Saturday, May 28, 2011

Before Memorial Day it was Decoration Day.

William Tannahill, Phillips County
William Tannahill, Iowa UnionCemetery, Phillips Co., Kansas. Has 3 tombstones. He died at Anapolis, MD at an Union Army Hospital while on "parole" from a Confederate prison.  He was a member of Co B, 7th Reg, Iowa Infantry.  Taken prison at Belmont, MO.  Though actually buried in Anapolis National Cemetery, he has a tombstone in Chickasaw Co., Iowa and one where his widow Jeannette White Tannahill moved, Iowa Union Cemetery, Phillips Co., Kansas.
 At one time George went to Washington to have the body of his father, William Tannahill moved from the Cemetery there, and brought to Nashua Co. Cemetery near the Little Brown Church, but was informed that a body could not be removed from a National Cemetery.  He went back to Iowa and had a tombstone erected for his father and markers for James Tannahill and his baby sister, Ella, who died when she was only 3 yrs. old.

Tombstone on the left is the stone at Annapolis National Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.
Find A Grave Memorial# 43741937

The tombstone on the right is the memorial stone that George H.
Tannahill had erected in Greenwood Cemetery, Chickasaw Co.
Iowa.  not far from the Little Brown Church.  This is the cemetery where little Ella was buried and where James was also buried.
Find A Grave Memorial# 65326554
Tannahill, William
The Cemetery below is the Iowa Union Cemetery as it is today.  When George H. Tannahill, William's son moved to Phillipsburg, Kansas, he bought a farm.  On this farm, as family died, they were buried here.  Several Civil War Soldier's from Iowa wanted to be buried here also.  George had the name changed to the Iowa Union Cemetery in honor of the Civil War Veterans who were buried there.  Hence, the Iowa Union Cemetery in Phillipsburg, Kansas.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Janette had not heard from William since shortly before he went to battle at Belmont, where he was taken captive by the southern troops.  At that time he had written to her.  It seems providential that he should have been let to write such words at a time when he had little doubt of returning in safety.  This last communication was read as a tribute to our ancestor, William Tannahill, at the Commemorative Funeral Services in Bradford, Iowa on Dec. 24, 1862 by the Pastor Rev. J. K. Nuting.
“Dear wife;  I hardly know what to write to you as I do not know how you feel.  I believe you feel as though you had a burden too heavy to bear.  I do not doubt it, but you must try to keep up good spirits.  Do the best you can and put your trust in that God who will not suffer anything to come upon them that trust Him to their spiritual advantage.  Hath he not said he will never leave nor forsake you? And if it is so that I never come home He hath promised that He will be a husband to the widow and a Father to the fatherless.  And now, dear wife, commit yourself and our dear children to the care of that God that never slumbers.  If it is His will that I should come home we will praise His name and if not, let us be resigned and say, “Not my will, but thine be done, O God!”  Look forward to the time when  there shall be no more parting, neither sorrow nor sighing, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes.  Put your trust in the Lord, for they that put their trust in Him shall never be moved nor put to shame.  I hope the children will be good and kind to their mother.    Yours in Love,     William Tannahill”

Andy Feldt wrote Janette of his death at Annapolis.  Many years later in a letter dated April 4, 1888, to Benjamin Morton, Andy wrote, “Is Mrs. Tannahill living there?  I shall never forget what a sad task it was to write her of her husbands death in Annapolis Hospital.”

Find A Grave Memorial# 48622948
Tannahill, Mrs Janette White

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Captivity and Google Books

All of the prisoners taken captive in the Battle of Belmont were sent to Tuscaloosa via Mobile, Alabama then to a Camp Oglethorpe in Macon, Ga.  Of this trip, Andy Felt who was a well known newsman of the time, writes:

“That camp was another name for Hell with a big capital H.  It was a place of torment.  Major Rylander had charge.  He was not a soldier, He was a bushwacking, cowardly “home guard.”  He was not “a man” but simply a “thing” in boots and spurs.  He had no heart and only an apology for a gizzard.  He is probably still living.  The Devil wouldn’t accept him, no bullet could find him and no alligator would eat him.  When thinking of Camp Oglethorpe I try to exercise a Christian spirit, but its memories make me feel like the Devil.

Hundreds of our brave fellows were literally starved to death.  Many were shot on the dead line.  The water was filthy.  The food would upset the stomach of a Hottentot.  The sand, the blankets, the clothing, the air, literally alive with vermin.  Several thousand prisoners were there that year, 1862, coming and going……….Amid all its horrors I never heard a company “B” man utter a word that denoted failing courage.  Hope inspired each of them.  July fourth, 1862, will never be forgotten by those living who were there in Camp Oglethorpe that day.  The boys grouped together and sang the Star Spangled Banner and America.  They entered into the spirit of the glorious day.  They were in bondage but the spirit of freemen burned within them.

From there they were taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, Va.  
The food given to the sick and the well would nauseate a carrion crow.  After a rain the sick were taken from cattle cars and laid between railroad ties to dry.  Andy Feldt knew personally twenty men who walked to the “dead line” to be shot rather than endure in prison.
  Andersonville was not established until 1864.
William was a man of prayer at home and his petitions were a rich feast to his hearers and full of scripture.  He never lost his Scottish accent and never failed to rebuke kindly but faithfully the vices that surrounded him in camp, and it was never found that he lost by this means, any friendship of his comrades.  Some of them took sweet counsel with him in Heavenly things.  The story was told of how the men were dying for water.  William, upon seeing the men walking to the “dead line” to be shot, called them together for prayer, asking for water.  As the story goes, an hour after their prayer, the rain came and gave them the desperately needed water.  Later a spring opened from the ground and they had running water.
They were in prison one year and one week and had no change of clothing.  When the war was over the prisoners were taken to Washington to be mustered out.  They wore the same clothes they had arrived in by then only rags and tatters.  Most were so ill they could not walk and there was only one wagon to convey them.  William got off the wagon and gave his place to those he felt were worse off than he was.  He was one of only 2 or 3 who were able to walk the gangplank when liberated from Libby Prison.  Shortly after obtaining his freedom he ate some food, but because of the condition of his body, was unable to consume good food in any amount and he took sick and died 3 days later in Annapolis, Maryland.  

Not long ago, I attended a class on Google and learned about Google Books.  When I went searching I found a book, "History of the Seventh Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War"

In this little book was a chapter written by Andy Felt wherein he describes the conditions and the treatment of the prisoners.  He also mentions William Tannahill and was with him when he died.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

William Tannahill goes to War

About William’s Tannahill's picture: A photographer said that this type of picture was made around the turn of the century (1900) when the photographers, with their horse and buggy would travel the country and from tintype pictures they would enlarge them, and then paint them.

The Civil War began in 1860 and being the kind of man that he was, William was one of the first to enlist in Co.P, 7th Iowa Regiment in the service of his country.  On the First Chickasaw County Company Roster there are several names which are important to our family.  From Bradford, Chickasaw Co.,  Thomas Bigger, A.J.Felt, John Laird, William Tannahill.  From New Hampton, B.E. Morton, and A.H. Morton
William always wore a long beard and it was shot off as he stood by the side of his friend, Andy Feldt, in the Battle of Belmont.  As fate would have it, a young man named Benjamin Ellis Morton had come to this same battle to enlist in the same regiment.  He became acquainted with William and shared those experiences in battle.  Both William and Andy were taken prisoners there, and were given a chance to go free if they would agree not to re-enlist.  Not a man took his freedom.  Alvin H. Morton, Benjamin's brother, was killed.

There was a battle at Belmont, Missouri, opposite Columbus, on 7th. An expedition numbering about 3500 men and including the Twenty-second , Twenty-seventh, Thirtieth and Thirty-first Regiments, the Seventh Iowa Reginent, Taylors Chicago Artillery, and Dollen’s and Delano’s Cavalry, proceeded down the river on steamboats accompanied by the gun-boats Lexington and Tyler, landed on Thursday morning, and made the attack on the rebels, seven thousand strong, about 11 o'clock.  The enemy were strongly entrenched, and being so much superior in numbers, made a strong resistance.  They were, however, driven out of their camp, which was destroyed, and their battery, consisting of twelve pieces, was captured — two of the guns being brought away.  Their camp and baggage were destroyed, their horses and mules were captured, and a large number of them were taken prisoners.  The object of the expedition having been accomplished, the National forces were retiring, when they were attacked by a heavy rebel reinforcement from Columbus, on the opposite side of the river, and another, desperate engagement took place, which continued until our forces were all withdrawn.  The losses in killed and wounded were heavy on both sides.  How much the rebels suffered in this respect is not known with certainty, but the casualties of the national forces, in killed, wounded, and missing are estimated at three to five hundred —probably at least ten per cent.  The expedition was commanded by Generals Grant and McLennand.
 Taken from  Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 7, 1861 

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Charming Tradition

Many years after these two little girls were grown, Lydia Tannahill (the youngest) wrote to her sister, Amy Tannahill,  and asked if she remembered the Charm strings that they had made as children.  The answer to "who will I wed?" was to be found in buttons. Young women spent years gathering strings of the most beautiful buttons, aiming for 999 so that the thousandth could be added by their "Prince Charming". There were many different customs for these memory strings or charm strings or just button strings but the Prince Charming story was the most common.  Another custom required that a girl acquire 999 buttons before her friends did, making it more like a game.  In this version, gaining the thousandth button doomed the girl to spinsterhood.  There may have been different versions but the rules were the same for gathering the buttons.  They should be one of a kind, the prettiest and most brilliant available, preferably gifts from a friend, boyfriend, or family member, or traded with another stringer.  They should not be bought.  While unfinished, the charm string was kept in plain view to inspire visitors to contribute buttons and also to brag and tell colorful stories of how you got each one. "This button was given by Aunt Mable from a gown she wore to the Inaugural Ball" or "This was from grandfather's Civil War uniform."  Memories were remembered and stories told by families while they sat on the porch, visiting and drinking lemonade, and rummaging through Mother's and Grandmother's button boxes.  These "button boxes were the leading sources of materials for charm strings, and these young girls became the country's first button collectors."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Little Brown Church in the Vale

In 1855, William Tannahill brought his family to Nashua, Iowa.  His brother and his wife, Robert and Margaret Nelson Tannahill came also.  The years in Iowa were difficult years.  William had bought 40 acres of land close to New Bradford but a few months later his horses were stolen so he gave up farming and made his living as a cobbler.  He tanned his own leather and went from home to home making shoes for the entire family.  William did carpenter work and helped build the first Congregational Church of New Hampton, later known as the “The Little Brown Church in the Wildwood.”  They became Charter members of this little church and their names are engraved on a bronze plaque there today. 

If you visit the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa you can see this Bronze Memorial Tablet in the front of the chapel (In  the church photo's on their website it is partially hidden behind the Christmas tree). It shows the original membership, 1855-1888.  It was dedicated on October 11, 1925.  These are the names on the tablet:

1856 - Carolyn Billings, Mary Spurr, Leander Smith, Eliza N. Smith, Lemuel Bull, Capt. John Smith, Betsey Smith, Elmore Smith, Charlotte B. Smith, Mary Vinton, William Tannahill, Janet Tannahill, J. Edward Smith, Octavia K. Smith
1857 - Hiram Fountain, Hannah Fountain, Mary Thompson
1858 - Cheerill Parkhurst, E.N. Palmer, Corintha R. Palmer,Anna M. Biggar, Harriet W. Smith, Harriet Smith
1859 - Levi S. Thomas, Charlotte R. Thomas
1860 - Samuel F. Eastman, Hannah L. Eastman, William Stephens, Ann Stephens, Celeste E. Nutting, John Heald, Lydia E. Heald, Mary Foster, Elizabeth J. Strickland, Margaret E. Thompson, Ellen J. Thomas, Maria C. Smith, Dora Stephens, Ellen S. Taylor, Levi Haskell, Paulina Haskell, Mrs. Charles Greeley, William Biggar, Elizabeth Biggar, Harriet W. Dickinson
1861 - Newton J. Watson
1861- Daniel Heath, Calvin A. Bierce, Frances R. Bierce
1862 - Irving M. Fisher, Mary E. Smith, Celia J. Wells, Mary A. Chapman, Edward Thomas, Mary A. Barber, Carrie B. Smith, Mary J. Biggar, Celia I. Bird, Mary E. Weller
1864 - Ellen Hall
1865 - Mary E. Colony
1866 - Albert E. Quaife, William A. Eastman, Licerus A. Jewett, Mary E. Choate, Maria U.N. Knapp, William P. Bennett, Mrs. W. P. Bennett
1867 - Joseph S. Bennett, Mrs. Albert Quaife, Riley Brooks, William M. Brooks, Adelia F. Brooks,
Henry N. Potter, Leonard M. Tucker, Alletta L. Brooks
1868 - Rev. R. J. Williams, Mrs. A. P. Williams, Harriet Williams, Phoebe Wade, Mrs. W. Myers   
1869 - Fannie G. Graves
1870 - John F. Brant, L. B. Parker, Eliza A. Parker, Carrie W. Barrie, Mary R. Bliss
1871 - Erastus Palmer
1872 - Mrs. J. W. Hudson, Mary B. Morse, F.A. Davis, Alma Davis, Maria Brooks
1874 - Rev. J. W. Hudson, Ida Adams, Elvira Bird, Maria D. Smith, George Laird, Lydia A. Laird, Mary Jane Spencer, Mary L. Eastman, Margaret W. Tannahill, Rena D. Smith, Anna George Laird, Margaret Laird, Swift B. Smith, Minerva J. Smith
1875 - Agnes Dalziel, Orlando Billiangs, Sarah Billings, Ella R. Ranch, Louise C. Ranch
1880 - Warren R. Smith, Marion R. Heald, James M. Heald
1883 - Edward B. Smith, Helen D. Eastman, Alice I. Smith, Mary M. Johnson, Clara A. Dickenson
1887 - Edna M. Heald, Ada Hillman
1888 - Eva Smith, Lillie Mitchell, Cora Wolf
(Note:  I have never seen a list of these names transcribed.  I have tried to copy, as best I could from 2 pictures of these tablets.  There may be mistakes so do not take this as proof but it should give you an idea of who was there at that time.  MH.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

I love Find A Grave

Many of my family have not yet learned about Find A Grave.  This site honors the memory of our dead ancestors.  It has the capacity to link parents and spouses and as a result you can follow a family across the country, cemetery after cemetery, to where your family lived.  There are good people and organizations who have made a project of documenting the gravesites, adding pictures of the gravestones and putting a memorial on the website.  When you find a grave, you can request that it be transfered to you for maintenance or if you know a person was buried in a particular cemetery, and he has not yet been entered there, you can set up the memorial yourself, add a bio or obit, put up a picture of the person, leave flowers and a note and create a virtual family cemetery.