The Shelton Laurel Massacre

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#1
I've seen this event referred to in many threads, so I thought I'd start one on the subject itself. To make a long story short, this was an event where Confederates killed 13 males "suspected of Unionism" in Madison County, NC, in January 1863. Three of my direct ancestors were in the 64th North Carolina Infantry - the unit that reportedly did the killing - and I've been searching a long time now to see if they could have been involved with the killing. No evidence either way thus far. Paludan's Victims, a true story of the Civil War is the most quoted work on the event, which I'm sure many of you have read. I'm working on a manuscript that will expand on the story, using newly discovered papers of one of the officers on the scene. I think Paludan's book is good, but his sources seem to tell just one side of the story. There are usually two sides to every story, and the real truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Primary sources are key, but sometimes they are nowhere close to the truth. What are your thoughts on this incident?
 

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#2
I've seen this event referred to in many threads, so I thought I'd start one on the subject itself. To make a long story short, this was an event where Confederates killed 13 males "suspected of Unionism" in Madison County, NC, in January 1863. Three of my direct ancestors were in the 64th North Carolina Infantry - the unit that reportedly did the killing - and I've been searching a long time now to see if they could have been involved with the killing. No evidence either way thus far. Paludan's Victims, a true story of the Civil War is the most quoted work on the event, which I'm sure many of you have read. I'm working on a manuscript that will expand on the story, using newly discovered papers of one of the officers on the scene. I think Paludan's book is good, but his sources seem to tell just one side of the story. There are usually two sides to every story, and the real truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Primary sources are key, but sometimes they are nowhere close to the truth. What are your thoughts on this incident?
I thought a history of the regiment would be a good starting point.

http://www.archive.org/stream/historiesofsever03clar#page/658/mode/2up
 
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#5
I've seen this event referred to in many threads, so I thought I'd start one on the subject itself. To make a long story short, this was an event where Confederates killed 13 males "suspected of Unionism" in Madison County, NC, in January 1863. Three of my direct ancestors were in the 64th North Carolina Infantry - the unit that reportedly did the killing - and I've been searching a long time now to see if they could have been involved with the killing. No evidence either way thus far. Paludan's Victims, a true story of the Civil War is the most quoted work on the event, which I'm sure many of you have read. I'm working on a manuscript that will expand on the story, using newly discovered papers of one of the officers on the scene. I think Paludan's book is good, but his sources seem to tell just one side of the story. There are usually two sides to every story, and the real truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Primary sources are key, but sometimes they are nowhere close to the truth. What are your thoughts on this incident?
This weekend I can review my books on the Sheldon Laurel Massacre. If we compare the counterinsurgency campaigns of the ACW to those counterinsurgency campaigns past and future the ACW is not particularly brutal. In counterinsurgency " stuff happens".
Leftyhunter
 
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#6
I've seen this event referred to in many threads, so I thought I'd start one on the subject itself. To make a long story short, this was an event where Confederates killed 13 males "suspected of Unionism" in Madison County, NC, in January 1863. Three of my direct ancestors were in the 64th North Carolina Infantry - the unit that reportedly did the killing - and I've been searching a long time now to see if they could have been involved with the killing. No evidence either way thus far. Paludan's Victims, a true story of the Civil War is the most quoted work on the event, which I'm sure many of you have read. I'm working on a manuscript that will expand on the story, using newly discovered papers of one of the officers on the scene. I think Paludan's book is good, but his sources seem to tell just one side of the story. There are usually two sides to every story, and the real truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Primary sources are key, but sometimes they are nowhere close to the truth. What are your thoughts on this incident?
One of the soldiers, Sgt. N.B.D. Jay of Virginia, bounds onto the heap of bodies. He cries out to his fellows, “Pat Juba for me while I dance the ****ed scoundrels down to and through hell!

"Pat Juba" would be a request for a fiddle tune.

Genesis 4:21 : "And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe".

Wondering about this soldier, if he survived the war. Here's his widow's pension application :

ann jay.jpg

n b jay.jpg
 
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#7
Thanks, etr. Contrary to the Memphis Bulletin, NY Times and other papers, the regiment was the 64th, not 65th. Jay was not a Virginian, he was born and lived in NC. It IS correct that he was in a TN company of the 64th (Co. H.). He later transferred to Co. B. He was listed as a potential witness against Allen and Keith in 1863 documents. I can't find him or his wife anywhere in any census after 1860 - except his wife does finally show up in 1900 Buncombe Co., NC. Makes one wonder if he changed names or was actually killed/died prior to 1870. Many questions.
 
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#9
Thanks, etr. Contrary to the Memphis Bulletin, NY Times and other papers, the regiment was the 64th, not 65th. Jay was not a Virginian, he was born and lived in NC. It IS correct that he was in a TN company of the 64th (Co. H.). He later transferred to Co. B. He was listed as a potential witness against Allen and Keith in 1863 documents. I can't find him or his wife anywhere in any census after 1860 - except his wife does finally show up in 1900 Buncombe Co., NC. Makes one wonder if he changed names or was actually killed/died prior to 1870. Many questions.
I noticed he has only 7 or 8 cards in his record at Fold 3. I figured that might tell if he died during the war.

I recall looking at Tennessee Confederate pensions over the years and seeing where A number of western North Carolina Confederates resettled in upper east Tennessee after the war. I'm almost certain I've seen applications for men that served in the 64th NC.
 
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#10
Tracing a source of the Shelton Laurel story: Paludan, in his 1981 book Victims, said that the New York Times said that the Memphis Bulletin said that Col. Robert A. Crawford (a Union man from Greene County, TN) said that . . . "his information was obtained from trustworthy persons, and written down on the spot." So this particular detailed account comes from unknown sources!

Of great interest is this part at the end of the article in the Memphis Bulletin which no other northern papers included:
"And it is upon the graves of such martyrs, upon the basis of such ****ing acts of barbarity, that the independence of a Southern Confederacy is to be established? The blood of these murdered men, women, and children, appeals to heaven against such a consummation. Read this bloody record of inhuman fiendish slaughter, ye snivelling sympathizers, and ask yourselves if the vengeance of a just God must not, sooner or later, blast the hopes and schemes of such enemies of their race. Is it possible that an inexorable idol, demanding such rivers of innocent blood, can be long worshipped in the light of the nineteenth century? Forbid it God! Forbid it, all ye mighty hosts of heaven! Christianity cries out against it. American honor demands that the monstrosity be cast into flames and destroyed forever.
All the blessed memories of the past; all the glorious anticipations of the future, call upon the noble patriots of the Union to avenge the blood of these martyrs to the cause of freedom and nationality."
 
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#11
I noticed he has only 7 or 8 cards in his record at Fold 3. I figured that might tell if he died during the war.

I recall looking at Tennessee Confederate pensions over the years and seeing where A number of western North Carolina Confederates resettled in upper east Tennessee after the war. I'm almost certain I've seen applications for men that served in the 64th NC.
You have! I found these at TSLA or Family Search web page.
scan0001.jpg
 

TnFed

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#12
I noticed he has only 7 or 8 cards in his record at Fold 3. I figured that might tell if he died during the war.

I recall looking at Tennessee Confederate pensions over the years and seeing where A number of western North Carolina Confederates resettled in upper east Tennessee after the war. I'm almost certain I've seen applications for men that served in the 64th NC.
I wonder what it is that makes the events of the Shelton Laurel so fascinating to folks. Especially those of us, whose ancestors are from Western NC. Don't get me wrong, the death of even one human is tragic, but we are speaking of a war whose casualties well exceed 620,000. Fights where rebs and yanks killed more than 13 all the time. Another thing I wonder about...Trotter says that the mountains of East TN and West NC are not only contiguous but the people alike in their political and economic divisions, so that it might be well regarded as a single theater of war. However, I feel that Unionist sentiment in West NC was quite minimal compared to East TN. So why would so many ex NC Confederates move to East TN after the war. Hard to figure.
Regards, TnFed.
 
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#13
I wonder what it is that makes the events of the Shelton Laurel so fascinating to folks. Especially those of us, whose ancestors are from Western NC. Don't get me wrong, the death of even one human is tragic, but we are speaking of a war whose casualties well exceed 620,000. Fights where rebs and yanks killed more than 13 all the time. Another thing I wonder about...Trotter says that the mountains of East TN and West NC are not only contiguous but the people alike in their political and economic divisions, so that it might be well regarded as a single theater of war. However, I feel that Unionist sentiment in West NC was quite minimal compared to East TN. So why would so many ex NC Confederates move to East TN after the war. Hard to figure.
Regards, TnFed.
Maybe they did not move at all. At one brief time, Col. Allen was authorized a Legion, but later cut back to a regiment. Part of the 64th were Tennessee men from Greene, Washington, Hawkins and Hancock Counties. - from North Carolina Troops Vol. XV.
 

TnFed

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#14
Maybe they did not move at all. At one brief time, Col. Allen was authorized a Legion, but later cut back to a regiment. Part of the 64th were Tennessee men from Greene, Washington, Hawkins and Hancock Counties. - from North Carolina Troops Vol. XV.
Point well taken. While my ancestors served in the 1st TN National Guard USA and the 3rd TN. Mounted Infantry USA. Three of the four brothers were from Cherokee County NC and only one from Monroe County TN.
 
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#15
So why would so many ex NC Confederates move to East TN after the war.
Probably to get away from neighbors and family on the other side. Get away, keep quiet, and make a new start. One of my east Tennessee Confederate families resettled in Iowa of all places. A veteran of the Union 1st Tn Cavalry in my family tree, married right after the war and relocated in Alabama. Probably not a lot of war reminiscing going on in those two instances.
 
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#17
Probably to get away from neighbors and family on the other side. Get away, keep quiet, and make a new start. One of my east Tennessee Confederate families resettled in Iowa of all places. A veteran of the Union 1st Tn Cavalry in my family tree, married right after the war and relocated in Alabama. Probably not a lot of war reminiscing going on in those two instances.
Absolutely. Lots of former 64th NC men ended up in Arkansas. Why Arkansas? I guess one reason was that 3 of the Keiths had acquired land there in the 1850's as veterans of Mexican War.
 

TnFed

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#19
That's interesting too. Wonder if a recruiter from TN visited the county.
I think it was more like officers and men had fathers, brothers, cousins etc.who lived across the state line. When you travel the old Joe Brown Highway (highway is stretching some) you can miss the state line sign easy. Those woods sure look alike. I remember researching my Morrow family down there. My folks moving to Ohio before I was born, my accents was a little different. I didn't get a lot of family help at first. But when I told them who my grandfather was, I was golden. Also being a Baptist Pastor helped out in that neck of the woods. :wink: .
 
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#20
Probably to get away from neighbors and family on the other side. Get away, keep quiet, and make a new start. One of my east Tennessee Confederate families resettled in Iowa of all places. A veteran of the Union 1st Tn Cavalry in my family tree, married right after the war and relocated in Alabama. Probably not a lot of war reminiscing going on in those two instances.
If you relative relocated to Alabama he might have chosen a Unionist area such has much if Northern Alabama or even parts if the Wiregrass area.
Leftyhunter
 

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