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Welcome to the first blog post, Madeline and friends! These posts will always go up on Wednesdays. I’ll try to keep them fairly short since I know you all don’t have a lot of time to read. For this starter post today I wanted to put up a poem I learned when I was in elementary school. My best friend and I were Girl Scouts. Her mom was the leader. We learned this poem together in Scouts. I think it’s appropriate for today:
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
Somehow I always remembered it as saying, “Silver and gold,/ Silver and gold,/ Make new friends/ But keep the old.” I actually made a quilt block on my friend’s 30th birthday that said this poem (as I remembered it) and included a photo of our Girl Scout troop from elementary school. I miss her lots these days. Old friends are the very best!
I had no idea (or if I did, I don’t remember it now) that this was part of a longer scout song. I found the longer version at the Scout Songs website. It goes like this:
Make New Friends (Submitted by Sue Lynch)
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.A fire burns bright,
it warms the heart.
We’ve been friends,
from the very start.You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other.Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you.You help me,
and I’ll help you
we will see it through.The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
to keep it cleanAcross the land
Across the sea
We will always be
So I wrote all this to say, don’t forget your old friends, Madeline! We already miss you. Hopefully next week some of the other friends will have a message or two for you. I will post them here next Wednesday and once you get settled in in your new place you can come back here and read the messages. If you want, you can even post a comment with messages back to us.
Note: I was quite a ways along on this post on Sunday evening. The plan was to finish it up Monday and let it post on Tuesday. Instead I ended up in the ER Monday afternoon and am not feeling well enough to finish this. I am choosing to let it post as-is. I didn’t quite make it to Shelbyville. I’ll pick up that part next week. I also had photos I wanted to add but those will also have to wait. Hopefully you will enjoy it despite its unfinished state.
This is part two of the final years of John BATES’ life. For those of you just getting here, I’ve posted several times about 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 however, I was able to create a more accurate timeline that will serve as the outline for this series and I posted that here. Lastly, you’ll find part one of the final years of his life here. Each installment of his final years will be posted on Tuesdays. Next stop, Tennessee.
Before Shelbyville, Tennessee
Before I get into Shelbyville, Tennessee, I want to talk about the Battle of Fort Donelson. The Battle of Fort Donelson happened in Tennessee between February 11th and 16th, 1862. Initially I thought John was in that battle due to a regimental history I found online. However, with the discovery of the pay records, I am not sure what to think. I’m going to briefly discuss the Battle of Fort Donelson with the caveat that I don’t know if John was really there or not. According to Wikipedia, this is the battle that catapulted the Union’s Ulysses S. Grant into Major General status and earned him the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. (Wikipedia) So you can imagine the battle didn’t go well for John’s regiment. Fort Donelson was a Confederate fort and an important target for the Union to capture if they wanted to win the war. Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking the Confederates didn’t try to hold the fort. Despite a snowstorm that rolled in the night of February 13th, the Confederates put up a valiant fight. The storm brought 3 inches of snow overnight and the strong winds that accompanied the storm brought the wind child down to the teens. The wet, muddy ground froze. Guns and wagons were frozen to the ground and the troops couldn’t start campfires for cooking or heat due to the close proximity of enemy lines. Many troops had arrived with no coats or blankets. It was a miserable night. During the early morning hours of February 14th, Confederate Brigadier General Floyd had a meeting of leaders during which one of his top aides was picked off by a Union sharpshooter. Later that day, “Union gunboats…attempted to reduce the fort with gunfire” and “were forced to withdraw after sustaining heavy damage from Fort Donelson’s water batteries”. (Wikipedia)
The following day (the 15th) the Confederates attacked Union forces in a surprise attack. Grant was not with his troops at the time but he did come back in time to launch a counterattack. Brigadier General Floyd apparently lost his nerve and didn’t follow through with a planned attack on the Union soldiers. I’m sure that Floyd watching his top aide die in front of him in the early morning hours of the 14th, coupled with the fact that Floyd was a wanted man in Union territory influenced his decisions and actions heavily that day. For whatever reason, the top two Confederate Brigadier Generals (Floyd and Pillow) left the fort in the command of a lower Brigadier General and escaped the fort with a few troops. The fort was unconditionally surrendered on February 16th to Grant by the Brigadier General later that day. Fort Henry had been surrendered just days earlier thus giving the Union a huge advantage in Tennessee. I recommend going to the Wikipedia link above and reading about the battle, about Grant’s relationship with the Confederate Brigadier General that surrendered Fort Donelson. I also recommend reading up on the battle at https://www.civilwar.org/learn/civil-war/battles/fort-donelson.
I have a few new visitors so I’ll just recap what goes on here during the week. On Sunday I post the schedule for the week so that you know what’s coming up. That way, if you don’t want to read everything, you can just come back on the day(s) I’m posting something you want to read. If anything comes up during the week that I couldn’t fit into the blog or I found it after the blog was posted, I will do a Weekend Wrap-Up post on Saturday. So far this year that hasn’t happened though. So here’s the schedule for the week:
Sunday- Blog schedule, of course.
Tuesday- Today I will post the second installment in the series about my Confederate POW Civil War ancestor, John BATES.
Wednesday- I’m starting a new series especially for my new readers called Messages for Madeline in which I post some thoughts and things that I would like to tell (or would like to have told) a friend of mine who has moved away. It will not be focused on genealogy and will be a limited series although I can’t say at this time how long it will run. It will post only on Wednesdays.
Friday- I will be blogging about the marriage of my paternal 4th great grandparents, William CHAMBERS and Rhoda ALLEN. They were married in 1844.
Minerva Nancy BRINCEFIELD is my paternal 3rd great grandmother. She was born in North Carolina in February of 1813. One researcher believes her parents were Anderson BRINSFIELD and Francis DYE. I have nothing to prove or disprove that theory. My line of descent from Minerva goes through Minerva’s daughter Minerva, and the younger Minerva’s son (and my great grandfather) Ralph LARKIN. Since I haven’t talked much about Minerva (the elder one and the subject of today’s post) on the blog, I’m going to stick with introducing her through the census records today. That gives a background of her life and also fits in with this week’s blog theme of “in the census”.
I know nothing of Minerva’s younger years. The first record I pick her up on is her marriage to Bartlett Yancey UNDERWOOD. Minerva and Bartlett’s marriage bond was dated 4 May 1843 in Rockingham County, North Carolina. The bonsdman was Edward WHITT. The witness was Sampson L. CRYER. I don’t know at this time how these men are related to Minerva and/or Bartlett or even if they are related at all. At the time of their marriage, Minerva was 27 and Bartlett was 25. It’s within the realm of possibility that this was not Minerva’s first marriage.
Next, I found them in the 1850 Federal census for the state of North Carolina. They were living in the Eastern District of Rockingham County, North Carolina with three children- a girl and two boys. The only clarification I can give on the location is that in 1850 there were to North Carolinian districts- Eastern and Western. So take from that what you will. Bartlett gave his age as 35 and Minerva was 33. Bartlett was farming but I was unable to find an agricultural schedule that would describe their farm. Although Bartlett could read and write, Minerva could not. Everyone in the family was born in North Carolina. If you scroll down the page you will find Anderson and Fanny BRINSFIELD living with two adult males and two adult females- possibly their children (or two of their sons and their sons’ wives). In an effort to cover all the bases, I browsed many census schedules including agriculture, manufacturing, slave, tax rolls, mortality, etc. to see whether Bartlett or Minerva were listed there and they were not listed on any other schedules, censuses, or rolls available on Ancestry for the 1850 time period.
By 1860, Bartlett and Minerva have moved to Thomasville, Woodside Township, Oregon County, Missouri. Bartlett was still farming and Minerva was listed under the name Nancy. Both were listed as being 45 years old. Bartlett gave the value of his real estate as $200 and his personal property $200. Minerva was still the only one in the home who could not read or write. In 1860 Minerva and Bartlett had seven children living with them ranging in age from 1 to 14 years old. The children’s names were Jefferson, Mary, Worth, Dallas, Jane (my 2nd great grandmother whose name was Minerva but who went by Jane when still living with her mother), Brown, and Missouri. Again, after reviewing a variety of different census schedules, Bartlett and Minerva weren’t on any other schedules besides the US Federal Census for the state of Missouri.
The map above shows you the location of Thomasville as well as Alton- both were places that Bartlett and Minerva and their children lived. Thomasville Post Office was closed down in the 1970’s. One blogger calls the old Thomasville post office building “the goose”. You can find out why by reading her blog post at Claudia’s Surf City blog. (And that flood she’s talking about? Yeah- we got that one, too! It was terrible! We had to evacuate. I’m thinking maybe that story should be a future post for the “Stories for the Boys” series on my blog!)
By 1870, the family had moved to Alton, Piney Township, Oregon County, Missouri. I’ve marked Alton on the map above. In 1870, Bartlett is no longer living with the family. Minerva gave her age as 52. T. J. was marked as the Head of Household and Minerva along with her children (George, Minerva, James, Francis, and Washington) were living with T. J. The siblings (including T. J.) range in age from 7 to 22. I don’t know for sure what the ‘T’ in T. J. is short for but the ‘J’ stands for Jefferson. Worth A. UNDERWOOD and Missouri Ann UNDERWOOD are no longer living with the family in 1860. George is George Dallas UNDERWOOD; Jane is Minerva Jane UNDERWOOD (my 2nd great grandmother); James is James Brown UNDERWOOD. Francis is Francis Elizabeth UNDERWOOD and Washington is Washington Davis UNDERWOOD. Both Francis and Washington were born after the previous census was taken. T. J. was farming and Minerva was keeping house in 1870. T. J. listed his real estate value at $700 and his personal property at $400. On this census, the entire family is marked as unable to read or write which conflicts with previous census data on this family. Neither T. J. nor Minerva were in any other census schedules in the 1870 timeframe that I could find.
In 1880, Minerva was living in Elk Horn Township, McDonald County, Missouri. She gave her age as 64. Living with her were her children Jane, Washington Davis, and her granddaughter Alice (see note at the end of this paragraph). Living next door was Minerva’s daughter, Francis Elizabeth who was married to George BOWEN. Minerva was listed as being widowed. I’m assuming she had been widowed since at least 1870 when Bartlett was no longer living with the family. Minerva was keeping house. Washington was working as a laborer. No one in the family could read or write. I’ve blogged about whether or not Alice is the elder Minerva’s daughter or granddaughter. You can find more information about Alice and an explanation as to whom I think Alice’s mother is here and here (at this second link you’ll need to scroll down about ¾ of the page to find the section on Alice). The family was not on any other extraneous census schedules that I could find for the 1880 time period.
In 1900, at 87 years old, Minerva shows up in her final census record. She is living with her son, George Dallas UNDERWOOD and George’s family. They lived in Township 24 Range 23 East, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). This area was “West of the Grand River”. Looking at a map, this would be the area west of Monkey Island- between Monkey Island and the Bernice/Cleora area in what is currently Delaware County, Oklahoma. No extra census schedules were found for the family.
Minerva passed away in 1905. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Oaklawn Cemetery in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. If I’m remembering correctly, the grave was meant for her daughter (Francis BOWEN) or son-in-law (George BOWEN), but they buried her there first. The BOWEN’s ended their life in the state of Washington and are buried there.
I’m looking forward to future stories about Minerva and her family. I hope you are, too. I hope your week is fantastic!