52 Ancestors: Robert Alexander Newton Ewing #21

Theme is Military. Today is Memorial Day, made official in 1868 after the Civil War. I’ve known about two ancestors who fought for the Union for a while now; Solomon Gleason Barber, my paternal grandfather’s grandfather and Ora Butler Douglas, a 3rd great-uncle on my maternal side. Though some of my paternal grandfather’s ancestors moved through the Southern U. S., I didn’t see any obvious proof of Confederate service.

Then on Ancestry I found an image of an application for a military veterans headstone for Robert Alexander Newton Ewing, a 2nd great-grandfather on my father’s side. My great-uncle Newell Barber filled it out, but it was denied because they couldn’t locate his records. When Uncle Newell put in the application, he wrote that Robert’s state of service was Tennessee, probably because that was his place of birth.

Robert Alexander Newton Ewing was the name his grandson put on the application referenced above. Robert was born February 19, 1841 in Tennessee, probably in Marshall County, to Samuel and Nancy (Erwin) Ewing. In 1855, the family moved to Cherokee County in Texas by covered wagon, eventually settling around Larissa, Texas.

The Civil War began in April 1861 and Robert A. N. Ewing would have been 20 that same year. A few months ago, Fold3 gave free access to selected records so I looked for a possible match for him. I found records for a Robert A. Ewing from Larissa, Texas, a private in the seventeenth Regiment Texas Calvary who joined for duty on March 1, 1862. Age given was 22 and enlistment was supposed to be for one year.

Going through the records, I saw that he was marked “absent without leave” on a Muster Roll. The next record stated that he “appears on a Roster of troops of the Confederate Army captured at Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, Ark., Jan. 11, 1863.” Then he is noted as “Appears on a Roll of Prisoners of War at Camp Douglas, Ill. Roll dated… Feb. 8, 1863.” A similar document stated he was still there March 31, 1863.

The eighth document in Robert’s record stated that he “appears on a List of Deserters from the Rebel Army paroled and released at Tullahoma, Tenn. Allowed to go to their homes.” The date for this is given as July 9, 1863. The documents are not in perfect order by date because the 10th document states that he was admitted to the hospital in Richmond, VA(!) May 7, 1863 with pneumonia and returned to duty June 4.

So was he considered a deserter or a veteran? Was he eligible to claim a pension? The application stated that he was discharged in 1865 so it is possible he enlisted again.

The next confirmed event I have for him is his marriage to Mary Excellona (or maybe Ethyl) McKinley in March of 1868. Further research about Robert A. N. Ewing’s Civil War service is needed plus there is also a question of where he was buried. The place given on the application is Mt. Selman, Texas but I have yet to find a cemetery with that name.

To be continued…


Cherokee County Historical Commission (Tex.), Cherokee County History, 2nd (1986; reprint, Jacksonville, Texas: Cherokee County Historical Commission (Tex.), 2001), 265, Samuel W. Ewing Family; digital images, University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth354360/ : accessed 28 May 2018).

The website for the Texas State Historical Association is also highly recommended as a resource. The page for Mt. Selman, Texas led me to the book cited above.



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