Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Grave Unknown

Two months after Texas seceded from the Union, (February 1, 1861), Thomas A. Shepperd enlisted for twelve months in the Cherokee Calvary, so named for his home in Cherokee County, Texas. He took with him
·        One horse ($140)
·        One gun ($40)
·        A knife ($2.50)
·        Saddle and blankets ($30)
·        Saddlebags ($5)

Unfortunately, his records were filed with those of his uncle (inferred) Thomas R., so the information on his movements is sketchy.
However, following his death in Tennessee on May 20, 1862, his father Isaac (my great-great-grandfather) petitioned the court for letters of administration for his son’s “estate” in order to apply for and receive the $150-$200 owed his deceased son by the Confederate government. Thomas’s “estate” consisted of one horse worth about $135 and some dozen hogs.  
Assuming his possessions were sold following his death, his family was owed the $150-$200 stated in the petition. They never received it. Five years later, Isaac petitioned the court to be relieved as administrator saying the horse had been sold and most of the hogs died!
I have searched in vain for his name on a grave registry, but if he indeed died in Tennessee, he’s still there somewhere. That’s all his family knew, too. Did he die in action or as the results of wounds? Did he die of disease which scourged the Confederate Army everywhere? If I want answers now, how did his mother and father feel then? Did they ever get any answers to how and where?
In 1870, Isaac and his wife Sarah packed up their unmarried children, including my great-grandmother, and headed for Hood County  to join their oldest daughter who had married in 1860. The story goes they
·        Started too late in the year and contracted pneumonia OR
·        Became ill with typhoid from bad water on the trip

Five graves, dug within days of each other and marked with hand-inscribed names bear witness to the death of the parents and three of the five children who accompanied them. My great-grandmother Susan, who was about 13, survived along with another sister who has been lost to time. 

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