Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Brother against Brother?

Just before the war:
Thomas Beals and Martha Emeline White moved to Mill Bend in Hawkins County from Greene County sometime between 1850 and 1860.  In 1860, they are living with their children: Allison W (19), John FM (13), Carter (15), Matilda (11), James (3) and Jackson C (1). Thomas is a farmer with $1,000 in real estate and $350 in personal property.

At this time, Mill Bend had a post office (Henry S Burem was postmaster). It was located about 6 miles from Rogersville and had a Methodist Episcopal church, one store, one saw mill and grist mill. The post office served about 600 residents.

It was on the South side of the Holston river near the line of the Tennessee and Virginia (South side of the Holston River) and the Rogersville and Jefferson railroads (a spur that was being constructed from Rogersville to Bull's Gap). At the time of the Civil War, the railroad bridge had not yet been built and a ferry was used to cross the river.

On 12 July 1862, Carter Milburn enlisted in the First Tennessee Cavalry, Co K. He mustered out on 14 June 1865 in Nashville, Tennessee.

On 21 March 1863, Allison Woodville enlisted in Co K 59th Tennessee Infantry.
AW was captured at Vicksburg on 4 July 1863
He was paroled at Vicksburg on 10 July 1863.

On 25 September 1863, in Jonesboro, John F M enlisted in the 8th Calvary, Co I. He mustered out on on 11 September 1865 in Knoxville.

After Carter was paroled at Vicksburg, he returned to Hawkins County.

There are no records to confirm that the brothers saw each other during the war.  John FM was sick and he was treated by a soldier in his unit with something that cause permanent kidney damage. It was during John FM's illness that John Simpson Beals visited his cousin frequently.  John Simpson writes about these visits in John FM Bail's Civil War pension application.  John S and John FM were neighbors as well as cousins.

It isn't hard to imagine that their Mother thought about her boys in quiet times while she was mending clothes by the fire or at night after everyone else was asleep.  Trips to town or the mill, as well as church would have provided opportunities to hear the latest news as well.

There in no indication of any hostilities between the brothers after the War.  John FM married Delphia Coldwell in 1866, Carter married Sarah M Myers in 1866, Allison married Dolly Stacy in 1867.  Carter was married in Greene County and John and AW were married in Hawkins. 

Carter left Hawkins County and moved West, eventually settling in the Memphis area.  AW remained in Hawkins County and John and Delphia moved to the Rheatown area of Greene County around 1875.


  1. Thanks so much for this article, Cyndy! My Bennett relatives (who married into our shared branch of the TN White family) actually moved into Missouri before the war & the two brothers who were of age entered the two different branches of the provisional Union Army of Missouri. The oldest brother, Bradford Bennett, joined the branch that the Union considered to be the less dependable one, as it was full of farmers & others whom the Union army wasn't sure about their political leanings, as in Missouri there were people who didn't announce a strong preference for either side, but pragmatically wanted to protect their lands & businesses, & some were spies. The second brother, Gustavus A. Bennett, was the younger son & he was put into the more dependable Missouri Union provisional unit. Anyway, after the Civil War, the second son, Gustavus A. Bennett moved down to Greene County, TN & settled in Rheatown. At first I thought it might be a random act, but I later found out that it was the county where he married his wife, Julia A. F. Smith (the Bennett family stopped for long enough in their travels west to actually show up on a census where they are listed as living above a shoe store in TN, maybe that is when the two met). The marriage record of Greene County records the date of their marriage & their full names, but unfortunately there are no mention of witnesses or her parents & there were lots of Smiths in that area in the 1850s, thus I don't know whether during the War her family favored or fought with the South or North, or even if any of them survived it. Still, it makes sense that they would move back to Greene County where her family was from, especially since Gustavus did not inherit the Missouri farm and he was a carpenter & probably could work just about anywhere (I cannot find her parents after the war either). Gustavus & Julia's son, William A. Bennett, married Martha V. White, who was the daughter of Elizabeth nee Morley White & Isaac White (died in 1858, so obviously did not fight in the war, so I don't know what side HE would have been drawn to). Elizabeth had moved to Rheatown, Greene County, TN after both of her husbands' deaths (she remarried after the first husband died) because her brother was a respected doctor there. He was also known to be a great Confederate sympathizer. Thus, I wonder, after the war, by 1870, maybe earlier, when the Bennetts moved in, I wonder how this Union Bennett family interacted with the Southern-sympathizing TN White/Morley family. I know that both families went to the same church in Rheatown as they, their children included, are on the roster of the church at the same time Perhaps their shared religious faith helped them co-exist? I know by the time Gutavus' son, William, was grown up & had married Elizabeth's daughter, Martha, that it was quite a bit of time after the war was over, but since Elizabeth's brother was so staunchly "for" the Confederacy after the war, I wonder how the interaction went between the families before William took Martha to live in Washington, D.C. (he became a noted business man in the insurance business). Did he move to D.C. to get away from TN because of the lack of opportunities for someone who wasn't a farmer or carpenter, but someone who supposedly was competitive & wanted to be part of the larger business world or did he move because there was still that taint of the war & the two families weren't close? Or a bit of both? I wonder how Martha felt too. The rest of William A. Bennett and Martha Bennett nee White's families seemed to have either lived & died in Rheatown or moved to the bigger cities in TN. Even though these two families didn't fight against each other, I sometimes think about how towns in Eastern TN dealt with the mixture of sympathies and such for the first ten years after the war & my family in particular.

  2. I spent some time researching this and there several references to Rheatown being sympathetic to the Confederates, but I haven't found any reference to problems that it caused after the war. Martha Milburn (her father and brother both fought for the Union) married Hartsell Good, who fought for the Union and died near Nashville, TN.
    After the war, she moved to Rheatown. I am not sure why because her father lived in Milburnton. I think all of these families attended the Rheatown Methodist Church.
    Martha Milburn's father, the Reverend William E Milburn was born in 1797, he was thrown out of the church and put in prison because he would not preach that slavery was acceptable. When he escaped jail, he joined the Union Army as a Chaplain. After the war, he returned to the ministry and continued to work against the White Caps and other groups that terrorized blacks and others who the White Caps believed to be immoral.

    1. Thanks so much for replying! I appreciate your reference to the experience of Martha Milburn in Rheatown after the war, even though her father and brother fought for the Union and her husband, Hartsell Good, who died fighting for the Union and at least as far as we know, did not experience any bias in Rheatown, TN.

      I also just read your last three updates about the White Caps as well and they were sad, but also fascinating reading.

      Also, recently read your earlier posts about the Methodist Church in the South and how they dealt with things during the Civil War.It is very interesting to me that they held their meeting in 1862 in Wytheville, VA. My Bennett ancestors lived in or near Wytheville, VA before they went West through Tennessee and eventually lived in Missouri though the Civil War. These ancestors were Allen Bennett and his wife Sally Harrison Archer, the parents of Gustavus Augustus/August Bennett, who married Julia A.F. Smith in Greene County, TN (although Gustavus and Julia followed the rest of his family to Missouri until after the Civil War, when they moved to Rheatown, TN). Gustavus and Julia Bennett, as mentioned in the previous comment in this thread, had William A. Bennett (in Missouri, and my direct ancestor) and they and their other children joined the same Rheatown Methodist Church as our shared White-Morlely family ancestors after they moved to Rheatown. This makes me wonder if the Bennett family was Methodist when they lived in Wythe County, Virginia and if they were part of a Methodist congregation in Missouri as well. Up until now I wasn't able to find any particular church records about them anywhere, except the ones of the Gustavus Bennett branch after they moved to Rheatown, but maybe I can track down some records for a Methodist Church in Wythe County in Virginia where they are mentioned. Also, perhaps there are Methodist church records of the entire Bennett clan who moved to Missouri (War of 1812 Bounty Land for Allen Bennett) in the 1850s and where they lived during the Civil War.

  3. Wytheville is still in the Holston Conference, so it is possible that you might find some records at the Holston Conference Archives at Emory & Henry College. The conference has an active group of researchers and they are very helpful too. I have worked with both groups for years. I would search for churches in the Wytheville area to see what churches were there during this time.

    My husband has family who moved to Missouri before the Civil War. Missouri has a lot or records available, but I have only done a small amount of research with church records.

  4. Thanks so much, Cyndy! I will follow up on the Wytheville records at the Holston Conference Archives at Emory & Henry College and also look into the Missouri church records. Most of the information about the Bennett family was done before I got into Ancestry by the descendants of Gustavus/Augustus' older brother's family, Bradford Bennett (he was the one who inherited the land that was War of 1812 bounty land from the father and took care of the farm in Allen Bennett's old age. Still, there is no mention of a family bible or what church they went to (including Gutavus and his wife Julia while they lived there before they returned to Greene County, TN after the Civil War) for the first fifteen years or so in Missouri. Thanks again!