Thursday, August 21, 2014

52 Ancestors: #29 The Wartime Diary of Captain Willis E. Hedgecock

Stone reads: To live in loving hearts is not to die.
My five times great-grandfather was Willis E. Hedgecock.  He was born on December 21, 1813 in North Carolina to Thomas Hedgecock and Martha Edwards.

In 1833, Willis married Mary Ann Rausin, a Tennessee native.  He was nineteen, and she was sixteen.  They began their family in Knox County, Tennessee.  The family consisted of eleven children when Willis enlisted, ranging from 1 to 26 years old.  Their second child, Angeline, was my four times great-grandmother.

Willis was mustered in as a Union private at Camp Pine Knot in Company G, 1st Tennessee Infantry.  He was promoted to Captain of Company H, 5th Tennessee Infantry.  He participated in the Battle of Pine Mountain at Cumberland Gap.

After the war, Willis started his own dry goods store in the small hamlet of Letsinger.  An 1876 directory of Letsinger listed the total population of the village to be 30 people.

Mary Ann, his wife of 44 years, died in July of 1877.  Willis was married again the following year to Margaret Fox, a widower with one child.

Willis applied for a pension in 1895.  He was examined by Dr. A. B. Eaton on March 26, 1895.  His report stated: "I found him suffering from general debility and nervous prostration. He was also troubled with chronic bronchitis. I called again to see him March 29, 1895. He improved under treatment and I again saw him on May 4th, 1895 which was my last visit."

Willis Hedgecock died August 7, 1895 at the age of 81.  He is buried at Hickory Creek Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

During the war, Captain Hedgecock recorded a personal account of his experiences in a journal, which he later titled "Diary Which I Kept While in the Army Against the Rebellion.  A 16-page transcription of the diary was published in the August 2000 edition of Tennessee Ancestors.  Below are my favorite entries from the diary.

August 11, 1861:  I left my home in Knox County, Tennessee, on the evening of August 11th, 1861.  Traveled at night by Scarbro town on the Clinton Road, then turned and passed through Frosts Bottom and across to New River wearing my summer goods.  This was the second night.  It rained upon us all night.  Some took shelter in a rock house.  Some around a fire, standing or laying, taking in the rain.

September 1, 1861:  Many of the boys were attacked with measles which proved fatal to some.  Here, I witnessed such attention and kindness shown to our sick, suffering and dying soldiers as sympathizing hearts and angel hands above can administer.  I allude to the attention paid by the ladies of Danville.  My gratitude as a soldier is due to them, and they will ever be held in memory by me.

President Andrew Johnson

September 6, 1861:  Andrew Johnson came to this place [Danville, Tennessee] on the sixth and was cordially received. He greeted all the East Tennesseans with a smile, .... delivered to each East Tennessee soldier two dollars and fifty cents ... tendered as a compliment in evidence of the high regard for their loyalty and patriotism.

November 27, 1861:  I was taken sick with cold from exposure, which so affected me that I took to my pallet in camp and took medicine from McMillan.  Thomas (my son) turned out to find a house ... where I could stay.  I remained there twelve days.

January 27, 1862:  I was taken sick ... received into the residence of Mr. Andrew Phelps.  Received medical attendance by Mr. Gillilan, cost free.

March 17, 1862:  Sworn in as Captain of [Company] H of Tennessee Volunteers.

June 1, 1862:  In camp on Mud Creek.  It is raining and tents missing through mismanagement of quartermaster Lane.  Camp Landrum provisions scarce and soldiers mad and complaining.

June 8, 1862. Out on picket duty.  Received uniform at the following prices: 
Cap   $4.50     Sword and Belt   $18.00
Sash   $8.00    Expenses   $1.00
Total paid out   $31.50

July 4, 1862:  Ordered by Gen. Morgan that three national salutes by fired at morning, noon and night.

Captain Hedgecock's description of the engagement on September 11th at Pine Mountain follows.

September 11, 1862:  Myself was ordered to post my 100 men somewhere near the top of the mountain.  This I done, choosing my own postition ... while we were thus posted, a company of Rebel Cavalry came along at quick speed.  They were fired upon at each post.  At the one held by myself, they passed with all speed on fleet horses as quick as the rough nature of the road and good riders could make it.  A full volley was fired into them ... killing some and wounding others and literally piling horses.

September 30, 1862: During this whole march, 230 miles, we never drew one ration, though occasionally, we got part ration of coffee and part ration of beef, sometimes without salt and no cooking vessels to prepare it in, and often not time to roast it.   As for bread, we had none but lived on roasting ears and hard corn by gritting.  Men carried their own gritters with them all day and after leaving Cumberland Gap, we never saw a good spring until we got to Ohio.

October 3, 1862:   I saw the beautiful river of Ohio for the first time.

October 19, 1862:  Boys complaining on account of becoming so bare for clothes and shoes.  Many are now so destitute, that their nakedness can no longer be hid.  Frosty nights are also beginning to set in, which, to the soldiers in their condition, is disagreeable.

November 5, 1862: [Sent] to my family... $50.00, also my own likeness and my son, Thomas. 

Tennessee State Capitol, 1862.

December 24, 1862. ... on Christmas Eve, we entered Nashville.  We marched through and encamped in the suburbs.  Nashville is an extensive city, in a most beautiful and rich surrounding country ... though the city is now quite filthy, and emits an offensive smell to the traveller as he passes through.  Here, I had opportunity to examine the state house, which is by far the most magnificent superstructure I have ever had the pleasure to look at.

January 13, 1862: We set out at daybreak upon an expedition to follow the rebels ... who were reported to be marching ... to burn our steamboats, laden with supplies.  We soon came on their encampment.  Stayed at night on a rebel plantation.  Next morning, we continued pursuit.  It has rained all day.  We stayed out at night without tents.  During the night, it changed into sleet and thence into snow.  Next morning, the little stream called Harper's River, was so swollen, a considerable snow had fallen, we were compelled, on the 15th, to abandon the enterprise and return to our camp.  Upon the whole, it was the most disagreeable march of the campaign, up to this date.

Battle of Stones River
January 16, 1863:  Reached Murfreesboro after passing over a portion of the late, hard contested battlefield, which, by graves, dead horses, entrenchments, scars of balls, cannon and rifle-perforated walls of buildings, destroyed farms, showed but too well the horrors of war.

February 12, 1863:  Better view of Stones River was had.  There is astonishing evidence of a great battle.  Marks of cannon and rifle balls exceed anything I have yet seen.  Some rebel corpses are partially exposed to view.

February 22, 1863:  Case of Campbell decided to be smallpox, and my company, with a portion of companies G and K, ordered to leave the Regiment.

March 4, 1863:  Campbell, with smallpox, died just before sunset.

March 10, 1863:  This is now 19 months since I left home.  No letter received since September 17, 1862.  Thomas not much better yet in health.  Is still with me at my quarters.  Some indications of other cases of smallpox in the company.

March 12, 1863:  Thomas seems a little better today... received letter from home today. All well.

March 21, 1863:  Ordered back to regiment.  Returned all, except the smallpox mess.

April 3, 1863:  We entered Liberty at 12 o'clock ... the rebels had planted a cannon on a commanding eminence, overlooking the town, and that morning, ordered out all the citizens, intending, as they said, to shell the town, but a few shots from our artillery directed at their piece on the eminence, they soon considered it policy to skedaddle.

April 4, 1863:  After travelling a distance of 25 miles, the boys were all broke down with feet skinned and blistered, legs strained.  Many could scarcely walk.

On the 22nd of April, 1863, Captain Hedgecock applied for discharge due to his increasingly poor health.   The following is a transcription of his resignation letter:

Head quarters 5th Regt. E. Tenn Vols, Infty.
Camp near Carthage, Tenn.

April 22, 1863

I hereby tender my resignation as Captain of company H., 5th Regiment East Tennessee Vols. Infty. on account of disability caused by chronic bronchitis and cories (?) of the left Fermus. I have had disease called scroffa for over thirty years. I am 49 years of age and being thus afflicted am unable longer to discharge the duties of a soldier or officer in the army. I respectfully request that my Tender of Resignation be accepted for the said reasons given.

Willis E Hedgecock
Captain commanding Co. H. 5th Regt. E. Tenn Vol Infantry

Captain Hedgecock's resignation was accepted, and he received an honorable discharge.

May 6, 1863:  Received my discharge.

May 10, 1863:  Left right at 3 o'clock for Carthage.  Went aboard the steamboat "May Duke".  Day clear, sun shines beautifully.  Thomas along.  [I am] still in poor health.  All quiet along the river.  Arrive at Nashville at 6 o'clock.  Went with Thomas to Barracks.  Stay till Thursday.

May 14, 1863:  Took train for Louisville.  Had a delightful ride.  Reached Louisville at 6 o'clock.  Went to Soldiers Home.  This was a well fitted up building and it is truly what it imports to be, affording comfort to the passing soldier.  Stayed one day at Louisville.

May 15, 1863:  Left Louisville at six o'clock for Jefferson City, Indiana.  Took train ... and arrived at Vincennes at 3 o'clock.  The last named place is on the Wabash River, the line between Indiana and Illinois.

On May 16, Willis arrived in McLeansboro, Illinois, where he stayed for two weeks.  He visited his daughter Angeline's family, and helped his son-in-law Henry Richardson plant corn.  His granddaughter and my great-great-great grandmother, Sarah Richardson, was six years old at the time.

After visiting with his daughter's family, Willis made his way back to Tennessee.  The remainder of his journey sounds exhausting to me.  By foot he made his way to the banks of the Ohio River, where he took a boat to Evansville, Indiana.  From there he boarded another vessel to Louisville.  He traveled by stage coach to Danville, Kentucky.  The final leg of his journey was made on foot.  For four days, he marched across Tennessee.  

Clinch River, Tennessee
June 7, 1863:  Came to within four miles of town.

June 8, 1863:  Came into Somerset.  Found many old acquaintances.

June 9, 1863:  Traveled that day across the mountain.

Captain Hedgecock made his final diary entry on June 10, 1863:  

Waded Clinch River about 10 o'clock in the night, and in an hour more, I found myself once more at home to the great joy of myself and my family.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #28 Lewis Milburn Worland and the Cross-cut Saw

Lewis Milburn Worland, Shelbyville, Indiana

My great-great grandfather Lewis Milburn Worland was born May 26, 1867 in Shelby County, Indiana.  His parents were John William "Smokey John" Worland and Emily Montgomery.  Lewis was the fifth of nine children. As a young adult, Lewis was worked on his father's farm, along with his two older brothers.

Lewis was married to Rebecca Annabel Fisher on January 18, 1894.  At 37, Rebecca was ten years older than her husband.  The picture on the left was taken just prior to his leaving for Jasper Count, Indiana to claim Rebecca as his bride.

The couple had two sons and a daughter: Leonard, Dola, and Luther.   Leonard and Dola were born when Lewis and Rebecca lived in Jasper County.  For a short time, the Worlands resided in Jennings County, which is where their daughter Dola later met her husband, Clyde Holtzlider.

Worland family c. 1901.
Lewis was a farmer for most of his life, but for a time he was a sheriff in Milhousen, Decatur County.  Lewis' son, Leonard, also became a sheriff.  My grandma, Martha Holtzlider, used to visit her uncle Leonard at the Shelby County jail.  She remembered taking food to the prisoners and sliding the trays under the doors.

Six of Lewis' grandchildren served during WWII.  His grandson and namesake, Milburn Holtzlider, posthumously received the Purple Heart Award after he was shot by a sniper at Iwo Jima.

On July 17, 1947,  Lewis died from a heart attack.  He had been cutting wood using a cross-cut saw; he was 80 years old.  A month later, his wife Rebecca had a paralytic stroke and passed away.

Monday, August 11, 2014

52 Ancestors: #27 Caywood Davis, Man of Many Names

Davis family c, 1900. Back row: Rose, Belle, Lawrence.  Front row: William, Caywood, Paris, Sarah, Milton.

I have had a hard time researching my third great-grandfather because his name has been spelled many different ways: Chaywood, Kaywood, Raywood, Leawood, Chawood, Taywood, Cawood, and Charwood. 

Caywood Davis was born September 6, 1856 in Illinois.  He was the son of William Cors Davis and his second wife, Mary "Polly" Nicholson.  Caywood had a younger brother, Warner, and an older sister, Sarah, along with six older half siblings. 

Caywood married Sarah Richardson on October 4, 1874 in McLeansboro, Illinois.  They were both seventeen so they had to have consent from Caywood's father on the marriage certificate.

Caywood was a farmer for at least 20 years.  In 1880, the family lived on a farm in McLeansboro.  Their neighbors included Caywood's brother, Warner, and two of Sarah's sisters, Mary Ann and Lorinda Jane.  By 1910, Caywood had stopped farming and worked as a janitor at a church.  The Davises relocated to Vincennes, Indiana by 1920, and Caywood began a furniture business with his oldest son, Milton.

Children of Caywood and Sarah: Milton, William, Lawrence, Rose, Paris, Belle.

Sometime before 1930, Caywood and Sarah moved to Connersville, Indiana -- maybe because two of their children were living there.  Their daughter, Mrs. Belle Mount, had been living in Connersville since 1920 and ran her own salon, "La Belle Beauty Shop".  Their son, Paris, lived with Belle's family.  He later lived with Caywood and Sarah and was employed as a printer.  Caywood worked as a janitor at the Central State Bank.  He also was an employee at the Spicely Drug Store.  Caywood and his wife were members of the Grand Avenue Methodist Church in Connersville.

On April 9, 1947, following a long illness, Caywood Davis died.  His wife died ten days later.  They had celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary the year before.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #26 George Holzlider, Stowaway from Luxembourg

Port of Havre, France, in 1841.
My 3 times great-grandfather, George Holzlider, had to flee for his life because he accidentally killed a rabbit.  His job was to flush out game for noblemen to hunt on the King's grounds in Luxembourg. In those days it was a crime to kill animals belonging to nobility.  After hiding in a dry well for a few days, George ventured his way to the French coast.  He stowed away on a ship that set sail from Havre, France bound for America.

According to George's granddaughter, Stella McCammon,  George became friends with the ship's young cook, who secretly gave him food.  Her name was Mary Gertrude. On August 13, 1850, George married her in Hamilton County, Ohio.  They were both 29.  He was a devout Protestant, and she was a Catholic.

George and Gertrude had two children while they lived in Ohio: Anna Mary and William (my great-great grandfather.)  Three more, Edward, Julia, and Lena, were born after the Holzliders moved to Jennings County, Indiana.  Lena, the youngest, was just six months old when her father enlisted in Co. D, 7th Decatur County Indiana Infantry on September 13, 1861.  He was discharged on September 20, 1864, after being wounded in the leg.  As a Civil War veteran, he received a pension of fourteen dollars a month.

After his wife died, George went to live with his granddaughter, Stella Holzlider McCammon, in Pierceville, Indiana. Sometime soon after, he fell out of a haymow and broke his hip.  George lived for two more weeks, then died on September 6, 1897 and was buried at St. Denis Cemetery in Zenas, Jennings County, Indiana. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

52 Ancestors: #25 Mary Ann Kenney, Died While Reading the Morning News

Greensburg Standard, July 10, 1896
 "The news of the death of Mrs. Mary A. Smiley came as a shock to the many friends of the family.  Though at the advanced age of seventy-nine years, she had been in her usual health on the morning of her death.  After eating her breakfast, she had gone into the sitting room to peruse the morning paper, where she was discovered by her daughter, having peacefully breathed her last, the paper yet remaining in her hand."  (Obituary from the Greensburg Standard)

Mary Ann Kenney as born in New Jersey in 1816, the daughter of Jonathan Kenney and Edith Richman.  She was married on February 7, 1838 to William Smiley, a wealthy farmer of Scottish origin.  They had ten children: Permelia, Caroline (my 3 times great-grandmother), twins George and James, Harvey, Thomas, William, Mary, Sovereign, and Letty.

The Smileys lived on a farm known as the Smiley homestead, situated on a vast amount of land in Clay Township, Indiana.  In 1878, William divided his land (1,000 acres) among his children, and he and Mary moved to Greensburg, Indiana, where they remained the rest of their lives.  Mary was made a widow in 1893, when her husband was thrown by his colt in a freak accident.   Three years later,  Mary Kenney Smiley died of heart failure.

"Mrs. Smiley was a devoted Christian lady, and her death removes from earth a character the emulation of which would make a better world.  THE STANDARD joins in the general expression of sympathy for the bereaved family, fully appreciating the loss suffered in the death of one held so dear as Mrs. Smiley."  (Obituary from the Greensburg Standard)