Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Family Circle

I enjoy reading books but almost always they are non-fiction, historical choices. I've tried to read all the new books that come out about early presidents and events in the US before 1900.

One of the major topics of course in those books was what happened in the 1860s. I've tried to read books on both sides and about the men who led both armies. I recently read a new one about Ulysses S. Grant and just finished one on William Sherman. In reading about Grant I remembered a story about his early romances and then came across a newspaper article that tied it to the Fulford family.

Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio but the next year his family moved to Georgetown, Ohio. As a teenager there he met and fell in love with Mary Ann King. She had been born on February 4, 1824 in Georgetown to Victor and Mary Ann Mickle King.

Grant left home at age 17 to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy but kept up a correspondence with Mary King for many years. He continued to write her even after he became romantically involved with his future wife Julia Dent, who he became engaged in 1844.

While he was serving in the Mexican War in 1846 he drew a painting and sent it to Mary Ann King. The painting is mentioned in the newspaper article below from the January 9, 1890 edition of the Asheville Democrat.

The article said Mary King married a man named Fulford and moved to California. I decided to track her down and was able to locate her in Louisiana. At this point I haven't figured out how her husband is related to my Fulford family but would assume he is, considering where he was from.

John Davidson Fulford was born in Norfolk, Virginia on January 28, 1818. He married Mary King while she was still in Ohio and they moved to Louisiana in the 1850s.

John Fulford became a Carriage Maker and they had at least five children. John died on October 13, 1870 and is buried in the St. John's Cemetery in Thibodaux, Louisiana. I found him on census records but haven't been able to identify his parents.

I did locate his brother, James W. Fulford, who was living with John and Mary on the 1860 census in Louisiana but moved to North Carolina when the war broke out and enlisted in the Confederate Army. James W. Fulford was born in 1830 in Norfolk, Virginia and died on July 25, 1881 in Columbia, North Carolina. This article from the July 26, 1881 Weekly Economist tells of his death.

Mary Ann King Fulford died in 1903, still living in Thibodaux, Louisiana and is buried next to her husband in the St. John's Cemetery. Although she was well known in the area, I can't find any newspaper articles that mentioned her relationship to Grant, who was not very popular in Louisiana, so I guess she chose to take that secret with her to St. John's.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ancient Relics

I've written a couple times about my great great uncle Stephen F. Fulford who lived in New Bern, North Carolina. He had an interesting life, having owned a general store near the waterfront for almost 50 years.

He also worked for a while as a Boat builder. This was a common occupation in Carteret County where he was born. I have several family members who did this for a living and the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez, Florida has some of the fishing boats they built on display.

I'm sure Stephen Fulford built many fishing boats but the only record I've found of his skill in boat building was his contribution to the CSS Neuse, a Confederate Navy ironclad. It was built starting in October 1862 and launched in November 1863 but wasn't equipped for service for another six months.

This 100 year old newspaper article from the New Bern Daily Journal was published on January 11, 1914. two years after Stephen died. It tells about a local man who had on display a large section of the armor plate used in the hull of the ship. It mentions Stephen F. Fulford as one of the builders.

The CSS Neuse never really saw any action as it was pinned down by Union troops and adverse conditions, literally stuck in the mud for over a month. It remained at the dock in Kinston, North Carolina until March 17, 1865 when it was scuttled and burned by it's crew to keep it from being captured.

In 1963 the remains of the ship were located near the Kinston harbor and raised. It was kept in a local museum until 2012 when it was moved to the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in downtown Kinston.