Monday, July 11, 2011

Mystery Monday - Samuel E. Ford

Don’t give up! Over and over I hear brick wall stories and I have several myself. But…records are constantly being indexed, digitized, and published on the Internet. You need to continue to monitor the new entries. Keep a record of the names you checked, where and when.
My latest “great find” was William B. Cockern, a brother to my great-grandmother, Aramanda Adilue (Cockern) Creighton. I had found him in the 1850 census at age 6 and the 1860 census at age 17. I could never find any further record of him.
The family story was that he fought for the South during the Civil War while his older brother Lothaire Cockern fought for the North. He disappeared and was thought to be killed in the Civil War. My mother lived with her aunt and grandmother while attending high school. She often related how her grandmother lamented about how awful for brother to fight against brother. My great-grandmother was William B. Cockern’s youngest sister. He was born in 1843 while she was born in 1852, eleven years younger.
I entered William’s name in Ancestry and got a hit. He was listed in the U.S. Union Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861-1865, as serving for the Union as a private in Company F, 7th Cavalry Regiment Missouri. That conflicted with the family tradition that William had fought for the South. His name appeared on Footnote in the compiled muster rolls of the Missouri 7th Cavalry. He mustered in from Carthage, Illinois, which was the home of his family.
Included with the 12 muster slips was the letter shown here and transcribed below: 
Carthage, Ills  June 2d, 1864
S. R. Holms
Depty Provo Marshall
I have reliable information that William B. Cockern a Deserter from the 7th Missouri Cavelry is now living in Kewanee, Henry County, Illinois. He is married and goes by the assumed name of Samuel E. Ford. You can investigate the matter as I can assure you that my information is correct.
Yours Respectfully,
Chas B. Bothum
This letter explains why there was no further record for William B. Cockern. Now the search begins for the mysterious Samuel E. Ford!  Also, does anyone know if information provided about alleged deserters was investigated, by whom and where those records would be located?
Written by Glenda Gardner Lloyd, charter member of Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society. If you can help Glenda, drop her a note at

Mystery Monday is one of many blogging prompts suggested on Geneabloggers.  Get your ancestors noticed here - send content to

Posted by Denise Hibsch Richmond

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