Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Untangling Caldwell Roots

Another genealogy post. If you're not kin to me on the Ruble side, this likely won't interest you.
Updated on July 30, 2015

Last year I posted about my tangled Ruble roots. I was particularly interested in my great-grandmother—Margie Caldwell Ruble—and her father Alexander Gibson Caldwell. My Great-Aunt Leona had written down the children of Alexander and his wife Marcellus Surber Caldwell:
  1. Amma B. Caldwell: born Dec. 17, 1850
  2. Wm. C. Caldwell: born May 9, 1852
  3. John B. Caldwell: born Aug. 15, 1854
  4. Tilman E. Caldwell: born Nov. 11, 1856
  5. Maggie L. Caldwell: born May 9, 1859
  6. Alexander J. Caldwell: born June 10, 1862
  7. Montra A. Caldwell: born Feb. 25, 1866
  8. Margie O. Caldwell: born Feb. 25, 1866
  9. Lorence O. W. Caldwell: born May 5, 1869.
Leona added a notation that Montra and Margie, who were born nine months after the Civil War ended, were twins.

Margie had been the one to marry George William Ruble, though I've found a few sources online that say "Margaret." I figure that Maggie, not Margie, was likely Margaret. I dug up a lot of info about Margie's mother online but almost nothing about her father. 

After joining, I was able to dig a bit deeper. For instance, I found the 1880 census for Craig County, where twins Margie and Montra were 14. Since Maggie—who would have been 21—and Anna—who would have been 30—aren't listed, it's possible that they were married.

Some of the kids likely went by their middle names “Clifton W” must be “Wm C” and “Byron” must be “John B.” 

I also learned a bit more about my g-g-grndfather. Alexander G. Caldwell, born April 1, 1822 (though some sources say 1820), was married twice—the first time to Matilda (whose maiden name was possibly also Caldwell) on August 9, 1842 and the second time to Marcellus Surber on July 31, 1850. 

When the 1850 census was taken for District 8 of Botetourt County, on July 23, 1850, the 30-year-old Alexander and his daughters  Jane (1843) and Caroline V. (1846) were living with his sister (or possibly sister-in-law) Martha Caldwell Craft, her husband Frederick, and their two-year-old son William, and her infant daughter Jane. Apparently Matilda had died prior to the census.

Martha Caldwell Craft

But where was Alexander's baby daughter, Amma (or Amy or Ammy), born in 1850 after Matilda had died and only 4 and a half months old after Alexander married Marcellus? It's a mystery. Given the date of the census, I'm guessing that "Amma" was actually born in either Dec. 1849 to Matilda or Dec. 1851 to Marcellus. 

By the 1860 census,  when Alexander and  his family were living at "the Valley of Craig's Creek" in Craig County, Marcellus is 25 and the girl is listed as 10-year-old "Ammy."  I've even found a source or two online that gives Ammy's birthdate as 1851 and lists her as Marcellus's child. Alexander's family in 1860:

By 1860, Jane had likely married, but 15-year-old Caroline was still at home. The family had also increased by four children: William, Byron, Tilman, and Margaret. (One online source said Marcellus had had twin girls in 1858 and a boy born possibly 1860, but the children died shortly after they were born.)

The Civil War interrupted Alexander's family life. He served as a private in company B (the "Craig Rifles") in the 28th Virginia Infantry which became part of the Fifth Brigade, Army of the Potomac. He missed some of the action, though. From various pay reports, he was present on Sept/Oct 1862 but was "absent, sick at hospital" for November and December 1862 and "absent," sick on furlough during January and February 1863. His pay reports indicate he was back with his unit from May through Aug 1863, but he was AWOL during Nov/Dec 1863. Was he at Gettysburg with Pickett's Division in July of 1863 where many of the 28th fell?

Eventually, he returned to his regiment. However, he spent a lot of time sick. He was in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond from June through September of 1864. 

At some point, he was sent to White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier, no doubt to recuperate. In 1864,  he was issued new clothes.

However, he was soon back in the hospital again, and then was on "furlough at home" during November and December of 1864, returned to his unit in January 1865, but in February 1865 was again sent to Chimborazo Hospital, this time with "chronic dysentery." I wonder if his health problems probably kept him from being killed in battle.

By the 1870 census, he was doing farm work, and his family had increased again. Alexander J. had been born shortly after his father had gone to war; twins Montra and Margie were born 9 months after the war ended, and Lorence was born in 1869.

Alexander Gibson Caldwell died August 21, 1900, of "old age and heart trouble," His widow Marcellus applied for a widow’s pension in 1901. Since she had to sign with an X, it seems likely she couldn’t read or write.

He didn’t get his confederate stone until 1932 when his son Alexander Jackson Caldwell applied for it. 

The stone now marks his grave in the Looney Cemetery in New Castle, Craig County.

In the 1920 census, Marcellus is listed as living with her son Alexander and his family, and she's now listed as being able to read and write.

The Caldwell lines are still tangled. Who were Alexander Gibson Caldwell's parents? His FindaGrave site says James Caldwell, but I can't find any documented family trees on Ancestry that list Alexander G. as a son of one of the James Caldwells. Another source gives his parents as Edmundson G. Caldwell (1790-1851/54) and Sarah Crist (1791-1891!) who were married in March 1811 and were in  Botetourt County, but again I can't find any documentation—and he's not mentioned in Edmundson's will.  

Update: In an 1867-68 Craig County Chancery Court case wherein Alexander G gives testimony about Hugh N. Caldwell, the son of James, Alexander identifies his relationship to Hugh: "We  are  cousins  &  we're  about  second  or  third  cousins.  My  first  wife  was  the  sister  of  Hugh  N  Caldwell  and   daughter  of  James  Caldwell.  I  am  well  acquainted  with  the  plaintiff.  I  have  known  him  ever  since  he  was  a  boy." 

Alexander G. Caldwell is not the son of Absalom Dempsey Caldwell & Delilah Walker. That would be Alexander Looney Caldwell, b. 1825. 

Will I ever untangle these roots?

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