Thursday, April 8, 2021

My Genealogical Connection to Dr. Samuel Mudd

The most surprising find I have (I started to say recently, but maybe I should state ever)  made in my family history research, especially as it relates to the Civil War, is a distant tie to a (rightly or wrongly) infamous person of the era, Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted for helping John Wilkes Booth after the actor had assassinated President Lincoln. Mudd escaped the death penalty by one vote and some of his descendants are still fighting to clear his name today, believing he was not part of the conspiracy to kill Lincoln.  

When looking back at my family tree, I found an Eleanor Mudd, from Maryland, as one of my great-grandmothers, so I decided to explore that a bit more and found the connection to the doctor.  A relationship this distant is not easy to explain, but I've tried to list it below as straight-forward as I can. "X," of course, means "times," and some of the birth dates may be approximate as different sources show different years, especially farther back in years, decades, and centuries.

Dr. Samuel Mudd, born December 20, 1833 in Charles County, Maryland.

Henry Lowe Mudd, born in 1798, was his father. 

Alexius Mudd, born in 1765 was his grandfather.

Henry Mudd, born about 1730, was Dr. Mudd's great-grandfather.

Thomas Mudd, born about 1707 was his  2x great-grandfather

Hezekiah, "Harry" or "Henry" Mudd, born about 1681-1685 was Dr. Mudd's 3x great-grandfather.

Thomas Mudd, born about 1647 was Dr. Mudd's 4x great-grandfather.

That Thomas Mudd, whom I’ve seen called “Captain” Thomas Mudd, was our common ancestor, the source of the relationship. 

His son Thomas Mudd (I'm not sure if he as a "Junior" or a "II",) born about 1679, was my 8x great-grandfather. He was the brother of Hezekiah mentioned above.
Eleanor Mudd, born 1709 (I've also seen 1723), my 7x great-grandmother.
Eleanor married George Tarvin. Their son, also George, born about 1744, was my 6x great-grandfather
George's son, Joseph Tarvin, born about1773, was my 5x great-grandfather.
Joseph's daughter Rachel Tarvin, born about 1800, was my 4x great-grandmother.
Rachel married George Painter, and their daughter Mary Ellen Painter, born about 1832, was my 3x great-grandmother.
Mary Ellen married Oliver Moore and their daughter Rachel Moore, born around 1857, was my 2x great-grandmother.
Rachel married John Diesel and their daughter Violet Diesel, born in 1894, was my great-grandmother.

Violet married Oscar McCormick and their son Orville McCormick, born in 1912, was my grandfather.  2 generations later, I came along.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Alexander McCormick, Co. B 9th MN Infantry, my 3x great-grand-uncle

My most recent genealogical find confirmed that John Fleming McCormick of Pennsylvania was my 4th great-grandfather, the son of John McCormick who had been born in 1748 in Ireland and died in Pennsylvania in 1844. The elder John, my 5th great great-grandfather, was apparently a Revolutionary War soldier. One report I saw claimed he was an ensign in the 4th company of Pennsylvania militia, Colonel Plunkett's 3rd battalion, 1776. I am not overly familiar with the Revolutionary War military, so that will have to be part of my further research on this piece of family history.

One of John Fleming's sons was William Taylor McCormick, my 3 times great-grandfather and another was Alexander McCormick, my 3 times great-grand-uncle. I surprisingly found that Alexander was a private in company B of the 9th Minnesota Infantry in the Civil War. Finding another Civil War soldier in my family tree was a fun surprise, but in Minnesota? Wow - double shock. 

Alexander was born on November 25, 1817 in Lock Haven, Clinton County, Pennsylvania.

On November 25, 1858, he married Drucilla Perkins in St. Anthony, Minnesota. The 1860 census showed that they had two daughters, though one was thirteen years old, so perhaps he had had a previous marriage. It showed his occupation as minister.

 Alexander then enlisted in the 9th Minnesota on August 20 1862 in Minneapolis. He served a three-year term and mustered out on June 7, 1865

The 9th Minnesota was not a regiment familiar to me, so I looked it up, wondering if it had been at any famous battles - maybe I had a second family member at Gettysburg or perhaps one at Vicksburg? - but I found out that its service was not like that of the regiments other of my ancestors had joined.

In its early existence, its companies spent time at various frontier posts in conflicts against Native Americans. According to one source, Alexander's Company B participated in campaigns against the Sioux in Minnesota in August and September of 1862. 

In late 1863, the regiment began being part of the war against the Confederacy, spending time in Missouri and throughout the Western Theater of the Civil War. One article describes their service, including their combat in two battles against the men of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate victory at Brice's Crossroads and then a Union success at Tupelo. 

In December of 1864 these men fought during the Union's smashing victory at Nashville. Alexander and his comrades then aided in the capture of the city of Mobile,Alabama  in early 1865 and mustered out of the service in August of that year.

Alexander passed away on January 14, 1877 in Knob Noster, Missouri, but I have not yet found where he is buried.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Update on my Campbell County Civil War Soldiers Project

 My last couple of posts here have concerned genealogy and the war, and I have a couple more of a similar nature started, but I wanted to take a few minutes to update my previously mentioned plans to write a book about Civil War Soldiers from my home of Campbell County. 

I am still working on this, and, like much of the study of history, the more information I find, the more sources to search I discover. It's like digging a bottomless pit at times.

Right now, I'm referring to this simply as "my project" because I'm starting to feel there simply is to much information to fit into a book like I had originally hoped. I have over 1,000 confirmed Union soldiers, and all of these include at least some of the following details: unit, rank, company and genealogical data like birth and death dates and places and burial places. I simply don't think it is feasible to include all of this - plus more I am certain I will find - into one reasonably sized book, especially combined with the stories I want to tell of some of these individuals. I keep finding interesting tales that I want to share - mostly military, but a few from their civilian lives as well. For instance, I looked up the file of one soldier last night and one of the first documents I found was a form stating that a company would provide him with an artificial limb, on the government account. I have also found that at least three of these soldiers testified in a famous murder trial in the county in 1896. That is the kind of information I want to find and share. 

Currently, I believe an interesting approach would be to upload the soldier names and information to a website, either an existing one or one created just for this project. This would provide plenty of space, as well as allow for future additions as I (or others) find more information and corrections of any errors that show up in this work. I could also add links to information about the various units or battles or to individual records. (I currently have more than 700 graves on my virtual cemetery for this project.) Or maybe I could add photos of some of the enlistment forms or other interesting documents I find in various files. That flexibility and versatility are traits a book would not provide. 

Anyway, I'm sure I will keep thinking about the end game, but I'm still finding more names and details every day. I'm currently going through the roster of the 23rd Kentucky Infantry to find more men from that unit who had Campbell County ties. I've found quite a few that did not turn up on other sources, but there are almost 1,300 names on the regimental roster, so this is quite a daunting task. Then I'll need to do the same for the 42nd Kentucky and maybe the 41st, two “enrolled militia” groups of several hundred men from Northern Kentucky. 

It is a lot of work and no end is in sight, but I'm still enjoying it and learning quite a bit. My past Civil War study has been through reading books and articles, watching documentaries, visiting Perryville and conversations with other people, including my my volunteering at the Ramage Museum, but this way of studying - by looking at the records and lives of individual soldiers - provides me a much different perspective. Instead of reading published books about injuries, captures and military discipline, I'm now uncovering those reports in the files. This is truly history from the "bottom up" and is another way this project is quite satisfying and enjoyable. The local connection and discovery of connections between soldiers (For instance, I found one doctor whose postwar life included time on the Pension Review Board and later uncovered a sailor whose file included pension forms with that doctor’s name as part of it) only make it better. 

 I'm honestly a bit surprised I've been able to gather so much information in one place so far and am more confident than ever that this endeavor will be a positive contribution both to the history of the Civil War and the history of Campbell County. I cannot wait to share it, but as I keep finding more sources, the farther away that goal seems to be, but so be it. I knew this was not a quick work when I started it and even though I may have underestimated how much information was available, I also underestimated how much I would joy this way of researching.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Benjamin McIntosh 14th KY Cavalry

 Another Civil War ancestor recently came to my attention, this time my 3rd great-granduncle, Benjamin McIntosh, the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Nimrod McIntosh, who served in the 7th Kentucky Infantry and the Veterans' Relief Corps. A third McIntosh brother, Richard, was injured while also serving in the same company as Benjamin. Here is a post I made about those two McIntoshes a few years ago.

Benjamin was born in the mid-to-late 1840s, as records shows his birth date anywhere from 1843 to 1847. He signed up as a Private in his unit, enlisting on December 18, 1862 in Irvine, Kentucky. 

 His service records show him present on all the available muster rolls, but he did have some of his salary deducted to pay for replacement equipment such as bridles, a halter, spurs, a cartridge box and a waist belt.

A note found in some family  papers claimed he had been with General U.S. Grant's forces at Vicksburg, but that appears to be a myth, as the 14th Kentucky remained in Eastern Kentucky while he was in the service. 

In one of those coincidences that make genealogy - and history in general - more complicated - another man with a similar name- Benjamin E. McIntosh - was in compamy H of the same 14th Kentucky Cavalry.

"My" Benjamin eventually mustered out at Camp Nelson on March 24, 1864.

He did marry and have a family. The 1870 census shows his wife as Louisa (her name is illegible on the 1880 record) and as of the 1880 census, the couple had seven children

Benjamin died on April 23, 1930 in Stanton, Powell County, Kentucky, and he was buried in Stanton Cemetery.

 Rest in peace, uncle. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

More Distant Cousins in the War

One of many twists and turns my current project - which I hope will end up with a book in a few years - has taken is the discovery of some distant ancestors who fit the criteria of Campbell Countians who served in the war. 

This came to light when a local person responded to a query I had published asking for information on such soldiers. She sent me information about William Orlando Tarvin (a separate post focusing on him is in the works, but he apparently went by "Orlando," so I will refer to him that way) and while I was reviewing it, I realized that I had some Tarvins in my family tree, so I looked him up and found out he was a second cousin, five times removed. His  great-grandfather was Reverend George Tarvin, who was also my six times great-grandfather. (I note that Reverend George's mother was Eleanor Mudd, so I suppose I now need to investigate her family to see if she was related to Dr. Samuel Mudd of Lincoln Assassination fame. My first glance shows that it is a possible, perhaps likely, connection, but I wish to investigate it more and will post it here if I confirm it.)

I had some other Tarvins on my list of Campbell County soldiers, so I started looking into them. Alonzo and Alvin Tarvin turned out to be Orlando's brothers, making their link to me blatantly obvious. Then, as I was confirming their units, I found Edward B. Tarvin, who apparently was another of these brothers, though records on him are not as clear.

I turned my attention to the other Tarvins on my list, and they all had the same relationship as Orlando and his brothers - their great-grandfather was also Reverend George Tarvin.

 Orlando served in company F of  the 53rd Kentucky while Edward was in Company C of that regiment; Alvin and Alonzo joined company I of the 23rd Kentucky.

Their cousin William Charles Tarvin also was in company I of the 23rd, as was Abijah Tarvin, but another cousin, George Washington Tarvin (brother of Abijah) joined company C of the 53rd.

Another pair of bother Tarvins, Richard Lemuel and James Donovan, served in company H of the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry.

I suppose my next step will be to investigate their records on Fold3 to see if they had any special adventures or assignments and to study their regiments more, though I already have seen the 23rd and 53rd Kentucky in my book project quite frequently as they were locally raised units. (I'm still not 100% certain if the 53rd is the 53rd Infantry, 53rd Mounted Infantry or 53rd Infantry (Mounted) or if it matters that much in the big picture.) 

As with all things genealogical, other records may show different details (birth or death dates, etc.) for some of these men, but I believe I at least have the relationships correct, though "never say never" in genealogy.

I also have learned about a new ancestor on my mother's side and will write about it soon enough.

 This ancestor chart - or many others readily available through an internet search- is helpful in figuring out relationships once you have determined the common ancestor. Charts like this have helped me a lot in my genealogy work.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Emancipation Proclamation

One of the crucial documents in American history, certainly worth recalling at the start of a new year. 

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit: 

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.


In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas With the Slaves

This is a revised version of a post I made in 2009 but thought was worth sharing again. 

This story appeared in the boom The Civil War in Song and Story 1860-1865 by Frank Moore.


 A letter writer at Port Royal, South Carolina, gives the following account of the way in which the slaves kept the first Christmas after the Proclamation of Emancipation:

Christmas Eve was celebrated by the colored people at General Drayton's plantation. About half past eleven o'clock a bell was rung, and precisely at twelve a pine fire was kindled in front of the cabin where the meeting was to be held. They called the festival a serenade to Jesus. One of the leaders, of which there were three, was dressed in a red coat with brass buttons, wearing white gloves. The females wore turbans made of cotton handkerchiefs., All ages were represented, from the child of one year to the old man of ninety. 

The first exercise consisted in singing hymns and spiriual songs, among which were those beginning, "Salvation! O the joyful sound; ' 'The voice of free grace;' 'Come, humble sinner, in whose breast;' 'O, poor sinner, can't stand de fire, can't stand de fire in dat great day;' and a Christmas song containing a medley of everything the fruitful mind of the leader could suggest, with the refrain, 'We'll wait till Jesus comes.' One of the leaders lined the hymns, and though none of them could read, it was remarkable with what correctness they gave the words. Their Scripture quotations were also correct and appropriate, not only having the exact words, but naming the chapter and verse where they could be found. 

After singing for some time, a prayer-meeting was held. The prayers were fervent and powerful, and when an allusion would be made to the soldiers who had come from  their distant homes, in the North country, to 'help and save de poor slave, and, like Jesus, bring dem good tidings of great joy,' a shout went up that sent its notes on the still night air to the distant pickets in the surrounding pines. When asked, as they could not read, how they could quote the Scriptures, they replied: 'We have ears, massa, and when de preacher give out his texts, den we remembers and says dem over and over till we never forgets dem; dat's de way, massa, we poor people learns de Word of God.'

The next exercise consisted of speaking and signing, at intervals. While one was speaking, another would take a blazing pine torch from the fire, and hold it up, so that all might see the speaker. At two o'clock, a recess was had, and all were invited to partake of coffee, which luxury they can now purchase without any difficulty, as they have plenty of money, obtained of the soldiers for vegetables and poultry. 

After this came what they called the shouting exercise. It was introduced by the beating of time by three or four, with the feet. Soon the whole company formed into a circle, and commenced jumping and singing to the time and tune of

'Say, brothers, will you meet me, 
Say, brothers, will you meet me, 
Say, brothers, will you meet me, 
On Canaan's happy shore?'

This was continued until the most fertile imagination was exhausted, embracing an invitation to sisters, soldiers, preachers, &c., to meet them on Canaan's happy shore. 

Never did these poor slaves celebrate a Christmas Eve under such circumstances before. Whatever may be their future, the are now, 'to all intents, purposes, and constructions whatever' free; that they may 'choose it rather' is beyond question more certain.

Here is a little bit of information about that verse.

What a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Update on Book Project

 I am still grinding away at my hoped for book, slowly getting more and more done each week, usually every day. Recently, I have been listing story ideas for that section of the book and have even started writing some of them. 

 A few are now in what I consider "close to completion" phase - perhaps I will nitpick at some wording or phrases, but the research and organization are done and most of the writing is complete as well. This is a good start and I think these stories are worth telling and, hopefully in the future, worth reading.

Several others are not quite to that level yet - I have done most or all of the research, taken notes, organized my thoughts, and started writing some of the narratives, but they still need quite a bit more work before even the "almost done" phase.  Others are  not even that far along.

I suppose I should pick a few stories and work on them until complete and then deal with additional ones in a similar fashion, but I'm not that focused or disciplined right now. I find if I write on a story for a bit and then come back to it a few days or even a couple of weeks later the fresh perspective helps me find better ways to tell that story or sometimes raises new questions I need to research. This is a positive to having my own time frame and I think it does improve my writing. Sometimes I return to a soldier's profile and realize my original attempt was just not good. I guess these are called drafts, but tht process is helping me - or so I believe.

I also now question myself about how to organize these stories. I had figured that a simple alphabetical listing (based on soldier names) would be easy, sensible, and logical, but as I work on more stories, I’m finding more similarities that would make for other organizational ideas. For instance, I have found three casualties from the Battle of Perryville. Should I group them together in the same se goon or chapter? Or should I combine them into one story, perhaps minimizing their individual stories, but making for a fairly sensible single narrative? I have also uncovered five or six young men who enlisted while well under the age of eighteen. Should these be kept close together instead of separated just because of their names? Or how about men from the same units or same nation of birth? Should I add a separate index of all these names sorted by unit? For a couple of regiments, I have more than a couple dozen names, close to 60 for one group.  Maybe this all means that I will need to do a detailed index to help readers find these similarities. Decisions, decisions...

Of course, I still have much research to do, with lists of name to confirm as soldiers and other birth, death, and burial information to uncover. (I will add that my virtual cemetery now contains more than 600 burial sites, which amazes me.)  This is a long-term project that will require much more work than I have already done, but I am still making progress and still am enjoying this challenge. It is a fascinating experience and I believe I’m starting to appreciate “real authors,” who have actually published books even more. 

I also must say that this research is making me more aware and appreciative of immigration in the 1800s. I have found a lot of foreign-born soldiers and sailors who lived in this area. 

 Also, this way of studying the war - through the records of individual soldiers of varied backgrounds, in many different units is so much different than what  I have done for most of my life. I have spent  much time reading books and articles and blog posts, watching videos, and attending classes, but this is new to me. It is fun too, at least usually. In traditional books, I may read about soldiers deserting the armies, but now I'm finding individual cases of such desertion or of other misbehavior that led to punishments. I'm uncovering individual men who were killed, captured and/or wounded at famous battles or at smaller, obscure actions, but also some who earned promotions due to their service. These kind of finds do make this enjoyable for me.

I will continue to blog here when I find good ideas and will, as previously mentioned, also post occasional updates on this larger project. Hopefully I will have happy thoughts to share, but maybe I will need to vent  frustrations at times too. This is something new for me and I am looking forward to batlling through the questions and challenges that arise. 

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