I Have a Civil War Ancestor!

I have always felt a bit like an outsider compared to those of you who can trace your family’s history back to the Civil War. Thanks to John Stones, who is the “chaplain” for one of the Southern Heritage Facebook groups, today I learned that I have an ancestor who served in the United States army with General William Tecumseh Sherman. I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that one of my ancestors helped to save this Union, especially given that there is no evidence that my family set foot in this country before 1900.


I wonder if I also have a black Confederate ancestor.

18 comments… add one
  • msb Aug 12, 2016 @ 2:40

    Congratulations, Kevin. I should find out whether I have such an ancestor: family lore says our people ran to chaplains and cowards, although one of them was said to have conducted Sam Houston’s funeral.

    • Woodrowfan Aug 13, 2016 @ 4:36

      I heard similar in mine. I did have a GGG-Grandfather who was a Confederate chaplain. My grandmother bragged that he conducted James Polk’s funeral. Um, no. Polk died in 1849. So unless my ancestor was a six-year old minister he didn’t. The same grandmother told me we were related to Robert E. Lee (we’re not. There is a Custis way back in the family tree, but not the right Custis family).

      But then, she also told me I was a “damn Yankee.” She got that one right!!

      • Annette Jackson Aug 13, 2016 @ 6:49

        My mother was shameless in sharing family lore that she concocted herself, the most infamous being that her GGF was General John Logan. She only did this with strangers for obvious reasons, but if someone asked me for confirmation I just shook my head and laughed. My father’s side of the family was just as bad in that my aunt repeated and embroidered falsehoods their father told her. Due to my paternal grandparents divorcing when my father was nine, he never met any of his paternal family members who could have set him straight that his GGF was not a wealthy Kentucky planter with dozens of enslaved people, and who supported the Confederacy. The truth was that his GGF was a well off Illinois farmer who admired the abolitionist Lovejoy family so much that he gave my GF the middle name Lovejoy, and another son the middle name Lincoln. Two of his older sons joined the Union Army and died one day apart in 1917, one in the Quincy Illinois Home for Volunteer Soldiers, and the other in the San Francisco Home. These are true stories which I have documented and so much more meaningful that b.s. about imaginary lost riches

  • Josh Liller Aug 11, 2016 @ 19:29

    Assuming someone really did have an ancestor who served under Sherman in the March to the Sea or March Through The Carolinas, how would one know whether or not said ancestor was a Bummer? (Although I’m sure to some folks in the minds of some folks they were all Bummers.)

  • Shoshana Bee Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:37

    I’m jealous — an ancestor that served with Sherman, no less! Maybe he can find one for me, too?

    • David Kent Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:42

      Good idea Shoshana………would you mind asking him to look me up too Kevin?

      • David Kent Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:53

        A General officer would be great, but I’ll settle for a Colonel….

        • Shoshana Bee Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:59

          Maybe they have a request form? I would like my ancestor to have some Indian blood, be really good looking, and have an awesome back story so I can use him as an avatar (and jealousy-inducing comments about him in my signature).

          • Al Mackey Aug 11, 2016 @ 12:30

            You can have Ely Parker, Shoshana.

            • Shoshana Bee Aug 11, 2016 @ 15:47

              He even served with Grant (one of my favourites) This is getting better and better!

    • James Simcoe Aug 11, 2016 @ 15:36

      Shoshanna, Ancestry.com has an inexpensive DNA profile service. Their site has an introductory offer that set me on a solid course as regards genealogy.

  • David Kent Aug 11, 2016 @ 7:26

    “I wonder if I also have a black Confederate ancestor”.

    You probably have 2 Kevin……maybe 3! Think of the reunions your missing!
    I’ve never heard of John Stones, and thought about researching him, but decided against it………..I’m hearing enough stupid on a daily basis as it is. If it makes you feel any better, whenever I asked my mother about our family history, I always got the same response: we were serfs!

  • Rob Wick Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:41

    As someone who did have an ancestor marching with Sherman, let me welcome you to the fold, Kevin. Given that I know very little about my great-grandfather, I can say (ala heritage advocates) that he was a super abolitionist who spread truth and sunshine wherever he went. Oh, and he had an affair that produced my grandfather, but he still was a great guy.


  • Annette Jackson Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:37

    I was going to share one of my Union ancestors with you but was beaten to the punch. One of them was with Sherman and they may have been best buds.

  • Jeffry Burden Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:34

    Realistically, though, even persons in the line of those late-arriving families married people who had CW relatives. So I’d bet you have some cousins somewhere who served…

  • Ken Noe Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:28

    Using President Obama’s magic time machine again?

  • Forester Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:26

    They make up their own “ancestors” from whole cloth, so why not invent yours too?

  • Al Mackey Aug 11, 2016 @ 6:24

    Great news, Kevin! That explains why you always travel with torches and matches. 😉

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