Did General Longstreet Sue His Mother?

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Eleanor Rose

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This was driving me crazy as well because I recalled reading about it here on CWT. I finally found it in a thread that included discussion about the legitimacy of Longstreet's appointment from an Alabama congressman--despite being a Georgia resident--to West Point. Here is the post w/ the info link.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/was-longstreet-made-a-scapegoat.135348/page-15#post-1694343

The info from the linked source:

These connections of the Dent family to Ulysses S. Grant stuck in my mind for years, while I did no further research to investigate the relationships. Things changed in December of 2013 while I was photographing the old Chancery Court record books of Madison County. In Record Book R, pages 496 – 511, is documented Chancery Case Number 374, involving Dent family members and the family of James Longstreet of Richmond County, Georgia. This James Longstreet died in 1833, leaving a very detailed Last Will and Testament drawn up in 1830. His son James, who later became a primary Confederate Army corps general and “right-hand man” of Robert E. Lee, was one of the Complainants in the case against his mother, Mary Ann Dent Longstreet, and co-defendant Edmund Toney of Triana.

The case was first filed in the 32nd District of the Northern Alabama Chancery Division in Huntsville on 29 December 1852. It was resolved with a judgment in favor of the defendants on 2 June 1854, with the complainants having to pay all court costs in the case. The case concerned the possible violation of the terms of the will in respect to the inheritances of the children of James and Mary Ann Dent Longstreet. The executors of the will were the widow (co-defendant) Mary Ann Dent Longstreet and her son William plus her brother-in-law Augustus Longstreet. The Longstreet children (complainants) were William D. (executor), James (CSA general-to-be), Henrietta (wife of Archibald Mills Clemens, son of James Clemens, who was Founder of Madison), Rebecca (wife of Reuben Ruff), Julia (wife of William E. Murphy), Eliza B. (wife of Walter B. Lucas), Maria N. (wife of Elisha Dismukes), and Sarah Jane (unmarried). The registered complainants included Mary Ann Dent (only child of Anna Longstreet Dent, who had died), “an infant, under the age of twenty-one”. Mary Ann Dent was represented in the case by her “next friend, Hutchinson Dent.” The dispute centered around the distribution of the numerous slaves of the Longstreet estate, two of whom had been sold to Edmund Toney, thereby involving him in the case as a defendant. Distribution of the elements of the estate among the senior James Longstreet heirs was to have been done by 1847, but the distribution had not been done as of 1854. The case was adjudicated in northern Alabama not only because of Edmund Toney, but also because after the passing of the senior James Longstreet in Georgia, the family had moved to Somerville in Morgan County, Alabama. Somerville is just across the Tennessee River from the Toney family holdings in Madison County, which was the location of the Chancery Court for the area including Morgan County as well as several other counties in northern Alabama at the time. By the time of prosecution of the case, James Longstreet's widow and most of the children and slaves had again relocated to Noxubee County, Mississippi. However, the Toney involvement and the fact that the questionable and delayed division of estate property had occurred while the family resided in Somerville kept jurisdiction here.

http://huntsvillehistorycollection.org/hh/index.php?title=Connections_of_Grant_&_Longstreet,_A_Vintage_Vignette
Thanks for these links. What you have quoted is what I actually shared in my OP. It was information I had
discovered from a link to the old Chancery Court record books of Madison County (Record Book R, pages 496 – 511) - the Chancery Case Number 374. I'll have to read the links you have provided. It will be great to have some more information added. I really want to know if General Longstreet stopped speaking with his mother after this case was closed.

I should have known this forum might be the best resource. :smile:
 
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War Horse

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This was driving me crazy as well because I recalled reading about it here on CWT. I finally found it in a thread that included discussion about the legitimacy of Longstreet's appointment from an Alabama congressman--despite being a Georgia resident--to West Point. Here is the post w/ the info link.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/was-longstreet-made-a-scapegoat.135348/page-15#post-1694343

The info from the linked source:

These connections of the Dent family to Ulysses S. Grant stuck in my mind for years, while I did no further research to investigate the relationships. Things changed in December of 2013 while I was photographing the old Chancery Court record books of Madison County. In Record Book R, pages 496 – 511, is documented Chancery Case Number 374, involving Dent family members and the family of James Longstreet of Richmond County, Georgia. This James Longstreet died in 1833, leaving a very detailed Last Will and Testament drawn up in 1830. His son James, who later became a primary Confederate Army corps general and “right-hand man” of Robert E. Lee, was one of the Complainants in the case against his mother, Mary Ann Dent Longstreet, and co-defendant Edmund Toney of Triana.

The case was first filed in the 32nd District of the Northern Alabama Chancery Division in Huntsville on 29 December 1852. It was resolved with a judgment in favor of the defendants on 2 June 1854, with the complainants having to pay all court costs in the case. The case concerned the possible violation of the terms of the will in respect to the inheritances of the children of James and Mary Ann Dent Longstreet. The executors of the will were the widow (co-defendant) Mary Ann Dent Longstreet and her son William plus her brother-in-law Augustus Longstreet. The Longstreet children (complainants) were William D. (executor), James (CSA general-to-be), Henrietta (wife of Archibald Mills Clemens, son of James Clemens, who was Founder of Madison), Rebecca (wife of Reuben Ruff), Julia (wife of William E. Murphy), Eliza B. (wife of Walter B. Lucas), Maria N. (wife of Elisha Dismukes), and Sarah Jane (unmarried). The registered complainants included Mary Ann Dent (only child of Anna Longstreet Dent, who had died), “an infant, under the age of twenty-one”. Mary Ann Dent was represented in the case by her “next friend, Hutchinson Dent.” The dispute centered around the distribution of the numerous slaves of the Longstreet estate, two of whom had been sold to Edmund Toney, thereby involving him in the case as a defendant. Distribution of the elements of the estate among the senior James Longstreet heirs was to have been done by 1847, but the distribution had not been done as of 1854. The case was adjudicated in northern Alabama not only because of Edmund Toney, but also because after the passing of the senior James Longstreet in Georgia, the family had moved to Somerville in Morgan County, Alabama. Somerville is just across the Tennessee River from the Toney family holdings in Madison County, which was the location of the Chancery Court for the area including Morgan County as well as several other counties in northern Alabama at the time. By the time of prosecution of the case, James Longstreet's widow and most of the children and slaves had again relocated to Noxubee County, Mississippi. However, the Toney involvement and the fact that the questionable and delayed division of estate property had occurred while the family resided in Somerville kept jurisdiction here.

http://huntsvillehistorycollection.org/hh/index.php?title=Connections_of_Grant_&_Longstreet,_A_Vintage_Vignette
Good work, I find it very interesting the complaint was filed by virtually all of her children. While I can't speak for the other complainants we have complete knowledge of the future Generals activities in and around the years of litigation.

First of all James L. Longstreet's estate would have been considered a very wealthy estate. We know James Sr, Owned a 128 acre plantation in South Western South Carolina called Hopewell. James Sr. also owned a farm and Gold Mine in Somerville, Habersham County Alabama. Historians also believe James Sr owned property in the Augusta, GA area.

James Jr was promoted to captain of infantry in the US army Dec 7, 1853. Four months later his wife Louise would give birth to their Third child on April 19, 1853 William Dent Longstreet. For three years prior to that Lt James Longstreet was performing Scouting duties throughout Comanche territory along the boarder. Louise and the children remained in San Antonio, TX in the spring of 54 Captain Longstreet was ordered to the east coast. Louise traveled with James, the couple traveled by ship from TX to New York City then on to Washington, DC where Willie became Ill and died.

In March of 1858 James requested an assignment to recruiting duty in the East, preferably in Philadelphia. He wanted to settle his children in an area that offered them the best education possibilities. James was granted a 6 month leave. He and his family left Fort Bliss in May of 58 and stopped to visit his Uncle Augustus and Aunt Frances in Columbia, SC. At the time Augustus was the President of College of South Carolina.

Considering the suit not only names Mary Ann Dent Longstreet it also names Augustus Longstreet. It doesn't appear there were any hard feelings only a few short years later.

We also know James left for West Point from his mothers home in Alabama.

Once James left for West Point he rarely if ever saw his mother prior to her death in 1855. We do know, upon his graduation from West Point in 1842 he returned to GA to visit Uncle Augustus and Aunt Frances before joining the Fourth Infantry at Jefferson Barricks Missouri. It is unclear if he traveled to visit Mary Ann during this time. There is no indication in any of the historical writing of General James Longstreet that there was any hard feelings between he and his mother. However it is also apparent that James Jr who was sent to live with his aunt and uncle at Westover Plantation at age 12 formed a strong love for Uncle Augustus and Aunt Frances, perhaps accepting them as his adopted parents.
 
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lelliott19

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Assuming this is the same A B Longstreet, then according to the 1840 US Census for Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, uncle Augustus B. Longstreet was listed as guardian for a number of "free colored persons" including Julia Clisbie ("free colored" age 36-55 and her child, female age 10-24); Cecelia Charles ("free colored" age 10-24 and her child, female <10 years); Matilda Bowers ("free colored" age 24-35 and her child, female <10 years); and six unnamed "free colored persons" - 2 males age 10-24 years; 3 females age 10-24; and 1 female age 24-35 years. A total of 12 people listed as "Free Colored" under the guardianship of Augustus B. Longstreet in 1840.
Augustus Longstreet 1840 Census.JPG
 
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War Horse

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Assuming this is the same A B Longstreet, then according to the 1840 US Census for Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia, uncle Augustus B. Longstreet was listed as guardian for a number of "free colored persons" including Julia Clisbie ("free colored" age 36-55 and her child, female age 10-24); Cecelia Charles ("free colored" age 10-24 and her child, female <10 years); Matilda Bowers ("free colored" age 24-35 and her child, female <10 years); and six unnamed "free colored persons" - 2 males age 10-24 years; 3 females age 10-24; and 1 female age 24-35 years. A total of 12 people listed as "Free Colored" under the guardianship of Augustus B. Longstreet in 1840.
View attachment 210351
That is him. The B stands for Baldwin. What the census doesn’t show is Augustus Baldwin Longstreet was owner of one of the south’s largest number of slave laborer forces. He was also an ardent secessionists who was extreamly influential in the south.
 

lelliott19

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Right. I knew that. I just found it curious that he was listed as guardian for 12 "free colored persons." There were also 2 "Free Colored Persons" enumerated along with the family in Town District, Newton County, GA on the 1840 US Census: 1 male age 10-24 and 1 female <10 years. I wonder if any of these people were the (formerly?) enslaved individuals in question in the lawsuit?
 

War Horse

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Right. I knew that. I just found it curious that he was listed as guardian for 12 "free colored persons." There were also 2 "Free Colored Persons" enumerated along with the family in Town District, Newton County, GA on the 1840 US Census: 1 male age 10-24 and 1 female <10 years. I wonder if any of these people were the (formerly?) enslaved individuals in question in the lawsuit?
A very good question. I have no idea. Augustus was a resonable man dispite his beliefs. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he granted freedom occasionally to loyal hard working slaves.
 

Eleanor Rose

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Just to clarify: The lawsuit was filed against Mary Ann Dent Longstreet (mother) and co-defendant Edmund Toney of Triana. Apparently Mary Ann had sold some slaves to Toney and the Longstreet children thought this robbed them of some part of their inheritance. Augustus Longstreet wasn't named in the suit. Actually William D. Longstreet (the eldest son and also a named executor for his father's estate) was a "complainant" against his mother and Mr. Toney along with his other siblings. There was never a riff between General Longstreet and his uncle Augustus.
 

lelliott19

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Just to clarify: The lawsuit was filed against Mary Ann Dent Longstreet (mother) and co-defendant Edmund Toney of Triana. Apparently Mary Ann had sold some slaves to Toney and the Longstreet children thought this robbed them of some part of their inheritance. Augustus Longstreet wasn't named in the suit. Actually William D. Longstreet (the eldest son and also a named executor for his father's estate) was a "complainant" against his mother and Mr. Toney along with his other siblings. There was never a riff between General Longstreet and his uncle Augustus.
Ahhhh. Ok. Thanks for clarifying. I was hypothesizing that the "free colored" people under the guardianship of A B Longstreet might have been the (formerly?) enslaved individuals who were the topic of the lawsuit. As in - perhaps he was entrusted with the guardianship until the distribution of the estate could be accomplished. Wishful thinking I suppose that they were freed in the process and the suit was resultant from that. Thanks again for the clarification.
 

War Horse

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Just to clarify: The lawsuit was filed against Mary Ann Dent Longstreet (mother) and co-defendant Edmund Toney of Triana. Apparently Mary Ann had sold some slaves to Toney and the Longstreet children thought this robbed them of some part of their inheritance. Augustus Longstreet wasn't named in the suit. Actually William D. Longstreet (the eldest son and also a named executor for his father's estate) was a "complainant" against his mother and Mr. Toney along with his other siblings. There was never a riff between General Longstreet and his uncle Augustus.
Thank you. I misread who the defendants were. Augustus was also an executor. My mistake.
 

Eleanor Rose

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Ahhhh. Ok. Thanks for clarifying. I was hypothesizing that the "free colored" people under the guardianship of A B Longstreet might have been the (formerly?) enslaved individuals who were the topic of the lawsuit. As in - perhaps he was entrusted with the guardianship until the distribution of the estate could be accomplished. Wishful thinking I suppose that they were freed in the process and the suit was resultant from that. Thanks again for the clarification.
Well some of the slaves belonging (hate using that word) to the Longstreet estate could have been placed under the guardianship of Augustus. Your finding makes me wonder. Even so they weren't the cause of the lawsuit. The lawsuit was over the slaves Mary Ann sold to Mr. Toney before the estate was distributed amongst the heirs. Why in the world had Mary Ann not divided the estate by 1854 when her husband had passed in 1833?
 

KCRcivilwar

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This has all been very helpful. Thanks to each of you. I am now off to Macon, Mississippi in search of Mary Ann Dent Longstreet. The Odd Fellows Cemetery there holds 3 of her children, including Sarah Jane Ames. Surely Mary Ann is somewhere in the vicinity. Canton, MS is another possibility. I will post any results worthy of note.
 

ErnieMac

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I also posted this on another thread, but thought it might be appropriate here as well for all you General Longstreet groupies :D. The clipping is taken from the obituary of Sarah J. Longstreet Ames, sister of the general, and outlines Mary Ann Dent Longstreet's final years. It was published in the February 6, 1920, edition of the Macon (MS) Beacon.

img.jpg
 
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