Showing posts with label Laura George. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laura George. Show all posts

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ancestors in the War of the Rebellion

By Laura George From her blog The Great Ancestral Hunt 
Wonderful and informative story share about her ancestors who served in the Civil War: Asbury S. Gaskill and Webster T. Roth
          I never had that much interest in learning about the Civil War. Whatever I did know about it came from watching Gone With the Wind a gazillion times. I was obsessed however, with the histories of WWII. That interest came about from watching The Guns of Navarone in Junior High. And, I had a grandfather that served in WWII so I felt more of a connection to that historical event than I did to the Civil war. I even made a journey with my mother to the beaches of Normandy and to the WWII museum in Caen, France. But, now I'm finding myself engrossed in stories about the Civil War. Now that I have found ancestors that participated I feel I owe it to them to find out just what happened and what they went through.
I have two Great Great Grandfathers that served in the Civil War, or the War of the Rebellion as it was called back then. Both served for the Union. Asbury S. Gaskill, on my paternal grandmother's side and Webster T. Roth, on my paternal grandfather's side. Both served for Iowa, Asbury with the 4th Iowa Calvary and Webster with the 26th Iowa Infantry. Both had very different experiences. Asbury, who lived in Mount Pleasant where the 4th Iowa Calvary was based, enlisted in October of 1861and only served until April 1862 when he was discharged by the camp surgeon and sent home in what was listed as "a dying condition". Measles had swept through the barracks and Asbury had contracted it which led to him having "disease of the chest" or more commonly known as pneumonia. When he entered the service, he was a strong lad of eighteen years, able-bodied and working on the family farm. When he left the service just a few months later, he was "broken-down" and near death with a "depression of the chest of a few inches" which would cause him great pain all throughout the rest of his life. I have no pictures of Asbury, save this single image of his grave marker, located at Maple Grove Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas:

I also found this image of a fellow soldier who would have served with my great great grandfather Asbury as he also was in the Iowa 4th Calvary. His name was Hugh Ferguson and he too was from Mount Pleasant. I'm sure they knew each other and I feel like any connection I can find is another success in the Great Ancestral Hunt. :)

For my great great grandfather Webster Tyler Roth, the experience was quite different.  He enlisted in August, 1862 at the age of 19 in Clinton, Iowa.

Webster served the entire three years with the Iowa 26th Infantry, escaping death and disease many times over, participating in some of the biggest battles including Vicksburg, Arkansas Post and Chickasaw Bayou to name a few.  He was a drummer and would have carried a drum just like this:

Webster didn't get away from suffering injuries or getting sick.  He was nearly blinded when, making campfire atop a mountain near Chattanooga, the fire heated up the rock and small pieces began popping off, causing one to fly into Webster's eye causing permanent damage.  In his own handwriting, he tells about it on this History of Disability form:

"was on march to Chattanooga, halted to cook dinner. We built our fire upon rock and by the side of rock, necessarily so far we were in the mountains. The rock became intensely heated and small pieces burnt off one of which struck in my right eye."
I discovered a memoir written by Webster's fellow soldier who served with him in the 26th Infantry. Both of their companies fought side by side during most of the war. William Royal Oake's account of his time with the Iowa 26th gives me a unique insight to the day by day life of my great great grandfather during the Civil war. An insight to what he went through during his march through the South, what he endured and witnessed during the battles.

It is quite exciting to be able to recreate a life lived over 140 years ago. To shed new light and above all else, to remember.

My great great Grandfather, Webster Tyler Roth (middle row, second from the right) in a reunion photo with other band members of the 26th Iowa Infantry, probably taken 20-25 years after the end of the Civil War.
So today, I pay tribute to these two brave men and all those that have served and protected our country in the years following from the Great War to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We will never forget your service. William Royal Oakes photo

Memorial for the 26th Iowa Infantry

Saturday, August 10, 2013

At Odds: My Puritan and Quaker Heritage

A submission by Laura George from her blog, The Great Ancestral Hunt, about the Southwick Family of Salem, Mass. The Southwick family had close relations with the Phelps family in Salem.

I've been moved my many stories of my ancestors but none more so than that of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick and two of their children, son Daniel and daughter Provided who lived in Salem, Massachusetts.

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of  England were members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in a very puritanical Salem. They were persecuted, fined, whipped, thrown in prison and eventually banished for not following the Puritan ways. They were my 9th Great Grandparents (and 8th great grandparents of Winston Churchill and Richard Nixon, my second cousins, 8 generations removed) and their daughter, Provided, my 8th Great Grandmother. To find out the horrors your family members went through is gut-wrenching. What I find utterly unbelievable is that the Puritans, who left England because of religious persecution became persecutors themselves and many Quakers suffered terribly as a result. Even more shocking to me was to find out that the person who passed judgement on them was my own 9th Great Grandfather, Puritan and first Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Endicott:

"According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, "Under his authority the colony of Massachusetts Bay made rapid progress, and except in the matter of religious intolerance in which he showed great bigotry and harshness, particularly towards the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)" (including religious executions), "his rule was just and praiseworthy. Of him Edward Eggleston says: A strange mixture of rashness, pious zeal, genial manners, hot temper, and harsh bigotry, his extravagances supply the condiment of humour to a very serious history; it is perhaps the principal debt posterity owes him."
Quaker Trial, 17th Century

Because of the unfair treatment of their parents, having bear witness to the repeated lashings and imprisonments, Daniel and Provided decided not to participate in a church that was so persecuting and for this they were fined ten pounds each even though it was known they would not be able to pay. The Governor then issued an order in the General Court of Boston that Daniel and Provided would be sold as slaves to any English nation at Virgina or Barbados.  

This image shows my 9th great grandfather, Governor John Endicott attempting to sell my 8th great grandmother, Provided Southwick into slavery. The writing below the image reads:
"The attempted sale into slavery of Daniel and Provided Southwick, son of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick by Gov. Endicott and his minions, for being Quakers." I wanted to know more and after several days of research I came upon the book:
"Genealogy of the Descendants of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick of Salem Mass. The Original Emigrants, and the Ancestors of the Families Who Have Since Borne His Name (1881)

I've discovered that books on family Genealogy such as this one don't come cheap! In fact, some can be selling for hundreds of dollars! But, this book was totally worth the purchase as I uncovered so much more than what I had found previously. It included Historical Extracts such as this one: "Lawrence, Cassandra and their son Josiah were imprisoned at Boston for being Quakers and were kept there twenty weeks on a charge of violating a law enacted while they were in prison."

Quaker Meeting House, 17th Century

Eventually all Quakers were banned from setting foot in Massachusetts under "pain of death" although several risked imprisonment and even death by hanging in order to continue their ministry. Lawrence and Cassandra were banished and fled to Shelter Island, Long Island Sound, New York where Nathaniel Sylvester, the island's first white settler gave shelter to them and many other Quakers. Another except from the Southwick Genealogy book reads: "Lawrence and wife Cassandra went to Shelter Island, Long Island Sound, being banished under pain of death in 1659, and died there in the spring of 1660 from privation and exposure; his wife died three days after him."
It was really sad to discover that they died of starvation and exposure. Even though they weren't family members that I knew in the physical sense, they were still my grandparents, whose blood flows through my veins. I still had an ache in my heart for the way they died which seems completely unfair and unnecessary.
Yesterday, as I was sitting on my patio in the morning sun, sipping my favorite brand of coffee and enjoying the views over the lake, I thought about Lawrence, Cassandra and Provided and how this day, this moment of enjoyment is a result of all my ancestors, on both sides of my tree. Those who suffered humiliation and persecution, those that fought and died in war, those who endured hardships in the new lands and on the open prairies. Those that gave me life, protected me and loved me. I honor all of them by continuing my research, telling their stories and keeping memories alive.