Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Civil War Veterans in My Hometown

In August 2009, my first set of postings included a two part series that featured Civil War veterans buried in Fairview Cemetery in my hometown of Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. When I visited the cemetery a few weeks ago, I was surprised to find three more Civil War veterans. Fairview Cemetery is a bit unusual in its arrangement. As a veteran cemetery tramper, I’ve noticed that the “older” section gradually progresses to the newer sections. Fairview Cemetery has two “older” sections: one on the east side and one on the west side. Not sure why the cemetery developed in that fashion, but the soldiers featured in this posting are buried on the east side of the cemetery. All three were Union veterans, and I was able to find some additional facts about two of the men.

William H. Pearson served in the 6th Illinois Cavalry, a regiment that saw much duty in the western theater.

Mathias Washam, a farmer, enlisted at age 22 on September 7, 1863 in the 11th Tennessee Cavalry, later being transferred to the 9th Tennessee Cavalry. His descriptive record states that he had blue eyes, light hair, and stood five feet eight inches tall. After being paid a $25 bounty, Washam went absent without leave until he was restored to duty in late February 1864; he lost his pay for the forty-nine days that he was absent. From that point on, Washam served faithfully even being promoted to sergeant and then appointed as quartermaster sergeant. The military mustered him out in Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 11, 1865.

Initially, Corporal Samuel Johnson puzzled me as no Samuel Johnson served in the 17th Missouri Infantry as his marker so plainly notes. The 1900 census listed a Samuel Johnson, a native of Michigan, living in the Cherokee Nation. Could he have served in the 17th Michigan? Indeed, after searching in various records, I concluded that he did. Johnson enlisted in Company I on August 16, 1862 in Dundee, Michigan. At some point during the war he was promoted to corporal and was mustered out in Washington, D. C. on June 3, 1865. One of Fox’s “Three Hundred Fighting Regiments,” the 17th Michigan Infantry served in the IX Army Corps and saw much hard service.

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