52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 22:
Conflict
Family Finds Charter Oak

Civil War Conflict

When I began researching my ancestors who lived in Tennessee I presumed I would discover veterans of the worse conflict in US history, the American Civil War. Furthermore, I presumed any Civil War veterans I found would have served the Confederacy. However, to the contrary, I discovered three veterans of the Union army among my Tennessee ancestors. Two 2x and one 3x great-grandfathers, all three being my maternal grandfather’s ancestors. These discoveries led me to wonder what personal, familial, or public conflicts may have arisen from their choices to serve the Union. After all, Tennessee seceded from the US and joined the CSA.

Tennessee in the Civil War

Tennessee was the last state to secede in June 1861. The counties of eastern Tennessee voted against secession, while those in western and middle TN voted to leave the union. [1] My TN ancestors primarily lived in the eastern counties of Grainger, Knox and Union. In all likely hood, most the men of these counties joined Union regiments. Additionally, while researching these veteran ancestors’ families I discovered all three had brothers serving in Union regiments. For information about Tennessee during the Civil War search the TN State Library and Archives’ Civil War Resources. [2]

I have previously written about the American Civil War service of my great-grandfather David Osborne and my 2x great-grandfather William Rumple. [3, 4]

James Andrew Dyer, 1845-1915

My 2nd great-grandfather James Andrew Dyer was born in Grainger County, TN in 1845 to Anderson Dyer and Rachel Hubbs. I previously wrote about Anderson Dyer for the 2020 week 9 prompt Disaster. [5] James’ father died before he was born and his mother remarried soon after his birth. James, and his older brother Marion, lived with their mother and step-father as children and in the census are listed with the step-father’s surname, Damewood. [6]

James enlisted in Company A of the 1st TN Infantry in April 1863 for a term of 3 years and his brother Marion was in Company B. [7] The first year of James’ service was spent in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. Many of the locations where his company saw duty in eastern TN were likely familiar to James, including Strawberry Plains, Rogers’ Gap, Kingston, Knoxville, Marysville, and Beans Station. May to August 1864, the 1st TN Infantry was mostly in Georgia, including the siege of Atlanta. The regiment then returned to TN and mostly performed guard duty near the Cumberland Gap until they mustered out in August 1865. James received a $100 bounty for his service.

Dyer family tree

The family tree of my maternal grandfather, Major Grave Dyer. Both his grandfathers served in Union infantry regiments during the American Civil War.

After the war, James married Mary Shaver, 1849-1911, in Union County, TN on 23 December 1866. James and Mary were farmers in Union County near Luttrell and had 6 children survive to adulthood. James is enumerated in the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule and it indicates he suffered from neuralgia. [8] James died from chronic parenchymatous nephritis which is inflammation of the kidneys, and often called Bright’s disease, at the age of 70. Both James and Mary are buried in the Clear Branch Baptist Church Cemetery in Luttrell, TN.

James E. Koontz, 1840-1919

My 2nd great-grandfather James Elijah Koontz was born in Tennessee in 1840 to George Koontz and Sally Ezell. [9] James married Mary Major, 1842-1907, in Knox County in 1860. I have previously written about James E. Koontz for the 2020 week 13 prompt Nearly Forgotten. [10] James’ father George Koontz is a brick wall for me.

James enlisted in Company F of the 3rd TN Infantry in February 1862 for a period of 3 years. [11] James was made sergeant in June 1862. James’ regiment spent most of 1862 along the Ohio River. In 1863 they were in eastern TN and early 1864 found the regiment in Georgia, including the siege of Atlanta. At the end of 1864 the TN 3rd Infantry was part of the pursuit of Confederate General Hood and then later at the Battle of Nashville in December. James mustered out in February 1865 at the end of his term and received a $100 bounty. James’ older brother Solomon, 1838-?, served in the TN 9th Cavalry.

James E Koontz & Nelly

James and Mary had 7 children survive to adulthood. He lived his entire adult life as a farmer in Union County, TN near Maynardville. James is enumerated in the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule and his only complaint was “pain in his right side.” [12] James married for a second time in 1908 and had 2 children with his second wife. His daughter Myrtle Mae passed in 1995, it’s amazing to think someone with a father who served in the Civil War was alive that recently. I wonder if any children of Civil War veterans are alive today? James died in 1919 from complications of a hernia operation, he is buried in the Milan Cemetery west of Maynardville off state road 33.

Jacob Israel Shaver, 1823-1909

My 3rd great-grandfather Jacob Israel Shaver was born in North Carolina in 1823. [13] His parents (Peter Shaver and Catherine Miller) and siblings came to Knox County, Tennessee about 1832. Jacob married Elizabeth McAnally at Beans Station, Grainger County, TN in October 1846. [14] I previously wrote about the McAnally family for the 2021 week 8 prompt, Power. [15]

Jacob enlisted in Company A of the TN 10th Cavalry in August 1863 for a term of 3 years. [16] Jacob was made a sergeant in March 1864, but by November of that year he was sick and hospitalized. Jacob spent 6 months in the hospital at Knoxville before being discharged from the army in May 1865. The records do not indicate his ailment, I do not believe it was a wound because his company was primarily on guard duty for the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad during most of 1864. Jacob’s duty had him in the direct vicinity of his home just before he entered the hospital and I wonder how much that played into his disability.

Jacob had 4 brother’s who also served in Union regiments. His brother John Shaver, 1819-1864, died in a skirmish near Campbellsville, TN. Records describe him as being 6′ 4”! I have a scanned photo of Jacob’s brother George W. Shaver, 1828-1896, wearing a uniform. I presume Jacob had similar looks to his brother George who is described as 5’10” with black hair and gray eyes.

George Shaver 1828-1896

After the Civil War, Jacob and Elizabeth moved to Putnam County, TN which is about halfway between Knoxville and Nashville. I have not found Jacob in the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule, but he lived a long life and died in 1909 at age 86. His date of death is from his headstone in the Shaver Cemetery in Putnam County, I have not found a death record to discover the cause of death.

Conclusion

I was surprised to find three Union veterans among my Tennessee ancestors. And it made me wonder if I would find the classic story of brothers on opposite sides of the conflict. Instead, I found evidence my TN ancestors were from communities that supported the Union and whose brother’s were also Union soldiers during the American Civil War. These three ancestors volunteered to fight in a war that nearly tore our nation apart, but I don’t think they were conflicted about their choice.

SOURCES:

  1. Webpage, Wikipedia: Tennessee in the American Civil War; Accessed online: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_in_the_American_Civil_War
  2. Website, Tennessee State Library and Archives: Civil War Resources; Accessed online: https://www.tnsos.net/TSLA/cwsourcebook/index.php
  3. Blog post, Family Finds: David L. Osborne, Civil War Soldier; https://barblafara.com/david-l-osborne-civil-war-soldier/
  4. Blog post, Family Finds: Stormy Weather; https://barblafara.com/stormy-weather/
  5. Blog post, Family Finds: Disaster; https://barblafara.com/disaster/
  6. Entry for James A. Damewood, Census of the United States, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 14, Grainger, Tennessee; Roll: 880; Page: 120b
  7. Entry for James Dyre; National Archives, Record Group 94, Series: “Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, 1890 – 1912”, National Archives Identifier: 41508054; Accessed online: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/41508054
  8. Entry for James A. Dyer, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15; Census Year: 1890
  9. Profile for James E. Koontz, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/46585636848/facts
  10. Blog post, Family Finds: Nearly Forgotten; https://barblafara.com/nearly-forgotten/
  11. Entry for James Koontz; National Archives, Record Group 94, Series: “Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, 1890 – 1912”, National Archives Identifier: 41577806; Accessed online: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/41577806
  12. Entry for James E. Koontz, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15; Census Year: 1890
  13. Profile for Jacob I. Shaver, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12795885129/facts
  14. Entry for Jac I Shaver, Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002; Year: 1840-1849: Marriage Bonds (Loose Records), Microfilm: image 1206 of 1570.
  15. Blog post, Family Finds: Power; https://barblafara.com/power/
  16. Entry for Jacob Shaver; National Archives, Record Group 94, Series: “Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the American Civil War, 1890 – 1912”, National Archives Identifier: 41418364; Accessed online: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/41418364

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Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

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