Friday, December 28, 2012

The Mystery of Samuel Windley, alias Samuel Keach: Analysis of Document #19

In the spirit of discovering who each of these men were who had shared bits of Sergeant Isaac Carter's life, and who had come forth to testify on his behalf for a Civil War Pension, I began my search for Samuel Keach with a search on and on Fold3.

Surprisingly, only two documents surfaced:
  1. (4) U.S. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files: 1861-1934, and
  2. (1) U.S. Colored Troops Military Service Records, 1861-1865.

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Data Source: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
Tue Dec 25 2012 16:53:22 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time)

View RecordNameWidowState Filed
View RecordSamuel Keach Louisa KeachNorth Carolina
View RecordSamuel Windley
[Samuel Keach
Luvenine ReachNorth Carolina
View RecordSamuel Windley
[Samuel Keach
Louisa KeachNorth Carolina
View RecordSamuel Windley
[Samuel Keach
North Carolina

Looking at the screenshot of my search #1, I wondered about this surname, Windley. Often you will find a transcription error in indexing, or perhaps even an enumeration error where the name was spelled phonetically, based on the informant's accent or regional dialect. However, there's a large difference between Keach and Windley. The widow's name, Luvenine Reach, is identified immediately as a transcription error. Her name should read: Luvennie Keach. But in two documents listed, the widow's surname is recorded as Louisa Keach. The question is now whether this is a reporting/recording error, or if there are two widows.

Image No. 1
Image No. 1, however, notes that Samuel Keach was an alias. With that said, I began looking for Windley information (more to come)

Let's take a look at the information provided on this application card:
  • There are three other persons reported here: 1.) the widow: Louisa Keach; 2.) a minor: Louisa Harrison, Gdn; and, 3.) the contesting widow: Luvennie Keach. 
  • Two types of service were recorded: Co. B, 1st Regiment North Carolina Colored Infantry, and Co. B, 14th Regiment US Colored Heavy Artillery. 
  • The dates of filing show that:
  1.  the Invalid (Samuel Keach) filed on Feb. 11, 1888: Application No. 639.673, Certificate No. 749.574;
  2.  the widow on March 19, 1898: Application No. 673.017;
  3.  the minor on Aug. 10, 1905, Application No. 833.267; and,
  4.  the contesting widow on July 5, 1900, Application No. 743.387. 
Image No. 2

If I were to apply for Samuel Keach's Civil War Pension File from NARA, I would need all of the above information in order to request his complete file.
Image No. 4
Image No. 3
Images 2-4 are the individual applications of the widow, minor and contesting widow.

In search of the Windley surname
My first step was to check the Public Member Trees: <Samuel Windley, USA, North Carolina.> At the time of his affidavit he was 45 years old, making him born abt. 1846. He had enlisted in Washington, NC, so I'll be searching for people living in Beaufort County. I discovered a tree entitled, Windley Family Tree, with an individual named, Samuel S. Windley, b. 7 June 1848; d. 1911.

I always look for a documented tree, but note that this has no documentation on this individual. So, I search for some Census records for this Samuel S. Windley, son of Samuel and Angelica (Jones) Windley.

In 1850 he was living in Broad Creek, Beaufort, NC. This family is composed of the parents and five children. One small problem. The family is white, and there are no black families listed. So, I check out the 1850 Slave Schedules to see if Samuel & Ann Windley owned any slaves.

Sure enough, they owned three slaves: a black female (23), a black male (20), and a black male (4). The child would have been born abt. 1846, the same age as Samuel Keach Windley. I located an obituary for him at New-Bern Craven County Public Library posted in the New Bern Daily Journal, 30 October 1896. I am hopeful to discover some other information about him from the obituary, but must wait till I receive it to know for sure.

Another document I located naming this Samuel Keach Windley was the death certificate of his second wife, Louvina Eborn. It states that she was the daughter of Frank Blount and Jennie Eborn, both of Roanoke Island, NC. She died on October 28, 1922 at the age of 100. She had been divorced from her husband, Samuel Windley.

Samuel Keach Windley survived five years, seven months and twelve days beyond his testimony. Beyond his obituary, the only other hope of gaining any information about this man would be from his Civil War Pension File. Perhaps one day we'll have more to report, but until then...

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