Saturday, September 24, 2011

Second Civil War Letter of David A. Whitehorn

David A. Whitehorn was the son of David Allen Whitehorn Sr. and Amy Cox Whitehorn. He was born 1837 in Brown County, Indiana. He died in the Civil War at Kennesaw, Georgia in June of 1864. He was in Company C, 22nd Indiana Volunteers. He is listed in Brown County's Roll of Honor. His Civil War stone is located at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Brown County. His second known letter is transcribed here.

Camp at Winchester, Tennessee
July 30, 1863
Dear Father,
I now seat myself down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and in fine spirits and hope that those few lines may find you and family all well and doing well. I have nothing strange to write this time. I will tell you that we have been paid off and you can go over to Captain Adams and get twenty dollars that I have sent home. I started it the 29th of this month and it will be at Nashville before you get this letter. I want you to write as soon as you get this letter and let me know whether you got my money or not and give me all the news that you have. I got a letter from Lige the other day and he told me that the old man Kennedy said my clothes were not there. I hate that for there is as good as fifteen dollars out of my pocket. I think that Steve Kennedy traded them off for whisky, so no more at present. I still remain your dear son until death. So fare you well for this time. Write soon.
David A. Whitehorn to Allen Whitehorn

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Civil War Letters of David A. Whitehorn

This is one of two letters written by David A. Whitehorn dated February 17, 1863. The copies of these letters were donated several years ago to our local Brown County Historical Society. I ran across these letters last year and as far as I know they have never been published. The originals at the time were in the possession of John Whitehorn. They were written by David A. Whitehorn Jr. and sent to his parents, David Allen and Amy Whitehorn, and to his brother, Elijah Douston Whitehorn. They were badly worn and some of the writing is illegible, but here is the transcription of the first letter.

Camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Feb. 17th A.D. 1863

Dear Father and Mother,
I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and hearty and to sincerely hope and trust that those few lines may find you and family all well and doing well. I received your kind and welcome letter on the 14th of this month bearing date February 7th. I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well except Caroline. I was heavy heart to read your letter when I came to the part that told me of the death of my beloved little sister. But there is one thing that consoles me and this is this I know she is gone to rest for God has said in his holy word to Suffer the little children to come unto me for of such is the kingdom of God. She was called in her infancy, I hope I may be as well prepared as she. I intend to try to meet her where parting will be no more and war will never come. I want you to write and tell me what ailed her and how long she was sick. But little did I think when I left home the last time that I would never be permitted to see her on earth. It surprised me to hear of her death, but we all have to go. She has paid the debt that we all have to pay sooner or later.

I will now tell you that I have just returned off of a scout, we were gone from camp for 14 days. We had a hard time and last night we were on picket and it rained all night and such a muddy night you never saw as we were. I have no strange war news to write to you. We were in camp and I don’t see any sign of moving soon. I hope that peace will soon be made so I can return and see all of you that were still on the land and among the living. I still hope that they will be waiting for me when our Congress takes their seat. I will hope for the better if I never see it. I will write a few lines to Lige. He told me in your letter that he was not very well but I hope that those few lines may find him enjoying the best of health. He wanted me to let him know how the President’s Proclamation set well. He will have to guess at that for I am bound head and foot and cannot leap an inch. You all know what is the matter for it is death to speak disrespectful of the President or any of his cabinet. You know what I think of it.

I must soon close. I want you to send me some more postage stamps and I will pay you well for them. I will say in conclusion that I expect to draw my pay in a few days. I think I will get 4 months pay and if I do I will send 60 or 65 dollars home this time. I want you to write soon and give me all the news that is going at present. Still I remain your dear brother until death. So fare you well.

David A. Whitehorn to Allen Whitehorn and E. D. Whitehorn

P. S. I understand that since I parted with you last Fall that a dear daughter from you and a dear sister from me Christ dost call. Father and Mother do not mourn her troubles are over, her crown are won, and you by faith must soon follow on. When I last left home her eyes were sparkling with her cheeks like the rose were in full bloom and they now lay moulding in the silent tomb. I hope that I may be justifiable before Christ to stand that I may ___ .

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Brickwall Bolens

My Bolens have given me a hard row to hoe the past few years. I've tried everything to chip at this Bolen brickwall. I've gotten a small piece chipped out every once in a while. I just got back from a trip from Kentucky for a reunion. But on the way down I had decided to stop off at a couple of courthouses. I've been trying to find something on a connection to this Henry Bolen, a possible father for my 3rd great grand uncle, George Bolen, and his sister and my 3rd great grandmother, Nancy Ann (Bolen) Lovell. I discovered that my uncle George had moved around quite a bit coming from Wayne County, KY where Nancy had married Jonathan Lovell and then they all moved to Jefferson County, Indiana and then George moved back to KY to Russell County where he married Elizabeth Johnson and then to Casey and then Hart and then Meade counties, Kentucky and finally back to Indiana where he settled back down next to his sister's family again.

So on my trip down I decided to look for more clues. On the Tax Lists I discussed in my last post I found that he had paid taxes on land in both Casey County and Russell County, Kentucky. So I stopped by first in Liberty, Casey County, KY and looked through their land records database which has been nicely indexed. Couldn't find anything there. I double-checked the books just in case something was overlooked when it was indexed. I couldn't figure out why George had paid taxes here but could find no land records - unless he had rented or mortgaged land frome someone else.

My next stop was in Jamestown, Russell County, KY. We were running close to closing time so I grabbed my digital camera. I could just photograph any records I found. I finally found a deed for George Bolen selling 50 acres to a William McNeely. And on the next page is was involved in another deed with a James A. Wilson. That one rung a bell - the Andrew Bolen that appeared in all the same tax lists had been married to a Nancy Wilson. That one helped me to tie this Andrew closer to my George - one more little chip! Just a few more minutes before closing - so I decided to photograph the index with spellings of Bolen to Bowling etc. I could examine this more in detail when I got home.

There's another Bolen that seems to be in the same places as George too. I have run across a John Bolen but since it's such a common name down there I haven't looked into him, just taking note when he appears. So when I found a land record with him and his wife, Celia (Sharp)Bolen, that grabbed my eye. So I photographed this one also. Doing this helped me to get another chip out of that brickwall. This land record named Celia and her siblings in a land record and named her deceased father, Isham Sharp. One of her brothers, by the name of Joel Sharp was also named in the deed. That is the name that grabbed my attention next. Where had I seen that name? I checked back through all the census records I had for my Bolens. There he was, a Joel Sharp was in the 1830 census in Jefferson County, Indiana next to a John Bolen and a few pages over from my Bolens. They had to be connected - I think I'm putting together a family - one chip at a time.

Since I started following around George I've found other family members that normally I wouldn't have found simply by staying in Indiana with Nancy's family. Since I haven't been able to find out much on Nancy I think if I can put together her family one sibling at a time I can round out her family and maybe make a connection to this Henry. I've found going through the index that I photographed a couple of other deeds I would like to take a look at. I'm thinking I might have to plan another quick trip to KY soon.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Surprises in Kentucky Tax Lists

Most Tax Lists are pretty straight forward, giving name and tax paid on a certain parcel of land or maybe some personal property. Not much more useful information can be gleaned from them. In doing research on my Kentucky ancestors I have found a wide range of types of Tax Lists. I most usually use tax lists for those time periods that precede the census year 1850 so I can get more details on this person or to help me find them in a certain area. But in using Kentucky Tax Lists I have found a few nice surprises.

I was tracking my 4th great grandfather, John Booth's, movements in Kentucky. After compiling a timeline I found there were a couple of large time gaps from the time he left Harrison County, Virginia (now WV) in the 1780s til the time of his marriage to Sarah Kinder in 1792 and then his final move to Jefferson County, Indiana in the 1810s. He didn't show up in the census records for these times, and they might not have even had a census taken during these times. I found these tax lists for Shelby county: 1795, 1796, 1797(he's not listed), 1799, 1800, 1801(not listed), 1805, and 1808. Most of these Tax Lists only had him listed as paying tax on a horse. The surprise I did find though was in 1796 his name is right next to a James Booth, which from later research I found out was a brother. This was a nice surprise! But these dates he did show up in helped me to fill in the years he was actually in Shelby County, Kentucky.

The next instance of using Kentucky Tax Lists was when I was trying to get a lead on my Bolen line by tracking down a brother to my 3rd great grandmother, Nancy Ann Bolen. I had hit a brick wall with this family so I decided to try to find something on the brother, George Washington Bolen/Boland. George was found in the 1840, 1850 and 1860 census records in Kentucky, but I needed to find him before that time and maybe even the years between since he had moved around quite a bit. He was in the 1838-1841, 1846, and 1848 Tax Lists for Russell County, the 1842 in Casey County, and 1853 for Meade County. I found several nice surprises and more info to follow up on. There were other Bolens that I could check on for any connections. I found that George had paid tax on some land - another set of documents to check. Then I noticed one other Bolen was in most of the same tax lists wherever I found George, an Andrew Bolen. This could be an important lead.

One other important find was that in the 1840s and 1850s tax lists these could serve as an early census. If you don't check all the headings at the top you might miss it, but there was a column on the far right of a 2 page census that read "Number of Children Between the Ages of ..." This helped me to pinpoint the right George Bolen in each area as there was another George Bolen in one of these counties. By tracking the number of young children I was able to discern the older George Bolen from my younger one.

As to where I have gotten access to these Tax Lists, my first resource was the Indiana State Library being a close drive for me. They have a pretty nice collection on microfilm. And when I do make a trip to Kentucky, I have used the microfilm collection of the Kentucky Historical Society's library. I also rented microfilm through the Family History Library. That's nice to use when I need Tax Lists for states that are farther away. Of course, there are many free indexes that can be found on USGenweb. I'm an avid Tax List researcher and the more information I can find on my ancestors can only help me to fill in the time gaps. And, you never know what more you'll find.