Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Document #16

The following document is an affidavit sworn by Sharper Williams of Company G, USCT 14th Heavy Artillery. I knew that our Isaac Carter had transferred from Company B to Company G; but, I began to wonder when this transpired.

A careful examination of his service record revealed something interesting.

May 2007:
Isaac Carter's Great Grandson at Fort Macon
  • March 12, 1864: Isaac enlisted in 1st North Carolina Heavy Artillery, later known as USCT 14th Heavy Artillery. Rank: Sergeant, Company B.
  • He was present at company muster roll through June 1865: Sergeant.
  • July & August 1865 Company B muster roll reveals he had been demoted to Private. Remarks: Transferred to Company G Res S.O. No. 78....
  • In the next page, also for July & August 1865, he appears in company muster roll for Company G as a Private with the following remarks: Free April 19, 1861. Transferred from Company "B", August 28, 1865 By S.O. No. 78 Hd Qrts 14 U.S. Promoted to Corpl (Sept. 1, 1865 By S.O. No. 82). [two lines down]: Roll Mutilated. 
  • September & October 1865: Rank: Sergeant, Company G. Remarks: Promoted Sergt Sept. 20, 1865.
Now that I'm aware of when the transfer occurred, I can more carefully recreate Co. B & G for the time periods when Isaac served in both. (See Brainstorming for Backstory and USCT 14th Heavy Artillery A-Z for further info on this sub-project.) 

Transcription: Sharper Williams' Affidavit on behalf of Isaac Carter
North Carolina}
Craven County}
No. 612812 of Isaac Carter Co. G. 14 U.S.C.H.A.
On this 3rd day of June A.D. 1890  Personally
appeared before me a clerk of the
Superior Court a Court of record in
and for the County & State aforesaid
Sharper Williams aged 65 yrs well 
known to be reputable and en-
titled to credit & who being duly
sworn according to Law declares:
I enlisted Pvt. Co_ G. 14 USCHArty Feb
1865 and became acquainted
with Isaac Carter Sgt of my Co at
the same time. When I first
became acquainted with him
he was very sick with diarrhea
& piles also with Chronic Rheumatism
at Carolina City N.C. on about
Feb 1865 he was in the hospital
and was healed by the Surgeon,
And he was also taken with
a heavy cold which resulted in
the asthma and he continued
to complain and have a 
severe cough and was at a 
severe strain all the remainder
of the service with the diarrhea 
and piles and complained
being afflicted with rheumatism
in the feet and Legs, which
swell up & to such extent that
at times he cannot walk.
And he was in this condition all 
the rest of the service. Since the
war I have at times seen 
him at times very week (sic)
two or three times a month
And so for as i know he is
down for two or three times
a year for a month or more
at at (sic) a time with rheumatism so
he can't walk and from straining
diarrhea & piles pains in throat
& heart. He has continued to
suffer in such condition ever since
the war. I have no interest in
the claim.  My P.O. address is
New Bern N.C.
witness              )                      his
E.W. Carpenter )      Sharper    X   Williams
AM Baker         )                    mark

                                          Sworn & subscribed
to before me this 3rd day of June 1890
& I certify that the foregoing was read
to affiant as he stated before making
his mart to same & that he is the
identical person he claims to be & is cred-
ible & worthy of belief also that I have no
interest in this claim.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Document #15

Below is a transcription of an affidavit sworn out by Theophilus George. This could either be Isaac's brother-in-law (b. 10 Jul 1850), or his father-in-law (b. abt. 1804). Upon completion, further analysis will determine the realtionship.

 North Carolina
Craven County
Also personally appeared before 
me a clerk of Superior Court
a court of record in and 
for the County & State aforesaid
Theophilus George age 40 yrs. 
well known unto be respectable and
entitled to credit & who being duly
declares: I have been acquainted
with Isaac Carter the soldier
all my Life. When he came home
from the war Dec 1865 he appeared
to be quite sick from Rheumatism
and was stiff in his joints of feet & 
Legs and he would be unable
to walk and he also complains 
of diarrhea & piles and asthma
soreness of throat and heart.
He has suffered to a great
excess each and every year
to the present that he has been
down for two or three times each
year or a month or more at a 
time. And I have lived near
his house ever since the war
and have been able to see
him every week at times and
I so on. When ever I see
He is complaining and is at times 
laid up from Rheumatism
diarrhea piles and asthma.
and he is continually sick
from said disabilities.
I have no interest in the
claim. My P.I. address is
Harlowe N. C. 

witness               )
E.W. Carpenter  )  Theophilus George
J.B. Willis         )

sworn & sub-
scribed to before me this 3rd day of
June 1890 & I certify that officiant states'that the foregoing was read to him before
signing same & that he is the identical
person he claims to be & is credible &
worthy of belief.                            E.W. Carpenter

Frederick Douglass,
U.S. Claim Agent.
Box 590, New Berne, N.C.

  • Taking into account that Theophilus George was 40 years old on 3 June 1890, he would have been born in 1850, which is compatible with Isaac Carter's brother-in-law. Certain he would have known Isaac all his life as Isaac was eleven years old when Theophilus was born. 
  • Theophilus reports Isaac's condition following the war in 1865. He married Theophilus' older sister, Martha Ann, one and a half years later (15 May 1867). 
  • The informant reports that I have lived near his house ever since the war. Perhaps an examination of land deeds and Census documents for 1870 and 1880 would determine the location of this land, whether it corresponds to the current Martha Ann (George) Carter Heirs Land. Also, where both Carter and George resided before the war. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Document #11

The next affidavit was sworn by Silas Fenner, one of Isaac Carter's comrade in arms in the USCT Heavy Artillery 14th Regiment.

As I read over this document, I became aware of some colloquialisms of the era. I am hoping that by studying enough records, a pattern will emerge which will be able to assist me in writing dialog.

* * * * *

Department of the Interior,
Jan. 20, 1890

Respectfully requested of the ADJUTANT
GENERAL U.S.A. a report from the records of his
Office as to the presence or absence, on or about
Winter of 1864 & 65
of Silas Fenner
of Co. G. 14 U.S.C.H Art.
and the station, at that date, of the Co
Invalid Claim No. 662812
Isaac Carter
Co. G. 14 U.S. C. H. Art.
Green B. Raum, Commissioner.

War Department,
Record of Pension Division,
Washington, JAN 21 1890
Respectfully returned to the
Commissioner of Pensions
With the information that the name
Silas Fenner is not
born on rolls Co. G
14 U.S.C. H Arty
F. G. Ainsworth,
Captain and Ass't Surgeon, U.S. Army
* * * * *
Isaac Carter
State of North Carolina
County of Craven
In matter of original claim
of Isaac Carter of Co. G 14
Regt U.S.C.H. Arty No 612812
On this 15th Day of May AD 1889
personally appeared Before one
clerk of the Superior Court Being
a court of record in and for
the county of Craven and State
of North Carolina  Sergeant
Silas Fenner age 49 years
Resident of Harlow N.C. Craven
County, well known to be
reputable and Entitled to credit
Who Being duly sworn according
to Law Declares as follows, I
and Sergeant Isaac Carter
was play boys together and
he and I Enlisted in the US
Army together, and when he
Enlisted he was a Well and
hardy man from all appearance
until. until on about Winter
1964 he contracted the Diarrhea
and piles at Carolina City
he contracted the Rheumatism
at Carolina City by Exposure
and cold, and the Diarrhea
by drinking bad Water.
and he was Sent to the Hospital
for treatment, and he was treated
By Surgeon, he complained
Very much he seemed as he
was bad off  We Was discharged
on about the 11th day of December
1865 at Fort Macon N.C. and
then We got on the train and
came to New Berne N.C.  We then
got off the train and Went to
Harlows Creek and that has
Been our resident every since
and he and I lived about
three miles apart and I
know he continues to suffer
With the Rheumatism  Diarrhea
and piles and the Asthma
he is down three and four
times a year so he cant do
anything, and he is about
two thirds disabled to perform
manual Labor by reason
of the Diarrhea  Rheumatism
Asthma & piles he is suffering
for the necessaries of
this Life, he depending on
the hand of Charity for
This Support by reason he
is unable to work.
This is all I know about the 
claim and I am no
relation. I have no interest
in his claim.
                           My post Office
                           Address is
                           Harlowe        N.C.
                           Craven County
                            Silas  X  Fenner
E.W. Carpenter
J. D. Willis
                              sworn & sub-
scribed to before me this 15th
day of may 1889 & I certify that
the foregoing was read to [          ]
before making his mark in
same & that he is the iden-
tical person he claims 
to be & is credible & worthy
of belief
                                                E.W. Carpenter
                                                [                     ]

Monday, October 15, 2012

Amanuensis Monday--The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter, Document #8

Descendants Jubilee Project
If you had been following this series at its inception in August 2011, you may discover that I have skipped over documents 4-7. Perhaps one day I'll go back and fill in the missing information. Currently I am most interested in documents which help us gain an understanding of this ancestor's character and experience which affected his quality of life.

Document #8 is a three and one-half page affidavit which sheds a little more light on the incidents leading to Isaac's disability. I have chosen to transcribe this one at this time because the details proved interesting to the conditions leading to his disability.

State of North Carolina)
County of Craven         )
In matters of original Claim No. 662872
of Isaac Carter [--ot] 2 Sergeant of
Co. G 14 Regt U.S.C.H. Arty
on this 17 "Day of Oct-- A.D. 1888
Personally appeared before me a
Clerk of Superior Court a Court
of record in and for the County
of Craven and State of North
Carolina   Isaac Carter age 48 "years"
Resident of Clubfoots Creek, Craven
County N.C. P.O. address P.O. Box 570
New Bern N.C. well known to me to
be reputable and Entitled to credit
who being Duly sworn according to Law
Decloses (sic) as follows, I was Born and
Rais (sic) in Craven County N.C. I never had
any sickness Prior to my Enlistment. I Enlisted
as Privet (sic) in Co. B. 14 Regt U.S.C.H. Arty
on the 12 Day of March 1864  I was
promoted Corporal in Fall 1864 and
transferred to Company G. 14 Regt U.S.C.
H. Arty on a bout March 1865   I was promoted
Second Sergeant of Co. G. 14 Regt U.S.C.H.
Arty under Captain John B. Willett. the first
time I Every having the Dirrhea (sic) and Piles
it was at Moorhead City on about November
1864   I was taken with the Rheumatism in feet
Legs and pains in the Breast and
Shortness of Breath and [houghtness]
I contracted the Rheumatism in the following
manner viz on a bout Nov 1864 the Regiment
was ordered from New Berne N.C. to Moorhead
City N.C. and we arrive there in the
night  We Layed out all Night for
Three or four Nights with out any
tents in the open air Nothing but our
Blankets. our Tents was Left to New Berne
and it Rain and [         ] and I
got wet. I was taken first with a
Deep cold up on the Lung. I could not Speak Louder than a whisper
and my feet taken to swelling and I
sent Hospital. I Remain the Hospital
for Three Months, More Less and was
Treated by the Surgeon  I am able to give
the Surgeon Name. This was Two
and Three Surgeon Moor Less and I
have Suffered Every Since with Diarhea (sic)
and Piles and Swelling Feeling Legs Pains
in Back and Shoulders and Knees and
Larger Joints and Shortness of the Breath
I am Generally Down in Bed Two and
Three times a year Each and every years
Generally in fall and though the winter
and Spring and Bothered a great Deal.
Asthma and weakness of the Eyes
from Date of Discharge up to the
Present   I have lived on Clubfoot
Creek Craven County N.C. My occupation
have been that of a farmer when
I could Do any thing. I have not
been able to work one third of any
Time. I have Suffered a great Deal for
the Necessaries of this Life and have
not been able to work. My children
and wife has work to suport me. I have
not been able to Employ any Doctor to Treat
Me. I have Bought Medician (sic) from First
one Doctor then and other. I generally use
Linement and Balsom to Rub my Back
there has not been any change in my
Resident  My P.O. address is P.O. Box
590 New Berne N.C. I am unable
to Prove my Disability by Commissioned
officers of my Company by Reason
I do not know where they are at
or Post Office address. I have not
seen or heard from them since the 11 Day
of December 1865 or the Surgeon or
Assistant Surgeon. I am able to prove
it by my Comrads (sic) which I ask
to be accepted in Lieu of Commissioned
officers or Surgeons, of My Regiment
my P.O. address is P.O. Box
590 New Berne N.C.
Witness                   Isaac  X  Carter
E.W. Carpenter               mark
J. B. Willis
                                      Sworn & subscribed
to before me this 17th day of Oct
1888 & I certify that the foregoing
was read to Claimant before
executing samd & that he is
the identical person he
claimed to be & is creditable &
worthy of belief.
                           E.W. Carpenter
                           Clerk Sup Court

Monday, October 8, 2012

Keeping an Online Family History Journal

You may have noticed something new on the website...a new link to
The Bizzy Bee's Family History Journal.

Besides following genealogy and history blogs, I also follow writer's blogs, and Mary Carrol Moore's How to Plan, Write and Develop a Book is one of my favorites! In her post, Staying in the Room with the Writing--How to keep yourself from getting blocked, distracted or stopping altogether, was just the motivation I needed to start another dimension to this blog....the family history journal.

My first post, Messaging Dominique: Debunking Family Myths, was the catalyst. The previous day I had been messaging our cousin whom I had just recently met online! It is rare that I come across a descendant of Elisha Carter, my husband's grandfather's oldest brother...and she is only the fourth I have met, although I have only ever met one in person! So, Hey Dominique! So glad you found us!!!

I had read Mary's post and was mulling the idea over in my mind, but how would I do this? I contacted our California cousin Yvette Porter Moore and asked her how she got her new website to look so good? How did she link all her blogs to her main page? She messaged me with some good advice and a lot of encouragement, and with a little experimenting, I finally got it right!

My goal is to apply her weekly writing exercises to my research/writing regimen. I hope you'll stop by and see what the Bizzy Bee's been up to!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drawing Upon Parallel Personal Memories

According to author/editor C. S. Lakin, your first paragraph needs three things to hook your readers into the story:

  1. Your protagonist (Isaac Carter),
  2. A catalyst or incident (the binding out of the four orphaned Carter children at the County Courthouse), and
  3. A hint of the protagonist's core need  (to keep his siblings together, to watch over and protect them).
I have researched how they might have journeyed from North Harlowe to New Bern...the route they may have taken to get to the Courthouse once arriving to the city...what the Courthouse may have looked like...

...and now, I need to recreate the emotional responses the protagonist and subordinate characters in this first scene may have had to the incident.
For this I rely on personal memories of a similar event. 

Going to the Courthouse
Hampshire County Courthouse, Northampton, MA
On November 28, 1990, nearly one month after our youngest child's death in a vehicle/pedestrian accident, my husband and I, the driver of the vehicle, our lawyers and a clerk magistrate sat down together at a closed session in Northampton District Court for a show-cause hearing.

The clerk magistrate announced that she had just come back from vacation and had not yet read the background of the case...and it looks like no one was injured. Almost in unison, everyone in the room cried out, Someone died!

We met for thirty half hour...reviewed the circumstances, and resolved it among ourselves. Looking back, it seemed like more time than that had elapsed; and if I hadn't read it for myself in the newspaper I wouldn't have believed it.
It was an accident in the truest sense of the word, [the driver] said of Nichelle's death. It was a tragedy, he added, one that happened in three seconds, the time it took my truck to move eight feet. (Charges Ruled Out In Stroller Death, Union-News (Springfield, MA), Thursday, November 29, 1990, by Richard Bourie: Staff: Union-News.)
As we emerged from the small room upon a long, dark, narrow hall, a reporter approached us from the stairwell ahead. The questions he asked seemed trivial and intrusive. I recall a sense of annoyance that he would invade our privacy, not taking into account that we were in a public place. I answered tersely, then walked past him and descended the stairs.

Our two surviving children were not with us. I don't remember where they were...perhaps with their grandparents. That day's events preceding and following the hearing are as lost to traumatic forgetfulness as the memory of the hearing is forever etched in my mind. Even the memory of approaching the reporter is as walking through a haze, buffered by a valley of no recall.

Roughing out the courtroom scene...
And how must young Isaac Carter have felt...a fourteen-year-old young man, huddling his younger siblings about him, as they entered the courthouse. Master Temple instructed them to go with the Negro matron to the upper gallery and wait until their case was called.

The bell tolled in the cupola above, bidding the townspeople to come to court. It was a big day when the Quarter Session began. The Sheriff had rounded up a jury from among the planters and prominent men of the county, and onlookers and curiosity seekers pushed their way through the doors, hoping to get a seat in one of the plain, straight-backed benches of the gallery. . . .

I imagine Isaac felt an unnatural calm, like time was moving past him in a blur. The chatter of innumerable groups of people rose to a roar, yet muffled by a buffer of distortion. He saw people shoving, pushing, scurrying, but he felt detached from it.

And then the Sheriff entered:
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. All manner of persons who have any thing to do before the Honorable the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court, and Court of Quarter Sessions, here holden this day, let them come forward and they shall be heard. (A Book of Forms for Practice in the Courts and for Conveyancing, Volume 2, p. 2102.)

Everyone stood as the Justice of the Peace entered and stepped up to the dias and took his seat on the tall bench, and then the people sat down.

A rail divided the general courtroom from the spectator's gallery, and beyond that sat two oval tables where the attorneys sat. Below the judge's bench were benches for the Sheriff and his deputies, and a smaller table where the clerk of court recorded the proceedings.

The gavel cracked three times, and the murmur of the crowd died down to complete silence. The Sheriff called the first case on the docket and people came forward and sat with the attorney at an oval table.

It seemed that case after case was called of one sort or another....

Turning a 2-D scene into 3-D
As I wrote the sketch for the opening of the courtroom scene, I noticed that while I could imagine the disjointed feeling of grief mixed with responsibility and living in the present, I was struggling with getting into the head of a fourteen-year-old boy.

I can see that after we move and get settled in, I'll be spending some time in my new office, surrounded with photos, the apprenticeship documents (which are currently packed away in boxes labeled, "Debra's Gen. Binders/Bedroom #2") and spending some quiet time imagining.