Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Thomas and Judah Farrell DNA Project: A sidetrack I had to take and a timeline for James O'Farrell

Focus, focus, focus! That's what I say to myself often. Human behavior is fascinating and if I'm going to wander off track it will be because some shiny object connected to that fascinating stuff my ancestors and relatives did. In working with the Thomas and Judah Farrell DNA Project, both Cousin Rich and I have wandered from time to time. To his credit, he has wandered less - if at all - and his so-called wandering has had wonderful results that are relevant. But me, I'm a bad girl when it comes to wandering. And here's how I found myself so far afield of our primary objective just this week.

Our primary objective is, using DNA test results, establish which DNA chromosomal segments come from which of four prime families who were occupants of the area around the town of Magnolia, Morgan County, Virginia then West Virginia in the time period around 1850. The connected surnames are: Farrell, House, Hartley and Biggerstaff.

To be candid, Rich and I don't even know if this is possible. But we're trying. As we go, we take time to fill our genealogical baskets with even more records and enjoy interesting side trips filling out the picture we have of our ancestor's time and place. For example, Rich just went to the National Archive to dig up a Civil War Pension file for James Farrell/ O'Farrell. It was positively scrumptious!

I won't go into lots of detail about the pension file here because I'm seriously making an effort to stay on task (who me?) But I do want to take a moment to revisit the life of James O'Farrell, as he called himself as an adult. (See previous post about him here.) Timelines are often very helpful in getting a feeling for the arc of a subject's life. I use them, not for every ancestor, but whenever there's a lot of twists and turns in a life, when the subject and family moved and maybe disappeared, or to aid thinking and inspiration when facing a problem. So I thought to do one for James O'Farrell for a different reason. It simply looked interesting.

In it I saw that his story of time in the Civil War is the stuff of Hollywood, and not because it's extraordinary but because it was probably typical of many who served in that war. So now I'll post part of it here and I think that you'll see what I mean. Let's pick up the timeline at the point when James' father, Thomas Farrell dies. As you might remember, both Thomas and Judah Farrell were born in Ireland, had two daughters there, and immigrated to the US.

1851: Thomas Farrell (father) died in Morgan County, Virginia
1855, 20 AUG: Mary Elizabeth (sister) marriage to Samuel Albert House, Morgan County, Virginia

1856, 16 SEP: Catherine Farrell (sister) marriage to James Edward Boxwell, Morgan County, Virginia
1857: Judah Farrell (mother) died in Morgan County, West Virginia

1857, 12 NOV: Sale of Judah Farrell’s estate
1861: Civil War began

1861, 17 APR: West Virginia seceded from Virginia
1861, 24 NOV: James Farrell enlisted in the Union 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Company B, Capt. Zeller's Co., in Williamsport, Virginia.  

1861, DEC: contracted mumps, "affecting his testicles", Williamsport, Maryland
1862, JAN: James Farrell’s unit is absorbed into Union Company H of the 1st Regiment of the Maryland Cavalry

1862, JUL & AUG: company took leave

1862, SEP: back with company

1862, DEC: contracted rheumatism from exposure
(The Company Description Book gives us a picture of him. He was, at age 20, five feet seven and a half inches tall. His hair was light as was his complexion, and his eyes were blue. He was a farmer.)

1863, MAR: contracted small pox affecting his head and hearing, Arlington Heights, Virginia
1863, end: enlistment time up, reenlists and received $100 bonus, becomes a Union Veteran Volunteer

1864, JAN: contracted diseases of the eyes from exposure, Brandy Station, Virginia
No Date: Near Brandy Station in the state of Virginia: contracted scurvy in the mouth from use of Army food

1864, 29 SEP: disappeared from line of fire at Chapin Falls, Virginia, near Dutch Gap
1864, 30 SEP: deemed "missing" by company

1864, 1 OCT: at a prison camp at Richmond, Virginia
1864, 2 OCT: company records show "Missing from picket lines near Newmarket Road - Oct 2nd

1864, OCT: company records, "Nothing heard of him since."

1864, OCT: moved to POW camp at Salisbury, North Carolina
1864, OCT - DEC: population at Salisbury increased from 5,000 to 10,000 crisis level overcrowding, inmates begin die in great numbers

1864, Fall: fearing starvation, James enlisted in the 8th Confederate Infantry
Date unknown: while in service of Confederacy, captured by Union General Stoneman’s troops.

1865, 5 JUL: “Confined at Nashville Tenn. And was released on taking the oath of allegiance July 5 / 65”. ( Source: MEMORANDUM FROM PRISONER OF WAR RECORDS)
1865, 23 JUL: returned to his original Union unit

1865, 8 AUG: mustered out. Owed $290 for back pay and bonus
1867, 14 MAR: marriage to Henrietta Michael, Hattie, Morgan County, West Virginia

1880: US Census, Flat Creek, Pettis County, Missouri.

See, right away I spot that we haven't found James in the 1870 US Census. He was married to Hattie in March of 1867 and they had their first child, William Clem in December of that year still in West Virginia. They had their second child, Margaret or Maggie in 1872 and they lived in Pettis County Missouri then. Arthur came along in 1874 and Elmer in 1981. So where were they in 1870? Wherever they were, they are still to be found by us.

I'm chuckling just a bit as I look at the names of James and Hattie's kids. William Clem, Margaret, Arthur, and Elmer. Whatever the inspiration for those names, it was not the father's Irish family... or Hattie's brother, Isaac Newton! Do you ever wonder about the ancestors and how they named the offspring?

James O'Farrell's land in Missouri.

The URL for this post is:

No comments:

Post a Comment