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.