The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW) have embarked on a new project, The Forgotten Soldiers and Sailors. This legacy organization will be accepting documentation through the end of 2021 about those that left NO DESCENDANTS due to their death in battle or from injury/disease due to their war service for the Union.
This project is dear to my heart because I try to honor my ancestors by selecting a different individual for each lineage society that I join. I’m sure you have in your tree many people that died childless and had you not recorded them, would have been forgotten. I see this endeavor as a way to remember true patriots who would not likely have their stories told.
When I first learned of the project I looked through my tree, which combines both my husband and my sides, to list all those that would qualify. I identified 15 people.
I then looked at the records that I had already found to see if any met the criteria. For example, I have an Adam Kuhn who died during Reconstruction purportedly from wounds sustained in battle, however, he would not qualify as he left 5 surviving children. Since the descendants could join DUVCW based on Adam’s wartime service he would not be eligible for this project. If his children had died childless then Adam would meet qualify to be listed in this project.
I never took the time to deeply research the children of my several time great grandparents or thought much about the impact their deaths had on the family until I was heavily investigating my John Duer line in the past few months. That family lost a son to the Civil War – Prosser. That was the first form I submitted.
Next, I went up a generation and looked at the siblings of John and his first wife, Jane, to see if those siblings had also lost a child due to involvement in the Civil War. Sadly, I identified another Duer who qualified, Isaac. Isaac’s story was interesting as his father, Mark, likely whom one of John’s son was named after, left home when Isaac was 6 to serve in the Mexican American War where he was killed in service in Onischalala, Mexico in 1848. In researching Isaac, I learned that his widowed mother, Jane Skelly Duer, fell upon hard times when Isaac went off to war and had to rely on community charity from her Holmes County, Ohio neighbors to survive.
Another Mark Duer, son of John’s brother, Thomas, had been killed in battle, too. Thomas, like his brother, Mark, served in the Mexican American War but returned to settle in Missouri where he was discharged. Father Thomas and son Mark signed up together to serve in the Civil War. Neither survived the war. My heart goes out to Frances Bonhanan Duer, wife and mother of those killed as her second son, Thomas decided to enlist after his brother’s death. He was not killed and returned home after the war ended.
I then looked for other individuals in a different line, the Landfairs. I quickly found Davidson who died while serving in Hampton, Virginia. Davidson was the first cousin of Jacob Wilson Parrot, the first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient awarded for his bravery and I would add, audacious behavior, during those difficult times. Remember that old movie, The Great Train Robbery? That was about Jacob.
I have 11 more individuals who served for the Union I will be submitting documentation for so that they may be remembered. These lives, cut short too young, should not be forgotten. If you are not a member of DUVCW but would like to submit a Union soldier or sailor to be remembered, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help you.