Monday, May 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #20: James Monroe Lindsey

James Monroe Lindsey & wife, Mary Sarah Ann Little Lindsey
 Today is Memorial Day & while my family on both sides has many veterans & a tradition of service to our country, today I would like to honor one veteran in particular: my paternal third great grandfather, James Monroe Lindsey.

James was the third child of twenty-four siblings born to William  Lindsey & first wife, Eliza Lewis. He was born on 30 Dec 1829 in Newton Co., GA. He had beautiful bright blue eyes & brown hair as a young man. He was of Scottish descent & spoke with a brogue. When he was about fourteen years old, James' father moved their family from Georgia to Coosa Co., AL. The family lived through much sadness with the deaths of loved ones, but also much joy.

When he was nineteen, James married Mary Sarah Ann Little in Rockford, Coosa Co., AL on 11 Oct 1849. They acquired 1,060 acres of land & moved to Hillsboro (present day Helena) after the birth of their second child Roxie, who was my paternal great great grandmother. (I have written about Roxie in a previous post:   http://lifeinthepastln.blogspot.com/2014/04/52-ancestors-13-roxie-jane-lindsey.html). As was the custom then, they lived in a two room log cabin with a separate kitchen structure along the Cahaba River & Buzzard Creek.

Civil War was declared in April 1861, but James did not rush to go off to war like so many other men did. It has been said he did not hold with slavery & was a very tolerant man, a man who was  ready & willing to get along with his neighbor without judgment or prejudice if given the opportunity. However, a year after the birth of his fifth child, Susan, James enlisted for service as a private in Company D, 10th AL infantry. Although there were a few instances when he was out sick or injured, James served until the end of the war & was present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on 9 Apr 1865. He was paroled at Burkesville Junction between 14-17 April 1865 & began the long walk home on foot. It took him more than three months to make the journey home & by the time he finally arrived, his family had given up hope of his return. But his memories of those days of war never dimmed, as evidenced by letters he wrote home which the Lindsey family preserved.

His letters gave a sobering personal account of the lack of food, clothing and extreme conditions endured by the soldiers and repeatedly illnesses, writing once, “Girls, I need some socks. I hate to tell you my condition about clothing and rations. I would like to write something that would interest you … but if I were to tell you all I know, it would break your heart.”

After the Battle of Spotsylvania, VA, on May 12, 1864, he wrote, “Never have I seen so much blood. They killed so many of our men that the trenches fill up (sic) and we had to pick up their bodies and stack them behind the trenches. The rain through the trenches ran red with blood. On this same day, Jeb Stuart died.”

While he was gone, his wife Sarah & his children did their best to survive & eke out a living on the farm. They were often robbed of food & livestock & what they were able to keep, they were forced to hide. They experienced constant fear, as did so many others, of the "enemy". It was Roxie's job as a child of seven years of age to ring a bell to alert the neighbors when Union soldiers were known to be in the area. James was able to make it home once while ill, but was not able to stay with the family because the Home Guard was busy searching for deserters. Sarah & the children carried food & water & cared for him as best they could while he convalesced in the woods. He recovered & returned to his post & eventually the war ended.

After the war, several of his family members joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (better known as the Mormons). Although he never converted, he was always kind to the missionaries who came to visit. A few of his relatives moved west to Utah. Some stayed behind in AL & some moved on to Texas & Oklahoma. James & Sarah chose to go to Texas where their daughter Roxie & son William Jasper Lindsey (also known as Billy) lived. They continued to farm in Milam Co., Texas for a time.

James with his wife Sarah & daughter Jerome.
His sons James Robert, Joseph Samuel & Sylvester
stand behind him. The date & place of the photo are unknown. 
On 5 Mar 1910, Sarah Little Lindsey passed away in Buckholts, Milam Co., Texas. She was laid to rest at the Little River Cemetery in Cameron, Milam Co., Texas. After 61 years of marriage, James was inconsolable. He moved with Billy to Upshur Co., Texas where he lived for two more years before joining Sarah in death on 9 Jan 1912. Billy arranged to have his father's body carried back to Milam County on the train where he was interred beside his wife at the Little River Cemetery.


Memorial Day was instituted just after the Civil War as a Day of Remembrance, mostly for those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom; but I like to think of today as not only a day to remember those who have paid with their lives in the service of our country, but also a day to remember those who have sacrificed their time with their families to go wherever our country may send them. Most of my family's service men & women have been fortunate enough to return safely home to their families after their time of service ended, but there are a few who were not so lucky. Daniel Tallouzi, Finis Kennedy, Gordon Ross Hill, John Morgan Turnipseed, we remember you & your sacrifice today & always. If you are a veteran, a simple thank you for all you, your families & your comrades have done for our country is inadequate, but heart felt.

Sources:
"Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch   (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FQD8-6X2 : accessed 26 May 2014), James Lindsey and Sarah Ann Little, 11 Oct 1849; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1290263.
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=37918612
http://www.shelbycountyreporter.com/2013/02/26/museum-acquires-lindsey-family-history/
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K3SY-L4X : accessed 26 May 2014), James Lindsey, 11 Jan 1912; citing certificate number 2796, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2050599.


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