23 October 2017

Did He or Didn't He? Isaac Z Shelton's Civil War Service, Part 4

This is the final post of a four-part series examining whether or not Isaac Z Shelton served in the military during the Civil War. The previous posts outlined
  1. a research plan for examining the question, 
  2. the pension applications Isaac submitted in Tennessee and Georgia, 
  3. and other documents and databases related to the question.

A Question's Answer

Did Isaac serve in the military during the Civil War? The evidence examined points to a negative answer. 

No service record was located for a soldier who matches Isaac's claimed service.

While the information he provided on his various pension applications corresponds with an actual regiment in the Confederate army, and mentions actual people who served with the regiment, the details eventually did not correlate to a serving soldier. In addition, the details changed between the documents, even the two Georgia applications filed within three years of each other.

16 October 2017

Did He or Didn't He? Isaac Z Shelton's Civil War Service, Part 3

In part two of this series, I examined three Civil War pension applications I located for Isaac Z Shelton. The information gleaned from those documents shows that while Isaac, and after his death, his wife, Amanda, did receive a pension from the state of Georgia, the question of whether or not Isaac served in the military during Civil War remains undetermined.

Civil War Service Records

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System

The National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is primarily sourced from the Compiled Military Service Records (CSR) of Union and Confederate soldiers, Navy documents, and regiment and battle histories. Individual records in the database include pointers to the CSR microfilm roll.

Searching for Isaac Shelton in the CWSS database revealed no results. He did not appear using various spellings of his name including Isaac, Isa, Iza, and Ike.

Isaac's pension applications listed a few names which do appear in the database. Colonel Stanton's entry indicates he was with the 28th Consolidated Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry. The entry lists microfilm M231 Roll 41 as the source of data. Stanton was listed as one of the commanding officers when Isaac said he enlisted.

Compiled Military Service Records

My local library has microfilm copies of most, if not all, of the Civil War compiled military service records. Examining the records for the 28th Tennessee regiment, Isaac was not listed.

Other Resources

The library also has a sizable collection of relevant books concerning the Civil War including
  • Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865, Vols. 1 & 14, Ed. Janet B. Hewett, (Broadfoot Publishing Company: Wilmington, 1995).
  • Tennesseans in the Civil War (Nashville, 1964-1965).
In Tennesseans in the Civil War, Part 2, I located an Iza Shelton who served in the 28th Tennessee Infantry in Company C, though the entry did not list a rank. In his first pension application, Isaac said he served in the same company and regiment. 

The introduction to Tennesseans in the Civil War listed its sources as muster rolls from the National Archives, contemporary local newspapers within Tennessee, regimental and other histories, county histories, personal letters, and tombstones. Unfortunately the book did not list sources for each individual entry.

08 October 2017

Did He or Didn't He? Isaac Z Shelton's Civil War Service, Part 2

In my last post I introduced a research question and plan regarding Isaac Z Shelton's possible Civil War military service. This post continues the process.

Pension Applications

Pension applications are useful records for determining if an ancestor was in the military during the 18th or 19th centuries. The applications usually contain information on years and location served, as well as the unit or units the applicant served with.

For the Civil War period, locating pension application records first requires determining which side of the conflict your ancestor was on. Information for Union pensions can be found at NARA as part of Record Group 15 of the Veterans Administration. For Confederate soldiers, you have to go to the state in which they applied as pensions were granted by the individual states.

First Attempt - 1892

Isaac Z Shelton spent most of his life as a resident of Tennessee. The Tennessee State Library and Archives "Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications" collection includes a name index which included an "Iza Shelton," a name by which I have previously found my Isaac Z Shelton. Iza applied for a soldier's pension, application number S1038, in White County, Tennessee, stating he had served with the 28th Infantry.

Locating with the application number allowed me to better use FamilySearch's "Tennessee, Confederate pension application, soldiers and widows, 1891-1959," digitized application records from the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Isaac's application, filed 6 May 1892, includes several interesting details from both a service and family perspective.

  • Isaac said he served with Company C of the 28th Regiment, enlisting in the "fall or winter of 1864" serving under "Col[onel] Stanton and Capt[ain] Hughs."
  • He said he was thrown from his horse and broke his thigh bone and dislocated his hip while scouting for "Batie's men" in Overton County, Tennessee. He claimed this injury caused him to be disabled. "Batie" likely referring to David Beaty, a Unionist who began fighting in Tennessee as a guerrilla in early 1862.
  • At the time of the application, Isaac's family included his wife and four children, for whom he provided ages: his wife was 41, his three daughters were 18, 10, and 5, and his son was 2.
  • He valued his property, both real and personal, at $75.
Isaac's 1892 application was rejected, though no reason was entered.

Second Attempt - 1923

Isaac and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1918. In 1923 he submitted another application for a pension as a Confederate soldier, this time in Georgia. Although again rejected, this time for lack of proof of service, the application, filed 30 October 1923, includes additional information about the family.

  • Isaac said he served with the Confederate army enlisting in 1862 with Company A of the 25th Tennessee infantry as a private, serving under Colonel Sid Stanton and Lieutenant Bill Windfeld. After two years he said he transferred to Company G, serving until discharged at Carthage, Tennessee, after the surrender in the spring of 1865.
  • He said he was captured by Union forces in the spring of 1863 in Jackson County, Tennessee, though he escaped after three or four days.
  • On the application, Isaac stated that he had been a resident of Georgia since September 1918.
The 1923 application helps to fill a gap in time for the Shelton family. Prior to locating this record, I knew that Isaac and Amanda Shelton had sold property in White County, Tennessee, on 25 January 1917. The next record for the family was the 1920 census placing them in Atlanta, Georgia. The application narrows down their arrival in Georgia to around 1918.

Third Attempt - 1926

A third attempt succeeded. On 1 July 1926 Isaac submitted another application for a pension as a Confederate soldier. Repeating much of the same information as on his 1923 application, this time it was approved.
  • Isaac said he served with the Confederate army enlisting at Camp Marrs in Overton County, Tennessee in 1862 with Company A of the 25th Tennessee infantry as a private, serving under Colonel Sid Stanton and Captain Joe Billberry.
  • He served until the fall of 1865, being discharged under the authority of General George Dibble  (Biddle?) at Carthage, Tennessee, afterward taking the oath of allegiance at Sparta, White County, Tennessee.
  • In support of Isaac's application, a witness statement was included from H. B. Martin, who resided at the Confederate Soldiers Home in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Instead of September 1918, Isaac stated he had been a resident of Georgia since 4 March 1918, a rather precise date.

01 October 2017

Did He or Didn't He? Isaac Z Shelton's Civil War Service, Part 1

Sometimes a good research topic comes about through close reading of the records. While examining the 1910 census, I found a clue that indicated Isaac Z Shelton may have served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Determining whether or not my Isaac Z Shelton had served in the Civil War surely would be simple, right? Perhaps not.

The Seed

The 1910 census included a question on the population schedule which asked if the recorded person was "a survivor of the Union or Conference Army or Navy." The instructions to the enumerators stated
192. Column 30. Whether a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. -- This question should be asked as to all males over 50 years of age who were born in the United States and all foreign born males who immigrated to this country before 1865. Write "UA" if a survivor of the Union Army; "UN" if a survivor of the Union Navy; "CA" if a survivor of the Confederate Army; and "CN" if a survivor of the Confederate Navy." For all other persons leave the column blank.

[U.S. Census Office, Thirteenth Census of the United States, April 15, 1910, Instructions to Enumerators (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1910), 40; PDF, United States Census Bureau, (https://www.census.gov/ history/www/through_the_decades/census_instructions : accessed 11 August 2016).]
For this question, one of my favorite ancestors to research, Isaac Z Shelton, was recorded with a "CA" to indicate he was a survivor of the Confederate Army. To this point in my research, I had found no information that would indicate Isaac was a Civil War veteran.

A Research Plan

The Civil War is fairly well documented. Both sides kept detailed records on who enlisted, how long they served, where they served, and when and why they were discharged. I suspect that the purpose behind these records really boil down to the simple matter of payroll and having enough soldiers.

Isaac Z Shelton's Timeline

Before diving into the research, I decided to double-check what I know about Isaac to see if it is even plausible for him to have served in the Confederate army.

April 1844-1852    Birth in Tennessee
GA Death Certificate
1880 Census
1900 Census
1910 Census
1920 Census
31 May 1871    Marriage to Amanda Pruett in Overton, TennesseeTennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950, FamilySearch.org
About 1875    Birth of daughter Alice1880 Census
About 1879    Birth of daughter Lillie1880 Census
1880    Lived in Overton Co., Tennessee1880 Census
About 1883    Birth of daughter Jennie O1900 Census
About 1888    Birth of daughter Lula B1900 Census
13 March 1891/92    Birth of son Isaac Denton1900 Census, WWI draft card
28 December 1896    Birth of son Hubbard Beecher1900 Census, WWI draft card, Headstone application
About 1899    Birth of daughter Idumea A1900 Census
1900    Lived in White Co., Tennessee1900 Census
1910    Lived in Sparta, White Co., Tennessee1910 Census
1920    Lived in Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia1920 Census
25 Nov 1929    Death in Atlanta, GeorgiaGA Death Certificate

Isaac's birth date has been difficult to pinpoint. I have yet to find agreement in any sources, though I suspect it is in the later half of the 1840s.

The Confederate states enacted conscription laws in 1862 to make "all white males between the ages of 18 and 35 who were citizens of a state in the Confederacy subject to national military service for a term of three years." ["Civil War Conscription Laws", November 12, 2012, Margaret Wood] Given that the Civil War was fought between 1860 and 1865, it is plausible that Isaac was old enough to enlist or be conscripted as he would have been between 8 and 16 years old at the onset of the war.

Possible Sources

To get started, I listed record collections and resources to consult related to the Civil War and Tennessee, Isaac's state of residence, to consult in locating Isaac, starting with online resources:

With a plan of attack in mind, I dived into the online records to see what I could find out about Isaac Z Shelton's apparent service.

It Is Family History Month (2017)!

Welcome to Family History Month 2017! I have not been writing here as much as I would like in the past few months. 

I spent the summer enrolled in Boston University's Online Certificate in Genealogical Research program which was a wonderful challenge. I learned a great deal about all areas of genealogy, improved on what I already know, wrote (a lot), read (a lot), and have a list of areas to improve upon. No spoilers, so I will just say that it is a great course to take. I now have plans on hanging up my shingle as a part time professional genealogist!

For this month, I am committing to at least a post a week in order to get back into the habit of blogging. My research on the Sheltons and related families continues. Stay tuned!

06 September 2017

Deed - J. L. Newlin to Isaac Z Shelton, 22 September 1905

Deed, J L Newlin to I Z Shelton

For and in Consideration of the sum of 
three hundred and fifty Dollars Paid + 
to be Paid by I. Z. Shelton as follows, two
hundred and seventeen Dollars Cash the 
Receipt of which is hereby acknowledged. and one hundred 
and thirty three Dollars to be Paid in two annual insta-
llments of $6650 each for which he has this day executed  
his two Promissory notes due in 12 and 24 months 
Respectively, and Bearing interest from date. We J. L. 
Newlin have Bargained and sold and by there presents 
do transfer and Convey unto the said I. Z Shelton heirs 
and assigns a Certain tract or parcel of land in the 
1st Dist of White County State of Tennessee as follows.
Beginning on a Rock in the Center of the Smithville 
Nashville Road a Corner of the Abby Gamble tract 
Nashville Road Susan Paul Corner. Thence on her line 
in the Center of Said Road west + passing her Corner 
at 5 1/2 poles and with a line of A. J. Cesly in all 20 1/2
Running thence north 15o East on a line of the Same
44 poles to a post oak the S. W. Corner of Chas Bandens 
trast of land. Thence on a line of the same N 85o East
104 poles + 7 links to a Rock Bandens Corner. Thence S.
twoo west on Said Bandens line + passing his Corner 
and with a line of the Susan Paul tract in all 42
poles + 15 links to a Rock in the Center of the Smithville 
poles. Thence North 86o west on a line of the Same 8
poles. Thence north 88o west in Said Road 28 Poles.
Thence north 85o west with Said Road 12 poles. Then
South 77o west with Said Road 26 poles. Thence South
84o west with Said Road 6 poles. then north 78o 
west with Said Road 18 3/4 Poles to the Beginning Contain
ing 31 acres more or less. Being the same land Conveyed 
by Ed Peffer + wife to J. L. Newlin.

To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of 
land with the appurtenances estate title and interest thereto 
Belonging to the Said I Z Shelton heirs and assigns 
forever, and I J. L. Newlin do Covenant with the said 
I Z Shelton that I am lawfully seized and possessed of
said land in fee simple have a good Right to Convey 
it and the Same is unencumbered. and I J. L. Newlin
do further Covenant and Bind myself + my heirs and 
Representatives to warrant and forever defend the title to 
Said land to the Said I.Z. Shelton his heirs and assigns 
against the lawful Claims of all Persons whomsoever.
a lien is expressly Retained upon the Property herein
Conveyed to Same all the deferred Payments of Purchase 
money. Witness my hand this 22 day of September, 1905.

J. L. Newlin
Amanda Newlin

Source: White County (Tennessee) Register of Deeds, Deeds v. 56, 58-59 Oct 1912-Mar 1917 (FHL film #507921), Shelton Ike from J. L. Newlin, p. 307-308

Transcribed: 20 November 2016 by Phillip Ciske

17 May 2017

Indirect Evidence for Vesta's Parents

As genealogists, we collect sources. They are the cornerstone of documenting and analyzing our ancestors' lives. How many times, however, do we find a source, extract its information and evidence related to our current problem, and then file it away to be forgotten?

My current primary research quest is identifying the parents of Vesta Hudson. Born in 1912 in Georgia, she married George Alvin Shelton in 1929 in White County, Tennessee. According to family sources, Vesta's mother's maiden name was Norred.

I found plenty of sources with information about the Hudsons and Norreds, but could not manage to link them to a daughter named Vesta. My number one suspects for Vesta's parents are George Henry Hudson and Emma Lou Norred. The names match, the locations match, but no Vesta. It wasn't until I looked at George and Emma Hudson's children, along with occupations, did I begin to find indirect evidence linking them to my Vesta Hudson.

George and Vesta Shelton lived in the area of East Point, Georgia, during much of the 1920s through at least the early 1940s. Today, East Point is a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, but in that time it was a separate town.  George worked in the wool mills around Atlanta.

In the 1930 census, George and Vesta lived at 109 Davis Street, East Point. Next door, in 109A Davis Street, resided Melvin and Nina Hudson. Melvin is recorded as 4 years older than Vesta in 1930. He is employed as a textile worker. Who is this Melvin Hudson? Could he be related? I believe he is.

Melvin's parents are the George and Emma Hudson I believe are Vesta's parents. He appears with them in the 1910 census. I have yet to find any of the Hudsons or Norreds in the 1920 census, though the search continues. In 1930, George and Emma Hudson are found in Sargent, Georgia, where George is employed in the wool mills.

In 1940, everyone is living in East Point, Georgia. George and Vesta Shelton reside just a couple houses from Melvin and Nina Hudson on Fairfax Avenue. George and Emma Hudson live nearby on Center Avenue.

At this point in my research, there are too many similarities to chalk up to coincidence. I believe Melvin is the older brother of Vesta, and both are the children of George Henry Hudson and Emma Lou Norred. Like always, more research and analysis are needed to make for a sound case.