Thursday, May 23, 2013

Those Places Thursday: "Just a Boy" at Andersonville

This week, looking towards Memorial Day, I'll give some background on the men in our family tree who served in the United States Civil War. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was established to honor those who died while serving in either the Union or Confederate armies.

Thomas Hansel Sheperd

REGIMENT: 3rd Georgia Reserves
RANK: Corporal

ENLISTMENT DATE: April 23, 1864

Family oral history says that Thomas (T.H.) served as a guard at the Camp Sumter Military Prison at Andersonville, Georgia. Prison and regimental histories confirm that the 3rd Georgia, Company A, were indeed at Andersonville, among other locations. Records show that by August 1864 (3 months after Thomas enlisted) the prison held over 32.000 Union prisoners and the death rate was over 100 soldiers a day. Andersonville was a horrific place for any man to have experienced and Thomas was "just a boy" as his widow recounted in an interview in the 1920s long after T.H. had passed away.

According to Thomas' Indigent Solider's Pension Application, he was released from the 3rd Georgia and sent to Augusta, Georgia to "tend the sick" around April 1, 1865. (This date coincides with the closing of Andersonville Prison.)  The 3rd Georgia was captured in Columbus, Georgia, on April 15, 1865 and surrendered to the Union troops. Thomas was still in Augusta at the surrender and family members believe that he walked home, 100 miles, from Augusta...he was 19 years old.

Thomas married Mary Anna Ruth Harvey on December 21, 1865 after arriving home from the War. Thomas became a well respected citizen of the Laurens County area. He was a farmer, a land owner, and he served for many years on the Dexter City Council. He was considered a "pioneer" of the town of Dexter. 

Thomas applied for an Indigent Civil War Veteran's Pension in 1907 and was denied because he was a landowner. He applied again in 1911 and was granted a pension of $60 annually. This pension application shows a substantial reduction in his land holdings and a deterioration in his health.

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Thomas and Mary had celebrated 49 years of marriage at the time of his death in 1913. Thomas is buried in the Sheperd Family Cemetery in Dexter, Georgia which is now located on private property.

Oath of Office: Justice of the Peace, Laurens County, Georgia

BORN: September 15, 1846 in Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia
DIED: June 16, 1913 in Dexter, Laurens County, Georgia

PARENTS: James Monroe Sheperd and Mary Ann Higdon

SPOUSE: Mary Anna Ruth Harvey

CHILDREN: Ida Pearl Sheperd (died in a fire as an infant)
                       James Thomas Sheperd (1865-
                       Mary Jane Sheperd (1868-1947)
                       Childs Raymond Sheperd (1870-1954)
                       Julian Wesley Sheperd 1873-
                       George Fulton Sheperd (1876-1953)
                       Ovey Sheperd (1879-
                       Nancy Lou Sheperd (1881-1970)
                       Walter Jackson Sheperd (1884-

RELATIONSHIP: Angie Abbate (Mood)
                                 Eucebia Jane Thomas (Abbate)
                                   Daniel Claude Thomas
                                     Mary Jane Sheperd (Thomas)
                                       Thomas Hansel Sheperd

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