Monday, September 10, 2012

Company K, Indiana 139th Infantry Regiment: Private Charles Overman, my 1st cousin 6x removed

Previously I wrote an entry about my 5th Great Grand Uncle,  Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Overman, Sr., who served in the Confederate Army.  His nephew, Charles Overman served in the Union Army. 

The Overman's were mostly Quakers.  Quakers or "Friends" are members of The Religious Society of Friends.  The majority of my Overman Ancestors were from the Pasquotank/Perquimans county area, however a small sect of Quakers relocated to Indiana in the early 1800's.   It's speculated that their disagreement with the Nation's "Indian Policy" and "Slave Policy" were their primary reasons in relocating to Indiana. 

An exerpt from Thomas Jefferson's January 18, 1803 message to Congress regarding his "Indian Policy"

Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives: As the continuance of the act for  establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes will be under the consideration of the Legislature at its present session, I think it my duty to communicate the views which have guided me in the execution of that act, in order that you may decide on the policy of continuing it in the present or any other form, or discontinue it altogether if that shall, on the whole, seem most for the public good.

[2] The Indian tribes residing within the limits of the United States have for a considerable time been growing more and more uneasy at the constant diminution of the territory they occupy, although effected by their own voluntary sales, and the policy has long been gaining strength with them of refusing absolutely all further sale on any conditions . . . . A very few tribes only are not yet obstinately in these dispositions.

[3] In order peaceably to counteract this policy of theirs and to provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase of our numbers will call for, two measures are deemed expedient.  First[:] To encourage them to abandon hunting, to apply to the raising [of] [live]stock, to agriculture, and domestic manufacture, and thereby prove to themselves that less land and labor will maintain them in this better than in their former mode of living. The extensive forests necessary in the hunting life will then become useless, and they will see advantage in exchanging them for the means of improving their farms and of increasing their domestic comforts.

[4] Secondly[:] To multiply trading houses among them, and place within their reach those things which will contribute more to their domestic comfort than the possession of extensive but uncultivated wilds. Experience and reflection will develop to them the wisdom of exchanging what they can spare and we want for what we can spare and they want. In leading them thus to agriculture, to manufactures, and civilization[,] in bringing together their and our sentiments, and in preparing them ultimately to participate in the benefits of our Government, I trust and believe we are acting for their greatest good.

[5] In one quarter this is particularly interesting. The Legislature, reflecting on the late occurrences on the Mississippi, must be sensible how desirable it is to possess a respectable breadth of country on that river, from our southern limit to the Illinois [River], at least, so that we may present as firm a front on that as on our eastern border. . . . Between the Ohio and Yazoo [Rivers] the country all belongs to the Chickasaws . . . . The portion of their country most important for us is exactly that which they do not inhabit. Their settlements are not on the Mississippi, but in the interior country. They have lately shown a desire to become agricultural, and this leads to the desire of buying implements and comforts. In the strengthening and gratifying of these wants I see the only prospect of planting on the Mississippi itself the means of its own safety.

In 1802 a delegation of Indian Representatives from the Miami and Potowatomis tribes met with President Jefferson.  The Baltimore Yearly Meeting (group of Quakers) also met with these tribes to discuss their plight.  The "Friends" protested Congress, stating that the Indian Policy was unjust.   Several "Friends" also sent farm equipment to the Miami living near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  In the Spring of 1804, several Quakers set up a demonstration farm for the Indians.   It was also in the early 1800's where the Society of Friends encouraged it's members in North and South Carolina and Virginia to leave the slave south and relocate to the Northwest free territories.  It was in this exodus from the South that Charles' father Eli uprooted the family and moved them to Indiana.

Quakers in Indiana in the early 1800's

Quaker's as a whole are non-violent people.  They are famous for being conscientious objectors when it comes to military service, however some were allowed waivers to serve in the Civil War.   Charles was one of the Quakers who was allowed to serve in the Union Army.  

Charles Overman was born in Blue River, Washington County, Indiana on April 29, 1828.   He enlisted as a Private in Company K, Indiana 139th Infantry Regiment on June 5, 1864.   During the summer of 1864 as the Union army consolidated it's forces for large attacks in Virginia, State Governors were asked to recruit 100-day regiments for soldiers who would take over garrison and guard duties behind the lines.   Governor Morton of Indiana was tasked to recruit seven of these regiments.  These regiments included the 139th Indiana. 

Charles' name appears 5th on this Draft Record

Muster Roll for the Indiana 139th Infantry a/k/a the "Union Defenders"

During the summer of 1864 the 139th Indiana Infantry was assigned to guard duty along the lines of the Nashville & Chattanooga, Tennessee & Alabama, and Memphis & Charleston railroads. They were kept constantly engaged in this work until the latter part of August 1864, serving beyond the time for which they had enlisted, keeping Sherman's lines of communication open for the transportation of supplies to his army.

The unit reported a strength of 865 men. 11 killed in action and 1 desertion. 

Charles' widow received a pension for his service in the Union Army. 

Charles' Pension Paper

Charles survived the Civil War, however died on November 21, 1865.  He was 37 years old.  He is buried in the West Union Cemetery in Monrovia, Morgan County, Indiana. 

Here's my relation to Charles:

Charles Overman (1828 - 1865)
is your 1st cousin 6x removed
Eli Overman (1795 - 1833)
Father of Charles
Charles Overman (1745 - 1806)
Father of Eli
Mary Overman (1785 - 1866)
Daughter of Charles
Margaret White (1807 - 1840)
Daughter of Mary
Martha M White (1828 - 1898)
Daughter of Margaret
Joseph Thomas White (1860 - 1910)
Son of Martha M
Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White (1892 - 1985)
Daughter of Joseph Thomas
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - )
Daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie)
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
Son of Ruth Adelaide
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby

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