Saturday, May 2, 2015

Civilian Life in East Tennessee during the Civil War Era

At home during the Civil War: Elizabeth Morley White, Mariah Bussell Coldwell and Martha Milburn Good

Isaac White and Elizabeth Morley moved to Hawkins County sometime after 1850. In 1858, Isaac White died and in 1862, their oldest son William died. When the Civil War started, Elizabeth was living with her sons Charlies, James and Henry Keene and her daughter Martha Vance. Both of her parents had died and her brother Henry H Morley was a soldier serving in 61 Tennessee Mtd. Infantry. (Pitts' Regiment. 81 Tenn. Inf.) in the Confederate Army. Her brother Stephen was commissioned an officer in Company D, Tennessee 8th Cavalry Regiment on 28 Sep 1863. Her brother William AF Morley 29th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. She did have a brother, James Randolph Morley who a physician in Rheatown.

Some time before 1870, Elizabeth married William Tharpe. William was a widower and although it may have seemed like a good idea, combining two families was not easy. William signed his will on 17 November 1869 and on September 25, 1873, he added a codicil to will, adding that a separate house should be built for his daughter. William died in 1873. In 1877, Elizabeth sold the property owned by Isaac White: Elizabeth Tharp to JC Jones on May 26,1877. Heirs of Isaac White -Elizabeth Tharp, Charles B. White, James R White, Henry K White, Martha B White. 103 1/2 acres

After she sold this property, Elizabeth moved to Rheatown with her children and one of William Tharpe's servants. She was active in the Rheatown Methodist Church.

This next story reads like a movie script: a murder, a story of a family's survival set against the backdrop of the beautiful mountains in a remote area of Hawkins County during the Civil War. The tale of a husband and father who was murdered. The struggle of surviving during a war that took place at their back door. Add to that: missing gold, a dispute over a horse and a lawsuit over the handling of Thomas Kinchloe's estate that would take years to settle

Thomas Kincheloe Coldwell was murdered on his farm in November of 1861. James L Coldwell (nephew) was appointed administrator of Thomas K Coldwell's estate in March of 1862.The next Spring, his sons by his first marriage to Chloe Wheelock, James and Benoni traveled to Boston, Kentucky to join the Union Army. Neither of them survived the war. Benoni died near Nashville on February 22, 1863, and is buried in the National Cemetery there. James died in a field hospital near Triune, Tennessee on April 6, 1863. His gravesite is unknown.

Back home in Butcher's Valley, Mariah Bussell was struggling to provide for her children. She had only her daughters: Sallie, Delphia, Julia, Martha and Mariah to help. Mariah Bussell and her stepdaughter Deborah proved to be a capable match for James L Coldwell and the Union and Confederate soldiers.   They faced many problems in the settlement of the estate and a Deborah filed a lawsuit against the administrators of the estate. The faced daily struggles for their very survival.

When the estate was opened, it was determined that there were several gold coins, which Mariah claimed had be given to her by the father. The coins were too large to be divided at the time, so they were left with Mariah and never seen again. Family stories say that she buried them and used the money to help care for her children.

Rheatown Methodist Church

In Greene County, Martha Milburn, daughter of popular Methodist minister, William Elbert Milburn and Martha Frame married Hartsell Good, son of David Good and Hannah Hartsell. David and Hannah lived next door to Andrew Johnson's family on Main Street in Greeneville. Hartsell was a tinner before the war. Hartsell Good served in the 4th Reg Tennessee Infantry, Union Army. He died on 14 July, 1863 and is buried in the National Cemetery in Nashville, not far from where Benoni Coldwell is buried.
Martha lived in Greeneville with her sons David and Elbert Hatsell and daughter Mary Ann Emily, who was called Molly. Martha's father served as Chaplin for the 8th Regt Tennessee Cavalry and her brother, William Elbert Franklin Sevier Milburn served in the 12th Tennessee Cavalry, CO B, Union Army. They both survived the war and WEFS Milburn went on to become a lawyer. In this capacity, he represented many Union soldier's when they applied for pensions.

In 1870, Martha was living with her son Elbert and daughter Molly in Rheatown. William David is not listed in 1780, but in 1880, he is living with his mother and working as a mail agent. Elbert and his brother-in-law, James Randolph White, are both farmers. James R White married Mary Ann Emily Good and they are living with her Mother, along with daughter Minnie Hartsell White.

No comments:

Post a Comment