Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cow Cavalry

We attended a wedding recently where the groom and several attendants wore Spurs and Stetson hats to signify their former connection to a US Cavalry unit. I've noticed soldiers wearing the spurs when traveling thru airports recently, sometimes with no uniform or military insignia showing.

I have two great uncles who could claim Cavalry service but I don't think they got the same souvenirs at the end of their enlistment. Their Cavalry battalion was called the Florida Cow Cavalry.

After a couple years of war the Confederate Army found you can't eat a whole lot of cotton and with the southern ports shut tight they needed a food source. Florida, which had not seen much military action still had most of the farms producing and the pre-war cattle industry was intact. Although most of the cattle had been turned loose in the woods and swamps to prevent the Union army from finding them.

The CSA sent out a notice that they wanted to form Cavalry units around the State that would round up the cattle and bring them north to Georgia and South Carolina where the Army needed to feed the troops.

Cow Cavalry Memorial in Plant City, FL
Two of the son's of my great grandfather Moses Wilson joined the Cow Cavalry. The family was living in what is now Pasco County Florida at the time and several of the older sons were already serving in the CSA.

Joseph Wilson who was born on March 28, 1845 in Montgomery County Alabama and died on September 16, 1914 in Polk County Florida enlisted in Mullen's Battalion, Walls Company. His brother Pleasant Wilson who was born on June 11, 1847 in Montgomery County Alabama and died on November 15, 1920 in Pasco County Florida enlisted in Capt Lesley's Company.

Cow Cavalry Memorial listing Pleasant Wilson
They both served from the Spring of 1863 to the end of the war. There were nine companies of Cow Cavalry, about 900 men in all. Many of them were older men who had been excused from military service when the war broke out or like the Wilson brothers, too young to enlist in the regular army. 

Joseph Wilson went back to Florida after the war and married Fannie Lenorah Lanier in 1872. They had 11 children and like most of his brothers he was a farmer. He and his wife are buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Plant City, Florida. 

Joseph Wilson Oaklawn Cemetery
Pleasant Wilson went back to Pasco County Florida and got married around 1870 also. His first wife, Kate McNeill died before 1880 when he was listed on the census as a widower with four young children. He remarried late in life, in 1902 to Zader Clark who was 35 years younger and they had four more children. He is buried in Dade City Cemetery in Pasco County Florida.

She moved to Tampa after Pleasant died, remarried in 1922 and was listed on the 1930 census working in a Cigar factory. She died in 1955 and was buried in Garden of Memories Cemetery in Tampa.          

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Family Coin Collection

Ok, if you want to claim an official coin for your family you probably wouldn't want it to be a penny, but that's what we have.

James Barton Longacre was the 2nd cousin of my wife, several times removed.

They share a common great grandfather, Peter Longacre who was born in 1682 and died in 1739. Peter Longacre lived in the Kingsessing area of Philadelphia. In fact he owned 200 acres in the southwest part of Philly when he died, less than a half mile from where my daughter lives today. There is a Kingsessing park just down the street from her place. We will be there next weekend so I'll have to check it out.

James Barton Longacre was born in 1794 and died in 1869. He was an artist which seems to run in the family but he made better use of his talents. Or at least he made money with the talent in more ways than his cousins do today.

From 1844 until he died in 1869 he was the Engraver for the United States Mint in Philadelphia. He designed all the US coins and currency from the time he was named the official engraver until he died. He also did many of the early portraits of Presidents and famous folks that became the National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans.

In 1859 he designed a one cent coin that he is best remembered for. We call it the Indian Head Penny. He used his daughter Sarah Longacre as the model for the Indian Princess. The coin was in circulation until replaced by the Lincoln penny in 1909.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Family Spy

I heard about Emeline Jamison Pigott a number of years ago but only recently had a chance to do research on her family. According to my genealogy software she was my 2nd cousin, 4 times removed.

Emeline Pigott
She was born December 15, 1836 and died May 26, 1919 in the Crab Point area of Morehead City, North Carolina. Her parents were Col. Levi Whitehurst Pigott and Elizabeth Dennis. I am related to her by marriage any number of ways but by blood through the Whitehurst family. Her grandmother, Margaret Whitehurst, was the sister of one of my great grandfathers, Richard Whitehurst.

Levi Whitehurst Pigott has the title Colonel in many stories about his daughter but not on his tombstone. I have yet to find any documentation that he was given that rank while alive. He was listed as a 16 year old Private on the Muster Roll of Pinkham's Carteret County Militia during the War of 1812. I haven't found any other record of military service. I would like to think he earned the title in the North Carolina Militia but suspect it was given after his daughter became famous and he was already dead. I guess my kids can do that for me down the road.

If you grew up in North Carolina you probably know about Emeline Jamison Pigott because even today her story is taught in elementary school history classes. She is known as the North Carolina Confederate Spy.

Reproduction of her dress

Emiline was arrested towards the end of the Civil War and charged with "blockade running." Beaufort, NC had a new Provost Marshal, Major Charles C. Graves of the 1st NC Union Volunteers who was appointed to the position about the same time General Ulysses S. Grant made an inspection of Beaufort and Morehead City on January 29, 1865. Grant must have given orders to clean up things because they put Emeline under surveillance and on February 8, 1865 arrested her while she was in Beaufort.

The February 17, 1865 edition of the North Carolina Times said "she was discovered carrying articles and letters addressed to rebels outside of our lines. The letters denounced the Federals calling them Yankees and Buffaloes (a derisive term for NC men who joined the Union army) and gave information about the supposed movements of Federal troops. A very large and prominent store in Beaufort was closed as it was supposed to be in complicity with Miss Pigott. This is one of the most important arrests that has been made in the area."

She had been carrying notes and letters through the Union lines to confederate troops for some time along with food, clothing and medicine.

James Rumley who was the Clerk of the Superior Court of Carteret County wrote in his diary of what he called the "underground rail ways" that started in March 1863. In entries he made in June and July of 1864 he said the railway was "still going strong, bringing news of confederate military actions to Beaufort residents and passing letters and contraband items outside the Union lines."

When she was captured Emeline's dress had hidden pockets that contained confederate clothing, a pair of boots, pocket knives, razors, combs, toothbrushes and other items weighing over 30 pounds.

Emeline's Carriage

The History Place museum in Morehead City has her carriage and a reproduction of the dress she was wearing on display. They say she refused to allow Union troops to search her when captured because they wanted a black woman to do it. It took them a while to find a white female in the city who would help and by that time Emeline was able to eat or destroy most of the letters she was carrying.

She was sent to New Bern on February 12, 1865 and confined to a house that had been converted into a jail. She was held as a prisoner for several months but they let her go without ever bringing her to trial. It is rumored she threatened to reveal the names of prominent men in New Bern who were making money in collusion with the Yankees.

Her first cousin Levi Woodbury Pigott wrote the following in his diary when he heard she had been released:

"I consider her release a miracle, for the United States government had a clear case against her. She had ... several letters written to their friends in Dixie and these letters contained news about the Union army which was criminal. I was agreeably surprised, and utterly astonished, when she obtained her release."

 There are a lot of stories about her some true, some not so. She made the news often after the Civil War and even after she died. She took part in Civil War Veteran's events and memorials and organized the Morehead City Chapter of the Daughter's of the Confederacy which was named for her.

Seattle Daily Times December 2, 1934

I found this newspaper article reporting on her burial in 1934 that was copied in other papers around the country. The only problem with the story is that it was 15 years late.

While we were in North Carolina this past summer we stopped by the small family plot where she and her parents are buried. There was the remains of a Confederate flag next to Emeline's grave marker. We were there looking for another grave marker but I will get to that later.

You can't tell Emeline's story without covering her relationship with men, living and dead. The first was the romance she had with a Confederate soldier who she knew for only couple months and the second, apparently because of the first, the devotion she had to a dead Confederate soldier.

Montford Stokes McRae was born September 30, 1833 in Montgomery County, North Carolina the son of Daniel John & Martha McRae. He grew up in Richmond County, North Carolina. His family was pretty well off, listed as farmers on the census but having land valued at $40,000 and personal property of $10,000, which was huge back then. They had enough money to send him off to college and he graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1856. He was living at home, a 27 year old bachelor on the 1860 census with an occupation of domestic. A woman listed with that title would mean she was working in the household as a servant or the wife of the owner. They both had the same title on census records from the 1800s. For a young son in a wealthy family you figure it means he didn't really do anything.

With the Civil War starting up his life changed dramatically. He enlisted as a Private on July 1, 1861 in the North Carolina 26th Infantry Regiment, Company K, known as the Pee Dee Wildcats. The 26th Infantry was stationed in Morehead City, North Carolina for several months at the end of 1861 and beginning of 1862. They were at Bogue Inlet in November of 1861 and were then moved to be part of the planned defense of Beaufort and New Bern, North Carolina.

They had a large camp in Morehead City just across Calico Creek from the Pigott home on Crab Point. During those months Montford Stokes McRae met Emeline Pigott and they started a romance that would endure till death for both of them.

After sitting around for months the 26th finally got a chance to fight the Yankees in the battle of New Bern, North Carolina on March 14, 1862. The 26th Infantry was led by the future NC Governor Zebulon Vance and was the only Confederate force that put up much of a fight that day. The Union army had over 11,000 men and easily pushed through the other Confederate units who only numbered 4,000 troops.

After New Bern fell the Confederate troops abandoned Morehead City and Beaufort and the Union troops started their siege of Fort Macon in Beaufort harbor. The next week the 26th Infantry was heading north to Virginia where they joined up with the Army of Northern Virginia. There is no record they were ever back near Carteret County so Emeline probably never saw him again.

Stokes McRae did well in the CSA over the next year and advanced to the rank of Sergent Major.Things changed for him in the summer of 1863. The 26th was with Gen. Lee at Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863 and Stokes was wounded and taken prisoner. The 26th NC Regiment suffered the loss of 588 of their 800 men at Gettysburg, the worst casualty loss of any unit on either side in the entire Civil War.

The battle report says Stokes was shot in the left thigh and the shell caused a fracture of the femur. He was taken from the battlefield and ended up in the Camp Letterman Hospital. The report sent back to North Carolina on July 23, 1863 said he had been killed. That is probably the last word Emeline had about him for many years. He actually lived for two months before dying of disease and infection on August 2, 1863 still in the hospital.

Camp Letterman Hospital marker near Gettysburg Battlefield
Stokes was buried in the Camp Letterman Cemetery at Gettysburg in the Confederate plot, section or row one. This is where the story changes for us compared to what Emeline knew of it. Today we have transcribed battle records, diaries etc., published in multiple books, some even online. Back then word of what happened after a battle was very limited and especially after a defeat like Gettysburg it would be almost impossible to find out what happened to the wounded and POWs. I know of several cases where the family had thought their son or husband dead only to receive a letter from him many months later.

Emeline back in North Carolina never knew what happened to Stokes, other than the report that he had died. She didn't know where or if he had been buried and that is the beginning of story about the next and last man in her life.
Unknown Soldier's Grave

Towards the end of the war a wounded soldier from the 26th NC Regiment, the same as Stokes, ended up in Morehead City. Emeline heard about him and arranged to have him moved to her house where she tried to nurse him back to health. Unfortunately he died and she had him buried in the family cemetery on Crab Point. At that time there were only three graves in the small plot including her father and sister Charlotte Pigott Mason. She never said if she knew the name of dead soldier or anything else about him. She refused to talk about him when interviewed later in life. The marker on his grave was inscribed "Unknown Soldier Company B 26th Regiment NCT CSA." She tended to his grave up until her own death in 1819 and she was then buried next to him.

My main reason for visiting the Pigott Cemetery last summer was to see the marker on the grave of this unknown soldier. I heard of Emiline taking care of his grave but in recent years when a census was done of the graves there was no marker found for him. I wondered if they missed it among the large memorials for Emeline and her parents. I found the remains of his grave, a concrete cover next to Emeline but there is no marker. A Confederate Iron Cross is laying next to Emeline's marker and I wonder if it was originally on his grave.

Camp Letterman Cemetery
Post Script:
The Camp Letterman hospital burial records were not available until many years after the war. From 1872 to 1873 the Confederate dead from the Camp Letterman Cemetery were exhumed and moved to cemeteries in the South. Most were sent to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA but others were used also. There is no record of Montford Stokes McRae's body being moved. If they found it, it was not identified and therefore buried as one of the unknowns. If they didn't find him then he is still there, in an open 10 acre field between a Giant Food Store and Dollar Tree on Lincoln Highway.

Camp Letterman treated over 20,000 soldiers from both sides during the four months it was open. Thousands died and many more lost arms and legs that were buried on the property in mass graves. The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association says there are remains of countless soldiers still on the privately owned site. Target wanted to build a store there several years ago but backed down because of negative publicity.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nine is the lucky number

I was listening to an audio recording of an interview my cousin Doris Green did in 1993 and she made a comment about the large families in Cortez, Florida. She said there were nine children in her family and many others, so being in the election season I decided to do a fact check on her.

I also wanted to see if I could determine which families she was thinking of when she made the comment. No doubt families in a fishing community like farmers want large families so they will have plenty of help with the family business.

Doris Adams Green abt 1985

Doris Mae Adams Green was my mother's first cousin and she married my father's first cousin, Woodrow Wilson Green. She was born in  1915 and died in 2001.

Doris was probably the first one in the family to get serious about family history. She did a lot of research, checking court records, family bibles and interviewing older family members and put it all together in a really nice book called "Fog's Comin' in."

Anyway, Doris said the women must have thought nine to be the right number or they just got worn out by that time, so they ended up with nine children.

Her mother, Dora Jane Fulford and her husband Willis Asbury Adams did have nine children who made it to adulthood and one who died shortly after birth. Two of Dora's siblings came close to nine, but both stopped two short. Walton "Tink" Fulford and his wife Edith Mae Wilson had seven children as did her other brother, William Fulford and wife Julia Etta Qunin.

Doris's grandmother on her mother's side, Sallie Adams Fulford, also had nine children and they all survived to adulthood. On her father's side, there were eight children in the family but her grandfather, William Henry Harrison Adams had two wives who shared the duties.
William and Lillie Foreman

Sallie Adams Fulford's first cousin, William Ernest Foreman and his wife Lillie Jane Lundy also had nine children. He was a fisherman and early resident of the area but ended up moving to Sarasota in the 1920s. He was struck and killed by lightening in 1927 while on a fishing boat in Sarasota Bay.

Doris's great uncle on her mother's side Nathan Hooker Fulford and his wife Betty Manson Whitehurst also had nine children. Only one of their children got close to the number. Jessie Blanche Fulford and her husband Aaron Parx Bell stopped two short.

Julius Mora House abt 1912
Another early Cortez family, Joseph (Jose) Augustine Mora and his wife Mary Emma Hazel also had nine children. Their son, Julius Eugene Mora matched his parents with nine, with an assist from his wife Laura Adele Eastman. This photo was taken when they were just getting started with number one.

James Charles Culbreath and his wife Ella Hurst, who moved from Suwanee County Florida to Cortez in the 1920s also had nine children.

There were several families who didn't quite make it to nine. Augustine Willis had nine children from two wives but one of them died soon after birth, along with his first wife Martha Fulford. His second wife Mary Leavenworth Hine bore eight children.

Augustine Willis Children

Lemuel Hardy Pridgeon and his wife Bessie Ora Weeks had eight children. Another of Doris's great uncles, Joseph Manley Fulford and his wife Sallie Chapman Chadwick also had eight.

Most of the subsequent generations had much smaller families. Doris and Woodrow only had two children because of her health problems but that was not unusual for the 1940s and later. I guess the prospect of paying for college stopped many at a smaller number. But when she was growing up there were plenty of large families around and as she said, nine seemed to be the number of choice for many of them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


There is a relatively new web page for genealogy research called Fold3 that has a lot of military records from the 1700-1800s available for free.

J H Hogan Parole

I found this parole record for my great great grandfather, James Henderson Hogan. He was born in 1835 in Stewart County Georgia to James Hogan and Rebecca Paulk.

He moved to Taylor County Florida about 1861 and had a farm in the southern part of the county near Spring Warrior. He served as a County Commissioner for Taylor County in the 1890s. He died in 1918 and is buried in the New Hope Cemetery just off Highway 19 in Taylor County.

James H Hogan about 1865
During the Civil War he enlisted on August 8, 1862 in the 2nd Florida Battalion Infantry that was later merged into the 10th Florida Regiment. He fought in many of the major battles in Virginia and he was wounded and spent a couple months in a Richmond, VA hospital towards the end of the war.

He was a Sergent for most of the war but was reduced to a Private while in the hospital.

He and his wife Elizabeth Blanchard Hogan had five children and their oldest, Rebecca was my great grandmother.

This photo of him was sent to me by a cousin, I met via Facebook, who lives in Maine. It appears to have been taken in the 1860s. I'm not sure this photo is a good representation since all the physical descriptions show him with light hair, blue eyes and fair complexion. I would bet that to be red hair like the rest of the family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Fisherman's Wife

I've written before about my grandmother, Edith Mae Wilson Fulford. She was what you would think of when you hear the term "Fisherman's Wife."
Tink and Edith 1924

When needed she worked at the Fish house and I'm sure she hung many miles of fishing nets over the years. She would also clean fish if needed. One of the paintings hanging in her house was done from a newspaper photo of her cleaning mullet in the 1950s.

Although with seven kids and nineteen grand kids she made sure there were others available for that task later in life. She would just tell us go to the dock and get a mess of fish for supper. A mess was one of those quantities that everyone understood and fish was always mullet.   

By the time I was old enough to go fishing she was almost 60. She always packed a meal when we were going out, washed the slimy fish smell from the clothes that came back and somehow had supper ready when we got home, knowing when we would be back even if we didn't. She also made sure all the kids were at church on Sunday.

She grew up on a farm in Oneco, Florida and became a fisherman's wife by accident. Her parents drove the family the ten miles over a rough shell road to Cortez, Florida several times to visit the new Church of Christ and on one of those trips she met Tink Fulford. He didn't go to church much but his parents did and they introduced her to their son. Tink already had his own fishing boat and crew and I am sure it was obvious to Edith he was going to be successful as a commercial fisherman.

 He knew how to dress up when needed and taking her on a boat ride for a tour of Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico was something most Oneco farm girls had never experienced.

Edith Fulford abt 1975
The years of being a fisherman's wife took a toll. She had multiple surgeries due to physical wear and tear and you can see how arthritis left her hands in this photo.

I always thought she was unique in Cortez. She wasn't from North Carolina like most of the residents, wasn't related to any of the other families and didn't move there with her parents or husband. I recently discovered that she wasn't even unique to her own family.

In fact Edith was the third fisherman's wife in the Wilson family. Two of her first cousins had moved from Oneco farms to Cortez before her.

Her uncle Jasper Peter Wilson and his wife Georgia Tait Wilson had a farm in Oneco and he also took his family to visit the church in Cortez.

Jasper Wilson's oldest daughter Addice Eugenia Wilson married Harry Mann, a Cortez fisherman, on November 21, 1910. They had seven children, just like Tink and Edith. The Manns moved to Ft. Myers about 1930 and then ended up in St. Petersburg where he owned a Fish house at Snug Harbor.

Harry Mann died in 1966 and Addice in 1984. They are both buried in Major Adams Cemetery in Bradenton, close to Edith's parents.

Jasper Wilson's youngest daughter Martha "Mattie" Wilson married John B. Kight from Cortez on November 25, 1915. John Kight drowned while out fishing on January 11, 1918 when a severe winter storm hit the area without warning.

John Kight's name is missing from the Cortez Fisherman's Memorial, a $50,000 statue and plaque meant to remember fisherman lost at sea. I guess folks forgot about him by the time it was unveiled in 2001.

Mattie Wilson Kight, a widow with a one year old son remarried a year after John's death to William Roydon Wedge. They moved to West Palm Beach, Florida a few years later,  Mattie died in 1983 and is buried in the Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery