Monday, November 3, 2008


Most of us who are genealogists have elderly relatives who couldn't care less about genealogy and can't figure out why on earth we are interested in learning about old dead people. Some of them get downright testy about it and we learn quickly to keep the subject on other things when we are talking with them.

But personally I find it hard to understand how anyone would fail to find some interest or humor in learning about someone like my old Henry H McGlothlin, who served in the Civil War. He belonged to my dad's side of the family -- Dad's grandma Nannie's sister's boy. He was born in Virginia, came to Kansas in 1856 and as according to the records I can find, he was one of the "border ruffians" who harrassed the abolitionists who poured into Kansas to swing the vote in favor of making Kansas admitted to the union as a free, rather than a slave, state. In one book I read, he and some other cousins were called "unsavory characters."

Apparently once the bleeding Kansas period was over, many of them changed their stripes and became ardent unionists in the Civil War. Henry served honorably and lived an exemplary life crying auctions in Kansas. Below is a synopsis of an obituary printed in the local newspaper at his death:


Obituary - b Jeffersonville, VA 12 Mar 1849. In 1849 father moved from VA to where Kansas City now stands, area now known as Westport's landing. Stayed there until 1852, when family moved to KY. "Hank" was not satisfied with that country. Boarded a steamboat on the Ohio River, coming to KC in 1856 by way of Louisville and St. Louis. Has been resident of Kansas since that time. At breakout of Civil war he served the government as "scout" until the 15th Kansas was organized. He served until mustered out in November 1865. Married Mrs. Rebecca Probasco in the year 1871. No children. Was deputy sheriff of Linn County for over 20 years and for four years was deputy U. S. Marshall. "Cried" public sales continuously for over 30 years and is best auctioneer in the state. Has sunny disposition and kind-heartedness

Now down the road he filed for a Civil War pension claim. In his original claim he failed to mention one of his weaknesses so he sent in an Affidavit which was attached to the original pension, both of which ultimately ended up in the National Archives for future genealogists to read. I'm sure he never thought his efforts to get a pension would be read - and chuckled over - by family over 100 years later:


"At the time I made application for Pension I was then, and had been for many years, suffering with 'piles' and diseased rectum' (which I forgot to include in my application.) The incurrence of 'piles' and 'diseased rectum' was, as I verily believe, caused by riding horseback in the service and from exposure incident to Army life, and said 'piles' and 'disease of rectum' first made their appearance in a slight degree while I was yet in the Army, and have gradually grown worse from year to year since, so that it is very difficult for me to state just when and where said diseases were contracted or the circumstances under which they were incurred, as they are of many years standing."

Since finding this entry in his pension record, you'd better believe I've been a little cautious about what I put down in some of my personal writings...and I hope my medical records will never get into a genealogist's hands.

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