Early August 2017, I received a shaky leaf hint on Ancestry.com, alerting me to a military record. Note: The shaky leaf is an indicator that lets the user know that there is a possible record that may be a match to a person in your tree that is displaying the leaf. This leaf led me to a U.S. Civil War Pension index record for a Henry King.
Henry was a known relative on whom I had completed some research and included in my family tree. The US 1870 census indicates that 30-year old Henry King lived in Opelousas, Louisiana with his wife, 25-year old Isabella and several others who I know are his sisters. Living next door are Henry’s parents, Warren King and his mother, Temperance (Tempy). Tempy is the sister of my 3rd great-grandfather, Moses Jason, and the daughter of my 4th great-grandfather, Godfrey Jason.
The following US Federal 1880 census, Henry, again, is living in Opelousas with his wife Isabella. Henry’s siblings have moved out of his home and his parents, are no longer living next door. However, all the family are still living in Saint Landry Parish – living not far from where the family had been enslaved.
On a document dated April 18, 1848 document in Saint Landry Parish, Henry and his enslaved family’s ownership are being transferred. Mary Ann Ferguson, the wife of Isaac Griffith is donating this enslaved family to her daughter, Hester Griffith, the wife of C. D. Tatman. At the time of this transaction Henry is four-years old. You can read more about this story and the connection to my family in this previous post>>> Jason Family of Ville Platte, LA – Brick wall knockdown.
So, now I’ve discovered some fascinating information about this 1st cousin 3 times removed. Henry fought in the Civil War.
This was a shocker to me. To be honest, I didn’t expect to find any of my Southwestern Louisiana relatives to have fought in the Civil War. I know that really is a naïve statement, especially since most of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) that fought in the Civil War were from Louisiana. Of the estimated 185,000 USCT, the highest number of volunteers, a little over 24,500 of them, were from Louisiana. Note: There are some estimates that show there were as many of 200,000 USCT volunteers. Estimate of USCT soldiers.
This index record is of combined file of both the Invalid Pension (#902964) and the Widow’s Pension (640104) applications. The certification (459472) on the Widow’s line indicates that her application was granted. Henry submitted his application on 23 Aug 1890 and Isabella filed her widow’s application six years later on 2 Sep 1896. According to this record Henry was a part 8th Regiment Colored Afrique Louisiana Infantry and also the 80th Regiment US Colored Infantry. According to the National Park Services on the Civil War, the 8th Corps de Afrique Infantry was organized September 1, 1863 and eventually reorganized as the 80th. More details can be found here: Brief overview of the 80th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Even though, the index doesn’t contain a lot of information, I reviewed what it does contain to determine if this could be my relative. Comparing the index to known information I had about Henry, I was able to surmise this could, indeed, be my Henry:
- Assuming Henry joined in 1863, he would have been around 19 years of age which is viable age for war volunteer.
- Solider in the index for a person of African descent, like Henry.
- Solider and widow filed from Louisiana, which where they both resided.
- Henry’s wife was also a match to my Henry.
All of this information pointed to this being my cousin Henry. However, the biggest clue that pointed to this being my Henry was the alias under which Henry served in the Civil War – Henry Tatman. As I mentioned earlier, Tatman was the surname of the last known enslaver – C. D. Tatman and his wife, Hester.
Finding this record just elicited more questions: How was he able to join the Union Army? To date, I’ve not found any manumission papers for Henry. Did he runaway from slavery? When did Henry serve? Where did he serve? How long was his services?
I had to get my hands on the pension file and get answers to my questions. Stay tuned for my next post as I learn more about cousin Henry King.