Sunday, June 29, 2014

Between Friends and Family

Hedge Maze, St Louis Botanical Gardens
photo source: Wikipedia Commons

It all started when I was trying to find the death date for the first wife of my 4GreatUncle Burrell Marion Camp.  One thing lead to another as I kept coming across more marriages between the same families and friends.  Here's the brief outline of some interesting family connections.

Connection #1  Mary E Stegall was the first wife of Burrell Marion Camp.  Two years after Mary's death, Burrell married the widow Sarah Holland Elsberry in 1871.  Earlier in 1864, Sarah's brother, George Washington Holland, had married Lydia Camp, the daughter of Burrell Camp and Mary Stegall Camp.  This meant that after 1871 Sarah Holland Elsberry Camp was Lydia Camp Holland's sister-in-law as well as being Lydia's stepmother.

Connection #2  Prior to her marriage to Burrell Camp, Sarah Holland had been married to Lindsay Elsberry, Jr, one of the members of the 40th Georgia Infantry, CSA, who died during the Civil War.  It turned out that Lindsay Elsberry had a sister Sarah Sally Elsberry who married Archibald Holland, the widowed father of Sarah Holland.  This meant that Sarah Elsberry Holland was both a sister-in-law and a stepmother to Sarah Holland Elsberry Camp.  I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Connection #3  Sarah Holland Elsberry Camp's first husband, Lindsay Elsberry, Jr, had a brother Matthew, also a member of the 40th Georgia, who also died during the Civil War.  Matthew left a widow, Mary Jane Henderson Elsberry.  In December, 1883, she then married the now widowed George Washington Holland, brother of her sister-in-law Sarah Holland Elsberry Camp.  No doubt about it, Mary Jane Henderson Elsberry Holland and Sarah Holland Elsberry Camp were definitely sisters-in-law.

Connection #4  According to the findagrave memorial for Mary Jane Henderson Holland "the story was shared among many family members, that when Lydia Camp Holland was near to her passing she told George [Holland] that her wishes were for him to remarry and that if she could choose his next wife for him, it would be Mary Jane Henderson Elsberry".  I continued to find this story posted on several online family trees and family genealogy web sites.  Maybe it is true, maybe not, but it is still a great story.

 As I checked census records, Civil War widow pension data, pages, and Georgia marriage records, I kept bumping into repeated connections between the Camp-Elsberry-Holland families.  It made for an interesting afternoon, all of which started when I found a photo of Mary Stegall Camp's grave marker and took the time to see who else was buried at Old High Shoals Cemetery in Paulding County, Georgia.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tying Up Some Loose Ends ...

"String or Nothing" by Andrea Kirkby
source: flickr

As I have been rereading my transcriptions of the Camp Family Letters*, I have come across several that have pointed me to additional family research.  Sometimes it is a reference to a person, other times to an event or a place, all needing further research to clarify.  Here are a few of those questions I have been able to answer.

Who is Lewis Camp?  Who is Uncle Joe?

Knoxville, Tenn
26th April 1862

My Dear Brother & Sister [Thomas and Mary Ragsdale Camp],
..... You have doubtless learned ere this that Lewis Camp and James Langley are both dead.  Lewis died Tuesday evening and his body started home Thursday morning.  Two hours after the corpse left, Uncle Joe got here, but he had to wait there until Friday morning.  On Friday morning James Langley died very unexpectedly, and Uncle Joe concluded to remain until this morning and carry his corpse with him  So he left this morning .....

Raleigh Camp

Lewis Camp was the first cousin of Raleigh Camp, the son of Raleigh's uncle Josiah Washington Camp and Louisa Cooper Camp.  According to the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, vol. 4, Lewis had enlisted in Company A of the 40th Georgia Infantry on 10 Mar 1862.  His death came six weeks later, 22 Apr 1862.  Lewis' military records on showed that when his father Josiah Camp later applied for a survivor's pension, Josiah stated that had Lewis died with no wife or child to survive him.

The Uncle Joe to whom Raleigh referred was Lewis' father, Josiah Camp.  This paragraph amazed me with the quickness in which news seemed to be transmitted, probably by telegraph.  Josiah Camp died in Tennessee on 22 April.  His father must have left right away in order to arrive from Georgia on 24 April in hopes of bringing Lewis' body back to Georgia.

James Langley was also a member of Company A, 40th Georgia.  For Uncle Joe to carry his corpse back to Georgia suggested that James was perhaps a family friend or neighbor.

Lewis S. Camp, Confederate Records

Who are all these people?

15 Apr 1866
Georgia, DeKalb County

Dear Daughter [Mary Ragsdale Camp],
..... Old Jim was down at Sheffield last week.  Bud and Sue were well.  Sue said she would get through grammar this week and that she has found she could learn anything she wanted to by studying and that he was receiving the prize.  Nellie has improved her reading ago right well.  Sissie says tell Fannie she has spelled [better].
..... Lou is in a great trouble now about getting her fixups for the wedding.  I do not know what she has told you about it.  The time is set, the tenth of May.  If she has not wrote to you, wait until you hear from her about it.....

Your affectionate mother,
J C Ragsdale [Jemima Caroline Ragsdale]

I still have no idea who Jim, Bud, Sue, Nellie, and Sissie might be.  I've tried several different strategies, looking at the siblings of Jemima Caroline Born Ragsdale and of her husband Elijah Newton Ragsdale as well as looking at their children, their children's spouses, and the few grandchildren I have previously been able to name.  Identifying all these people will probably wait for another time.

Fannie was a family nickname for the second daughter of Thomas Camp and Mary Catherine Ragsdale Camp, Francis Estelle Camp.  At the time of this letter, Fannie was seven and was attending school.  It sounds as if a grandmother was trying to encourage a granddaughter in her school work.

The paragraph about the anxious bride got my attention.  Lou is Louisa Jane Ragsdale, the sister of Mary Catherine Ragsdale.  The wedding information turned out to be easy to locate.  The Georgia Virtual Vault has a large number of digitized county marriage records, and I was able to find the record for this marriage in the DeKalb County records for 1866.  Lou married Isaac Newton Scott on 10 May 1866.  Two weeks before your wedding, who wouldn't have a few nerves?

DeKalb County Marriage Book, 1856-1872, Book B
source:  Georgia Virtual Vault

What was the Lamar House?

Knoxville, Tenn
Nov. 27th, 1866

My Dear Sister [Mary Ragsdale Camp],
..... I don’t now that I have anything to write that will interest you though last week was rather a week of events at the Lamar House [Louisa tells about a man arrested for stealing money and a watch from someone staying at Lamar House].....  On Thursday night the Yankees had a ball, and on Saturday Mr. and Mrs. Frances, two of our boarders, returned..... [Capt. Bell, a person living at the hotel] went to take tea with some of his relatives Sunday evening and brought a little teacake back with he.  He went in the office and give it to Newt .....

Your sister
Lou Scott

From the these events and others described in Lou's letter, it is possible that Lou's husband Newton Scott was working at the hotel, particularly with the reference to Capt. Bell coming into the office to see Newt.  A check of Ancestry's collection of digitized city directories did not provide any additional information as no Knoxville city directory was published from 1861-1868 and the 1869 Knoxville directory did not list either a Newton Scott or an Isaac Scott residing there.  The 1870 federal census listed Newt and Lou as living back in Georgia with Newt recorded as being a farmer.

history of Knoxville' Bijou Theater and the Knox Heritage website both provide interesting tidbits about the history of this building constructed in 1817.  Reading about the building's history as a private residence, hotel, hospital during the Civil War, and later as a theater has peeked my interest in going there when I'm next in Knoxville.

Lamar House / Bijou Theater, Knoxville, Tennessee
One further note, in this letter Lou mentions receiving a letter from Bud.  Could this be the same Bud to whom Jemima Born Ragsdale referred in the previous letter to Mary Ragsdale Camp?  

Maybe there are a few more loose ends to tend to.  

Lessons learned:  It is worth spending time to learn more about people, places, and events associated with our family.  It is another part of their story.

* These letters are part of the "Camp Family Papers, 1858-1877" which are housed in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.  The letters was transcribed using Transcript freeware.  Some of the spelling, punctuation, and syntax were corrected in this post for ease in reading.  ... is used to indicate portions of the letter which were omitted in the post.  [ ] indicates a word or information I have inserted for clarity.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mystery Monday: So That's How it Happened!

photo source : A Journal of the American Civil War, vol. five, no. 1.

Raleigh Camp taught at the Georgia Military Institute.  He served as a Captain in the 7th Texas Infantry, CSA.  Later Camp become a Major in the 40th Georgia Infantry, CSA.  These three basic facts had been part of the story for my 3Great Uncle, Raleigh Spinks Camp, but I had questions as I tried to connect these events.  Hence, my mystery.  And the answer came through a variety of resources.

Raleigh Camp was a graduate of the Georgia Military Institute.  Following his graduation he taught math at the Institute and was a charter member of the school's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.(1)

On 15 Dec 1859, Raleigh married Miss Laura Clifford Jones of Liberty County, Georgia.  Soon the young couple moved to Gilmer, Texas where Raleigh set up his law practice.  According to the 1860 census Raleigh and Laura has two bachelor lawyers and a young physician boarding with them in Gilmer, Texas.  Why Raleigh decided to practice law in Texas is still a bit of a mystery although there were several Camp relatives living in that area of Texas in the 1860s and earlier.

From reading the Camp Family Papers of Emory University, Raleigh Camp initially hoped for peace as the slavery issue began to divide the North and the South.(2)  By 2 Oct 1861, Raleigh was supporting the Confederate cause, joining the 7th Regiment of the Texas Infantry, and being elected Captain of Company B.(3)  The 7th Texas became part of the Army of Tennessee and saw action at the fall of Fort Donalson in Tennessee.  Raleigh, however, had been furloughed due to illness and was apparently with family in Georgia at the time the rest of the 7th Texas was captured by Union forces.  Among those captured was his younger brother Josiah Gresham Camp about whom I had written in a a previous post.  This meant that in February of 1862 Capt. Raleigh Camp had been separated from his regiment.

Letter to Gov. Joe Brown from Raleigh S Camp
source: (4)

It look reading a letter Raleigh Camp had written to Governor Joe Brown of Georgia to understand his move to the 40th Georgia Infantry.(4)  In the letter dated 18 Feb 1862, Raleigh made two important points.  First, he spoke of being unable to return to the remnants of his troops now in Kentucky due to medical reasons.  Then Raleigh offered to be an instructor in military tactics at one of the training camps for the additional companies being raised in Georgia to fight for the Confederacy.

Things moved quickly following this letter.  Within a month, by 19 March 1862, Raleigh has been transferred from the 7th Texas to the 40th Georgia Infantry.  Two days later, he was elected Major in the regiment.(5)

Raleigh Camp remained with the 40th Georgia, serving as its Acting Inspector General as well as in other staff positions.(6)  Along with thousands of other Confederate soldiers, Raleigh was captured at the Battle of Vicksburg and later paroled.  Later, Raleigh would write of his experiences in the Battle of Vicksburg in his personal memoir What I Know, I Know, and I Dare Express It.(7)

From reading family letters to examining military records on and additional records on to books accessed online as well as held in my hand, a lot of resources played a part in connecting the Georgia - Texas - Georgia dots.  Sometimes, we find an answer in one wonderful resource.  Other times, as with Raleigh Spinks Camp, it takes a variety of resources across time to get to that A-Ha moment.  

Now, if I could just learn why Raleigh and his wife Laura headed to Texas rather than settling somewhere in Georgia ...

(1) Nash, Howard.  Sixth General Catalogue of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (1904); accessed through Google Books.
(2) "Camp Family Papers, 1858-1877"; Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Emory University in Decatur, Georgia. 
(3) "R S Camp", Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served from Organizations in the State of Texas, accessed 
(4) "R S Camp to Joseph E Brown, 18 Feb 1862",  Georgia Civil War Correspondence, 1847-1865,
(5) "R S Camp", Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served from Organizations in the State of Georgia, accessed 
(6) Henderson, Lillian.  Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, v.4. Hapeville, GA : Longrine & Porter, 1959-1864. 
(7) "Major Raleigh S Camp's History of the 40th Georgia Infantry in the Vicksburg Campaign", A Journal of the American Civil War, vol. five, no. 1.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Tip - The Genealogist's Declaration of Rights

At various genealogy conferences this summer, attendees will have the opportunity to sign The Genealogist's Declaration of Rights.  This document developed by the National Genealogy Society "is a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records", a concept important to all of us who search for our family's stories. 

A recent DearMYRTLE blog post includes the official press release concerning the document and reasons for its development.  The press release also contains a link to the online document so that anyone can read the Declaration and sign the document online.  Attendance at a genealogy conference is not mandatory in order to support the Declaration.

Think of how meager our research would be if we did not have access to these records, from the Social Security Death Index to state land lottery information or local probate records.  I hope you will read the document and consider signing it.  I did.

National Genealogy Society Press Release:
Online Declaration for signature:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Military Monday : The Camp Letters * - What a Soldier Needs ...

"Stained Glass of a Confederate Soldier of the American Civil War at Bardstown, Kentucky"
photo by Mary Harrsch posted on flickr

When we think of our country's soldiers today, we think of them as all clothed with the same uniforms, fed and living in standardized barracks.  That wasn’t always the case for Confederate soldiers such as my 2GreatGrandfather, Thomas Lumpkin Camp.  Excerpts from some of the letters he wrote to his wife Mary reveal his need for personal items, clothing, and food.

Camp near Dalton, Georgia
Dec. 25, 1862

My Dear Mary,
….. You need not send me any yarn shirt as the winter will soon be over.  If you can sell it, you can do so.  Send me some socks when Dave comes ….. 
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Camp near Loudon, Tenn
Oct the 29th, 1863

My Dear Mary,
 ….. I have not heard any thing from my blanket, and I never expect to.  I think Dave will get home after [a] while; you can send me my blanket by him and one pair of socks and that will do me some time until spring.  If we should take winters [here] I may want a green shirt and drawers. 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Camp near Chattanooga
Nov. 22nd, 1863

My Dear Mary,
….. I want a pair of half soles for my shoes.  If this should come to hand before R. T. Harlson starts back, [I need] one yarn shirt and a pair of socks.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
Camp 40th Georgia Regiment
April 14th, 1864

My Dear Mary,
….. I want you to send me one of them old pocket books by Dave or Mr. Goodson at the first chance, ….. one of the two, I want to have it fixed.
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _

Camp 40th Georgia
May the 20th, 1864

My Dear Mary,
….. .  I will say to you that I am needing some fronts ..... so if you can make me any you can do so if you have any cotton cloth that will do.  If you can not, get jeans.  I much rather have jeans ….. I want you to make me a nice suit this summer if the Yankees do not break you up.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Camp near Cave Spring [Georgia]
Oct the 10th, 1864

My Dear Mary,
….. This is a fine country and as fine crops as I ever saw in my life.  We will [gather] as long as there are as many potatoes as what is in this country.  I have been living better for the last week that I have since I have been in the War.  On last Friday night I came by Sister’s, and she loaded me with chicken and bread, on the way came by Uncle Burrell Camp’s, and he filled his saddlebag with bread and potatoes and his bucket with as good butter as you ever saw.  So we are living alright now.

Socks, jeans, food, just a few of the necessities to make life as a soldier a little more bearable.

* These letters are part of the "Camp Family Papers, 1858-1877" which are housed in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Emory University in Decatur, Georgia.  The letters was transcribed using Transcript freeware.  Some of the spelling, punctuation, and syntax were corrected in this post for ease in reading.  ... is used to indicate portions of the letter which were omitted in the post.  [ ] indicates a word or information I have inserted for clarity.