Tennessee Genealogy Research by Debbie W. Spero

Genealogy–tips, research ideas, problems and answers

Silas James Lankford/Langford Medical Affidavits Civil War Pension Application

by deb - July 14th, 2011

The next information on the Civil War Pension of Silas James Langford/Lankford of Smith and Dickson Co Tennessee was his medical records.     There were general and medical affidavits detailing his physical disabilities by neighbors and doctors.

First was a general affidavit by T.W. Harper, M.D., age 33 of Bellburg, Dickson Co, TN and W.L. Weakley, age 36, also of Bellburg in Feb 1902.

Dr. Harper stated that he had been the practicing physician of Silas James Langford for 11 years and knew of Silas James’ disabilites caused by enlargement of liver and lame arm by the fact of carbuncle.    Dr. Harper also stated that Silas was an honest, sober citizen.    Dr. Harper  said he saw Silas James on 15 May 1892 for his carbuncle and his physical condition was very bad at that time.   He was disabled from manual labor for 4 months.    He saw Silas James with enlargement of liver Nov 1899 and, again, his physical condition was very bad…and his conditon is not from vicious habits.

W.L. Weakley confirmed the same disabilities and claimed to have known Silas James for 14 years, stating that Silas James had lived part of the time of his affliction on Weakley’s farm.

There was also a detailed surgeon’s certificate that stated that Silas “has been not well since Oct 1899; with enlarged lived and spleen; also disease of heart; had carbuncle on right arm about 8 years; weakens arm after exertion.”

This form further stated that Silas James Langford was born in Smith Co. TN and was now age 64.   He was 6′ 1 1/2″ tall, weighed 143 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.    

  A detailed description of Silas James’ disabilities was given with a final statment that said spleen was not enlarged, (but) the aggregate permanent disability for earning a support by manual labor is due to enlargement of liver, result of carbuncle and heart disease.”

This report also mentioned that Silas James’ hands showed that he worked some.   This prompted a  note from the Department of the Interior concerning what work Silas James was doing.     Further explanation said “should have said his hands were rough showing that he had worked but for past 6 months has not worked at anything harder than shelling corn for chickens.  Is an industrious man when able.    June 1902”.

Silas James Langford/Lankford did receive a pension for his service as a soldier for the United States during the Civil War.    And, thus Silas James and wife Emma received $10 a month, as Silas James’ Civil War Pension, until Silas James died in 1905.   

Family secrets and more came to light in 1905 when Emma Langford, widow of Silas James Langford, applied for a widow’s pension.

The Civil War Pension File of Soldier Silas James Langford

by deb - June 21st, 2011

Continuing with the pension file of Silas James Langford/Lankford, the next form was a questionnaire dated 26 April 1902.

No.1  Are you a married man and if so please state your wife’s full name and her maiden name.

Answer:   Yes, Emily Langford, maiden Hunter.

No.2  When, where and by whom were you married?

Answer:  15 day of December 1881 at Bellsburg by G.W. Scott

No. 3 What record of marriage exists? 

Answer:  Have no marriage certificate

No. 4   Were you previously married?   If so please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.

Answer:  Carthorine Dunn; Died the 24th day of Jan 1881 Bellsburg, Tenn

No. 5  Have you any children living?  If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth.

Answer:  James H. Langford borned October the 24th 1882  William J. Langford borned November the 10th, 1884

The date of reply was May 2, 1902 and signed by Silas James Langford.

The next form was also dated May 2, 1902, signed by Silas James Langford and witnessed by W.D. Story and Ephie Story.     On this form Silas James answered that he was born 15 January 1838 in Smith County, Tennessee.    He also said that he enlisted Jan 1864 at Carthage, Tennessee.    He answered that before he enlisted his post office address was Mount Rose, Tennessee in Smith County, Tennessee.

Before his enlistment, Silas gave his occupation as farmer.    He also answered that he was discharged at Carthage, Tennessee in January 1865.

Next, Silas answered that since his discharge he had lived at Bellsburg, Dickson Co., TN, and that his present occupation was farming.

Finally, he gave his physical description as:  6 feet tall, weighed 140 pounds, blue eyes, black hair and dark complexion.   He listed his permanent scars as two on his right arm from carbuncle.

The next form was the Declaration for Widow’s Pension, where Emma Langford appeared before a notary public of Dickson County, TN on 3rd day of May June 1905 and being duly sworn according to the law declared she was:    Emma Langford, age 57 years, of Bellsburg, Dickson Co., TN, the widow of Silas J. Langford.   This same Silas J. Langford enlisted in Co A 1st Reg’t Tenn Vols, served at least 90 days and was honorably discharged, and died in Bellsburg, Tenn on 17 day of May 1905.   

Emma further declared she was married under the name Emma Brown to said Silas J. Langford 15 Dec 1881 by G.W. Scott, Esqr at Bellsburg, there being no legal barrier to said marriage.    She also stated that her maiden name was Emma Hunter; married a man by name of Brown.   She also declared that she had not married since the death of Silas J. Langford.

Emma Langford signed this declaration for widow’s pension; attest:  J.B. Hunter and J.M. Daniel, both of Daniel, Dickson Co., TN, 3 June 1905.

All of this “sets the stage” for the affidavits, which I will continue with next–medical affidavits of Silas James Langford’s poor health and then the affidavits of family and neighbors of both Smith and Dickson County as to Silas James and Emma’s marriage and its legality.

The Full Pension File of Silas James Lankford, CSA and USA Soldier of Smith Co Tennessee

by deb - June 20th, 2011

It could have taken up to six months for me to get it, but it didn’t!    Last week while I was away,  I received the full pension file–Civil War–of Silas James Lankford!    And, it is CHOCK FULL of information.

Over the next few days, I will detail the info given in this pension file.    It makes a great story, yet it’s all true…

The first page of the file lists pensioner Silas J. Lankford and gives his death date as May 17, 1905.    Widow Emma Lankford, was the claimant for a widow’s pension.   Her address was R.F.D. No 1 Pardue, Dickson Co., TN.   Emma submitted her claim 7 Nov 1905 and resubmitted her claim on 23 Nov 1905 and Feb 23, 1906.   

Although it looks like her claim was at first admitted and she was to receive pay (per reviewer T.S. Hursey? on 17 Nov 1905), comments left by T.S. Hursey, Reviewer, on 27 Feb 1906 and H.B. Curtis, Reviewer, on 7 Mar 1906 said her claim was “rejected”.    “Rejection up the grounds that soldier left no legal widow or children under sixteen years of age surviving. One S.E. report (opinion of Chief of Law Div)”.

The next page is the “Widow’s Pension” application.   Under “approvals”  was written:  “Rejection upon the ground that claimant (Emma Lankford) is not the legal widow of the soldier (Silas J. Lankford), evidence adduced? upon special examination showing that at the date of his marriage to claimant soldier had a wife living from whom he had not been divorced”.(opinion of Chief of Law Div).

The widow’s application further stated that the solider was pensioned at $10 per month for heart injury and right hand…Soldier enlisted 21 Jan. 1864, and was honorably discharged 30 Jan 1865.   Soldier application was filed 17 Feb 1902.

Death of former husband 20 April 1877    Death of 2nd wife 25 Jan 1881; death of 1st wife Oct 1887

Marriage to soldier 15 Dec 1881 (by Emma).                                       

The “invalid pension” application of Silas J. Lankford of Bellsburg, Dickson Co., TN, Private, Company A of 1st TN Vols Mtd Inf, said Silas J. was pensioned for partial inability to earn a support by manual labor.   He was also “approved” for general debility, enlargement of the liver and lame (right) arm result of carbuncle and disease of heart.  His pension of $10 per month was to commence 17 Feb 1902.

Another form “declaration for invalid pension” filed 10 Feb 1902, Silas J. Langford, age 63, a resident of Bellsburg, Dickson Co., TN, appeared before Justice of the Peace W.D.Story to swear he was the identical Silas J. Langford who was enrolled as a Private on 21 Jan. 1864 in Co. A of the 1st Regiment of Tenn Vols and was honorably dischared at Carthage, Smith Co. Tenn on 30 Jan 1865.   This form was signed by Silas J. Langford and witnessed by R.A. Duke and Nobie Duke, both of Bellsburg, DicksonCo. TN.

This is just the beginning…    The plot thickens…neighbors and relatives come forth and give their depositions and decisions by Washington, D.C. officials are made….

The Mysterious Silas James Lankford of Smith and Dickson Counties, Tennessee

by deb - June 5th, 2011

My latest family sleuthing has been centered on Silas James Lankford/Langford and his wife Nancy Susan McKinnis Lankford/Langford and Silas James’ father, Henry Lankford.

In my last entry I was pondering whether Silas James was still married to my great-great-great grandmother when he married for the second and third time in Dickson County, Tennessee, in 1879 and 1881.

After searching the county court, circuit court and chancery court records of Smith Co. TN, from about 1865 through 1887 when Susan McKinnis Lankford died, I found NO record of a divorce between Susan and Silas James Lankford.  So, it appears that yes, Silas James married again without divorce while his first wife was still living.

I also decided to see if I could learn more about Silas James by researching Smith Co. TN probate records for Henry Lankford, Silas James’ father.  Henry died in 1891.

After searching the Smith Co. TN Chancery Court Records Index (loose records collection), I found two entries for both Henry and “S” Lankford and Henry and James Lankford.

In folder 2909 of the loose Chancery Records of Smith Co. TN I found a suit in 1896 involving O.S. Lankford et al vs James Lankford et al.    This suit was full of gems…. stating that all the Lankfords named were of Smith County, TN  “except James Lankford who resides in Dickson County, TN”…and including naming “their father” Henry Lankford and said father…died intestate in Smith Co. TN on the 1st day of Sept. 1891. 

Another page had Dickson Co. written at the top and was a subpoena for James Lankford to be summoned and  to answer in chancery court in Smith Co. TN .   

My last gem of the day was found in Smith Co. , TN Deed Books 6-11 1883-1899 by Partlow, 1996.   On page 167 James Lankford and wife E.T. of Dickson Co. TN sold to L.O. Lankford their interest in land of their father, Henry Lankford, 23 Oct 1896.

Although I have not been able to find too many records in Dickson Co. that name James Lankford, it’s been thrilling to find the Smith Co. TN records that place James and wife in Dickson Co. TN.

I love a mystery-especially when the possible answer is just waiting in the records for me to “dig it out”!

Silas James Langford/Lankford….the continuing saga

by deb - May 11th, 2011

I ordered the Civil War pension application for Silas James Langford.   I had the application date, the application number and the certificate number AND I had the application date and application number of the pension application filed by his wife Emma Langford.    Hopefully this will make the search easier and faster at the National Archives.

Meanwhile I had yet another interesting comment/email from another distant Langford “cousin”.      His email directed me to a link on rootsweb that gave the following information on Silas James Langford/Lankford:     Silas James Lankford was born 15 Jan 1839, Smith Co. TN and died 17 May 1905, Bellsburg, Dickson Co., TN.   He married Nancy Susan McKinnis 1857 (This is my direct line.)    Nancy Susan  McKinnis was born 1834, Smith Co. TN, and died 1887 in Smith Co., TN.   Silas James married Zilpha Catherine Dunn about 1879.   He married Emma Brown Hunter 15 Dec 1881 in Dickson Co. TN.

One of my next moves is to find out if there was a divorce between Silas James Langford and Nancy Susan McKinnis Langford.      The family tradition that I was told was that Silas left his family in Smith Co after the Civil War and “may have started another family” in Dickson Co.       So, it looks like he did “start another family”, but did he do it legally?     Unless, Silas James and Susan were divorced, Silas married not once, but twice, before NancySusan died in 1887.

In addition to the information on Silas James Langford and his immediate family I also received a link to research on the Langford and associated lines that went back several generations.   Besides being very informative and adding many names to my family chart, I learned that both the great grandfather and the great-great grandparents (Parrish Lankford and Henry and Catherine Lankford) all died in Dickson County, TN.   Thus, Silas’ “escape” to Dickson Co. after the Civil War to begin his life anew was not a random choice.–he had family there!    In my previous study of Dickson Co. TN census records I had found several Lankford/Langford families and now I know these Langfords/Lankfords were related to “my” Silas James Lankford.

The plot thickens and the hunt continues….

Silas James Lankford Confederate and Union Soldier

by deb - May 4th, 2011

I recently had an email that started…I may be able to help you in your quest of Silas James Langford.     He was my wife’s third great grandfather.  Silas was in the 24th Tennessee Infantry as you have stated.   When it is stated (on his soldier record) that he was absent…Silas was captured and taken prisoner by the Union.  He was a Union prisoner for almost 2 years.   If you explore the Civil War records even further, you will find that Silas J. Langford mustered into Company A 1st Reg’t Tennessee Mounted Infantry for the Union Army.

My wife’s father told me…Silas mustered into the Union Army in 1864.   Thus Silas fought for the South and the North…After the War, Silas returned to his family in Smith County ….and received…grief from his friends and neighbors.   He just disappeared, leaving (his wife, son and daughter) still with the Langfords in Smith Co.

Silas went to Dickson (County, TN) and according to (my father-in-law) no one knew where he was until one of his brothers found him in Dickson.   We think that perhaps Silas started another family in Dickson, but that is passed down word of mouth.    Silas died there (Dickson Co, TN) in 1905.

Wow, was I excited to read this!    I’ve been to the Tennessee State Library twice since this email, trying to “prove” this information with records.     Here’s what I’ve found so far:

I already had the Confederate service record of Silas J. Lankford who joined M Co of the 24th TN Infantry in 1861.   However, as stated in a previous blog, there were only two cards for Silas J. Lankford’s service in the 24th TN Inf and the second card said he was “left with baggage in Bowling Green, KY”. 

I looked and found the records for Silas J. Langford’s service as a Private in A Co of 1st Mounted Infantry.   This service record consisted of several cards showing Silas was present from Jan 1864 until Jan 31, 1865, when he “mustered out” of service.   Also a part of his service record was the Volunteer Enlistment card which gave great info:   Silas J. Lankford was born in Smith Co. TN and was age 26 years old and a farmer in Jan. 1864 when he enlisted.   This soldier had:  blue eyes, dark hair, dark complexion and six feet tall and was signed by Silas J. Lankford.

I also found on ancestry.com a record of Civil War Prisoner of War Records 1861-1865 that listed Silas J. Langford, stating he was captured Feb 22,1862 and released July 11, no year stated.   Finally, also found on ancestry.com Civil War Pension Index: Langford, Silas J. and Langford, Emma.    Silas filed for a pension in 1902 and was listed as an invalid and Emma Langford fliled in 1905 listed as widow.   Silas served in A Co of 1st TN Mtd Inf.  Unfortunately, this is not a pension that is posted on footnote.com, but will have to be ordered from the National Archives.

Back to the Tennessee records, I again found an entry for Silas James Lankford in the 1890 Civil War Veterans Census of Tennessee by Sistler and Sistler, 1978.   His entry read:  Lankford, Silas J. Di-36-1 (Dickson Co); Pvt H Company 24th TN Inf 6-24-61 to 1-14-65 Bellsburgh P.O.; CONF.   At the time Silas filled out this questionnaire he lived in Bellsburg, Dickson Co.    The “funny” part here is that he listed all of his service as a Confederate.     It’s funny because this is mainly a census of Union soldiers and he would have received the questionnaire because of his service to the Union.   I wonder, though, if because of all of the grief he’d received over his Union service that he decided to just claim his service to the Confederacy.

What I have still not learned is where Silas and “Emma” (who is not my direct line) were in 1900.    The 1900 census for Dickson Co. TN is printed and neither Silas nor Emma is there.   So, as always, some questions answered and some mysteries still to try to solve.   Next step?   Order the pension application for both Silas and Emma Lankford.

Till next time…..happy ancestor hunting!

Family of Silas James Langford/Lankford

by deb - November 11th, 2010

Two more trips to the Tennessee State Library and Archives and I have found a little more information on Silas James Langford.    Although I cannot find a record of his marriage in either Smith Co. TN or the Early Middle TN Marriages book by Sistler, a Lankford Family Bible record states S.J. Lankford and N.S. Lankford were married 16 Oct 1859.     I had always wondered if N.S., who is Susan in the census records of 1860, 1870, and 1880, was also a Lankford, but the entry before S.J. and N.S.  in the Lankford Bible reads Henry Lankford and Margarett Lankford (Silas James’ parents) and I know that Margarett’s maiden name was Gregory.    I did find later in my research, however, that Susan’s maiden name may have been McKinnis.   As always, more questions and directions to pursue.

Silas James was not present in the 1870 TN census, but wife Susan was with son Marion age 12 and daughter Martha age 6.    In the 1870 Smith Co. TN census Susan Lankford was living near her father in law Henry Lankford and three other Lankford households in dist 2, so I believe this is the same Susan that was living with James Lankford in the 1860 Smith Co. TN census dist 2.   

I made a thorough search of Smith Co. TN probate records for Silas James Lankford, but, so far, nothing turned up.   However, there were surviving tax lists for 1860, 1866, 1867, and 1868 for Smith Co., TN.    In 1860 S.J. Lanckford is present in dist 2 with Henry and Sidney Lanckford.   The next surviving tax list is 1866.    S.J. is not present in dist 2, although both Henry and Sidney were present, along with a Jessey Lankford.

With that in mind, and the birth of daughter Martha in Jan 1865, it looks like Silas died ca 1865-1866.    Though all of my questions about Silas James and his family are not answered, there is enough information and “proof” to apply for membership in the Civil War Families of Tennessee.   And, with the “new” lead on Silas’ wife, Susan McKinnis, there is another line to explore and research!

Silas James Langford/Lankford Pvt M Co 24th Tennessee Infantry

by deb - November 3rd, 2010

On my Williams family side my eight great-great-great grandfathers are all born within 23 years of each other, from Johw W. Williams born 1820 to Elijah Hampton Russell born 1843.     During this year I have submitted and received membership into the Confederate Families of Tennessee on four of my great-great-great grandfathers.     Although I felt John W. Williams, born 1820, was probably “too old” to have enlisted in the Civil War, it seemed possible that any or all of the other three great-great-great grandfathers could have enlisted and served in the war.

Looking in Tennesseans in the Civil War, I first searched for David Colby Sutton, born 1839, but did not find a listing for him.   Next, I looked for Elijah Hampton Russell, but again, no listing.    Finally, I looked for Silas James Lankford and believe I have found another Civil War ancestor.    A Silas J. Langford enlisted as a Private in Company M of the 24th TN Inf.      Silas was from Smith Co. TN.   Company M of the 24th TN Infantry was a Smith Co. company.  

Going next to the 1860 Census of Smith Co. TN by Partlow I looked for Silas James Langford/Lankford.   I wanted to see if there were more than one Silas James Langford/Lankford in the county in that year.    In the 1860 of Smith Silas James is listed as James Lankford age 23.    There was a “J” Lankford in a nearby household age 14, but a female.  

Ten years back to the 1850 Census of Smith Co. TN by Partlow Silas J.Langford, age 12,  is listed in the household of father Henry Langford.    In this census there was another James Langford, but he was in his sixties.     

The service record for Silas J. Langford has only 2 cards.   The first card listed his rank, Private, and the company and regiment, Co. M 24th (Tennessee) Reg’t Inf.    The second card was dated Jan and Feb 1862.   This card stated he had enlisted June 27, 1861 in Nashville, TN by Jo. G. Puckett for 12 months.  Silas had been paid by W.P. Davis to Jan 1, 1862.    This card listed him as “absent” with remarks:   Detailed with baggage and left at Bowling Green, KY.     With no further cards on Silas J. Langford I wondered about the remarks.     An archivist at the Tennessee State Library and Archives explained that the remarks meant that Silas J. Langford had been “put on detail”.   He was given the baggage (of the company?), put on a wagon and given orders to drive to headquarters.

Next, comes the exciting part of adding the detail to the life of Silas James Langford and those that came after him!

Private George H?W? Tomberlain of White County, Tennessee

by deb - April 26th, 2010

It had been years since I had looked at the service record of George W. Tomberlain, my great-great-great grandfather on my mother’s side.   I remembered that the surname Tomberlain had been misspelled or maybe “creatively” spelled a number of ways in census and other records–Tomlin, Tomberlin, Tomblin.    So, when I started looking for the service record of George W. Tomberlain, I was at first confused.    Though I found more than one George Tomberlain, it seemed none of them “fit”.    But after looking at the infantry information and where the men were from who served in each company, I realized George H. Tomberlin, who served in Co K of the 28th Tennessee Infantry (2 Mountain Reg’t Tenn Vols) with other men from White County, had to be “my” George W. Tomberlain.

His service record consists of several card entries and in this service record his name is spelled:  George H. Tomberlin, George H. Tomblin, G.H. Tomberlin and G.W. Tomblin.    On one of his first card entries his age is given, 37 years old.   This card also stated that George mustered in on 6 August 1861 and was mustered into service on 3 September 1861 for a period of 12 months.   

George is present through 31 August 1862, but the card for his company’s muster roll dated Sept and Oct 1862 stated that he had “deserted on 10 Sept 1862”.   However, unless he “re enlisted”, his 12 months period of enlistment was fulfilled in August 1861.    

The next card states he was on a roll of prisoners of war captured by forces under General Sherman and that George Tomblin had been captured near Sparta, TN 28 June 1864!      George was forwarded from Military Prison, Louisville, KY to Camp Chase, Ohio 31 July 1864 and appeared on a roll of prisoners of war there.   He was received at Camp Chase, Ohio on 2 Aug 1864.      He died at Camp Chase 27 Jan 1865 of diarrhea chr (chronic?) and was buried in a cemetery 1/2 mile south of Camp Chase in grave 909.

Again, my thoughts go to his widow and family that survived him.   In the 1860 census of White Co. TN, George and wife Rhoda had 4 sons at home:  Darius B. and Selah W. age 16, Geroge W. age 14,and Gale W. age 13.    In this census George was age 36 and Rhoda was age 40?   So, as always, you find answers to some of the questions, leaving more questions for another day.

George W. Tomberlain, Civil War soldier of White County, Tennessee

by deb - April 20th, 2010

Since I began this project of submitting applications to the Civil War Families of Tennessee, I have now received approval for 4 ancestors–Capt Claibourne Wright West,  Pvt Bailey P. Mundy,  Pvt James H. Williams and Pvt Peter Hackett, all men of Smith Co. Tennessee and all ancestors on my dad’s side of the family.

After I received approval for Capt Claibourne W. West and Pvt Bailey P. Mundy, I decided to submit applications in honor of my dad and my children.     My dad was pleasantly surprised and I hope my kids will be too, to learn that they have been accepted into the Civil War Families of Tennessee.

My next application will be on my mom’s side of the family for George W. Tomberlain of White Co. TN.    When I first began this project I knew that George W. Tomberlain was a Civil War soldier for the Confederacy and that he had died during the Civil War.  He was a prisoner of war and died at Camp Chase, Ohio.     I have thought often of him and wondered about the long reaching effects on his family due to his death during the Civil War.    I know, from previous research, that George left behind his son, my great-great grandfather, Gale W. Tomberlain, born 1847 and George’s wife Rhoda.    I also know that George W. Tomberlain’s father, Gale Tomberlain, and his mother, Sarah, lived until 1875 and 1883 respectively.   I wonder if Gale and Sarah Tomberlain helped their son’s family.    At this point in my research I don’t think that George W. Tomberlain’s widow, Rhoda, remarried.     I would imagine the family struggled after George’s death.

I’m looking forward to rediscovering the information on George W. Tomberlain’s service and life  and putting together the information needed to file for approval on this line into the Civil War Families of Tennessee.