Monday, December 31, 2012

Motivation Monday--THIS IS NOT A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: Some realistic genealogical & historical research/writing goals for 2013

Not a resolution...
I say this is not a resolution because those are made and broken each year as easily as fad dieting. Over the past thirty-five years my weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo in the hands of a competent trickster. I generally succeed for a time, only to get frustrated by the stresses of life...eventually weakening, giving in...leading to total abandonment of the resolution till the next New Year comes around.

Let it be said...
I resolve NOT to make or break any resolutions in 2013!

I've been following several blogs written by successful genealogists, historians, writers and editors who have shared their guidelines for identifying goals and developing successful strategies for reaching them. They have shared their own personal goals for the year to come, and have encouraged their readers to do so as well.

So, with that said, the following is my list of goals which I believe are attainable.

  • Reconstructing Co. B & G 14th Regiment USCT
  1. Finish transcribing and analyzing the Civil War Pension File of my great grandfather-in-law, Isaac Carter;
  2. Create an index of all the soldiers within these units, download their service records & pension file applications;
  3. Order Civil War Pension Files for Isaac Carter's comrades, and note corresponding testimony;
  4. Speak with authorities regarding events at Carolina City during November 1864;

  • Set up the Carter Family Tree in Legacy 7.5 Deluxe in order to bring our tree up to professional standards, including proper documentation and attached digitized records.
  • Organize my paper files using the method promoted by Genealogy Research Associates, Inc. ;
  • Continue writing the family history memoir using Scrivener trial edition, and consider purchasing the full version; 
  • Purchase Randy Ingermanson's writing software, Snowflake Pro to streamline  character development, lining up scenes, creating a book summary and proposal in order to attract editors and agents;
  • Complete the first draft of my family history memoir on Isaac Carter and the following two generations: Antebellum Period to the Great Migration;
  • Take the 2013 Family History Writing Challenge this February and begin my personal memoir, the second in the series;
  • Read, read, read... 
  1. Currently I am reading The Gravedigger's Daughter, by Joyce Carol Oates;
  2. The next book I'd like to read, also by Oates, is  A Widow's Story: A Memoir;
  3. ????

  • Continue blogging and journaling my progress at least three times per week. 

Any more than this would be a completely unrealistic expectation...and even this will take daily diligence to move me along to the next phase of writing. I hope you'll take the time to critique my list, and perhaps even share your own goals for the year to come!

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.

Search Results Provided By
The No. 1 Source for Family History

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...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: The Civil War Pension File of Isaac Carter: Document #19

The Formation of a Civil War Artillery Regiment
I had taken a break from the pension file to reassess my goals here. At first I thought of skipping over documents to post based on the criteria of whether the actual content provided additional clues to Isaac Carter's disability, and the conditions under which he acquired said disability.

Also, since we moved in early November, I have not been in the frame of mind to sit down and focus on these details, and give them my undivided attention until now. The legal-sized binder which contains volume one of the pension file has sat opened on my desk next to my laptop since I first unpacked the boxes containing my genealogical binders. It has remained a constant reminder of what steps I should take next.

I skipped Document #17, a two-page sworn statement by David Lawson, who was acquainted with Isaac Carter after the war. Document #18 was a one page form requesting a report from the records of the Adjutant General U.S. A. about the sworn statements of David Lawson and Silas Fenner. I had thought of skipping over Document #19 as well, since it contained no new I thought. However, if I plan on reconstructing the 14th Regiment Heavy Artillery USCT, I must examine all statements sworn by members of the unit. So, I will proceed with the following statement sworn by Samuel Keach.

Transcription: Samuel Keach's Affidavit on behalf of Isaac Carter:
State of North Carolina)
County of Craven         )
In the matter of original claim No
662812 of Isaac Carter Late a
Sergeant of the B & G 14 Regt U.S. C.H.
Arty.  On this 18 Day of March
A.D. 1891 Personally appeared before
me a Notary Public fort & within
the County & state aforesaid
Samuel Keach age 45 years
Resident of New Berne N.C.
well Known to be reputable &
and Entitled to creed who being
duly sworn according to Law
Declares as follows  I enlisted in
March A.D. 1864 at Washington, N.C.
I became acquainted with Isaac
Carter at New Berne, N.C. on about
April A.D. 1864 he was a Sergeant of
my Company B 14 Regiment USHArty
He was a well & a Harty (sic) man at
that time from all appearence (sic) I did not
hear him complain of any thing not
until on about May here at New Berne
N.C. he complained of Rheumatism,
& Diarrhea & Piles at Caroine (sic) City He

and on about November 1864 while we
was at Carolina City N.C. was with
out tents & we was Exposed in cold
& Rain & sleet & snow & Isaac
Carter Taken Down with Diarrhea
& Piles & Rheumatism his feet swollen
up & he was Excuse from Duty. I was
Down at the same time & Place
& Isaac Carter continued to complain
of the afore said complaints. and
when he was Discharge he was sick
We was all Discharge at the same
time on the 11 day of Dec 1865
at Fort Macon N.C. & since Discharge
the solder (sic) continues to complain
of the afore said complaints &
he is about Two Thirds Disable to
[                     ] Manual Labor
By Reason of the afore said complaints
I saw him the 18 day of March 1891
& he Look very Bad & complain of
the afore said complaints he could
barely get about  I am no
relation to the claimant My
Post office address is New Berne
HE was Transferred from Co B to
Co G 14 Regt U.S.C.H Arty.
I have no interest in his claim

                                    Samuel       X   Keach
E.W. Carpenter
Lewis F. Carter
                                              Sworn & sub-
scribed to before me this
18th day of Mch/91 & I certify that
the affiant states that the
foregoing was read to him
before making his mark
to same & that he is the
identical person he claim
to be & is credible & worthy of belief.
                                                              Notary Public
Cert filed

Friday, December 14, 2012

On the last day of Blog Caroling...

This morning we are making a brief departure from Civil War Pension Files and the Waterman's Song for an interlude of Blog Caroling.

Started by the Footnote Maven's Tradition of Blog Caroling, she encourages all us GeneaBloggers to assist her in raising our "voices" with lyrics of the Christmas Season.

Here is my offering, The Coventry Carol.
Courtesy: DVIchannel,
Uploaded December 20, 2008

The Coventry Carol

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we do sing
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young to slay.

Then, woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever mourn and sigh
For they parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

There is an interesting history behind this English Carol of which I have only recently learned. The Coventry Carol was part of the Coventry Mystery Plays, of which there were originally ten in all. They were performed in Coventry, England in the 16th Century. The plays were performed by different guilds, each guild performing one. 

In an article entitled, Coventry Mystery Plays, the author notes that they were first performed as early as 1392. Each year the King of England would visit Coventry to see the performances. 

Traditionally, this carol was part of a pageant known as The Pageant of The Shearers and the Tailors, called such because of the two guilds which performed it. 

In a book entitled, Medieval and Tudor Drama: Twenty-Four Plays, by John Gassner, you will find a modernized version of the play. 

For a digital copy of the original manuscript, go to

I hope you will enjoy it as I have for many years, although it is quite a mournful song for the Christmas Season. Below you will find a choral version of The Coventry Carol.