Sunday, December 28, 2014

...down to the 4th generation...

My grandfather, Sam Brice -- that's him sitting in the foreground with his feet tucked under -- was born in 1889, and looks to have been slightly less than 10 years old when this family picture was taken, dating it to shortly before 1900.

His father, Timothy Brice, is seated at center beside his dour-looking wife Mary, surrounded by their ten children and, on the other side of the white picket fence holding the clan's first and at this date only grandchild, the inevitable "Aunt" Ellen. This was, after all, Brooks County in Southern Georgia.

Until  coupIe years ago I never knew any but the barest facts about my great-grandfather, that he was born in 1838 and looked a lot like me. I had done the math and knew that he was 23 and his brother David  was 24 when the Civil War commenced in 1861. Born and brought up in South Georgia, they were grade-A cannon fodder.

Undoubtedly, social necessity as well as patriotic motives and a looming universal conscription order from the CSA led to their walking down to Savannah to volunteer for duty in the 50th Georgia Infantry 
on March 4,1862. But when the regiment marched out of Savannah four and a half months later, traveling north where it was attached to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, only David marched with them. He fought at Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, and met his death on the second day of the Battle of The Wllderness, May 6, 1864.

Meanwhile, Tim was heading home from an army hospital in Macon, above the fall line and outside the malarial zone surrounding Savannah, where he had become sick during training with Camp Fever, a form of malarial dysentary which killed as many during this conflict as died in battle.

Tim Brice was discharged from service on the same day the regiment marched from Savannah, and presumably returned home to Brooks County, where he married in 1866, fathered 13  children, 10 of whom lived, and spent the rest of his days.

It would take a very serious flaw in one's constitution or character to be unconditionally discharged from an army as desperate for manpower as the Confederacy's was. Perhaps my great-grandfather was gravely ill, or maybr he was painfully unfit for soldiering and warfare. In any case, Timothy Brice had a very  shoirt interlude in service, and did no fighting for the CSA. 


Joe said...

I don't think my ancestors had any slaves. My brother did some research on them. I don't think he found evidence that any of my direct ones fought in the Civil War. They lived in Pennsylvania so it would have likely been for the North if any did.

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

Joe, were yr ancestors Quakers? The Quakers were early aboltionists, & helped start t the underground railroad.

Joe said...

Hi Dave, I remember my brother saying some things about our ancestors from Germany, but the only other thing that I remember besides where they settled was that they came over in the 1800s. It seems that my German roots lessens the chance of Quaker heritage since the movement seems to have been very common in Great Britain, or maybe I can't find references to Germans easily because most of the records are in German. I did find that 6 people with my surname fought on the Union side though. Maybe my brother said that they fought in the war instead of didn't fight. That seems to be all who came to America after 1851, but before the war. One other came over in 1862. (The war began in 1861.) That might have been to help offer support for relatives fighting in the war.

My local friend with German ancestors said that he had Quaker heritage. I recall that at least one of his parents was Quaker, which might help explain why he served some jail time for resisting the Vietnam War draft.

One thing that's in my mind about the Germans in my city here in SW OH is that they tend to be linked to Catholicism.

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

1880-1920 was the last big wave B4 the current one.

It included Germans, Scandinavians, Poles, Italians, German, Polish, & Russian Jews, Greeks, & probably dozens of others I've left out.

U're right; Most Quakers were English, and came in the late 1700's.

All my ancestors were here before 1850 except John Peterson, who came from Sweden about 1890.

Joe said...

Thanks for those further comments.