Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mother Load - Tennessee Historical Committee Civil War Questionnaire

It has taken me forever but I have -finally- transcribed a document I have had a year or two. This is part of my Re-Do project that is taking me way too long. Way too long! So I did it.. I picked up William Franklin Duncan's file to add to the new database exactly what I have as documentation. Once done with this new database project I will then compare it to all the information I "know" and don't have proof for it and I will go find it, then start on the holes! Phew. I am exhausted!
Here is a lesson about letting documents sit too long without transcribing. Can we say missing out on a lot of information??
George Washington Duncan and Jane Elizabeth Edwards will be fun to sort out. Looking at dates, he could have been in the Mexican War if I have his birth date right, abt 1820. The death information I have for him from the book "North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster" compiled by Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr. has him listed dying at 29 years old during the Civil War. And, truthfully, do you know how many George Washington Duncan's there are? The North Carolina State Archives sent me this tidbit photocopy of George's death when I was tracking down Jane Edwards Duncan pension claim.
This is a very long post, my apologies….
State of Tennessee
Tennessee Historical Committee
Department of Libraries, Archives and History
John Trotwood Moore, Director
NOTE – Should this Questionnaire fall into the hands of one who is not a Veteran of the Civil War, or who did not live during those days, you will confer a favor on this Department by giving it to some Solider who has not received a copy, or return to us.
The chief purpose of the following questions is to bring out facts that will be of service in writing a true history of the Old South. Such a history has not been written. By answering these questions you will make a valuable contribution to the history of your State.
In case the space following any question is not sufficient for your answer, you may write your answer on a separate piece of paper. But when this is done, be sure to put the number of the question on the paper on which the answer is written, and number the pages on the paper on which you write your answer.
Read all questions before you answer any of them. After answering the questions here given, if you desire to make additional statements, I would be glad for you to add just as much as you desire.
  • State your full name and present post office address: William Franklin Duncan, Tasso Tennessee.
  • State your age now: I am Eighty years and four months old.
  • In what State and county were you born? In Ashe now Alleghany County, North Carolina.
  • Were you a Confederate or Federal soldier? Federal Soldier, Civil War.
  • Name of your Company? M? 4th Tenn Cav (B) Number of Regiment? 4th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers. I was credited to Washington County Tennessee.
  • What was the occupation of your father? Farmer
  • Give full name of your father: George Washington Duncan Born at Sparta in the County of Ashe now Alleghany State of North Carolina. He lived at in Ashe County, NC and Washington County, Tennessee. Give also any particulars concerning him, as official position, ware services, etc., books written by, etc. He was a farmer and ex Mexican Volunteer Soldier.
  • Maiden name in full your mother. Jane Elizabeth Edwards. She was the daughter of William Edwards and his wife Nancey Edwards. Who lived at Near Gap Civil, Ashe County, North Carolina.
  • Remarks on ancestry. Give here any and all facts possible in reference to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., not included in the foregoing, as were they lived, offices held, Revolutionery or other war services; what country the family came from to America; first settled, county and State; always giving full names (if possible), and never referring to an ancestor simply as such without giving the name. It is desirable to include every fact possible, and to that end the full and exact record from old Bibles should be appended on separate sheets of this size, thus preserving the facts from loss: (answer) John Duncan great grandfather a soldier of Revolutionary War 1776. John Duncan Grandfather soldier of 1812. George W Duncan father volunteer Mexican War. William Edwards great grandfather an Englishman first settled in New York. William Edwards grand father first settled in Penn and then in N.C. Nancy Edwards and Duncan was from Ireland.
  • If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property as near as you can: Father owned a farm.
  • Did you or your parents own slaves? If so, how many? No, did not own slaves.
  • If your parents owned land, state about how many acres: About 100 acres.
  • State as near as you can the value of all the property owned by your parents, including land when the war opened: About 100 acres worth $500.00.
  • What kind of house did your parents occupy. State whether it was a log house or frame house or (can't read)…the number of rooms it had. (Can't read) Country Log House.
  • As a boy and young man, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm.. (copy blacked out): As a boy I worked on the farm… public and private school… (copy blacked out)
  • State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember, that is, cooking, spinning, weaving, etc.: Father George W Duncan was a farmer, owned land and mill worked on the farm and run the mill at times. Mother done house work cooking spinning and weaving making our wearing apparel.
  • Did your parents keep any servants? If so, how many? No slaves, only domestic white girls.
  • How was honest toil – as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class – regarded in your community? Was such work considered respectable and honorable? Yes respectable by every body.
  • Did the white men of your community generally engage in such work? Yes.
  • To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them? No idleness was not tolerated.
  • Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by their actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves? In verriable did associate together as friend and citizens.
  • At the churches, at the schools, at public gatherings in general, did slave-holders and non-slave-holders mingle on a footing of equality? In verriable so without (can't read) up to 1860.
  • Was there a friendly feeling between slave-holders and non-slave-holders in your community, or where they antagonistic to each other? Naborly and friends up 1860.
  • In a political contest in which one candidate owned slaves and the other did not, did the fact that one candidate owned slaves help hire in any winning the contest? I think not.
  • Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man, honest and industrious, to save up enough to buy a small farm or go in business for himself? It was and enough (can't read) person takin advantage of the opportunity.
  • Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something out of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders? Every body was encouraged to work and be honest.
  • What kind of school or schools did you attend? Public schools 3 to 5 months and private schools after public schools expired.
  • About how long did you go to school altogether? More or less each year to 1860.
  • How far was it to the nearest school? Four to Five miles.
  • What school or schools were in operation in your neighborhood? Public and private subscription schools.
  • Was the school in your community private or public? Public and private.
  • About how many months in the year did it run? Three to five… months.
  • Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly? They did
  • Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or woman? Men.
  • In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the service of Confederacy or of the Federal Government? I William F Duncan was enlisted for Company M. 4th Regt Tenn Cavalry United States Army May 6th 1864 and Credited to Washington County Tenn. I was offered $750.00 to be credited to New York City as substitute for New York.
  • After enlistment, where was your Company sent first? To Nashville Tennessess to Camp Catleft(?).
  • How long after enlistment before your Company engaged in battle? Stoneman Raid into Georgia in June or July 1864. Sherman Campaign.
  • What was the first battle you engaged in? I was on Detached service at a block house guarding a R R Bridge near Decatur Ala. Until Battle of the Gulphen(?) (?) and capture of the 3rd Tenn Cav
  • State in your own way your experience in the War from this time on to its close. State where you went after the first battle – what you did, what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept what you had to eat, how you were exposed to cold, hunger and disease. If you were in hospital or in prison, state your experience here.: While on Detached service sergeant in charge of 100 one hundred men having to occupy to Block House contracted fever and bowel trouble and was in a rail road and injured treated in hospital at Nashville Tennessee and AL Jeffersonville Ind(?)
  • When and where were you discharged? July 12th 1865 at Nashville Tennessee
  • Tell something of your trip home: I landed at home in Jonesboro Washington County Tennessee in July 1865.
  • What kind of work did you take up when you came back home? Work on the farm (?) corn for a nabor for one peck of corn per day.
  • Give a sketch of your life since the close of Civil War, stating what kind of business you have engaged in, where you have lived, your church relations, etc. If yo have held any office or offices, state what it was. You may state here any other facts connected with your life and experience which has not been brought out by questions.: I began work on the farm farming merch clerking in a county store in Washington County Tennessee I have lived in Bradley County Tennessee 40 years was Census Enumerator in 1890, 1990 and 1910 Justice of the Peace Member of County Court(?) Notary Public for years Depot and express Agent seven years Pension agent or Attorney. Clerk in store and assist Post Master at Tasso Bradley County Tennessee for last ten years up to the present time. A Master Mason Chatatta Lodge F&H M(?wondering if this means Free Mason, David W, his son, and John Foster Duncan, his grandson, were Masons as well -- transcribers comment). Member of the Christian Church,
  • On a separate sheet give the names of great men you have known or met in your time, and tell some of the circumstances or meeting or incidents in their lives. Also add any further personal reminiscences. (Use all the space you want.): (2 attached sheets but had to do with both of his wives, not this question.)
  • (can't read this question but it is about the Roster of his company and when people died. I will try to transcribe at another time, there is a lot of black copy to try to read through).
  • Give here the NAME and POST OFFICE ADDRESS of living Veterans of the Civil War, whether members of your Company of not; whether Tennesseans or from other States: (In this space William writes.. Isn't it fabulous!?) I, William F Duncan Co M 4th Regt Tennessee Cavalry that is living that I know any thing of at present time. When I left Hospital I was sent to Vicksburg Miss and to New Orleans La there to Fort Barrancus Florida thru to Mobile Ala then marched by (?) to Baton Rouge La then to Nashville Tennessee by boat. Excuse me for taken up so much time, yours very truly, Wm F Duncan, Tasso Tennessee. My own hand writing, age 80 years old.
 Attached Sheet 1:
Honorable John Trotwood Moore
Director Nashville Tenn
1,1 1923 Dear Sir
In reply to yours of (?) date I give you further history of myself after the Civil War. I was 1st Lieut of Co E 2nd Regt NC State Troops and (?) of the Regt and was elected Lieut Colonel of same. I married Martha Jane Hensley Sept 28th, 1865. She was mother of one sone David Washington Duncan borned March 24th 1867. He was a member of lower house of Tennessee Legislature. He was killed by Rail Road train near Cleveland Tennessee March 24th 1922. On his birthday on a crossing. He was stock inspector for Tennessee appointed by Capt Peck and Governor A A Taylor. I am yours truly,
William F Duncan
Tasso Tennessee
Attached Sheet 2:
Honorable John Trotwood Moore
Nashville Tennessee
1, 1 1923 Dear Sir,
On March the 12th 1871 I was married to Malissa Christina Briggs she was the mother of Martha E Duncan borned 8, 13 1873 now living John Thomas Duncan born January 21 1877 living William L Duncan 1, 17, 1879 living Marvin D Duncan 11, 22, 1881 died 7, 6, 1902 Isham F Duncan 1, 1, 1884 living. Oscar L Duncan 2, 16, 1886 died at Donelson Tenn 3, 31, 1921 Fredric R Duncan April 8, 1889 died 6, 8, 1890 Evan P Duncan 2, 12, 1892 now living.
My wife Malissa Christina Duncan died Nov. 5 1921. Member of the Christian Church
I am yours William F Duncan
Tasso Tennessee


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Neglect and Paying it Forward - Find a Grave

I have taken a few months off of research. Yet again. What was a couple of weeks has turned into quite a while but I tend to do that with everything I do. I knit like a fiend for a couple of weeks, spin like a fiend for a couple of weeks, research like a fiend for a couple of weeks, rinse and repeat. At one point I thought I should give up a hobby to balance myself out but I have come to accept my "cycle of life".
With that comes some guilt. I have gotten some leads from some very nice people. Emails and posts on Ancestry boards and one on this blog even! Blogging, people! If you are not a blogger, you should be. I had no idea what or why I wanted to do a blog but you know, I don't have anything important to say and I am not a teaching type blogger but I have gotten some very significant leads on my research from those Googling my ancestors! And there have been a few inquiries on my Duncan surname and ugh, I feel so bad because last week I wanted to sit at my spinning wheel, not here. One gentleman I let know I haven't been working on my research and was taking a short break, I can just imagine him scratching his head and looking at his other half and saying, "Whatta mean she is taking a break?" Do researchers do that? It boggles the mind.
I will say it is the research community on blogs and Facebook that keep me inspired and chomping at the bit to get back at it. I see some very productive people on my Facebook feed and many times sigh and say, "Gosh, come on Lighthouse, let's get moving here already!" Please don't look at my feed, it is all Frontierville. (Hangs her head in shame.)
To, my redo project is stalling me. I have posted on this project before. Brand new data base, the only thing going into this database is what I -actually- have as documentable proof in the new data base. I have gotten to the heavy material files and there came the …. Errrch… stall, let's go do something else mode. If I could train myself to even do a half hour a day when I get home from work to get these documents into RM4 and sourced, I would be so much farther ahead. Do I hear a New Year's theme coming? 2011 is going to be "Lets improve a little bit of everything", not a resolution but lifestyle enhancement. I really think I need to clean up the old information before I go for new information so… that is my plan even if it is taking months longer than I expected or allowed myself. I am very distracted by shiny. I need supervision.
All is not lost to the research community, however. For the time not spent at this desk researching, and or goofing off online, I have been running about my county as a Find a Grave volunteer. I can't tell you how much joy and pleasure I get from doing this. It is something I do with my 20 year old daughter, she enjoys it just as much and she is very good at finding the headstones we are looking for. I am sure she finds them more than I do. Her friends think I am "cool" because I hang out at cemeteries. College kids think I am cool!! It is good quality time with her and we have fun. We have stories that make us laugh and some day she will look back on these days and remember, and smile, while maybe, just maybe, doing this with her future daughter. And, it is good therapy, when I step into a cemetery on the hunt, the world goes away and family stress can be forgotten for a little while. The holidays this year is turning out to be very difficult so there has been a lot of Find a Graving!

For those of you that might be thinking about doing Find a Grave picture requests, you should! It is fun and a wonderful way to pay it forward. I have had some very nice people collect headstone pictures for me in Tennessee, only one of my original eight requests is still there unfulfilled and you learn the cemeteries in your area.
Yesterday we went to a very small cemetery that is no longer taken care of. I couldn't find the stone that was requested and I will report to the requester what I found. It saddened me that a cemetery could be so overgrown and neglected it. It is right behind a house, in some trees and very overgrown with thorn bushes, it is a mess and it shouldn't be that way. The majority of the stones are broken, laying in pieces or no longer readable.

So now after my word purge, I am going to work on the Briggs a bit I think! Woot for research!
Current leads:

Delothe "Dolly" Briggs may be the daughter of Frederick Briggs hung in 1789 in Virginia for horse thievery. It could be, I have her birth figured to be about 1785. I have her 1860 census saying she is 75 and her 1870 census were it looks like it says she is 80 so one or the other census is incorrect. I am still looking for more censuses. I have guessed she died in 1885 (per information of another family researcher in my family) but have not found her on the 1880 census as yet. She has been a mystery ancestor of mine and I wish I could have known her. Never married and with 5 children I think it is without looking at my records. How did a woman in the early 1800's not marry like that and what was her life like. I am dying to know.

Elizabeth "Betsey" Stockton. A very nice man from the Stockton family has contacted me with some valuable information. I had a bit of the information but no documentation. This documents my line, always a good thing; she is of the Stockton family of Virginia. They were very wealthy in their time.

And the Duncan clan. I have been contacted by other Duncan researchers also descended from my John Duncan to George Washington Duncan of North Carolina line. There is a reunion every year for ancestors of John Duncan; he had a lot of wives during his time. I have asked my sister to think about it and I think we may plan a trip to NC in 2011 for this reunion, which means, I better get some more work done on this line so I can walk into this reunion sounding like I know what I am doing when it comes to my Duncan's!! :)

Happy Holiday's to you and yours, whatever your Holiday of choice may be!!

Some pictures of that cemetery I mentioned above, Benham Cemetery, Ontario County NY: