Stepping Back In Time: Amarilla’s Life In Iowa Before George!

In recent published posts I have talked about John Keller and Mary Anne Delano Keller who were Amarilla’s grandparents on her mother’s side. 

Amarilla was the daughter of Daniel D. Spracklin and Elizabeth Keller.  Daniel’s parents were John Andrews Spracklin and Lydia Goss.  Daniel and Elizabeth had 4 children.  By 1860 Elizabeth had passed.  She had died in 1859 just months after Amarilla’s birth.  

Elizabeth Spracklin's Tombstone , Titler Cemetery, Iowa

A thorough page by page search of the Iowa census was attempted but Daniel was not found.  Amarilla does appear in the 1860 Iowa census in Benton County, Iowa but she is not with her father Daniel? She is with her sister Mary and another family.

1860 U.S. Federal Census Family of Shelley/Spracklin Dwelling# 1175, Hse #1217, pg. 178, Roll #M635-325 Iowa & Jasper Co.,  Marengo Twp., Iowa Co., Iowa, National Archives, Alaska-Pacific Region, Seattle, WA. 1175/1217 – Joseph Shelley, 68 yrs. old, male, farmer, $1400 real estate, $100 personal, born in Tennessee. Sarah Shelley, age 48, born in Maryland, Martha Shelley, age 13, born in Indiana, Eliza, age 9, born in Indiana May Sprackling age 4, male?, born in Iowa, (A)melia age 1 yr., female, born in Iowa

It is my belief that this is Mary and Amarilla even though the spelling is different.  The ages are correct and the location is close.  As for the Shelley family, I do not know what their relationship to Daniel maybe.  The Spracklins and the Kellers are large families and this could easily be relatives that I do not have knowledge of.  They could also just be neighbors and friends helping out.  

The other interesting fact is that Henry, the older brother is also displaced and living with another family in 1860.  In this case it is his Aunt Olive a sister of Daniel’s.

 W. P. Merifield Family, 1860 U.S. Federal Census Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa, Reel No M653, # 311, Page 162. Merifield, W.P. 29 farmer 800, 300, born in Ohio, Olive 27 yrs. born in Ohio, Lydia 7 yrs. born in Iowa, Corista 2 yrs born in Iowa, Spracklin, Henry 7, born in Ohio.

There is no sign of Amarilla’s father.  I did a house by house search of the township and there were lots of houses that were empty.  I even searched in Ohio to see if Daniel had gone back to his home in Knox County, Ohio because his father John Andrews Spracklin had died in 1862.  I cannot find him. 

Benton County 1872

So the death of Elizabeth Keller Spracklin in 1859 really created a temporary scattering of the family of Daniel D. Spracklin at that time.  There does not appear to be any evidence that he joined the fight and enlisted in the Civil War.  

By 1870 Daniel is back in the census and he is remarried to Sarah.  He has Henry and Amarilla with him from his first marriage.  Emily is Sarah’s daughter from her first marriage. Sister Mary died on the 27th of September 1861.  This death must have affected Amarilla even though she was very young.   

By 1870, Sarah and Daniel have started to have a family of their own.  The other children: Lydia, Birdie H (Virda), Reed A. are of the 2nd family.

Daniel D. Spracklin Household, 1870 U.S. Federal Census LeRoy Twp., Benton Co., Iowa,  June 17, 1870, Post Office is Blairstown, Page 18. Line 34, 123, 122, Spracklin, Daniel, age 40, male, white, famer, $3300, $700, born in Ohio, father and mother of foreign birth, citizen of US.  Sarah,  34 yrs., female, white, keeping house, born in Indiana.  Henry F. 17 yrs., male, white, born in Ohio.  Emily,  13 yrs, female, white, born in Indiana.  Ammarilla, 11 yrs., female, white, born in Iowa.  Lydia M., 5 yrs., female, white, born in Iowa.  Birdie H., 4 yrs., male, white, born in Iowa. Continued page 19:  Reed A., 1 yrs., male, white, born in Iowa.  Henry, Emily, Ammarilla, Lydia attended school within the year. 

There are other names listed under the notation for Daniel in 1870.  Nelson, Peter 26, farmer with 600 value of personal estate from Denmark, Nelson, Hardie 26 keeping house, from Denmark, Nelson, Andrew 1 yr. born in Iowa, Nelson, Peter 5/12 yr. born in Iowa, all have parentage that are foreign birth, Frederickson, Ann 8, from Denmark, Anderson, Peter 23, laborer Denmark, both with parentage foreign.

Daniel remarried on 21 November 1863 to Sarah Blacketer Allgood in Marengo, Iowa Co., Iowa.  He is still living in LeRoy Twp. in Benton County, Iowa but that will change.  Amarilla was 5 years old when he marries Sarah.  She may be young but old enough to know that something has happened. 

Daniel's Land in Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa

In the closeup of the Benton Co. Atlas Daniel’s land is in two parts of 40 acres each.  There is a double line almost in the middle and Daniel’s land is on the left of the line under the School.  There is a dot showing this piece of land.  The other land is to the right on the other side of the double line with another dot next to a Case and below A. Justus.  Which piece of land Daniel had his house located on is not known.  This is why Amarilla’s great-granddaughter, the writer of this blog, believes she was born nearer to Blairstown.  Daniel did not move to Iowa County, Iowa 20 miles south till after 1872.  Amarilla was born in November of 1858.

If you go back to the 1856 Iowa State Census you will find interesting things going on.   Daniel is not mentioned in published indexes for this census but he is definitely there and he and Elizabeth and their son Henry are living next to Blacketers, and Daniel’s sister Olive Merrifield and her family.

1856 Iowa State Census

So Amarilla’s beginnings are a bit precarious.  She looses her mother at a very early age, a sister dies and she is separated from her brother and father for maybe a year or two?  Then her father returns to marry a stranger.  This is a lot for a 5-year-old to take in.

Miriam, Amarilla’s granddaughter writes:  “Amarilla (Ammarilla, sometimes she varied it) belonged to the first family, hated the second and left home.  Supported herself as a seamstress.  Married George Angus Barclay in Brainard, Minn.  He had land…”

Note:  Titler Cemetery is featured on my blog:  BJM’s Cemetery Discoveries scroll to the bottom of this list of posts and you will find the Spracklin stones for Titler as well as some Merifield and more: http://bjmcemeterydiscoveries.blogspot.com/search/label/Titler%20Cemetery

Amarilla’s Origins in Iowa!

Amarilla Spracklin Barclay was most likely born near Blairstown in Benton County in the state of Iowa on the 17 of November 1858. 

Amarilla’s father was Daniel D. Spracklin and her mother was Elizabeth Keller.  Daniel and Elizabeth  married 1 January 1853 in Sparta, So. Bloomfield Twp., Morrow Co., Ohio. 

Source:  Marriage Records, 1848-1951, Index 1848-1948, Morrow Co., Ohio.  General Index V1A-10, 1848-1948 #388779 Item 1, Marriages v. 1A #388779 Item 2 1848-1858. Keller, Elizabeth to Daniel Spracklin Vol. 1A, pg. 119. Pg. 60, Spracklin, Daniel D. to Keller, Elizabeth on Jan. 1, 1853 by Joel Abbott JP.

I believe Amarilla was born near Blairstown because her father Daniel had land in Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa which is where Blairstown is located.   He had migrated from Ohio to Iowa.  According to the 1856 Iowa State census they were in Iowa by 1855.  There are problems with the index of the 1856 census but Daniel is there along with other interesting discoveries.

Benton County was organized as a separate county in 1846 with the town of Vinton as the county seat.  Blairstown was established in 1862.  The town of Marengo was incorporated in 1859 and was more established as a town at the time.  Marengo is the county seat for Iowa County, Iowa and has been since 1845 according to this website which gives a little history of Marengo, Iowa:  http://www.marengo150.com/default.htm 

The two towns are about 9 miles from each other with Blairstown being directly north of Marengo.  I drove the highway between the two towns and it is a nice drive through a canyon and over a hilly area.  Blairstown and Marengo are situated in flat land areas between these rolling hills. 

Between Blairstown & Marengo

Blairstown, Iowa

In the photograph above you see Blairstown in the distance and the water tower to the left.

Source:  Blairstown, 1862 to 1987, History – Town History.  I obtained a copy of this history book from the Blairstown Public Library which has  a genealogical collection.  At that time they were in a temporary building in 2003 so researching was a challenge.  The librarian was very helpful.  The genealogical collection is in the care of another individual through the Benton County Genealogical Society and that information is listed at the library website.  Apparently they are in their new building now, so it would be a much better experience to do research there. 

Here is the link:  http://www.blairstown.lib.ia.us/use-the-library/genealogy2

Benton Co. 1872 Atlas

Daniel’s land in Leroy Twp. is in two 40 acre sections straddling the double line that runs the entire page above, north to south.  He is slightly to the right of the middle of this picture.  If you click on the photo it will enlarge and look for two smudgy dots on each side of that long line.  The township page above is  from the 1872 Iowa County Atlas – Benton County, Leroy Twp. which I found at the Iowa County Genealogical Society.  Blairstown is in the upper right corner of the photograph. 

Be advised that the Iowa County Genealogical Society was in the basement of the Marengo Public Library but they did some renovations a few years ago and the society is now in North English.  See the links to the right on this blog.

Daniel moved to Dayton Twp., Iowa County, Iowa after this 1872 date and he appears in the 1874 Atlas of Iowa County, Iowa published by Harrison & Warner.  Daniel purchased the land in Dayton Twp.  at the end of 1872.  The land in Dayton Township is in the northeast corner of section 19 which is right next to the Poweshiek County line southwest of Millersburg and close to Keokuk County.  Marengo is twenty miles north of Millersburg.  So Daniel put some distance between his original land purchases in Benton County and moved south to Iowa County and obtained a lot more land, all in one large piece. 

To get a better idea of the distance from Blairstown I have below a copy of an atlas page of Iowa County showing Dayton Twp. and if you focus on the white square you can see about where the land was situated.  I am using Millersburg as a reference point.  

Historical Atlas 1875 of Iowa County, Iowa

I found this atlas at the Iowa Digital Library website for The University of Iowa and I chose the page for Iowa County.  http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/atlases  There are more counties listed at this website. 

I have deeds and more information regarding Daniel’s land holdings in Iowa and copies of atlas pages for Iowa County and Benton County. 

I did check newspapers around the time of Amarilla’s birth to see if I could find an announcement or discover her mother Elizabeth’s obituary for March 10, 1859 but I was not successful.  I did see obituaries but mostly news about the farming industry.  I also checked the bible records at the Iowa Historical Society in Des Moines and did not find anything to confirm my theory. 

Amarilla’s mother Elizabeth died four months after her birth. Daniel her father remarried in 1863 to Sarah Blacketer Allgood.  They had seven more children as I have mentioned in a past post. 

Amarilla was born in Iowa and was not unfamiliar with living on a farm and that lifestyle.  So in my opinion this made her adapt well to life on the frontier in Pine River, Minnesota in 1878 after her marriage to George Angus Barclay. 

Amarilla’s family the Spracklins is a very large family and I have been researching them for many years.  There are many others who have done a great deal of work on this family line.  There is Mayflower and DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) connections in Amarilla’s ancestry through both her father and her mother sides and it spans the early history of our country and if I shared all of the research that I have on her family it would take a blog all by itself and it would be a major undertaking. 

The scope and focus of this blog about the Barclay’s is about George and Amarilla’s life together.  In future posts Amarilla will be touched by her Spracklin and Keller families as events unfold in her life.

Wedding Photos of George and Amarilla!

These photos were given to me by my Aunt Miriam, the granddaughter of George and Amarilla.  She said they were their wedding photos. 

The first one is my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay as a young man. 

George A. Barclay ca. 1878

On the back Aunt Miriam wrote:  “George Angus Barclay, Born _____ Died 1898.  1878 Wedding picture.  Enlisted Aug. 15, 1862, at Fort Snelling (Not correct it was Fort Ridgely) as wagoner, Co., I, 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. Honorable Discharge 1865. Marched with Sherman. (George probably didn’t march with Sherman as indicated in a past posts dated June 15 and June 25, 2010.) ” 

In dark pen and in another person’s handwriting it reads:  “Print from Screened neg. ,Z3668, Historic Heartland Assoc.”

This photo is supposedly of Amarilla as a young girl.  Miriam indicates that it is her wedding photograph.

Amarilla Spracklin Barclay

On the back in Aunt Miriam’s handwriting:  “Amarilla Spracklin Barclay, Nov. 17, 1858 – Aug. 10, 1942. Born near Marengo, Iowa, died in Pine River, Minn.  1878. Wedding picture age 20.”

Again the same black pen and different handwriting:  “Print from Screened neg., Z3666 , Historic Heartland Assoc.”

Carl Zapffe was the founder of Historic Heartland Association.  His photo collection is housed with the Nisswa Historical Society as far as I know.  I talked personally to the president of the Nisswa society in 2007 about these two photographs and later sent copies and wrote to them.  They eventually wrote me back and told me they were unable to identify or give me any further information on these two photographs.  In exchange he referenced an article about George that I will discuss in a later post.

When I visited Pine River in 2000, I shared these two photographs with the Editor and they were printed in the Pine River newspaper in an article about my visit.  See my March 15, 2010 post – An Appointment – Pine River Journal for more information.  

Mr. Zapffe wrote several oversized historical booklets about “Oldtimers” in Minnesota that I purchased and will feature later on in my posts.   The Crow Wing Historical Society in Brainerd may still have copies.  You can Google his writings which are still out there?  He died sometime in the 1990’s, I believe?

Mr. Zapffe actually corresponded with my Aunt Miriam at some point.  I found a brochure that had family photographs in color in her possession.  There is a photograph of a bride – Christina Ethel Zapffee and groom Thomas Richard Anderson, Jr. dated 1973.  A family group photo with all the names of the children but just Mom and Pop listed and I suspect that Pop refers to Mr. Zapffe.  Other family groupings photos are included in the brochure.  The brochure/pamphlet is 4 pages long.  On the back is a discussion of the Mystical Window featured on the front page and a Merry Christmas at the bottom.  The envelope has a Baltimore, Maryland address and is stamped with Dec. 1973.   The brochure is a real treasure of family photographs for both Anderson and Zapffee who are not my family. 

Would I be interested in the story behind this and how my Aunt Miriam obtained copies of these photographs of Amarilla and George, my great grandparents?  Just another mystery in my family!

1878: Enter Amarilla Spracklin!

As we have seen, George’s was busy with his life.  He had established a trading post on the south fork of the Pine River, then moved it to higher land, and obtained several patents for land in the area.  In July of 1878 he went to Brainerd for some reason, probably to get supplies or do business, and took time to go a courting.  He met and married Amarilla Grace Spracklin at a friend’s house.

Amarilla had left her home near Blairstown, Iowa and migrated to Brainerd, Minnesota sometime after the 1870 U.S. Census.  Her granddaughter Miriam said Amarilla arrived there about 1877.  Amarilla had been living with her father, step-mother and  half siblings since about 1863 in Iowa. 

If you look at Iowa in reference to Minnesota you would see that Iowa is just straight south of Minnesota. 

State Map of US

Miriam writes in another part of her notes, that Amarilla was not happy in her situation:

“Her father, Daniel Dare Spracklin had two families. Amarilla (Ammarilla , sometimes varied it) belonged to the first family, hated the second and left home.  Supported herself as a seamstress. ” 

“Came to Brainerd, Minn., in 1877 and earned her living as a dressmaker and milliner.” Miriam McDonald Notes circa 1980’s.

There is no state census in Iowa for 1875 so we cannot be sure if Amarilla was still at home at that time.  Miriam makes a further comment:  “Born near Marengo, Iowa, Nov. 17, 1858.”  It was probably closer to Blairstown which is north of Marengo.  In 1878 Amarilla would have been 20 years old.  

The Logsleds to Snowmobile book  makes the following statement:

“On July 27, 1878, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brainerd, with the Reverend Herbert Root officiating.  George Angus Barclay married Ammarilla Spracklin.  Barclay’s new bride was the first permanent white woman settler on the Pine River.  She continued to hold the distinction for 15 years.” pg. 105 

This reference implies that George and Amarilla were married in the St. Paul Episcopal Church in Brainerd, however the evidence shows that the record of the marriage from the St. Paul Episcopal Church hint that it was at the residence of a C. H. Mayo.  Click on the photo to make it larger.  

St. Paul Episcopal Church Register

Here is a copy of their marriage license.  It is one of several that were in the Civil War Pension file of George A. Barclay’s.

1902 Copy of Marriage License

A brief article found in the Brainerd Tribune dated Saturday, August 3, 1878 on page 2 on the left at the bottom also repeats this information of a marriage at a friend’s house, the home of a C. H. Mayo. 

Barclay & Sprecklin Marriage

How George and Amarilla met is  a mystery.  Miriam said that Amarilla was a milliner, a person who makes hats.  

An article in the Brainerd Daily Dispatch taken from the Centennial Edition (1871-1971) on the history of Brainerd and the Crossing states that their were 21 stores,  and 1 tailor shop.  So it might be possible that George spotted Amarilla in the town at one of these locations? 

“After a brief courtship they were married on July 27, 1878.  Following the ceremony, the new bride of 19 and her husband drove as far as Gull Lake, probably to John Bishop’s half-way house on Bishop’s Creek, where they stayed overnight.  The next day they continued on with their “tote” to George Barclay’s Ranch on the Pine River.” 

Logsleds to Snowmobiles, pg. 112

The Coroner’s Inquest file regarding the murder of George Barclay from Cass County Records had a testimony by a Andrew Whitesides, an employee of George A. Barclay since 1894.  He testified at the coroner’s inquest about George’s murder but in addition he made an interesting comment  about Amarilla – that she was “an inmate of a variety theater?” 

Now the same article I mentioned from the Brainerd Daily Disptach does indicate there were 15 saloons, and 2 billiards halls but it does not mention a theatre in Brainerd?

George’s Patents for Land!

Back in April of 2000 I ordered all of great-grandfather George’s patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C.  I received eight (8) patents with seals embossed on them.  I followed that up by ordering the Cash Entry files for three  (3) of the patents hoping for more information in 2002. 

I have actually been to the National Archives in Washington D.C.  They house in their lobby for viewing many historical documents including the “Declaration of Independence.”   The National Archives also has branches throughout the country and I have been to the one in Seattle, Laguna Nigel (closed) and Chicago.  In Spring 2011 I will visit the Pittsfield, MA branch.  Here is their website link: http://www.archives.gov/  Their website will be revamped soon. 

National Archives Main Branch, Washington D.C.

Patents are the land an ancestor bought directly from the U.S. Government.  Once this first sale was completed land sales and purchases would then be done through county courts. This means a trip to the courthouse in the location where your ancestor lived.  On a visit to Minnesota in 2007 I again visited the Pine River area.  This time I did go to the courthouse and looked up deeds under Barclay to see what I would find.  I studied the deeds at the Cass County Courthouse and there were many.  The clerk was very kind and patient I am indebted to her. I also studied the deed books in the Crow Wing Courthouse.  Still later I decided to take a look at the track books at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Today you can order patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C. or you can go to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website and do a patent search:   http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/PatentSearch/

There you can search for patents for any person who obtained land in a land state.  You can even search for surveys and more.  Once you create a summary list you can actually click further and actually look at an original patent and obtain more detail.  It is wise to perform a variety of spelling searches on surnames and first names in you’re searching to make sure you find all the information for an ancestor.  As you can see “G.A.” was the spelling used for one of the patents.  I also tried other spelling variations of the surname Barclay and this is the list I came up with for George A. Barclay. 

Here is the summary list of George A. Barclay’s Patents. 

Patentee Name State County/
Parish
Issue
Date
District
Land Office
Doc.
Nr.
Accession or 
Serial Nr.
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7082  MN1660__.167 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7083  MN1660__.168 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7084  MN1660__.169 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7373  MN1660__.405 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7374  MN1660__.406 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  9/23/1879  St. Cloud  7946  MN1670__.289 
BARCLAY, G A  MN  Cass  5/10/1884  St. Cloud  11834  MN1740__.425 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  4/5/1888  St. Cloud  16446  MN1840__.002 

Numbers #7373 and #7374 George purchased with his partner D. McNanny. I tried searching on the spelling “McNannie” but I found nothing more.  These two patents are all that are in McNannie’s name.

Both sources, my Aunt Miriam and the Logsled’s book, mention the Northern Pacific Railroad and this is a warranty deed filed at the Cass County Courthouse. 

Interestingly, some of these patents that are in the search list above are also recorded in the deed books of the Cass County Courthouse in Walker, Minnesota.

This list is nice to have but it really doesn’t help us understand where great-grandfather George’s land was located so we need to get more detail and the description of the land that was written on the patent.

George Barclay Purchases Land!

Great grandfather made a critical decision to move his trading post up to the present area of Pine River, Minnesota.

Two years after building his post on the South Branch of the Pine River, George Barclay apparently decided to move and expand his activities.  He chose a site on higher, more open ground located next to land currently occupied by the Durkee Manufacturing Company.   (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, pg. 104, published 1973).

My Aunt Miriam sent this to me as part of her notes about George’s land purchases (1986).  Just click on the photo and it will open up so you can read it.  She mentions three patents and one deed. 

George's Land - Miriam's Notes

The Logsleds and Snowmobiles book published in 1973 by the town of Pine River for the Bicentennial gives these descriptions of the land holdings on page 105 at the bottom of the 1st column and top of the 2nd. 

In 1876, he moved his establishment to higher ground and started purchasing land at the intersection of four townships:  137N-29W (Wilson), 137N-30W (Walden), 138N-29W (Barclay), and 138N-30W (Pine River).  From this site grew the village.  Appropriately, this largest settlement along the river eventually took the name of the river and became “Pine River.” (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 1.) 

…Barclay’s land purchases may have been formally registered as early as 1875 and definitely by 1876; however, the abstract indicates that the first purchase of the NW1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 6, Township 137, Range 29 (Wilson Township) was not recorded as purchased until July 20, 1878, and the patent not received from the federal government until 1879.  On May 15, 1883, he purchased according to record the NE1/4 of the NW1/4 of Section 6, Township 137, Range 29, from the federal government.  (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 105).

The final 80 acre purchase of the SE1/4 and the SW1/4 (Lot 7) of the SW1/4 of Section 31, Township 138, Range 29 (Barclay Township) was bought on June 7, 1883 from the Northern Pacific Railway Company for $329.36.  (Logsleds to Snowmobiles, page 105).

I was doing my usual poking around the internet and found that Cass County government has the 2009 Land Atlas & Plat Book for Cass County, Minnesota up for searching.  I own the 2005 published version.  Here is that link:  http://www.co.cass.mn.us/platbook/platbook_web.html  You can click on various townships and cities in Cass County and pull up great maps in today’s world. 

The online version does not seem to have the “Information About Land Descriptions” that appears on pages 8 – 10 in the 2005 published version?  It is very important to understand how to read the land descriptions.  The National Atlas has this link to an explanation of the public land survey system:  http://www.nationalatlas.gov/articles/boundaries/a_plss.html  It might help to make the above information make more sense.

I also stumbled on the Heritage Group North website and discovered they were posting excerpts from the Logsleds to Snowmobiles book.  I also noticed that they have referenced this blog! So in the spirit of sharing here is their link along with my thank you:  http://www.pineriverhistory.org/5.html.

George A. Barclay and Sherman?

My Aunt Miriam writes in her notes about George’s enlistment in the Civil War.

Miriam’s Notes – Civil War

The book from Pine River “Logsleds to Snowmobiles” gives this information about George’s service:

“George became a wagoner with Company A, Ninth Volunteer Infantry.  Barclay was with General Sherman on his “march through Georgia to the sea.” He was honorably discharged on August 24, 1865.” page 105.

The company is “I” and not “A,” that George served with.

Did my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay “march with Sherman” as my Aunt Miriam states or did he “marched through Georgia to the sea” as the book reference suggests?

Well let’s examine the evidence.

Because I am a curious creature I ordered George’s Civil War Service record from the National Archives (NARA) and waited impatiently for its arrival.  I also ordered his Civil War Pension Record but NARA didn’t have it?  NARA wrote back to tell me that it was with the Veterans Administration.  So of course, I wrote for it immediately.  It came — all 3 inches thick of it!  The pension file was huge and covered 1892 to 1942.

After studying both the Civil War Service Record and the Civil War Pension files of George A. Barclay I cannot state with certainty that George  “marched with Sherman” or ‘marched through Georgia to the sea!”  George never mentions it in his pension file. The goal of the pension file application is to get a pension and it is probably better to keep your answers short.  The Service Record is more like an attendance record for the soldier.

George writes in his own hand on an affidavit from his pension file:

I have not been in the military or naval service of the United States since August 24th, 1865.  That I served as Wagoner in Company I, 9th Minn. Vol. Inft. for the period of 3 years and 9 days and was never in any company.”  From G.A. Barclay Civil War Pension File.  

We need to understand the history of George William T. Sherman’s military career.  The History Channel website has this interactive video of the three of the campaigns of Sherman:  Sherman’s March.

http://www.history.com/topics/william-t-sherman

1.  The Atlanta Campaign.  It started in the Summer and he took Atlanta on September 7, 1864.  It is from Atlanta that Sherman started his march to the sea.

2.  The Savannah Campaign started on November 15, 1864 and went for 300 miles. This is the famous “March to the Sea” campaign.  He did march across Georgia to Savannah, NC to accomplish this goal.   This link to the History Channel gives more on this specific march.

http://www.history.com/topics/shermans-march/interactives/shermans-march

“Sherman’s Army:  Sherman had a massive army.  Over 60,000 troops, 8000 horses and mules, 2500 wagons.  Two 900 foot pontoon bridges to cross the many rivers and streams of Georgia.  In some places the army would march by a house or plantation for 2 straight days without a break during daylight hours.  The March proceeded in two wings.  Each wing was divided into two columns.  Often the four columns were on separate roads.”

Wikipedia’s – Sherman’s March to the Sea has a really good explanation and even details the “Opposing forces” which breaks down the various army groups that participated in this march in more detail along with links.  They have some maps with details of the campaigns and you can click to make them bigger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman%27s_March_to_the_Sea

3.  The Campaign of the Carolinas.  In this campaign Sherman marched north through these two states starting on January 15, 1865.

George William T. Sherman had a very long military career even before the beginning of the Civil War.  He was involved in many other campaigns.  To dig deeper on W. T. Sherman let’s go back to Wikipedia for a biography on Sherman.   There is a lot of great information at this particular Wikipedia site but always be sure you check other sources and there are plenty on the web referencing the Civil War.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tecumseh_Sherman

Scrolling down the page to Civil War Service you see that Sherman was involved with other campaigns prior to the three mentioned above.

1.  First Battle Bull Run or First Battle of Manassas. I have had the privilege of visiting this park twice.  The park is west of Arlington, Virginia and easy to get to by car.  I believe it is haunted. The battle took place on July 21, 1861.  So if George mustered in on August 15, 1862 he most definitely was not in this battle. The National Park Services has wonderful websites of the major battlefields of the Civil War:  http://www.nps.gov/mana/index.htm

2.  Shiloh is in Tennessee and the battle took place April 6-7, 1862.  The National Park Services also has a website for this battlefield:  http://www.nps.gov/shil/historyculture/shiloh.htm  Again George musters in August 15, 1862 he misses this action as well.

3.  Vicksburg, Mississippi Dec 26, 1862 to July 4, 1863 and Chattanooga, Tennessee October and November 1863.   Now there might be possibilities in these campaigns?  We will see.

Let us review George’s military card service cards in the next post and see if we can find anything in them that will help us figure out this puzzle.

WARNING!  Researching and reading about the Civil War can be addicting!

Here are some other websites to explore:

The National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA is a wonderful place to visit.  I was able to wander this archive back in September of 2008.

http://www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org/index_1.php

 

Civil War:  http://www.civilwar.com/

Don’t forget Google Images of the Civil War go here http://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi  and type in “Civil War” or “Civil War Wagons” and click!

Civil War Home Page http://www.civil-war.net/

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/  You can search for a soldier and more.

The Civil War (PBS) http://www.pbs.org/civilwar/

American Civil War.com http://americancivilwar.com/

Time Line of the Civil War:  http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/tl1861.html

The National Civil War Museum