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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Family in the Civil War: Part Two: John H. Anderson

This is the second in my series on my Civil War ancestors.

John H. Anderson, 8th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry, Company K

John H. Anderson, one of my great-great-great grandfathers on my mom's side, was born June 22, 1841, in Logan County, Kentucky.  Except for a year he spent fighting in the Civil War, he never lived anywhere else.

James P. and Mary (Anderson) Farmer with their son Milton
Probably taken around 1918
Mary was the second oldest of John H. Anderson's children

John was the second son of Leonard Jr. and Emily (Smith) Anderson, and grandson of Leonard Anderson Sr., a Revolutionary War veteran and certainly a subject for a future post.  He was part of a family of 14 children who all lived to adulthood, 11 boys and three girls.  I don't have any photographs of him, but his pension file describes him as about 5'11, around 200 lbs. He had a light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes.

What I have learned of John comes mainly from census records and his Civil War pension file. I haven't traced any cousins down to share stories with on this one.  According to these sources, John was a farmer, and was not able to read or write, though he was able to sign his name on his pension deposition. 

John, along with his brother Sam, enlisted in the 8th Regiment of the Kentucky Cavalry on August 15, 1862 and served a term of one year, mustering out on September 23, 1863. During the Civil War, the role of the cavalry was primarily reconnaissance, defense, and raiding rather than face-to-face combat. Cavalrymen were issued a horse and a weapon, usually a carbine, saber, or pistol.

The most significant action seen by John was as a scout following General John Hunt Morgan's men through Indiana and Ohio. Morgan's Raid is worth reading about. For a very general overview, check out Wikipedia's page.  

Among the many depositions in his pension file, John gave this testimony on June 21, 1897 in an attempt to get an increase in his monthly payment. It is a rather autobiographical, so most of it is included here.  

"I am 57 years of age. Occupation, farmer. My residence and post office address is Anderson, Logan Co., Ky.

"I served as a private in Co. K 8th Ky.Vol. Cav. from about August 15th 1862 to Sept. 23rd 1863. I have never served in the army or navy of the U.S. except as above stated. I never served in the rebel army or navy and never bore arms against the government of the U.S.

"I am pensioned at $6.00 per month under the Act of June 27th 1890 and am paid at the Louisville Agency. I base this claim for pension under the Old Law on disease of eyes. I was born and raised in the vicinity where I now live and lived there all my life until my enlistment. I have always been a farmer...

"I had a little spell of fever when a small boy but no other serious sickness before my enlistment. I was always stout and healthy up to that time. I never suffered from any physical ailment and was especially free from eye trouble before my enlistment. Dr. Turner was our family physician before the War but he is dead. Dr. Jackson Linley(?) of Auburn, Ky. treated me when a boy for the fever. I never was treated by any other doctor or for anything else before my enlistment. I was examined by a doctor at Russellville, Ky. at the time of my enlistment and he pronounced me sound. No, I don't think I was stripped.

"I first contracted my eye trouble near Brandensburg, Ky. about July 1863. They did not get sore all at once but gradually. I had been on the scout after John Morgan for three or four days. We started out from Bowling Green, Ky. I think my eye trouble was caused by the dust, loss of sleep, and exposure on said scout. I know they first became affected on said scout and know of nothing that could have caused them to become affected except the exposure on said scout. My eyes have been more or less sore and affected ever since... When my eyes first became affected they got red and watered, felt sore and as if there were dust in them and my eyesight was impaired some ... I never was treated for my eyes and never called for any treatment while in the service. I didn't ask for treatment because I was afraid of going to the Hospital....

"I had the yellow jaundice at Hopkinsville about Jany 1863 and Dr. Black gave me couple of pills. That was the only medical treatment I received in the service. I treated myself with bitters I made out of whisky and cherry tree bark. I was unable for duty and excused from duty on account of the jaundice for about a week. I got over it all right and it left me with no resulting disability as far as I know." [Note: there were over 70,000 cases of yellow jaundice reported during the Civil War.]

"I suffered more or less with the toothache in the service for about four weeks. I had the tooth pulled and was not troubled with the toothache any more in the service. I also had a cold and the diarrhea at Bowling Green, Ky. in the service but I recovered from said disabilities in a week or so and was not troubled with them afterwards...When I was discharged I went to my father's near where I now live and have lived there ever since. 

"My nearest neighbors and most intimate associates since my discharge now living have been Joseph N. Sweatt, John H. Glasgow and George W. Webb of Dallam's Creek, James A. McKinney and W.H. Suddeth of Anderson, and John Kittle and S. S. McReynolds of Lewisburg, Ky. ...I have gotten drugs and made washes for my eyes a few times since the War. I got some sugar of lead from John H. Hines of this place, now dead, and made a wash for my eyes two or three years ago. I have been bothered with a knot on the back of my head for a long time. I think it was coming on me when I went in the army. ...but it has gotten larger since and pains me at times. I have been troubled with palpitations of the heart for two or three years. I have been troubled with the rheumatism in my knees, ankles and joints for 15 or 20 years especially in the Winter. No I was not troubled any with the rheumatism as far as I know in the service....I think I have been on an average about one third disabled for work since my discharge by reason of my eye trouble. Samuel P. Anderson and, I think, John Kittle were my bunkmates and messmates. Levi Vantrees and Wiley Hendricks were also bunkmates and messmates of mine but don't know where they are. I think most of those on the list of comrades were on the scout and would remember about my eye trouble. About all the company was on said scout. I don't care to be present during the examination of my witnesses. I have heard read the foregoing deposition and am correctly reported therein.

From the deposition of John Kittle, age 55, farmer: "We were in the saddle pretty near all the time for about thirty days...I saw [the knot] a number of years ago and it was about the size of a partridge's egg." July 26, 1897

From the deposition of Samuel P. Anderson, age 53, farmer: "I served as a private in Co. K 8th Ky Vol Cav. from about August 15th 1862 to Sept. 1863. I am a brother of the above named John H. Anderson and we have been together and lived near each other all our lives. I bunked and messed with him most of the time he served. I recollect that when claimant returned from the Morgan raid about July or August 1863 he was complaining of his eyes and they appeared to be inflamed and sore. I was not on said raid. He was gone about a month on said raid and he thought his eye trouble was caused by exposure laying out and taking cold in them and the dust and hardships he underwent on said raid...Neither my father nor mother nor any of my brothers or sisters ever had any eye trouble except claimant and myself. My eyes have been troubling me about four years and my doctor J.L Simmons says it is caused by neuralgia. I think perhaps claimants eye trouble is caused by the same thing." July 28, 1897

From the deposition of Joseph Sweatt, age 55, farmer: "I have lived from two to three miles of said claimant, have been associated with him a great deal, have worked with him some, and have seen him on an average about ten times a year ever since his discharge...He has complained of not being able to see good ever since his discharge and his eyesight is much worse now than when he came home from the service. I have seen him wear green glasses frequently on account of his eyes. I have seen him when he would take a severe cold in such shape that he could hardly see at all." July 26, 1897

In trying to locate information on "green glasses" I found this interesting blog post.

From depositions from various doctors, John's eye problem appeared to be mild and his vision was considered normal for his age. He did suffer from rheumatism, heart problems, a growth on his neck, and piles (hemorrhoids).

After the Civil War, John married Martha Jane Goswick (a surname of many spelling variations) on May 23, 1865.  I would like to point out here a few things about the pension file. First, it contained specific names and dates I wasn't able to find anywhere else, such as this, their wedding date.  There are two sheets where John had to provide information about his family. The first was in 1898, when he was 56 years old. Here the names are written probably as John spoke them to person taking the information from him. Martha was "Marthey" and Minnie was "Miney". One of his children he just referred to as "Sis."  Also, at this time John could still provide his marriage date, where it took place, and the man who married them, Ike Barrow.

The second time John provided this information was in 1915.  By this time, he was 73, and had been widowed for five years. He could only say he had been married "about 50 years," which was correct, but leaves me to wonder if he was losing some memory. The person completing his information this time fully spelled out each name, using Isaac Barrow instead of "Ike" and for the children, used first and middle names.  All of the birthdates agree between the two forms except for that of my great-great grandmother (Mary, pictured above); on the first he gave her birthday as July 17, 1868, and on the second July 21.

All of these dates were very useful; many I hadn't been able to track down. There was even one daughter I hadn't been able to locate elsewhere, and there she was. Pension applications often have this kind of information and are very helpful to family historians.

John's wife Martha died in 1910. In the federal census of that year, John was living with three of his grown children in a blended household. His son Monroe, along with Monroe's wife Ellen and their two sons, appeared to be running a farm with another of John's sons, Hugh. John and his daughter "Sis" also lived there. Sis died less than two years later of breast cancer, and John passed away September 29th, 1919. His cause of death was given as chronic rheumatism.

He is buried in the Anderson Cemetery in Logan County.

1 comment:

  1. So cool that he was part of the history of Morgan's Raid. I've followed his (Morgan's)path a few years ago. Keep em coming!