Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Time for a Yankee: My 1st Cousin, 4x removed, Private James Thaddeus Wheeler

James Thaddeus Wheeler & Nancy Andrews

James Thaddeus Wheeler was born in Granville County, NC on September 19, 1826.  He was the 1st cousin of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Christopher Columbus Wheeler.  James and his family moved away from Granville County around the time C. C. was born in 1842 so it's quite possible these two never knew each other.   James was listed in as living in Limestone County, AL in the 1850 Census, Bedford County, TN in the 1860 Census and finally ending up in Greene County, MO in the 1870 Census, where he would spend the remainder of his life.  

At the outbreak of the Civil War, James and his family owned about one hundred and forty acres of farmland in the Hickory Barrens area of Missouri.  He enlisted in Company G of the 1st Missouri Cavalry, United States Army, on August 1, 1862.   He was 35 years old.   The Company Descriptive Book lists him as 5 feet 9 inches tall, dark complexion, grey eyes and dark hair at the age of 37. 

He requested furlough in a letter dated August 29, 1863.   One hundred and forty nine years ago today.   The letter is heartbreaking.  James states:

"I enlisted in August 1862 and left a wife and seven children (three of whom have died since last May)"

He goes on to talk about how his wife is having a very hard time making ends meet due to him not being able to draw pay while in the hospital.  James requests the furlough to go home and get affairs in order for the coming winter for his wife and surviving children.  

Here is a copy of James letter:

From "The Wheelers of Granville County" by Frances Scroggins Wheeler:

During a skirmish with rebel forces near Bentonville, Arkansas, on September 9, 1864 his horse was hit in the nose by a musket ball. His commanding officer, one Lt. Shoemaker, was not with the group on the 'scout'. James T. was thrown and fell under the horse. His fellow soldiers escaped capture and managed to return him to camp where he was noted as being severely injured. The fall had resulted in a severe right inguinal hernia. While convalescing it was noted that he came down with a fever and pneumonia. There was mention of exposure to cold. He was in the General Hospital at Little Rock, AR almost 8 months, from September 16, 1864 until May 8, 1865 . He was apparently still able to function with the aid of a truss, but was discharged on May 6, 1865 'by reason of 'hypertrophy of the heart'.

Below are Muster Rolls showing James in the U.S.A. General Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas:

James applied for a disability pension two years later, based on the heart problem.  His request included testaments from two fellow soldiers that he had been healthy at the time of enlistment and 'for 5 or 6 years' prior. Lt. Shoemaker could not be located to comment. One might be inclined to speculate whether James T.'s heart disease might be related to the 'fever' he experienced, since there was no indication of heart problems prior to the war. The hernia was also introduced as a principal factor severely limiting his ability to work because, he said, the truss was not as effective as he initially hoped. The initial pension granted him on May 7, 1865 was $6.00 per month. This increased to $18.00 in 1875, to $24.00 in 1883, was 'reissued' to $16.00 in 1886, increased to $18.00 in 1888, and finally in 1899 increased to $30.00. By 1891, his complaints had grown to include lung problems, back aches, and headaches.

In a pension form, certificate 83882 (Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions) dated August 4, 1898, which James T. Wheeler signed in a shaky hand.

Here's a note in James T.'s file referencing his horse falling on him:

James T.'s Discharge Paper:

I find it interesting that there are so many parallels with James Thaddeus Wheeler and his 1st cousin, Christopher Columbus Wheeler.   Both came from very  similar backgrounds, both were farmers, both were soldiers in the Cavalry, yet they served on opposite sides.  

James Thaddeus Wheeler and wife Nancy Andrews

James Thaddeus Wheeler died in Greene County, Missouri on April 5, 1910.  He and his wife are buried in the Mount Comfort Cemetery.

Grave of James Thaddeus Wheeler

Here's my relation to James:

James Thaddeus Wheeler (1826 - 1910)
is your 1st cousin 4x removed
Jesse Wheeler (1794 - 1880)
Father of James Thaddeus
Benjamin Wheeler (1755 - 1830)
Father of Jesse
Benjamin Franklin Wheeler (1803 - 1883)
Son of Benjamin
Christopher Columbus Wheeler (1842 - 1912)
Son of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Elliott Wheeler (1883 - 1951)
Son of Christopher Columbus
Phebe Teresa Wheeler Lewis (1918 - 1977)
Daughter of Benjamin Elliott
Joyce Elaine Lewis (1948 - )
Daughter of Phebe Teresa
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Joyce 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Chip:

    James T Wheeler was the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, George Washington Wheeler. I have some very interesting material if you would like to get in touch.