Stories for the Boys: Space Shuttle Challenger, Touching the Face of God

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.” ~ President Ronald Reagan

challenger crew nbcnews dot com


Dear Reader,

If this is the first post you’ve read in the “Stories for the Boys” series then there is a little information you need up front.  This series is written to and for my grandsons (and granddaughters, should I ever have any).  The stories in this series come directly from mine and my husband’s lives and are told with the hope that one day my grandchildren will read and treasure them and get to know who we were as people and learn what events shaped our lives as well as our perceptions of those events.  You’re welcome to read them and I hope you enjoy them, but the intended audience is my grandchildren.

Read on, friend.

Reach for the Stars

“Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain.” ~ President Ronald Reagan

This past Sunday was the 32nd anniversary of the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger launch and subsequent shuttle failure/destruction.  On board was Christa McAuliffe.  She was a history teacher and was chosen from more than 11,000 applicants.  Christa had dreamed of traveling in space since she was young.  By the time she got the opportunity, she was 37 years old, married, and had two young children.  Christa liked to teach her students that ordinary people impact history and “they were as important to the historical record as kings, politicians or generals.”  (Wikipedia)  I think I would have really liked her.  (In fact, I know someone a lot like her – a teacher in my school district who also taught my daughter in 5th grade, Jennifer Daftari.  And I do really like her.)  Through this program, President Ronald Reagan hoped to remind U.S. citizens of how important teachers and education are.  Christa would have been the first teacher in space (and the first civilian) as part of NASA’s Teachers in Space project had the shuttle not exploded shortly after launch.  NASA cancelled the Teachers in Space program after the Challenger explosion.  It would be another 12 years after the explosion before NASA would institute a similar project and it wasn’t until 2005 that the Teacher in Space program would be revived in the private sector.  (Wikipedia)


Christa McAuliffe. photo.

Cut to Jay High School (Jay, Delaware County, Oklahoma), Mr. Netherton’s Computer Class

Most people can tell you about a defining moment in their life that had nothing to do with them personally yet they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing.  An early “defining moment” for me was the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.  I was a junior in high school in January of 1986.  Bart was in his first year of college at Oklahoma State University.  It was mid-morning.  I remember it being about 9:30.  (Looking at the internet I see it was 11:38 EST which would be 10:38 here in Oklahoma so my memory was a little off.)  I was in Mr. Tom Netherton’s computer class and we were learning computer coding to make banners (likely on Apple IIE computers- WAY back then).  I can’t remember exactly what was on my banner but I remember I was working on it and we had the television on watching the shuttle launch.  I’m assuming most classes had a television on in their room.  It was a big moment in history for educators.

The shuttle launched and a little over a minute into flight, the shuttle exploded.  It was confusing at first.  I knew there were objects that were supposed to disconnect from the shuttle and fall away at some point and yet that didn’t seem quite right for what I was seeing on television.  A vague feeling of fear was pervasive even though the event didn’t directly affect anyone I knew.  As the announcers kept talking and the shuttle fell down toward the ocean, confusion and fear gave way to sadness and disbelief.  The only positive thing I can say is that Christa died fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams- pursuing space travel and another opportunity to broaden the horizons of her students.

There are many sad parts to the Challenger story.  One of the saddest parts of the shuttle disaster is that Christa’s parents, sister, and son were present and watching the launch (as were other astronauts’ families).  I tried watching the video of her family watching the launch.  I saw them slowly coming to the realization that Christa was in danger and they could do nothing to help her.  I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t finish the video.  My heart broke for her family and for the other families watching on in horror.

The Challenger launch was rescheduled so many times due to many different problems.  It was originally schedule to launch on January 23rd, then the 24th, then the 25th, 26th, and 27th for a variety of reasons including mechanical issues and weather.  NASA received many warnings from engineers not to launch on January 28th but they were determined to do it anyway.  From the very second of liftoff, there was one failure after another that ultimately led to the explosion and subsequent loss of life.  Once the explosion occurred, NASA locked all their doors and cut communication with the outside world.  This was, apparently, their written procedure.  There was no way for the crew to escape the shuttle.  Several times escape capability was discussed but the top NASA officials in charge decided against it each time.  The crew was conscious and apparently uninjured by the explosion.  You can hear that in the video below detailing the on-flight voice recordings.  There is evidence that at least three of them were conscious for at least part of the fall from sky to ocean and some investigators believed the crew were conscious right up to the point of their 207-mile-per-hour impact with the ocean surface.  And then there are others who believe they survived impact and were alive for several hours on the ocean floor.

Think, Pray, THEN Act

To my boys: let this be a lesson to you.  If God makes something so difficult for you that you have to defy logic, morals, and established procedures to make it happen, you need to take a step back and really think and pray about what you are wanting to do before you go ahead with it.  Only God knows if it should happen or not.  Seek His wisdom.  Between prayer and God’s wisdom that He gave us in the form of the Holy Bible, you have any answer you will ever need.  I’ve found that in my life if something is becoming that difficult it may be because it isn’t what God wants me to do.  Think.  Pray.  Read your Bible.  As my Papa DRAKE always said, choose to do the right thing no matter what.

I’m going to leave you with a few YouTube videos and a couple of photos now so you can get a feel for what I experienced that day in 1986.  The first video is a news channel showing the launch live so you get a feel for what I saw, heard, and felt that day.

The second video is the launch live on CNN.

The third video details what was going on inside the cockpit through the launch and explosion.  It was business as usual and not a word from Christa.

Watching these videos still takes my breath away and makes my tummy feel queasy.  I could not bring myself to post (or even finish watching) the video of Christa’s (and the other astronauts’) families watching their loved ones die in front of them.  You’ll have to find that on your own if it still exists when you read this and if you have the desire.

The third video is the speech President Ronald Reagan gave after the explosion.


The first photograph is the image I remember when I think of that day and it is of the Challenger exploding.  (Photo from

orl-space-shuttle-challenger-pictures latimes


The second photograph is the second image I think of when I think about this day and it is the Challenger crew in uniform.  Christa is the woman next to the flag- top row, second from left.  (Photo from

challenger crew nbcnews dot com

One more site I appreciated for Challenger history is at  It’s worth taking a look.

Learn from history, boys.  That’s why I write these blog posts.  The people before you have made the mistakes and paid the price.  All you have to do is learn from it.  I’m not saying be afraid to take chances or do things.  I’m saying there is a time to take chances and there is a time to use caution.  I pray that you will allow God to lead you in the right direction as you live out your life.  I love you, boys.




John Bates’ Final Years, Part 1

This is part one of the final years of John BATES’ life.  For those of you just getting here, I’ve posted several times about my maternal 3rd great grandfather, John.  My initial post about John is here  and it gives you the background you’ll need about John’s life.  My cousin visited Rock Island (where we thought John had died) and he guest-wrote a blog post that you can find here.  On a trip to Georgia I found some documents related to John and wrote about some of those here.  Recently I made another discovery that initiated this blog series about John and you can read that post here.  The initial timeline for the final years of John BATES is included in that post but I was able to create a more accurate timeline that will serve as the outline for this series and I posted that here.  Since I posted the updated timeline and this post on a Tuesday, I will try to continue posting John’s story installments on Tuesdays just to keep things simple.  Today’s post will begin with the early years of John’s first enlistment and will go through Battle of Mill Springs in 1862.  So let’s get started.

The Beginning of the End

John’s initial enlistment was on 10 November 1861 and was supposed to last 6 months.  He enlisted with Company C, 10th Georgia State Troops, Walker’s Brigade, Army of State Troops (Captain was John OATES).  According to the Murray County Museum records, John fought in a battle at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was captured at Tullahoma, Tennessee, and died at Rock Island (Illinois- the Union military prison camp).  There are notes on this document that the company reorganized and went into Confederate service in May of 1862.  They became the 3rd Confederate Regiment, Company F, Wharton’s Brigade, Army of Tennessee (the unit that John enlisted in for his second enlistment; also captained by John OATES).  My theory is the Murray County Museum records are incorrect.  I think it’s too much of a coincidence that there was a John BATES in both units and both units had John OATES as their caption.  Both John BATES’ enlisted at Spring Place, Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s beyond the realm of possibility that there were two in the same unit.  I just don’t think it’s probable in this case.  None of my research so far has indicated that my theory is incorrect.

Murray County document John Bates enlistment

According to the Georgia Archives website, the Captain of Company C of the 10th Regiment Infantry, Third Brigade of the Georgia State Troops was Captain John OATES.

georgia archives document john bates enlistment

Records for this unit show that John BATES was called into service on 16 December 1861 as a Private.  He joined for duty and was enrolled on 16 December 1861 at Spring Place, Georgia by Captain John OATES for a period of 6 months.  (I’m aware this information conflicts with the November date and I’m trying to get it all figured out.)  This document shows he was last paid by Paymaster Major Lamar through 31 January 1862.  It’s interesting to note that on this document John’s name is crossed off and the remarks state, “Details to Napier Battery February 8 1862”.  There are several possibilities for “Napier Battery” and I’ve been unable to determine which unit is being referred to here.  Two websites discuss possible units: Tennessee Genweb website and  Tennessee Genweb website.  Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to solve this problem.

company c ga state troops john bates

On the far right of the document you’ll see John BATES’ signature in the section showing payroll from 31 January 1862 through 31 March 1862.  I do believe that is actually John’s signature since the guy above him  has a “his mark x” note beside the name and John’s signature doesn’t have that notation.

john bates signature

Please note this copy of the same document.  John’s name is not crossed out on this copy and it shows that he was paid $12 per month.  (Tennessee Genweb)

John Bates payroll 2

In addition to those details, the remarks section says, “Details to Napier Artillery February 8 1862”.  (See discussion above about Napier Battery.)

During the payroll periods of 16 January through 31 March 1862, the 10th Regiment, 3rd Brigade was stationed at Camp Jackson.  There were a number of Camp Jackson’s in existence and I haven’t been able to narrow it down more than that yet.  One thing I enjoyed about this document is the description of Captain OATES’ assessment of the unit.  He graded the unit fair in discipline, good in arms, fair in instruction, competent in accoutrements, good in military appearance, good in clothing.  (See bottom left corner)  For the initial period from 15 December 1861 to 31 January 1862, Captain OATES had rated the unit like this: discipline tolerable, arms good, instruction tolerable, accoutrements complete, military appearance tolerable, and clothing tolerable.  (Georgia Archives)  One additional fact for that initial period from December 1861 to January 1862 is that John was paid for 1 month and 15 days at $11 per month for a total of $16.50 in pay.  He was also given $10 for clothes.  Third Lieutenant T. R. BATES witnessed John’s receipt of payment.

muster roll 10th regiment

You can find the muster roll page with John’s name on it here.  He’s number 17.

I am checking into ordering Confederate military records but am not sure what exists for this time period other than what I’ve found online.  I will come back to this time period in John’s life if I find more information at some point.

What is more certain about this time period is what was going on in the United States and in the war in general.  In November of 1860, Abraham LINCOLN was elected president.  On 20 December 1860 South Carolina seceded from the Union, quickly followed by six other states.  On 9 February 1861 the Confederate States of America was formed and Jefferson DAVIS was appointed President.  He was sworn in as President of the United States 4 March 1861.  (History Place website)  In April of 1861 Confederate forces fired shots on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the Civil War.

Confederate States of America Cabinet

Harper’s Weekly, 1 June 1861; found at Son of the South/Lee Foundation website.

The Battle of Fishing Creek in Kentucky

**Please note that I have no documentary proof that John was in this battle.  Records have been hard to come by for his units.  I can only look at his enlistment dates and presume that he was here based on where his regiment was stationed at this point in time.

In early January of 1862, troops began congregating around Mill Springs, Kentucky.  Kentucky was important to both sides and the side that won Kentucky would have a definite advantage in the war.  A battle ensued there on 19 January 1862.  The Confederates called it the Battle of Fishing Creek.  The Union called it The Battle of Mill Springs and, since the winner is the one that gets to write the history, it became the Battle of Mill Springs.

Confederate troops had marched much of the night through cold and rain to advance on Union troops in this area.  Unaware that Union troops had just received reinforcements, the order for Confederate troops to advance was given at midnight on 18 January 1862.  At 6:30 the next morning, the battle ensued.  Confederate guns were not firing consistently in the rain.  One estimate given was that only about one-fifth of the Confederate weapons were firing.  (Mill Springs Battlefield website)  Weapon issues, along with cold, mud, rain, and fatigue from marching all night were some of the major issues the Confederates faced in that battle.  Confederates camped and tried to regroup that night but realized they could not hold their position and survive.  They crossed back over the Cumberland River to safety in the middle of the night that night leaving behind all of their artillery, wagons, camp equipment and most of their horses.  In that battle, the Confederates suffered twice as many casualties as the Union.  The bodies of two Confederate officers killed in action (General Zollicoffer and Lieutenant Peyton) were removed from the battlefield and returned to their Confederate families.  The rest of the Confederate dead were left on the battlefield to be buried in a mass grave.  Most of the Union dead were buried in Mill Springs National Cemetery.  You can read the details of the battle and of Confederate Lieutenant Peyton’s bravery before his death at Mill Spring Battlefield website.

gen zollicoffer death

This is a print for sale at showing the moment of General Zollicoffer’s death at the Battle of Mill Spring.

Meanwhile, Back at the Confederate Capital

In March of 1862, just a couple of months after the Battle of Mill Springs, Confederate President Jefferson Davis discussed drafting men for service.  In April, the first draft was passed into law and instituted.  The initial Confederate draft required 3 years’ service from draftees.  The draft was not received well.  (Wikipedia)

My initial guess about John’s re-enlistment was that John was drafted and unable to hire a substitute to serve his time and was also unable to buy his way out of service (both of which were permitted by law during the Civil War).  However, initially only men ages 18-35 were drafted.  John was 44 years old.  Men ages 36-45 weren’t required to enlist until September of 1862 and even then, men over 40 weren’t initially accepted.  (Civil War Daily Gazette)   So it appears that he voluntarily joined the second time.  I have found information that says that any man who volunteered before 15 May 1862 was eligible to “organize their own regiments or reorganize existing ones and elect their own officers”  and “receive a $50 bounty”. (Rootsweb Genealogy Pages)  John enlisted the second time on 10 May 1862 and mustered in on 16 May 1862, for Confederate service in Captain John OATES’ Company, HOWARD’s Battalion, Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry.  He enlisted in Spring Place, Georgia.  Since John enlisted so close to the deadline, I think it’s possible he had bigger plans to organize his own company or have available the option to reorganize a unit he had previously been in, possibly the opportunity to name his son as an officer, or something along those lines.  If he had bigger plans, those plans never materialized for whatever reason.  A side note on this website states that $50 in 1862 would equal about $1,120 in 2010 so that would be hard to pass up if you were inclined to do the work and needed money.).

The 3rd Confederate was attached to Joseph Wheeler’s division within the Army of Tennessee and they fought under the leadership of Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  John enlisted at Spring Place, Murray County, Georgia for a 3 year stint.  (The draft law required a 3 year stint initially.  It was later increased. Some information I’ve read says he was Captain of Company F but resigned.  Other documents I’ve found say he was a Sergeant.  One record listed him as a “4 Sergeant”.  The 4 Sergeant led a section of men within the Company.  I’m assuming he led the fourth section and that’s why he was designated “4 Sergeant”.  There would have been four sections within Company F and each section was led by a Sergeant.

Next Up…Shelbyville, Tennessee

We’ve made it through the Battle of Mill Springs, or if you were John, the Battle of Fishing Creek.  It was intense for me to read all the details and think that someone important in my life was probably there and fighting.  Between now and the next time we meet to talk about John he will have marched from the Cumberland River near Mill Springs, Kentucky all the way to a location near Shelbyville, Tennessee- a distance of 184 miles.  Think about that walk this week and then meet me back here next Tuesday to learn about the next stop on the journey.  I’m looking forward to it.  I hope this week’s journey for us will be easier than the journey was for John.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Notes: Websites were accessed between 1/16/2018 – 1/29/2018.

Week 5 Blog Schedule

We’re into week 5 of 2018 already!  My SIL, Becky, (who blogs over at Down in the Root Cellar) and I are attempting to keep up with Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog schedule.  I opted out of last week’s theme (“Invite to Dinner”) because when Becky alerted me that Amy had come up with a new year of prompts, I already had my blog year scheduled.  Last week’s previously scheduled set of blogs didn’t fit into the week 4 prompts so I skipped it.  This week’s theme is “In the Census”.  I can cover that one easily with what is already planned.  By the way, you should definitely swing by Becky’s blog and check out what she’s got going on!

Here is this week’s schedule:

Sunday- Blog Schedule (of course)

Tuesday- I’m going to try to post the first short installment of the series about the final years of John BATES during the Civil War.  John’s final years will end up being a series of short blog posts since I don’t usually have a lot of time during the week to do extended research so it’s easier to do shorter posts over time rather than one longer blog post.

Thursday- I will celebrate and blog about Minerva BRINCEFIELD UNDERWOOD’s birthday.  Minerva is my paternal 3rd great grandmother.  She was born in February of 1813.

It’s going to be a great week for me.  On one special day this week one of my grandsons will be turning 6 years old.  Happy birthday to him!  My best friend just announced that her first grandbaby will arrive next year.  I’m so excited for her!  She’ll be an amazing grammy!  She was my child care provider when both my kids were young and I am so glad they had her great example of how to live and behave.

We only have a couple more weeks of taking it easy on the blog and then things will really heat up for a couple of weeks.  You will begin to see several blog posts a week if I can keep up with that schedule.  If not, I’ll just dial it back and save some posts for next year.  I’ll do as many as I can though!

I hope you have a great week!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

John Bell and Sarah Hardin- Another Postmaster and His Wife

Today’s blog post is about my paternal 4th great grandparents, John BELL and Sarah HARDIN who were married in January of 1822.  I have never found a marriage certificate for them.  The date given is one I have received from other researchers.  I mentioned this couple in an earlier blog post.  As I was writing this week I realized that in recent posts I’ve forgotten to tell you which line leads me to each of these ancestors.  For John and Sarah, I descend through John and Sarah’s son Quincy, through Quincy’s daughter Eliza (whom I recently wrote about here), and Eliza’s daughter (and my great-grandmother) Bessie.  I’ll try to remember to include an ancestral line in future posts. 

John BELL was born about 1795 possibly in North Carolina or Kentucky.  I don’t know for sure who his parents were.  There is much about John that I haven’t been able to figure out.  I have yet to find a birth or marriage record.  His burial location is on private property and in the 1970’s the then-owners of that land destroyed the headstones and the Bell family cemetery.  This information comes from researcher Shirley Davis who visited with the people who owned the land at that time.

Sarah HARDIN was born about 1806 in Rutherford County, North Carolina to Hardy and Tabitha (ROBERTS) HARDIN.  Their last name is also commonly spelled HARDEN.  Sarah has been easier to research than John but there is still much about Sarah that I don’t know.  She is buried in the same location as John so there are the same difficulties with no one knowing exactly where that is.

John and Sarah lived in Sweetwater, McMinn County, Tennessee at the beginning of their marriage between 1820-1830.  In 1838 they moved to Greene County, Missouri with their children- Quincy, Calvin, Serena, Elvina, Catherine, Alexander, James, Sarah, and Hannah.  After the family moved there, Phebe and Mary were born.

John was the first Postmaster at the Dallas, Missouri, Post Office (Greene County).  The first Postmaster appointment I can find for him was at the Dallas (Missouri) Post Office on 19 December 1844.  He as there until 27 May 1846.  The following day John SMITH replaced him at Dallas Post Office.  On 15 January 1847, John was appointed Postmaster at the post office in St. Paul, Missouri.  Another researcher (Shirley Davis) has said that the St. Paul Post Office was on John’s property.  As I’ve said in previous blog posts, the postmaster often kept the post office in his own home.  John’s property was Southwest of Marshfield, Missouri, on the James River.  I believe it is that area that is known as Bell Ford, which you will see on several of the family records.  There is also a place called Bell Spring that was named after our Bell family.  Here is a map showing Bell Springs Road and Bell Ford Road.

Bell Hardin post - bell springs map

Here is a zoomed-out map of the same area.  #1 is Marshfield, Missouri.  #2 is Fordland, Missouri.  #3 is Seymour, Missouri.

bell hardin post zoomed out bell spring map.jpg

This map will give you a better idea of location.  Within this triangle of Marshfield-Fordland-Seymour is where John and Sarah HARDIN BELL lived and where Bell Springs and Bell Ford are located.  My guess is they lived closest to where #4- High Prairie- is.  When I looked for St. Paul (the name of the post office John ran out of his home) the Geographic Names Information System indicated that St. Paul Cemetery is located in a place now called High Prairie.  So this is my best guess as to where they lived.  St. Paul Post Office didn’t exist for very long and there is no longer a place in Webster or Greene County, Missouri going by the name St. Paul.  The area shown in the map would, of course, also be the general area where the Bell family cemetery is located.  These maps were found at Any Place America’s website.

I’ve read that John ran the St. Paul Post Office until his death.  Government records show that he was Postmaster there until 30 November 1848.   However, the will transcription given by Shirley Davis shows that John died “on or about” 7 September 1848.  The Postmaster records for this time period are difficult to read so it is very possible that John had no gap in employment as a Postmaster.  In addition to being difficult to read, the records aren’t indexed.  At this time though, these are the only records I’ve found of his employment as Postmaster.  The census records for his era do not list types of employment so this may be all we ever learn of what John did for a living.  

After John’s death in 1848, Sarah remained in Greene County, Missouri.  In 1855, Webster County, Missouri was created from part of Greene County, Missouri.  This area included the place where Sarah BELL lived.  As far as I can tell, Sarah remained there until her death.  Her adult daughters lived with her for much of her life.  At least one of the daughters never married.  Sarah and John, along with some of their children and grandchildren, were buried in the Bell family cemetery which is on private property.  (See above discussion.) 

Here is a teaser for the next time I post about Sarah.  She had two little girls living with her in the 1870 census- Sarah C. DeSHZER and Cynthia A. BELL.  I don’t know who these girls are but I suspect they are grandchildren.  Notice that living close to Sarah was her daughter Elvina BELL JACK.  I believe the woman living in between Sarah and Elvina was one of Sarah’s other daughters but I haven’t been able to prove or disprove that theory.  Here is a screenshot of that census:

bell hardin census image

(Screenshot from

There is so much more to know about this family but I’m going to stop here for now.  I plan to return to this family later in the year to finish their story.


Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

New, Updated Military Timeline for John Bates

Following is the updated timeline of John Bates’ final years in the military.  This is the timeline I’m currently working with after finding better information online than what I was working with last week.

10 Nov 1861                     Initial enlistment

19 Jan 1862                      Battle of Mill Springs (KY)

11-16 Feb 1862                Battle of Fort Donelson (TN)

March 1862                      Confederate President Jefferson Davis discusses drafting men 18- 35 years old

10 May 1862                     John re-enlists

16 May 1862                     John reported for duty/joined service/Mustered in

September 1862              Confederate Congress passes legislation requiring men 18-35 to enlist for a period of 3 years

8 Oct 1862                         Battle of Perryville (KY)

16 Oct 1862                       Battle (?)- Lexington, KY

31 Dec 1862- 2 Jan 1863  Battle at Murfreesborough, TN (Battle of Stones River?)

2 Jan 1863                          Battle (?)- Tullahoma, TN

Between 2 Jan-10 Sep 1863    Captured at Tullahoma, TN- Prisoner of War

Between 2 Jan-10 Sep 1863    POW- Rock Island Military Prison, Rock Island, IL (information obtained from the Murray County Museum, Murray County, GA.  They got it from info in a book at the courthouse there.  This info differs from military records.)

31 Aug 1862-18 Jan 1863     Last paid by Captain Gibbons to 31 Aug 1862 PRESENT

31 Dec 1862-30 Apr 1863     Undated/non-information military document (perhaps they didn’t know where he was?)

6 May 1863                            Unit was reorganized into Company A, 37th GA Volunteer Infantry Regt. while John was imprisoned

19-20 Sep 1863                     Battle of Chickamauga (GA)

15-25 Oct 1863                     Battle of Philadelphia (TN)

20 Oct 1863                         Captured in Monroe County, Tennessee, during Battle of Philadelphia

14 Nov 1863                       Appears on a descriptive roll of Prisoners of War at Camp Chase, Ohio from Camp Nelson, KY received by Colonel S. G. Griffin.

31 Dec 1863                       Muster Roll: 30 Apr-31 Dec 1863 dated 31 Dec 1863; last paid 30 Apr 1863 ABSENT FROM DUTY

Jan & Feb 1864                  Undated; last paid by Captain J. L. Gibbons to 30 Apr 1863 ABSENT

22-27 Feb 1864                   Battle of Dalton (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

29 Feb 1864                        Transferred from Camp Chase, OH to Fort Delaware, DE

4 Mar 1864                          Received at Fort Delaware, DE from Camp Chase, Ohio

7 May 1864                          Skirmish (?)- Tunnel Hill (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

14-15 May 1864                  Battle of Resaca (GA) occurred while John was a POW.

4 July 1864    Pay            May & June 1864; Last paid by Captain Gibbons to 30 April 1863 ABSENT

14 Oct 1864                        Admitted (notes don’t say where- maybe Point Lookout, MD?)

30 Oct 1864                        Discharged/”paroled” at Fort Delaware in prisoner exchange

31 Oct 1864                       Other record says date of arrival at Fort Delaware is 31 Oct ; Exchanged on this date.

14 Nov 1864                     John must have died en-route to Venus Point as his tombstone says this date.

15 Nov 1864                   Received at Venus Point, Savannah River, Savannah, GA from Point Lookout, MD.  Delivered by Lt Col. John E. Mulford & Assistant Agent for Exchange- 3,023 paroled Confederate Prisoners of War including 4 citizens and 4 surgeons & 74 officers.  W. H. Hatch asst agent of exchange. Note: Venus Point is attributed to both Jasper County, South Carolina and to Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia.

Week 4 Blog Schedule

Weekly schedule:

Tuesday-    I hope to post an update to the military timeline of John BATES.  This will be the last update before I begin writing posts about his final years.

Thursday-    I will blog about my paternal 4th great grandparents, John BELL  &  Sarah  HARDIN. They were married in January of 1822.

Lastly, happy birthday to this guy.  I sure miss him.

Derek football8th grade


I hope you have an amazing week!

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Karl August Brumm and Wilhelmina Ida Fischer

This blog post celebrates the anniversary of the marriage of Bart’s 3rd great grandparents, Karl August BRUMM and Wilhelmina Ida FISCHER (who went by Mina, pronounced like Mena).  They were married on this date (20 January) in 1861.  I’ve written about this family here and here.

Before I get into their story I do want to say something about Wilhelmina’s last name.  I have found a number of different last names for her.  While I think FISCHER is her maiden name, I can’t be 100% sure.  I have seen the following last names for her: BRUMM, FISCHER, HOFFMAN, WAGNER, WAHLER/WOLLER, and WISCHMAN.  The BRUMM and WISCHMAN surnames are her first and second married names.  I’m not sure where the HOFFMAN, WAGNER, and WAHLER/WOLLER names come in but I think FISCHER is her maiden name.

Karl was born on 17 February 1834 in Saxony, Germany.  (I’ve offered links for you to learn more about Saxony in this blog post.)   Mina was also born in Saxony on 20 September 1838.  They married on 20 January 1861 in Netzschkau, Vogtlandkreis, Saxony, Germany.  (I would love to provide you with their marriage license or some kind of record but I don’t have one and haven’t been able to locate one.  The date I have is one that has been given to me by other researchers.)  Here’s a map of the area:

Zwickau-Mylau-Netzschkau Germany 2018 week 3 blog post Brumm-Fischer

(Microsoft Maps)

The map above shows the city of Zwickau which is the capital of the district of Zwickau  (#1), the town of Mylau where Karl was born (#2), and the town of Netzschkau where Mina was born and where Karl and Mina were married (#3).  Karl and Mina lived the first decade or so of their marriage in Germany.  While in Germany, they had their children including Pauline, Theresa (Bart’s maternal 2nd great grandmother whom I wrote about here), Charles, Clemens, Emma, Anna, Ida Bertha, Oliver, Clara, Albert, and George.  (Researchers and records differ on Albert and George.  Some say the boys were born in Germany and some say they were born in Michigan.)

I’m not familiar enough with this family yet to say for sure, but it appears that both Karl and Mina made multiple trips between Germany and the United States.  I think possibly I’ve found the 1892 naturalization record for Karl but again, I’m not familiar enough with the family to say for sure.  In any case, I did find an interesting story on  It was posted by Doris Shumaker in 2011.  The story goes like this.  Clara, the youngest daughter of Karl and Mina, arrived in the United States at age 2.  The family settled in Forestville, Sanilac County, Michigan.  Before the family arrived though, Karl came over first.  He began a bakery and then brought the rest of the family over.  That would explain why Karl was not with the family on this Immigrant Passenger List:

Brumm passenger list

1874 Hamburg-to-New York passenger list found on  The family resided in Crimmitschau, Zwickau, Saxony, Germany before coming to the United States.

There is one story that I learned about the family that I want to share before I end this blog post.  About 6 years after their arrival in the U.S., their grandson was shot and killed.  Their grandson was Fredrick A. BRUMM.  Fred was the son of Karl and Mina’s son, Charles.  Fred was a patrolman in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.  He was on patrol when he surprised 3 people who were in the process of robbing a cigar store.  Fred was shot in the abdomen and died a week later.  He shot one of the robbers twice in the face during the encounter.  The three men got away but I believe they were later caught (although I’m not sure since I could only access one of the articles).  Here is a copy of the one article I could access on

fred brumm death - grandson of karl and wilhelmina brumm

31 Mar 1928 The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, MI)

I wanted to make sure that this police officer was remembered by all for his sacrifice.

I plan to write more of Karl and Mina’s stories throughout the year as I celebrate and honor their lives on their birth and death dates.  I hope you’ll join me for those stories.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

At Last!

Imagine the opening words of the song At Last sung by Etta James.

“At last…..”

You know you’re singing it.  Go ahead and listen to it if you need to get your fix before you continue reading.

At long, long last, I finally know what happened to my Confederate soldier John C. BATES.  I can write the end of his story.  This has been a 3-decade-plus search but I was in it for the long haul and what a reward!  I wanted so much to tell you the full story right away but it is taking considerably more research time than I anticipated.  So today I will give you a timeline of where he was during the Civil War and I will expand on that timeline in the coming weeks.  I want to make sure I get the story right.

John BATES, 4 Sergeant (and former Captain) of Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry

John Bates is my maternal 3rd great grandfather.   In January of 2015 I made a last-minute change of blog topics so I could write about an exciting new discovery about John that I had made the night before.  In June of 2106 my cousin wrote a guest post about his visit to Rock Island and the veteran’s cemetery there.  He learned that if a prisoner of war died en route to the Rock Island military prison the soldier’s body “was unceremoniously dumped off the train” and that in some of the communities the train went through, the people there would bury the unknown Confederate soldiers.  We had never been able to locate a grave for John.  No family stories had been passed down about where he was buried either.  So, since June of 2016 I have believed that it was likely that John had been dumped on the side of the train tracks and buried as an unknown soldier in a location no longer remembered  or recorded by anyone and that made me sad.  In September and October of 2016 I was able to spend a few weeks in Georgia doing some genealogical research.  Exactly one year ago today, I wrote another post about John that detailed some of the documents I found on that trip.  The research I did on location in Georgia led me to John’s parent and grandparents.  Despite all these great discoveries, I still didn’t know about the end of John’s life.  I still believed he had probably been dumped off the train at some unknown location to be (hopefully) buried by people who had no idea who he was.

Fast forward to this week.  I have discovered the rest of the story and I want you to know about the end of John’s life and where he is buried so that no one has to wonder anymore.

Some things to remember before you start reading the story:

  • I couldn’t always follow Company F (or Company C) so I will sometimes revert to giving you the location of the 3rd Confederate Cavalry as a whole with the understanding that it is possible his Company was elsewhere at the time.
  • This new information was given to me by other researchers and I’m in the process of verifying what I can.
  • I may add to this timeline as needed and when needed if new information is found.
  • I’ve done the best I could with the resources available to me to compile an accurate account of John’s whereabouts during the final years of his life.  If you have different information, I would love to be corrected on this.  I want an accurate account of his life.
  • Remember that today is just a timeline and I will flesh out the story in the weeks to come.
  • Some of the information may change over the next few weeks as I continue to research.  Please keep coming back so you have the full story.

November, 1861- John BATES enlisted, Company C, 3rd Confederate Cavalry, Whorton Brigade, Army of Tennessee

March, 1862- Confederate President Jefferson DAVIS discusses a draft of men ages 18-35

May, 1862- John C. BATES enlists in Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry, at Spring Place, Georgia

September, 1862- Men ages 36-45 are required to enlist

September-October 1862- possibly had a base camp at Shelbyville, Tennessee during this period

December, 1862 through early January, 1863- Battle of Stones River

Late January, 1863- marched to Fort Donelson, Tennessee

Early April, 1863- skirmish near Liberty, Tennessee

Late April 1863- stationed at Varnell, Georgia

September, 1863- Battle of Chickamauga

October, 1863- Battle of Philadelphia (Tennessee)

20 October, 1863- John was captured and taken as a prisoner of war

March, 1864- John was received at Fort Delaware (Delaware)

October, 1864- John was part of a prisoner exchange and was “paroled” at Venus Point, Savannah, Georgia

14 November 1864- John died and was buried in Savannah, Georgia.

So there’s the timeline we’ll be fleshing out.  I chose to space out the story because I felt like I was having to choose between giving you a marginally researched story versus taking my time and giving you a solidly researched story.  I am erring on the side of solid research since I hope this blog will be on the internet for many years to come.  In the near future I’ll be telling you about the locations John was at and what he might have experienced.  I’m hoping to come up with even more information than I have now.  Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives



Week 3 Blog Schedule + EXCITING NEWS!

(Make sure you read below the schedule for exciting news about an upcoming post!!)

The beginning of January and into February will be fairly slow since I did a good job of blogging at the beginning of last year and this year’s schedule is basically to pick up where I left off last year plus adding in blog posts about marriage anniversaries (like the one on Saturday about Lum and Mary BATES).  So this week’s schedule looks like this:

Sunday weekly blog schedule.

Monday I may or may not blog today about race and race relations.  It really depends on how I feel and whether anything comes up to interrupt those plans.

Saturday Karl BRUMM and Wilhelmina FISCHER’s marriage in 1861.  This couple is Bart’s maternal 3rd great grandparents.

Typically, if I find any information that didn’t quite make it into the blog post I will share it here.  I will be sharing some additional information in the next paragraph but right now I want to tell you that I just made an exciting discovery about John C. BATES’ military service!  I’m currently doing a little additional research and then I will be writing a Special Edition blog post about John so I can share with you what I’ve found.   Be looking for it, Bates family!  Now, on to the information that came in after Saturday’s blog post.

On Saturday afternoon I checked the mail and found a quarterly historical society journal in the box.  This quarterly journal is from the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society in Dalton, Georgia (the place where Lum BATES was born).  There were a couple of articles with information that I’d like to pass on to you that gives you a little better feel for what North Georgia was like back in Lum’s childhood.  One bit of information was something that I’d forgotten from my trip there a year or so ago.  It’s that Dalton and the surrounding area was the heart of the old Cherokee Nation before the removal of the Native Americans.  In the Dalton area you can find the old Cherokee ball field where the tribes met and played ball.  You can learn more about stick ball here and here.  If you do a Google search for Cherokee stick ball you can also find images as well as YouTube videos.  Near Dalton you’ll also find the old Cherokee Council Grounds and the Treaty Cabin where Ridge and Ross met to discuss the removal of the Cherokee people.  You can see Chief Vann’s home and Principal Chief John Ross’s home.  A place that I would have liked to spend more time is New Echota, the last capital of the Cherokee Nation.  The area was closed off when I was there but had I been able to go there I could have seen Elias Boudinot’s home and a burial site where his wife was buried.  (Coker White, Marcelle, editor. “Whitfield is in the Heart of the Old Cherokee Nation.” The Journal, vol. 33, no. 2, Fall 2014, pp. 14–15.)  There are so many important Cherokee historical sites in this area that you would need an extended vacation to the area to visit them all.

The other article in the journal I received today described the Dalton area as it was about 8 years before Lum BATES was born.  It was described as a “wild country” with “scarcely anything by trackless forests” and only occasionally a small clearing with a log cabin on it.  This was only about 10 or 12 years after the forced removal of the Cherokees.  In 1847 it was still a newly (and sparsely) settled area for the white settlers.  You could travel by rail up from Atlanta but at some point shy of Dalton the train would stop and you would have to transfer to a stagecoach.  The trip up from Atlanta in those days “frequently took a whole day”.  The area was known back then as “Cherokee Georgia” and Dalton specifically was then called “Cross Plains”.  Prior to being the town of Cross Plains, the area was a meeting ground for the tribes to play stick ball.  (Whitman, J. T. “Early Days: Reminiscences of Dalton in the Antebellum Times.” The Journal, vol. 33, no. 2, Fall 2014, pp. 17–18.)  You can learn more about the historical society here.  They also have a Facebook page.  If you ever get to the Dalton area you should definitely look them up and go through the museum.

If you’re interested in learning more about Karl BRUMM and Wilhelmina FISCHER, you can check out the blog on Saturday.  If not, I’ll see you back here next Sunday for the week 4 schedule.  

39th ga drum civ war

I found the photo above while doing genealogical research at Sara Hightower Regional Library in Rome, Georgia.  It was on the cover of the book Civil War Stories, Letters, and Miscellany of Murray and Whitfield Counties, Georgia.  The book was compiled by Marcelle White for the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society.  It’s the drum used by the 39th Georgia Infantry in the Civil War.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Happy Anniversary, Lum and Mary

Today’s blog post is about George Columbus BATES and Mary Ann SEELY, my maternal 2nd great grandparents.  They were married on this date (13 January) in 1880.  If you’d like to review what I’ve already written about George, you can find posts about George’s apple orchard here and I mentioned George in this post, too.


George Columbus BATES was born in December of 1856 in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, to John C. and Mary Jane (MOBLEY) BATES.  George went by a shortened form of his middle name- Lum – and that’s how I’ll be referring to him here in this blog post.  By 1860 (4 years after Lum’s birth) he was living with his family in Fancy Hill, 1013th Georgia Militia District in Murray County, Georgia.  Hiram GARRETT (possibly SARRETT) was the census enumerator that year and he came by the family home on a Wednesday- 1 August 1860.  Lum would have still been a few months shy of his 4th birthday at that time but he is enumerated as 4 years old in the census.  His father, John, was a farmer.  John valued his real estate at $800 and his personal estate at $1000.  These amounts were about “middle of the pack” in comparison the other families censused on the same page.

In 1860, Lum’s older brother, Greenberry BATES was living with the family.  Green was 18 years old and was a farm laborer.  Just a few years later Green would be serving in the Civil War for the Confederacy.

Mary was born on Sunday, 6 June 1858 in Lawrence County, Missouri, to Charles and Synthia (FOSTER) SEELY.  In 1860 Mary and her family were living in Mount Pleasant, Mount Pleasant Township, Lawrence County, Missouri.  Their census enumerator that year was John W. PAYNE who came to enumerate the family on Saturday, 16 June 1860.  Mary was 2 years old at the time.  Living in the home were Mary’s parents plus four of her older siblings including Elijah, William, James, and John.  In addition to these older siblings, she had an older brother who died as an infant.  His name was George.  In the years to come, Mary would help welcome two younger siblings- Elzora Josephine and Charles Harvey.  Mary was living right next door to her maternal grandparents, Frederick and Mary (BURNETT) FOSTER.  Mary’s dad was a farmer.  Charles valued his real estate at $400 and his personal estate at $700.  These values were toward the lower end of the spectrum in comparison to the families censused on the same page as Charles.

1863: A Difficult Year

In July of 1863, Lum was 6 years old.  That year both his dad and his older brother were fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  John (his dad) was fighting at Tullahoma, Tennessee when he was taken prisoner and transported to Rock Island.  Rock Island was the Yankee version of Andersonville Prison.  It wasn’t a place you wanted to go.  In July of 1863 John died.  I blogged a little about John’s military service and death here and my cousin did a guest blog post for us here.

Lum’s brother, Green, was taken as a prisoner of war at Missionary Ridge in November of 1863.  He was initially sent to Rock Island but was transferred to a different military prison a couple of weeks after his capture.  Green survived the war.  I’m sure it was a pretty rough year for the whole family.  If you want to read more about Rock Island and our part in the Civil War you can follow the links above that discuss John’s service.  You can view the Missionary Ridge battlefield here.  You can view a dramatic skit that explains the Tullahoma Campaign here.  I also recommend Wikipedia for a brief, to-the-point overview of any topic.

Other known siblings of Lum’s were an older sister Martha, an older brother Washington who I think died in 1860, and a younger brother Henry Franklin who wasn’t yet born in 1860.  In 1868, Lum’s mom got married again.  This time she married Paul E. BRINEGAR.

Side note:

The best I could tell, this was the location of John and Mary (MOBLEY) BATES’ homestead in Georgia.  They had a nice view of the mountain.

John Mary Bates view from homestead GA


On Tuesday, 26 July 1870, census enumerator Robert M. ROMBERT visited the BATES family.  By this time Lum’s dad, John, had died as a prisoner of war at Rock Island prison and Lum’s mom had remarried to Paul E. BRINEGAR.  The family consisted of stepdad Paul E. BRINEGAR, mom Mary J. (MOBLEY) BRINEGAR, younger half brother Franklin (later enumerated as ‘Henry’).  In 1870, Paul was farming and he valued his real estate at $850 and his personal estate at $200.  If I were to judge based on the information given by other respondents on the page, Paul was in the middle of the pack as far as money and possessions owned by the people in his area.  Mary Jane was “keeping house” as were the majority of women that I’ve encountered on older census records.  Lum was a farm laborer.  Franklin was only 2 years old.  He was not working or in school.

On Thursday, 23 June 1870 enumerator John H. STROUD visited the SEELY family.  Parents Charles and Sinthia were living in Bentonville, Osage Township, Benton County, Arkansas with their children, James, John, Mary, Elzora, and Charles.  The elder Charles was a farmer and valued his real estate at $500 and his personal estate at $250.  If I were to judge based on the information given by other respondents on the same page, Charles more well off than most of the people around him.  Sinthia was keeping house.  Despite their ages, the older children (ages 20 and 17) were not working – or at least no occupation was listed by the census enumerator.


Sometime between 26 July 1870 and 28 June 1880, Lum and Mary met each other and fell in love.  I wish I had stories to tell you either from records or family stories passed down through the years.  Sadly I don’t, so we’ll skip right to the month of the wedding.

On Wednesday, 7 January 1880 it was warmer than usual in Benton County, Arkansas.  The weather was described as “too warm for overcoats and fires”.  (Arkansas Democrat, 7 Jan 1880)  That was the day that the license was issued for George Columbus BATES and Mary Ann SEELY to marry.  The wedding didn’t happen until Tuesday, 13 January 1880.  By then, it was “decidedly cooler”. (Arkansas Democrat, 14 Jan 1880)  Lum (George) was 21 years old according to the marriage license although other official documents have put him at age 24 at the time of his marriage.  (My personal belief is 24 years old.)  Mary was 20 years old according to the marriage license.

The first record I have that was dated after the wedding is the 1880 Federal Census.  On the Monday, 28 June or Tuesday, 29 June 1880, census enumerator John M. CLAYTON arrived at the newly-married couple’s home.  They were living in Dickson Township, Benton County, Arkansas.  He was listed as being 23 years old and she as being 22.  They lived next door to Lum’s now-widowed mother, Mary and Lum’s half brother who is now listed as Henry.  Living on the other side of Mary was her older son Berry, now married and with his own large family.  Lum was farming and Mary was keeping house.

A Good Stopping Point

If you work on your own family history then you know that most of the 1890 census was destroyed.  So, unfortunately it’s hard to know what Lum and Mary did in the 20 years between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.  One thing I do know they did was have babies.  Starting with Albert (my great-grandfather) in 1881 and continuing with Charles in 1887, Herman in 1891, and Vesta in 1894.

It is at this point that I’m going to stop their story.  I’ll finish it during the year in other blog posts about Lum and Mary as I celebrate their births and write about their deaths.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog