Not All Ohioans Fought for the Union: Gen. Roswell Ripley, CSA

Roswell Ripley

Brig. Gen. Roswell Sabin Ripley, CSA. Photo taken from Ohio Historical Society marker, Nov. 2009.

When you think of Civil War generals from Ohio, the names Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan often come to mind. Roswell S. Ripley also was a general, yet he is rarely (if ever) mentioned in Ohio classrooms. Why? It’s probably because he was a general in the Confederate Army.

Ripley was born in Worthington, just north of Columbus, in 1823. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843 and served in the Mexican-American War. He resigned his commission in 1853 while stationed in South Carolina.

In April 1861, his forces at Fort Moultrie fired artillery onto Fort Sumter, the first volleys of the Civil War.

He was appointed a brigadier general in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and was wounded in the throat at the battle of Antietam. He directed the improvement of defenses around Charleston as was later dubbed ‘Charleston’s Gallant Defender.’

He died 29 March 1887 in New York and is buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.


Presenting Civil War topics at Allen County

I am thrilled to be the featured speaker at the ACPL Genealogy Center’s Military Symposium this year. With the upcoming sesquicentennial of the Civil War, this year’s symposium will revolve around Civil War topics. I will present one of the lectures on Friday and all four on Saturday.

The symposium is sponsored by the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana, Inc.

On Friday, October 8:

  • 2:30-3:30: “Using Military Records for Genealogical Research” by Curt Witcher
  • 4:00-5:00: “The Last Full Measure: Military Burials” (I have some cool examples that I’m very excited about!)

On Saturday, October 9:

  • 9:30-10:30: “Researching Your Civil War Ancestor Online”
  • 11:00-12:00: “State and Local Records for Civil War Research”
  • 1:30-2:30: “After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans”
  • 3:00-4:00: “For Benefit of the Soldier: Civil War Fraternal Organizations”

All of the sessions will be in meeting room A-B at the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Cost is $25. Make checks payable to ACGSI and send to:

Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana
PO Box 12003
Fort Wayne, IN 46862

For more information, visit the Genealogy Center’s programs page or call (260) 421-1225. I look forward to seeing you there!

Eber Johnson, 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery

Today, 25 July 2010, is the 145th anniversary of the 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery mustering out at Knoxville, Tennessee. In Company D was my ancestor Eber Johnson.

Eber was born in 1823 in Morgan County, Ohio to John and Eunice Johnson. John  and Eunice remain a bit of an enigma. He was born in “Upper Canada” (Ontario) in 1794,1 came to the U.S. in 1817, and was naturalized in Morgan County in 18402. Eunice appears to have been born in New Jersey (according to the 1850 census). Unfortunately, I have been unable to track down any clues pertaining to her maiden name.

Eber married Ann Stevens, daughter of David and Rebecca (Dickinson) Stevens, 18 September 1853 in Morgan County3.

Although his service in the Civil War was brief (October 1864 – July 1865), Eber suffered long-lasting consequences to his health. On his declaration for an invalid pension on 23 May 1885:

“contracted Rheumatism & Rupture caused by exposure & hardships. That it was on a forced march from near Knoxville to Bean Station, Tenn. It was in the middle of Winter and we had to leave our overcoats, knapsacks, &c, and it was so severely cold that the water would freeze to our pantaloons. That he is now partly incapacitated from earning his living by manual labor in consequence of the above disabilities.”4

At the time of his death on 25 January 1894 in Lawrence County, Ohio, Eber received a pension of $17 per month and had very little other property. Ann’s application for a widow’s pension stated:

“My property consists of Forty one acres of land with a cheap frame house and log barn left to me by my husband in his will Valued at about 200 hundred [sic] dollars. My Tax on Said property is $4.50 anualy [sic]. I have no personal property out side of my house hold goods. I have no income of any kind out side of the Third I get off of the 41 acres of land and that there is no one legally bound to suport [sic] me. The above named 41 acres of land is located in Windsor Township Lawrence county Ohio.”5

Ann died 9 June 1923 in Windsor Township6. Both she and Eber are buried in Locust Grove Cemetery, Lawrence County, Ohio.

I have started pages for both Eber and Ann on I also have a series of pages devoted to members of the 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery.

1. 1850 Federal census (population), Bloom Township, Morgan County, Ohio, p. 102.
2. Morgan County Historical Society, Genealogical Extracts from Naturalization Records, Morgan County, Ohio (McConnelsville, Ohio: by the Society, 1982), 23.
3. Morgan County, Ohio Marriage Book B, p. 560.
4. Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Eber Johnson Civil War Pension File, Application 541396; Certificate 478879.
5. Affidavit of Ann M. Johnson, Ann Johnson Civil War Pension File, Application 593338, Certificate 402704.
6. Ann Johnson Death Certificate, certificate number 39359 (1923), Ohio Historical Society, Columbus.

The Ohio Historical Society has just launched a new website to raise awareness of Ohio’s role in the Civil War: The site features:

  • Digital collections, such as Ohio regimental battle flags
  • A timeline of Civil War events
  • News about upcoming events
  • Discussion forum
  • A section for teachers

I am looking forward to watching this site grow as we get closer to the sesquicentennial in 2011. (Is that really only a little more than a year away?!)

Tombstone Tuesday: Friendship, Love and Truth

George H. Boggs, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Ohio

George H. Boggs, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Ohio

This tombstone for George H. Boggs is in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Licking County, Ohio. It shows membership in two organizations: the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819. It is also referred to as the “Three Links Fraternity” because of the Order’s symbol. The three links sometimes include the initials F L T, which stand for Friendship, Love and Truth. However, it is common to find the three links on a tombstone without the F L T initials.

Below the IOOF symbol on this tombstone are the initials G A R, which stands for Grand Army of the Republic. It was the largest organization of Civil War veterans and was instrumental in the passage of many laws pertaining to veterans’ benefits, such as pensions for disabled veterans. The organization was for honorably discharged Union veterans; thus, it serves as a clue to Civil War service. An examination of the Civil War Soldiers System database reveals a George H. Boggs served in Company C, 76th Ohio Infantry. According to the unit history (also on the Civil War Soldiers System site), this regiment mustered in at Camp Sherman in Newark. Although this is not definitive proof that the George buried here is the same George in the 76th OVI, it is certainly a compelling clue.

Close-up of the symbols on George Boggs' tombstone

Close-up of the symbols