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03 September 2014

#30 Long Road Back to Georgia

Francis Marion Hensley (1841-1923)

Long Road Back to Georgia

Word rippled through Phillip’s Legion that Gen. Robert E. Lee was coming to inspect the troops. Estimates were that nearly 12,000 horsemen and battalions of horse artillery awaited Lee’s arrival.

Jeb Stuart
Francis Marion (called Marion) Hensley was a 21-year-old private in the cavalry and he was among those awaiting the general on the grounds of John Minor Botts’ farm just outside the town of Culpeper, Virginia on June 8, 1863.

Pvt. Hensley  and his 200 or so Cherokee County, Georgia neighbors who made up Company I/C of Phillip’s Legion had been assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia’s Cavalry Corps back in April. It had seen plenty of action and adventure. They were under the command of the dashing 30-year-old Major General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart.

Down in the ranks many rumors flew contantly, but one of them was true. That one was that the Army of Northern Virginia’s infantry was scheduled to march north the next day, with Stuart’s horsemen leading the way, scouting and screening the infantry’s advance.

Gen. Wade Hampton

Gettysburg East Cavalry Field1 by Hal Jespersen--Engelsk, Wikipedia

However, the Confederates did not realize that as General Lee inspected his troops, 9,000 Federal cavalrymen lay just across the Rappahannock River preparing to attack the following morning. For Francis Marion Hensley, this was the start of long series of skirmishes and battles leading to Gettysburg, where on 3 July in the East Cavalry Field, Phillip’s Legion, and others would be confronted by the 1st Michigan Cavalry led by Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

Then after a retreat back to Virginia, eventually he and 67 other Confederates would be captured at Milford Station and imprisoned at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Steamer New York at Aiken's Landing, Virginia. Library of Congress

Imprisoned for nearly 10 months, Pvt. Hensley finally was released in a POW exchange on 14 March 1865. He boarded the steamer New York and was exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, Virginia. Three days later he was admitted to the Jackson Hospital in Richmond for “gelatio” — apparently a term for freezing or extreme chill. He was there for a week.

His last army record notes he was furloughed on 24 March 1865 for 60 days. That was about two weeks before General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The official records and family story about this ancestor having been "with Lee at the surrender" conflicted, but are understandable now in light of the dates and events.

From Richmond, Private Hensley walked home to Georgia — about 550 miles. The former cavalryman of Phillip's Legion finally arrived home -- horseless and “looking like a scarecrow” shortly before his 24th birthday.

07 August 2014

#29-52ancestors: Capt. James Vanderpool

#29—52 ancestors

Capt. James R. Vanderpool (1831-1880)

 I have an ancestor, loved and hated, depending on one's political views of the Civil War. One Confederate historian described him as "mean, bull-headed and ruthless." Another historian, with a Union bent, refers to him as a "courageous, honorable, and beloved by his troops." They are talking about the same man!

Union Officer's
Civil War
James R. Vanderpool, born ca 1831 in Indiana, was a blacksmith, married (to Anna Henderson), and father of three living in Newton County, Arkansas, when he enlisted in the Union Army on 21 June 1862. He was assigned to Co. B, 1st Regiment, Arkansas Cavalry. He served in it until he was discharged on 27 February 1863 to become captain of Co. C, 1st Arkansas Infantry Volunteers in which he served until the war ended in 1865.

Newton County, Arkansas was an isolated area in the Ozarks and in the early years of the war it did not affect the local people much.  However, by 1864, every able-bodied man of military age was in some branch of the army. This left only women, children and old men at home and they soon became a prey of bushwhackers who robbed and plundered everyone. Families of men serving in the military lived in constant fear of both the roaming bands of Confederate guerrillas and the bushwhackers. It became so dangerous that Union soldiers were unable to return to their homes to visit family without great risk of being shot by guerrillas. The Civil War split many families in this county and some families resorted to living in caves.

Living conditions during the war became so terrible that Capt. John McCoy, of Newton County, secured permission from Major General Frederick Steele to escort a wagon train of Union families to Springfield, Missouri. McCoy had served as State Representative from Newton County in 1858; and later, in 1864, he would serve as an Arkansas Senator. He was a vigorous opponent of the secession ordinance, voting against the Act under open threats that he would be shot down on the floor of the legislature. 

To escort the caravan he was assisted by Capt. James R. Vanderpool. They took 20 wagons of families. Early on during this trip, Capt. McCoy’s horse fell and landed on him, breaking five ribs. The accident confined McCoy to a bed in one of the wagons and that put Captain Vanderpool in charge.  According to the History of Newton County, by Walter F. Lackey, “as they were passing some fine plantation homes, a woman came out and cursed them and called them names, saying that a Rebel Army was in their path and that every d—— one of the men would be killed and their women and children would be sleeping in tents in less than a week.”

The caravan camped on the bank of the river that night and soon after they’d pitched camp, some steers belonging to the Rebel woman who had yelled at them earlier came near their tent and began bellowing at the Union troops’ steers.  Captain Vanderpool ordered his men to shoot the steers, saying “no d—- Rebel steers could bawl at his oxen.”

Newton County “produced two famous leaders, fighting for different causes,” Rose Lacy writes for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. They were “James Vanderpool, a Union hero who returned home in August 1865, and John Cecil, the former sheriff of Newton County, who was known for showing off his twin pearl-handled pistols that he had worn as a guerrilla leader for the Confederacy.”

Old State House 1865 Little Rock, Arkansas
In the spring of 1864, James R. Vanderpool was serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives as representative from Newton County. He was absent several times (obviously due his military duties) but appears in the Special Session in April 1865 (Journals of the House of Representatives of the Sessions of 1864, 1864-65, and 1865 — Arkansas Constitutional Convention). His son, John Anthony Vanderpool, age 3, died while the family was in Little Rock in 1865.

James R. Vanderpool

Soon after military service and legislative duties were completed, James and his family went back home to Newton County. Before the war he had purchased a small farm located on the mountain south of Jasper, but the house had been burned and the fences destroyed. He quickly constructed a small cabin and the following spring attempted to plant a crop, but the hard physical labor of farming proved much too strenuous for his failing health. In early 1868, he opened a mercantile business in Jasper, but he sold it about four years later and moved back to his mountain farm. He became seriously ill with pneumonia and on March 22, 1880 died at the age of 49. Just five months later, on August 16, Anna, his wife, died giving birth to their 11th child — a baby boy neither would ever know.

It is difficult to look at the lone picture I have ever seen of him and realize he was only about 48 years old. He looks so much older. Life was difficult in the mid-19th century, but military service was extremely hard on those who fought during the Civil War. I admit that I’m proud to say he is my 2-great-grandfather and confess that I look at his war-time service with pride and bias.

15 July 2014

#28-52ancestors: d'Anterroches-Vanderpoel


Surprising French Connection
Chevalier d'Anterroches and Mary "Polly" Vanderpoel

Julie d'Anterroches, wife of Warren Rogers--1839;
daughter of Louis-Joseph d'Anterroches and Mary Vanderpoel

Henry Knox (1750-1806) was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War. In 1787, he received a request from his former commander, General George Washington, to learn more about a particular Frenchman, whose “distressed” mother had written to Washington requesting assistance for her son who had come to America as a British soldier during the American Revolution.

Knox replied to Washington: New York 26th March 1787.

“I have attended my dear sir to your request respecting the Chevalier D'Anterroches and the following sketch is the result.

He is the son of a general officer in the French service, old and infirm; his uncle is the bishop of Condom [in southwestern France], rich, and miserly; besides which he is a relation of the Marquis de la Fayette. In the early part of his life, his father designed him for the church, and forced him to enter on studies necessary for the profession—as this business was his horror, he fled to England and enlisted as a soldier, but afterward became an officer, by what means does, not appear, but he came out to Canada with General John Burgoyne in the year 1776 or 1777, and was taken prisoner at Saratoga [New York].

On information that France had decidedly espoused the cause of America he [Chevalier D’Anterroches] left the service of England — whether he refused to be exchanged, resigned, or the precise means of leaving the British service, I cannot ascertain.

Some four or five years ago, he was at Chatham, Morris County [New Jersey],  in the house of a Mr. Pool, where he fell sick—Mr. Pool [David Vanderpool] is a shoemaker, his daughter was extremely attentive to the sick chevalier, who testified his gratitude on his recovery by marrying her. Two or three children are the fruits of the marriage. He lives on a small farm near Elizabeth Town, and is in great distress, but is in constant expectation of being relieved by his [wealthy] relations. His character is unexceptionable, and he is spoken of as a deserving man.

My own opinion is that nothing could more effectually please him than placing him in the French service, but his wife and children seems to be an insuperable bar to that idea — perhaps were you to write to the Marquis de la Fayette a letter calculated for him to show to the persons of influence, the poor chevalier might obtain some office in the customs, in the islands, or vice consul of these states by which he might maintain his family. I know of nothing in the gift of the United States at present which would relieve him — were it practicable for him to enter the service in a military line, the payments are so deficient that his family would starve.

I am my dear sir
Your respectfully & affectionate friend and very humble servt [servant]
HKnox [Henry Knox]”

It may be through the interposition of President Washington's influence that Joseph-Louis  D’Anterroches was made an adjutant general to the army commanded by General Henry Lee during the fall 1794 expedition to Western Pennsylvania in suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.

Joseph-Louis, Chevalier d'Anterroches was born at the Chateau of Puydernac, near Tulle, Limousin, France, on August 25, 1753. His parents were Jean-Pierre, Count d'Anterroches, and Lady Jeanne Francoise Teissier de Charnac. On his mother's side he was related to General Lafayette.

Chevalier d'Anterroches married Mary “Polly” Vanderpoel [as some of the family spelled the surname], daughter of Captain David Vanderpoel (1735-1821), at the Presbyterian parsonage in South Hanover, New Jersey on January 30, 1780 by the Rev. Ebenezer Bradford. The wedding ceremony was quiet and simple and not the usual large festive gathering, precluded by the severity of the weather and the unsettled condition of the country. Later an elegant trousseau was sent to Polly by her in-laws. The simple ceremony was not considered a sufficient compliance with the marriage laws of France, so seven years later a second ceremony was performed, according the rites of the Roman Catholic Church in the chapel of the French Legation in New York City.

The Vanderpoel family’s version of the meeting and courtship of Mary (called Polly) Vanderpoel and the chevalier differs somewhat from Knox’s, but these details are independently unverifiable. Her father, David Vanderpoel, was a tanner and currier by trade, and a soldier in the New Jersey militia. The family claimed he was a captain. Her mother was Deborah Lane (1739-1820). In the Dutch custom, their surname often was shortened to v. d. Pool (or Poel) or to just Pool. Her father objected to their marriage — some say because he was French, perhaps a spy, a paroled prisoner of war at the time, and had been fighting on the British side, but more likely it was a religious objection, since the Vanderpoels were Protestants.

By 1784, with the American Revolution ended and peace restored, the d’Anterroches settled down in Elizabeth Town, New Jersey. Years later, on a visit to his aging parents, his father died, and before Joseph-Louis  d’Anterroches could arrange affairs and get back to his wife and family in New Jersey, he died on 18 January 1814 — in his native land at the age of 60.

Mary “Polly” (Vanderpoel) d'Anterroches lived on in New Jersey and New York until 1844. When Lafayette revisited this country in 1824, she and her children were received at a private interview and embraced with the affection of a relative — as the children told their children.

They had 10 children, one of whom was Julie Francoise Gabrielle d’Anterroches (born in 1794) who married first Edward Griffith in 1811 and secondly, Warren Rogers in 1821. The 1839 watercolor-on-ivory portraits of Julie and Warren by the artist Theodore Lund (1810-1895) were donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the family.

07 July 2014

#27-52ancestors: Kimbro

Kimbros -- Gone to Texas?

George Kimbro (1779-1860)

Dear 4g-grandpa, I am sure you didn’t mean to leave such a tangled mess of branches. After all, with your tidy Germanic background, you were kind enough to make a detailed will, and it is not your fault that the courthouse in Shelbyville (Bedford County), Tennessee was burned down by the Confederate Army forces in 1863, taking with it your 1860 will.

Lucky for us descendants, in 1865, the will was reconstructed from the memory of the minister who originally drew it up and the estate was then probated. In it, your nine children were named and because four of your sons had predeceased you, their widows (if they were still living in 1860) are mentioned and their children are named as heirs.

Bedford County, Tennessee Courthouse

The problem is the reconstructed will has conflicting information (nothing is perfect in genealogical records, is it?) regarding the children of your son, James (my ancestor) and whether they lived in Tennessee or Texas. Thank goodness for tax records as I finally have been able to determine that James Kimbro was in Bedford County, Tennessee paying taxes from 1836-1839 and probably is the one listed in that county in its 1840 census. Evidently he died before 1850, but not a trace of him has been found after 1840 in Tennessee.  So perhaps he went to Texas as did a couple of his brothers.

That’s why I started digging deeper in Texas records since I knew his brother, William, had gone to Texas as early as 1831 and Neely was in Shelby County, Texas by 1849.

William fought in the Battle of San Jacinto and was a sheriff in San Augustine County, Texas. I was hopefully that my ancestor had settled near him or Neely so I could put my quest to rest.
I have not been successful and while a great deal has been written about Captain William Kimbro in various histories of Texas, it is claimed that he came to Texas with a wife and son in 1831.
However, his two known children (mentioned in their grandfather’s will) were Martha Ann Kimbro and Benjamin W. Kimbro. They were born ca 1833 and 1839, so if there was a son born prior to 1831 he must have died young.

So far, I have not found my James Kimbro in 1840 to 1850 --  and Texas is a mighty big state.
But I found the following about his brother, William, in the "veterans’ biographies" of the San Jacinto Museum of History.

“KIMBROUGH, WILLIAM (ca. 1810–1856). William Kimbrough (Kimbro, Kimbo), soldier and law officer, was born in Bedford County, Tennessee, and moved to Texas in 1831 with his wife, Sarah, and son. They settled in David G. Burnet's colony about five miles west of the site of present San Augustine.

“In September 1835, with the coming of the Texas Revolution, Kimbrough raised a company of volunteer infantry in the area and served as its captain in Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. After San Jacinto, Kimbrough was captain of the militia company of the Northwest Beat of San Augustine County.

He served as sheriff of San Augustine County from 1836 through 1838, was elected sheriff on February 1, 1841, and held the office until 1843. He was re-elected in 1847 but did not serve through his term.

“In 1850 he was farming in San Augustine County and was elected justice of the peace of Beat Four. In 1853 he moved to Anderson County, where he lived until his death, on September 14, 1856. He was buried in Palestine, and in 1936 the Texas Centennial Commission marked his grave with a historical marker.”

While my quest to find James goes on, it is nice to learn more about the adventures of his siblings who went to Texas.  I may stumble onto something yet about my ancestor in the Lone Star State.

01 July 2014

#26-52 Ancestors: Unmarked Graves

Unmarked Graves
Pyrene (Christian) Connally 1808-1891, Murray County, Georgia

“Someday I will buy a tombstone for him so he will not be forgotten,” my maternal grandmother use to tell me. She and I went to the local cemetery when I was child, placing flowers on the graves of ancestors and relatives. Back then it was called Decoration Day — now it is Memorial Day — and grandmother told me about each person on whose grave we placed flowers. She certainly gave me a head-start as a family historian for her side of the family and for her in-laws who were buried in that location.

My tough Indian Territory-pioneer granny, undaunted by snakes, wasps, rats and tornadoes, always cried when we came to that unmarked plot for Francis Porter Fricks, her two-year-old son, who died of the croup in 1909. Losing a child has to be one of the most painful things a mother has to bear. I have discovered many of my ancestors’ histories are rife with information about their children who died young — many victims of childhood diseases — and others who died in accidents and wars.

Pyrene Christian and Samuel Connally who lived in Murray County, Georgia, had six sons. They lost their son, Drewry, when he was about 21 in 1853 (the reason is unknown). In the 1860 federal population schedule, Samuel and Pyrene are listed with four sons, ages 13 to 24 at home and nearby is their recently married 31-year-old son, Thomas Connally with his wife, Mary, and a baby daughter, Pyrene (obviously named for her paternal grandmother). Then came the Civil War.

They lost their sons Thomas, Francis M., David and Samuel fighting for the Confederacy in Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia and then on 24 July 1864, their next-to-youngest son, John W. Connally, age 20, was captured by the Yankees not far from the family farm. Taken to a graveyard near Jasper in Pickens County, along with other captured Confederate soldiers, he was shot and killed. His death was recorded in the Southern Watchman (a weekly newspaper published in Athens, Georgia) on 17 August 1864.

“The prisoners, disdaining the idea of being shot in the back, tore blindfolds from their eyes and about faced, opened their breasts to them, and in a few minutes were in eternity.”

Within four years, five of Samuel and Pyerene’s sons were dead from disease or battle injuries.
Samuel Connally died in 1878 and Pyrene lived on until 1891. They are buried in the Mount Zion Methodist Church Cemetery in Murray County, along with their son, Drewry, their only daughter-in-law, and her three-year-old child by her second husband.

Like the grave of my grandmother’s son, there are no markers for these five young men who died during the Civil War, and one can only imagine the pain and grief that Pyrene must have borne all those years because none of those sons came home and none of them were properly laid to rest with the rest of that family.

Pyrene (Christian) Connally, 1808-1891 -- thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh.
Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery, Murray County, Georgia

Connally family stones in Mt. Zion Methodist Church Cemetery
Thanks to the kind permission of Don Gresh (Find-a-Grave)
Murray County,Georgia

23 June 2014

#25-52ancestors; Bad Girls

Bad Girls Baffle Researcher

• Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews (ca 1786-1860)
• Sarah (Pierson) Hixson (ca 1813-after 1859)

It must be a head-strong, stubborn or willful gene that runs rampant in my family's DNA because it is rife with naughty daughters who did (or didn't do) things that so displeased their parents, they were cut out of their wills. The reasons are not always spelled out, leaving me to wonder what happened.

For example, on 11 September 1838, Lawrence Bankston of Wilkes County, Georgia, made an alteration to his last will and testament (dated 10 April 1834) “for good reasons.”  [Had only he bothered to explain!]

“Whereas I did convey in said will to my daughter Priscilla Mathews an equal share with other three daughters, which said gift I do hereby absolutely and entirely revoke and instead thereof I do hereby of my good will place my said daughter’s full share as given in my said former will into the possession of my grandsons Griffin Mathews and Isaac Moore for them or either of them to act as agent or trustee [for] daughter aforesaid for her sole benefit during her life and at her death to descend or go to and belong to the heirs of her body.” 

Bankston had four daughters who were married and living at the time. He mentions two beloved sons-in-law — Isaiah T. Irvin and Caleb Sappington — but he does not mention Priscilla’s husband (William Matthews/Mathis) or daughter Elizabeth’s husband (Samuel G. Mosley), which leaves room for lots of speculation. Both of these daughters had moved away from Wilkes County, but that seems unlikely to be the reason for him to have made this codicil. Moreover, he penalizes only Priscilla.

What is most curious is the two named "grandsons" who were to act as agents or trustees for Priscilla (Bankston) Mathews. Griffin Mathews, the eldest son of Priscilla and her husband William Mathews, was born about 1809, so was an adult when his grandfather died in 1844. However, Isaac Moore was not a grandson by blood, but rather the husband of a granddaughter, Sarah Ann Mathews (another child of Priscilla and William Mathews). Sarah Ann was born about 1814.

Why did Lawrence Bankston pick those two to handle the inheritance of his daughter Priscilla? Curiosity is forcing me to go back to the records of that Georgia county and find out what happened to Priscilla's share of her inheritance.

Then there was Sarah (Pierson) Hixson, daughter of Isaac Pierson. In his 1859 will in Preble County, Ohio, Isaac said, “I will and bequeath to my daughter, Sarah and her children 30 acres of land off of the north side of my farm that I now own in Twin Township [Preble County]  . . .”

But in a later modification, he instructs his executor to give to his daughters, Rebecca, Mary, and Sarah, $25 to make them equal with what he had given their only brother. And, he adds “that Sarah is not to have any more after she gets what I have given to her  —  the 30 acres of land and the $25 she is to have from my estate. And she is not to have any more, the balance is to be divided among my other children and their heirs.” 

Sarah is not found with her husband (William Hixson Sr.) and their seven children in the 1850 census and so far I have not found her in 1860 or later enumerations. So that makes me wonder. Oh, Sarah, what on earth did you do to make your Papa so unhappy with you and where did you disappear to and why? Are you hiding in plain sight right under my nose or am I barking up the wrong tree?

#24--52 ancestors: Disappearing Act

#24-52ancestors; Disappearing Act

John Vanderpool (1794-ca1840)

I found him! Genealogists recognize that shriek. You hear it now and then at libraries and archives. However, I was alone in the dawn’s silvery streaks of light when I found him, with only my computer’s blinking cursor to acknowledge my cry of joy.

He evaded me for years, and it took technology and the wonders of the Web to track him down. Somewhere between 1835 and 1840 he disappeared. He being John, the older brother of my ancestor, William Vanderpool. John was the administrator of his father’s estate in Marion County, Indiana, and court records revealed some legal disagreements with a brother-in-law in 1835. John was also appointed guardian of his younger sister, Mary – an idiot (that’s a legal term rather than a sibling’s slur). Then John and his wife, Susannah, and their children disappear – vanish from the face of the earth. Or so it seemed.

Unable to find John and his family in 1840 or later censuses or in any Marion County, Indiana records after 1835, I finally stumbled upon his younger children in Missouri in the 1850 census – living with their older brother. So where was this family during this 15-year span?  What happened to John and Susannah? The trail was an icy-cold; I soon exhausted the few clues I had, including a search for Bounty Land Warrants (BLW). John served in the War of 1812, and under an 1842 act he could have chosen land in areas other than Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois. However the search for a BLW was negative, and I came to one of those dead-ends that most family historians encounter at various stages of research. I put the hunt for John and Susannah on hold and worked on other problems. In genealogy, you never run out of problems to solve. At least I never have.

American land records are invaluable for tracing roaming, restless ancestors across the vast expanse of this huge country. I was well aware of these records, having solved a few genealogical problems with them before. However, without a clue to which county, even which state, John and Susannah might have removed to after they left Marion County, Indiana, there was not much hope of finding him -- not easily or quickly in any case.

The Bureau of Land Management -– Eastern Division established a website in 1998 where records may be searched online for the states whose records it hold. One early morning I decided to explore the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Home Page -- and that is where I found him. In January of 1837 he purchased 80 acres of land in Shelby County, Illinois (for the princely sum of $1.25 an acre). A search in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri land patents at this website had turned up several John Vanderpools. However, armed with the narrow time frame I had, I was able to sift out unlikely candidates and turn my focus on the records of Shelby County, Illinois.

On 13 October 1838, John and Susannah sold this property and disappeared again. At least I've narrowed my search from 15 years to 12. Is that progress or what?