Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Civil War - Where Were My Ancestors?

My closest relatives fighting in the war were in Mississippi, Alabama, and Illinois. I'm going to start with the obvious Illinois ancestors. My first comment is that my Lantz family was Amish and did not participate in the war. They were in McLean County, Illinois at the time. My great-great grandfather moved to Howard County, Indiana sometime during the war; however, my great-great grandfather stayed in Illinois.

The Taylors were also in Illinois. Laura Lucy Taylor had two brothers who fought during the Civil War. Isaac and Otis both fought in the Battle of Vicksburg.

This is the Illinois memorial at Vicksburg National Military Park.



Isaac's name can be found about 3 from the bottom in the next to the last section on this panel.

Otis' name is in the middle of this panel. It is third from the bottom in the last column of that section.

Isaac became ill on the journey back from Vicksburg and died in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.


This is the receipt for Isaac's corpse . It has to be one of the most interesting documents in my genealogical collection.


Now, for my Southern ancestors. I'll start with the Thorntons who also fought for the Union. Actually, some of them fought first for the South and then for the North. I will say that it tends to make life interesting when you lived in a part of the country that was noted for its Union sympathies but the Southern recruiters were forcing the men into service for the South. This has been well-documented in many books about this region in this time, but one of the most readable accounts is called Tories of the Hills by Wesley S. Thompson. It is a somewhat fictionalized account, but contains a great deal that is historically accurate. My cousin Terry has blogged about this very thing. I also blogged about this and the results of Henry M. and Martin V.'s Civil War pension files. I haven't blogged James M.'s pension file summary, but the best summary was written by my cousin Terry in an issue of the now defunct Thornton News that he and I swapped turns editing. It, of course, was much more interesting while he was editing it.

My Aldridge family was also in the Fayette County, Alabama area. The only Aldridge in my family that I have found to have enlisted did so for the Confederate cause. Whether he was forced to enlist or did it of his own volition, I do not know. Some of us have speculated that the Civil War may have created a rift between the Aldridges and Thorntons. However, we cannot prove that. We only know that James M.'s son by his first wife Lucinda Aldridge who died in childbirth was reared by his maternal grandparents and that his children by second wife Nancy Lay seemed to know very little about "Cape" for some time. There's a story to this, but I'll save it for some other time.


My Fowlkes family was in the Cotton Gin Port area of Monroe County. Half-brothers of Josiah Fowlkes (who was born in 1861) fought in the 14th and 43rd Regiments in the Mississippi Confederate cause. Many of the other Fowlkes listed in Mississippi's confederate units are related, although not as closely.


My Hesters were in the Lost Corner or Cason area of Monroe County. My great great grandfather John H. Hester fought for the 2nd Mississippi Cavalry's Company F.


This is the military marker for John H. Hester at the Hester Cemetery in Monroe County, Mississippi.

Mary Ann Harris Hester's brother Charles Newton Harris fought for Mississippi's 12th Cavalry. He lived in Tennessee when he filed for a pension and when his widow was granted hers. His Civil War Questionnaire has been published and is available in libraries which have this book of that state's questionnaires.

This was submitted for the "Where Were You?" Carnival.


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