Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Creating new memories & preserving them for the next generation

This past Friday through Monday we spent a long weekend with family in Columbia, South Carolina. This was a good time to catch up with cousins, visit with my wife's Mom & brother, and for the kids to enjoy quality time with their cousins too. A highlight was a picture perfect day spent out on Lake Murray. We took plenty of pictures of the great times, capturing images of the kids & cousins, but also the adults too.
Photo by Patrick Jones - Lake Murray, SC
On the drive back, NPR ran a story about the importance of the family photo album in the digital age. I've had some time to think about this. One of the reasons I mix photos and stories of my own travels with examples of my family history is to share bits of this information for later. We store our digital photos in a variety of places, and while we could do much better about preserving this digital album for our kids, admittedly we haven't given it the thought that we should.

I think the family photo album is still important, we're just doing it differently than our parents and grandparents. After receiving a surprise package of 100+ year old photos earlier this summer from a distant cousin in Illinois, I am reminded of that our photos and digital memory will be valuable for the generations that follow us. We need to take care to sort through this collection, and to preserve it so they can see what we experienced.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Civil War Pension File of Conway Jones

Following yesterday's post on the Civil War record of Conway Jones, I have a review of his pension application found at the US National Archives in Washington, DC. Conway Jones enlisted in the Union Army when he was about 52 years old, in Scott County, Tennessee (he was a resident of Hamilton County, Tennessee at the time). His pension application was filed on 27 April 1868 from Hamilton County.
 According to Conway's statement, the company in the 7th regiment was later broken up at Nicholsville, Kentucky in 1863 and the men were transferred to other regiments. He was transferred into Company E of the 11th Cavalry (later consolidated with Company H in the 9th Cavalry).

He claims to have contracted chronic diarrhea in March 1863 while in the line of service. An examining physician noted that "his system and condition much debilitated can work but little without great fatigue."

Sometime between April 1868 and 1870, Jones and family left Hamilton County, Tennessee for Driggs, Logan County, Arkansas. Conway Jones died in Arkansas in 1870. The pension application notes that it was barred on 23 April 1877.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Civil War Record of Conway Jones

Back in February I wrote about Conway Jones, a son of my 5th-great-grandfather and brother of Robert Thomas Jones. I've now found his Civil War record. Conway (or Conaway, as he's listed on the pension file) originally served in Company H, 7th Tennessee Cavalry, later transferred into the 9th Cavalry and the 11th. He was 53 years old at enlistment.

On Conway's service record, he's described as 5 foot 10 inches, with dark complexion, dark hair and blue eyes. A later service record card lists him as 5 foot 8 inches. It also states he was a prisoner of war between 22 February 1864 and 22 March 1864.
Conway's service card from Company E, 11th Tennessee Cavalry states that he was absent in January 1864 & had deserted on 24 December 1863.
Conway's service card from May & June 1865 noted that he was sick in Hamilton County, Tennessee. This matches up with his pension claim. I was able to find Conway's Civil War pension file at the National Archives. I'll save that for a subsequent post.
Conway was discharged in September 1865 and provided with a bounty payment, as shown in the image above.

I have little personal details on my 4th-great-grandfather Robert. Based on the appearance details for Conway from his Civil War record, and appearance details for Robert's son Joseph from his Civil War pension file (he also had blue eyes and dark hair), I think it likely that Robert was also about 5 foot 8 to 10, with blue eyes and dark hair. This has been an interesting find and gives me a better picture of the overall Jones family in East Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Travel Tuesday - Tallest Building in the World

Over the weekend I had a 22 hour layover in Dubai while returning from Durban, South Africa. This gave me an opportunity to leave the airport and see a little bit of Dubai. A highlight of the layover was the Burj Khalifa, the current tallest building in the world.
Photo by Patrick Jones - Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The building is an amazing feat of engineering. They have an observation deck at the 124th floor. Below are a few pictures from the top.
Photo by Patrick Jones - Looking down on Dubai
At night, the Burj Khalifa becomes the visual center for a water and light show that runs every half hour. I was fortunate to be transiting through Dubai for the end of Ramadan, at night the area around the Dubai Mall & waterfront was filled with people.
Photo by Patrick Jones - Sunset in Dubai
Photo by Patrick Jones - Water & Light show, Dubai
Photo by Patrick Jones, Dubai

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In Honor of Company G, Tennessee 5th Infantry

One hundred sixty-five years ago, on 20 July 1848, the surviving men of Company G, 5th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers received their discharge papers for their service in the Mexican War. My 4th-great-grandfather, Robert Thomas Jones Sr., was among the ragged heroes who completed their service on that day. This post is a tribute to them and a memorial to those who served but have largely gone unrecognized.

Company G endured a long journey down the Tennessee River, to New Orleans, along the Gulf Coast to Veracruz, Mexico. From Veracruz, they marched inland to guard the Puente Nacional (National Bridge) or secure the supply route between Veracruz and Mexico City. This is well documented in Down the Tennessee by Richard Mitchell Edwards, a veteran of the 5th Infantry. 

Upon their return to Memphis, many of the soldiers were battling the effects of yellow fever, dysentery and other diseases contracted while stationed for several months at Puente Nacional, near Jalapa, Mexico. Of the 105 men who entered service in Company G in November 1847, only 86 returned or were discharged prior to July 1848. Of those 86, only 28 men (or their surviving spouses) received a pension from the US Government.

For most of those 28, a pension was granted years or decades after an extensive back and forth battle with the US Pension Office. Several of these pensions were only granted due to a private act of Congress, often some 50 years after discharge, when many of the surviving men were elderly and unable to work.

To the best of my research among available records from,, FamilySearch and the US National Archives in Washington, DC, below is a list of those who served from Company G and their pension status (please note, some of the men who served in Company G later served in the Civil War, and may have received a pension from their Civil War service in addition to their Mexican War service).

These men deserve some recognition for their service.

Company G, 5th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers (November 1847-July 1848)
Captain John Reese (24) -Memphis (no pension filed)
2nd Lt. Proctor Porter (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
2nd Lt. John A. Miller (23) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Laura A.W. Miller, application# 14520, 19012, pension received)
Sergeant [Marcus] LaFayette Allen (21) - Memphis; promoted to 2nd Lt when Atkinson discharged (pension filed by widow Leah Allen, application #6965 from Arkansas, pension received)

Sergeant William F. Barr (28) - resigned, discharged in New Orleans on 28 Dec 1847 (pension filed by widow Mary E. P. Barr, application #18628, pension received)
Sergeant Isaac Cardwell (21) - promoted to Sergeant when Barr resigned; Memphis (No pension filed)
Sergeant Conner Moore (26) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Sergeant James Thomas (25) - promoted to Sergeant on 4 Apr 1848 when John P. Holland was demoted to private; Memphis (Pension filed by widow Elizabeth J. Thomas, application# 9181, pension received)
Sergeant John W. Thurnburg (19) - promoted to Sergeant on 1 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Sergeant John P. Holland (23) - demoted to private, "broken of his appointment to Sergeant on 4 April 1848, since that time a private"; Memphis (no pension filed)

Corporal James Bethel (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Corporal Leonard R. L. Davis (25) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Corporal Hugh K. Duncan (21) - promoted to Corporal on 1 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Corporal James Lowe (25) - promoted to Corporal on 4 Apr 1848; promoted again when LaFayette Allen was promoted to 2nd Lt. 1 Jun 1848; Memphis (pension application #11799, pension received)
Corporal/Pvt Robert Thomas Jones Sr (41) - Memphis (but died 2 days after discharge, drowned in Mississippi River) (Widow's pension filed by Elizabeth Thornhill Jones rejected)

William G. Atkinson (19) - Musician/Drummer; Memphis (pension application filed, #18918 Old Wars #12168; later served in Company I, 2nd US Cavalry 1855-1858; died 9 April 1919 in Russellville, Tennessee. Pension received).
William P. Cozart (17) - Musician, played the fife, discharged in Memphis (pension application #1399, rejected)
William Couch (19) - Cook; transferred to hospital on 4 Feb 1848; made hospital steward on 29 Feb 1848; discharged in Memphis (pension application filed by widow Sarah Couch, #9235. Pension received).

Roderick Anderson (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John P. Baugh (25) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Eli Blair (26) - Memphis (pension application # 518, pension received)
Hiram Blair (19) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary J. Blair, application #23049, 12324. Pension received).
James Branham (28) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Lewis Breeden (21) - Memphis (pension filed #697, pension received)
Merrill Breeden (21) - Memphis (pension filed #11391, pension received)
Ransom Brogden (26) - Memphis (No pension filed)
[Frances] Marion Click (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Eliza Ann Click, #4274, pension received)
Robert Collier (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary Catherine Collier, #18621, pension received)
William R. Copeland (27) - Memphis (pension filed #15019, pension received)
Samuel Cox (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Caleb Crow (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Jane Crow, #10395, Old Wars file #13444. Rejected but later received).
James Ferguson (19) - transferred into Company G on 12 Nov 1847; Memphis (pension application #2111; 9565. Pension received)
John Foster (28) - joined in New Orleans on 25 Dec 1847; Memphis (No pension filed)
David Fry (21) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Joseph Grisham (23) - Memphis (No pension filed)
James J. M. Haggard (20) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Shadric W. Harie (or Haire) (22) - Memphis (Pension filed by widow Mary Ann Hair, #4137, Old War Widow Pension. Pension received).
Valentine L. Harris (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Thomas Haskett (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Thomas B. Hickey (30) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Henry Hickman (18) - Memphis (pension filed application 14879, pension received
Humphrey Hickman (28) - Memphis (No pension filed)
William L. Hudson (22) - Memphis (Pension #20618, pension received)
Francis A Irwin (20) - Memphis (Pension filed by widow Levina Irwin, #3385; 11920. Widow's pension rejected.
Grant Jones (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Miles Jones (40) - Memphis (pension application rejected)
William Lane (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Zebedee Langford (24) - Memphis (No pension filed)
John J. Lennon (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
William Lines (18) - Memphis (No pension filed)
James Maner (24) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Benjamin Manning (20) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary J. Manning, application #13316, survivor application #4281, pension received).
Henry Maples (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Andrew J. Margraves (44) - Memphis (no pension filed)
George W. Massengill (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James D. McClelland (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James McKinney (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Jacob Miller (22) - Memphis (pension application #4620, pension received).
James C. Myers (19) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Sarah C. Myers, application #1462, Old Wars file #16710. Widow's pension rejected).
James L. Neal (22) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Ewen Jefferson Newman (19) - Memphis (married Margaret Caroline Jones on 15 Feb 1849, daughter of Robert Thomas Jones Sr, sister of Robert Thomas Jones Jr) (no pension filed)
Jackson Nunn (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Paul Potter (23) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Isabella J. Potter, application #1713 in Tennessee, pension received).
Andrew J. Potts (20) - Detailed for daily duty as artilleryman since 4 April 1848; Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary Potts in Oklahoma, #18554; Invalid #17168; application #21279, Texas. Pension received).
Henry Ratford (23) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James Robertson (40) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William P. Rodgers (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Stephen Shrobert (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William P. Sisk (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John P. Smallwood (30) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James Sparks (23) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Thomas Spurgeon (21) - Memphis (pension application #10310, pension received).
Thomas Stafford (25) - Memphis (pension application #16552, pension received).
Soloman Stanberry (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
George Stomer (26) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John Thomas (19) - Memphis (pension application #6394, 15255, pension received).
Wyley [or Wiley] A. Warden (24) - Memphis (pension application #12875; 20077; Old War's 18731. Pension received).
Burl Whorly (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William Wood (25) - Memphis (pension application #14676, pension received)

Early Discharge
1st Lt. Hendle Atkinson (40) - honorable discharge on 20 Jun 1848 (no pension filed)
Frederick Hickman (38) - discharged 14 May 1848, in New Orleans by 29 May 1848 on surgeon's certificate (No pension filed)
Alexander Jones (22) - discharged by writ of habeas corpus by Judge Alexander in Knoxville, Tennessee on 4 Dec 1847 (no pension filed)
James K. Michaels (18) - discharged at National Bridge, Mexico by surgeon's certificate, 28 Mar 1848 (pension application #4594 in Illinois, 29 Jan 1887, pension received)
Eli Sartin (30) - Discharged at National Bridge, Mexico upon surgeon's certificate 28 Mar 1848 (pension filed by widow Mary Ann Sartin, application # 2610, Old War's Inv. Rej. #17653, pension received)
Jesse Young (44) - Transferred to Company G from F on 12 Nov 1847; Discharged at National Bridge upon surgeon's certificate 28 Feb 1848 (No pension filed)  

No official notice of death or discharge
Andrew J. Clemens (22) - Left sick in hospital in Veracruz on 30 Jan 1848, no official notice of death or discharge (no pension filed)
William Kensley (20) - transferred from Company F to G on 12 Nov 1847; name not on further rolls for Company G after Nov 1847 (no pension filed)
Ruffin Warrick (24) - Left sick in hospital at Veracruz, 10 May 1848. No official notice of death or discharge. (No pension filed)

Died in Service
Elijah Church (19) - Died at Veracruz on 26 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
John W. Ebbs (29) - Died at Veracruz on 25 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
William Johnson (19) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 18 Mar 1848 (No pension filed)
Thomas Jones (29 years old, of Jackson County, Tennessee) -  Died in Mexico (pension filed by wife rejected)
Robert Thomas Jones Jr (20) - Died at Muscle Shoals, Alabama on 17 Dec 1847 (pension filed by mother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones rejected)
Thomas H. Lawson (28) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 9 Apr 1848 (no pension filed)
Henry Pangle (28) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 13 May 1848 (no pension filed)
James Russell (38) - Left in hospital in Veracruz 30 Jan 1848, died 11 Feb 1848 (no pension filed)
James Soloman (20) - Died on board transport ship America 9 Jun 1848 (no pension filed)
Thomas L. Walker (41) - Died at Veracruz, 23 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Thomas D. Whalen (20) - Died at National Bridge, 4 Mar 1848 (No pension filed)

Ransom Cross (21) - Deserted in Knoxville, Tennessee on 15 Nov 1847
George Hurst (23) - Deserted at wood yard on Mississippi River, 25 Dec 1847
Noah Hurst (19) - Deserted at Paducah, Kentucky, 23 Dec 1847
Pleasant Hurst (19) - Deserted at Paducah, Kentucky, 23 Dec 1847
Charley Mathis (18) - Deserted at Veracruz on 30 Jan 1848
Paschal Nunn (25) - Deserted at wood yard on Mississippi River, 25 Dec 1847 

Back from Durban

For the past week & a half I've been between Dubai and Durban, South Africa, for mid-year meetings. Below are some photos of Durban. It is winter time there, but most of the week felt a lot like Los Angeles in the winter - some breezes but mostly clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70s.
Photo by Patrick Jones - Rhino Sculpture outside of the Durban ICC
Photo by Patrick Jones, overlooking the Durban International Conference Center
Photo by Patrick Jones - Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban
On the evening of our gala dinner, the weather shifted to heavy rain. Our hosts told us that it was a positive sign, that our meetings in Durban were blessed. In local culture, a heavy rain is a blessing. The upbeat and friendly attitudes from our South African hosts made this a memorable meeting.

We also happened to be in South Africa for Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday. I'll have more on that in an upcoming post. I'm very lucky to do what I do, not only to see the world but to experience it through connecting with so many people who are using the Internet in fantastic ways.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Note From Gumpy to Silas

While reading the Dr. Seuss Big Blue Book of Beginner Books with Silas this evening, we turn to a note from my Gumpy written in May 2009, a week before he was born. It's a great note, saving it digitally for future chats.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tennessee Genealogy Month, Who Knew?

Apparently July is Tennessee Genealogy Month. I missed this announcement last year. I had put my Tennessee research to the side while introducing my wife's Havens side of the family. Perhaps it is time to revisit Tennessee research and attempt to complete my First Families of Tennessee application.

Not much new to report. It is hot here in the DC area, and poolside is the best place to be during the day.

Have a good 4th of July weekend.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Looking back at old photos, three years ago today we celebrated the Fourth of July with a picnic at the National Arboretum in DC. We won't be doing that today, although we did just return from a riverboat ride up the Potomac. We're looking forward to a long weekend with family & friends. Have a great 4th of July!
Alexandria Farmers' Market, 3 July 2010
National Arboretum, 4 July 2010

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

James Daniel Havens Sr

This post continues with the Havens family in Tazewell County, Illinois. I've previously covered my wife's 4th-great-grandfather, Daniel Havens, and her 3rd-great-grand-uncle, Alexander Havens. The probate file of Daniel Havens showed that James Daniel Havens (Sr) was an executor of the will and the main inheritor of Daniel's estate.

James Daniel Havens was born in Monmouth, New Jersey in July 1828. In the 1850 US Census, James (age 23) appears in the household of David Osborne with his young wife Hannah (age 17), in Tazewell, Illinois. James and Hannah had at least the following children:

1. Margaret E. Havens (born in 1851)
2. Sarah Havens (born in 1854)
3. William Henry Havens (born in 1856)
4. Katey Jane Havens (born in 1858)
5. Alice Mary Havens (born in 1860)

In the 1860 US Census, James and Alexander were neighbors, and their father Daniel was living in the household with James, Hannah and their children.
James Havens appears in the draft list for Tazewell County in July 1863, although I have not yet found a service record for him in the Civil War.
In the 1870 US Census, Hannah no longer appears in the household as James' wife, but there is an Elizabeth Havens (born in Tennessee) who is listed. At this point I'm not sure if Charles Havens (born in 1867) is a son of Hannah or Elizabeth.

Whatever happened to the Elizabeth Havens listed in the 1870 Census is not clear, but the Illinois Marriage records from 1815-1935 on FamilySearch show that James Havens married Ellenora Rork in Tazewell County on 19 December 1872. Ellenora was my wife's third-great-grandmother.

In the 1880 US Census in Tazewell County, James and Ellenora are listed, with James' older children Alice (Mary Alice, age 20) and Bessie (age 6), and two new children, James Jr (age 4) and Charlotte (age 2). Daniel Havens (age 79) is also living in the household.
I do not yet have records on when James & Ellenora Havens moved from Tazewell County to Miami County, Indiana, but by the 1900 US Census the family was living there.
James Daniel Havens died on 15 June 1905 in Galveston, Cass County, Indiana.

For now, this is the information I have. At some point I'll need to write for records from Miami and Cass County. Or perhaps a cousin with these records will stumble on this post and reach out.

For James Daniel Havens Jr (my wife's 2nd-great-grandfather), his story continues from Tazewell County to Miami County, Indiana as well. I'll pick up his story in an upcoming post.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Potential Find in the 1899 Tucson City Directory

One of my big brick walls is my 2nd-great-grandfather, Manuel Portillo. I know very little about him, except he died before my 2nd-great-grandmother Teresa Diaz de Portillo crossed into the United States with my great-grandmother Manuela Portillo in November 1922. This evening I found a Manuel Portillo in the 1899 Tucson City Directory. At this point I am not certain it's my Manuel Portillo, but this is worth some digging to try to find out.
1899 Tucson City Directory via
The directory states that he is an employee of the Legal Tender Saloon, with his residence at 98 S. Main Street in Tucson.  In the 12 December 1896 issue of the Arizona Weekly Citizen (published in Tucson), an article mentions the Legal Tender saloon and its proprietor, J. P. Walsh (also referred to as J.J. Walsh in other articles):
The saloon is described as the place to go for live music and drinks. A photo of the Legal Tender after 1900 (via the Pima County Library's Flickr stream) is available below:
Legal Tender Saloon, photo source Pima County Library
Interestingly, there is also a Jesus Portillo, tailor, at G. K. Smith, with residence at 248 Convent Street in Tucson. The 1913 Tucson City Directory shows Jesus Portillo still working as a tailor for G. K. Smith. The directory from 1913 includes an advertisement for G. K. Smith's tailor shop. I don't know yet if Jesus Portillo was related to Manuel Portillo, but I am parking this information here for now.