" Until Death Parts Us ", Or Maybe It Didn't, War's Bewildered Un-Widows

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
bride loc 4.JPG

Before there were war widows there were weddings- bright eyed brides and hopeful grooms. When war brutally truncated those unions , some widows were able to find solace in new beginnings. And be brides again- maybe.

In posting these I genuinely ( really ) do not mean to make light of what must have been an awful situation. We hear of it all the time- men marching off to war never to be seen again. Clara Barton's Missing Soldier's Office tried mightily to fill that void and succeeded in some cases. There were still families left without answers. Heck, our family ' found ' my missing uncle what, 5 years ago? He left home for the war in 1863...

But. Sometimes what was thought lost was found. You'd have thought that good news- and of course it was. Mostly?

two husbands back from the dead 1.jpg
two husbands back from the dead 2.jpg

It doesn't seem to have been all that singular- posting only 3 instances although found quite a few and no, they do not appear to be apocryphal. Tracked at least one beyond doubt although won't post the family's information out of respect. It wasn't that long ago.

TWO more, in one article.

two husbands army 1865 1.jpg
two husbands army 1865 2.jpg


My grgrandmother, who I knew very well was making funeral arrangements for my grgrandfather. She never quite got over those days until receiving word he was not, in fact on board the Lusitania. That had been his original berth- his ' party ' had had a last-minute rerouting through DC , re-booked on another ship. I forget how many days it was until she received word, Mom told me, I forget. Obviously her misery did not last as long as it did for these women but you just can't imagine, or at least I don't want to.
 

kholland

Captain
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 13, 2011
Location
Howard County, Maryland
The first story is very interesting. The soldier in the Stueubenville Courier article was buried for a year and his wife became engaged somewhere in that time. She was married 5 months and a newly exchanged soldier has a note from her husband that he "was in daily expectation of being exchanged". We are talking around 18 months elapsed here. Doesn't that seem a bit long to be in a parole camp as I assume that to be the case. Exchanges were not happening later in the war (I thought) and I just assumed that since the war was over the U.S. government would release Confederate prisoners somewhat soon and get Union prisoners released ASAP. Any thoughts on this. This would certainly make an interesting new post.
 
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David Knight

First Sergeant
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Location
Pontefract, Yorkshire.
I find it not surprising that errors and strange events occurred during the Civil War. I suspect official records were not very accurate and mistakes made. The tragedy is that lifes of individuals were wrecked by these failings.
From my current reasearch into the Great War I have a regimental history written after the war by a Battalion Commander who was recorded as Killed. I have a pension record card of an ordinary sergeant who 'died' in 1920 but I know that he was buried in 1997 at the age of 102!
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
This happened to Jimmy Carter's Uncle Tom Gordy during the Second World War. He was missing and presumed dead, and his widow married again. Then at the end of the war, it turned out that Tom had been a POW and he came home to find his wife had another husband. In the end, she decided to stay with husband number two. There is a big poem about it that Jimmy Carter wrote on display at the National POW Museum at Andersonville.

 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
I have a similar story in my family on my mothers side. Her GG grandfather H. Belton went missing after the Battle of Cedar Creek. As the story goes he was wounded by a miniball and fell into a creek. He managed to get to the other side and stuffed his shirt into the wound. Due to loss of blood he became disoriented and wandered off after the battle. He was found by locals that kept him from bleeding to death and watched over him through a fever caused by infection. This is where the story gets interesting.

By the time he was well enough to venture out on his own the war had ended. He stayed with the family for a few months to work off what he felt he owed them for his care, and then started for home. He was from Patrick County. About Seven years later around 1871 or 72 with no explanation of where he had been he arrived home and found that his wife had remarried and had three children. Again to his families surprise he didn't even try to explain his where abouts, but did relate the story of the battle and being wounded. Three months after getting home he left again and the last that was heard he had settled in Albemarle County, Virginia near Charlottesville.

My mother related this story to me as it was told to her by her brother John Belton when she was growing up in Carroll county Virginia.

I have tried to verify this story, but have not had any success. The only H. Belton I could find was Hamilton Belton and he died in Patrick county.
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I cannot imagine going through full mourning, and then when finally relieved of that burden, and once again marrying only to find out that hubby the original was not dead..I suppose some simply had the first annulled If they could. I know in modern times there is a specific time frame where a missing and presumed dead person can be officially declared deceased. I wonder if that came about because of these cases??
 

John Hartwell

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Location
Central Massachusetts
The first story is very interesting. The soldier in the Stueubenville Courier article was buried for a year and his wife became engaged somewhere in that time. She was married 5 months and a newly exchanged soldier has a note from her husband that he "was in daily expectation of being exchanged". We are talking around 18 months elapsed here. Doesn't that seem a bit long to be in a parole camp as I assume that to be the case. Exchanges were not happening later in the war (I thought) and I just assumed that since the war was over the U.S. government would release Confederate prisoners somewhat soon and get Union prisoners released ASAP. Any thoughts on this. This would certainly make an interesting new post.
If he was in a Camp of Parole, he would have been under U.S. authority, his name would have been listed in newspapers, and he could have written home at any time. Most likely he was in a Confederate Pow camp. Many men spent a year or more in such places before being paroled -- even early in the war.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Very interesting. As someone who likes to do research in digitized old newspapers, I have to ask--did you use specific search terms to find these, or did you come across them while doing other research?

Nearly always what happens is, I'll be looking for something else and the next article over will be something so distracting the first search gets ditched. In this case " Two Husbands " was a banner headline - I'd come across a story or two before, thought I'd see how many there were. Transpires a LOT. And now I can't remember what I was looking for to begin with.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I have a similar story in my family on my mothers side. Her GG grandfather H. Belton went missing after the Battle of Cedar Creek. As the story goes he was wounded by a miniball and fell into a creek. He managed to get to the other side and stuffed his shirt into the wound. Due to loss of blood he became disoriented and wandered off after the battle. He was found by locals that kept him from bleeding to death and watched over him through a fever caused by infection. This is where the story gets interesting.

By the time he was well enough to venture out on his own the war had ended. He stayed with the family for a few months to work off what he felt he owed them for his care, and then started for home. He was from Patrick County. About Seven years later around 1871 or 72 with no explanation of where he had been he arrived home and found that his wife had remarried and had three children. Again to his families surprise he didn't even try to explain his where abouts, but did relate the story of the battle and being wounded. Three months after getting home he left again and the last that was heard he had settled in Albemarle County, Virginia near Charlottesville.

My mother related this story to me as it was told to her by her brother John Belton when she was growing up in Carroll county Virginia.

I have tried to verify this story, but have not had any success. The only H. Belton I could find was Hamilton Belton and he died in Patrick county.


OK, @Virginia Dave , HOW many interesting relatives do you have?? That story just made me smile because no one can make up this stuff, I mean the story of our ancestors. Why would anyone write fiction when all they have to do is go dig up what their ancestors were up to?

I'm always inclined to believe family lore as told. I mean, your Belton story may be odd but there's no gold mine or splendid hero riding into the sunset, it's just odd. We have a ton of discussion on what the war did to men's heads, how it affected them. Your grgrgrandfather may have been affected in some way we'll never know, he sought seclusion for reasons no one will ever know. Bless all those vets.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
@JPK Huson 1863 do you know the outcomes to any of these stories? How horrible to be in any of these positions. And I wonder who and how the bodies buried had been identified. Were any exhumed to try to figure out who they really were?

I ' think ' I found one then quit? Once in awhile I'll start getting the willies poking around in ancient tragedy, you know? It's kind of like the feeling I get when seeing post portem images posted on-line just for the viewing pleasure of folks who wish to see a dead person or marvel at' those crazy Victorians '. Someone's worst day ever, is what those are, remembering a lost family member. This started to feel like that, intruding on tragedy, looking too closely.
 

NDR 5 th NY

Private
Silver Patron
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
OK, @Virginia Dave , HOW many interesting relatives do you have?? That story just made me smile because no one can make up this stuff, I mean the story of our ancestors. Why would anyone write fiction when all they have to do is go dig up what their ancestors were up to?

I'm always inclined to believe family lore as told. I mean, your Belton story may be odd but there's no gold mine or splendid hero riding into the sunset, it's just odd. We have a ton of discussion on what the war did to men's heads, how it affected them. Your grgrgrandfather may have been affected in some way we'll never know, he sought seclusion for reasons no one will ever know. Bless all those vets.
Most likely a case of PTSD. So often one sees stories of vets feeling the guilt of surviving while their friends unfortunately didn’t survive. We all struggle to handle stress in our lives. It reminds me to always treat people i meet with dignity and respect. We do not what burdens they are living through.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
" Most likely a case of PTSD. So often one sees stories of vets feeling the guilt of surviving while their friends unfortunately didn’t survive. We all struggle to handle stress in our lives. It reminds me to always treat people i meet with dignity and respect. We do not what burdens they are living through. "

@NDR 5 th NY , you just summed up the hat we're all tasked to put on before leaving the house. Thank you very much.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
In those confused times, there were grim mistakes. A young man from Gray, Maine was killed during one of the battles and the family paid to have his body returned (many families couldn't afford the cost so a lot of soldiers from New England are buried in national cemeteries in the South). However, someone in the family opened the coffin when it arrived--and found the body of a Confederate soldier. Eventually, the correct corpse did come back to Maine and is buried in the local cemetery; nearby is the grave of the Confederate soldier.

If those in charge of disposal of bodies made this kind of mistake once, it probably happened several times.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Nearly always what happens is, I'll be looking for something else and the next article over will be something so distracting the first search gets ditched ... Transpires a LOT. And now I can't remember what I was looking for to begin with.

Lol! Welcome to my world! I actually have a file on my laptop called "Plots and Fragments" where I stash stuff that I come across while looking for something else. The filename comes from when I wrote fiction. Nonfiction is more fun and easier to sell.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Lol! Welcome to my world! I actually have a file on my laptop called "Plots and Fragments" where I stash stuff that I come across while looking for something else. The filename comes from when I wrote fiction. Nonfiction is more fun and easier to sell.

Oh heck, you have a FILE. Mine get scattered into whichever file I had open at the time thinking " I'll move it later ". Ha. Never happens although it's a little fun re-finding it 3 years later. " THAT'S where it went, who knew? ". Too funny- husband did yet another back-up for me, laptop is showing signs of demise. Eighty. Thousand. Pieces. Hahahaha! That's images and clippings. Seems a little excessive.

And thank you for writing non-fiction. Fiction can be terrific, no offense to anyone who writes it. It's just that you can't possibly make up so much of what genuinely transpired- and someone has to tell us about it.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Oh heck, you have a FILE. Mine get scattered into whichever file I had open at the time thinking " I'll move it later ". Ha. Never happens although it's a little fun re-finding it 3 years later. " THAT'S where it went, who knew? ". Too funny- husband did yet another back-up for me, laptop is showing signs of demise. Eighty. Thousand. Pieces. Hahahaha! That's images and clippings. Seems a little excessive.

And thank you for writing non-fiction. Fiction can be terrific, no offense to anyone who writes it. It's just that you can't possibly make up so much of what genuinely transpired- and someone has to tell us about it.

@JPK Huson 1863 If it helps, I just bought a new laptop and when I went to move the stuff from the old laptop onto it, I didn't even get all the photos in before I ran out of space on the memory. I need to take it to get the memory expanded, just as soon as I finish teaching online summer school (third grade) and can go more than 24 hours without it.

But I'm pretty sure that 80,000 pieces of information, you win!

I keep separate files for each book, or I am screwed. And inside the file for each book is a file for each portion, like in the file on the Raiders, I have a separate folder for each of the key players, and another folder for memoirs published prior to 1870; and another for diaries. And you have to give each file a name that reflects what is in it, or you will probably never find it again. Because I lack an attention span, I currently have four folders for books I plan to write or am currently working on.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
@JPK Huson 1863 If it helps, I just bought a new laptop and when I went to move the stuff from the old laptop onto it, I didn't even get all the photos in before I ran out of space on the memory. I need to take it to get the memory expanded, just as soon as I finish teaching online summer school (third grade) and can go more than 24 hours without it.

But I'm pretty sure that 80,000 pieces of information, you win!

I keep separate files for each book, or I am screwed. And inside the file for each book is a file for each portion, like in the file on the Raiders, I have a separate folder for each of the key players, and another folder for memoirs published prior to 1870; and another for diaries. And you have to give each file a name that reflects what is in it, or you will probably never find it again. Because I lack an attention span, I currently have four folders for books I plan to write or am currently working on.
Purchase and external hard drive for back up. It just plugs into you USB port. Flash drives work also if you get good quality ones.
 
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