We grew up on stories of Hazel Lewis Parsons [Dee Dee]’s father, Calvin Elvin Lewis, and his brothers Tom, William, and David [his mother would not sign for him, so he didn’t go], along with a number of cousins and friends, joining the 9th Illinois Cavalry, Company M, and fighting for three years up and down the Mississippi in the Civil War. One cousin, George Miller was killed in New Orleans, Tom and William Lewis were interred in Andersonville Prison, and along with the others made it safely home at the end of the war.
All four of Floyd Doud Shafer’s, [Poppa], great-grandparents and their kin came up from Rowan County, NC starting in 1810 or so: Shaver/Shafer, Miller, Barnes, Hartley [they married into Grubbs, Robling, Beck, Loveless, Atkinson.] So many of them stayed near the original land and farms in Pike and Gibson counties. They farmed and worked in the coal mines. Our grandfather [or great-grandfather], Rollin Grant Shafer, was studious and graduated from nearby Oakland City College; he then went on to McCormick University in Chicago and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. His churches ranged up/down the Wabash River from Evansville to further up the Indiana border near Kankakee. It is his parents, America Jane Miller and John Adams Shafer, who form the basis of all these connections.
John Adams Shaver and his brother William Shaver, along with their cousins Henry Clay Shaver and Benjamin Franklin Shaver joined the 24th Indiana Infantry on July 31, 1861 as privates in Company E. The First Sargent was from Petersburg so I am guessing that was where Company E was formed [all from Pike County, IN]. The Adjutant General’s book says they were all mustered out on Nov 15, 1865 at Galveston, Texas. A link to the Adjutant General’s book is below. It was hard to find them as their names do not come up in the index. [Their name was changed from Shaver to Shafer after the Civil War.] They are on p. 551 of the Adjutant General’s book. However, their cousin, Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Shafer died of disease in Knoxville at the Asylum GH, Knoxville on 20 March 1864. He joined Company G, 65th Indiana Volunteers. He was the son of great-great grandfather William Shafer’s brother Levi.
Another cousin who served was Daniel M Hartley, 22nd Indiana Infantry, Company E. He was the son of America Jane Miller Shaver’s uncle Ruben Hartley. Two other cousins, Alexander H Barnes and his brother Albert Barnes joined Company H of Indiana’s 143rd Infantry. Their father was a brother to Sophia Barnes, mother of John Adams Shafer. A Miller cousin, John McAtee, served in the 143rd Infantry in 1865, Company I. He was the son of Obedience “Biddy” Miller and Joseph Josiah McAtee; she is America Jane’s sister. It was his father’s land grant paper that made its way to Dwight Shafer, Poppa’s brother, and opened the way to much of my research on the Shafer family. Possible: William R Miller, grandson of Thomas and Nancy Cresswill Miller, son of Jackson Miller who was a brother to John K Miller, father of America Jane Miller Shafer. 152nd Indiana Infantry.
It is interesting to see the effect of the Civil War on poor farm boys. For farm families to have their sons go off to war for three years would have been a major economic hardship. They did their duty and served their country, but the terrible losses of the Civil War created havoc
for so many families. It’s amazing that our direct lines survived the war and went on to have families and be hard-working, productive citizens.
Thankful for their service! They are all true patriots.
- the 24th Indiana Volunteer Infantry was organized at Vincennes, Indiana, on September 13, 1861.
- Battle of Shiloh
- Battle of Port Gibson
- Battle of Champion Hill
- Siege of Vicksburg
- The regiment mustered out of service on November 15, 1865.
- picture: America Jane Miller and John Adams Shafer