed in April, 1881. He later added a drugstore which was the first and only pharmacy in the history of Uniontown. He built his family a home across the street from the store and the upper story was rented out to the Masonic Lodge until about 1885.  Another first - J. C. Wood was a charter member of the Uniontown First Christian Church in the summer of 1886.  I have cousins that still belong to the Christian [Disciples of Christ] denomination.

I do have an indistinct photo of Joseph Christopher Wood in his older years - it was a family photograph made probably about 1900-1910.  Joseph and wife Letitia are seated in the center:

Joseph Christopher Wood died at age 86, 17 Dec 1927.  His wife had died the year before.  They are buried Dripping Spring Cemetery in Crawford County.  His mother who had died in 1853, some of the relatives of his stepmother, some of his half-siblings, and some of their children are also in this cemetery.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Rebekah Brown

Look at the picture in the Title Banner.  The elderly lady seated on the right is my three-great grandma - Rebekah Poindexter (Jones) Brown.  The picture was made in the spring of 1909.  It is five generations - the baby is my mother's eldest brother.  No, Rebeckah didn't don a uniform and fight in combat, but she was certainly a survivor of the War's horrors.

Born in 1816 in Kentucky, the child of two families ever adventuring west, Rebekah married Murphy Brown, 29 Jun 1836, in St. Francois County, Missouri.  [I use that spelling of her name, Rebekah, because she did.]  The young couple first moved south into Searcy County, Arkansas, then by 1845 they had moved to the southwest corner of Missouri - Newton and McDonald Counties.  They had fifteen children, but buried six of them as infants.

Murphy prospered and acquired land in McDonald County - a few hundred acres.  The family plan was to gift each child 40 acres upon his or her marriage.  The War came early to southwest Missouri, and a young son, William Clayborn Brown was shot off his horse in July of 1860, days before his 21st birthday.  William was one of the early victims of the pre-war sentiment on the Kansas-Oklahoma-Missouri border.  William had married that January and a daughter who would never know her father, was born in December that same year.

On a fateful day, 19 Jun 1863, Murphy and his son Ezekiel were in the wagon on the way to the blacksmith shop.  A neighbor, Robert Christian, who was serving in the Union Army, shot them both in the back.  He went to Rebekah, confessed his deed, and told her to go bury her dead, but he'd be back to burn her home.  He did offer her documents of passage and give her the opportunity to leave Missouri.  Her in-laws inluding the family of her brother-in-law who had recently had two fingers shot off in the War, were either planning to leave for Texas, or perhaps had already gone, so Rebekah chose "Texas" for her destination.

Rebekah and her older children, by themselves as sympathetic neighbors were terrified of reprisals, buried Murphy and Ezekiel in a common grave in Rocky Comfort Cemetery, in the same row with the infants Murphy and Rebekah had lost.  I have visited the graves, but the stone can no longer be read.  A distant cousin photographed it in 1979 and here is a picture:

One of the stories handed down is that Rebekah had helped to take care of some of these neighbors - delivering whatever food the Browns could spare to the less fortunate as she rode her mule around the contryside.

Rebekah did indeed leave Missouri along with six children, one of whom was an infant in arms.  Undoubtedly she traveled in the wagon that her husband and son were in when they were killed.  In the midst of the chaos, she had the presence of mind to take her deeds.  I know this because the McDonald County courthouse was burned during the War and the deed books destroyed.  When Rebekah returned home, she re-registered every single one, and proceeded with the original plan to give each marrying child a 40-acre plot.

During the few years the family lived in Grayson County, Texas, Rebekah buried two teen-age daughters.  Their deaths were recorded in her Bible, but their resting places are unknown.  Typhoid was rampant in Texas at the time. 

One of the few Missourians to do so, Rebekah returned to McDonald County after the War and rebuilt her house on the burned-out foundation of the original.  She stated she would not remarry and she didn't.  She took those deed copies to the courthouse to preserve her property.  She successfully ran her farm - here is the evidence from a state census:
In the 1876 Missouri State Census, Rebecca had two children, Lemuel & Belle, still at home as well as her granddaughter Isabell Brown, daughter of son William, and a 4 year old boy named Robert Lee Wilson. [I have no idea who he might be - she likely saw a need and took him in - the boy still lived with her in 1880.] Rebecca had 3 horses, 8 cows, 5 sheep, and 28 hogs; she produced 66 bushels of wheat and 700 bushels of corn.

Most of Rebekah's children pre-deceased her. Miranda, her daughter and my great, great grandmother, died 5 days before Rebecca died on 10 February 1912.  [Miranda is the second oldest lady in the banner photo at the top of the page.] Only three of the youngest outlived their mother. Rebecca is said to have moved around in her later years, living with each child for awhile. She lived with Miranda and Tom Comstock for a time in Arkansas, but died at the home of her youngest child Belle in Missouri, age 89. 

Rebekah is buried in the row of Brown graves, Rocky Comfort.  I am sure she rests in peace ...and comfort.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - The Comstock Brothers

I have already told most of the story of Elijah Thomas Comstock, one of my great, great grandfathers.  Tom had six brothers, five living at the time the war began.  Other than Tom, three of them had at least brief Civil War records, two died in 1864.

Few Civil War records have survived from southwest Missouri; but at least the enlistment records of the Comstock brothers reside in the National Archives. “Deserted” often meant the soldier was just not at his expected post. Sometimes they went home for the winter or to check on their families and then rejoined their units. Sometimes they were sent home when food and shelter wasn't available.  Sometimes the men simply left and joined another band of soldiers roaming the countryside. The entire war scene was confused and poorly organized; many units kept no records or the records never survived to reach the War Department.

Let me say just another word about the area of southwest Missouri.  Only a handful of families owned a slave or two - most had never owned a slave, although many of them had come to Arkansas from slave states.  When I grew up in Arkansas, just below the Missouri state line, we would have called these families, and I use the phrase fondly because it includes my own families, "poor dirt farmers".   Most owned a 40-acre tract and grubbed out what can only be called a hard life.  The topography is hilly, the ground rocky, the land covered in forests when they arrived.  They were proud, independant people and those that supported the South believed strongly in state rights.  As the War dissolved into guerilla warfare, the question became one of defense of one's own home and property, and protection of one's wife and children.

On 27 August 1862, William Decatur, Warren Harris, and James Irving Comstock all enlisted in McDonald County, Missouri, in Capt. W. C. Clanton’s Company, Greene’s Regt., Missouri Volunteers. They enlisted for three years or the War and all received horses valued from $80 to $100 and horse equipment. Clanton’s Company was soon designated Company I, 3rd Regt Missouri Cavalry. William was 31 years of age, Warren 28, and James 26. All were married men with at least one child at home. The first Muster Roll card dated 30 October shows the location of the unit to be in Fulton County, Arkansas, just below the Missouri-Arkansas line and to the East of McDonald County. The next Muster Roll for October 30 to December 31, 1862, states that both Warren and James had deserted on 15 November 1862. I believe they returned and continued to fight, although perhaps not with the original unit. William was still present in Company I..

From descendants, we’ve been told that William did certainly continue to serve. In January of 1864 he came home to check on his pregnant wife (obviously there had been a visit home about May of 1863) and his children.  He was killed by a bushwhacker on the way to have corn ground for the family. A daughter named William Josephine, called Josie, was born three weeks after his death.  Josie was his fourth child. Warren Comstock died in February of 1864, a month after his brother, but the cause of his death is not known – very likely he met the same fate as William or died of one of the many diseases (measles, typhoid, small pox, tuberculosis) rampant during the War years.  Warren left a young widow and daughter to mourn him.

Two younger Comstock brothers, Elijah Tom and Harvey Alexander, enlisted with Capt McMahan at Newton County, Missouri on 12 September 1862 in Company D, 3rd Regt Missouri Cavalry. This unit became known by several names: Shelby’s Brigade, Smith’s Regt, Thompson’s Regt, and Hooper’s Regt. It was designated by the Confederate War Department as the 6th Regt Missouri Cavalry. Their ages and equipment issued, if any, were not recorded but they also enlisted for three years or the War.  Tom left a wife and son at home; Harvey was the youngest Comstock brother and did not marry until after the War.  Their Muster Roll cards state that they were never paid. Harvey was present at the end of December 1862, but the Muster Roll for January and February of 1863 stated that he was “missing on picket – Jan. 11, 1863”. Another note stated “absent without leave – left command Jan. 11, near Hartsville, Missouri.

Tom Comstock deserted on November 28, 1862, near Canehill, Arkansas, according to the only existing Muster Roll for him. Certainly we can tell from the various locations that this unit was moved around often. Gratis Comstock (a cousin) said in a newsletter article that Tom was a private in Shelby's Brigade of Missouri until the last year of the year and then served in an Indian special services regiment in Indian Territory. He was disbanded in the Chickasaw Nation, near Oichita [this is Gratis's spelling, I've not found any place of this name]. Gratis was 33 years old when Tom died and they both lived in Crawford County, Arkansas for all those 33 years; Gratis was fond of family history and has furnished us with many stories in a local genealogical society newsletter. He spent hours on Tom's porch listening to his yarns.  Some of his writings indicate that Gratis was capable of spinning a yarn or two himself.  Another story passed down through the family says that Tom rode with Quantrill; Quantrill was often under the command of General J. O. Shelby, particularly when the Confederacy tried to retake Missouri in 1864, so that too is possible.  Another possibility is that Tom could have ridden “with” Quantrill in some skirmish, but not necessarily under his command - certainly I've never found Tom Comstock's name in any of the many writings about William Clarke Quantrill or his infamous cohorts.

Tom Comstock's in-laws in Missouri also have a Civil War story, to be told in the next post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Elijah Thomas Comstock

Elijah "Tom" Comstock was another of my great, great grandfather's to serve in the Civil War. 

Tom was born in Perry County, Tennessee.  He was the seventh of eight children - their father died when Tom was about age nine.  His father, a forger and bigamist, would have entitled me to belong to the Black Sheep Society, but he disappeared and could not be jailed to serve his sentence - but that's another story.  Soon after 1850, Tom's entire family to include married older siblings and their mother, moved to southwest Missouri, very near Arkansas and Indian Territory (Oklahoma). 

Let me set the scene around Tom's home in Missouri.  During the Civil War this area was the scene of constant and violent querilla warfare.  Soldiers from both sides, and local bandits as well, committed numerous atrocities on ordinary citizens.  Many homes were burned, old men were hung in the yards, all foodstuffs and livestock carried away.  The Battle of Wilson's Creek near Springfield, Missouri on 10 Aug 1861 and the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, March 6-8, 1862, were two of the bloodiest battles of the war - at Wilson's Creek, the combined losses were over 2300; at Pea Ridge, 26,000 soldiers took part and 3,000 died.  Near the end of the war, the Western Confederate Army would make one final push up from their headquarters in Bonham, Texas, to attempt to retake Missouri and those battles also took place in this southwest corner of the state.  Quarrels and killings in this region began in the late 1850's before the official War began and skirmishes continued in the area until the end of the War; many revenge killings took place for years afterward.  Truly this was neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother.

Tom Comstock married a local beauty, Miranda Brown, in 1859.  Her brother William Brown was shot off his horse and killed in 1860 because of his political leanings.  In 1863, her father, Murphy, and fifteen-year-old brother, Ezekiel, were shot in the back as they drove their wagon to the blacksmith shop.  A neighbor, Lt. Robert Christian of the Union Army, admitted responsibility for the murders and allowed Miranda's mother to bury her dead [they rest in a common grave] - he then burned her out giving her passport to Texas.  Two of Miranda's sisters would die of disease, probably typhoid, during the next few years the family was in Texas.  Tom would lose two of his brothers during the War - his brother William Decatur Comstock came home for the birth of a child in January of 1864 and was shot in the back and killed, on the way to the corn mill to get supplies for his family.  His daughter was born three weeks later and named William Josephine in his honor. Another brother, Warren Harris Comstock, died the next month, February of 1864, but whether in battle or of disease I have never been able to discover.

Tom, not surprisingly given his background, was a complicated character.  There are stories, after the War, about his wild Saturday trips into town brandishing his old handgun and creating havoc.  There are stories of him, in his old age, sitting on his front porch spinning yarns about his War days, including escapades with Indian troops from what is now Oklahoma and riding with the infamous Quantrill.  He claimed to have been one of those local boys that were in that last desparate push with General Sterling Price into Missouri - they found Lt. Robert Christian and killed him, mutilating his body.  [This killing is confirmed by local newspaper reports - Christian had commited atrocities against several of their families.  The local boys were never identified by name.]  Records are scant and the truth obscured.  Tom did enlist and was soon reported as "deserted" from his regular unit.  In later years, Tom was also convicted and fined in the federal court in Ft. Smith of selling liquor to Indians - the view across the river from his hilltop homestead was Indian Territory, Oklhoma - and the Indians did much of their shopping at Uniontown on the Arkansas side of the border.

Tom was also a hardworking and productive farmer and raised a family of fine upstanding citizens. Tom was a charter member and first Master of the Uniontown, Arkansas, Masonic Lodge.  He served his community as a postmaster for a time and represented his county in the Arkansas Legislature. 

Tom is the only Civil War Ancestor for whom I have photos.  Here are three faces of Tom Comstock.

This is a picture of Tom Comstock and his wife Miranda made during the War years.  It's a copy of a copy of what must have been a tintype - I apologize for the quality, but it's all I have.  We have the "Indian blood" story handed down in the family.  It isn't true, but it may have begun with Tom.  I have an old letter written by Miranda's cousin saying that Miranda had married a man who was part Indian.  However, most of the family has believed it was Miranda who carried Indian blood because of this picture.  Not only could I not find any family member that I could trace back to possible Indian connections, but I had my own DNA tested for ethnic background and have not a single drop of anything but European heritage.  I suspect Tom may have been as wild as an Indian in his youth.

Here is Tom Comstock, the family man, seated on the far right.  The picture was taken possibly around 1900.  Standing in back, left to right, sons Hardy, called "Tack", Clinden known as "Den", James Monroe "Mon" - my great grandfather, and the only daughter still living, Minnie.  Seated next to his mother is Randolph and then there is Miranda and Tom.  It is thought that Tack and Dolph had recently been ill - shaving heads was done for high fevers.

Then here is Tom, now an old man.  He died in 1917 at age 78; his wife Miranda had passed on in 1912.   I started to crop this picture but I love the shadow and the inscriptions written in two different hands.  I believe my grandmother wrote "Mon's father".  The citizens of Uniontown, the village near Tom's homestead, did indeed call him "Uncle Tom".  He was uncle to some, but to most it was apparently an endearment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Elias Hays

I have multiple Civil War ancestors and this 150th Anniversay of the War would certainly be a good time to recognize and honor them.  My husband had Civil War veterans in his family tree - it's likely they fought each other at the Battle of Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas where we grew up.  We both have families whose homes were burned by maurading guerillas.

Elias Hays was born 28 Jan 1829 somewhere in Tennessee, or Mississippi, or Alabama, or Illinois - I have documents showing each of these.  The most likely is Tennessee.  He married Martha Francis Crutcher on 8 Aug 1847 in Tippah County, Mississippi, according to her application for his Civil War pension.  The records from Tippah County were burned during the War.  Elias and Martha had one daughter born prior to the 1850 Tippah County U.S. Census.

Soon after 1850, the Hays family to include Elias's widowed mother, a young sister, and at least two orphaned nieces, moved to Johnson County, Arkansas.  It is possible they joined family there but I cannot prove that.  Johnson County is where the Civil War found Elias Hays.  He would serve in both the Confederate and Union armies.  Northwest Arkansas was a border region - a place where brother truly fought brother in this War - and an area where guerilla warfare took place on a daily basis.

Elias Hays appears on the Muster Roll of Co. C, 17th Arkansas Infantry in November of 1861. He was enlisted at Clarksville by O. Basham for 12 months as a Sergeant at that time. On 14 Jun 1862, he was detailed on extra duty, listed as 2nd Sergt until 3 Jun 1861. By June of 1862, the regiment had become the 21st and he was listed as a Private. On 28 Jan 1862, he was detailed as a Waggoner. Captured at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, Elias was released after signing the pledge he would not take up arms again against the U.S.

Vicksburg, Mississippi, July 7 A.D.1863
To All Whom It May Concern, Know Ye That

I Elias Hayes a Private of Regt 21st Ark Vols. CSA, being a Prisoner of War, in the hands of the United States Forces, in virtue of the capitulation of the City of Vicksburg and its garrison, by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, CSA, Commanding, on the 4th day of July, 1863, do in pursuance of the terms of said capitulation, given this my solemn parole under oath ---

That I will not take up arms again against the United States, nor serve in any military, Police, or constabulary force in any Fort, Garrison or field work, held by the Confederate States of America, against the United States of America, nor as guard of prisons, depots or stores, nor discharge any duties usually performed by Officers or soldiers against the United States of America, until duly exchanged by the proper authorities.

Signed: Elias Hays
Sworn and subscribe before me at Vicksburg, Miss., this 8th day of July, 1863.
Capt S. W. Forgy, 31st Regt. Ills. Vols., Paroling Officer.

The signature on the above does indeed match his signature on other documents so there is no question about identity although at least two other men named Elias Hays/Hayes served in the Confederacy from Arkansas.
Martha and the children [by now there were at least six children with the seventh born while Elias was away]  were suffering at home:
Johnson Co AR County Court Records, Book D, p.232: 21 Jan 1862 "In the matter of Elias Hays being a volunteer in the service of the confederate States and his family being unable to make a support it is here ordered by the Court that the clerk issue a warrent in favor of G. W. Collier for the sum of twenty-five dollars for the support of said family."
After his surrender at Vicksburg, I believe the family was truly destitute.  Elias joined the Union Army, I suspect for a pay check, more than politics.
On Jan 20 1864 at Clarksville, Arkansas, Elias Hays enlisted as a Private in Company I of the 2nd Arkansas Infantry (Federal Troops) and was mustered out at Clarksville on Aug 8, 1865 as a Corporal. His widow, Martha F. (Crutcher) Hays, applied for his US Civil War pension based on this service. has his service record, including his enlistment papers. Elias enlisted as a private for the 2nd Reg't. Arkansas Infanty, 20 Jany, 1864 at Clarksville, AR. He was age 36, occupation, farmer. He enlisted for 3 years. His eyes were grey, hair light, complexion light, height 5 ft 8 in. Mustered in 18 May 1864 at Little Rock. Bounty paid $60. Due $240. Credited to the 3rd Cong. Dist. Ark. He was present 29 Feb to Jun 30, 1864. July & Aug of 1864 he was absent with leave since 24 July. In Sept & Oct, Elias was listed as absent without leave since 24 July. This may very well coincide with the burning of his home and his need to assist his family. Papers with Martha's application for his pension indicate that he returned on Nov 16th 1864 from absent, sick, at Fort Smith. No medical records found, but one report says he was treated in the Regimental Hospital. He was present Nov & Dec, 1864, on daily duty cooking for the commanding officer of the company since 16 Nov 1864. He was present in 1865 and promoted from private to corporal, during May or June. Morning Reports with the pension file show that he was absent with leave for 10 days, 6 Jul 1865 and returned to duty, 18 Jul 1865. He was mustered out, age still given as 36, 8 Aug 1865 - he had been last paid on 24 Feb 1865. Clothing account was last settled 28 Feb 1865, and he'd drawn since $34.22. Bounty paid is $180, Due $120. Private from enrollment to June 29/65, then Corpl. His signature on the enlistment papers, Declaration of Recruit, does also match his surrender at Vicksburg.

Elias and family settled in Crawford County, Arkansas following the War.  In 1877, Elias received patent for three tracts of land totaling 160 acres, all under the Homestead Act of 20 May 1862 - under the original Homestead Act an applicant could not have borne arms against the U.S. but this provision was removed in 1867 - and under the Act of 8 Jun 1872 which allowed additional lands.  I have a copy of the Homestead packet which includes the testimony of two friends stating he had settled on the land in 1870 and built a house and corn crib and stable and cultivated crops.  A copy of his discharge from the Union Army was included.

The small local newspaper, The Van Buren Press, carried a brief notice of the passing of Elias Hays:   p.71; 15 Nov 1879. "DIED HAYES   Near Figure Five on the 5th inst., Mr. Ely Hayes, aged 53 years."   Figure Five was a local community in Crawford Co, and Elias was actually only 50 years old.  He also appeared in the 1880 Census Mortality Schedule, as dying at age 50.  Martha would testify in her application for his pension that he died of rheumatism and consumption - I'm sure his legacy from the War.

Martha applied for her Widow's Civil War Pension 28 July 1890, Claim #303483. She gave her age as 57, post office as Stattler, Crawford Co, AR. She had been married to Elias Hays who enlisted 20 Jan 1864, Company I, 2nd AR Infantry Vols and discharged as a Corporal, 8 Aug 1865. He died 11 Nov 1879 [the newspaper had said November 5th - I would think the widow more likely to have the correct date]. She was married as Martha F. Crutcher on 8 Aug 1847, by Rev. Nabors, MG at Tippa Co, Miss, neither having been previously married. Stated she had remarried to Stephen Yard in 1886 which said marriage was void because Stephen Yard had another wife or wives still living! She had a son under age sixteen, George Wallace, born 9 May 1875 [he was their 10th child - all of whom grew to adulthood]. Ceremony to Yard was performed by Stephen T. Matlock, JP for Crawford Co. Testimony of George & Mattie Haskett that they were present on 19 Dec 1886 when she married Stephen Yard. [Mattie was her eldest daughter.] Testimony from Parthena Haggard stated that she was present at the marriage of Martha and Elias Hays in Mississippi and she knew Martha before the marriage, had known her for 40 years.  [I believe this is Parthena Hays Haggard, sister to Elias, based on the 1850 Census]  E. A. Vansant also signed her application, stating he had known her for 15 years.  None of the records stated whether or not Martha ever received her pension - I suspect she did not, either because of the second marriage or perhaps it was dicovered that Elias had also served in the Confederacy.

Elias Hays was my great, great grandfather.  One of his sons, John Jefferson Hays, born 5 Aug 1856, was my great grandfather - he lived to be almost 94 years old, dying in 1950 when I was ten years old.  John-John, as he was called by his grandchildren and great grandchildren, told the story that he remembered while his father was away, soldiers came to their house, ripped the curtains from the windows, the bedding off the beds, and piled it all in the center of the house and set fire to the pile.  John, his siblings, and his mother were forced to stand in the yard and watch their house go up in flames.  Undoubtedly this horror was in retaliation after Elias joined the Union Army.