Since today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the War Between the States, I am publishing a quick post about those in the Wilson-Gray family who served in the military during this dark time in American history. As you may recall, this civil war began on Friday, April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter, just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. Although many of our ancestors lived in South Carolina during Revolutionary War days, most moved west in the following decades.
There are no Union soldiers in our direct line that I’m aware of. We have several who served the Confederacy, none of whom were slave owners as far as I know.
Wilsons — Joel Fowler Wilson was the patriarch. He was 31 and the father of seven when the war broke out. Three more children were born between 1862-1865 making it unlikely that the Reverend served in the military at this time. However, his eldest sons Dixon L., Isom A. and Joel L. were old enough to have possibly served. More research needed.
Albert Pierce Mitchell and his brothers Whitman, George, and Ben served in the 30th Mississippi Infantry, Company D (Dixie Heroes). He was injured severely in the jaw during the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. His older brother Whitman came to his aid and was killed. Pierce was sent to a confederate hospital in Marietta, Georgia. On 24 November 1863 he was captured at the Battle of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee and was imprisoned in Rock Island Barracks, Illinois. He was exchanged on 28 March 1865 and sent to Camp Lee near Richmond, Virginia. He returned to Attala County. (Read more about his brothers’ military service in an earlier post. [Albert Pierce Mitchell’s daughter, Leona Mitchell Wilson, is the mother of L.A., Roy, Frank, and Willie Wilson]
Grays — Annabelle Gray Wilson’s father, Lott Dulin Gray, and most of his siblings were born during or after the war but their father, Coleman C. Gray, might be the C.C. Gray listed in the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System among the soldiers in Perrin’s Battalion – Company H, also known as the Chicksaw Rangers, and/or the 8th Mississippi Calvary – Company E, also from Chickasaw County. Coleman might have had a brother, Lott (Lod) D. Gray, that also served. Much more research is needed.
Thompsons — Annabelle Gray Wilson’s maternal grandfather, John F. “Jack” Thompson, lost a leg in battle. His wooden prosthesis, shaped like a fork without the middle tine, is still in the family’s possession. I believe he was a member of the 31st Mississippi Infantry. Again, more research is needed.
Location: Warrior Creek Baptist Church, Gray Court, SC
(Photo originally posted by Janice Loy on Ancestry.com)
A related post on one of my other blogs, Granny Hall:
In the Book of Genesis, Nimrod was a fearless hunter. Since the early 1700s, “nimrod” was used as a synonym for “hunter”. Somehow this transitioned to “idiot” or “jerk”, primarily thanks to Bugs Bunny. In one particular 1940s cartoon, Bugs sarcastically referred to the hapless hunter Elmer Fudd as “Poor little Nimrod.” [Source: WordDetective.com – “Support the Right to Bear Arms”]
My father is the great-great-great-great grandson of a Nimrod. Nimrod Mitchell to be exact. Not only was his name Nimrod, but there was a Nimrod Jr. too. When I read the Mitchell family history a few years ago and came upon these names I remember wondering, “Why would anyone name their child NIMROD???”
Obviously, their names were bestowed BEFORE Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Below is how I came to be born to the “mighty hunters” of the Mitchell family:
Nimrod Mitchell Sr., the son of Benjamin and Keziah Hunter Mitchell, was born in Edgecombe County, NC on April 21, 1743. Nimrod (Sr.) was a Revolutionary War patriot. He died at the age of 47 leaving his wife of 23 years (married Christmas Day 1766), Mary Elizabeth Ann Penn Mitchell, 3 daughters and 5 sons, one of whom was…
Nimrod Mitchell Jr. who himself had 3 daughters and 4 sons by his wife Lucy Reeve Mitchell. They resided in Abbeville County, SC. Their son…
Albert Washington Mitchell moved to Attala County (near Kosciusko), MS with his wife Susan Ann Cone Mitchell. They are buried in the Shady Grove Church cemetery. One of their children was Albert Pierce Mitchell, a Confederate soldier who fought and was perhaps injured in the jaw in the Battle of Kennesaw (GA). He married and was later divorced from Fannie Hines. They had only one child together, Leona.
Leona Mitchell married William Ransom Wilson. Leona was in her early twenties when, pregnant with her third child, her daughter Hattie (about 4 years old) and son Pierce (almost 2) died of influenza within days of each other. Their youngest child was my grandfather, who died a few months after my father graduated from high school.
Willie Arnold Wilson was a newspaperman, like his 3 older brothers L.A., Frank and Roy. He was working for the local paper in Houston, MS when he courted Anna Belle Gray. They married on June 6, 1926. In 1929 their first child arrived.
I’ve started a virtual cemetery on find-a-grave.com that contain photos, transcriptions, locations, etc. of the Wilson-Gray family graves.
- Prospect Methodist Church Cemetery (Houston, MS) — including, Coleman C. Gray and his wife Nancy Morehead (Moorehead) Gray, their children Lott Dulan Gray, Belle Gray Houston, and Lenore Gray Sims, and Lott’s first wife Alice Madora Thompson Gray.
- Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery (Houston, MS) – including John F. “Jack” Thompson and his wife Anna Gordon Thompson, and their 10 year old daughter Annie Pearl, plus what is likely his first wife and their daughter Mary.
- New Albany (MS) Cemetery – William Ransom Wilson and his wife Leona A. Mitchell Wilson.
- Oakridge Cemetery (Clarksdale, MS) – Willie A. Wilson and his wife Annabelle Gray Wilson.
- Shady Grove Church Cemetery (Kosciusko, MS) – Albert Washington Mitchell and his wife Susan Cone Mitchell.
- Kosciusko (MS) City Cemetery (old section) – including Joel Fowler Wilson and his sons Dixon and Lemuel, also Frances Hines Mitchell Harper.
- Lee Memorial Park (Tupelo, MS) — Nancy Edna Gray Trussell and her husband James Earl Trussell.
- Caddo Cemetery (Joshua, TX) — Ellender Coker Wilson, wife of Joel Fowler Wilson, her son Isom Alexander Wilson.
- Greenwood Memorial Park (Fort Worth, TX) – Thompson Everett “Tip” Gray. Note: Tip was cremated and his ashes were scattered beneath the Turner Oak; there is no marker.
- Rose Hill Cemetery (Fort Worth, TX) – John Coleman Gray
- Masonic Cemetery (Pilot Point, TX) – Joseph Quitman Gray
- Ridge Park Cemetery (Itasca, TX) – Robert Benton Gray
- Itasca Cemetery (Itasca, TX) – Mollie Gray (metal marker)