I fully believe that it is up to each one of us to take care of our history. Men and women through the generations have died for our rights and liberties. Whether it be family chart, library or quiet battlefield, soil rich with our ancestors blood, we are the caretakers of what they have given down to us trusting we will take the job seriously. I wish I understood why a Walmart is more important than a battle field or why richly appointed board rooms was more important than a library. Higher government, don't you think you can do without one less Cross pen or skim 10 percent off your entertainment budget just to save ONE Library. America, wake up!
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I find myself sitting at my desk with three of my ancestor's folders in front of me and trying to put the pieces together. I have to admit that for the first half of my life I was hooked on European history and could care less about American history. I liked it; it was okay but European, the Tudor period, and the intrigue! And sadly, I do know more about Medieval England than I do the Colonies and the States. Or that "was" the case. At the time I didn't know my connections to the War and too, I remember being able to quote that I had ancestors in the Civil War but I still had no investment in it even if I was proud of this fact. Now the investment is there. And maybe at the time, the Civil War, to me, was too recent of history. Until I started to sink into the thrilling world of family genealogist that is. Now, I have the investment and over the past five years I have had a gaining curiosity about the history of the States. This is solely because of my ancestry. I would never have known a thing about Manakin, Virginia, had I not found I am a descendent of William Witt. He is on the Huguenot Society webpage as unproven as a first settler there. I have always been interested in the Revolutionary War but politics, I have to say, bore me to death and that is always a big part of a War. I never tested well in my History classes. Dates, names and places, eh, okay, they are important but I always wanted to know about the people, not just the famous but Joe Smith that no one knew. My thirst for knowledge these days is unquenched. And it is broadening. Two years ago finding the Unit my ancestor in was enough, now I want to learn about that Unit. And, a tiny confession here, I missed the first part of Geneabloggers Blog Talk Radio this past Friday evening so I was listening to the podcast of it today at work and I think I might have gone a little fan girl crazy listening to Angela Walton-Raji. She has such enthusiasm in her voice and her knowledge bank is amazing, when she talks about her specialty topics she promotes that enthusiasm and I will say that sitting at my desk was very hard to do, I wanted to get right home and dive into some research. Thank you, Angela, and I look forward to hearing more of your talks.
Also, yesterday, I sat in on Michael Hait's webinar about Researching Your Civil Was Ancestor's and he mentioned a couple scenarios' I might have. One, an ancestor that may have fought for both army's and two, Jane Edwards Duncan was on the 1890 Veteran's Schedule Census and her deceased husband, George Washington Duncan was a Confederate Soldier. In this webinar it was mentioned that usually this Schedule was mainly listing Union and on some occasions Confederate's were found on this Schedule. In this case, lucky me!
So now I am revisiting these three men to take another more educated look at them.
So, these folders. I have a father and son: George Washington Duncan (father) and William Franklin Duncan (son). And then there is Hugh Wilson Baldwin. George and William were born in North Carolina. The family moved to Tennessee (Washington County in 1860) and it looks like William stayed in Tennessee when the family went back to North Carolina. William was 18 on the 1860 Census in Washington County, Tennessee, and Hugh Wilson Baldwin lived in Tennessee (Bradley County), I am unsure yet where he was born. So let's start with George and William. In the Civil War Questionnaire that I have for William, he stated George had fought in the Mexican War. I haven't started to research that yet but he said nothing about the Civil War which surprises me. Then comes the confusion about George. I overlooked his service several times because the age of George Duncan was 29 and he couldn't be that young. But then milling through the records at Footnote, I came across his service record and sure enough it was my George Washington Duncan as that file was holding the documentation of his wife applying for his pension. George died in the war of illness in Knoxville, Tennessee. I have yet to find out where he is buried. So either a clerical error was made in his age or that was what he told them. He would have been approximately 39 when he mustered in. The next thing.. George fought for the Confederate Army 29th North Carolina Regiment and William fought for the Union Army 4th Regiment Tennessee Calvary. I am left thinking about these two men and what kind of relationship they might have had. They were both in Washington County Tennessee when the 1860 US Census was taken. What made George go back to North Carolina and muster in? He ended up fighting and dying in Tennessee. And what made William decided to be a Federal serviceman? His Civil War Questionnaire gave no clues to either his relationship with his father or the choices he made. The only thing I see is that he did not mention George being in the Civil War.
Then I have Hugh Wilson Baldwin.. My man of two armies. Maybe. I am not yet convinced. First there is the Confederate service record in Co. A, 62nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (Rowan's Regiment). He was 19 and enrolled in Sweet Water Tennessee, Bradley County. In this he became a prisoner of war at the Battle of Vicksburg and signed a document stating he would not take up arms against the United States of America again. This is dated July 8th, 1863. I have his pension file and it states he enrolled at age 23 the 3rd day of February, 1864 at Charleston, in Co. I 10th regiment of Tennessee Calvary Volunteers. The ages have me a bit hung up and there is no mention of his Confederate service in this file but this file is full of information given by his wife Deborah Louise Cowden Duncan and his friends in affidavits about his failing health once home after the war was over. He died when he was 40. Only one thing will prove any of this for me and that would be finding his signature. I have his signature on the Vicksburg Prisoner of War document. He was already deceased by the time this Pension application was started so I don't have his signature there. I found some documentation on Footnote but no signature there either. So that will be a project finding some other legal document he would have signed.
And then a funny coincidence. See the Captain's signature on Hugh's Prisoner of War document below? I about fell off my chair at first thinking my William Duncan signed the same document that Hugh W. did. Wouldn't that be something!? This William Duncan was of an Illinois unit and my William Duncan signs a very bold "William F. Duncan" on every document I have found with his signature. It is always a full signature. That would have been a great family story because of the future. William Franklin Duncan's son, David Washington Duncan, married Hugh Wilson Baldwin's daughter, Carrie Anne Baldwin.