Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday's Stories, 52 Ancestor Weeks, Week # 24, William A. Darden

Copyright 2014, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

This is week 24 of my participation Amy Johnson Crow's, once a week challenge to blog about one ancestor a week, tell their story, biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on that one ancestor. More about the challenge can be found at her Blog, No Story Too Small.

This post is as much about wonderful volunteers, great researchers, those that share, and the story after the story, as it is about William A. Darden.

Just last week this is ALL I knew about William:

William "Bill" Anslum Darden, son of Charles Henry Darden  and Nancy Seeds, was born on Dec 9, 1842 in probably Isle of Wight County, Virginia, died _____-_____-_____ in __________, __________, __________, __________, and was buried _____-_____-_____ in __________, __________, __________, __________. 

General Notes: 

Per P. R.: William lived in Suffolk, was wealthy until the crash. He had a family. There is a Frank Darden in Suffolk. Not known if related to William or not.

As of Fall 2006, no record of William, other than census reports while living with his father, 1850 and 1860, has been found. There are 3 William A. Dardens who served in the Civil War from the South, one in Company D, 3rd Virginia Infantry, and 2 from Georgia units.

Lots of blanks.  Some hints.  Not much else.  For some reason, possibly because at the time I made those notes I did not have digital online copies of Compiled Records available, I never followed through on the hints about possible Civil War service.  William appears with his father in the 1850 and 1860 census, and thereafter was never found on census again.  It is obvious from the notes I never found William on census enumerations, believe me, if I had found him on any census after 1860, I would have noted same.  William was a brick wall.  I put aside my search for William, going on to other ancestors, other shiny stuff to chase.

Then came the email.  Email from a volunteer at Find A Grave.  He told me where William was buried.  This great researcher, the wonderful volunteer, had researched a 18 year old William A. Darden, a Civil War Confederate who had died in Richmond at the Chimborazo Hospital and was buried at the Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. During his research, this researcher, and Find A Grave volunteer, Mike B., located the Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Virginia, published by NARA for the Third Infantry.  The file contained family names and information and relationships! This kind volunteer then searched around on Find A Grave and found William's family, and contacted the memorial caretaker for his family, and that memorial caretaker, by golly, was yours truly.

After seeing what this volunteer posted to William's Find A Grave memorial I was off and surfing.  William's war record/file was a little family history gold mine (well, to me it was).  I spent the first part of the day downloading the 23 pages of William's file from Fold3 and and the rest of the day "shiny things" binge surfing.  

Now, what I have learned and know about William:

William was born on December 1842 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia to Charles Henry Darden and his (first) wife, Nancy (nee Seeds) Darden.  He appears on the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census enumerations with his father Charles, in Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  In 1850 his mother, Nancy is enumerated.  By 1860, Nancy disappears (another brick wall ancestor) and the "mother" of the clan appears to be Martha, who indeed is Charles Henry Darden's second wife.

On July 29, 1861, William A. Darden signed up to serve the Confederate Army at Fort Boykin's, Isle of Wight County, Virginia.  It is noted he had to travel 12 miles from his home to enroll.

(Side notes:  At this point in my research/writing I was referring to the 23 images I had downloaded from Fold3.  I was contemplating which images I might share here on Reflections.  As I studied more, I became more confused.  It was late, I figured I was semi-brain numb/dead, so decided to leave it till morning hoping it would be less confusing.  I figured wrong.  So, I typed up partial summaries of what I found on those cards, here it is.  No wonder I was confused.  The dates for enlistment do not match up, there are two.  The dates for death do not match up, there are four dates, one obviously a transcription error as it matches the date William was hospitalized.  He was a private and a sergeant and then possibly, a private again?

William A. Darden, Pvt. Enrolled July 29, 1861, dated Aug 31, 1861

William A. Darden, Pvt, Enlisted July 29, 1861, dated Oct. 31, 1861

Wm. A. Darden, 2d Sgt, Enlisted July 21, 1861, dated not dated, but covers May & June 1862 Company Muster Roll.

William A. Darden, 2d Sgt, Enlisted July 21, 1861, not dated, covers Aug 31 to Dec 31 1862, remarks Died Dec 2, 1862

W. A. Darden, no rank stated, Register of Claims of Deceased Officers..... , Filed July 1, 1863

W. A. Darden, Pvt, Register of Claims of Officers...killed in battle, or died...., Deceased Dec 2, 1862, dated May 4, 1863

W. A. Darden, no rank stated, Register containing record of Property of Deceased..., Date of Death Nov 3, 1862

Wm A. Darden, Sgt, Register of Officers...killed in battle..., Died Dec 2, 1862, dated Sept. 28, 1863.

W. A. Darden, Register of Chimborzao Hospital, admitted Nov 23, 1862, died Dec 3, 1862, no date.

W. A. Darden, Pvt, Register of Medical Director’s Office Richmond VA, admitted Nov 23, 1862, Died Dec. 4, 1862, not dated.

W. Darden, Pvt., Report of Sick & Wounded, Date of Death Dec 3, 1862, dated month Dec 1862

All of the above were in the form of Compiled Service cards.

Below found as part of the record, written on notebook type paper:

W. A. Darden, Sergt, dated Sept 28, 1863

Next document appears to be the reverse of the one above:

Wm A. Darden, Sergt, Enlisted July 21, 1861, Died Dec 2, 1862, dated Oct. 31, 1863

Thus ends this summary, back to my story.)

So, William enlisted either July 21, or July 29th, 1861.  He served as a Private and/or a Sergeant (in the documents transcribed below, he is referred to as a Second Sergeant). On November 23, 1862 (November 3 on one form) he was admitted to the Chimborazo Hospital with pneumonia.  On Dec, 2, 3 or 4th, he died there at the hospital and was laid to rest at the Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.  (His Find A Grave memorial is here.)

The papers filed surrounding the death and settlement of his accounts with the Confederate Army became my focus of attention.  Truthfully, in the first 13 pages of the downloaded file, there is little that convinces me that this William A. Darden, aka Wm. A. Darden, aka, W. A. Darden is the William A. Darden, son of Charles Henry and Nancy Seeds Darden, whom I seek.

Page 14 to page 23 proved to be the pot of genie gold.  Here are four of those pages.  The first two are transcribed as one, to the best of my ability (hint to my dear readers, if you see an error, please let me know in the comments, a gal needs all the help she can get.  Thanks.)

State of Virginia
Isle of Wight County to wit}

On this 5th day of January 1863, personally appeared before me, the subscriber, a justice of the peace, in and for the county aforesaid, C. H. Darden, who being sworn according to law, deposes and says, that he the said C. H. Darden is the father of W. A. Darden, second sergent Co J 3rd Va Vols, who died of sickness in the City of Richmond, at the Chimborazo Hospital, 1st Devision, Ward 4, on the Second (2) day of December in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and sixty two (1862) - - that the said Sergeant W. A. Darden was second Sergent of Capt. O. G.Delk's Co J 3 Va Vols commanded by Col. Mayo, in the service of the Confederate States in the present war with the United States, that the said Sergent W. A. Darden entered service at Fort Boykin in Isle of Wight County, and State of Virginia, on or about the 1st day of August 1862, and died at Richmond, in the Chimborazo Hospital, 1st Devision, Ward 14 on or about the 2nd day of December 1862 of sickness leaving neither wife, nor children.  That the said C. H. Darden makes this deposition for the purpose of obtaining from the Government of the Confederate States whatever may have been due the said Second sergent W. A. Darden Co J 3 Va Vol. at the time of his death for pay, bounty, or other allowances for his services as second sergent Co J 3 Va Vols as aforesaid.

C. H. Darden

W. W. Joyner

Sworn to and subscribed to before me

S. Juinius Wilson, J. P. }

And on the same day and year aforesaid, also appeared before me a justice of the peace as afroesaid William (crossed off) W. Joyner who is well known to me, and whom I hereby certify to be a person of veracity and credibility, who having been by me only sworn, says on oath that he the said William W. Joyner is well acquainted with C. H. Darden, the claimant, and also well knew for years W. A. Darden the deceased soldier herein mentioned and that the statement made under oath by the said C. H. Darden, the clainant as to relationship to the said deceased soldier is true and correst in every particular to the best of his knowledge and belief and that the said Wm. W. Joyner is wholly disinterested

C. H. Darden
W.W. Joyner
Sworn to and subscribed before me

S Junius Wilson J. P.

Below, C. H. Darden appoints Richard S. Thomas as his representative:

Know all men by these presents:  That I  C. H. Darden of the County of Isle of Wight and State of Virginia do hereby nominate and appoint Richard S. Thomas my lawful agent and attorney for me and in my name and for my own proper re**** benefit to collect from the Confederate Government all arrears of pay bounty or other allowances due my son W A. Darden, 2 Sgt Co J 3 Va Vols. deceased on account of his services as a soldier in the Confederate army as aforesaid, and to receipt for the same.  Given in ? my hand and seal this 6th day of April 1863

C H Darden

Sworn to and subscribed to before me.

S Junius Wilson    JP. for Said County.

The following document, transcribed to the best of my ability:

The Confederate States, 
To C. H. Darden Father
of W. A. Darden, deceased,
late Sergeant of Capt. Delk's Co. (J), 3rd Reg't Va Vols.  

For pay of said deceased from May 1st, 1862 to which time he was last paid to December 2nd, 1862 the date of his Death inclusive
7 months and 2 days at $17. per momth                 $120.13
Commutation for 3rd Siese (?) Months Clothing          25.00
Bounty                                                                50.00
Due                                                                       $195.13

As per Quarterly Returns of Jos. Mays Jr. Col. Commandant of Regiment

Payable to Richard L. Thomas atty, Richmond Va.

Treasury Department
Second Auditor's Office
November 14th, 1863
E.T. Blamine Clerk

Controller's Office, 
Nov 23, 1863
P. (?) M. Nelsery Clerk

Totally thrilled with the solid proof that this William A. Darden was in fact the son of Charles Henry Darden and his first wife Nancy Seeds Darden, I turned my attention to researching the cemetery itself.  Find A Grave volunteer Mike B indicated there may not be a headstone for William.  I checked the Nationwide Gravesite Locator on line.  I did not find his name listed.  I snooped around a bit, and did not find any regulation that disallowed Confederate soldiers from the program.  I did find this interesting information on Eligibility for a Headstone or Marker, which states:

"For Veterans that served prior to World War I, a grave is considered marked when a headstone/marker displays the decedent's name only, or if the name was historically documented in a related document, such as by a number that is inscribed on a grave block and is recorded in a burial ledger."

You can read a summary of information on Oakwood on this Wikipedia page.

With permission of Mike B, and lots more thanks, I share, photos of the cemetery, the Civil War Monument:

The section where William A. Darden is interred, pictured below, used with permission of Mike B.  Note the small marker stones.  Remember, in my research I discovered that most graves are not marked with an individual stone with names inscribed.  There are usually 3 numbers per marker, no names.

As I had surfed around I came upon the site Restore Oakwood.  That site, on another page, provides this additional information about the markers used at Oakwood:

"In 1901, small 6 inch by 6 inch blocks were placed in the cemetery. Each block contained 3 numbers and no names. These blocks have remained in Oakwood ever since. In order for a person to determine who is buried at that spot, one must go to a central list at the cemetery."

After the research, I understand.  William is somewhere in those rows of 6 inch blocks, a number among three.

My search continued for several hours. I finally stumbled into the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division site.  I arrived via another web site to see the following photo.  My heart touched, my research stopped here, with this image, dated about 1865.

This is William's final resting place:

Your story has now been told William.  Thanks to several web sites and a volunteer that went beyond the call of "volunteerism" by contacting me personally to share what he had posted at Find A Grave.

Wish list for William A. Darden, simple, determine which number was assigned to him, and what other two numbers are inscribed on his 6 by 6 inch block.

Rest in Peace, William.

*  The 1865 photo of Oakwood Cemetery depicts, per the description provided by the Library of Congress:

Graves of Confederate soldiers in Oakwood Cemetery
Date Created/Published: 1865 Apr.
Medium: 1 negative : glass, stereograph, wet collodion ; 4 x 10 in.
Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-cwpb-00494 (digital file from original neg.)
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Call Number: LC-B815- 1020 [P&P]
Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Title from Civil War caption books.
Caption from negative sleeve: Richmond, Va., graves of Confederate soldiers in Hollywood Cemetery.
Miller, vol. 9, p. 283, Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond (per. M. Gorman 1/01).
Photographer: John Reekie.
File print in LOT 4162-C.
Originally identified as Hollywood Cemetery.

** Additional source data can be obtained by contacting me, see the right hand column for a yahoo email address.

*** 52 Ancestors Weeks Button courtesy of Amy Johnson Crow.

**** I use many resources to research, is a free site. is a pay site for which I pay, no discounts, etc.  Fold3 is a pay site for which I pay.  Find A Grave is a free site. None of these sites have asked me to review them, or use them.  See my Disclaimers page for further details.


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