Sunday, August 24, 2008

They showed me what poor was

My Dad's first cousin, Hubert Horne, told me about visiting their great uncle, John T. Hogan in Taylor County Florida.

John Hogan died in 1940 and Hubert was born in 1929 so he had to be pretty young at the time. Hubert was born and raised in Cortez, Florida but his both his father and mother had relatives in Taylor County so he went up there to visit. He spent the night at least once with John and his wife Hester Williams Hogan.

His memory of John Hogan's home was "those folks were poor, in fact they showed me what poor was."

They lived in the Warrior Swamp area about 10 miles south of Perry, Florida on a farm they bought from my Grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green. There was no electricity or running water in the house.

To light the house they used tin cans filled with hog fat and lit by a string. There was no cover or anything on the can so if it spilled over the house probably would have burned down.

Hubert said "those folks were just poor!" The only picture of John Hogan shows him dressed pretty nicely so I guess he had some money or maybe he was just thrifty! I found this old tin type photo in the Andrew Green family bible.

John T. Hogan died October 24, 1940 and was buried in the Spring Warrior Church of Christ cemetery in Taylor County Florida. Many of the Hogan family relatives are buried there.
As far as anyone knows now, they were members of the Church of God and this part of my family had no connection to the Church of Christ until my Dad joined in 1948. Why they are buried in a Church of Christ cemetery, when there were two other cemeteries in the area that had other family in them is a story for another day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

They don't make 'em like they used to

My dad was one of five boys born to Millard Fillmore and Ila Rowell Green. Their mother died very young and my grandfather was left to raise the boys on his own. The youngest was a year old when his wife died. He re-married once but soon discovered it was a mistake and divorced the woman.

The boys grew up in a tough time, my dad graduated from high school 8 months after the start of the depression. Somehow my grandfather knew the local bank was about to fold and pulled out his money in time but money back then wasn't worth a whole lot.

Four of the boys enlisted in the service. My dad made it his career but for his brothers it was probably for survival.

Two of the brothers died in the 1940s, one during the war and one soon after it ended. My grandfather had also lost a brother (who was run over by a train) and all three of them were buried in the family plot he bought when his wife died in 1915.

The matching markers he put on the four graves were made of concrete and had their names and dates molded into the block. After fifty plus years of exposure the concrete had worn away and was no longer legible. Someone had replaced the marker on my grandmother's grave with a marble column in the 1970s.

I contacted the VA and obtained new markers for my uncles. Since they were veterans and their graves were no longer marked the VA sent them at no charge. On my to do list is to obtain a marker for my great uncle.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lost at Sea II

Sometimes you come across an obscure fact or story by accident that consumes your genealogy research time for a while.

I have been looking for information on my Wilson family relatives for many years with limited success. My great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Wilson was one of 25 children born to Moses Wilson so you would think there is a lot of information about them, but so far they have been elusive.

The Florida Archives put WWI service cards online about 5 years ago and I started looking for cards for family members. After searching for the closer relatives I started searching for surnames and found one for John T. Wilson and a reference to his father being Jasper Wilson. I knew Benjamin had a brother named Jasper so I checked the 1900 and 1910 census records, located Jasper and sure enough he had a son who matched the card.

The card showed John T. Wilson died during the sinking of the Otranto on October 6, 1918. He left US soil on September 25, 1918 heading for action in Europe after spending three months training in Georgia.

The Otranto was a troop carrier going to England when it collided with an English navy ship, the HMS Kashmir in rough seas just off the coast of Scotland. The Otranto was badly damaged and went down near Machir Bay. There were over 1,000 soldiers onboard the Otranto and 431 lost their life that day.

75 of the dead American soldiers were buried overlooking the Scottish coast in what is now a small US military cemetery. 43 of them were never identified.

John Wilson was buried in the Brookwood American Cemetery in Brookwood, England. This small US Military cemetery contains 468 graves arranged around a marble chapel.

Recently I was given a WWI era photo of my great grandfather, William T. Fulford, taken when he traveled from Cortez, Florida to the Fort Benning Army base in Georgia to visit his son Clayton who was in basic training.

As it turned out, Jasper Wilson went with him to visit his three sons who were also in the Army and stationed at Fort Benning. Harry and Arthur Mann from Cortez, Florida had a brother, Roy there also so all four men drove up together. Harry Mann was married to Jasper Wilson's daughter.

I've identified Jasper Wilson in the picture, the shorter of the older men with white hair, but don't know which of the men is John T. Wilson. I suspect it was the last photo taken of him.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The oldest living Confederate Veteran

My great great Grandfather was William Augustus Lundy. If you Google "oldest living Confederate Veteran" you will see his name and reference to him living until 1957.

William Augustus Lundy did serve in the CSA, but in the Biographical Rosters of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers 1861-1865, he is listed as a refugee (deserter) from the Confederacy.
It's not clear if he actually enlisted in the CSA or just went along with his older brothers who had joined. I haven't found any CSA enlistment papers for him.
He did enlist in the Union Army, 2nd Florida Cavalry, Company C on April 21, 1864 at St Vincent Island, Florida as a musician. He was only 15 years old at the time. His older brother Matthew also enlisted in the 2nd Calvary.

William Lundy left his home in Taylor County after the war, some say because the locals didn't appreciate those who fought on the Union side. He moved to Manatee County and discovered the Fountain of Youth. (I'll tell that story later) He died in 1903 at age 55.

The confusion over William Augustus Lundy being the oldest living confederate veteran came up because another man named William Allen Lundy made the claim in the 1950s. By accident or incompetence many of the news accounts of his claim listed the war record of my ancestor, has fame over the fountain of youth and growing oranges and even his complete name. I'm not sure if William Allen Lundy used my ancestor's background on purpose or not but since my ancestor and his wife were deceased at the time, news accounts attributed the life events for William Augustus Lundy to the other man.

A Joint Resolution of Congress on July 18, 1956 authorized a gold medal to be struck and presented to the only four surviving Civil War veterans, including William Lundy. William Allen Lundy died in Crestview, Florida on September 1, 1957. After his death some questioned his claim to be the oldest CSA veteran and said he was not born until much later.