23 July 2011

The Rebel Postmaster

James D. Spence was born 28 February 1833, a son of McAlvin and Elizabeth Spence. His tombstone states James was born in Gwinett County, Georgia, but I question that. Simply because McAlvin Spence was so prominent in Harris County around the time of James' birth.

As alluded to, James is listed with his father, McAlvin's second wife Martha, and six siblings in the Harris County, Georgia Federal census for 1850. A few years later on 24 July 1853, James married Francis Louisa Patrick in Gwinnett County, GA. It appears James spends the rest of his life there. In 1860, Jas D., Francis, and their son John are in Lawrenceville where James is occupied as Postmaster.

James did not serve in a soldier capacity during the Civil War, but was deemed a Rebel Postmaster by the U.S. Government and had to apply for a Presidential Pardon about 1865. A couple of reasons as to why James felt he deserved a pardon are transcribed from his application here:
"1st Because he did not actively participate in said rebellion, or at any time, take up arms against the Government of the United States during the same, but that he did on the contrary use every [available?] means to evalle such service, and did to prevent being taken into the Confederate army as a conscript employ a substitute to take his place therein.

2nd Because he did not seek or accept said office for the purpose of giving any aid whatever to said rebellion, but that he held said office from about the year 1855, up to the time when said state seceded and that he did not afterwards seek to continue therein but was requested so to do, by the Confederate authorities, and that he consented to remain therein, for the various reasons, that he being a poor man with a family to support could thereby retain his former employment, that to do so would be an accommodation to the people __?__ in the office, and that he could thereby more easily evade military service in the Confederate armies."
Amnesty Oath attached to James' application for Presidential Pardon.
I wish I knew more about James' feelings on the politics of the Civil War. A biographical sketch of his father in Memoirs of Georgia, states that McAlvin, as well as James' grandfather and great-grandfather fought for their country when duty called, dating back to the Revolutionary War. Before the Civil War, McAlvin was a plantation owner and slaveholder in Harris County, GA. Did James fundamentally oppose slavery and/or secession? Or did he simply not want to battle for the opposite?

In 1880, James and his wife are still living in Lawrenceville. This time, James is occupied as a merchant. A few years later the son of James and Frances, John Howell, died at the young age of 24 years. Frances followed her son almost eight years later on 13 June 1891. About five months after that, on 10 November, James was married a second time in Gwinnett County to Alice Cates.

James D. Spence died 22 May 1898. He, wife Frances Louisa, and son John Howell were all laid to rest in Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery of Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Search Military Records - Fold3

20 July 2011

Wednesday's Child X 3

born Jany 13th 1839
died Jany 28th 1844
born Feby 20th 1843
died Decr 28th 1843
born Septr 4th 1845
died April 15th 1846

Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery, est. 1819
Gwinnett County, Georgia

Photo © 2010/1 S. Lincecum

[Note: For what it's worth, the stone for these three little ones is next to the stone for John Norton.]

18 July 2011

Why Should We Start, and Fear to Die?

SACRED To the memory of
Who was born July 14th 1808
and died March 15th 1847.
Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are,
While on his breast I lean my head
And breathe my life out sweetly there.
The poetic finale of John's epitaph is from a hymn written by Isaac Watts about 1707 entitled "Why Should We Start, and Fear to Die?"

Why should we start and fear to die?
What tim’rous worms we mortals are!
Death is the gate of endless joy,
And yet we dread to enter there.

The pains, the groans, the dying strife,
Fright our approaching souls away;
Still we shrink back again to life,
Fond of our prison and our clay.

O, if my Lord would come and meet,
My soul should stretch her wings in haste,
Fly fearless through death’s iron gate,
Nor feel the terrors as she passed.

Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are,
While on His breast I lean my head,
And breathe my life out sweetly there.

Mr. John Norton rests in Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery at Gwinnett County, Georgia.

15 July 2011

F. F. Juhan Called to Beyond: Well-Known Jurist Passes After Long and Active Life

Francis Ferdinand Juhan was born 14 October 1832 in Jones County, Georgia to Francis P. Juhan and Evilyn Johnson. By 1850, the family was settled in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The city of Lawrenceville is where Francis Ferdinand Juhan would spend his adult life, even being mayor of the city for a time.

Francis F. Juhan served in the Civil War with Company B of Cobb's Legion (Georgia). He enlisted in 1862, and was present at the April 1865 surrender in Greensboro, North Carolina. Oliver, a brother of Francis, also fought during the Civil War. Family tradition states when Oliver lost his life in that war, the unimaginable task of burying the body fell to Francis.

After the war, Francis returned to Lawrenceville and resumed a law practice. He married Narcissus E. Ivie, and together they had nine children. Six lived to adulthood. Narcissie died in 1897. Upon his death on 31 January 1913, Francis F. Juhan was laid to rest next to his wife and three early-lost children in Lawrenceville's Historic Cemetery.

The Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
1 Feb 1913
Well-known Lawyer and Jurist Passes After Long and Active Life.

Lawrenceville, Ga., January 31 -- (Special) -- Judge F. F. Juhan died at his home in Lawrenceville this morning at 8:30 o'clock, after an illness of one year, although he had been confined to his bed only four days. His death was caused from heart disease. All his children were at his bedside during his last hours. The funeral will take place Saturday afternoon, and the body will be buried by the side of his wife, who died fifteen years ago.

Francis Ferdinand Juhan was born in Jones county, Georgia, October 14, 1832. His father later removed to Stone Mountain and there the deceased was admitted to the bar and came to Lawrenceville in 1856. He was among the first to answer the call to arms in the war between the states and was corporal in Cobb's Legion, seeing active service until the surrender.

After the war he returned to Lawrenceville and took up his law practice, and for over 40 years was a leading lawyer in the western circuit. He was appointed judge of the city court of Lawrenceville by Governor Allen D. Candler, and later served as judge of the city court of Buford. For a number of years he was mayor of Lawrenceville. He was a man of marked personality, firm in his convictions, loyal to his friends and passionately fond of children.

His only living brother, L. A. Juhan, resides near Stone Mountain, and his sisters are Mrs. Dora Daniel, of Menard county, Texas; Mrs. S. E. Jenkins, of Macon county, Texas, and Mrs. Rosa Langley, of Albany, Ga. His surviving children are Miss Bettie Juhan, I. B. Juhan, O. R. Juhan, Mrs. J. L. Hagood, Mrs. E. L. Mckelvey, all of Lawrenceville, and Ben A. Juhan, of Winder, Ga."

The Atlanta Constitution (Georgia)
2 February 1913
Judge F. F. Juhan, Lawrenceville

Lawrenceville, Ga., February 1 -- (Special) -- The funeral of Judge F. F. Juhan, who died Friday morning, occurred this afternoon from the residence,... The interment was in the old cemetery here, by the side of his wife. All the business houses of the town were closed during the funeral service. Members of the local bar acted as pallbearers. Judge Juhan was in his 81 year, and was one of the oldest lawyers, in point of practice, in the western circuit."

Image credits: the first three are cropped enhancements of original photos published to FindAGrave. The first two credited to Katherine Emerson, and the third to Quietly Resting. I did the cropping and enhancing. The fourth image is of a February 1913 Atlanta Constitution newspaper item viewed online at Ancestry.com. The final image was taken by me (Stephanie Lincecum).


04 July 2011

Military Monday: Independence Day Edition

Georgia's Marietta National Cemetery

02 July 2011

Sympathy Saturday: The Vaughan Children

Ruby Vaughan was born 15 January 1878 in Georgia to Andrew J. and Sarah "Sallie" Ambrose Vaughan. She is listed with her parents and sister Mamie in the 1880 Lawrenceville, Gwinett County, GA Federal Census. Little Ruby died 11 October 1885 and was buried in Lawrenceville Historic Cemetery.

A year after Ruby's death, A. J. and Sallie had a son, William W. Two years later, about the anniversary of Ruby's death, little William was laid to rest beside the older sister he never had the chance to meet.

01 July 2011

How Did a Confederate Soldier from Macon, Georgia End Up Buried in New York?

Photo by Donna Ruhland
Bonning via FindAGrave
There was a great article in the most recent Sunday edition of The Telegraph (Macon, Georgia) about Philemon Tracy. Born in 1831 (the 180th anniversary of his birth was just a few days ago) to a highly regarded Macon family that included a former mayor, state legislator, judge, and Confederate general, Philemon was a major in the 6th Georgia Infantry during the Civil War. He lost his life at the Battle of Antietam, "the bloodiest one-day battle in American military history."

Instead of being brought home and buried in the family plot at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Philemon Tracy was ultimately laid to rest in Batavia Cemetery of Genesee County, New York. How did this come about? Read The Telegraph columnist Ed Grisamore's article here.
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