Skip to main content

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

Comments

Laurie said…
This is so interesting. Great photo of the headstone.
Dear Southern Graves,
I was fascinated by your FlipCard view.
It is great! Thanks for tipping me off to a new application!
Southern Graves,
I discussed your Flipcard feature at my blog:

http://graveyardrabbitofsanduskybay.blogspot.com/2011/07/flipcard-view-of-your-blog.html
S. Lincecum said…
Thanks, Laurie! -- I think the Flipcard view is pretty neat, Dorene. I don't want my blog's homepage to be in that design, but it's a pretty cool alternative look.
How did you get the Flipcard message in your sidebar? I am a hopeless amateur at blogging!
S. Lincecum said…
Thanks for the mention, Dorene! It's easy to get it in your sidebar or wherever you want it using your template. Just add a "picture" Blogger element using the jpg image you created of your blog in the flipcard view. You should be able to add a caption and link when setting it up.
Mission accomplished...so you are not only a terrific blogger, but you are also a wonderful instructor! Thanks again!
S. Lincecum said…
Aw, shucks! Thanks for the sweet words, Dorene. Flipcard looks great on your blog.

Popular posts from this blog

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

Why do people put rocks on grave stones? Some time ago, I learned that the rocks signified a visitor. That is true enough, but I decided to learn a little more about the custom and share my findings with you.

Putting rocks on tombstones is most often described as a Jewish custom. There are many "Ask a Rabbi" columns out there, but I did not find one that knew for sure where the custom originated. They all agreed, however, that a rock symbolized a visitor and when put on a tombstone said, "I remember you." I also read that some people pick up a rock wherever they are when they think of a person that has passed. Then, the next time they visit the grave, they place the rock to say, "I wish you were here."

Rabbi Shraga Simmons offers a deeper meaning: "We are taught that it is an act of ultimate kindness and respect to bury someone and place a marker at the site. After a person is buried, of course, we can no longer participate in burying them. Howe…

Southern Cross of Honor

I'm late to this discussion, but it's one I'd like to join. :-) Terry Thornton at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country started with Grave Marker Symbols: The Southern Cross of Honor and UCV (link no longer available). Judith Shubert at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Covered Bridges continued with Hood County Texas: C.S.A. Veterans & Southern Cross of Honor Symbol. [UPDATE, 1 June 2009: Judith has moved this post to the blog, Cemeteries with Texas Ties. The link has been corrected to reflect this move. You may also link to her article via her nice comment on this post.]

Wikipedia states:
The Southern Cross of Honor was a military decoration meant to honor the officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates for their valor in the armed forces of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It was formally approved by the Congress of the Confederate States on October 13, 1862, and was originally intended to be on par with the Union Army's Me…

Thursday Link Love: EyeWitness To History

Yesterday, a link was added to the Genealogy Research Resources Group at Diigo. The link was to the website titled EyeWitness to History.com: History through the eyes of those who lived it. It's a great site, and I encourage all to visit it.

Here are several items I found while snooping around.

- Inside a Nazi Death Camp, 1944: "Hitler established the first concentration camp soon after he came to power in 1933. The system grew to include about 100 camps divided into two types: concentration camps for slave labor in nearby factories and death camps for the systematic extermination of "undesirables" including Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally retarded and others."

- Crash of the Hindenburg, 1937: "Radio reporter Herbert Morrison, sent to cover the airship's arrival, watched in horror. His eye witness description of the disaster was the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast and has become a classic piece of audio history." [You can really …


blog.SouthernGraves.net

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)