Mystery Monday

I chose the Mystery Monday blogging prompt for today because I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks trying to find William Smith’s Confederate military records.  But first, the facts:

  • Born:  About 1822 in Montgomery County
  • Died:  after 1880
  • Married:  Sarah Strother
  • He’s my 3rd great-grandfather via:
    • his son, Jones Monroe Smith
    • his son, Joseph Jones Smith
    • his son
    • his daughter, Katherine Jean Smith

According to my cousin Helen Smith Crepps in the Montgomery County Heritage Book, Volume  I, he 

enlisted in CA at Brunswick on August 29, 1863.  he served in the 3rd Co G 40th regiment state troops, stationed at bald head island, near fort fisher, where his troop aided blockade runners and made soap and other supplies for the confederate army

According to my papa Nelson,

he enlisted late, about time war was over, was sent to Bald Head Island to make soap to clean things up, like dysentery and such.  At some point the Union surrounded them, his captain said every man for himself and he took off through the swamp barefoot.  He walked all the way home, barefoot, and they got after him saying he would be considered a deserter so he went back.  By the time he got back, the war was pretty much over.

Helen says that in October 1864, his troop was sent to Fort Fischer and told to escape if possible.

My inexperience with confederate records has really put me at a disadvantage.  I finally found a record of a William Smith who did indeed enlist in August of 1863.  This William was on roll until October 1864.  But, there’s nothing to tie him to my William.

At points like this, I really wonder what I’m missing.

Sources:

Six Ancestors Ago–Absolom Strother (52 Ancestors)

When I started this challenge I didn’t put any thought into the order of ancestors or where to start.  I just wrote about whichever ones struck me at the time.  I figure, the rest of this challenge will go like that.  However, my Week 1, when I get it done, will be about my mother as she gave me my start in genealogy.  I didn’t write this weeks post.  My mother wrote it about 25 years ago.

Abner Strother is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother’s side.  His foster great-niece (Nina) is my great-aunt on my father’s side.  Abner’s second wife was my 2nd great-aunt on my father’s side.  Small…small world!

Absolom Thomas “Abby or Abner” Strother was born on 5 August 1843 and died July 5, 1919.  It is not known whether he was born in Cheraw or Camden, South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina.  His death certificate lists South Carolina.  They are listed in the Richmond County Census in 1850.  His father may have been named William and his mother Eliza.  He had at least one brother and several sisters.  Brother William was captured by the Yankees and taken to Indiana during the Civil War and never returned.  We know of at least one visit that Absolom made to see William in Indianapolis.  Susan, born 1 Jan 1833 in South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina, Died 8 April 1919 in Montgomery County.  Susan married William Gilbert Thompson and are referred to in Montgomery County Heritage 1981, story 826.  Absolom had two sisters to emigrate to Baltimore, MD around the time of the Civil War.  Their names may have been Martha, Sarah or Phoebe.

Research indicates he may have descended through one of Jeremiah’s sons William.  Other family names around this time are Charles and Solomon.

Absolom enlisted into the Confederacy at Cheraw, South Carolina on 20 March 1862.  He was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse on 19 April 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.  His parole paper says that he was 20 years old which would have put him born in 1845.  His grandchildren remember him talking about the war and being so young when he enlisted.

After the Civil War was over Absolom came to Montgomery County where his sister Susan was living.  He married Elizabeth Frances Thompson Bird circa 1866.  Their children were Mary Elizabeth, born circa 1867; Ida m., born circa 1870; Sarah Marie (Sallie) born 1872, married Jones Monroe Smith died 1956 (story 800 in Book 1).  William Charles, born circa 1875, moved to Turlock, California; John Wesley (Bud), born 1877 – died 1956; Robert James, born 1879 – died in Virginia, and Della Ann, born 1881, died 18 Mar 1936

Frances was the daughter of Martha Thompson Bird and step-daughter of Henry Bird.  She had a brother Thomas Bird.  Frances died in the early 1880’s and is buried in the abandoned Thompson Cemetery between Wadeville and Pee Dee in an unmarked grave.  Her mother “Granny Bird” is buried near her.

On 30 October 1884 Absolom married Lourette Harris of Eldorado in Montgomery Co. North Carolina.  Their children were Alfred Thomas, born 1886 – died 1971; Ruth Blanche, born 1892, married Paul Branson; Marion Marquette, born 1894 and Millard Carson, born 11 May 1897, died 1 Jan 1986.

Absolom and Frances bought land from the estate of Edmund Deberry in the Township of Pee Dee near where Stoney Fork Baptist Church is now.  His house is occupied by a great-great-granddaughter today.

Susan Strother Thompson gave land for Stoney Fork Baptist Church and Absolum was a charter member and deacon.

strother, ab family

The only picture we have of Absolum were made in 1916.  He had cancer and was going to take a train ride to Turlock, CA to see his son Charles.  Pictures were made of Absolom and Lourette and some of the children before the trip.  A granddaughter remembers them getting ready and his family thinking they probably would never see him again.  He did make the trip, returned and lived until 1919.

The following is quoted from an obituary written by “A Friend”:  “The writer of this knew Mr. Strother from his earliest existence up till his death.  He was a father to the fatherless and a friend to the friendless; he was a Christian gentleman of the noblest character.  Though he be gone his influence will live for years to come.  As a Sunday School and mission worker he was unexcelled.  His plea for the orphans at Thomasville often brought tears to the audience’s eyes.  His departure has not only been a great loss to the family and relatives; his host of friends have sadly missed his presence in their hour and in every good movement in the upbuilding of God’s kingdom on earth as well as the upbuilding of this neighborhood.

Not only has he been a faithful Christian worker, his citizenship has been of the highest type, genuine American, first, last and at all times.  Rather than be a traitor to the land that gave him birth, he faithfully followed the Stars and Bars through four years of hardship and privation in General Lee’s Army as courier and bugler, and was present when the surrender was made to General Grant at Appomattox Court House.  He was in may of the great battles fought in Virginia, and was alway found at his post of duty, although at heart he was a union man and his sympathy was with the union.  After the Civil War he returned to Montgomery County and married; settled down to farming in the poor hill section, five miles north of Mt. Gilead where he has worked hard and raised a large family.

Absolom, his second wife, Lourette and other family members are buried at Stoney Fork Baptist Church in Montgomery County.

Sources:  Granddaughters Annie Mae Smith McRae, Katherine Strother Fossett, Beatrice Crouch Slate, Great-Grandson Nelson Smith, Karen Seals Gury, death certificates of Absolom and Susan, marriage license of Absolom and Lourette.  Land Deed and Will recorded in Montgomeery County, North Carolina and Military and Census Records.

Story by:  Katherine Smith Morris

Those in the back are Mark or possibly Carson, foster great-niece Nina Harris, daughter Ruth.