Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Friday, November 28, 2014

#39--John Hannah-Civil War Veteran, Serving in the the Western Theater

Flag carried by the 62nd Illinois
This is the second part of my blog on John Wesley Hannah and his service in the Civil War.  Since I have a good deal of information about him and not a lot of time right now, I decided that breaking this up into three entries would be appropriate.

While John returned to his home in Edgar County after his 3 month enlistment, he continued to be involved in the war efforts.  According to his biography in the History of Bates County, John was instrumental in organizing Company K of the 62 Infantry.  On December 9, 1861, John joined the Illinois 62 in Coles County, Illinois.  On April 10, 1962 John Wesley Hannah was mustered in as a2nd lieutenant for 3 years, receiving $105.50 for each month of service.  Twelve days later, on April 22, 1862, the company moved to Cairo, Illinois, then to Paducah, Ky., May 7 and to Columbus, Ky., June 7, 1862.  The 62nd then moved to Crockett Station, Tennessee, where its task was to guard the tracks of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  A little research about railroads during the Civil War, and I found that troops and supplies were moved by rail.  To keep the enemy from destroying the tracks, they were guarded by troops.  

The 62nd stayed in Tennessee through the Fall of 1862. On December 3, the 62nd moved to Jackson Tennessee, and then on to Grand Junction.  In December of 1862 the 62nd was involved in the raid by General Grant on Holly Springs.   After Holly Springs had been captured on December 13, 1862 General Grant left about 200 men there and returned to Jackson, Tennessee and then on to Grand Junction.  A week later on December Van Dorn for the Confederates retook Holly Springs, and paroled 170 men, including the Major and 3 Lieutenants, from the 62nd.  Van Dorn also destroyed all the regimental equipment, supplies, and papers.  I do not know whether or not John was one of the lieutenants that were captured and paroled.

Harper’s Weekly described the events at Holly Springs as follows:

WE publish …illustrations of HOLLY SPRINGS, Mississippi, lately occupied by our troops. This little town, one of the prettiest and most salubrious in the State of Mississippi, was for a long time occupied by the rebel army of the Southwest. They were driven out of it early last month by General Grant, who pushed through it and on to Oxford. Since then the rebels, or rather some guerrilla band claiming to act on behalf of the rebels, fell upon a couple of companies of infantry whom General Grant had left at Holly Springs, captured and paroled them; so that, to the best of our knowledge, at present Holly Springs is in the hands of the insurgents. It is situate on the line of the Mobile and Ohio railway, and is about twenty miles south of Grand Junction, and twenty-eight miles north of Oxford.

Railroad Depot
Rebel Armory

Holly Springs

After their defeat at Holly Springs, the 62nd remained at Grand Junction until April 18 when it moved to LaGrange, Tennessee.  From January 5 until February 28, 1863, John was on detached service as Field Officer of the Day at Jackson, Tennessee.  On June 7, 1863, John was promoted to a 1st Lieutenant.  He also was due extra pay as the Company’s Bounty Officer.  During the Civil War, money (bounty) was paid to men who enlisted and I assume John was the person who recruited for Company K, Illinois 62 and paid the bounty to them.

To be continued

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#38--John Wesley Hannah --Civil War Veteran, Serving in Illinois

Since Veterans’ Day was last week, I thought I would blog about one of my veteran ancestors—John Wesley Hannah.  I knew that my great grandfather, John Wesley Hannah (1838-1899) had fought in the Civil War.  So when I wanted to know more about what he did and where he went, I did two things:  I got his records from the National Archive and also began to research the history of his units.  There is an incredible about of information on the Civil War on the internet, but I primarily used Ancestry.com and the sites that focused on units on Illinois that I found on the internet.   By putting the sources of information together, I have some idea of where he and his company were, and what he was doing.  So my blog focuses on John Wesley in the Civil War.  Because I have a great deal of information about John and his service, I plan on using two to three postings to cover it.

But first, a little background information.  John Wesley Hannah was born in Prairie Township, Edgar County, Illinois, near the current town of Chrisman on February 9, 1838.  He was the youngest son of John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah.  In about 1830 his parents moved to Edgar County from Brown County, Ohio.  In 1850, he was living with his two older brothers (George Newell and Oliver) and three sisters (Albertine , Mary Sayres, and Catherine), his mother having died in 1842, when he was four years old.  His three sisters, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, and Nancy, had married and were living in Edgar County.  In 1860, John was living with his father, his sister, Albertine and his niece, Charity Conrey, whose parents had died .    His sister, Mary Sayres,  had also died.   It is presumed that as a child John helped on his father’s farm, attended school in Prairie Township, and then school in Bloomington, Illinois.  According to the 1860 Census, John was a student of medicine. 

Abraham Lincolcn
On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking each state to raise their militia to defeat the states that were trying to succeed from the United States.   Therefore, Governor Yates convened the Illinois legislature to organizing the militia.  Since it was believed that the war was not going to last too long, men were asked to enlist for a period of 3 months.

 John W. Hannah joined the 12th Infantry Illinois at Paris, Illinois for a term of 3 months on April 18, 1861.  He was mustered in at Springfield, Illinois on May 2, 1861.  At the time of his enlistment, he was described as 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall with dark hair and grey eyes.  His occupation was a farmer.  

Ship at Warf at Cairo
The 12th was moved to Cairo, Illinois where it performed garrison duties until the soldiers were mustered out on August 1, 1861. I thought Cairo was a strange place to spend three months as a soldier, but I found that the city sits where that the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge.  Controlling that spot mean that whoever held it would be able to control traffic, and hence move troops and supplies, on the river.  On August 1, 1861, John mustered out and returned to Edgar County.  For his service, John received $13.00 per month.

To be continued next week--

Thursday, November 6, 2014

#37--Michael Metcalf--Have a seat

Time for a little some thing different—a piece of furniture.  Several  years ago, I was in Dedham, Massachusetts at the Dedham Historical Society, where I was able to see the Metcalf chair.  Michael Metcalf, the owner of the chair,  was my 8th great grandfather.  I thought it was a pretty impressive and attractive antique chair.  However, when I searched for information about it, I learned a great deal more. According to The American Promise (2012), the carvings on the back of the chair are like those on a gravestone—wings symbolizing the soul’s ascent into heaven, Michael Metcalf’s initials and the date.  In addition, there is a storage compartment under the seat of the chair, presumably for the storage of books and the sides of the chair are solid, which makes the chair warmer than if the sides were open.  Something that would be important in New England winters.

So just who was Michael Metcalf?  A little online research gave me a great deal of information about him.  He was born in Tatterford, England about 1590.  In 1616 he married Sarah Elwyn and together they had  11 children.  Michael was a successful  dormix (damask cloth)  weaver, employing over 100 people.  More importantly, he was a Puritan and was persecuted for his beliefs by Bishop Wren, who took away his property  and charged him with treason.

In his own words:

"To all the true professors of Christ’s Gospel within the city of Norwich:

. . . I was persecuted in the land of my father’s sepulchres, for not bowing at the name of Jesus, and observing other ceremonies in religion, forced upon me, at the instance of Bishop Wren, of Norwich, and his chancellor Dr. Corbet, whose violent measures troubled me in the Bishop’s Court, and returned me into the High Commissioner’s Court. Suffering many times for the cause of religion, I was forced, for the sake of the liberty of my conscience, to flee from my wife and children, to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London, the 17th of Sepr 1636; being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following, then veering about to Plymouth in Old England, in which time I met with many sore afflictions."

"Leaving the ship, I went down to Yarmouth, in Norfolk county, whence I shipped myself and family, to come to New England; sailed 15th April, 1637, and arrived three days before midsummer, with my wife, nine children and a servant."

"…my enemies conspired against me to take my life, and, sometimes, to avoid their hands, my wife did hide me in the roof of the house, covering me over with straw."

Michael Metcalf and his family made their home in Dedham, Massachusetts.  He signed the Dedham Covenant, was made a freeman, and was elected a selectman.  Between 1656 and 1661, he was the town school teachers.  Michael Metcalf died on December 1664.

If I were able to talk to Michael Metcalf, I would have several questions for him.  Who made the chair?  Where did you get it and how much did you pay for it?  I also would like to know what he kept in the compartment of the chair and if they were books, which books they were.  I also would like to know his experiences as a teacher in Dedham.

The American Promise, Volume A: A History of the United States: To 1800
 By James L. Roark, Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Susan M. Hartmann