Tag Archives: Civil War

The Old Star Quilt

Family history writing prompt 4 – Choose and artifact that once belonged to one of your ancestors. Write as though you are that object, tell about who owned it and what history the artifact might have witnessed.

It was the star quilt given to me by my Aunt Iva I chose to write about. As I mentioned in writing prompt 1, Margaret Ragsdale Caple called three women mother. The quilt pictured above was made by one of those women. I have been told the quilt could date back to as far as the 1850’s so for this piece I am going to assume it was made  by Margaret’s birth mother.

 

IF I COULD TALK

 

Go ahead take a close look at me. Yes, I am worn and faded. It’s a wonder I’m still around after all I am 160 years old. I was expertly stitched together by the 5th great-grandmother of the child in photo above. Examine me closely  and you will see I’m made of many small diamonds. It wasn’t easy to stitch those and keep my star laying flat. Back then my colors were vibrant and I was given a place of honor on the bed of little girl named Margaret.

I covered her bed when this nation, torn apart by slavery, fought a civil war. Bushwhackers roamed the countryside of Missouri where she lived so her family sought safety elsewhere. But other dangers lurked, soon smallpox robbed Margaret of her adopted mother and sister.

I went with the little girl and her grieving adopted father back to their home in Brookline, Missouri after the war. There I kept her warm at night and watched. Soon her father remarried and once again the house was filled with laughter and children.

I was there when a handsome, dark-haired, blue-eyed widower stole her heart, and they moved with his two children to a farm in Osborn County, Kansas. I graced their bed the night their first-born son, named Samuel after his handsome Papa, was born and when more children followed.

And oh the stories I could tell of the wild west in and around Dodge City, in the 1880’s. But it was the  winter of 1887 and 1888 that was the hardest. I had to work extra hard to keep the little ones warm. It was so cold, come spring the family decided to move west.

At 30, I was already considered old and worn, still Margaret found me good enough to keep her little boys warm as they camped beside the Oregon trail. It was along this trail her little boy, Roy, fell in love with my bright, big star. Sometimes he make a wish upon me before he fell asleep.

I was covering him the night he first lost someone he loved and was with the family when they buried his big sister Ida, somewhere along the trail.

I traveled with the family, always keeping him warm, as they moved from place to place in Eastern and Western Washington and Oregon, no place good enough, until 1894 they decided to join family in Beaver county, Oklahoma.

Goodness the tales I could tell of living in a tiny, dusty sod house with a family of 7. I heard the muffled sobs beneath my star the night Samuel Jr. was carried home after drowning in a flash flood. Such a loss, just as he was on the brink of adulthood.

Times were changing, a new century arrived. Within a couple of years the family sold their Oklahoma ranch and headed back to Washington.This time I rode in style inside a train.

I was in the wagon the day Margaret put her foot down and told Sam she was not moving again – Puyallup was as good as any place. Soon I resided in a fine house, one I would stay in for more than 20 years.

Life for Margaret was changing, too. The children were growing up, her husband traded in his horse-drawn delivery wagon for a new motorized truck.

I watched as the boys reached manhood and began to make their own way in the world. I heard the worries over a coming war and the fears that loved ones would be lost. I listened to  arguments for and against prohibition.I was there to huddle under when the father of the household passed away.

In time Margaret relocated in Orting, Washington. It made me happy she chose to take me along. She kept me on her big feather bed. My best days were when the grandchildren visited and snuggled with her beneath my star.

I was there the sad day she awoke babbling nonsense. I watched as her frightened grandchildren called for help. Soon Margaret was moved to the GAR home in Puyallup and I was left all alone.

The little boy named Roy, all grown up now, arrived to close up the house. He was going to throw me out.

“Too worn to be of any use,” he said.

But memories of our trip along the Oregon Trail and the wishes made beneath my star changed his mind. He took me home to cover furniture stored in his attic.

I still heard the family stories. I knew how hard Roy struggled to provide for his family during the great depression. I heard his wife on the days she coughed and wheezed and couldn’t catch her breath. And oh I how I longed to wrap myself around Roy’s shoulders the day he lost his beloved wife.

I watched as his little boy and girl became adults and left for work in Bremerton. Another war was coming, soon Roy left, too.   .

And I was left in the attic without my family near. From from time to time Roy would come for a stay. Sometimes he’d come to the attic and smile when he touched me, remembering our days together along the Oregon trail, until one day he was gone forever,too.

The daughter knew her father loved me, so she took me to live in a drawer in her attic. A new century arrived.

Another Margaret came to visit, a great grand-daughter of Margaret. The daughter took her to the attic and pulled me out of the drawer. She told the story of how I had kept her Grandpa Roy warm on the Oregon trail.

“Would you like to have it now?” she asked.

The new Margaret said she loved old quilts like me. She took me to her house. No longer do I sit in an attic.

It’s been a long, long time since the loving hands that stitched me together left this earth.  The little girl whose bed I graced, her little boy who slept under me on the trail and his little girl are all gone, too. But their memories live on in the threads that bind me to them and future generations.

 

 

 

 

Militiary and Pension File For Samuel Hugh Caple Examined

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I loved hearing my Grandpa Caple reminisce about traveling the Oregon trail when he was a boy. He also told  stories of his dad’s civil war experiences especially his survival of Andersonville Prison. He said his Dad had enlisted at age 16 at the outbreak of the war. Since he was underage his father had fetched him home. When he turned 18 the war was still going and he enlisted again.  Apparently, he soon had second thoughts but this time he had to stay.

He told me his dad was wanderer always thinking the grass was greener somewhere else, never staying in one place long until his wife put her foot down and refused to move again.  Stories of how his Dad had worked with the likes of  Buffalo Bill Cody and Wyatt Earp in Dodge city fascinated me.  He told me we’d be rich if his dad hadn’t somehow lost his claim on most of what is downtown Spokane.

But when I asked where the Caple’s had come from; the only thing he recalled his dad saying was they had come from the south. Once slave owners they had sold the plantation moved north after deciding slavery was wrong.

Now I had his father’s, Samuel Hugh Caple’s, service records along with his and his wife’s pension files.  What would they tell me?

First there was a description of Samuel. At  5 ft. 7 inches he wasn’t a tall man but I bet his dark hair, fair complexion and blue eyes turned a few heads on the girls when he was a young.

He had served as a private in the Iowa 5th volunteer Infantry, Company B and later in the Iowa 5th Cavalry.  He had enlisted for 3 years on 11 Sept. 1863 in Vicksburgh Mississippi receiving a 100 dollar bounty for enlisting.

His unit had taken part in the Battle of Mission Ridge on Nov 24th and 25th of 1863.  They had been furloughed to Davenport, Iowa from April 8th to May 7th 1864.

On Augut 8, 1864 he was transferred to Co. I, Iowa 5th Calvary at Long Pond, Georgia (the reason was the 5th infantry and 5th Calvary had suffered huge losses and thus were combined into the 5th Calvary.)

He was absent on detached service for Dec. of 1864 and January 1865 working as a teamster since 12/64 which meant he was most likely involved in carrying supplies for the troops.

He was mustered out of service on Aug. 11, 1865 in Nashville, TN.

2015-04-11 22.12.48I was told this photo of Samuel Hugh was taken right after the end of the Civil War. Supposedly he had a husky build when he enlisted but as a result of his imprisonment had returned home a much smaller person.

He had  applied for pension three times. His wife Margaret applied for a widow’s pension after is death.

He was born in  Mt. Vernon, Ohio on March 28, 1845 to Jacob Caple and Sarah Ann Garey. At the time of enlistment he had been living in Monroe, Iowa and lived there afterwards until 1876. He had also lived in Dodge City, Kansas, Puyallup, WA and Oklahoma.

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His first  application for a pension was made in March of 1894.  At that time he was living in Caple, Oklahoma. He stated that he was unable to support himself by reason of rheumatism and piles and also heart, spleen and liver complaints.  He wrote that he had first aquired spleen and liver complaints March of 1865 in Selma, Alabama, due to exposure.  The rheumatism had started in 1873 and he had been troubled by piles or 16 years. This application was witnessed by a W. M. Edwards and Richard B. Quinn. In another document both of these parties swore that they had known Samuel for 25 and 1/3 years as of March 1894.

There was a doctor’s avadavidit stating that he suffered from Rhuematism, Hemorroids and chronic endocarditis and enlarged spleen from June of 1895.

This application for pension was denied.  In 1898 he again applied.  In this application he stated that he had married Margaret (Maggie Ragsdale) in Brookline, MO, on Sept. 16, 1877 and had previously been married to Polly A. Caple who had died on June 10, 1876 in Monroe, Iowa.

He listed his living children as Milo age 23, Minnie age 30, Samuel age 19, Joe age 14, Roy age 12 and Richard age 8  ( Note: one more  child, Lida would be born in 1899). This application was also denied but when reapplied in 1912 it was accepted.

In Dec. of 1920 his widow Margaret applied for a widowers pension.  Among the papers in this application was a copy of his death certificate. His address was given as 510 16th st. S. E. in Puyallup, WA. His date of birth was verified as being March 28th 1845.   He was age 75 years, 8 months and 8 days. It confirmed his place of birth as Mt. Vernon, Ohio and his parents were listed as Joseph Caple b. in Maryland and his mother as Sarah Gery also born in Maryland.  The informant for this information was listed as his wife Margaret M. Caple.

He died on  Dec. 6th 1920 at 10 a. m. The cause of death was diabetic gangrene of
the foot and he was buried in the Orting Cemetery, Dec. 8 1820. Margaret also
gave their marriage date and place of marriage as previously stated.  She had had
been born, March 31st. 1858  near Brookline, Green County, Missouri.  Her
pension request was accepted.
 Now that I knew more about Samuel Hugh Caple  my appetite to know more was
whetted. He’s said his parents had been born in Maryland.  Was Maryland
considered a southern state? A quick look up told me it was. Had this been the
state of the old family plantation?  Had there ever been one? Or was the story of
moving north because of opposition to slavery just  been told to make the family
sound good.
 And who exactly were his parents? Why had they moved from Ohio to Iowa?
To answer these questions I would need help. The first two thing I did was buy a
book on researching your ancestry, next I talked to my Dad. He didn’t remember
much more. He suggested I call my Aunt Iva he was pretty sure she could tell me
more. I scheduled a time to meet with her as soon as I could spare time to travel
to Bremerton for a day. In the meantime I decided to see what resources my local
library held. While there I made two discoveries. Their collection included a book a
Caple family of Maryland.  Were these my ancestors? And I had found a Samuel
Caple who had served in the Revolutionary war. Surely I would have heard about
such an ancestor.  But he was named Samuel, could he be an ancestor?
To answer these questions I had a lot of work to do.  First I had to start with what
I did know and work my way backwards.  Time to do more research on my great
grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple and his father Jacob.

 

 

Finding Caple Oklahoma Or How I Got Bit By The Genealogy Bug

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I pulled the thick packet out of the mailbox – return address National Archives, Washington  D.C.  The Civil War military and pension records for my  great  grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had arrived. I crossed my fingers  and opened it hoping the information my Dad wanted was within.

Growing up both my Dad and I had listened to stories about how his grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had survived being a prisoner in the notorious southerns Civil War prison – Andersonville.  My Dad had even spent a day spent a day touring the former prison site.  There he learned if he could show documentation of Samuel’s being a prisoner his name would be added to the the list  of survivors.

Unfortunately the papers from the National Archives did not have the record he desired but it did contain other valuable family information.

Other than the civil war stories I never heard tales about my Caple ancestors, except one.  My grandfather said the family had once been plantation owners somewhere in the south and had moved north because they didn’t believe in slavery. He didn’t know which state nor had any idea what country they may have come from from originally.  Someone said the name sounded German so he thought maybe they had come from Germany.

Among the many papers in the packet were affidavits from several people who said they had known Samuel while living in Caple, Oklahoma.

I recalled my grandfather mentioning he had lived in Oklahoma for a time while a boy.  But he had also said his father was a wanderer and they never lived anywhere long. So where exactly was Caple, Oklahoma?  How come I had never heard of it?  If my great grandfather had lived there, once upon a time, was this the southern state  the family had come from? Wy was it called Caple?  Outside of my family I had never even met another Caple.

  I set out to find the answer. I told myself I’d just find out where Caple was and how it got it’s name. I had no intention of doing more.

The archive’s papers showed Caple as being in Beaver county, Oklahoma.  I looked for it in a current atlas.  It wasn’t there but an 1899 Atlas, I had purchased at a yard sale, did  have a Caple,  Oklahoma.  It was in the southern portion off Beaver county (now Texas county), south of Hardesty, near the Texas border.

But I still didn’t know why it was named Caple?  And what had happened to it?

Today a search on the internet would give me the answer but in 1993 other avenues had to be pursued. I needed to learn how to trace my family history and thus began my affliction with the genealogy bug.