Thursday, June 14, 2012

Albert Moose; COKER et al. v. MOOSE et al.

My great grandfather's brother, Albert was a World War I veteran who was killed while driving his brother Paul's motorcycle by a drunk driver. His widow and child sued the driver and his mother and won. The mother's appeals eventually reached the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict that she was guilty of negligence.

COKER et al. v. MOOSE et al.

No. 25747.


180 Okla. 234; 68 P.2d 504; 1937 Okla. LEXIS 631

February 2, 1937, Decided


PROCEDURAL POSTURE: In a wrongful death action brought by plaintiff survivors against defendants, a mother and a son, the mother appealed from the judgment of the Superior Court, Seminole County (Oklahoma) that awarded damages in favor of the survivors.

OVERVIEW: The survivors were the widow and another relative of the decedent who was killed after being struck by a car that was driven by the son. The evidence revealed that the son was a known alcoholic and that at the time of the accident empty beer bottles were found in his car. The complaint alleged that the mother knew that her son was a careless, reckless, and incompetent driver and that she knew of a number of serious accidents that he had had. However, the mother gave the son free access to an automobile and paid the repair bills after his accidents. A jury awarded damages in favor of the survivors, and the court affirmed. It held that an error in the jury instructions was harmless and could not have prejudiced defendants in view of the evidence in the case. The court further held that there was no evidence that the jury ever was aware that either defendant was protected by insurance. The court reduced the amount of the verdict, however, because it found that the award was excessive based upon the decedent's history of earnings.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the judgment, but it reduced the amount of damages permitted.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wolf men of the Ozark Region in the Civil War

Michael Wolf, the son of a German immigrant, came from Pennsylvania to the Ozark region in the early 1800's and became the progenitor of a large, storied family of the area. He was the father of the famous Major Jacob Wolf of the Wolf House, now the oldest standing structure in Arkansas. Many of his grandsons and great-grandsons served for the Confederacy in the Civil War. This is a "Master List" of sorts of Wolf men who have service records. It is completely possible, and very likely, that there were others than just these, but these are the ones I could find records of. A total of 18 descendants of Michael (with the last name Wolf) can have their service confirmed by records, with another 2 who possibly served but do not appear on official records, 1 who received a pension but has no service record, and 1 who was said to have served in the pension of his son but for whom no service record exists.

You'll notice several of these names are repeated throughout the family, so it was a bit of a chore to determine which records applied to whom, especially when it came to identifying the "J.M. Wolf" of the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, differentiating between the two George W. Wolf's in the 14th, differentiating between the two Michael H. Wolf's, who were both officers, and differentiating Jacob and Jacob H., as well as John, John B., and John H.B. There was also another Charles who could have been (and actually, could be) the Charles of the 27th. This family would be much easier to research if they didn't all have to name their children the same names.

Major Jacob Wolf, son of Michael, had 5 sons and 7 grandsons who served.
1. Joseph Marion Wolf - 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles & 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')***
2. John H.B. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
3. Andrew Jackson Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
4. Jesse Wolf - Fristoe's Missouri Cavalry
5. Martin J. Wolf - Freeman's Missouri Cavalry (No service record or pension, but an affidavit in his son Edwin Wolf's pension by his daughter Jennie Wolf Strickland states he served with Edwin in Freeman's Missouri Cavalry. Edwin received a pension based solely on affidavits, so it is fair to assume the same affidavits can be applied to his father.)
6. James Madison Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
7. Jacob H. Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers') & 1st Consolidated Arkansas Infantry*
8. George W. Wolf (s/o William) - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
9. James M. Wolf (s/o James) - 21st Texas Infantry
10. Asa Wolf (s/o George) - 27th Arkansas Infantry**
11. Jacob M. Wolf (s/o George) - 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles & 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')***
12. Edwin M. Wolf (s/o Martin - Freeman's Missouri Cavalry (No service record, but receives pension from Texas.)

Reverend John Wolf, son of Michael, served as a Chaplain for the 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers'). He took ill while on duty and died in 1863. He had 1 son who served.
1. Michael H. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers') & Fristoe's Missouri Cavalry

Michael Wolf, son of Michael, had 4 sons who served.
1. John B. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
2. George W. Wolf - 14th Arkansas Infantry (Powers')
3. Charles S. Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry
4. Jacob Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry

Lorenzo Dow Wolf, son of Michael, had 2 sons who served.
1. Michael H. Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry
2. Azariah Wolf - 27th Arkansas Infantry

These 2 Wolf's likely served as well, according to family stories, but no service records have been found at this time.
1. Charles Wolf (s/o Lorenzo)
2. Robert L. Wolf (s/o Reverend John) - His son John Q. Wolf's auto-biography mentions his father's service.

Also, according to "Jacob Wolf - The Mansion & The Man" by Bill D. Blevins, John R. Wolf (s/o William, s/o Major Jacob) and George Wolf (s/o Major Jacob) also served in the Confederate Army, but he does not specify where they supposedly served and I did not find service records for them. George would have been fairly old to serve (but clearly not too old, since his uncle John served as a Chaplain), and no record of John R. has been found after the 1850 Census.

*He does not appear on the muster rolls for either of these regiments, but does apply for a Confederate pension as a member of these two units and his pension is approved.

**He does not appear in the muster rolls for the 14th, but he is mentioned in multiple letters of John M. Casey, husband of Major Jacob's daughter Mary, who was a member of the 14th, and Casey's references to him appear to imply he was a member of the unit. Many of the 14th's early muster rolls and records are lost. Casey's letters also reflect Richard "Dick" Hutcheson, son of Nancy I. Wolf who was a daughter of Michael Wolf, was a member of the unit, but he also does appear in the early muster rolls.

***These two men switched units. Apparently Joseph, as a member of the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles, was unsettled by the carnage of Wilson's Creek. He requested a transfer to the 14th and traded places with Jacob, who was a member of the 14th and then mustered into the 1st Arkansas Mounted Rifles. This "substitution" is noted in Jacob's and Joseph's service records with the Mounted Rifles, but is not noted in Joseph's records with the 14th, and Jacob does not appear in the 14th's records at all. This is because of the aforementioned problem of most of the regiment's early records and muster rolls having been lost.

Much of this research was previously put together by Dorothy Boynton, whose information I took, analyzed, added to, and adjusted.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kentucky Eversole Men in the Civil War

All but one of the men with the last name Eversole who fought in Kentucky units during the Civil War can be traced back to Jacob Eversole, whose last documentation is found in the 1810 Census of Clay County, Kentucky. Jacob had 5 sons, and those 5 sons led to his having 17 grandsons and 7 great-grandsons who served in the Civil War. Two them were Confederate soldiers, while the rest were Union. Two of them were killed while serving, while another and his brother were killed on furlough by guerrillas. This is a summary of the Eversole men who fought in the Civil War, which will show what unit(s) they served for and establish their biological relationships with one another. I spent the last several hours going through various service records, pension abstracts, and interviews to make this as complete and accurate a list as possible.

John Eversole, son of Jacob, had 1 son and 3 grandsons who served.
1. Hiram Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. John C. Eversole (s/o Hiram) - 53rd Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. John Eversole (s/o Rolin) - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
4. Irvin Eversole (s/o Absalum) - 13th Kentucky Cavalry (CON)

Peter Eversole, son of Jacob, had 3 sons who served.
1. Theophilus Eversole - 7th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
2. Woolery Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN) - Died sick in Nashville on 9 Oct 1862
3. John Eversole - 49th Kentucky Infantry (UN)

Abraham Eversole, son of Jacob, had 6 sons who served.
1. Joseph W. Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. Abraham Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. James Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
4. John Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Enlisted but never mustered in
5. Elijah Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
6. Lewis Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)

Woolery Eversole, son of Jacob, had 3 sons and 4 grandsons who served.
1. William Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
2. Joseph Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Killed by guerrillas at home on furlough in 1864
3. John C. Eversole - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Killed by guerrillas at home on furlough in 1864
4. William B. Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 6th Kentucky (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
5. Abner Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) & 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
6. Anderson Eversole (s/o Joseph) - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)
7. George Eversole (s/o William) - 14th Kentucky Cavalry (UN)

PLEASE NOTE: Though it is commonly accepted that Joseph Eversole, son of Woolery Eversole and brother of Major John C. Eversole, was killed in the 1864 ambush of his brother's home, it has been incorrectly reported that he is the "Joseph W. Eversole" who was a member of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, the same unit his brother is in. This is not correct. That Joseph Eversole was the son of Abraham Eversole; he survived the war and later drew a pension from his service with the 14th. He appears in the 1890 Veterans' Schedule as a member of the 14th. This Joseph Eversole, son of Woolery, registered for the U.S. Draft in 1863 while the rest of the 14th was serving and did not report any prior U.S. Military Service. Therefore, I have concluded that the Joseph W. Eversole of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, Company L, with the 1st cousin of Major John C. Eversole, and not the Joseph Eversole who was Major John's brother.

Joseph Eversole, son of Jacob, had 4 sons who served.
1. Elihu Eversole - 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
2. Henderson Eversole - 7th Kentucky Infantry (UN)
3. William B. Eversole - 6th Kentucky Cavalry (UN) - Died of typhoid on 30 Apr 1862
4. Wilson Eversole - 5th Kentucky Mounted Infantry (CON)

The only other Eversole who served in Kentucky during the Civil War was not a descendant of Jacob. A Walter Eversole served in the 1st Kentucky Infantry, but he was a native of Ohio.

There is one other Eversole, Thomas Eversole, son of a Woolery G. Eversole, who also served in the 14th Kentucky Cavalry. It is unknown who the father of this Woolery is, though it is clearly one of the 5 sons of Jacob. It is most likely John Eversole, as John has 2 sons in the age range of this Woolery who are unaccounted for. In the1830 Census, he has 1 son 10-14 (Rolin), 2 sons 5-9 (neither have been identified), and one son under 5 (Hiram). In the 1840 Census, he has 2 sons 15-19 (neither identified), 1 son 10-14 (Hiram), and 1 boy 5-9 (this might be a son, but is more likely his grandson, Irvin son of Absalum, who was deceased at this time). The unidentified boys in both of these censuses are in just the right age range to be this Woolery G. Eversole (born about 1825). He is living next to Joseph Eversole, son of Jacob and brother of John, in the 1850 Census, but all of Joseph's sons are accounted for in each census.

On a somewhat-related note, I found a picture of my 4th great uncle, the aforementioned Henderson Eversole, online yesterday. A great-granddaughter of his posted it.

The French-Eversole War

The French-Eversole War was one of several violent blood feuds that took place in eastern Kentucky throughout the last half of the 19th Century. This particular feud took place in Perry County, KY. My connection is that the father of Joseph C. Eversole (Major John C. Eversole), the leader of the Eversole clan in the conflict until his murder, was a first cousin of my great great grandfather, Robert Eversole (who was born in Perry County, and lived in the general area for years before moving to Arkansas a few years before the war began). Major John's father, Woolery, and Robert's father, Joseph, were brothers, both sons of Jacob Eversole and Mary Kessler. So although I haven't found any direct ancestors that have been documented as being directly involved with the fued, family lore indicates that some were involved to some minor extent, and many of their cousins were heavily involved. Robert's older brother, Henderson, and several of Henderon's sons lived in Perry County throughout the conflcit, so they could have been involved in any of the skirmishes that included dozens of nameless Eversole loyalists. The many courthouse fires that have been experienced in Perry and its surrounding counties have destroyed much of the information which could have indicated who exactly was involved with the feud.

What one needs to understand is that these Kentucky feuds were, for the most part, virtually nothing like the stereotypes accompanying the folklore of Kentucky family feuds, perpetuated in large part thanks to one of the more tame but infamous fueds, the Hatfield-McCoy Feud. Thanks to sensationalizing by the newspapers of the time, many began to associate Kentucky feuds with 3-toothed mem lugging their shotgun in one arm and their jug of moonshine in the other, slurring their words and shooting anyone who could read a book; unfortunately, those stereotypes have continued to the present day, but they hold little basis in fact. Most of the leaders of the clans involved were well-educated businessman, sometimes even politicians. The leaders in the French-Eversole War were both lawyers and succesful business-owners, and even the brutal murderer, "Bad" Tom Smith was a well-read poet and songwriter. And these feuds did not begin because one man gave another man's wife a funny look or one stole another man's prized goat; in the case of the French-Eversole Feud, it began because of one man's corrupt greed in the county's timber industry, and another standing up to him.

I've collected several summaries of the feud, including full chapters dedicated to the conflict in John Ed Pearce's Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky (1994) and Kentucky's Famous Feuds and Tragedies by Charles G. Mutzenberg (1917). The following are excerpts from a summary included in Clay County Family Roots and Beyond, Vol. 5 A: Jacob and Mary Eversole compiled by James E. Welch Sr; it was originally written by Mary Brewer as part of her book Rugged Trails To Appalachia:

"Hazard, Kentucky became the center of the French-Eversole Feud, which raged from 1887 to 1894. It began between two friends, Joseph C. Eversole and Fulton French, both able lawyers and merchants.

The quarrel began over a disagreement the two men had concerning land lease transactions. Companies outside Perry County and Leslie County were buying timber in Perry County, and Mr. French represented one of the companies. Mr. Eversole thought the people were being underpaid for their timber and land. Every time the interested parties held a meeting, the quarreling became more intense and feelings rose to a high pitch.

A clerk, who worked in Mr. French's store, became jealous of Mr. French over a woman and saw the quarrel as a means to get rid of his rival. He sought out Mr. Eversole and told him that Mr. French had hired an assassin to kill him. Mr. Eversole doubted this and asked the clerk to prepare an affadavit affirming what he had told him. This, the clerk skillfully rigged and presented to him. Believing his life to be in jeopardy, Mr. Eversole began recruiting and arming friends and relatives. Mr. French saw the armed gathering and also recurited and armed forces, some because of kinship or friendship and others for hire."

The aforementioned summary of how the feud began seems to be fairly well-agreed upon across the board. After this point, however, there are many different variations of what happened concerning the first victim of the feud, and the various retaliations that followed up. In an attempt to keep this brief, however, I'm going to skip ahead to the stories regarding Joseph Eversole's murder, and several years later, Fulton French's murder.

The following is an excerpt from The Hanging of "Bad Tom" Smith and the Events Leading to His Hanging Including a Brief Account of the French and Eversole Feud by Charles Hayes (1969). The 
event occurred on April 15th, 1888 in the valley of Big Creek in Perry County. The only variable of this story that seems to be disagreed on is whether or not Judge Josiah Combs, father-in-law of Joseph Eversole and uncle of Nic Combs, was also present at the time of the assassination. (Pearce and Mutzenburg contend that he was riding with Eversole and Nic Combs; Brewer and Hayes make no mention of his presence) Beyond this factor, the events summarized here are fairly well-agreed upon.

"In 1888, another more indescribable murder occurred. Again Smith was the principal. However, on
this job he had three members of the French Gang to aid him in carrying out a double killing. The
gang had tracked Joe Eversole for several days trying to get within bullet range, but always found
Eversole well protected. However, since Eversole was unaware that four manhounds were on his
trail, his usual carefulness slipped one bright summer morning. He and young Nicholas Combs [age 21] were riding from the Eversole stronghold into Hazard this fair morning when sharp sounds hushed the birds' songs. 

As the bullets sunk into their intended targets, both men slumped to the ground. At once Smith jumped from his ambush hiding place and began searching the dead body of Eversole. He took everything from the dead man's pockets worth having and turned to search young Combs' body. However, when he began searching the pockets of the young man's coat, Combs regained consciousness and recognized Tom Smith. Very weakly he asked Smith why he had shot him since the
two were somewhat distant friends? Smith answered by shooting the boy through the head killing
him instantly. Even his comrades in crime turned away from this foul deed. However, Smith was
heard to say in an undertone that he could not afford to leave any living witnesses."

The following is an excerpt from Days of Darkness by John Ed Pearce summarizing Fulton French's 
final end:

"One last episode remained to be played out as a finale to the French-Eversole war. Fult French, though wealthy and a fairly prominent attorney, feared that he might still have enemies and took to wearing a bullet-proof vest. Conscience is a merciless master, and he was still wearing it in the winter of 1913 when, in the entry hall of a boarding house in Elkatawa, he ran into Susan Eversole [wife of Joseph Eversole, daughter of Josiah Combs], the death of whose husband and father he had probably ordered. Mrs. Eversole was still in black, as was the custom of the time for widows, and was accompanied by her son Harry, a slender, one-handed man (he had shot himself in the hand, necessitating amputation). Startled, Susan stumbled slightly. "Good morning, Mrs. Eversole," he said and put out his hand. Susan stared, then turned her back on him. French turned to leave, but Harry pulled a pistol, and French bolted out the front door and jumped a low fence surrounding the yard. As he did, Harry shot him, hitting him just below the vest, apparently puncturing his liver or spleen. Harry's second shot missed, and French kept running. Since the shot had not killed French, Harry could not be tried for murder, so the judge fined him $75 for disturbing the peace. Susan paid the fine.

But in the strange if slow way in which the mills of justice sometimes grind, Fulton French died of the wound more than a year later."

For more information on this feuds and others, I recommend both Pearce's and Mutzenberg's books. There are many more fascinating events that occurred during the feud, especially the Battle of Hazard.

Originally written by Nathan Vaughan Marks 22 Nov 2011; revised 8 May 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Captain Archibald Dodson Napier

Archibald Dodson Napier, who went by Dodson, was a Captain in the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry (Union) during the Civil War. Prior to that, he was Captain of the Arkansas 15th Militia of Pope County, which disbanded at the beginning of the war. He became a 1st Lieutenant in the 3rd Arkansas, and was later promoted to Captain. He was dismissed from duty on October 15th, 1864. He became sheriff of Pope County following the war and was killed as a result of a "militia war" that began in the county between those of Union loyalty and those of Confederate loyalty. I spent much of today collecting as many references to Dodson as I could find in preparation of my biographical sketch of him for my book.

Dodson was a son of Archibald Hubbard Napier and Jane Carter. I descend from his sister, Amanda Smith Napier, who married Stephen Clinton Vaughan. Dodson married one of Stephen's sisters, and also fathered children with another one of his sisters. I am awaiting copies of his pension files which I'm certain will have some interesting information. Until then, I am going to share here all the mentions I could find of him online.

Report of Maj. gen. Frederick Steele, U.S. Army, commanding the Department of Arkansas.
Headquarters Department of Arkansas, Etc., Little Rock, Ark., August 15, 1864
Record of military operations in the Department of Arkansas for the month of July, 1864:
...29th, Captain Napier, Third Arkansas Cavalry, returned from scout to Greenbrier, having killed the rebel Captain Birr near Red River.

September 2, 1864 - Skirmish near Quitman, Ark.
Report of Col. Abraham H. Ryan, Third Arkansas Cavalry (Union)
Lewisburg, September 7, 1864--7 p.m.
Detachment of forty men with ammunition for Shelby crossed at Dardanelle on Monday last. On the 2d instant Captain Napier and Lieutenant Carr had a skirmish with Colonel Witt, eight miles from Quitman, killed 7, and captured Captain Livingston and 4 men of Witt's command.

Both of these can be found in the "Congressional Serial Set" here:

Dodson is mentioned a couple of times on the website, which summarizes reports from the Red River Campaign. One entry mentions his skirmish with Witt, and later the dismissal of Captain Herring; it does not mention the fact that Dodson and multiple other officers were dismissed the same day. Another entry mentions a scouting report from Dodson.

The entry referring to Herring's dismissal alludes to the possibility that it was because of a skirmish that occurred on September 7th, 1864. The details given of said skirmish say:

"On Wednesday, September 7, 1864, General Price and his command and the wagon train crossed the Arkansas, completing this phase of the operation, and they moved to meet Shelby. Shelby was just ordering his scattered command to converge on Pocahontas, Arkansas, where they would join Price, and move towards St. Louis.
General Steele (USA) in Little Rock was dependent on his cavalry. He had sent a dispatch to Major General Canby that he had some 600 cavalry looking for Price. This would have been most of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry. Steele continued to build up Little Rock. He also makes the statement that the general impression is that Price "intends making a raid into Missouri". He speaks of his defenses as being secure, but no mention of any attempt to engage Price.
In the meantime at Lewisburg things are happening rapidly. Col. Ryan sends dispatches that he has started four flat boats for Little Rock and one to Cadron Ferry, taking out all the government stores there. In a later dispatch he asks for any information about Shelby. In the afternoon the 2nd Arkansas Infantry left Lewisburg on a forced march to Little Rock. Years later John D. Pruitt, in filing for a pension, would state that his disability was due to a heat stroke suffered during the forced march and retreat from Lewisburg, September 7, 1864.
Sometime during the late afternoon or evening of September 7, 1864, Lt. Col. Fuller with 130 men, evidently F and G Companies of the 3rd Arkansas Cavalry, met Price's army somewhere on the Dover to Springfield Road, as they were returning to Lewisburg. A sharp skirmish ensued and from the evidence it appears that F Company was cut off from the rest of the unit. The survivors of the skirmish did not reach Lewisburg until next day when col. Ryan sent two dispatches, which are crucial to our history:
Lewisburg, September 8, 1864 - 7.00 PM
Lt. Col. Fuller, with a scout of 130 men, met Cabell in cavalry and infantry force twenty miles from here, on Springfield and Dover Road, en route for this place. Fuller was surrounded, but cut his way out; Lieutenants Wishard, Carr and Greene, and 30 men missing. Have sent word to Col. Stephenson to start the train for Little Rock immediately. Have sent courier after the other scouting parties. I have everything in readiness to advance or retreat as soon as the scouts get in.
Col., Commanding
Almost 2 hours later Col. Ryan sent another dispatch:
Lewisburg, Sept. 8, 1864, - 8.40 P.M.
Lts. Carr, Wishard and Greene have come in, Greene slightly wounded. I do not think our loss will exceed 15 killed, wounded and missing. There are three brigades of the enemy- Dockery's, Cabell's and I think Fagan's. I presume the enemy will move to Springfield and try and cut us off from the Cadron, Our horses are pretty well used up; am giving them a few hours. If there are any horses to spare in Little Rock, I trust we can get some, as we need them badly.
Col. Commanding
Brig. Gen. E.A. Carr

Lt. Wishard was Second-in-Command of F Company, and may have commanded the Company that fateful day. As will be later shown, there were problems with Captain Herring. There is no other record of the skirmish, and no detailed report of it, save that on September 9, 1864, General Steele (USA) at Little Rock sent a dispatch to Major General Canby in which he states "The rebel cavalry, or at least three brigades of them have crossed at Dardanelle. Price and Fagan are both present with this command. Cabell's brigade and some dismounted men were sent to attack Lewisburg. A scouting party under Lt. Col. Fuller of the Third Arkansas Cavalry, fell in with them and had a skirmish."
No muster roll of F Company would be taken until October 31, 1864, and regimental papers say nothing about the skirmish. Jim Nunnally and many other soldiers went home, and were charged with desertion. There was a great deal of confusion in the skirmish. Cpl. Nathaniel Page and Sgt. Thomas M. Jones were listed as killed in battle. Page was later to return -much later. On a muster roll dated February 28, 1865, he is listed as "returned to Company February 1. 1865, incorrectly reported killed". Nothing further was heard of Sgt. Jones, although on the muster roll his status was changed from "killed in battle" to "missing after battle".
The only report of the battle and it's aftermath came from what Nunnally's wife reported he told her. She told the family that the men were surrounded and cut off and told to scatter and rejoin the Company when they could. No doubt many went home, to check on their families as Prices army had just moved through Yell County. Many were later to return to the Company. Jim Nunnally would never have the chance."

 If the results of this skirmish is what led to Captain Herring's dismissal, it is possible that this was the reason for Dodson's dismissal as well. Herring's charges were "neglect of duty and inefficiency". Dodson in charge of Company I, and [Bright W.] Herring of Company F. Captains James F. Clear (Company D), Thomas Boles (Company E), and James H. Reynolds (Company G) were all dismissed the same day, October 15th, 1864. Another Captain, Anthony Hinkle of Company L, was dismissed a week before, on October 7th. It seems likely that all of these dismissals are closely related, but I have not been able to determine the precise reason.

An account of a man named James Bratton, a member of the 3rd Arkansas, was shared here:

"Napier found easy recruiting in Searcy County, according to James Bratton, "Myself, John Bratton and France Bratton were all conscripted into the Confederate Army (Captain Sam Leslie's Co. F, 32nd Arkansas Infantry), and was with the Army until after the Prairie Grove Battle. Ran away and came home and worked in a saltpetre works on Buffalo and Big Creek, until in December, 1863, when Capt. Naypner [sic Napier], out recruiting for the Union Army, came into the cave, and I and John and France went out with him and stayed with the Federal Army until we were discharged."

A comment from a user on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas website provided the first mention of Dodson's brother, Isaac, also dying during the Militia War. 

"Grandmother told me that Isaac C. Napier, brother of Archibald Dodson Napier, fought with Archibald in Co. H, 15th Ark. Militia, and he, too, was killed the same year,1865, by “bushwhackers” while plowing a field at home.
She said there was a big rock in Pope County that had blood stains of a Civil War soldier, where he fell. She saw it as a little girl and said that it was well known by all that saw it. She also said that all the rain that came never washed the stain away."

I've also found Dodson referenced in several books, most of which are brief mentions of him being the first victim of the Militia War. I am still trying to find evidence of Isaac being a victim of the "war" as well, but it seems possible based on the fact he was deceased by the time his wife re-married in January of 1869.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gardner, Polk, and Asa Holmes

Tonight I found an 86th man to add to my Civil War grandfather/uncle list: James Polk Holmes. Earlier today, I happened to receive some more information on his brother, Gardner Holmes, as well.

I was organizing my data on Absalom "Asa" Holmes, my 4th great grandfather, and when I put together my information on his son, James, I found him linked to a Confederate Pension application. According to the application, he was a member of McGehee's Arkansas Cavalry (CON), and I did find one service record for him as a part of that unit, which was a muster roll of his parole at the end of the war.

Also, earlier today I received a copy of the History of the Thirty-first Arkansas Confederate Infantry by Ronald R. Bass, which I ordered through Arkansas Research. It made 2 mentions of Gardner ("Garner") Holmes, another son of Asa Holmes, who died from wounds received at the Battle of Richmond (KY). It goes into some detail about the battle and lists Gardner among casualties.

Finally, while doing some random Googling a few nights ago, I came across what was labelled as a picture of Absalom "Asa" Holmes. I have tried to reach the website's owner to receive verification of its authenticity, but I haven't heard anything back. I will post it below.

Michael Hutcheson in the "History of the Twenty-Seventh Arkansas Confederate Infantry"

Last week I ordered a copy of Silas C. Turnbo's History of the Twenty-Seventh Arkansas Confederate Infantry which was edited by Desmond Walls Allen, who has compiled several other books on Arkansas history; you can find his work at Turnbo was a member of the 27th Arkansas Infantry, and his history of the regiment is made up of dozens of stories about his experiences while a member of the 27th. Turnbo wrote several books in his lifetime concerning his life's experiences in the Arkansas Ozark region, all of which can be found at Allen's aforementioned website.

My 4th great uncle, Michael M. Hutcheson, son of Richard C. Hutcheson and Nancy I. Wolf, was a 1st Lieutenant in the 27th. His service records indicate he was in Companies A and H, but when Turnbo mentions him in one of his stories, he states that he was of Company I. Hutcheson's portrayal in Turnbo's story does not come off as very flattering. However, it's clear there is a significant amount of bias on Turnbo's part in regards to his thoughts on Hutcheson's character. I will share the excerpt and then share my thoughts on it.

An excerpt from the chapter "A Wearisome March and Sore Feet", pgs. 59-60:

"Some of the men's feet were made so sore by bad fitting old shoes that they were compelled to fall out of ranks and sit down, but when the rear guard came along, these men were forced to travel on. I remember on one occasion during that day, my feet became so sore that I could hardly walk and my company officers gave me permission to stop and rest my feet awhile. I did so and pulled off my shoes and socks and found my feet were badly blistered. Not very long after the rear guard came along in charge of Lieutenant Hutchison of company I. This man was of an overbearing nature and one of the few of Shaler's pets and would do almost anything to please him, and that day when he came along with the guard, he ordered me to get up and go on. I showed him my sore feet, but he had no sympathy for me and ordered the guards to bayonet me if I refused to get up and start on and I was compelled to go along barefooted until I caught up with my company. I told my officers how it was and Captain Fred Woods gave me a written pass to remain behind the army and catch up with it when I could, and the renowned Lieutenant Hutchison dare not order his men to abuse me again.

This was one of the cases I could forgive, but never forget. Some months after this, while Hutchison was in charge of the rear guard again, he tried this on a bunch of tired soldiers who had dropped out of ranks and were lying down by the roadside. When the officer came along with the guard, he ordered his men to prod them with their bayonets if they did not get up and march along with them. This greatly angered them and they informed him if he dared to carry out his order he would sure regret it and he went on without molesting them any more."

I think it needs to be noted, my own bias as well as Turnbo's aside, that yes, it was perhaps overly harsh and rash of Hutcheson to order that the soldiers be poked and prodded by bayonets if they did not continue to march. But to be fair, dropping out because of sore feet was a popular way for a soldier to desert or become captured. Some would wait until the unit was out of sight and them leave for home, or if the unit is being pursued, he would often get captured this way. Hutcheson was technically doing his duty by making sure that the men stayed with their command. If the unit was in the process of marching, then all the men within that unit were under orders to march, and as an officer, it was Hutcheson's job to make sure his subordinates followed their orders. It's pretty plain and simple. So while it's probably Turnbo's description of Hutcheson as being "overbearing" is accurate, referring to him as one of Shaler's "pets" seems to be a defensive reaction on his part from being annoyed by Hutcheson's confrontation with him.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Andrew Baker's Civil War Service

So my 4th great grandfather, Andrew Baker, was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Arkansas 14th Infantry during the Civil War. He was discharged May 23rd, 1862 when the regiment was re-organized. As far as I could find for the longest time, that was the end of his documented service. However, two biographical sketches of Andrew's son Felix, including one put together while Andrew was still alive, indicated that Andrew's service did not end after his discharge from the 14th.

In Godspeed Brothers' Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region (1894), Felix's biography, which was made when Andrew was still alive, claimed that Andrew took part in the Battle of Port Hudson. I found a comprehensive list of all the units stationed at Port Hudson through the duration of the war here: The 14th Arkansas is listed, as it participated in the siege and two engagements at Port Hudson and then surrendered and disbanded there, but Andrew was no long in the unit at that time, so if he was really there as the biography states, then he must have been a part of one of the other units listed. Unfortunately, in searching their rosters, I found no one that matched up with Andrew.

A biography in Fay Hempstead's Historical Review of Arkansas: Its Commerce, Industry, and Modern Affairs, Volume III (1911) goes into even greater detail about Andrew's service. "He was in General Price's army and went on the raid into Missouri, [and] subsequently was detailed to raise a company in Newton County [AR] in support of the losing cause." So after having spent my time mostly scouring Arkansas units for a trace of Andrew, I decided to look at Missouri units a little closer. I had looked through them before briefly, but didn't delve into them much because of my assumption that since he was an officer in the 14th, he likely would be an officer in his new unit. That clearly wasn't a good idea, because once I started looking closely at the Andrew Baker's in Missouri's Civil War service records, I finally found what I was looking for.

I found a service record for a Private Andrew Baker in Jackman's Missouri Cavalry. The only record was a Muster and Descriptive Roll of soldiers paroled at Jacksonport, Arkansas on June 5th, 1865. According to the roll, Andrew Baker was 46 years old, with blue eyes, grey hair, and fair complexion. He was 5'9", a North Carolina native, and enrolled for duty in Searcy County, Arkansas. Well, "my" Andrew's headstone says he was born August 9th, 1820, which based on that would mean in June of 1865 he would be two months shy of 45 years old. However, in July of 1901 when he was re-applying for his Confederate Pension, he said he was 81 years old, which based on his August 9th birth-date would put his year of birth at 1819. Based on that, he would have been two months shy of 46 years old in June of 1865. There are 3 other facts that contribute to my determination that this is indeed "my" Andrew who is a part Jackman's Cavalry.

1. He enlisted in Searcy County, which is adjacent to Newton County where "my" Andrew lived.
2. He was born in North Carolina, just as "my" Andrew Baker was born in North Carolina.
3. I went through all of the 1860 Census for Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas for good measure and could not find another Andrew Baker who fit this description other than "my" Andrew. There was an Andrew Baker born about 1820 living in Linn County, Missouri, but he was born in Kentucky. There was another Andrew Baker born about 1821 living in McDonald County, Missouri, but he was born in Tennessee. And another Andrew Baker born about 1823 living in Nacogdoches County, Texas, but he was born in Tennessee. None of those 3 counties are very near Searcy County, with McDonald County being the closest. And in the entire state of Arkansas for 1860, there were no other Andrew Baker's besides "mine" who were even close to the age of 46. And finally, "my" Andrew Baker was the only Andrew Baker in that aforementioned tri-state area who was born in North Carolina.

So all together, I am thoroughly convinced that this the Andrew Baker in Jackman's Missouri Cavalry is the same Andrew Baker found in the Arkansas 14th Infantry. I've become even more convinced while reading up on Colonel Sidney D. Jackman, to whom the unit belonged. According to his well-sourced Wikipedia page (, Jackman and his cavalry fought under General Sterling Price, and took part in Price's Raid, which lines up well with Hempstead's description of Andrew's Civil War exploits. So at this point, it would take an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary to convince me that the Andrew Baker of Jackman's Missouri Cavalry is not "my" Andrew Baker, and I am very glad to have found another piece in the puzzle of Andrew's life.

4 More New Civil War Uncles + It's A Small World

Last night, I found four more uncles with Civil War service records, which brings my total to 85 uncles and grandfathers who served in some capacity during the Civil War. They are:

Benjamin Holmes - Served in the 10th Arkansas Cavalry - He was the son of William N. Holmes and Sally Donelson. He was the brother of my 4th great grandfather, Absalom "Asa" Holmes.

*Welcome Holmes - Served in Company H of the 15th Arkansas Militia - He was the son of William N. Holmes and Sally Donelson. He was the brother of my 4th great grandfather, Absalom "Asa" Holmes.

John Moose - Served in North Carolina 4th Senior Reserves - He was the son of Jacob Moose Jr. and Barbary Barnhardt, and the brother of my 4th great grandfather, Levi Lawson Moose.

Jacob W Moose - Served in North Carolina 57th Infantry - He was the son of Jacob Moose Jr. and Barbary Barnhardt, and the brother of my 4th great grandfather, Levi Lawson Moose.

*The reason this one is so interesting is because I already had 1 grandfather and 3 uncles who served in Company H of the 15th Arkansas Militia (Stephen C. and William R. Vaughan and Archibald D. and Isaac C. Napier). The 15th militia was made up of all men from Pope County, Arkansas, with each company formed by the different parts of the county in which the men lived. It turns out Welcome Holmes (list as "Wm." in his service record, which has been understandably mistakenly transcribed as William) is just a couple of pages away from Stephen C. Vaughan in the 1860 Census.

Why is this is so cool? Because 95 years after this Census was taken in Pope County, Arkansas, the great grandson of Stephen C. Vaughan, Donald Gene Vaughan, and the 3rd great niece of William Holmes, Roberta Moose, were married in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1955. They were my grandparents. Small world, eh?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Family of Jesse Radford of Kentucky and Arkansas

Jesse Radford was born July 25th, 1842 in Clay County, Kentucky to Nathaniel Radford and his wife. He married first Grace "Gracy" Holland, daughter of Richard Holland and Margaret Hensley, on 26 Jan 1865 in Clay County, Kentucky. In the 1870 Census, you can find him in Clay County with his wife, Gracy, 4 children, and a Mary J. Bowling. This Mary J. Bowling is his niece by marriage, as she is the daughter of James Bowling and Gracy's sister Delilah Radford. Sometime around this time, Mary became Jesse's mistress. (Please note that her name was not Mary Jane "Mahala" Bowling, nor did her name ever have "Mahala" in it. You can find one of my earlier blogs on this subject here: They had several children together, while Jesse was simultaneously having children with his wife, Gracy. It's clear Jesse's wife and children knew full and well that he was having children with Mary, but why Gracy seemingly consented to this relationship, we may never know.

In about 1880, Jesse's mistress, Mary, married her 1st cousin, Solomon Hensley, who was a son of Benjamin Hensley and Margaret Holland, sister of Gracy and Delilah; they didn't go far though, as in the 1880 Census they are shown just 2 households away from Jesse's household, which included all but one of the children he and Mary had had together. Interestingly, despite her marriage to Hensley, it appears Mary may have continued to bear Jesse's children; it appears she gave birth to Mahala shortly before or after her marriage to Solomon, and then gave birth to Clark a few months later. However, if we are to presume that her affair with Jesse ended when she married Solomon, then the most likely course of events would be that she gave birth to Mahala, became pregnant with Clark, and then married Solomon and gave birth after her marriage. No children born between Mary Jane and Hensley have been identified. Around 1883, Jesse and his family moved to the Boston Mountains region of northwest Arkansas. It appears that Solomon and Mary came along to Arkansas with them, as well as much of the Holland clan, including Gracy's siblings Spencer, Richard, Nancy, Henderson, and David.

Jesse served as a Private in the 8th Kentucky Infantry (UN) during the Civil War, so a lot of information about what happened after they moved to Arkansas can be found in his large pension file. Grace died in late November or early December of 1886; different witnesses gave different approximate dates within the same range. Multiple witnesses gave the date as December 2nd, so that's the date I have down in my records. She was most likely buried in the Radford-Freewill Cemetery in Rad Star, Madison County, Arkansas, where Jesse was buried 30 years later, and which is located on Jesse's original homestead. According to descendants of Mary Jane Bowling, she apparently died about 1888 in Madison County, and is buried in the Radford-Freewill Cemetery, but no hard documentation has been found to corroborate this. However, it is most likely correct, as her husband Solomon married one of she and Jesse's daughters, Serena, in 1889 (according to the 1900 Census).

On March 3rd, 1887, just 4 months after Grace's death, Jesse married Sarah "Sally" Eversole, daughter of Joseph Eversole and Lucy Huff. She was the sister of his daughter Eliza's husband, Robert Eversole. According to the pension file, she and Jesse had 4 children together, one of whom died in infancy. Jesse received a pension for a number of years. He passed away on June 12th, 1917 in Boston Township, Madison County, and is buried in Radford's Freewill Cemetery with a Union headstone. Sally then applied for a Widow's pension, which she acquired only after providing a ton of information about her life, which can be found in Jesse's pension file.

Now we get to the most complicated question about Jesse Radford: How many children did he have? Well, it's hard to say, and we will probably never have a complete, perfect list of children for him between his two wives and his mistress, but I am going to attempt to compile as complete a list as possible. I found a post made over 10 years ago by a descendant of Jesse's daughter Polly, which claimed Jesse had 23 children. ( Then I acquired a book put together by Robert L. Sims entitled Holland-Hollon-Hollen-Hollan - A Compilation of Many of the Descendants of Richard Holland Born 1800 in North Carolina and Elizabeth Margaret Peggy Hensley Born 1802 in North Carolina. He cites a researcher named Sheryl Holland who claimed that "Jesse had 24 children with Gracey and Mary Jane." Now I don't know if she meant to say "and Sally" or if this total is meant to exclude the 4 children he had with Sally Eversole, but if I had to make a solid bet, it would be that she meant he had 24 children total between his two wives and his mistress.

On April 11th, 1915 as a part of his pension application, Jesse himself made out a list of what should have been ALL of his children, living or dead. However, he only included his "legitimate" children, aka the children he fathered with either Grace Holland or Sally Eversole. He does not list any of his illegitimate children. On top of that, he appears to have missed a couple of his legitimate children as well who died young, at least according to Census records. However, that could simply be on account that by that time he was an old man and possibly couldn't remember the names of his many children, especially the ones who died as infants.

So after sorting through Jesse's list of children from his pension, all of Jesse's and Mary Jane's Census records, Sims's book, and my great grandmother's family bible [henceforth referred to as "Marks Bible"] in which she named as many of her aunts and uncles as she could by memory (with what appears to be one error), I have put together a list of what appears to be 24 different children that Jesse fathered. I will list them all here in this format:

No. - Name - Approximate Year of Birth - Mother - Sources/Notes

The list Jesse made himself included notes whether each child he listed was living or dead as of April 11th, 1915, so if they were on Jesse's list, I will include a note as to whether they were living at the time Jesse made his list. (Please note that Margaret's, Davy's, and Fanny's approximate years of birth are complete guesses based only on their places on Jesse's list, which he appears to have attempted to make chronological, but was off in a couple of places.)

[This list was amended in Dec. 2016 to reflect updated information; the list of children was reduced from 25 to 24.]

1. Sally Radford - 1865 - Grace Holland - 1870 Census, 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Dead)
2. Margaret Radford - 1866 - Grace Holland - Jesse's list (Dead)
3. Eliza Radford - 1867 - Grace Holland - 1870 Census, 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Living). In the 1870 Census, appears to be listed as "Malissey Ann" or "Malisseyann", indicating that "Eliza" may have been a shortening of "Melissa" or "Meliza". Her father calls her "Lizy". In adulthood, she gave her year of birth as 1866, but unless she was a twin to Margaret, she was more likely born in 1867. The other possibility is that Sally was born 9 months after January 1865 (September, 1865), and Margaret was born less than 9 months later as a stillbirth, and then Eliza was born December, 1866. But I don't think Jesse would have listed Margaret as one of his children if she had been stillborn, so it is most likely that Sally was born 1865, Margaret in 1866, and Eliza in 1867.
4. Nancy Radford - 1869 - Grace Holland - 1870 Census, 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Living)
5. Nathaniel Radford - 1870 - Grace Holland - 1870 Census, 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's List (Living)
6. Serena Bowling Radford - 1871 - Mary Bowling - 1880 Census
7. Rebecca Radford - 1872 - Grace Holland - 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Dead)
8. Polly Radford - 1874 - Grace Holland - 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Living)
9. Elizabeth Bowling Radford - 1874 - Mary Bowling - She is in Mary's household in 1880 Census; her birth record does not list father. She is born during the same timeframe as Mary's other children, so there is no reason to doubt she is Jesse's child as her siblings are. What became of her is unknown.
10. Dillard Radford - 1875 - Grace Holland - 1880 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Living)
11. Wright Bowling Radford - 1876 - Mary Bowling - 1880 Census
12. Henry B. Radford - 1877 - Grace Holland - 1880 Census, Marks bible, Jesse's list (Living). Jesse lists him as living, but I have not found any information on him anywhere after the 1880 Census. Sims's book and some online trees say he married a woman named "Carrie", but the Henry B. Radford who married a "Carrie" and was the same age as our Henry and who was from Kentucky was a black man, as proven by multiple census records.
13. Mary Ellen Bowling Radford - 1878 - 1880 Census, Marks Bible. Her mother being Mary Boling conflicts with many genealogies who give her as Grace's daughter, but I base this assertion on Jesse not naming Mary as his legitimate child in his pension. I know she was listed as Mary E. Radford in the 1880 Census, indicating she was legitimate while the other illegitimate childrens' surnames were Bowling, but Serena is listed as a Radford, but she was a Boling, and Mahala and Sallie are listed as a Bowling, even though they were Grace's children. Sally calls her "Mary Ellen Burns" [her married surname] in Jesse's pension records, giving us her middle name.
14. Henderson Bowling Radford - 1878 - Mary Bowling - 1880 Census
15. Mahalia "Haley" "Halia" "Hallie" Radford - 1880 - Grace Holland - Jesse's list (Dead), 1880 Census. She is living with Eliza in the 1910 Census and listed as her husband Robert's sister-in-law. What's interesting here is that she is listed as a Bowling in the 1880 Census, but appears to be listed as a legitimate child in Jesse's pension, unlike Clark, Serena, Mary, and the others. I believe she must have been legitimate. It is also interesting that in Jesse's list he lists her as dead, but in Tom's obituary in 1943, she is listed as a surviving sibling.
16. Eliga Radford - 1881 - Grace Holland - 1900 Census, 1910 Census, Jesse's list (Living).
17. Clark Bowling Radford - 1881 - Mary Bowling - Marks Bible
18. Syrus Radford - 1883 - Grace Holland - 1900 Census, Marks Bible, Jesse's list (Living)
19. Thomas Radford - 1885 - Grace Holland - 1900 Census, Jesse's list (Living)
20. Davy Radford - 1886 - Grace Holland - Jesse's list (Dead)
21. James Robert - 1887 - Sally Eversole - 1900 Census, Jesse's list (Living)
22. Hannah Elizabeth - 1891 - Sally Eversole - 1900 Census, 1910 Census, Jesse's list (Living)
23. Fanny - 1892 - Sally Eversole - Jesse's list (Dead)
24. John Jackson - 1894 - Sally Eversole - 1900 Census, 1910 Census, Jesse's list (Living)

If anyone has any additional information for me, please contact me.

T.J. Barnett/J.L. Combs murder trial

I had an uncle whose given name was Thomas J. Barnett. He was the son of Jackson Barnett and Lavicia Back. I descend from Jackson and his second wife, Phoebe Napier, daughter of Patrick P. Napier and Rhoda Campbell, whose son Andrew Jackson Barnett is my 2nd great grandfather.

Apparently, Thomas died without children and some of his personal effects passed down to my great grandmother, Leola Marie Barnett Marks. These included the original copies of his discharge papers after serving in the Spanish-American War, and also a handwritten account of his own personal testimony about what happened when he shot and killed W.A. Matthews in 1923 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His testimony says that he was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison, but he took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, where the charges were dismissed.

Now I received this handwritten testimony and found it fascinating. I wanted to do more research on the case, so first I checked LexisNexis, an enormous online database of court cases. I figured if the case really went to the Arkansas Supreme Court, the database would have some record of it. Well, I searched and searched and couldn't find anything. So then I contacted the Garland County Law Library in Hot Springs, Arkansas. They looked and couldn't find any cases involving a T.J. Barnett or any Barnett's at all in the time frame I'd given them. Luckily, the woman I spoke to decided to look in the newspaper archives, and found the murder. But it said that the murder had been committed by a man named "J.L. Combs". I had never heard this name, and didn't know what to think. I knew my uncle's name was Thomas J. Barnett and he was claiming he killed W.A. Matthews, and then here's the newspaper saying that J.L. Combs killed W.A. Matthews. So I went back to LexisNexis and was finally able to find the case searching with "Combs" instead of "Barnett". What I found was very interesting.

"The appellant, in answer to question, stated on cross-examination, that, in Breathitt County, Kentucky, where he was born, his mother died when he was a very small boy, his father left Kentucky, and he was reared by foster parents to manhood, and took their name of Combs. His real name was Tom Barnett. His grandmother on his mother's side was named Combs, and he took the initials "J. L." of his grandfather on his mother's side, when he left Kentucky. Everybody knew the circumstances under which he was brought up. He was known in the same place -- Breathitt County -- by some people as Tom Barnett and by some as J. L. Combs."

Well, this certainly put a twist on things. The information lines up with what we know. Lavicia Back died in 1890, when Tom would have been about 13 years old. His father married Phoebe Napier not long after that, and headed off to Arkansas, with he and Phoebe each leaving all of their children behind. (Phoebe was previously married to Jackson's first cousin, James Barnett son of David. She had had 5 children by him, and Jackson had had 5 by Lavicia.) Tom's maternal grandmother's name was Combs, as she was Rachel Combs who married Isaac Back. What doesn't fit is that his maternal grandfather's name was Isaac, and therefore did not start with a "J". I originally thought that there were two answers as to why this doesn't fit. Either A) he meant to say (or did say and the transcription is wrong) "paternal" grandfather instead of "maternal", which would mean he was referring to Joshua Barnett, or B) he meant to say maternal "great"-grandfather, in which case he would likely have been referring to well-known business man John Back. However, I then hit a snag.

Tom's discharge records give his date of birth as November 15th, 1877. Well, I decided I wanted to see which name he was under when he filed his World War I Draft Registration. So then I came up with a "James L Combs", in Garland County, Arkansas, born November 15th, 1877. So he was going by James, which was not the name of any of his paternal or maternal grandfather's or great-grandfather's as far as I have been able to tell. So was he just b.s.-ing how he came up with that name and hoped no one would question it, or is there some part of his genealogy that I have wrong? It's hard to say, really. Jackson's parentage has been a tricky, mysterious undertaking that has only led to a guess based on circumstantial evidence.

That evidence is:

1. Jackson was born in 1850, almost certainly in Breathitt County, KY. In the household of Joshua Barnett and Jane Hays in the 1860 Census there is a 10 year-old "John Barnett". It has taken some convincing for me to accept that "John" could be a nickname for "Jackson", but after researching a Jackson Whitaker and finding him clearly listed in the 1900 Census on John Whitaker, I've decided it's certainly possible.

2. In the 1870 Census, Jackson Barnett is living with his wife, Lavicia, and their daughter, as well as a 12 year-old Henry Barnett, who is clearly too old to be Jackson's son. As luck would have it, in the aforementioned 1860 Census of Joshua and Jane Barnett, they have a 2-year old son named Henry Barnett, and Kentucky Birth Records prove he is their son.

3. In the 1880 Census, Jackson's household is in Enumeration District Number 16 in Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky. He is household number 9. Right directly next door to him is Jane Hays Barnett and her son, William, in household number 8. And 6 households away from Jackson, in household number 3, is James Barnett, another son of Joshua Barnett and Jane Hays.

Please note: These 3 pieces of evidence were astutely compiled by my distant cousin Brittany Marschalk, who spent a long time trying to sort out Jackson's parentage, just as I have. It took me a long time to accept this evidence as "enough", but I've decided that it is. Further, in the 1900 Census, Jackson's daughter, Martha Barnett Robinson, has a "Joshua Barnett" who fits the bill as Joshua Barnett Jr., Jackson's father. The problem is Joshua was not located for the 1870 or 1880 Censuses, leading most to assume he died, but if this is the same Joshua Barnett, then clearly he did not, and must have simply abandoned his family and gone elsewhere. (A family trait that Jackson clearly inherited.) This Joshua is listed as Ancil Robinson's "Father-in-law", but it most likely was supposed to be "Grandfather-in-law", though I've not ever seen that spelled out on a Census record.

Anyway, back to Tom Barnett. Who knows why he really decided to change his name to "James L Combs"? We'll probably never know. But now I'm going to share my transcription of his handwritten account of his altercation with W.A. Matthews. Near the end, he mentions Hot Springs Chief of Police Oscar Sullivan, and says it was primarily Sullivan's false testimony that garnered him a guilty verdict originally. Well, the main reason Tom likely got off is because it was found that Oscar Sullivan was a pretty corrupt man, and he was murdered the day Tom was released from custody. Sullivan's murder became a pretty hot story around the country at the time. One of the articles written on the occurrence can be found here:

This is Thomas J. Barnett's hand-written testimony regarding the killing of W.A. Matthews, as transcribed by myself on October 5th, 2011.

At 4:30 p.m. on the evening of August the 4th 1923, I proceeded to the office of W.A. Mathews at 222 (Valley) Street, Hot Springs, Arkansas, as prearranged with him for a settlement on staves that I had cut for him on contrast with a mill belonging to said W.A. Mathews, and for which I was to be paid $27.50 per thousand staves. Delivered on Rock Island Railway at Moore’s switch, 14 miles from Hot Springs.

On arriving at door of said office at 222 (Valley) Street. I was met at the front door by one Lem Burkes, who was at this time working for me at the mill. I stopped him and asked him the whereabouts of a boy by the name of Irving who was driving a train for me at that time hauling staves. In answer to my inquiry Burkes said he was somewhere up town. At that time, I noticed Burkes was pale and seemed to be excited, but I made no comment to him in regard to this, and he walked on up the street and I went on into the office and stopped at a long table in the front room and was getting some books out of my coat pocket which I carried on my left arm.

There was a partition across the building and in this to my left was a door leading out from a small room which Mr. Mathews used as a private office. On entering I did not see Mr. Mathews anywhere, but I had saw him while I was talking to Burks through the two open doors and I knew he was somewhere in the back of the building. Presently, while I was still getting the books out of my coat pockets, I heard footsteps coming out of the private office doors and looked up to speak to Mr. Mathews. And when I did so I saw him with a double-barreled shotgun to his shoulder and both hammers back and presented at my chest across the table. I yelled “My God! Don’t shoot me!” and at the same time turned my right side to him as he fired, the charge striking me in center of the chest, passed out under my left arm, and cut my arm half in two and passed on breaking out a window. I staggered backward and fell on a toolbox that set on the left side of the door coming in from the street.

I was almost blinded by the shock, and blood was gushing from my mouth. Mr. Mathews came around the end of the table and advanced rapidly on me fumbling and pulling at the triggers of the shotgun in an effort to shoot me again with the left-hand barrel of the gun which still had the hammer back.

For some reason he failed to pull the trigger or the gun was out of order and the hammer would not fall, I do not know which. But as he came within reach of me he jabbed me in the right side with the muzzle of the gun and at the same time I siezed the gun barrell with my right hand and pulled him closer to me, throwing my left arm over the gun barrell and at the same time catching my right hand in the waistband of his pants. And getting to my feet, we struggled across the room and into the private office where I tried (to) knock the phone off the shelf, but failed to reach it, and at the same time he was trying to get the muzzle of the gun against my head and I had to keep him pulled up close to me with my right hand which I still held to (the) waist band of his trousers. And at the same time I was calling for help all that I could, but none came. Finally after we struggled for what seemed to me like ages, we brought up against the left wall of the front room, and Mr. Matthews seemed to be out of breath and ceased in his efforts to get loose from me and stood against the wall with the gun between his body and (the) wall. It was then I let loose of my hold on him with my right hand and reached for my right front pants pocket where I had a .25 cal Colt automatic pistol containing four shells, but when fully loaded contains seven shells. The 3 missing I had fired at a rat before leaving the C___p that morning in the presence of a dozen people. After I reached the pistol and drew it out of my pocket and released the safety catch, I said “Mr. Matthews, why did you want to kill me?” and when he made no reply I said to him “You better tell me for I am going to kill you.” I already had the pistol against his left side, and as I said this I fired two shots, and as he slumped forward I tried to shoot him in the head, but was blinded so I could not see, and these two shots passed through his neck and shoulders, and when he fell on his face, I fell on him.

Mr. Mathews fell across the shotgun, and I lay on him some moments and tried to ascertain if he was killed or not and I decided that he was as I could not hear him breathe. I crawled over to the toolbox (and) pulled myself up onto it and after several efforts got to my feet and went out the door onto the sidewalk. And as I stepped out George Young came up to me and said to me “What on earth is the matter?” and I replied “Mr. Mathews shot me and I think I have killed him—go see about him.” And Mr. Young turned and went on into the office and I walked diagonally across the street to the Scott Mager Commission Co.’s wholesale place of business where a dozen or more men were in front of the building (all witnesses later). Someone called an ambulance and another placed a chair and I sat down on it and upon looking down at the wound in my chest I discerned the charge from the shotgun had cut my tie in two and carried it into me and the ends were protruding out of my chest.

Finally after what seemed like ages an ambulance arrived and I was taken to (Levi) Hospital. But in the meantime Oscar Sullivan, Chief of Police of Hot Springs had appeared and as I was getting into the ambulance I told him that Lem Burks was the closest person to the office when the shooting took place, and he took an envelope out of his pocket and asked me to repeat the name and wrote it down. He later denied this transaction on the witness stand and after, I was convicted and given a 5 year sentence. As a strange coincidence, he was shot and killed by Hubert Coats in the morning of the very day that the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed my case and I was dismissed without another trial. 

4 New Civil War Uncles

After another long night of searching, I have added 4 new uncles to my master list of biological uncles and grandfathers who served in some capacity in the Civil War. (This excludes step-grandfathers, uncles by marriage, and any cousins--it is exclusively for close biological relatives.)

Tonight I added:

John Calvin Dooley - Served in the 19th Texas Infantry (CON) - He was the son of James Boyd Dooley and Frances Crump. He appears in the 1850 Census as Calvin Dooley. He marries Elizabeth M. Seago in 1856 in Cass County, TX, where he is found in the 1860 Census. He is in Titus County, Texas for the 1870 and 1880 Censuses and is supposedly buried in Morris County next to his wife. He was the brother of my 5th great grandmother, Emeline Pearl Dooley.

Beverly Ryland Jeter - Served in the 36th Virginia Infantry (CON) - He was the son of Sovereign Jeter and Matilda Vaughan. He drew a Confederate pension late in life. He was the brother of my 5th great grandfather, James Milton Jeter.

John Monroe "Jack" Mooney and William Jasper Mooney - They both served in Company K of the 20th Mississippi Infantry, as proven by their headstones and service records. They were sons of Reuben Mooney and Matilda Davis. They were brothers of my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Ann Frances Mooney.

I am very proud of all 81 of my uncles and grandfathers who served in the Civil War. Some deserted after just a few days, some were prisoners, and a handful died in various ways from being struck by lightning to dying in Camp Douglas.