BENJAMIN B. ARTHUR and POLLY ANN BURGESS

My paternal grandparents.

Benjamin was born in 1877 in Lawrence County, Ohio to John Riley ARTHUR and Amanda Jane GIBSON. He had two brothers, Joseph C., born 1880, and Luther A., born 1882. He married Polly Ann BURGESS on March 30, 1907 in Logan, West Virginia. Polly was born in 1888 in Logan, West Virginia to John BURGESS and Sarah E. WHITE. Ben and Polly had two sons, John Preston, born on Christmas day 1907 and my father, Luther Paul, born 1910. Polly died in April 1912 of consumption (TB). I believe that, based on some old postcards between Polly and her sister and aunt, she had been sick for probably about a year.

I have not been able to find Polly on any U.S. Census for 1910. Based on the postcards I have addressed to her, she was living in Ironton, Ohio in 1908, 1909 and possibly 1910. I have a Ben B. Arthur (unconfirmed as my grandfather, although all information of age and place of birth for him and parents is correct) living as a boarder on the 1910 census in McDowell County, West Virginia, over 3.5 hours away from Ironton, Ohio (by car per Mapquest today). I become skeptical about this being my Benjamin because I wonder why he would need to go so far away for work, especially since in 1910 she was expecting the birth of my father.

Polly Ann Burgess Arthur

Polly Ann Burgess Arthur

John Preston and Luther Paul

John Preston and Luther Paul

The little fragments of memories of conversations I had with Dad about his family seems to indicate that after his mother died, the boys spent a lot of time with their grandparents. At that time, it would have been with his grandfather’s second wife, Mary Samantha KORN Arthur. Dad also always talked fondly of his step-aunt, Jennie, who married a Wyatte COPELAND but never spoke to me of his father, Benjamin. On one of his postcards from Yellowstone he refers to Jennie Arthur COPELAND as “Mom”. For years I had the impression that Benjamin had also died young like Polly while Dad was just a young boy. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Dad was 29 years old when his father died and they were living in the same town.

My mother’s youngest sister once told me she remembered Benjamin as being tall, thin and very nice looking. She said he was a very quiet man and always seemed to be well dressed. She said whenever she was around him she was more like in awe of him. I still hope someday to locate a photo of him.

WWI draft registration card pg 1Kind of an odd side note here. My notes indicate that sometime back in the 70’s my mother told me that my grandfather’s name was Benjamin Baxter Arthur. And that is how I’ve always researched him. I went back through all of my notes and hard copies (census records, obituary, marriage, etc.), and it seems he rarely, if ever, used his full name of Benjamin. I have found him as Benjamin B., Bennie B., Ben B., and B.B. but never with a middle name spelled out on anything. When I began new searches this month on Ancestry and FamilySearch I located a WWI draft registration card for him. On it he listed his name as Benjamin Burns Arthur. This gave me pause for thought because Burns is his mother’s maiden name, which is not unusual for the child to have as their middle name. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone out there might have some information to share! You just never know!

The 1930 Ashland City Directory lists Benjamin as a carpenter living on Crooks Street with Mary ARTHUR, widow. I believe this would have been his stepmother, Mary Samantha KORN ARTHUR.

Then in 1933, the Ashland City Directory lists Benjamin as a carpenter, still living on Crooks Street, but now living with John ARTHUR (this would be his eldest son, a radio repairman), Mary ARTHUR (his stepmother, widow), and Paul ARTHUR (his youngest son [my father], bellboy at Ventura Hotel).

Benjamin died in Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky in 1939.

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Luther A. Arthur wrote a letter to my father, Paul, in 1954. He is responding to a letter inquiry Dad made to him asking about the Arthur family. I wish I had a copy of his inquiry to Luther but wishing doesn’t make it so. Although a lot of the letter is information unrelated specifically to my grandparents, I still want to include it. I imagine in time I’ll be drawing more from this letter as I work on other members in the line.

The following is a transcription of the letter:

July 15, 1954

Mr. Paul Arthur
Hotel Jefferson
17 East Spring St.
Columbus 15, Ohio

Dear Nephew:

I certainly was glad to get your wonderful letter of July 11th  and the information it contained.

You did very well, even if it is a characteristic of the Arthur family not to write letters. I have noticed this myself. I do not mind writing since in a way I can use a typewriter, but if I had to do it in long hand it would (be) both difficult for me to write and for the one addressed to read it.

I will tell you all I know about the Arthur family and it is not much. I have a very hazy rememberance (sic) of your great-grandfather and mother on the Arthur/side. I do not recall her first name, but he went by the name of Press Arthur. Whether “Press” was a short way of pronouncing a longer name, or the real name, I do not know. He was a Baptist minister so I have been told. Her name was also Arthur before marriage, but it was said they were no relation.

Caleb and Willis Arthur, were my uncles. Your grandfather’s brothers. It seems that there was also a sister of my father’s who lived at one time in Unity Ky., but I am not clear on this, and it has been so long since I have back there that I don’t know what happened to her and her children. I do not know what happened to Caleb and Willis Arthur and cannot recall whether I saw them when I was back there in 1923 or not.

Your grandmother (my mother) was a Gibson. Daughter of Lewis Gibson, and I believe her mothers name was Ollie McCorkle. She was born on Leatherwook (sic) Creek (back of Ironton) Ohio. This great grandfather of yours died age 93 and is buried at Getaway Ohio. By his first and second wife he had 16 children. Two of them lived to be 93, but they are all dead now but Jesse B. Gibson, who lives some place in Florida.

This grandmother of yours had three boys. Your father, one they always called Joey (I suppose his name was Joseph) and myself. I do not recall ever seeing Joey. I do not know his age when he died and do not know where he was buried.

When I was less than a year old, your grandmother (my mother) died. I do not even have a picture of her, but those who knew her have always spoken very highly of her. I have been told your father resembled her more than Joey or myself.

When my mother died, I being the baby of the family, my father gave me to a childless aunt to raise.

After that I do not suppose I saw my father more than half a dozen times in my life.

There are a number of Arthurs left in Lawrence County Ohio. On Soliday Creek, which is near Southpoint Ohio.

Urania Neal, 627 South High St., Huntington, W. Va., is a daughter of Joe Arthur, and he was your grandfather’s cousin.

Bess W. Gibson, who lives at 1204(?) Charleston St. Huntington, is my cousin and your second cousin.

There is a tradition in the family that an Arthur was with General Washington when he crossed the Delaware, and our family has usually had a painting of this event in the family.

This is about all I can think of concerning our family and probably all I know.

Regarding your question:  “In your youth was there bad feelings in the family?” So far as I know, the answer is “no.” If there was it was even before my time and I havn’t (sic) heard of it.

It is true we did not visit each other very often, but that may have been due to the distance. While it would not be considered great with present means of transportation, in those days we had to walk.

I know your father and myself visited all branches of the family and seemed to be welcome everywhere. I do not recall my father visiting any of them, but remember again, that I did not see him more than half a dozen times in my life, so I do not know what he did.

I am glad to hear about your family and the news you gave me about the others.

My daughter lives in Long Beach which is about twenty minutes drive from here. She has two children and the newspaper clipping herewith will give her picture and also that of the oldest child. The other child is a boy. This daughter of mine, I gave her the best education money could buy and she can teach in any school in California, but she does not teach, preferring to take care of her family.

This is about all I can think of at this time, and again I thank you for your letter.

                                                                        Sincerely,

                                                                        LUTHER ARTHUR

P.O. Box 42
Huntington Beach, California

OVER … OVER … OVER

Near Chillicothe Ohio you will find the Logan Elm. There is a monument there and on this monument you will find the name of General John Gibson. It was at this place that peace was made with the Indians and the treaty was never borken (sic). The General was a relative of ours.

Luther’s letter has given me some more leads to pursue which is exciting. There is always more to learn about one’s family. The search is definitely a never-ending story! It’s not always easy but it’s definitely a roller coaster ride of adventure! Especially when you come upon a hidden treasure!

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Revolutionary War = Independence Day

washington_crossing_the_delaware_by_emanuel_leutze_mma-nyc_1851

Washington Crossing the Delaware byEmanuel Leutze
Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City – 1851

Since I began delving into my genealogy, it seems that especially at times like this my thoughts are turned to my ancestors who sacrificed so much. I present just a few of the family patriots related to me and mine who served so valiantly. I know that there are more and I will find them and honor them when I do.

John Arthur, Sr.

Wounded in Yorktown in final battle with Cornwallis. On 17th May 1843, in Bedford County, Virginia John made a declaration for his pension stating he was 85 years of age.  He married 12 Oct 1784 in Bedford County, Virginia to Elizabeth ADDAMS (ADAMS), with the consent of John ADDAMS.  In his pension papers it states that she was the daughter of John & Sarah ADDAMS.  Elizabeth was born 28 Sep 1769.  John ARTHUR died 24 Aug 1850, Bedford County, Virginia.  John ARTHUR was drafted into the Bedford Militia and served the following four regular tours:  about the last of May 1780 under Capt. Thomas LEFTWICH.  He served at Gate’s Defeat at Camden, SC; from 15 Jan 1781 three months in Capt. Isaac CLEMANS’ Company during the siege of Ninety-Six in SC under Gen. GREEN; Sept.1781, two months under Capt. John TRIGG in Col. TUCKER’s Regiment.  He was injured by a cannon ball from the enemies’ guns 19 Oct 1781 during battle of Yorktown and surrender of Lord CORNWALLIS for which he was granted a pension from the State of Virginia. He received wounds to both of his knees, right arm and under jaw. He was granted 100 acres 11 Apr 1818 Bedford Co.

Joel Arthur

Joel ARTHUR, born in 1761, Bedford Co., VA fought under Capt. John TRIGG, Lieut. John DAVIS, Ensign William HANDCOCK, under the command of General MULLENBURG, Col. MERRIWETHER and Major McCLURE in 1780 around Portsmouth, VA.  In June 1781 for three months in the militia under Capt. Thomas LEFTWICH and Major OVERSTREET by way of Richmond and was stationed between Little York and Norfolk.

Thomas “Tom Titt” Arthur, Jr.

Thomas served in the Revolutionary War. He was a resident of Bedford Co. living “between the waters of Goose Creek and Stauton River” during that time. He was in the battle of “Gates’ Defeat”, Siege of 96. It was stated that his nickname as a boy was “Tom Titt” and after he came from the war, he was called “Squirrel Tom” to distinguish him from the others of the same name in that neighborhood. He stated his brother, John ARTHUR, as 85 yrs old in 1843, living in Bedford Co. and had served two tours in the Revolution with Thomas.

Matthew Wallace

1744-1831. Matthew was listed as a private in the 4th Class of Chanceford Township. Inhabitants in Capt. Joseph Reed’s Company in a 26 Apr 1778 return.

Jeremiah Burns, Sr.

Assisted in establishing American Independence while acting in the capacity of Private.  His services during the Revolutionary War were as follows:  From Records Nat’l Archives, enlisted at Bedford Co, VA in 1776 for a period of three years as a private in Captain George Lambert’s Company, commanded by Colonel George Matthews under Major General Nathaenel Greene, it being the 14th Virginia Regiment, afterwards consolidated into the 7th.  At expiration of three years he reenlisted for another three years.  In 1781 he was marched to Yorktown and served in that seige.  He also had served in the battles of Germantown and Manmouth.  He was discharged soon after the Seige of York by Col. Roan.  Jeremiah came with his family to KY and settled in that part of Greenup Co. that became Lawrence Co. when created from Floyd & Greenup Counties in 1821, effective 11 Feb 1821.  On 28 Jul 1818 he applied for his pension.  Certificate of Pension No. W.F. 2063 was issued.

god_bless_americaConstitution

John Burns Hatcher and Elizabeth Clarenda Wallace

John Burns Hatcher, son of George Farley Hatcher and Amanda Burns, daughter of the “ole Revolutionary Soldier,” Jeremiah Burns, and wife Elizabeth Rowland, was born at Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky, on March 4, 1834. Married at Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky, on November 28, 1855, to Elizabeth Clarenda Wallace, daughter of Thomas Wallace and his first wife, Elizabeth Averill, daughter of John Hiram or Jacob Averill, said to be from New York. The officiating minister’s return reads as follows:

Marriage Certification

“I hereby certify that on the 28th day of November 1855 John B. Hatcher of Lawrence Co. Ky 21 years old, born in Prestonsburg, Floyd Co. Ky. was married to Elizabeth C. Wallace of Lawrence Co Ky 20 years old, born in Prestonsburg, Floyd Co. Ky…”

S. S. Mallory, Minister
MMEC (Church) South

Witness:

Mary Wallace
Julia Franklin

Alto Steamer Way Collection Cincinnati Public Library

Alto Steamer
Way Collection
Cincinnati Public Library

At the time of his marriage he was Captain of the Steamer “Alto” owned by his father and his first cousin Jake Rice, together with Samuel Short.

In 1856 he was still Captain of the “Alto”, as in June 1856 he was issued a Pilot’s Certificate Number 331, in accordance with the Act of Congress, approved August 30, 1852, to operate a Steamboat on the Big Sandy River. He was probably issued one in prior years, but this is the only one listed among documents that were in my aunt’s possession.

In 1857 or 1858 they migrated with his parents to Cordova, Rock Island County, Illinois where they had purchased a large farm on the banks of the Mississippi River on which they built their big white house.

After the death of his mother, Amanda Burns Hatcher, on January 22, 1861, and the second marriage of his father to Mary Ann Branham on August 22, 1861, John Burns and Elizabeth returned to Louisa, Ky.

In 1864 John and his first cousins, John M. Rice and Jake Rice, together with Lloyd B. Dennis leased from Thomas Wallace (his father-in-law), five thousand acres of land on Big Blaine Creek and its tributaries, and the waters of East Fork of Little Sandy, for the drilling of oil and other privileges.

East Fork Little Sandy River source: Wikipedia

East Fork Little Sandy River
source: Wikipedia

On April 5, 1865 John, along with his first cousins, John and Jacob Rice, purchased the mineral rights to the Mary J. Potter Farm, situated on the Big Sandy River, Lawrence County, around Fallsburg, Kentucky, for the sum of $100.00. Oil was discovered on this property about 1916, but there was a court battle over the ownership of same which was not settled for several years. These wells are still producing (as of the 1980’s).

On July 11, 1865, he purchased one thousand shares of stock in the Greater Kentucky Oil Company, incorporated by the State of Kentucky on January 17, 1865, of which his cousin, John M. Rice, was President, and ________ Owens, Secretary and Treasurer. He was issued two certificates of stock for 500 shares each at $10.00 per share or a total of $10,000.00.

In September 1865 they were living at Southpoint, Ohio, which was across the Ohio River between Ashland and Catlettsburg, but no record as to his occupation. In August 1867 they were living at Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky.

In 1868 he secured his license to practice law as per the following:

Boyd County Court
May Term 1868

The Court from personal knowledge orders that a certificate of honesty, probity and good demeanor be granted John B. Hatcher of this County.

A Copy Attest:          W. O. Hampton, C D C C

And on June 5, 1868, the following:

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY

The undersigned two of the Circuit Judges of the Commonwealth aforesaid, certify that John B. Hatcher, Esq., of Boyd County, produced to us the certificate of the County Court, that he is a gentleman of honesty, probity and good demeanor; And we have examined him touching his qualifications to practice law, do find him qualified.

He is hereby licensed to practice Law in any of the Courts of this Commonwealth.

Given under our hands, June 5th, 1868.

Jas. M. Rice
Judge of the 16th Dist., Ky.

R. Apperson Jr.
Judge 11th District

The exact date as to when they returned to Louisa is not known, but it was found on May 3, 1869, Page 344 of Court Orders 1863-1876, the following:

It is ordered that John B. Hatcher be appointed a Commissioner to investigate and report to this court the number and character of the public books now in possession of the public office for the State of Kentucky in the County of Lawrence.

He is directed to ascertain and report the number and character of said books that have been lost or destroyed, and as far as he is able to do, to ascertain how and in what manner they were lost or destroyed and in whose possession they were at the time of such loss or destruction; whether it occurred by the fault of neglect of the public office having the custody thereof; and will report his proceedings to the next term of this court with an affidavit as to the findings thereof.

When he returned to Louisa in 1868 or 1869, he entered into a partnership with R. F. Prichard, Attorney; Firm known as Prichard and Hatcher, with offices in the brick building on the Public Square, which R. F. Prichard had purchased in 1865 from Lawrence County Court per the following found in Court Orders, Vol. 5 – 1863-1871, page 76.

NOVEMBER TERM – 1865

It appearing to the satisfaction of this Court that the brick building, formerly occupied as Clerk’s Office, has been by the County Court condemned. It is now ordered that the house be and is hereby sold to R. F. Prichard of Louisa, Ky., with the knowledge of keeping said house on the Public Square for the time of 10 years and R. L. Vinson is appointed by this Court commissioned to convey the same to him in the name of the Justices of Lawrence County, Ky., and the said R. F. Prichard is not to charge the County of Lawrence for the next year for his services as County Attorney for said County; and the said Prichard is to give said Vinson a receipt for the same and to that effect by him to be filed in the Office of the Lawrence County Court.

AUGUST TERM – 1870 – Lawrence County Court – Page 451

This day John B. Hatcher presented his Certificate of Election as County Attorney for Lawrence County, Kentucky; and thereupon took the oaths required by Law; and Jake Rice, the present acting County Attorney, is ordered to deliver to said Hatcher all books received by him as County Attorney of every description.

AUGUST TERM – 1870 – Lawrence County Court – Page 454

Ordered that John B. Hatcher, as County Attorney for this County, bring suits and all bonds due this Court, as justification for the non-compliance with contracts.

(This appeared to be regarding the case of the road on top of town hill.)

In March 1881, he purchased for Elizabeth, the home they were renting, as attest:

Deed, page 1

Deed, page 1

Deed, page 2

Deed, page 2

James Wellman & Flora, his wife, of Catlettsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky, for the sum of $2,000.00 to Elizabeth C. Hatcher, wife of John B. Hatcher, in fee simple.

All that certain Block or Square, situated, lying and being in the town of Louisa, Lawrence County, Ky., known on the Plat of said town as Lots Nos., 75, 76, 77 & 78.

It being the property where the said John B. Hatcher now lives and the same deeded byR. D. Callihan and wife, to James A. Wellman, by deed bearing date of 24th March 1865, and recorded in Deed Book “H” of Lawrence County Records, to which reference is here made for further description.

R. F. Wilson, Clerk
By Deputy J. W. Jones

Recorded Deed Book “J” — Pages 248 & 249 March 1, 1871.

On March 3, 1875 John Burns Hatcher died, cause unknown, but he suffered with pains in his stomach all night before his death. It later was thought he probably had a ruptured appendix as his symptoms were the same as at the present time with appendicitis.

The following resolution was presented at the March Term of Lawrence County Court:

Lawrence County Court
March Term — 1875

R. F. Vinson presented to Court the following resolutions which with the unanimous approval of the bar were directed to be recorded.

That it is with profound sorrow that we are called upon to mourn the death of John B. Hatcher late a member of the bar in this Court who departed this life at six o’clock P. M., March 3rd 1875.

2nd. That he was a man possessed of great legal ability and kindness of heart and by his death we have lost a friend, the community a good citizen and his family, with whom we deeply sympathize, a kind husband and an indulgent father.

3rd. That these resolutions be spread upon the records of this Court. A copy to the Wayne Advocate and the Catlettsburg Enquirer with the request to publish same.

A copy Attest

C. F. Johnson Clk.

John was buried with services by his lodge, International Order of Odd Fellows, and they implanted their emblem in his tombstone.

He was buried in the old cemetery beside his two children, Mary A. and Frank, who had preceded him in death.

When the new Cemetery was opened on the hill back of Louisa, Pine Hill Cemetery, Elizabeth had them all moved to it as attest to the following:

Burial Permit issued by Pine Hill Cemetery, Louisa, Kentucky, on December 10th, 1884, granting permission to bury J. B. Hatcher, Frank Hatcher and Mary A. Hatcher.

BY: Eugene Wallace, Secretary

Elizabeth was sought by many a suitor for her hand in marriage, turning all of them down, as she had twenty years of marriage bliss with John, whom she loved very deeply, and wanted no one else.

She took up the task of raising their children alone and made sure all of them received a good education.

John and Elizabeth had issue, surname Hatcher:

Eugenia Wallace
James Ross Napoleon
Mary Amanda
Alice
Margaret Permelia (Maggie)
Frank
Miriam Elizabeth
John (Rowland) Chase

John Burns, along with his father-in-law, Thomas Wallace, enlisted in Co. I – 68th Regiment Kentucky enrolled Militia Infantry, on 21 May 1864 and served through 22 Jun 1864 as a Commissary Sergeant. He was not issued a uniform nor did he receive any pay for his services.

On 16 Jan 1915 Elizabeth applied for a pension under the Act of 19 Apr 1808, but her claim was denied since he only served thirty days. Claim No. W. O. 1040,965 and, since he was not wounded and no health problems due to service.

During his service they made a raid on the Rebels in West Virginia where it is said they killed one man at Licking Ridge; also made another raid somewhere in Kentucky and captured Col. Cly Bibell (Bihell?), a commander general.

Three Brothers in the Civil War

1851 Virginia Map

Both Willis ARTHUR (1791-1856) and Emily “Millie” Jane FREEMEN (1796-1880) were born in Bedford County, Virginia and are my paternal 4th great-grandparents. Willis’ father, John ARTHUR, Sr. (abt. 1858-1850) was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and lived and died on his beloved land in Goose Creek, Bedford County, Virginia. Like his father before him, Willis followed his father’s example of patriotism and became a veteran of the War of 1812, having served in the 4th Regiment of the Virginia Militia.

Willis and Millie had seven children. There were four boys, James P., Caleb, Meredith and William, and three girls, Mary Ellen, Sarah Jane and Emily. Willis and Millie had moved around quite a bit early on living in Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois at various times during their marriage. But by 1850, the family was all living back in Lawrence County, Ohio. Sometime after 1850 and before 1856, Willis and Millie moved to Clark County, Illinois where Willis passed away in 1856. After Willis died, Millie once again returned to Lawrence County where she resided with her youngest son, William.

Events Leading to the Civil War

In the first half of the 19th Century, there was a lot of discord among the States. Prior to the Civil War, the country was becoming increasingly divided between the north and the south. There had been talk for years by the southern states of cessation from the Union. Willis had been greatly influenced by his father, his grandfather and his grand-uncle Barnabus ARTHUR.

The-coming-Civil-War

Barnabus ARTHUR (1735-1815), was living in Goose Creek, Bedford County, Virginia, and had granted freedom to his slaves in his Will upon his death in 1815.

An excerpt to his Will reads:

* *  *

Item: In consequence of long and faithful service of my negro man George and my negro Betty, it is my desire that they be emancipated, whenever the laws of this state will allow it and they have the tract of land I purchased of Benjamin Williamson for and during the term of their natural lives; to live upon and maintain their idiot daughter Amy and until they can be so emancipated it is my will that they shall live upon said land and maintain their said daughter and have all the profits of their labor, under the direction of my son Lewis and moreover that they be furnished with one year provision out of my estate whenever they leave it in consequence of this article and the said negroes are not to be considered or appraised as part of my estate.

Item: The residue of my estate both real and personal, after executing the above bequests together with the part left my wife, after her decease and that left to  my negroes George and Betty, after their decease, I give and bequeath in equal shares to my children . . . .

So, according to his Will, Barnabus made sure that certain of his faithful slaves were to be provided land and sustenance for the remainder of their lives. Barnabus’ then controversial actions drew both anger and affirmations among his neighbors. Willis would have been witness to this and would have shared these ideals with his own children. Eventually they could not escape involvement of the national debate over State’s rights and slavery.

http://www.mikelynaugh.com/VirtualCivilWar/

Lincoln’s First Inauguration

One of the primary reasons the southern states were considering cessation was over the issue of slavery. Slavery was prominent in the south but was becoming increasingly banned by the northern states. When Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, he had run his campaign on a message of anti-slavery. After his election, the South felt it was just a matter of time before slavery was completely outlawed which led to cessation. Click here for some further discussion of events leading up to the Civil War.

In 1859 the abolitionist, John Brown, unsuccessfully attacked the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, where he was captured. Brown’s trial ended with a conviction and a sentence of hanging for treason. Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tensions that, a year later, led to secession and the American Civil War.

President Lincoln Issues a Call to Arms

It couldn’t have been easy for Millie to send three of her four boys to serve for the Union in the Civil War. Their oldest son, James P. ARTHUR (1823-1897), was pushing 40 years and already had five children and another one on the way. There is some evidence that James served as a Pastor of the Solida Creek Missionary Baptist Church but confirmation of this is now impossible as all of the records of the church were destroyed in a fire in 1972. But the timing and location indicate it as a strong possibility. That may be another reason why he chose to stay home.

His three younger brothers heeded the call and left families and loved ones behind to fight for the cause.

CALEB ARTHUR

Caleb ARTHUR (1829-1903). At the time of the 1860 Census, Caleb was married to Sarah HICKS (1830-1875) and they were living in Lawrence County, Ohio with their three young children, Willis, Joseph and Urania. A fourth child, Lynn, would be born in 1861, the same year Caleb was mustered into service 8 November1861). Caleb served in the Civil War with Company G, 2nd West Virginia Calvary. His rank in was Corporal and rank out was Quartermaster Sgt. (29 November 1864).WV2dCalvary

To All Whom It May Concern:

Know Ye that Caleb Arthur a Quartermaster Sergeant of Captain Joseph Ankrom’s Company G, 2nd Regiment of WV Calvary Volunteers who was enrolled on the twenty-eighth day of August, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty One, to serve three years or during the war, is hereby discharged from the service of the United States, this twenty-ninth day of November 1864 at Wheeling, WV by reason of expiration of term of service. (No objection to his being re-enlisted is known to exist.)

Said Caleb Arthur was born in Wayne County in the State of Tennessee, is 31 years of age, 5 feet 11 1/2″ high.  Rudd Complexion, Blue Eyes, dark hair and by occupation when enrolled, a laborer.

By the 1870 Census, Caleb and Sarah were living in Fayette, Lawrence County, Ohio with their now five children, Willis, Joseph, Lynn, Urania and Jesse. Caleb is now a lawyer and has also been serving as a Justice of the Peace.

MEREDITH “MED” ARTHUR

Meredith “Med” ARTHUR (abt 1835-1900) was married to Roxey BALLARD (1841-1926) and they were living in Fayette, Lawrence County, Ohio on the 1860 Census. At that time they had one son, William H. Arthur. He was a farmer by trade.188th ohio vol inf

Meredith served in the Civil War with Company A, 188th Ohio Voluntary Infantry. He was 32 when he joined on Feb. 15, 1865 to serve 1 year. He was promoted from 1st Sgt.  to 2nd Lieutenant on July 10, 1865.  He mustered out with Company A at Nashville, Tennessee on September 21, 1865.

By the 1870 Census, Meredith and Roxey were living in Lemoine, McDonough, Illinois with their son William, now age 11. Meredith is back to farming with the help of his son.

WILLIAM HARVEY ARTHUR

William Harvey ARTHUR (1838-1895). William was still single when he decided to join the Union soldiers. He enlisted in November 1861 in the Ohio 6th Cavalry and served through Gettysburg in July 1863. In December of 1863 he was discharged at Warrenton, Virginia. He then enlisted as a volunteer in the 14th KY Infantry. He served until January 1865. The 14th KY Infantry saw service from 1862 through Sherman’s March to the Sea and garrison duty recalled home by the Kentucky Governor. It was mustered out January 31, 1865.

There were several times during his service that he was absent from duty due to illness. Twice he was hospitalized and once recuperated at home. The same year he returned from the

Meredith Arthur/Roxey Ballard Marriage Record
Meredith Arthur/Roxey Ballard Marriage Record

War, he married Margaret Elizabeth Hanna FULLERTON on September 3, 1865 in Lawrence County, Ohio. The wedding took place in her parents’ home and was officiated by William’s older brother, Caleb, a Justice of the Peace. William was listed as a laborer on the 1870 Census of Lawrence County, Ohio.

The photograph below is from the Reunion of the 14th and 22nd Kentucky Regiments held September 23 and 24, 1884 in Ashland, Kentucky. For whatever reason, William is not listed as one of the attendees.

14th KY Infantry Reunion-Ashland, KY

14th KY Infantry Reunion-Ashland, KY

Conclusion

This family was so lucky. All of Millie’s sons returned home safely from War. Although I don’t have copies of their records, I have not found any reports of injuries other than William’s recorded sickness and hospitalizations. They were all able to come home and resume their lives.

I know there are other men from my different family lines who also served in the Civil War. As I progress with my research, I hope to determine that they were all fighting on the same side and not family against family as in many instances.

The Civil War remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. Historians estimate the death toll at ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40.

The Jeremiah Burns and Elizabeth Rowland Family

Burness Tombstone in Glenbervie

Burness Tombstone in Glenbervie

Jeremiah Burns is of Scottish origin. His grandfather, Patrick Burns (son of John Burness), migrated from Scotland and settled in Maryland. His father, James Patrick Burns, later migrated to Virginia and settled in that part of Luenberg County (formed from Brunswick in 1746), which became Bedford County in 1753. The name and family history of Burness are found on old tombstones in the churchyard of Glenbervie, Scotland.  It is noted by “several historians” that Jeremiah was of the same line of descent as the illustrious poet, Robert Burns.

Jeremiah was born October 26, 1752 in Bedford County, Virginia. He received his education in Bedford County and at an early age studied for the Methodist ministry. He married his first wife in Virginia by whom he had two sons (names are still unknown at this time), but it is said that when they were grown they went to the southwest and became noted people.
Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth

Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth

In June 1776 Jeremiah enlisted in the Virginia line of the American Revolution at Bedford County, Virginia for a period of three years as a private in Captain George Lambert’s Company commanded by Colonel George Matthews under Major General Nathanael Greene, it being the 14th Virginia Regiment, afterwards consolidated into the 7th; he continued to serve in said Corps, or in the service of the United States, against the common enemy until the expiration of his enlistment, during which time he served in the battle of Germantown, Pennsylvania, October 5, 1777; and  the battle of Monmouth, New Jersey, June 28, 1778, where Washington harassed the British at Monmouth Courthouse. Without taking a discharge or bounty land he enlisted for another three years and continued with the army under Major General Greene. In 1781 he was marched to Yorktown, Virginia and served in the Seige of Yorktown which began October 6, 1781, which battle was the turning point in the war when British General Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781 to Washington. In August 1782, after serving six years, he was honorably discharged at Williamsburg, Virginia by Colonel Ross.

Jeremiah was a farmer and a noted Methodist preacher of his day. It is unknown just when his first wife died, but while preaching at a Methodist Church in Franklin County (created from Bedford and Henry in 1785), he spied in his congregation Elizabeth Rowland, born Franklin County, Virginia, June 11, 1770, who was a beautiful girl and a devout worshipper as well as being gifted with a melodious voice. An historian stated of her that in song she was wonderfully gifted; a brunette of the most perfect type; hair as black as a raven, heavy eyebrows, a curved lip, and a faultless figure. The preacher fell in love with her. She accepted his hand and heart and they became one flesh. After a short courtship he and Elizabeth were married on March 20, 1794 in Franklin County, Virginia by John Watt, a Methodist Minister. Jeremiah and Elizabeth were the founders of the Burns House in the Big Sandy Valley (Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky).

Jeremiah and Elizabeth had nine children, who honored their parents by rising to distinction in law, theology, and official stations. They are: Roland Tiernan Burns, Jeremiah Burns, Jr., Nancy Reed Burns, Jane H. Burns, Amanda Burns (my direct), John Lewis Burns, Charles C. Burns, James P. Burns and Julia Anne Burns. I have additional information for anyone interested.

The Huguenot Cross

The Huguenot Cross

Elizabeth was descended from a family made famous in French Huguenot history. Until Jeremiah’s alliance with Elizabeth, a French beauty of the perfect brunette caste, were all blondes, but the blood of the Huguenots has changed the type of the family to a full brunette. (From the book, The Big Sandy Valley by William Ely.) As a side note, here’s a little history of the Huguenots. The Huguenots (click here for additional information) were French Protestants, most of whom eventually came to follow the teachings of John Calvin, and who, due to religious persecution, were forced to flee France to other countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Some remained, practicing their Faith in secret. . . . 

Since the Huguenots of France were in large part artisans, craftsmen, and professional people, they were usually well-received in the countries to which they fled for refuge when religious discrimination or overt persecution caused them to leave France. Most of them went initially to Germany, the Netherlands, and England, although some found their way eventually to places as remote as South Africa.

 Considerable numbers of Huguenots migrated to British North America, especially to the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Their character and talents in the arts, sciences, and industry were such that they are generally felt to have been a substantial loss to the French society from which they had been forced to withdraw, and a corresponding gain to the communities and nations into which they settled. 

Jeremiah died October 13, 1824, age 72 years, and was buried on East Fork, Lawrence County, Kentucky. His Will dated May 11, 1824, was the second Will recorded in Lawrence County, Kentucky. It reads as follows:

In the name of God, Amen. I, Jeremiah Burns, of Lawrence County and State of Kentucky, being of sound mind and judgment, but knowing that it is appointed for all men to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following. I recommend my soul to Almighty God, the dispenser of all things, and my body to be buried in a decent and Christian manner at the discretion of my surviving friends hereafter mentioned. And as to my worldly goods that it has pleased Almighty God to Bless me with, after my funeral expenses are paid, I dispose of in the following manner, to wit: I give and bequeath to my wife Elizabeth Burns the place that I now live on for which I hold a title bond on David L. Ward for one hundred acres of land, being part of William Grayson’s 70,000 acre survey. Also two horse beasts, one mare named Canary and one two year old filly named Phoenix, also the cow beasts, which consist of three cows, a three year old steer, a three year old bull, and a two year old heifer; also two young calves, and ten head of sheep. Also fifteen head of hogs and twelve geese, and poultry of every description. The household furniture consisting of three beds with their covering, cooking utensils, with the table and furniture, the loom with its tackle, one shovel plough and one set of drawing gears, two axes, three hoes, with all the farming utensils. The Bible hymn book, the letter writer and Scot’s lessons, also two spinning wheels, one little wheel and one big wheel, and two large sugar kettles, two augers and drawing knife, and if there should be any part of my pension that should be in arrear that is to be for her use. And the balance of my books I give and bequeath to my son Rowland Burns which consists of the first Vol. of Blair’s sermons, the fourth Vol. Wesley’s sermons, Milton’s works, Paradise Lost. I also give and bequeath to my son John L. Burns one horse beast called Nudly, and a rifle gun, but he is not at liberty to dispose of them until he comes of age. And the within named property granted to my wife Elizabeth Burns, is to be hers her lifetime to dispose of as she thinks best if she remains a widow. But if she should marry she is only to have her third and balance of the estate is to be equally divided amongst my children, to wit: Rowland Burns, Jeremiah Burns, Nancy Githens, late Nancy Burns, Jane Rice, late Jane Burns, Amanda Burns, John L. Burns, Charles C. Burns, James P. Burns and Juliann Burns; and if she remains a widow at her decease whatever remains of the estate to be equally divided among the above named Rowland Burns, Jeremiah Burns, Nancy Githens, late Nancy Burns, Jane Rice, late Jane Burns, Amanda Burns, John L. Burns, Charles C. Burns, James P. Burns and Juliann Burns.

Lastly I constitute my son Rowland Burns and son-in-law John Githens executor of this my last will and testament, ratifying it to be such.

In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal, this 11th day of Mat. (sic) 1824. Signed, sealed and acknowledged in presence of:

Jeremiah Burns, Sen.  :seal:

Samuel White
Elijah Rice Jun.

Elizabeth died at Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky, on April 27, 1859, age 89, and was buried in Widow’s Graveyard.

Andrew Creighton McNeal and the Civil War Battle/Siege of Atlanta, GA

Growing up I was never all that interested in history. In school, like almost every other student (there were exceptions, of course), history was just some ancient storytelling that had absolutely nothing to do with me or my life. Since I began chasing information on my ancestry, I have begun to develop an interest in and understanding of what those historical events meant. I have learned that my ancestors were quite a patriotic lot. I’m sure that’s a big reason why I’m so passionate about my country and the things that seem to be eating away at the very core. But I digress….

Today I write about my maternal great-grandfather, Andrew Creighton McNeal. Five feet, 8 inches tall with dark hair, blue eyes and fair complexion. Great-grandpa Creight (pronounced Crate)  as he was called or also A.C., was born about 1843 in Scioto County, Ohio. He worked as a farm laborer in his teens. In February 1861, at the age of 19, he left home and enlisted with the 53rd Ohio Infantry. His military records show that he was promoted to a Corporal of Company “D”. Another report later shows him as re-enrolling as a Private after being home sick for some time. Perhaps his rank changed when he re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer. Later Pension reports leave his rank blank. He served a total of three years and was mustered out 11 August 1865 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I can’t begin to imagine what these soldiers suffered physically and emotionally. Almost every medical report of his recorded (and filed in the National Archives) reports suffering of diarrhea. I would imagine it would have to be from the probably tainted food and water they managed to get along their marches.

Battle of Atlanta, by Kurz and Allison (1888).

The last battle he was involved in was the Battle of Atlanta, GA from July 20 to September 2, 1864. On or about the 22nd day of July, 1864, Creight received an injury to his head under the following circumstances (as reported by various doctors): He was in the skirmish line and was behind some bridge timbers when a percussion shell struck the timbers above his head and exploded surely shocking him and causing permanent injury to his head.  This causes a continual pain in the base of his brain which when aggravated by cold becomes almost unbearable and it has affected his eyes.

In a letter written by A.C. McNeal in 1899 to the Commissioner of Pensions, he talks about the injuries he received during the Battle of Atlanta, together with other health issues contracted during the war. He writes: The trouble in my head originated at the battle at Atlanta, GA on the day that Genl. McPherson was killed … caused by the explosion of a shell from the enemy’s gun, in such close proximity to me that the concussion knocked me down and against a pile of RR bridge timbers and ever since there has been a noise in my head like escaping steam, and at times very painful and similar to a neuralgia. And as I grow older it seems to be getting worse and affects my hearing to a greater extent. Atlanta-SiegeChronic diarrhea I contracted at Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing Tenn, but has not bothered me to any extent for a number of years. I dropped the doctors in that case and cured myself with salt, vinegar and water. Rheumatism I first felt it in my life while we layed at Little Rock Arkansas after the fall of Richmond but it was to such a slight extent that I paid but little attention to it, but it continues to hang on to my right hip and shoulder while my left leg is swollen at all times until it will measure from 1 to 1 and 1/2 inches more than the right.

He continues: I am a man that can turn my hand to almost anything that I see anyone else do. Consequently, my several disabilities have not kept me from following some kind of work outside of manual labor, unless it might in a few instances that I be layed up for from one day to a week or such a matter.

He returned home after the war and in 1867 he married Mary Virginia (Jennie) Hoskinson. They had three children, two boys and a girl. On the 1870 Census, Creight and Jennie were living in Greenup County, Kentucky. Creight’s occupation was listed as steam engineer, the operator of a boiler. He was in charge of the machinery at the Star Furnace in Carter County, Kentucky. In 1873, he took a job in Indiana where, for a reason I haven’t been able to determine yet, Jennie died. Creight then returned to Ironton, Ohio and in May 1875, he moved to Kilgore, Kentucky and took charge of miner’s machinery for the railroad.

Sometime that year, Creight met and married Mary Columbia Woods Vaughn December 31, 1875. The ceremony was small and private being held in Creight’s home. Mary was a widow with three children. She and Creight then had two children together, Julia and Henry. Julia was my maternal grandmother.

They were living in Coaltown, Kentucky during the 1880 census.  He was listed as “A. C. McNeal” and as being born in Pennsylvania.  He was listed again as a stationary engineer, the operator of a boiler.  He was also a telegrapher (the first commercial telegraph between Washington DC. and Baltimore was installed in 1843), a steam engineer and worked at the powerhouse at the railroad in Rush, Boyd County, Kentucky.  The powerhouse may have provided electrical and or steam power in support of mining activities. Creight was always reading about science and made clocks.

AC McNeal Marker 1Crate died Feb. 4, 1903 in Rush, Boyd County, Kentucky at age 61.  He is buried with a military headstone in Kilgore Cemetery, Carter/Boyd County line, Kentucky.  The cemetery is on the top of a hill on Route 60 near the interstate on the Boyd County, Carter County border.  It basically is within the bounds of Carter County.  However, this cemetery is at the turn to Rush and is located in the Rush/Kilgore area.  Both of these being mining towns in their day. The cemetery (as of 10-12 years ago) is located in a virgin forest with periwinkles.  AC McNeal Marker 2

Seeking Hidden Treasures — Beginning Your Genealogy and Family History Research

confusion_irritation_800_600I am by no means a professional genealogist. I have, though, been researching my own family lines off and on for years. The information I provide here is barely a drop in the bucket and is certainly nothing new to anyone already researching their genealogy. Below are a few ideas and suggestions to help you get started and/or continue your search.

Start with your parents if available. Put together a list of questions to ask. If you cannot do the interview in person, send them the questions and have them record their answers. That one gives you a two-fer! You’ll have some information on your family AND you’ll have a voice record of your parents to keep forever.

For example, there are the obvious questions to ask – when and where your parents and grandparents were born, names and dates of birth of parents and grandparents, the same information for their siblings, and dates of death, if applicable.

Then there are the more telling questions that give much more information. Some examples are:

a.         What was their childhood like?

b.         Where and how did my parents meet?

c.         What was their courtship like?

d.         What was their wedding day like?

Well, you get the idea. Come up with more questions that require more involved answers than a yes or no!

Expand your search to include other living relatives – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Even interview your older siblings if they’re old enough to perhaps remember things for which you weren’t around or were too young to remember!

Once you’ve exhausted all of your relatives (in more ways than one), there is so much information available on the Internet and it’s increasing daily. When I first began researching my genealogy, there was no Internet. At least not one that was easily accessible by the general public. Everything was done by snail mail (remember those days?) or by phone. It was time consuming and could get expensive. Once the Internet became more commonplace and people began seeing and understanding its significance, it became much easier to research. Just a few of the websites that I have found extremely useful are listed below in no particular order or preference:

Cindi’s List. This is a great site to help you locate all kinds of genealogical sites. It’s very comprehensive and has been adding genealogical research sites to its listings for years. I found this website back in the late 90’s.

Family Search. This is a free site sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This Church has the largest cache of genealogical information in the world and they continue gathering information from every corner of the globe. They have made it available to anyone whether a member of their faith or not. In fact, I was once told that their Family History Centers are used more by nonmembers!

Rootsweb.com. Rootsweb is now run by Ancestry.com but is the “free” portion of Ancestry. Hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals have uploaded their family trees. I got a lot of information in the beginning from this site and still continue to use it.

Ancestry.com. This is a paid subscription site that I have used in the past. I have found a lot of information here. Since I’m not a professional genealogist, their annual membership is a bit expensive for me. So, even though it’s overall a bit more expensive to sign up monthly, I’ll sign up for a month at a time maybe twice a year. If money is no object, then go for it!  In addition to thousands of family trees, there are a lot of pictures and documents that have been uploaded by individual users. I’ve broken through some brick walls on this site.

USGenWeb. This is free website that has been around for years. Its goal is to keep Internet genealogy free. You can search by state and county. I believe that most, if not all, of the information has been uploaded and is maintained by individuals working on their own genealogy and volunteers who help to maintain the various websites within the parent site.

This very brief list does not even begin to scratch the surface of genealogical websites. There are personal websites, blogs, Facebook sites, etc., that people have set up. The more you search the Internet, the more genealogical websites you will find.

Offline, don’t forget about your local public libraries. Most libraries have genealogy departments and staff who are available to assist you in your search. There are historical societies and genealogy societies for both regions and historical events.

A word of caution. Just because certain information or a family tree is listed on the Internet does not necessarily mean that it is accurate. Any and all information, and I do mean this most sincerely, should be verified through your own research and confirmation of information. I have found a lot of mistakes in other people’s submissions and I have found mistakes in submissions I have made in the beginning. After all, you do want your genealogy to be facts about real people not a work of fiction! But the information is constantly changing and expanding and it’s never dull. If you love the thrill of the hunt, then you will love genealogy.

After beginning and expanding on my research, I came to the conclusion that I would really like to learn anything and everything I can about my ancestors whose blood is coursing through my veins. I give them thanks for who I am (or not, depending!)

So don’t be afraid to just jump in with both feet. It’s fun, exciting, addicting, and you just never know who might turn up to be one of your relatives! They could be famous or infamous. But you’ll never know unless you look. I don’t know who to attribute this saying to but whoever said “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree” obviously has done some family genealogy!

Good luck and happy hunting!