Category Archives: American Civil War

The Draft of 1863


Finally some evidence of John Boal, my great-great-great grandfather, during the Civil War. His name is on a list of Class I men ready to be drafted. It was compiled by a Capt. James Matthews, Provost Marshal, in June and July of 1863.

Name: John Boal
Birth Year: abt 1840
Place of Birth: Pennsylvania
Age on 1 July 1863: 23
Race: White
Marital Status: Unmarried (Single)
Residence: Big Grove, Johnson, Iowa
Congressional District: 4th
Class: 1

His age is off, perhaps “underreported” to the authorities. He was born in 1836, so he was probably actually 27, not 23. Perhaps he thought he might be left behind if he was considered too old.

The major giveaway that it’s him is Big Grove Township and Johnson County. This is where he later married and near where his father William is buried, in the Oakland Cemetery near Solon.

Now I just have to track down his unit (or units). He probably served in a unit from Pennsylvania.


The Draft, Civil War Style

Warren Hay Civil War Draft Registration
Warren Hay, an ancestor on my paternal grandmother’s side, is recorded as having registered for the draft during the Civil War. By 1863, the North was desperate for soldiers. The draft was not popular, leading to riots in some places.

I think this is the first Civil War draft registration I’ve seen for a family member. In this instance, it is Warren Hay, ancestor of my grandmother Marilyn. He lived in Ashland County, Ohio. His younger brother Isaac is listed, too. The original is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


1865 — A.D.


Even while serving during the Civil War, taxes still had to be paid.

This is the 1865 tax assessment of the grandfather, A. D. Foster, of my great-great grandmother, Nettie Ann Boal. His full name is Azariah Doane Foster. He served in Company C of the 63rd Ohio Infantry Regiment. When my great-great grandmother’s parents died, Azariah and his wife took on the task of raising the granddaughters: Jennie, Stella and Nettie. Decades later Stella still used the name Foster as the name of her parents, despite the fact that her birth name was Boal.

A distant cousin has written a book on Azariah’s grandfather, Ichabod. When I get a chance I will be reading it.


The battle flag of the 103rd regiment.

Today — Memorial Day — one of the men I’m remembering is Hiram Goodell, one of my great great uncles.

He joined up with the 103rd Illinois Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War, serving in Company D. While in Tennessee he came down with dysentery, like many of his comrades. He apparently died in a makeshift army hospital in Memphis in December of 1863, leaving behind a wife, Elizabeth Frances, and three surviving children, and was, or may have been, buried in Fairview Cemetery, Dyer County, Tennessee. I’m still working on confirming these details.

Hiram was a farmer who lived in Cass Township, Fulton County, Illinois. He was about my height, five feet, nine and a quarter inches tall. He had blue eyes, brown hair which he often kept long, flowing over his ears, and a full beard with a neatly trimmed mustache.

His brothers, James and Levi, served as well, in the 55th Illinois, but thankfully survived the war.

I’ve written about Hiram, and others who have served, before. I’m trying to make a tradition out of it, writing every Memorial Day about family who made that ultimate sacrifice.


250 Years Ago Today — March 17, 1764

Londonderry, Ulster/Northern Ireland
On St. Patrick’s Day in 1764, somewhere in Ireland, a little baby boy was born. He was christened James. Born to a man named Boal and a mother whose name is lost.

It was a Saturday. An ocean away, in British North America, New York City had just begun the tradition of celebrating the day, the first five years without a parade.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, life went on for James. He became a linen and carpet weaver, trades probably learned from his father. James wed in 1787.

James left for America in 1790 with his wife Elizabeth and two children, Margaret and George. They left from Londonderry in the North.

ireland_mapBeing poor, “the trip was made by the cheapest passage.”

It was not a pleasant journey.

“The voyage of three months was a stormy one, during which the ship sprang a leak, and much of the cargo, including some of the goods belonging to the Boal family, was thrown overboard.”

They were devout Presbyterians.

At least one grandson of James, John Shannon Boal, fought in the Civil War.

I doubt James could fathom the chain of events he had instigated with his decision to leave Ireland. How could he foresee that a descendant would write about him on the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth and that the day, a truly Irish one, would be so widely celebrated?


Honor Roll

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.
The name of my great great uncle, Leslie Warren Darling, can be seen below the stained glass window in this photograph of the chapel at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France.

Today while at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery — “The Arlington of the West” — the main speaker at the ceremony noted the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who have fallen in battle while Veterans’ Day is a day to honor every veteran.

So today I am noting three relatives who died during three wars.

The first is John Tidd. John Tidd lived before the United States came into being. He was living in part of British North America, at a time when the colonies were quarreling with the French. The competing interests and animosity developed into a war, what some historians consider the first truly global conflict. Today it is known as the French and Indian War, at least the conflict in North America. Globally it called the Seven Years’ War. John was killed at the outbreak of this war, on June 23, 1757 in Pennsylvania. He was attacked and scalped by Native Americans. The site of his grave is unknown.

Next is Leslie Warren Darling. Leslie Darling, brother of my great grandmother, joined the Iowa National Guard in the summer of 1917. His is a remarkable story, one I hope to complete in full by writing a book. In the fall of that year, after months of training in Iowa and at Camp Mills, Long Island, New York, he was ordered to Europe with his unit, the 168th Iowa Infantry, which had been grouped into the 42nd ‘Rainbow’ Division, with a very young and brash chief-of-staff named Douglas MacArthur. In July 1918 Leslie Darling was cut down by German machine gun fire during a counter offensive. He died a few days later while in a field hospital and is buried in France.

Finally, there is Hiram Goodell, brother of my ancestor James. Hiram died while serving during the American Civil War. He died in Memphis, Tennessee on December 18, 1863. Hiram was in Company D of the 103rd Illinois Infantry Volunteers. His brothers James and Levi served as well, in the 55th Illinois.


The Parkers

Reading about a little frontier settlement in Texas called Fort Parker has been fascinating. There’s a connection with my Parker branch. The proper word may be connections.

The other day while browsing through the books at a sale for my littlest nephew’s school, I discovered a paperback copy of Empire of the Summer Moon. A name in the subtitle, Quanah Parker, piqued my interest. I had read about the connection before, but had not really probed much deeper.

My Parker tree traces back to John Green Parker, a Civil War vet. He served in the 123rd Illinois Infantry with John T. Wilder. His father was Jephthah, or Jeptha,  Parker, his mother, Sarah Jane Green. Jephthah was born in 1823 near Palestine in Crawford County, Illinois.

Crawford County, Illinois is the key. What happened years later in Texas is legendary. Some of the Parkers decided to relocate from Illinois, choosing central Texas to build what became known as Fort Parker. In 1836, the settlement was attacked by Native Americans, killing most and taking five captive.

One of those taken, a young girl, was a daughter of Silas Mercer Parker and Lucinda (Lucy) Duty.Her Comanche name was Naduah. She was born Cynthia Ann Parker in Crawford County a year or two after Jephthah. She is famous for refusing to return to her Anglo family the Parkers and for having a son named Quanah. Quanah became chief of his tribe. He later added his mother’s name to his, becoming Quanah Parker.

James W. Parker, brother of Silas, was the first of the Parker family to go to Texas. James W. is a name that has been passed down for generations among the forefathers of John Green Parker.

Silas and James were the sons of John Parker and Sarah White. John is also known as Elder John Parker. Both John and Silas were killed during the attack on Fort Parker.

Many researchers list Baltimore, Maryland as John’s birth place. He was born on September 5, 1758. His first wife Sarah (Sally) White died in Crawford County, Illinois on July 28, 1821. He remarried. On March 21, 1825 in Crawford County, Illinois, he wed Sarah (Sally) Duty.2 She, too, died during the massacre at Fort Parker.

I haven’t definitively connected the Parker family of Texas with my Parker branch. But I am convinced that there is one.


1. Some record Lucinda Duty as Doty, another connected family with ties to Crawford County, Illinois.
2. I wonder if Sarah Duty could actually be Sarah Doty.

Crunching the Numbers

Writers with the Associated Press recently analyzed veteran disability and survivor benefits paid out by the federal government.

Included are veterans and relatives from long ago conflicts, from the Spanish-American War of 1898 and World War I.

There are 10 living recipients of benefits tied to the 1898 Spanish-American War at a total cost of about $50,000 per year.

World War I is much more costly.

World War I, which ended 94 years ago, continues to cost taxpayers about $20 million every year.

There are more than two thousand people linked to the First World War.

Of the 2,289 survivors drawing cash linked to WWI, about one-third are spouses and dozens of them are over 100 years in age.

The Second World War is in the billions.

World War II? $5 billion. Compensation for WWII veterans and families didn’t peak until 1991 — 46 years after the war ended — and annual costs since then have only declined by about 25 percent.

What surprised me most is the fact that there are still payouts for the American Civil War. The Civil War?!

Two children of Civil War soldiers — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee — likely Confederates, receive $876 a year.