Wednesday, August 29, 2012

James Axley Stevens and Thomas Smith

The following information is from Janice Brown, an avid researcher and a friend of mine.

     James Axley Stevens, captured along with Thomas Smith on New Year's Day, 1862, survived the war and returned home to Ohio County.  Born in 1817, he was the son of Henry Stevens and Hannah Bennett, both of whom are said to have come to Ohio County, from Montgomery County, Maryland.

     The Stevens and Smith families appear to be closely connected and some of the families may have intermarried.  Almost five years later, on the 21st day of October, 1869, Thomas Smith's friend, James A. Stevens, gave an affidavit, along with several others, on behalf of and for the benefit of Kitty Ann, when she was trying to obtain a widow's pension.  In this affidavit, James declared and made oath:

      "that he and Thomas Smith were both members of Capt. William H. Porter's Company of Home Guards, and that on the 1st day of January, a squad of the company were guarding Borah's Ferry on Green River by order of Colonel McHenry of the 17th, who was then at Hartford, and the Rebels then held Bowling Green and the ferry way between those points, and that the squad was captured by the Rebels, and affiant and Smith were retained in custody until 15th Sept. 1862 when they were paroled and sent to Annapolis, Md. Smith was sick at the time they were paroled, and Thomas was sent to a hospital and died there of diahrrea (sic) which disease he caught while a captive."

      Kitty Ann (Jenkins) Smith, then age 32, was never to see her husband again. She was left with a small farm near Cromwell and the duty of raising their five young children, ranging in age from six months to eleven years.  She eventually obtained a widow's pension by a special Act of Congress.  It took a special Act because her husband was in the Home Guards, and not a soldier in the regular U. S. Army.  But, because the Home Guard militia had been ordered out by Col. John McHenry of the 17th Kentucky Regiment, Thomas Smith's duty at Borah's Ferry was considered to be active war service.  She was granted a pension of $8.00 per month as shown in the Special Act of Congress.

     Additional information about Thomas Smith: Thomas Smith begins in Meade County, Kentucky in 1849, where I first found documented record of Thomas' marriage to Catherine Ann "Kitty Ann" Jenkins.  They were married by George H. Hicks, M.G., on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1848.  Further documentation was found in the "consent" records wherein Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins, father of Kitty Ann, gave his consent to Mr. Fairleigh, the county clerk, requesting him to issue a license for his daughter to unite her in marriage to Thomas Smith.  Likewise, Thomas F. Smith, father of Thomas, Jr., gave consent for his son to be joined in matrimony with Kitty Ann Jenkins.  This was recorded in the Meade County, Kentucky Marriage Bonds Consent notes.  Both were required to have the consent of their parents because they were under age to marry.

      In the 1850 Meade County census records, Thomas Smith, age 19, farmer, born Kentucky, is listed with his wife, Catherine, also age 19, born Kentucky and their new baby, a son, six months old. They were listed in Household No. 382-383 in the Kentucky  District.  Living next door in No.381-382 was Kitty Ann's parents, Benjamin S. Jenkins and Elizabeth, and three of their younger children:  John, 17; Sarah, 14; Fulton, 8, and John Jenkins, 80, born Pennsylvania, father of Benjamin Shacklett Jenkins.

     Further, John James Leach was also captured and imprisoned and returned home as did  James Axley Stevens.  Janice tells the following story that was told to her by her great-aunt, Elizabeth "Lizzie" (Smith) Sandefur: "Auntie said that when the war was over, Thomas Smith was too sick to return home by foot, and the Leach friend went to get him in a wagon to take him to back home in, and before he could get back to the prison -- upon his return there -- he found that Thomas Smith had died two days before." 

     My grandmother went on to say that the men in the family took a wagon and went down to Green River to meet the boat when it was expected to come in, with the Ohio County men on it and to get Thomas Smith to take him home. Of course, they found out he was not on the boat because he had died. My grandmother said his wife, Kitty Ann (Jenkins) Smith had made him his favorite pie - a cherry pie, to welcome him home. Thomas Smith did not live to see his youngest son born." 

     John James Leach died May 12, 1892 at home near Cromwell at age 63.  He was a Mason and he is buried in the Williams family cemetery. 

No comments:

Post a Comment