Monday, June 29, 2015

In support of his kin

Today's visit to the US National Archives uncovered some new finds on my Jones and Thornhill sides of the tree. I took advantage of a post-meeting staycation day to view the Civil War pension file of Thomas W. Thornhill, son of Joseph Thornhill and Mary Polly Gass, a nephew of my 4th-great-grandmother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones. Thomas Thornhill and Joseph Jones, my 3rd-great-grandfather, were as close as brothers, so it was not a surprise to see Joseph appear as a witness for Thomas in his Civil War pension application. The file yielded several other gems, including a note handwritten by Joseph.
Photo by Patrick Jones. From US National Archives, 30 Jun 2015.
Thomas served on the Union side in Company C and L of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry during the Civil War. According to the surgeon's report in the pension file, Thomas was about 5 foot 5, with black hair (later turning grey), and dark blue eyes.

Both Thomas and Joseph Jones lost their fathers at a young age. The Thornhill and Jones families were very close and stuck together in support of each other throughout the Civil War. I have covered much of this previously in reviewing the various files on Captain John Thornhill. Thomas married Leah Warren Hart in Hamblen County, Tennessee on 15 November 1893. A copy of their marriage certificate was in the pension file. Leah was a sister of Martha Cordelia Hart, Joseph Jones' third wife.

On 29 October 1888, Joseph Jones wrote an affidavit for Thomas from Marysville, Blount County, Tennessee. He stated that Thomas became disabled in April 1863. Joseph and Thomas served in the same company.
Photo by Patrick Jones. US National Archives.
Photo by Patrick Jones. US National Archives.
The letter of 23 April 1889 provided additional testimony in support of Thomas' pension claim, along with a signature for Joseph.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Affidavit of Joseph Jones.
I believe this is the first time I have seen a handwritten letter by Joseph. It was quite cool to hold this letter, written by my 3rd-great-grandfather 126 years ago. There were more items in the file. In tomorrow's post I will write about Leah Hart Thornhill, Thomas' wife.

Additional item: While at the National Archives, a camera crew was filming with a celebrity for an upcoming episode of Who Do You Think You Are. It was pretty cool to see them use the 2nd Floor research room for a portion of this actor's story. I am looking forward to the episode later in July.

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