Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On This Day: April 20

In 1836, my paternal 2nd great grandparents, Ransom Spurlock and Ellender Vickers, were married in Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama. I have tried to find a record of their marriage in Barbour County records to no avail. They had ten children: Frances, Sarah, William, Marcus, George, Mary Ann, Elizabeth, John (from whom I descend), James, and Jasper.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shots Fired!

One hundred fifty years ago today, the army of the Confederate States of America attacked Fort Sumter, at Charleston, South Carolina, signaling the start of the Civil War, also known as the War Between the States. As schoolchildren, we learned about Generals Grant, Lee, and Sherman, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and how, just days after the end of the war, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. We also learned that more soldiers died in this one war than died in all other U.S. wars combined—although more died from disease than from combat. We may have been taught that it was a war that divided families.

I have always been fascinated by the Civil War. My sister says I was born with “Gone with the Wind” in my blood. I’ve read plenty of novels set in the Civil War era and watched every possible television documentary about it. Just a few weeks ago I bought several Civil War magazines! It’s not so much that I am a scholar of the war, but that I have a desire to understand how it affected people’s lives.

As a genealogist and family historian, I have gathered quite a bit of information about my ancestors’ Civil War experience. Over the next several months, I will be sharing that information here. My plan is to write an overview for each set of my great-grandparents and then individual information about those who served from each family.

Some of my ancestors were Union soldiers; some were Confederate soldiers; I know one served on both sides! It is my honor to recognize their service.


© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Monday, April 11, 2011

On This Day: April 11

In 1856, my paternal great-grandmother Sarah Belle Forshee was born in Hopewell, Washington County, Missouri, the youngest child of James B. Forshee and Sarah A. Parker. She died on February 17, 1923, in Houston, Harris County, Texas. [Source: Texas State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate 4483 (1923), Sarah Belle Martindale; digital image,, Texas Death Certificates ( : accessed 2 May 2011).]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On This Day: April 9

Ephraim Cary, my maternal 3rd great-grandfather, was born in 1790 in Washington County, Pennsylvania, the son of Luther Cary and Rhoda Leonard. He died December 7, 1878, in Pharisburg, Union County, Ohio, and is buried in Maskill Cemetery. [Source:, digital images ( : accessed 8 Apr 2011), Ephraim Cary, Memorial #38342722.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On This Day: April 5

In 1635, my maternal 8th great-grandfather Thomas Shepard, Jr., was born in London, England, the son of Thomas Shepard and Margaret Touteville. He died December 22, 1677, in Massachusetts. [Source: Massachusetts Historical Society : New England Historic Genealogical Society, "Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War for Independence," database, American Ancestors ( : accessed 5 Apr 2011), Thomas Shepard (Harvard, 1653).]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Sunday, April 3, 2011

On This Day: April 3

My maternal 7th great-grandfather Joseph Gilbert was born in 1666, the youngest son of John Gilbert and Amy Lord. He died in June 1751. [Source: New England Historic Genealogical Society, "Families of Old Fairfield, Connecticut," database and images, AmericanAncestors ( : accessed 1 Apr 2011); John Gilbert; citing p. 220 of History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield, Connecticut.] He died in June 1751 at Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut. [Source:, digital images ( : accessed 1 Apr 2011), Joseph Gilbert, Memorial #40916109.]

© 2011 Denise Spurlock

Friday, April 1, 2011

On This Day: April 1

In 1822, my maternal 2nd great-grandfather James Henry Burton was born to Samuel Burton and Amelia (Millie) Cook. The death certificate says he was born in West Virginia, but West Virginia did not become a state until the Civil War; it is likely he was born in Virginia.  He died August 19, 1901, in Stowe Prairie Township, Todd County, Minnesota. [Source: Todd County, Minnesota, death certificate no. C-8-45 (1901), James H. Burton; Todd County Recorder's Office, Long Prairie.] The death certificate gives his “Date of Birth” as “79yrs 4mos 18yrs” (pretty sure that it should say 18 days!). Using this information and his date of death, I was able to calculate his date of birth.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock