November 13, 2020

Rabbit Holes

I’ve discussed before how history leads me down rabbit holes. Here is another example.

A good friend of mine was going through his mother’s stuff after she died a month or so ago and ran across an envelope written from a hospital in Nashville in 1865. He wanted to know why his relative was in Nashville, and asked to help figure out what unit he served. We knew he was from Boone County, IN.

I started with a battle order of regiments in the Nashville Campaign. And advised him to look up the ancestor’s pension records. I knew that many men from Boone County served in the 10th Indiana, but they mustered out in ‘64 and if they reinlisted were moved to the 58th Indiana that served in Sherman’s March, not the Nashville Campaign.

I looked up Boone County regiments and lo and behold found pension records from 1890 and 1894! And there it was, his great great grandfather. Two pages later was my great great grandfather. 

Bates, William E. Pvt. Co. H 7th Cav. Iowa. Civil War. Present address: Reeses Mills, IN. 4 children under age 16. Gunshot wound in right arm at Cow Creek, Kansas.

My relative listed his residence as Reeses Mill. Wait, what? Where the heck is/was Reeses Mill, Indiana? I’m sure it was a place not a location because others in the pension roll listed it as their address too. I found a family tree of one Joseph Reese who was listed as postmaster of...Reeses Mill. But that was in the 1830’s. I know the Bates family farm was near Mechanicsburg, so the Mill was probably along Sugar Creek. My Grandmother was born on that farm...

Hold on, did that say gunshot at Cow Creek, Kansas? I don’t remember a gunshot wound. And what happened at Cow Creek? 

No not that skirmish. 

Fighting Indians along Cow Creek. Ah there it is, a history of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry....

There I find this:

Bates, William E. Age 18. Residence Cleopatra, Mo., nativity Ohio. Enlisted May 12, 1863. Mustered June 19, 1863. Promoted Eighth Corporal March 10, 1864; Sixth Corporal Aug. 23, 1864. Transferred to Company H. Seventh Cavalry Reorganized. 

Cleopatra, MO? How in the heck did he end up in Indiana if he lived in the west at the start of the war...

See, I have historical ADD.

The cool thing is my friend’s great great grandfather and mine probably lived less than 10 miles apart in the late 1800s. They might have known each other. How wonderful is that?


glasslass said...

I love rabbit holes like this. When I started volunteering at our local library I was cleaning the back room where they check in the book. Was up pulling boxes from a high shelf and upon opening them found pay records from the civil war. Went to the person in charge and was told to ignore these as it was none of my business. The last time I checked about 2 years ago they are still there. I would love to know where to go so these could be retrieved. The wealth of info moldering there make me nuts.

Jean said...

Joe, how can you possibly think you are not a writer?

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