Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Voices From The Past

The strangest things happen when researching my ancestors . Flashback, years ago I when I finally found my great great Grandfather on my dads side, I was surfing the web reading about the civil war when I happened on a website about different regiments and such. Digging a bit further I found the authors sources and there was a mention of some letters being held at the "US Army Military History Institute" Carlisle Barracks Pa. They had the last name on them that I was researching so I went to their website and low and behold, they were letters from my great great grandfather to his wife during the war. I sent for copies, spent weeks translating them, ordered his pension record from the National Archives and then put them away with the rest of my treasured records. It wasn't an easy find and I still wonder how I happened upon them.

In the years since, I do research now and then and have found that when I'm not looking things appear. We travel to Ohio often and everytime I pass Franklin TN I'm drawn to it. Chico and I visited there once long before I knew the history (unplanned) and toured the houses, battlegrounds and cemeteries. Another time the kids and I stopped on our way home (again unplanned, it just calls to me) and visited "Carnton Plantation', an 1800's plantation house where Carrie McGavock and her family lived. It was taken over to be used as a hospital during the battle of Franklin. Carrie had the 1500 or so soldiers exhumed and reburied in a big cemetery on her property after the war and tended to the graves for the rest of her life. It is an amazing story. The house has been restored and is open for tours. Often times I have been driving through Tennessee and could vision the soldier camps back in the trees. It's almost real. Anyway at that visit Brandon wanted to purchase a soldier hat and even though he has lived in the south his entire life he chose the blue 'Yankee' hat. Tori got a bonnet and I took their picture on the back porch of the house.

Ok, back to 2006. I stopped at Booksamillion on my way home from work one night so Brandon could get a manga and wandered around while he decided which one he wanted. A book caught my eye on one of the back tables and I bought it. Titled "The Widow Of The South," I didn't have my glasses and couldn't read what it was about but the cover looked great. When I got home Chico called and told me he had been to the bookstore and almost got a book for me, the same one I had bought on my way home. Weird. It's a novel but is pretty accurate in it's history. Yep, it's about Carrie McGavock and the battle of Franklin. About halfway through the book I kinda remembered that one of my gr gr grandfathers letters was written from Nashville which is right above Franklin and where the next battle would be. So, I dug the letters out and the pension record. He was there. In that battle! Never in a million years would I have put that together without this book. Being from Ohio he was fighting for the north and should have of course worn blue. The fact that carries house has always drawn me in makes me wonder what else there is to find.

This man has not been easy to find anything on. He is listed in the census records but aside from that and his pension record, I can't find any other records on him. I did find his grave with help from some distant cousins that I met online. They met me in southern Ohio and showed me around. Awesome day. Anyway, I have a feeling that he is somehow guiding me, that he wants to be remembered. Now, if I can get the Native American Great Grandmother to talk to me, I'll be one happy genealogist!

Oh and one other coincidence, my oldest daughter's name is Carrie.


Ren said...

That is totally AMAZING! I really long for my great-great grandmother's voice right trying to seek out my Native American roots I have found virtually nothing. But it calls to me in ways I can't explain...even moving here to TN was something deep within me that I HAD to do. Then I figured out this was the main area that the Cherokee Nation lived. Hmmmmmmmmm

LeaAnn said...

Mine was Cherokee too from what has been passed down through two different families. Good Luck with that, I've been searching for years. She was the reason I started this and continues to be one of the greatest challenges.