I recently became the very pleased recipient of an orphaned photograph.  I received the newest Huron County Kinologist in the mail a week or two ago, and actually sat down to read it (rather than my more usual habit of putting it in a pile to be read later).  I enjoyed reading the list included of what families the members are searching.  And I noticed a couple of lines at the bottom of one page reporting the receipt of an orphaned photograph from a woman in Kansas.  She had sent it to the Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society because it included the name Mrs. M.A. Vaughn, Wakeman Ohio, and “Mother’s cousin” written on it.  She hoped to find it a home.

Excited, I immediately contacted the Chapter and said I wanted it if there were no more direct relatives asking for it.  Mary A. Vaughn was the second, late-in-life, wife of my great great grandfather Charles Minor of Wakeman, Ohio.  I’m not sure whether I was the first to ask, or the only one, but I ended up with it.

Mrs. M.A. Vaughn

Mrs. M.A. Vaughn

I am thrilled to see her for the first time.  I only have one picture of my great great grandfather and none of his first wife, my great great grandmother Adelia Mary Hall.  Since Mary A. Vaughn is not a direct relative or even a collateral I am trying mightily not to follow that path down the rabbit hole (with only moderate success).  In the hope that someone actually related to her might find this interesting, here is what I know about her.

She was born Mary A. Beardsley perhaps on 22 Sep 1838 (from her death certificate) in Twinsburg, Ohio.  I say perhaps because the marriage license she and Joshua R. Vaughn obtained in December 1853 alleged that she was at least 18 years old, which she wouldn’t have been in 1853 if she had been born in 1838,  At only 15 years old, she should have required the consent of her father to marry, which was not reported.  On the other hand, 1838 is consistent with the age she reported as late as 1906 when she and Charles Minor married  and on all the various federal censuses I have found her on.

I am finding confusing evidence about her parents.  On the first marriage record there is no mention of her parents.  On the second, to Charles Minor, she reported her parents as John Birdsley and Caroline Goodin (being her mother’s maiden name).  On Mary’s death certificate her parents were reported (by I believe a daughter of Mary’s) to have been Joseph Spencer (?maybe, this is hard to decipher) and Caroline Goodin.  I found a marriage record in Summit County, Ohio for a Caroline Goodwin and David Beardsley in 1840 (2 years after the reported date of birth for Mary.   On the 1850 census I found Caroline Goodwin and Mary A. Beardsley living in Cuyahoga County, Ohio – unfortunately this census did not record relationships or marital status.  And, finally, on the 1860 and 1870 censuses there is a Daniel and Peggy Ann Goodin living in the same place or next door to Joshua and Mary Vaughn and their young family, and in 1880 there is a Daniel Goodin in their household listed as Father-in-Law.  Oh my.

Joshua R. Vaughn was certainly older than Mary, likely by at least 3 years and more likely by 7-8 years based on the federal censuses I have found them together on.  They seem to have lived all their married lives in Wakeman, Ohio, also based on the federal censuses, and often lived near other families who are direct relatives of mine.  Joshua served in the Civil War for almost 5 months in Company E of the 166 Ohio Infantry as a private.   He applied for a pension based on being an invalid, in 1891, and a month after his death in 1901, Mary applied as his widow.  In January 1906 she married my great great grandfather Charles Minor and they lived in Wakeman together until he died in November 1913.  Soon thereafter she sold the house and moved to Cleveland to live with one of her daughters.  Mary Beardsley Vaughn Minor died in Cleveland in June 1926 and was buried with her first husband in the Wakeman Cemetery.

So as you can see, I haven’t managed to stay out of the rabbit hole but now I am done (she told herself sternly).  And the photo which was orphaned is welcome to find a home with me, however if there is anyone who is directly related who would like it I am willing to pass it along.

Wounded on Morris Island, South Carolina, 1863

For this story, I decided to first present the story that Grandpa Lyle remembered being told as a young boy and then to copy what Grandpa Minor had said in his diary.  The copy of his diary that I have was typed/transcribed/abstracted by, I think, his granddaughter Alberta Minor Flint.  I only have the typed version and have never seen the original, so I don’t know whether this is a true transcription or how much it might have been condensed or abstracted.  I wish I knew where the original is.

Background: my great great grandfather, Charles E. Minor served from 1861-1865 mostly in Company G of the 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  In June 1863 he returned to the Regiment, having been detached since August 1862 on a recruiting tour.

Story as told by Grandpa Lyle:

At one time he was stationed on Folly Island, which was a sand dune.  It was nothing more or less than a sand spit within firing distance of Fort Wagner.  And they had to go in at night. In the day time, they were within firing range of Fort Wagner. And they had to go in by raft and by boat at night to land and take all their provisions and everything they needed in, to this island. And they built a sand bag fortification, filled sand bags up and built it and then they got some field, what they called field pieces — artillery — that would fire on Fort Wagner and for a period he was in command of a group.  And at night they would watch for the flash of a gun over there and he would — firing with his pistol — he had a hand gun — and they would fire at the flash, hoping that it would hit somebody. Well somebody at the fort saw his flash and, first thing he knew, a rifle ball came to him. It went through the calf of one leg and the knee cap of the other. He made his way back to the field dispensary, the tent where they took care of them and he said, “My knee cap’s in terrible pain here.” And the man said, “Well, you’re loosing a lot of blood in the other leg.” The calf of the one leg had been completely pierced, but the pain in the knee cap was so intense that he was not aware that he had been pierced by the bullet in his other leg. Following that he was removed from the island and sent to the hospital there.  I don’t know where that was.

But anyway, he had been in the hospital.  His leg had, was infected, and they had given him what treatment they could.  Doctor looked at him and says, “No way. Can’t save that leg.” Said, “We’ll have to take it off tomorrow.” So the next day, in comes the doctor with two assistants and a board. They were going to strap him down to the board and saw the leg off. And there was a bucket of water on a three legged stool right by the side of the head of the bed. My grandfather raised up and he grabbed that stool, tipped the water over toward the doctor, and he raised the stool up over his head, and he said, “You touch me and somebody’s going to get hurt.” And the doctor told his men to walk away and leave him alone. The result was that eventually the leg healed and never had to have his leg amputated. But in those days they did what was the quickest thing. So many men ended up with a peg leg following the Civil War. Amputation was a thing that could save the life.

Charles E. Minor

From Grandpa Minor’s Diary:

Thursday 11th [June 11, 1863] – Took a boat about 4 p.m. yesterday but didn’t get under way till 1 o’clock this morning, and reached Folly Island about 6 a.m.  Found the regt. encamped about 5 miles from the landing.

Folly Island is about 7 miles long and its greatest width 1 mile.  The only vegetation is Pine and Palmetto with a little coarse grass – almost a barren waste.  The 67th has a fine camp on the south side of the Island facing the ocean.  Warm weather but a fine sea breeze.  Sharks, alligators, and serpents we found in considerable numbers.
Met with a warm reception by both officers and men.  Am glad to once more be with the regt.  Am agreeably surprised to find things so pleasant.  The regt. is small but has gained in skill and appearance since I last saw them.

<snip>between then and July 4th the federal soldiers were building batteries on the end of Folly Island in preparation for attacking Morris Island.

July 4 – batteries almost ready on the point.  The intention was to attack today but we are not quite ready.
July 10, 1863 – This morning at 5 o’clock the ball was opened by our batteries and in less than one hour we had all of the east part of Morris Island, guns, tents, and some prisoners.
July 11 – Saturday – More troops crossed over today and preparations are on foot to dislodge the rebs from Fort Wagner, the only point they now hold on the island.  The loss so far has been slight.
July 18 – Saturday – During the past week strong batteries have been erected facing Wagner and at 10 a.m. today they opened fire on the Fort.  At 2 p.m. the fleet moved up and joined their fire with the Batteries on shore.  They kept up a terrific fire until dark, when the infantry were ordered to charge on teh works.  During the day our Co. and Co. C were on picket within 600 yards of the Fort.
July 18 – Saturday – Under this terrible fire from both sides.  As we advanced to the charge we were raked by grape and cannister, cutting us up dreadfully, but the greatest slaughter was at the ditch and ascending the Parapet.  We reached the Fort and help most of it for an hour and a half, but not being reinforced. were obliged to fall back.
Our regiment lost over half their men.  Co.G. lost 13 wounded and 3 killed.
I received four scratches all slight, left hand, left shoulder, right arm, and a ball through my right ear.  All doing well.
July 24, 1863 – At daylight our fleet and shore batteries opened a heavy fire on the forts.  There was a detachment of two Capt. and four Sergts. sent home for drafts to fill up the regiment.  Hope they may succeed.
Aug. 26 – Brigade on picket at the front.  About 7 a.m. I was wounded by a sharp-shooter through both legs, no bones broken.
Sept. 7, 1863 – Our troops took possession of Fort Wagner and Gregg this morning after nearly two months siege.
Sept. 20 – Dressed for the first time since wounded.  Can walk a little.
Oct. 1 – Left hospital.

Disclaimer: I know very little about the Civil War beyond what I remember from my early schooling, but I’m starting to do some reading to find out about it.  I believe that this description by Grandpa Minor is of the assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston harbor that was the basis of the story in the film Glory. If I am right, Grandpa Minor’s regiment, the 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was in the charge that was led by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first formal units of the U.S. Army to be made up entirely of African-American men (aside from the officers).