Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reflections on the 4th

What a terrible blogger I am! It's not that I've slacked off on my research, on the contrary, I've made some very notable discoveries of late, but having the time to sit down with a clear head, and blog about these finds... well, that's where I'm having problems!

However, today being the 4th, and everyone's minds being on all things American, I've been thinking about the number of ancestors I've had who quite literally fought for the freedoms that we so take advantage of, and often abuse. I've thought about my Mayflower grandfather, William Brewster, who helped forge a new nation; my frontiersman grandfather, Richard Malone, who came to Ohio when it was still considered wilderness. Then there's James Hamilton Cummons, the confederate soldier, who ended up fighting for the union army.

I recently came across this photo from the Library of Congress website. It's description was as follows: Washington, Disctrict of Columbia, Hancock's Veterans Corps on F Street, NW Washington, DC. 1st US Volunteer Infantry.

You can see a larger version of the image here at the Library of Congress.

You can imagine my thrill when I looked at this picture at thought, "It is very possible that my great, great, GREAT grandfather is staring back at me from somewhere in this picture." This picture was taken in March of 1865, and according to muster rolls, James wasn't mustered out until July of '65. If you remember from an earlier post, the 1st US Volunteer Infantry was also known as the Galvanized Yankees. These were men who had enlisted in the confederate army, been captured, and sometime after being taken to a union prison camp, swore allegience to the north, and were placed far away from the war, usually in western forts.

James was just 17 when he enlisted, possibly the son of an Irish immigrant, but when the call came, he answered. I could go on listing grandfathers who fought in the Great War, and World War II, uncles who fought in Korea and Vietnam. Just in my own family tree, there are dozens of men and women who fought, struggled, and died to make a home in America. I hope and pray I never abuse those freedoms they held so dear.


  1. You're not a terrible blogger; you're a busy one. Great post. Glad to see you back. Hope you had a great 4th of July! Cheers! Jennifer

  2. Angie, tried to find an email address for you but didn't. Some info I want to pass on. I am descended from Edward Gilbert b 1725 in what is now Guilford Co., NC. He had three kids, one a daughter Elizabeth, b abt 1751 married Robert Kimmons b abt 1747. Both were born in Guilford Co.

    Sorry I don't have a lot of info on this Robert and Elizabeth but what I would suggest to you is to broaden your name spelling search. I have run most of the Guilford Co. Court records from that period, I find the name Cummins/Cummings/Kimmons/Kimmings and a couple other spellings, I can't remember at the moment, as being used interchangeably in the records. It's pretty obvious when I run across a Robert Kimmons involved in something, such as being called to Grand Jury duty in one session of court then later to find the same jury mentioned in another set of records but this time he shows up as Robert Cummings or Kimmings that there are some serious issues with spelling names in those days.

    It's been a long time since I looked at the records but as best I can remember this Robert Cummins, or various spellings thereof, is the only Cummins who appears. I am suggesting that your missing relative might have come from this line.

    If you like you can contact me at staffwalker at yahoo dot com. Bob

  3. Hello,

    The unit shown in this pic isn't the USV unit in which your ancestor served. It's a mislabeling, of sorts. Hancock's Veteran Corps was not the same as the USV Galvanized Yankees. They were still in the Dakota Territory at the time of this photo. I highly recommend the book Galvanized Yankees on the Upper Missouri, written by Michele Tucker Butts.

    Best, Robert

  4. Thank you, Robert! I'm always glad to clear up inaccurate information, although I'm a little sad that my ancestor is hiding in that photo somewhere. I actually have that book on my amazon wishlist... hopefully someone will buy it for me for the holidays. ;)