Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Mexican War and the Brown County Blues

Decoration Day Parade in 1900

When there was a dispute with Mexico over the boundary of the new state of Texas, Congress voted men and money to go and settle the United States’ claim that the southwest boundary of the new state was the Rio Grande River. On May 18, 1846 President James K. Polk called for troops to carry on a war with Mexico. As always men from Brown County responded to the call for men. Our boys fought in the famous battles of Palo Alto, Buena Vista, Vera Cruz, and Chapultepec. By September 14, 1847 General Winfield Scott entered Mexico City and the war was at an end. Not only was the boundary settled, but we gained California, New Mexico and other parts of the southwest.

The Brown County men that stepped forward to raise a company of soldiers were James Taggart Jr., Thomas M. Adams, Patterson C. Parker, Williamson Wise, and Charles Bolt. A meeting was held at Georgetown and Nashville to enlist volunteers. James Taggart was elected Captain, Thomas M. Adams was First Lieutenant, Patterson C. Parker was Second Lieutenant, and Williamson Wise was Third Lieutenant. The company was assigned to the Third Indiana Regiment. The Brown County boys had already bought bright bluejeans for uniforms and the company was known as the “Brown County Blues” throughout the war.

There’s a story told down through the years of the death of Captain James Taggart on the battlefield. Captain Taggart received a mortal wound from a carbine ball. Stephen Kennedy who was near him picked him up and carried his captain into a deep ravine and remained with him to hear his last words. “Tell my folks to meet me in the good world. Be a good soldier, Kennedy. Go on to your company.” Captain Taggart lies buried on the battlefield where he died a soldier’s death.

Old Settlers Reunion in 1891 - Many were Veterans

Roster of Company E - Officers.: James Taggart Jr., Thomas M. Adams, Patterson C. Parker, Williamson Wise, Charles Bolt, Aaron D. Hedge, James Arwine, Joshua Janklles, Mason Watts, Lazarus Robertson, William S. Roberts, Isaac Lamsel, George Admire, Elias Weddle, John Calvin, Benjamin R. Kelley, Joshua Brummett, William Hamblen, and Thomas S. Calvin.

Privates: Joseph G. Arter, Charles Adams, Joshua Brummet Jr., James Brown, Reese Brummett, Caleb Bidwell, John Bolt, Thomas I. Breedlove, James Burns, John Calvin, George Comingore, Benjamin Callahan, Hanson Chase, Harmonious Cooley, George W. David, George W. Davis, William Davis, Stephen Debord, Joseph Fox, Cornelius Followell, Stephen Fread, Frederick Fleener, John Followell, Lewis Followell, Richard Goforth, Elijah Graham, John Gibson, Harrison Graham, David Hamblen, William Hatchet, William Hoover, Simeon Hubbard, Levi Hatton, Elisha Henley, William Hughes, Ephraim Hurley, Joshua Jackson, James Jackson, Stephen Kennedy, John H. Kennedy, Daniel King, Doherty, Logston, Abraham Lawless, Richard Lucas, Brackenridge Mason, Robert Marshall, Mathew Mathis, Alfred McGuire, George McKinney, Silas Morety, Martin Percifield, Philip Pike, Zachariah Polley, Misinor, Percifield, Hiram Reynolds, Joseph Robertson, John Robertson, William Robertson, William H. Raper, Alex Sturgeon, John L. Sumana (or Summa), Daniel Schrougham, James Shelton, ‘Squire’ Stewart, Henry Sipes, Lewis Tull, James W. Taggart, Mathew Wise, Theodore Whitney, Lewis Waggoner, William E. Weddle, and John Wilkins.

Benjamin R. Kelley who served in the war named these additional soldiers in his Day Book: John Brummett, Abraham Lollar , Lawrence Robertson, John Surrey, Stephen Fore, and Charles Roatt. Names gleaned from other sources were: George W. Marshall, John S. Kephart, and William H. McCarty.

Some of the above names may have been repeated due to differences in spelling found. If anyone can add to this list please let us know so we can add their names to our list of Mexican War soldiers who served from Brown County or later moved to Brown County.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Historic 1913 Flood - Where Was Your Ancestor?

Brown County in the 1913 Flood

I just realized I’ve been putting myself through an education not realizing what was occurring. When I became Archivist for our little local historical society I found there is so much more to historical documentation than just birth, death, and marriage records. I think as genealogists we are constantly looking for that new type of documentation that we had never known about before. There is a world of documents that have been created by governments, churches, and organizations that are endless. Even in a small community such as mine, our Archives is full of stories, and data that can be used to fill out a story, about your ancestor. This event or story was a part of their life!

Just watching the nasty weather this evening occurring here in Indiana brought to mind this topic for a blog post. Earlier this month I did a story on the 100th Anniversary of the 1913 Flood in Indiana. Doing research on the topic in our Archives and on-line I found gads of photos from all over the state. This brought to mind the term “historical context” again. Sometimes we get so involved in trying to find those dates that we forget that our ancestor lived during these historical events.

Martinsville in the 1913 Flood

I usually concentrate my research on Brown County, but my family lived in many parts of Indiana. The one photo that grabbed my attention was the flooding that occurred in Martinsville, Indiana. That date of 1913 stuck on my brain – Martinsville in the spring of 1913 – what happened then? It came back to me then. My 2nd great granduncle that I’ve been researching lived in Martinsville at that time. Wow, sudden realization, George Washington Brown was living in Martinsville in the 1910s (he died in 1915). He would have been 77 years old at the time of the flood. The homes and flooding in the photo is what his town looked like during that time period. Then I got to thinking, how did he handle this disaster especially at 77 years old? His wife, Rebecca Ann, would have been about 61 years old. They had living with them a grand daughter, Jessie Odetta, about age 8. They also had a son, George Washington Brown Jr. and his family living in the same town.

How did his family fare in the flood? Was he able to make it to his parents to see if they were okay? Many questions arise. What would be the next course of action if one wanted to check on these people at that time? Probably the next best thing would be to look at the old newspaper accounts. Our local newspaper had a pretty good story about the problems and heroic acts that occurred at the time in Brown County. This would be a great personal research project for any family historian. Look at major events that occurred during your ancestor’s lifetime. See if you can find someway to find the story, if not about your personal ancestor then maybe about the community they lived in or some of their neighbors. Okay, time for a research trip to Martinsville, Morgan County, Indiana.