|Regimental Flag for the 35th Georgia Infantry, CSA|
As I work to clean up some of my earlier, less than stellar citations, I find myself discovering new information about family members. Take my Second Great Grand Uncle, Samuel Howard Dean, the second son of my 3G Grandfather Lemuel Dean. I had his approximate birth year from census records, but that was all I knew about him.
My first big leap in information came as I returned to look at a cemetery transcription for Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in DeKalb County, Georgia. I had previously noted that Lemuel Dean was buried there. Now I saw that Lemuel, his wife Elizabeth Howard Dean, and five of their children (including Samuel) were buried there. The transcription also provided birth and death dates for Samuel and the four other children.
Samuel's death date was listed as July 20, 1862, and Richmond, Virginia as the place of his death. The date and place certainly suggested that he might have died in the Civil War. Now Samuel had my attention, and I wanted to learn more about him.
It took browsing through some back issues of the Southern Confederacy newspaper to learn more about Samuel Howard Dean prior to the Civil War. Information in an article about a meeting of the Georgia Medical Association in April of 1861 listed S. H. Dean of Conyers as a member.(1) This corresponded with the S. H. Dean listed as a physician living in Newton County for the 1860 federal census.(2) Apparently Samuel was a physician just like his older brother and my 2GGrandfather, William Hiram Dean.
Next stop was the National Park Service Civil War Index where I found four Samuel H. Deans listed from Georgia. I could eliminate one of the four since his regiment wasn't formed until after my Samuel's death in 1862. The other three were all from different regiments, so I still hadn't pinpointed my Samuel H. Dean as a Confederate soldier.
|Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia, vol. 3|
The Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia had a listing for a Samuel H Dean, member of Company B, 35th Georgia Regiment, a regiment formed primarily from Newton County, Georgia. This Samuel Dean was listed as dying in Richmond on July 20, 1862.(3) Here was my Samuel Dean.
The July 5, 1862 issue of the Southern Confederacy carried reprints of correspondence between Lt. S. H. Dean and Capt. James M. White, both of Company B, 35th Georgia Regiment.(4) According to the letters sent to the newspaper by Capt. White, both Samuel Dean and Capt. White had taken ill after fighting near Yorktown in early June with Samuel having to be relocated to Richmond for recovery. Later, Lt. Dean was asked to discuss with the company their feelings on having an ailing Capt. White continue as their leader. Probably as a result of these events, both Samuel Dean and James White resigned on June 13, 1862. It was not clear from either the Roster or the letters exactly from what they resigned. The series of letters made for some interesting reading.
|Southern Confederacy, July 3, 1862|
Although Samuel Dean is listed as resigning on June 13, 1862, he was apparently still involved in the war. He was able to send these personal messages which appeared in the Southern Confederacy to his father Lemuel Dean in early July, 1862 . I was amazed by how quickly information traveled from the battlefield to family waiting at home, while the message content reminded me of a tweet.
|Southern Confederacy, Aug 2, 1862.|
As noted in the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, Samuel died in Richmond, Virginia on July 20, 1862. The roster, however, does not indicate how or why he died, only when and where. Although some issues of period newspapers carried battlefield reports of casualties, the wounded, and the missing, I haven't found one listing Samuel or even one for that date. The exact cause of Samuel's death remains a mystery. All that is clear is that his body was returned to Georgia for burial in the family plot at the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. By late July, his father Lemuel Dean applied for the legal papers necessary to settle Samuel's estate.
Returning to a transcription of a cemetery's gravestones started me on the path of learning more about a relative I had previously overlooked. Without online access to historic newspapers, my image of Samuel Howard Dean would have been sketchy at best, and the Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, all five volumes, will be a great research when I research other relatives. I've learned a lot, not just about Samuel Howard Dean but also thanks to him.
(1) "Georgia Medical Association" Southern Confederacy, 11 Apr 1861 (http://atlnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu : accessed 16 Jul 2013).
(2) 1860 US Census, Newton County, Georgia, population schedule. p. 401 [written] S H Dean, dwelling 75, family 75; (http://ancestry.com : accessed 16 Jul 2013), cting NARA microfilm M653, roll 133.
(3) Henderson, Lillian. Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, vol. 3. Hapeville, Ga : Longine & Porter, 1959-1964. Digital images. Hathi Trust. http://babel.hathitrust.org : 2013.
(4) "A Card" Southern Confederacy, 5 Jul 1862 (http://atlnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu : accessed 16 Jul 2013).