Tag Archives: civil war

Sunday’s Obituary — Maiden Aunts and Bachelor Uncles: Harriet Ann Gillespie

Harriet Ann Gillespie was born on June 14 1850 in Amherst, Virginia and died at the age of 70 on October 5, 1920 in Lexington, Virginia.  She never married.  (I had a photograph of her tombstone which is in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, but I lost it when my dog chewed up my phone. Backups, heh?). Her grave is a short distance from her brother Wyatt’s home at 108 Houston Street where she appears to have lived at least the last few months of her life.

Harriet was the oldest child of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie who according to my Great Aunt Eva were first cousins.  In 1850 she lived with her parents on a farm in Amherst, Virginia. 1

By 1860, the family had grown.  Harriet had two brother s James and William, ages 9 and 7, and sister Sarah who was born in the Feb of 1860.  (Note: Brother George was born January 28, 1856, but is not listed on the 1860 census.) 2
Virginia seceded from the Union in April of 1861.  Her father’s brothers Everett Milton, Varlan, William, and John Calvin all served in the Confederacy.  There is not record of her father serving which remains a mystery as to why he did not.  At the age of 35, while he was a little old to serve at the beginning, give the shortage of men the Confederacy has, it surprises me that he was called up.  He may have served and I may have not found the record of it yet.

Her only sister, Sarah died in Feb of 1865 at the age of 5. 3

Her mother’s brother Wyatt also served.  He died in a Yankee prison camp in Elmira New York on May 8, 1865. 4 Harriet’s youngest brother Wyatt was born on July 15, 1865. 5  While I don’t know for sure, I suspect he was named for his Uncle.

In 1870, Virginia is admitted back into the Union and Reconstruction starts.  It is not hard to imagine that the family is weary and embittered by the war.  Harriet works as a farm hand on her parent’s farm that is value ad $100.  She lives with her parents, her brothers James, William, George and Paul in Pedlar, Amherst, Virginia. 6  Given the number of men who died in the war, it is very likely that the number of suitors was greatly diminished which may explain why Harriet never married.

In 1880, she lives with her parents, and her brother’s George and Wyatt, all of them working on the family farm. 7

In the next 20 years, her parents Jeremiah and Mary die, although I have yet to locate the documentation for exactly when, and I’m not sure what happens to the property that they own.   In 1900 Harriet lives with her brother George in Pedlar renting a farm.  They appear to be living next door to James H Donald, who is the older brother of George and Harriet’s brother, Wyatt’s wife, Laura Donald. 8

I cannot find Harriet in the 1910 census, but in 1920 she is living with her brother Wyatt and his wife Laura.  She passes away in October of that year. 9

She lived through the Civil War, and I’m sure she saw much hardship.  It appears that after her parent’s death she lived with other family members.  She is mostly entries in census records.

Was she kind? Was she bitter? Did her family willingly take her in?  Or did they feel duty bound?  Did she have a suitor who died in the War?

She lived through impassioned, racially charged times in the South.  What did she think and feel about the times she lived through?

I will probably never know much about her, she is truly one of those forgotten stories in the Gillespie family tree.  But at least she is a little less forgotten.


1. 1850 U.S Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Eastern, p. 96 (inferred), dwelling 340, family 340, Jeremiah Gillaspie and family; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 933.
2. 1860 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule,, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie and familydigital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);   citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll RRR
3. “Virginia, Deaths and Burial Index, 1853-1917,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jul 2012), entry Sarah Gilispie, daughter of Jerry and Mary Gillespie, Feb 1865, Amherst, Virginia.
4. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Jul 1922), memorial page for Corp Wiatt Gillespie  Find A Grave Memorial no. 35296331, citing Elmira Prison Camp, Chemung County, New York, USA.
5. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie (1865 – 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Wyatt Paul Gillespie and his wife Laura Cecile Donald.
6. 1870 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Peddler, p. 497 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 210, Jeremiah Glasby;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll 1633.
7. 1880 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, enumeration district 19, p. 215A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 118, family 125, Jese Gilaspiedigital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 1353.
8. 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, p. 123 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 11, sheet 19-A, dwelling 336, family 341, George C and Harriott A Galispie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 19 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1699.
9. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 1-A, dwelling 336, family 341, Harriet A Gillespie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 19 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1906.

Treasure Chest Thursday — The Gillespie Family Bible

There are quite a few pages in the Gillespie Family Bible that are interesting, but I used this one in a presentation today, so I thought it worth talking about here.

From the Gillespie Family Bible, pages 840-841 1

The bible was printed in 1857.  I love all of the subtraction statements.  Why are they there?

1861 was obviously an important year, the year the Civil War started. Virginia, where this family lived seceded from the Union on April 17th, of the that year.

The births listed as well as I can make out:

  • John C Gillaspie was born in the year of our Lord adomos 1840 the 10 of May And it is the year 1861 now. ( I think that is how it goes.)
  • Jaremiah Gillespie was born March the 4th 1826
  • Milton Gillaspie was born on June 22 in the year of our lord (I can’t read the year)
  • Varlen Gillespie was born June 9th (can’t read the year.)

I can’t read the names on the top of the second page. I would really love to know those.

John C Gillaspie was born in the 10 of May 1840 and now in the year  1861 10 of may followed by the subtraction of 1861 – 1840 = 21 years.

Jeremiah is my great great grandfather. He had brothers named John Calvin, Varlan, Everett Milton and William. No idea why William isn’t listed, but part of the page is torn off.

This page is more mysterious than helpful.  But sometime I shall unlock it.


1. Gillespie Family Bible, The Holy Bible, (New York, American Bible Society, 1857), “Family Records, Births”, pp 840-841; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] California, 2012. Four sons of Tarlton and Mahala Gillespie are listed with their birth dates; it appears that they were all written at one time and are date April 20 1862.

Sorting Saturday — My Documents Are a Complete and Utter Mess or Yes, Elizabeth Shown Mills is Always Right

In my post Sorting Saturday: Starting a Narrative Lineage, I stated that my grandfather was the descendant of a Civil War Veteran, specifically, the a member of the Stonewall Brigade.  And I left the proof for later.  Here are the statements I need to prove:

  • Gilbert McClung GILLESPIE was the son of Laura Cecile DONALD. 1
  • Laura Cecile DONALD was the daughter of James Calvin DONALD and Elizabeth Jane WALLACE. She was born on February 13, 1877 in Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia. 2
  • James Calvin DONALD was born June 30, 1836.  He enlisted in enlisted in Company H, 4th Infantry Regiment Virginia on April 20, 1861, three days after Virginia seceded from the Union. He served in Company H, until April 16, 1862 when he transferred to Preston’s Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment Virginia. 3
  • Company H was part of the Stonewall Brigade.4

Parents of Wyatt and Laura on Certificate of Marriage

Oh goodness.  I can not find a whole bunch of documentation.  Ms. Mills tells us to document and summarize as you go.  And you know she’s right.  And I have stuff everywhere and it is totally unorganized.

I shall take a moment to feel totally sorry for myself.  And I vow to spend 30 minutes everyday to start sorting through documents online and in that big pile in my office and get myself organized.

And never again do I pull documents and throw them on my hard drive or on a pile telling myself I will source and organize later.  Probably never. 🙂

And I am going to get assertion about my grandfather and his grandfather documented.

1. Rockbridge County, Virginia, Deeds, 285: 482, Children of Laura Gillespie to Eva Gillespie, 15 Mar 1965; County Courthouse, Lexington; Copy part of private collection of Anne Gillespie Mitchell.
2. Rockbridge County, Virginia, page 364, line 10 (1894), Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecile Donald; Virginia Department of Health, Richmond; states Laura is the daughter of James C and Elizabeth Donald.
3. Where are my Fold3 Documents?
4. Where are my Webpages for this?

Sorting Saturday: Starting a Narrative Lineage

I am prepping for my first CG attempt, which I hope to start sometime this year.  One of the requirements is to write Narrative Lineage.  I’m going to practice writing one for my paternal paternal line.

Today, I’m going to write some informative paragraphs and a intro and end.  I’m quite sure I’ll rewrite them but it’s time to start. I’ve got a lot more detail to fill in the middle here. but what I am realizing is how much of this is what I know I do not have sources.  I need my grandfather’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, at the very least

So here goes.


Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003)

My paternal grandfather, Gilbert McClung GILLESPIE, was born on March 20, 1914 in Lexington, Virginia.1  He was the seventh of eight children born to Wyatt Paul GILLESPIE and Laura Cecile DONALD2 His father was born at the end of the Civil War in 1865 3; his mother was the daughter of veteran of the Stonewall Brigade.4 Lexington, his hometown, was the burial place of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E Lee.   He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Over his lifetime he lived through WWI and II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement and 9/11.  He raised 4 children and lived to see all 8 of his grandchildren. He had 12 great grandchildren, but he died in 2003 before most of them were born.

Family Photo of Wyatt Paul and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie’s family

He died on November 21, 2003 at the age of 89 in Huddleston, Bedford, Virginia.  His youngest son, Paul, was with him when he died.  He was buried next to his wife, Ann Irene FEAZELL who had died twenty years earlier. 5



1. Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Jul 2012), entry for Gilbert M Gillespie, SS no. 224-03-0395.
2. I need my grandfather’s birth certificate to document this.
3. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie (1865 – 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Wyatt Paul Gillespie and his wife Laura Cecile Donald.
4. This is actually a complicated footnote; leaving for later.
5. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56069420, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Gilbert McClung and his wife Ann Irene Feazell.