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Month: June 2007

Inheriting Given Names

Posted in Family Biographies/Histories, and Genealogy and History

I know some people prefer not to name their children after family members. A solid argument can be made for giving a child a name that is entirely their own, at least within the context of the family. When someone is calling for Dana at family gatherings, I always know they mean me. I believe I’m the only Dana in any branch of my family; I’ve yet to prove otherwise, anyway.

My daughter Maggie has an old-fashioned name. We named her for her grandmother, Margaret, my husband’s mother. Indeed, when parents name their children, it is generally for a close relative rather than a distant ancestor. What I didn’t realize, however, is that the name Margaret stretches quite far back in my husband’s family. My husband’s second cousin Bobbye Phillips connected with me online and shared her family tree with me.

My mother-in-law’s mother was Margaret Emma Ledbetter (1916-1995), daughter of Clarence Ledbetter (1868-?) and Rosanna Belle Beasley (1881-1946). Rosanna Beasley’s paternal grandmother was Margaretta Etta Pugh Beasley (1827-1898). It’s possible that Margaretta Pugh’s mother, Prudence Jane Nicks Pugh (1794-1887), named her daughter after her own paternal grandmother, Margaret Doaks Nicks (1752-?). Prudence’s paternal grandfather also had a mother named Margaret — Margaret Edwards Nicks (1717-1753).

I find it fairly interesting that the name Margaret has been passed through my husband’s family for nearly 300 years. In some ways, it feels like a connection across the generations. My friend Roger has an interesting essay (which I contributed a small part to) on naming practices around the world: “What’s in a Name?”

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Civil War Records of William Jones Bowling

Posted in Family Biographies/Histories

Much of what I know about my great-great-great-grandfather, William Jones Bowling, is thanks largely to my distant cousin, Joe Bowling, who descends from an uncle of William Jones Bowling’s. Joe sent me a copy of William Jones Bowling’s Civil War records, consisting of his record as a prisoner of war and his application for a pension.

William Jones Bowling was born January 20, 1840 in Haywood County, Tennessee. W.J. Bowling himself gives this information on his pension application. He enlisted in the Confederate States Army in August 1861, according to his pension application. He was captured on March 21, 1864 in Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee (the county bordering his birth county of Haywood to the south). According to his POW records, he “gave himself up.” He appears to have been sent first to Alton Military Prison. He appears on a roll of prisoners of war which indicates he was received at Alton on April 21, 1864. He was transferred to Camp Douglas, Illinois (Chicago) on August 23, 1864 and appears on a roll of prisoners of war received at Camp Douglas on August 24, 1864. Camp Douglas has been considered the Andersonville of the North — described in a History Channel documentary as “80 acres of hell.” The photograph below is dated 1863, so I know that my ggg-grandfather is not one of the many faces in the sea of prisoners, but I find the photograph poignant nonetheless. You can fully explore this photograph, including zooming in to see close detail, at the Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Camp Douglas -- click to see larger version

Bowling later appears on a roll of prisoners of war applying for an oath of allegiance dated September 24, 1864. The remarks on this record state

Claim to have been loyal. Enlisted in the Rebel Army to avoid conscription and desire to take oath of allegiance and become loyal citizen.

He apparently did take this oath of allegiance and was discharged on May 16, 1865. His discharge lists his place of residence as “Hardinmond Co., Tenn.,” which I believe to be a reference to Hardeman County. The 1860 census corroborates this evidence, citing Bolivar, Hardeman County, Tennessee as the residence of W. J. Bowling.

William Jones Bowling’s POW records all list him as a Private in Company H of the 15th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. Other records, including his pension application, refer to him as a First Sergeant in Company K of the Fourth Confederate Infantry (1st Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi). Which is it? Given the volatility and frequent reorganization during the war, it could be both. I am not as troubled by the inconsistency regarding organization as I am the inconsistency regarding his rank, especially because my cousin Joe is so thorough in his research, and I don’t think he made a mistake.

According to my cousin Joe, William Jones Bowling decided to become a minister while he was imprisoned. It makes sense that a man living in such desperate conditions might turn to the Bible and religion for comfort.

In an upcoming post, I will share William Jones Bowling’s application for a Confederate pension, along with the wealth of information gleaned from it.

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