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Archive for the ‘Reed’ Category

Centenarians in the Family

We have some longevity in our family. My own father will reach the age of ninety this year, and several of his cousins lived into their nineties, too. One claimed she would be the first Reed to live to the age of 100, but she did not make it. Maybe my father will claim that accomplishment.

Some of his more distant relatives have lived even longer than that. I know of two well-documented cases of women in our family who passed the century mark:

  1. Maggie Sherman Hendricks (1872-1976). Maggie was my dad’s first cousin, twice removed, on his father’s side. The daughter of Anderson Sherman and Sarah Jane Prewitt, she was born in Indiana. She died at age 104 and is buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Franklin, Indiana. The family story says that Anderson Sherman’s maternal grandmother, who was my dad’s third great-grandmother, lived to be 111 years old. Perhaps Maggie (and my dad!) received some good genes from her.
  2. Lula Mae Riddle Ferris (1893-1999). Lula Mae was a Michigan farm wife and my dad’s first cousin, once removed, on his mother’s side. Her parents were Ethan Henry Riddle and Sophronia McClish. The maternal line for both Ethan Riddle and my dad comes from New England stock which is known for longevity. When Ethan’s daughter Lula Mae passed away at the age of 105, she had come close to living in three different centuries. She is buried in Leonidas Cemetery in St. Joseph County, Michigan.

I wonder whether these people were glad to live that long. My dad does not seem to get much enjoyment out of life any more, and he is still many years younger than these cousins lived to be. With the infirmities of extreme old age, one must give up many of the things one once enjoyed. That is why the adage says we all want to live longer, but we do not want to grow old. I would agree with that.

Ancestors, Community, and the Vote

After this week’s tumultuous election, I began to reflect on why I may have voted the way I did. I hope I objectively examined the issues and voted for those candidates who would best represent my views. Yet I cannot help but think that my upbringing and surroundings played a part in influencing my opinions.

How did my ancestors think, and what did I hear discussed at home as I grew up? Over years of genealogical research, I have assembled some information about the political leanings of my forbears:

  1. Caleb Reed (1818-1903), an Illinois farmer. According to the history of Coles County, he was a strong Whig although he never sought political office. The conservative Whig party (1833-1854) was organized by the politician Henry Clay in opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats, and they derided Jackson as “King Andrew”. Appealing to large landowners, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the President and favored economic protectionism. They opposed Jackson’s Indian removal policies. Many Whigs gravitated to the Republican Party after the demise of the Whig Party. I wonder whether Caleb voted for Republican Abraham Lincoln, a fellow resident of Illinois, in 1860 and 1864. Lincoln’s parents lived near Caleb in Coles County.
  2. John Carter (1790-1841), another Illinois farmer and neighbor of Caleb Reed. Originally from Tennessee, John had served in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson. I do not know how he felt about Jackson and his policies. Was John a Jackson Democrat?
  3. Bjarne Bentsen (1906-1986), a policeman, later an electrician, who grew up in Montana and lived in several western and Midwestern states. He professed strong support of the Democratic Party.
  4. Grace Riddle (1896-1976) and Martha Mattila (1906-1977). I find it amazing that when these women, my grandmothers, were born, women did not have the right to vote. That did not come until 1920. Even so, neither of them talked about politics, and I do not know if or how they voted.
  5. Joyce Bentsen (1929-2000), a schoolteacher from Minnesota. She never disclosed how she voted, but over the years she expressed admiration for Minnesota Democratic native sons Walter Mondale and Hubert “The Happy Warrior” Humphrey.
  6. My Dad, a petroleum landman. During my lifetime, he usually has expressed conservative views and leaned Republican, not surprising for an oilman. Yet he proudly cast his first vote in a Presidential election for Harry Truman in 1948. He told me that his mother kept a photograph of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in their home.

These family members obviously did not agree about politics, so I received mixed messages at home. What about the influence of my community?

  1. I grew up in Wyoming, a politically conservative state. This week nearly 70% of their electorate voted for Donald Trump. Although Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, they did not do so for progressive reasons. Without women counted as citizens, Wyoming could not reach the requisite number of voters to qualify for statehood in 1890.
  2. Today I live in the purple state of Colorado where I have been for over 30 years. I reside between very-conservative Colorado Springs, and very-liberal Boulder (referred to by the locals as “The People’s Republic of Boulder”). Ironically, the Libertarian Party was founded in Boulder, so we have that influence as well.

These conflicting views around me all contribute to my political views. I hope I did a good job synthesizing them before I cast my vote this year.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, no. 32—Ann Kirkham (1782?-1869)

Ann Kirkham, my 3rd great-grandmother, pursued the hard life of a pioneer but lived to a ripe, old age nevertheless. She must have been made of tough stuff.

Her actual birth place, date, and year have not been proven as far as I know. Records agree that she was born during the month of August, but the date varies as 1782 or 1783. Some sources say she was born in Kentucky; others report her birthplace as Pennsylvania.

By 1806 she lived in Nelson County, Kentucky when she married Thomas Reed. They wed on November 24 and then relocated to live near Thomas’ family in Spencer County. There the couple had five children: Robertson Mitchell (1808), Eliza (1810), Jane (1817), Caleb (1818), and William (1822). Given the long spaces between Eliza and Jane, and again between Caleb and William, perhaps there were other children who died young.

In 1829, Thomas Reed sold his Kentucky holdings. He and other family members struck out for newly opened lands in Indiana and Illinois. Thomas and Ann chose the latter, settling in Coles County, Illinois after the new year in 1830. They took along as much of their household goods as they could, including Ann’s spinning wheel.

Early Coles County families faced a primitive life. They built cabins of unhewn logs with puncheon floors. Chimneys were made of sticks and clay. Perhaps Ann could enjoy some time quilting or sewing with nearby women-folk while Thomas and the other men constructed the first homes.

The couple built a financially successful life in Illinois, but personal tragedy struck periodically. Ann made the trip to the fresh graves of family members many times over the years:

  1. In 1836, her son-in-law John Mitchell McAlister (Eliza’s husband), died,
  2. In 1845 her son William passed away,
  3. In 1852 her husband Thomas died, leaving her a widow,
  4. In 1853 her daughter-in-law Nancy McAlister Reed, who was Robertson’s wife, died,
  5. In 1854, her grandson and Caleb’s third son, Thomas B. Reed, died in infancy,
  6. In 1855, her granddaughter and Caleb’s oldest daughter, Mary C. Reed, died at the age of eight,
  7. In 1856, her granddaughter Susan McAlister Galbreath (Eliza’s daughter) died from complications of childbirth,
  8. In 1864, another grandson, Caleb’s son James N. Reed, died in infancy.

During her latter years, after Thomas’ death, Ann made her home with her son Caleb and his family. When she reached her mid-80’s her life was drawing to a close. Ann passed away on 3 February 1869. She was buried beside Thomas in the Reed-McAlister Cemetery in Coles County, Illinois.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, no. 31—Thomas Reed (1783-1852)

Thomas Reed was my paternal 3rd great-grandfather. He was born in one place, raised in another, and lived his adult life in yet a third locality.

According to family records, Thomas arrived perhaps on the 18th of December, 1783 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His father was Caleb Reed, and his mother may have been Rebecca Carr. Thomas’ actual birthdate remains uncertain because his cemetery marker in the Reed family cemetery provides the calculation for a different date. It states that he died on 21 December 1852 at the age of 70 years, 11 months, and 23 days. This information means he would have been born 29 Jan 1781. So far I have no explanation for the difference in proposed birth years, nor do I know which, 1783 or 1781, is more likely correct.

In either case, Thomas came into the world during the close of the Revolutionary War era. The family lived on the fluid border between Pennsylvania and then-Virginia, now West Virginia. His uncle Joshua Reed served in the Virginia militia during that conflict. As with all American families at the time, the Reeds were affected by the war.

At some point, the Reeds relocated to Kentucky, near Louisville. Thomas married Ann Kirkham in Nelson County, Kentucky on 24 November 1806. The couple settled onto a place in Spencer County and had a family of five children:

  1. Robertson Mitchell Reed (1808-1871)
  2. Eliza Reed (1810-1886)
  3. Jane Reed (1817-1899)
  4. Joseph Caleb Reed (1818-1903), my great-great grandfather
  5. William Reed (1822-1845)

In 1829, Thomas and Ann made the decision to move on to new lands opening up for settlement in Illinois. They left Kentucky on December 1, their son Caleb’s 11th birthday, and headed for southeastern Illinois, near the Indiana border. With a 6-horse team, the journey took nearly a month. They stopped in Edgar County, Illinois for a few days, and they liked the Grandview area very much. However, the “milk sickness” malady was rumored to be common there, so they went further west into Coles County. They settled about a mile and a half northeast of the village of Ashmore where Thomas entered a tract of land. Among his Coles County neighbors was Thomas Lincoln, father of the future President.

Once settled in, Thomas Reed went walking one day with his neighbor, Daniel McAlister. They stopped at a particularly beautiful spot and decided it would make a lovely place for a burial ground. They set it aside as the Reed-McAlister Cemetery. Both would be buried there someday.

In 1832, Thomas’ father Caleb, who had also left Kentucky and moved on to Indiana, passed away. Thomas received his timepiece.

Thomas and Ann worked to build up their farm and raise their family in Illinois. Thomas was known as a quiet and industrious man, and at one time he farmed nearly a thousand acres. It was about half prairie and half woodland with streams of water flowing through most of it.

Politically, Thomas was a strong Whig, but he never sought public office. Farming took all his time.

Thomas passed away on 21 Dec 1852 and was buried in the family cemetery in Coles, County, Illinois. He died intestate, and his farm was divided into four parts. Each surviving child received a share, but the daughters sold theirs to the sons, with Robertson, the eldest, receiving a larger share. Thomas’ daughter Eliza’s husband James Walton served as Personal Representative.

Thomas Reed became the patriarch of a large Reed clan in Coles County, Illinois. Descendants live and farm there to the present day. Thomas chose a good place to settle down.


A Different Sort of Summer Research Trip

Have you ever visited the Pawnee National Grassland in Colorado? The web link to their page on the National Forest Service site is too long to display here, but you can find information easily by doing a web search.

We visited the Grassland with some of our young grandchildren for a camping trip over the weekend. There we found a nice, shady campsite along Crow Creek, short hiking trails suitable for kids, and even a display of old farm implements used by homesteaders.

The grassland lies in northeastern Colorado, near the Nebraska and Wyoming borders. Thus, my Riddle and Reed ancestors had homesteads just across the state lines of those two states. Visiting the Pawnee National Grassland gave me an idea of what those homesteading experiences might have been like. The Forest Service has put up several interpretive signs that helped me understand the history and geography of the area:

  • We learned that fur trappers worked along Crow Creek, cowboys drove cattle along a trail running between Montana and Texas, and settlers followed the Overland Trail along the South Platte River. My own later-arriving ancestors homesteaded in Nebraska in the 1880’s and Wyoming during World War I, so I assume they came west by train.
  • The prairie sees extreme temperatures. We endured a hot summer weekend with the thermometer reaching into the upper 90’s, just as my ancestors did.
  • We saw birds. Boy, did we see birds. The Pawnee National Grassland is a well-known bird-watching area, and we saw our first lark bunting—the Colorado state bird. Okay, perhaps we have seen them before but did not know what they were.

The grandchildren particularly liked the short prairie grass. They loved tramping about in the knee-high greenery. I tried to view it more as my homesteading ancestors must have, seeing what would have been quite a challenge to replace using the primitive farming equipment we saw at the campground.

The Grassland provided a spot for a great camping trip. We loved the opportunity to spend some time with the next generation. I got a renewed appreciation for the hardships my ancestors (both single women!) faced in coming to this part of the country. Although this was not the research trip to a repository or cemetery that I usually take, it had value of its own. It gave me a much better sense of my family’s journey.


A DNA Test Pays Off

Some time ago I asked my dad to take a DNA test. All my brick wall ancestors lurk in his side of the family, so I keep hoping a DNA match will turn up to help resolve questions on these family lines. Dad does not use a computer, so I manage his DNA accounts for him.

Over time, we have worked with a few of our identified matches trying to figure out how we are related. Generally we have identified a common ancestor and then gone our separate ways. Most of these people seem to have done DNA testing mostly to learn about their ethnic heritage, not because they have a deep interest in genealogy.

That changed a few weeks ago. A third cousin contacted us because her DNA test identified a match to us. We exchanged some information via e-mail. Then we agreed to a phone call to talk over our mutual family history. We learned that we live within driving distance of each other, and we both know a local professional genealogist. We decided to meet for lunch.

Yesterday we shared a meal and spent two hours exchanging more family information. We agreed to work together in our research on our Reed and Carter family lines.

I am thrilled to have a new research partner for this branch. For years I had worked with a couple of my dad’s cousins on these same lines, but both of them have passed away now.

Advice I received years ago has paid off again. Vern Tomkins, a former President of the Colorado Genealogical Society always said, “Keep contacting your cousins. You never know what they may have.” And then there is the corollary stated by Terry Quirk, a former Vice President of the Society, “Contact the oldest and sickest ones first.”

My newly-identified cousin and I are not particularly old or sick, but I am sure glad she contacted me.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks no. 15—Caleb Reed (1818-1903)

A large extended family of Reeds began with the birth of a baby boy near a small Kentucky stream on 1 December 1818. At a farm along a waterway called Elk Creek southeast of Louisville, Kentucky, Caleb Reed came into the world that day.

The Elk Creek area was part of Shelby County at the time, but the state later split off lands from Shelby, Nelson, and Bullitt Counties to form the new Spencer County a few years later in 1824. Thus, we find Reed records in two Kentucky jurisdictions even though the family did not move.

At the time of their son’s birth, parents Thomas Reed and Ann Kirkham Reed already had three other children, Robertson (b. 1808), Eliza (b. 1810), and Jane (b. 1817). The family later added another brother, William (b. 1822).

Baby Caleb became one of many family members to share the same name. His paternal grandfather was also named Caleb Reed. That Caleb had a son Caleb C. Reed (our Caleb’s uncle). Our Caleb later had a nephew, Caleb R., son of his brother Robertson. Subsequent generations would continue to use the name. Our Caleb would have two grandsons who shared his name: Caleb Logan Reed and Caleb Reed Wright.

Some uncertainty surrounds Caleb’s full name. The family Bible simply gives his name as Caleb with no middle name. His marriage record lists his name as Caleb Samuel Reed. A different name appeared in his obituary where the informant reported his name as Joseph Caleb. Neither of these full names is corroborated by any other source.

Caleb lived his first decade in Kentucky until his parents decided in 1829 to move to lands newly-opened for settlement in Illinois. On his eleventh birthday the family left the state of Kentucky to find a new home in the wilderness. The journey consumed nearly a month.

Arriving in Edgar County, Illinois, they spent a few days. About New Year 1830, they went westward on to Coles County. They settled about one and a half miles from of the village of Ashmore. Caleb Reed later owned that farm.

At some time during his life, Caleb learned to read and write. If he attended school in Illinois, perhaps he went to the first school in Ashmore, located at the southwest edge of town. It was a fair weather school made of logs and had an earthen floor. The three sided structure opened to the south with a split log shelf along the two sides. The seats were crude split logs with pegged legs. The building also served as a church.

When Caleb was 25 years old, he married a neighbor girl, Jane Carter, daughter of John Carter and Mary (Polly) Templeton Carter. Caleb and Jane wed on 22 February 1844 at Coles County, Illinois where they were united by a Justice of the Peace. They eventually had eleven children: Samuel (1845-1928), Mary (1847-1855), Martha (1849-1918), George (1851-1886), Thomas B. (1853-1854), Emma Jane (1855-1888), John (1857-1921), Thomas L. (1860-1925), James (1862-1864), Ida May (1864-1954), and Albert (1866-1890).

Even before Caleb married Jane, he began accumulating land holdings. At the age of twenty-two he went to the federal land office at Palestine, Illinois on 20 May 1841 and bought the SESE/4 of Section 6, T12 N, R14W, Coles County, Illinois. He received an adjacent 177 acres of land in Section 6 from his father in 1847. On 1 February 1850 he bought the NESE/4 of the same section. At the time of the 1850 United States census, their nearest post office was in Hitesville, a town about 2 miles southeast of Ashmore. It no longer exists.

Caleb’s younger brother William died in 1845, and his death left four surviving Reed siblings. When their father Thomas passed away a few years later in 1852, Caleb inherited a 1/4 share of the family farm. He and his brother Rob then purchased their sisters’ shares. Caleb settled in to life as a farmer and stock raiser. He never sought official positions because he felt his farm of 430 acres required his entire attention. He and Jane lived on the site of his father’s original settlement.

By 1860, Caleb owned $1200 worth of livestock. He was a farmer with $6000 in real estate and $1000 in personal property. Today the farmland alone is worth over $3 million, and Caleb’s descendants still own it. In May and October 1864, when an income tax was briefly enacted to fund the Civil War, Caleb paid tax of $9 and $15 to the assessor.

The Masons organized in Coles County during the Civil War in 1863. Caleb Reed together with Jane’s brother-in-law Robert Boyd (her sister Nancy’s husband) became charter members of Ashmore Lodge, No. 390. Caleb was elected Junior Warden, and Boyd served as tiler or guardian to the entrance of the Lodge.

Coles County furnished more than its quota of soldiers for the Union Army during the war years, but most volunteers were from the western part of the county. On the eastern side, where the Reeds and Carters lived, there were many rebel sympathizers who had come from Kentucky. These people hated abolitionists and the draft. Although Caleb Reed did register for the draft as required in June 1863, there is no record of his eligible son Samuel registering or serving from Coles County.

As the war progressed, troops constantly moved through the Ashmore area. Local farmers supplied corn at the high war price of $.60 per bushel. Perhaps Caleb was able to add to his wealth by selling farm products to the Army.

In March 1864, Caleb and Jane must have watched with interest as tensions between Union soldiers and local insurgents known as Copperheads heightened in Coles County. On March 28, 1864, violence erupted when the former sheriff of Coles County and the Copperheads attacked a group of soldiers in Charleston, the county seat 10 miles from the Reed farm. In the end, 9 people died, 12 were wounded, and 29 men were arrested in what became known as the Charleston Riot. Among those apprehended was John Galbreath, a relative of Caleb’s sister Jane Reed Galbreath.

After the war, Caleb and Jane continued living on their farm. In 1878, Caleb was appointed by the Coles County Board of Supervisors to serve as a Grand juryman from Ashmore Township for the November term.

At some point, the Reeds decided to retire from the farm and move into Ashmore. They lived in one house for a while and then traded houses with their friend Newt Austin for a home located mid-block west of the Presbyterian Church. Newt was related to Jane’s sister Susan Carter Austin.

The Reed’s grandchildren visited often, and Jane would send them to the butcher shop to buy for the noon dinner. Some of the grandchildren complained about having to visit because they found nothing to do there. The only entertainment was to watch the trains come into town. The only reading material was the Sunday School newsletter.

By 1902, Caleb’s health was beginning to fail. He sold some of his land to his sons T. L. Reed and John C. Reed. The following year, he sold land in Section 7, Twp. 12 North, Range 14 West to his daughter Ida May Thompson for $1.00.

In the spring of 1903, the Mattoon, Illinois newspaper reported that Caleb Reed had taken quite sick on the previous Saturday, May 16, and remained in feeble condition. The following week he was no better. Ida Thompson visited her parents and then returned home to Indiana. Later that summer, she was again at the bedside of her aged father who was in very poor health.

On 10 November 1903 at his home in Ashmore, Caleb ate a hearty breakfast. He felt as well as usual but continued to be ill with kidney trouble. After his meal he went to take his customary rest while Jane was in another room attending to her household duties. Thinking that he had slept long enough she went to rouse him and found that he had passed away at the age of eighty-four.

Two days later on the day of Caleb’s funeral, the family sat at the house in an uncomfortable hush until it was time to go to Ashmore Cemetery. A few, including his widow, went by carriage, but the others walked behind the men carrying the casket. As one bearer tired, another stepped up to take his place. There was a graveside prayer.

Caleb left behind a large family clan that became known to later generations as the Reeds of Ashmore. Although he had outlived six of his eleven children, he had numerous descendants in Ashmore and beyond.

Uncovering Jane’s Life

As is my custom, this holiday season I will add a chapter to my ongoing family history project. Each year I choose an ancestral couple, write their story, and compile relevant photos. My subjects this year are my great-great grandparents Jane and Caleb Reed of Ashmore, Illinois.

Through 2015 I have worked mostly to research Jane and her family because so much was already known about Caleb. I even had the opportunity to visit Jane’s birthplace in Wayne County, Kentucky.

Towards the end of the year I thought I had uncovered all the information I could about her. Then I decided to dig into a Boyd notebook left to me by a relative who passed away earlier this year. Jane had a sister who married a Boyd.

The notebook was not about those Boyds, but it did contain a remarkable document. In 1988, Jane’s great-grandchildren through another line had compiled a lengthy family history of their own, A Wright Interesting Story by Jean Greggs Wright and Mary Jane Wright Coartney. It contained a lot of their grandmother Martha Reed Wright’s memories of Jane, stories that had not come down through my own family.

Armed with this information, I can now prepare a much more personal account of the lives of my great-great grandparents. Before my discovery, I knew just the dates and places for Jane. Now I feel like I know her a little bit.

This discovery just goes to show the importance of searching for collateral relatives. Had I not sought to look for more information on Jane’s Boyd in-laws or recognized her daughter’s married name of Wright, I would not have found this information. My own family history will be the richer for it.

Genealogy Serendipity Strikes Again

Earlier this spring I inherited the genealogy library of my father’s cousin, Alta Marie (Reed) Kaessinger. Over the summer I have cataloged most of her 400+ books, and now I have begun to look through her numerous file folders and notebooks.

I made a delightful find in a notebook this week as I pulled one labeled Boyd from the shelf. It caught my eye because I had recently discovered two Boyd cousins who reportedly perished in the Civil War. Unfortunately, this notebook mentioned nothing about them, but it did contain a family history of my great-great aunt Martha Ann Reed Wright (1849-1918), first cousin of the Boyd brothers through their mothers, Jane and Nancy Carter.

A Wright Interesting Story, prepared in 1988 by Jean Greggs Wright and Mary Jane Wright Coartney, relates much about Martha’s life. It lists her descendants, with many photos, as known when the document was written. Best of all, it provides a great deal of information on her mother (my great-great grandmother) Jane Carter Reed.

This fall, I plan to write a character sketch about an ancestral couple, as I usually do for the holidays. I had already chosen my subject for this year, Jane (Carter) and Caleb Reed. What a serendipitous find this family history makes! I now have a great deal more material for my writing project than I ever dreamed I would have. Alta collected an amazing amount of information, and it needs to be shared. Jane Carter Reed’s half of the story landed on my bookshelf just at the right time.

Our Lost Boys

The Civil War has always fascinated me. Like so many families, we suffered some of the 250,000 Union losses. Perhaps that is why I feel a personal connection to the war.

Recently I discovered two more possible Civil War casualties in my family tree. If proven, both of them were first cousins of my great-grandfather Samuel Harvey Reed.

Samuel’s maternal aunt Nancy Carter married Robert Boyd in 1840 in Coles County, Illinois. This couple had four known sons. According to 1850 and 1860 U. S. census records, their two oldest children were boys, G. R. born about 1843 and Jas born about 1845. Both these boys were the right age to serve in the Civil War. Their younger male siblings, Caleb (b. abt. 1857) and John (b. abt. 1859), were too young. Why do I believe the two older sons perished in the Civil War (1861-1865)?

I have the following evidence:

  1. Neither G. R. nor Jas has been found on the 1870 U. S. census. Perhaps they died before that date.
  2. I have a photocopy of an undated scrapbook page created by Olive Rector, a great-great-niece of Nancy Carter Boyd. She wrote that two of Nancy and Robert Boyd’s sons, Robert and Riley, were killed in the Civil War—one at Shiloh and one at Fort Donaldson (sic).
  3. The Regimental history for the 8th Illinois, Company C (raised in Coles County) lists two Boyd casualties. Private George R. Boyd was killed near Vicksburg on 1 July 1863 and is buried there. Robert Boyd died about 20 Feb 1862 of wounds received at Ft. Donelson.

Although interesting, this evidence does not make the case that Nancy Boyd’s sons died in the war. Too many questions remain:

  1. The names do not match up perfectly. I can hypothesize that the G. R. named on the census was George R. Boyd. Maybe the initial R stands for the son Riley mentioned by Olive Rector. Secondly, perhaps Jas was the Robert who died of wounds received at Fort Donelson. His full name could have been Jas Robert or Robert Jas. But without further proof, it is a stretch to conclude that the boys listed on the census are the Boyd casualties from the 8th Illinois.
  2. Olive Rector claimed that one of the sons died at Shiloh. George R. Boyd fell at Vicksburg. Was Olive mistaken about the site of the battle, or are these records for two different men? Civil War casualty lists for Shiloh do not include anyone named Boyd. A great-great-niece, writing many years later, could have named the incorrect battle.
  3. Our Boyd cousins may have served in a regiment other than the 8th Illinois.

Without further proof I cannot conclude that my great-grandfather lost his Boyd cousins in the war. If he did, I cannot say for certain which son died at which battle. I need a little more evidence to substantiate this sad conclusion.