RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. CIVIL WAR CLAIMS

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Bruce Osburn
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RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. CIVIL WAR CLAIMS

Postby Bruce Osburn » Tue January 24, 2017, 12:23 pm

Just recently, while searching on-line records for my elusive Civil War ancestors, I ran across a site for claims submitted by citizens of southern states who petitioned the U.S. government for compensation of property stolen by Union soldiers.

During William Sherman's northward advance through the Carolinas, part of his army passed through Richmond County. And, as the soldiers were prone to do, they confiscated, stole, robbed, purloined and otherwise removed, without permission or payment, vast amounts of personal property. That property ranged from cattle, horses, mules, swine, fowl, fodder, lard, pots, pans, kettles, blankets, pillows and an endless list of items. And none of the property was receipted for, it was simply removed and taken away.

Legislation was passed circa 1872 to compensate those citizens whose property was taken. And, as best as I could determine from just a brief scan of the site, more than three dozen citizens of Richmond County submitted claims which, unfortunately, were denied.

There were at least four McDonalds, (Archibald; Alexander; John A. and Randolf) a Lewis Pate, Caroline J. Gibson and others.

If anyone has an interest in looking at the site let me know and I'll steer you to it.
Bruce Osburn
--We live so long as we are remembered... old German adage.

Bruce Osburn
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue May 1, 2007, 11:05 pm
Location: Brunswick, Ga.
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Re: RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. CIVIL WAR CLAIMS

Postby Bruce Osburn » Wed January 25, 2017, 5:06 pm

OOPS! I made a big mistake in the initial post to this topic. Further searching turned up thirteen Richmond County residents who recovered compensation covering parts of their claims, but not all claims. The lucky ones were James Chavis of Laurel Hill; John Chavers of Rockingham; Daniel Currie; Benjamin Dawkins; Frances S. "Fannie" Dockery of ... the valley of Pee Dee, four miles south west of Rockingham... [widow of John W. Covington, married a Colonel Dockery]; William Jacobs; Marshall Leviner; Duncan McPherson of Laurel Hill; John O. McRae of Rockingham; Sarah McSween of Powhatan; Rueben Norton of Laurel Hill; Elijah Pate of Laurel Hill and Christian Smith of Powhatan.
Bruce Osburn
--We live so long as we are remembered... old German adage.

Bruce Osburn
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue May 1, 2007, 11:05 pm
Location: Brunswick, Ga.
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Re: RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. CIVIL WAR CLAIMS

Postby Bruce Osburn » Mon January 30, 2017, 3:47 pm

A little more about Fannie Dockery.

CIVIL WAR CLAIM OF DAMAGES BY FRANCES SETTLE COVINGTON DOCKERY

During the advance of the Union Army through Richmond County in March 1865 the soldiers' clothing, sustenance and feed for their horses were supplied mostly, if not solely, by the people of the country the army was passing through at any given time. The soldiers simply took what they wanted and, in some cases, destroyed what they couldn't carry off. In some instances items of no military application whatsoever were taken along with what was considered war material. Items such as gold watches and chains, silver utensils, ear rings, broaches and other valuables were carted off right along with livestock, saddles and the wagons used to haul off large quantities of bacon, corn, potatoes, lard, molasses and other things needed to fill empty stomachs.

After the war was over southerners were permitted to submit claims for property that had been taken. And of the nearly fifty claims submitted by citizens of Richmond County, only a dozen or so were approved.

Filling out the lengthy application must have been difficult for the petitioners. Questions such as age, residence, how long a resident, occupation, whether a petitioner was loyal to the U.S. during the war, proof of loyalty and nearly 80 more questions to be answered.

The claims approved for thirteen petitioners of Richmond County show that 28 mules were taken, 20 horses, 28 cattle, 84 chickens, 15,300 pounds of bacon, 16,100 pounds of fodder, 5,690 bushels of corn plus various other items such as peas, flour, syrup, harnesses, sacks, trousers, pots, pans, etc. And of all the petitioners one stands out from all the others because of the tremendous loss the property owner suffered.

Frances Settle Covington was an 28-year-old widow when the war began. She and her three small children were living on "the home plantation", one of three plantations she inherited from her husband, John Covington. The following information was extracted from her responses to the questions of how her property was taken.

She began her claim by stating she lived ...on my plantation 3 miles west of Rockingham my farm contains over 2000 acres. I cannot say how many acres were cultivated.
...I had 2 brothers in the confederate army Thomas and David Settle did not furnish them with Military Equipment, clothing or money.
...I do solemnly declare that my sympathies was with the union throughout the war, and that I never did any thing either by word or deed to injure the cause and that I was ready and willing at all times to have served the union cause in any way that I could.
...I was a widow when my property was taken. I was married to Col. O.H. Dockery when I filed my petition the reason he is not joined with me in the petition is he has no right to the property. it belongs to myself and children by my first husband. I have 3 children by my first husband Nettie Fannie & John W. Covington. Nettie the oldest is now 18 years old my son only 14 years old. the property all belonged to my first husband Col. John W. Covington he died 2 years before the war commenced.
...on Monday afternoon 2 united soldiers came to my house and asked how far the confederate army was I told them I did not know they found a pistal in my bureau drawer took it said they had orders to take all fire arms. I said to them that I kept that for self protection you would not take a laties pistal they said yes they had orders to take every thing of that kind. the same afternoon near night some 15 or 20 soldiers came to my house riding asked me for hams I handed them the keys they went and got some hams I asked them to lock the door after they got what they wanted. they took some hams and some meal or flour put it on a cart of mine with meal that had just come from my mill. the soldier in command said to the other soldiers that I was a lady and that they must behave themselves and that he intended that I should be protected and when he left he said to me to lock all my doors -- that soldiers might be passing by that night he said to me you must have a guard. the next morning a great many soldiers came my house and yard all full. Some of the soldiers came in my house and commenced taking things. at this time an officer came in and asked for the lady of the house he said to me I have orders from Gen'l Jefferson C. Davis to inspect all provisions on your plantation and that he wishes me to go and show him where it was I offered him the keys he said to me he had rather I would go with him and unlock the doors. I said I was afraid to go out there were too many men and horses in the yard. he said that he would go with me I then went and unlocked my smoke house door he then called to the men to come and load up the wagons with the bacon. I then unlocked another door where I had molasses and meal he ordered the men to take the property in that house they continued to take my property until they had took nearly every thing I had.

Fannie continued her narrative for two or three more pages, describing the manner in which the soldiers took her property, how they ground the corn in her grist mills on the upper and lower plantations and then setting the mills on fire. She watched as her animals were taken away and her wagons loaded with provisions from her storehouses disappeared.

Fannie's total claims for damages amounted to $10,000. She was awarded $8,300, an amount that would be equivalent to $175,000 in 2016 dollars.

I suspect Fannie still has descendants living in Richmond County. My granddad was a tenant farmer and in the late 1940s until the early 1950s he sharecropped for a mister Dockery who owned hundreds of acres of farmland in the southern part of the county.
1-30-2017
Bruce Osburn
--We live so long as we are remembered... old German adage.

Bruce Osburn
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue May 1, 2007, 11:05 pm
Location: Brunswick, Ga.
Contact:

Re: RICHMOND COUNTY, N.C. CIVIL WAR CLAIMS

Postby Bruce Osburn » Tue January 31, 2017, 11:38 pm

Sorry, guys, I never intended to get so deeply into this post but I found more info on dear ol' Fannie Settle Covington Dockery. It appears, from on-line info, that Fannie was much more than just a regular run-of-the-mill slave owner. Her second husband, Oliver Hart Dockery, owned a plantation in his own right, north of Rockingham near Mangum. Dockery was a farmer and politician, serving in the N.C. State Legislature for several years plus unsuccessful runs for governor and also lieutenant governor. He was appointed counsel general to Brazil and served in Rio for a few years.

As best as I can determine, the plantation house Fannie inherited from her first husband, John W. Covington -- the house the Yankees raided -- is still standing and occupied (as of 2013). It is located south of Rockingham off the east side of U.S. #1, about 700 feet south of the intersection at Mizpah Road. The house itself sits nearly 300 feet off the roadway, behind a wooded area but is still visible at an oblique angle. On-line info says the farm is 3,000 acres with the house sitting on 14 acres dedicated as a buffer to development.

The plantation house is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is identified as the John Wall Covington House. Little is mentioned about Fannie other than she was Covington's wife, although she is incorrectly identified as Fannie Steele. (And I say incorrectly identified because Fannie clearly stated in her Civil War claim for damages that her maiden name was Settle, and a notation by the submitting lawyer says she is a sister to Judge Settle.)

Fannie and Oliver H. Dockery are interred in O.H. Dockery Cemetery in Mangum.

The National Registry of Historic Places has this one line regarding the Civil War: Family tradition maintains that the house was visited by Union soldiers on several occasions during the Civil War, but no damage was done. So I would assume that that part of family history regarding the pillaging and burning of the plantation was lost to faded memories during the next hundred years or so.
Bruce Osburn
--We live so long as we are remembered... old German adage.


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