September/October – The Hofsteater Brothers at War

Charles and Matlida Hofsteater (I1411 and I1412) of Putnam County, Ohio died shortly before the Civil War began. All four of their sons fought with the Union army in Ohio infantry regiments; Cyrus (14th and 183rd), James (49th), Rolla (99th and 50th), and David (99th). Cyrus and Rolla returned to Ohio after the war, James and David died in service and are buried in national cemeteries. The Huffstutter Famiily website is indebted to Janiza Hofsteater for recently sharing two letters with us; one from James (I1423) to his sister Elva ( I1424) and Rolla I1425) to his sister Elizabeth (I1421). Copies of the letters and my transcriptions of them appear on the website, linked to their profiles.

James Hofsteater , 49th Ohio, Company I , wrote a letter dated April 15, 1863 to his sister Elva Ann Hofsteater from Camp Drake, Tennessee ( Murfressboro, just east of Nashville). He said his health had been good for the last three months except for “one shake of the ague.” Ague (pronounced ay-gyu) is a fever with chills and sweating, also known as Swamp Fever. He talks of how copperhead “serpents” are becoming “spontaneous” at home; “ I would rather fight the Rebels in the south than to hear of them in the north.” He talks a skirmish in which a man from Company H was wounded. He mentions seeing his brother Rolla two or three months ago (“He is as fat as a pig”) and that his brother David “is yet at Nashville.” He closes by stating, “ I would be glad to receive a letter from anyone who thinks me worth writing to.”

Corporal James Hofsteater was killed in action at the battle of Picketts Mill, Georgia on Friday, May 27, 1864, during the early phase of the Atlanta campaign. The dead of the battle were hastily buried onsite and later reburied at the national cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. James is buried with the unknowns.

At Picketts Mill, General Sherman ordered Major General O.O. Howard to attack Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s seemingly exposed right flank. The battle on Benjamin and Malachi Pickett’s farm began about 4:30 P.M. that afternoon when Brigadier General William Hazen began his advance on the Confederate line. The Confederates repulsed the attack with high Union casualties. At 6 P.M., a 2nd Union attack was ordered by General Thomas Woods. The brigade under the command of Colonel William Gibson was routed.

W. S. Franklin, Co. H, 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, had this to say of the battle:

“When the battle-line got within a few feet of the rebel breastworks the enemy arose and opened a terrific fire of musketry into our ranks. Our men replied with great fury, and for an hour at least death and destruction reigned supreme. Those of us who lived through that struggle cannot forget what surrounded us. The regiments of our brigade, like most all others, had been greeatly reduced in numbers, yet our loss in the division was 1,600 men. Our regiment went into the charge with 414, and it came out with 207 men. Fifty per cent of our men were thus numbered among the killed, wounded and missing.

When our men were leaving the slaughter-pen in the darkness, those of our comrades who were severely wounded raised dismal cries and appeled to us to take them along to the rear, but we could not, for we were nearly helpless ourselves. The rebels soon charged over the ground after us (At 10 PM , Colonel Hiram Granbury asked and received permission to advance to sweep the area in front of him for Union soldiers-RFH) and our dear comrades fell into their cruel hands. A few days afterwards the enemy were forced to leave our front. Then we went in search of the missing ones, but those brave fellows who fell on that fatal evening have never been heard from again. They had been buried in large ditches, like tens of thousands of other soldiers, and a few inches of earch is all that hid those dead heroes from view.” (From : National Tribune May 27, 1898).

Rolla Hofsteater, age 26, enlisted with the 99th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on Aug 7, 1862. His brother David joined the next day. On December 31, 1864, the 99th was consolidated with the 50th Ohio. Records of the 50th Ohio show that Rolla Hufstutter of K Company, mustered out June 25, 1865. His brother David died Jan. 7, 1864 in “General Hospital at Chattanooga.” He is buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Rolla wrote his sister Elizabeth a letter from Raleigh, North Carolina on April 14, 1865. This was the day after Sherman’s army reached Raleigh. Robert E. Lee had surrendered on April 9th, which Rolla mentions in his letter. The evening of April 14th, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and died the next morning. Word of this did not reach Raleigh until April 17th. Sherman’s army departed for Richmond , April 29nd and 30th.

Rolla makes some interesting statements about the war. “ I think before two weeks Johnson will surrender his army.” The formal surrender occurred less than two weeks later on April 26th though Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston signed an armistice with Sherman on April 18th. Sherman’s terms were more liberal than Grant’s to Lee, hence the delay to reconcile the two agreements. In the three weeks prior to arriving in Raleigh, Rolla says their army has driven the Rebs over two hundred miles. “We have had several hard fights but what does that amount to when we whip them every time.” He also mentions a speech Sherman made to the army. “General Sherman made us a speech when wee was (at) Golesford (Goldsboro, NC) and he sayd that inside of three months he was going to have to muster out the best army in the world. I think this war is about over. You can just begin to look for Rolla Hofsteater home in about two months…” (Sherman’s army of 120,000 advanced on Goldsboro, March 6th-21st. He occupied the city on March 24th and remained there until April 10th-RFH).

Rolla’s thoughts have clearly turned to home. He mentions receiving a letter from Hannah Ellsworth and says “I am going out to Wayne County if I live.” (Hannah Ellsworth was born 19 May 1838 in Wayne County, Ohio. She married Elijah Messer and died 3 October 1911 in Grand Rapids, Michigan). He also mentions a man named Hiram Rop. I found a Hiram Rop in Ohio, an older man. Perhaps, Rolla’s intent was job-related. Rolla married Margaret Hines in 1873, became an invalid in 1889 and died in 1894 in Indiana.

James and Rolla Hofsteater were ordinary infantry soldiers. They wrote of home, family members, the excitement of getting paid (James- “ we have to go up to the Paymasters in a short time to get our Green Backs”) , food and their health. There was excitement too about the war ( Rolla-“Sherman comes high thunder now”). Reading these two hand written letters by young men in their 20s, helps James and Rolla Hofsteater, great grandsons of Ulrich Huffstutter, come alive more than any photo, document or census record can.

Thanks, Janiza!

July/August – Reunions and Roadtrips

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DSCN1443 Oklahoma roadtrip; From left, Torrey Huffstutter (I969), Edith Huffstutter (I1148), Delma Huffstutter (I1146) and Ray Huffstutter (I745). Ponca City, Oklahoma, 8/24/13.

I attended the Huffstutter reunion in Obion County, Tennessee on the traditional 2nd Sunday in August. Attendance is dwindling but those of us who were there had a good time. After lunch, a group of us crowded around a table which had old photos from the family of Hardy Voyles Huffstutter and Willie Farrar Huffstutter. There were excellent photos of their family and a few other Huffstutter photo gems in there as well. Two of the latter are outstanding World War I photos of John Melvin Huffstutter and Luther Marion Huffstutter. Both have been posted to the website.

On August 23rd, my son Torrey Huffstutter and I drove 500 miles from Memphis to Ponca City, Oklahoma to meet with the two living children of James Louis Huffstutter and Lillie Leola Clampett Huffstutter. They were Delma Louise Huffstutter Jackson (age 94) and her sister Edith Loretta Huffstutter Schreck (age 89). Their nephew Jack Godberson was there with his wife Carolyn who arranged the meeting. Jack was a son of their sister Jennie Catherine Huffstutter Godberson. We spent hours discussing the family and scanning photos. Torrey shot a 20-minute which we will edit down to about 5 minutes and post soon on Huffstutter.com. The sisters told about their family life growing up during the Depression and Dust Bowl days. Afterwards, we all went out to lunch. The sisters had burgers, fries and ice cream, delighting in their food choices. Delma smiled and pointedly told me she had always eaten what she liked and she wasn’t going to change now.

In July, I posted some great photos of Kathleen Mercedes Huffstutter Mahrt and her days growing up in Wyoming. Some are in color but even the black and whites are vivid. We are indebted to her grandson Randy Mahrt for sharing these with us. Sharon Stovall took a trip to Missouri and provided us with more photos and documents, only a portion of which have been loaded. Bobby Huffstetter of California contributed some family pictures of his family ranging from the 1930s until the 1970s. These slices of life make our ancestors live again on the website.

Also in July, I spent one afternoon each of 4 straight weekends copying data and photos of the late Ralph Huffstutter. I was surprised to stumble across Ralph’s outline for a Civil War book about the 27th Tennessee Infantry regiment (Confederate, Obion County,TN) from its formation in 1861 until its surrender in 1865. Much of the first part dealt with 16 year-old recruit Perry Huffstutter, youngest son of Lewis and Nancy Huffstutter and brother to my great grandfather, Adam. Perry served at Shiloh but died in October, 1962 from wounds suffered at the Battle of Perryville, KY. I plan to edit this manuscript and post it on the website. Perry’s service is ironic when you consider his other 3 brothers took the Oath of Allegiance early in the war and did not serve and his father Lewis, was a Southern Loyalist, meaning he stayed true to the Union. In fact, Lewis filed a claim against the Federal government for $125 for damage done to his farm by Union troops during the. It took him 20 years to collect but he did. His payment is listed in the Congressional Record.

I continue to receive frequent input and inquiries from relatives about the website. It is all welcome, this is a family project. Thanks for reading!

May/ June

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Ok, I know June was two weeks ago but I want my posts to run in sequence. It has been a busy summer. In mid-May, I moved to Memphis for a few months on a job assignment; a fortunate turn which allowed me to spend time with Mary Lou Huffstutter during her stay in hospice. She passed away in early June and was buried in Union City, Obion County, TN a little over a week after her sister-in-law, Marguerite Huffstutter, passed away in Dyersburg, TN. Mary Lou’s Huffstutter’s husband, the late Ralph Huffstutter, began his extensive Huffstutter research in the 1960s and took me under his wing in 1980. I would like to think I am continuing his work. Also in early June, my children, Taylor Huffstutter and Torrey Huffstutter, flew to Memphis from Atlanta to join me for the journey to Sikeston, Missouri for the memorial service of George Huffstutter. There was a Friday night social where I met many Huffstutters for the first time. The next day was the memorial service for George at a the church where he preached in the small town of Morely, Missouri. (Interestingly there is a tree in the middle of the street in front of the church. However, it does have reflector). The service was conducted by George’s son, George Robert and grandsons Corbin and Cabot Huffstutter. Ashes were strewn at the Morley city cemetery memorial marker of George and Charlotte on the plot of George’s parents, Fulton and Annie Gamble Huffstutter. We then returned to the church for something Huffstutters excel at; eating and socializing. I will post photos of these Friday and Saturday events soon on Prism, our new photo gallery which is not quite finished (but we are close). Taylor, Torrey and I were able to visit with Hannah Huffstutter Smith in Memphis. Taylor, Hannah and Torrey are pictured above. Hannah is the last surviving child of the 8 children of Hardy Huffstutter and Willie Adaline Farrar Huffstutter. We had a great time with Hannah, who is very special to me. In other news, Connie and I have been working on some new avenues my DNA testing opened. We have good circumstantial evidence at the this point that will take our line back to the mid-1500s. The DNA research also yielded a Swiss relative (though we are not exactly how he is related). who is helping us with proper Swiss name pronunciation. Interestingly, there are some of the Swiss vowels which do not translate into English. I will post a pronunciation primer soon…but I still have to stop and think through our surname before saying it the proper Swiss way.- RFH

April – Sheep not Goats

DSCN1154This month I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Lynn Hon at her rural middle Tennessee home. Lynn raises Jacob’s sheep. Lynn is a descendant of Joseph Hon, brother to Jonas Hon. Jonas’s son John married Ruth Huffstutter. Ruth was one of Ulrich’s 4 daughters. Lynn graciously shared her Hon information with me. I told her that the cram course of photos, pictures and stories had earned me a Master of Hon degree. Later, I sent a few photos of the visit to Connie, my partner on the website and told her about the “goats” before I realized my mistake. What do I know, I am the first generation born off the farm.

Great news about the Huffstutter cemetery in Kentucky, the gravesite of Ulrich and Mary Huffstutter. We finally filed the deed this month after 8 months of work. The Huffstutter Cemetery Trust now owns the site. My brother Dan Huffstutter, a Nashvillle attorney, successfully (and patiently) guided this to completion. The cemetery is now legally protected. Our thanks also to Mary Ann and Sterling Eans who continue be such dedicated stewards of our family heritage.

Prism, the visual history of the Huffstutter family at huffstutter.com has launched. We are live but still in the testing mode. Thehuffstutterfamily. com will undergo a make-over in the coming months too, as we re-organize the site. Ulrich’s descendants all come from one of 8 family lines, based on his 8 children; 4 sons, 4 daughters. A descendant is either a Daughter of Ulrich or Son of Ulrich. Each of the lines and descendancy charts will be individually color coded. The idea is to better understand how we relate within our own branch, to the other 7 and ultimately to Ulrich, our patriarch. Some of Ulrich’s 4 sons adopted other surname spellings and then you have his daughter’s lines. Given how large the site has become, a re-work was in order.

RFH

February/March…a lot has happened

Our family history website’s rapid growth continues. We now have 4500 profiles and 1400 media items (photos and articles). So many family members have helped. Sharon and George Stovall added their Missouri and Nebraska research with some of the best quality photos we have on the site. The photos of James Harvey Huffstutter in particular are outstanding. Other recent contributions came from the Tennessee line of George Huffstutter from daughter Jan Page of Colorado and Kelly Huffstutter from his son Patrick Huffstutter of Florida. Sadly, we lost George, I1881, two weeks ago and his grandson, Tyler Huffstutter, I4043, in February. Eddie Huffstetter of Houston gave us the huffstutter.com domain, and paid to secure the name for at least 10 years. He retained huffsetter.com. Thanks, Eddie! Our condolences to Eddie’s line for the loss of Dale Virgil Huffstetter (I4043) in California in January. Father Steve Huffstetter in South Dakota gave us a classic 1920s Chicago photo of Kenneth Eustace Huffstetter. Beverly Huffstutter contributed all of the information kept by her late husband, Lloyd Huffstutter of San Diego. This includes photos of his father Ralph Huffstutter (I806) and grandfather, Charles Oscar Huffstutter (I340). More collections have been promised from others around the country which we are eager to share. Among the more interesting items coming are Civil War letters from Rolla Hofsteater (I1425).

Connie and I have pushed the research in new directions as we continue to sort through a few Huffstutter line issues, Louis Alexander Huffstutter (I583) being the most problematic. We’ve added new information and continue to expand a line of Hostetlers which are related to us. The Hostetlers and Huffstutters are two separate families and are not related except for the case of a Huffstutter brother and sister (Jacob I-8 and Catherine I-9) who married a Hostetler brother and sister (John I-13 and Hannah I-11).

Our long-awaited photo gallery is getting started with the help of our webmaster, Bryan Larson. The Huffstutter Cemetery Trust, designed to protect the Kentucky burial site of family patriarch Ulrich, wife Mary and John Huffstutter continues to progress. The 2/10 of an acre cemetery has been surveyed and the plat has been filed. More on this next month.

Something we all need to give some thought to are the unmarked Huffstutter graves, particulary where we know their location. James Harvey Huffstutter in Holt County, Missouri and perhaps, Russell Herbert Huffstetter’s grave in Harrison County, Mississippi are two that come to mind. Let’s start a list of umarked graves and get our heads together to address this so no family member’s final resting place is forgotten and potentially lost.

January…a quick look back

The Huffstutter Family website ended the first year on a busy note. The survey of the Huffstutter cemetery on the farm of Mary Ann and Sterling Evans in Kentucky (Carlisle, Nicholas County) took place on December 19th. Darnell Engineering of Cynthiana, Kentucky performed the work.

Huffstutter Cemetery survey. December 19, 2012. Par Darnell of Darnell Engineering.

Huffstutter Cemetery survey. December 19, 2012. Pat Darnell of Darnell Engineering.

The cemetery is the final resting place of our family patriarch, Ulrich, on the original land he purchased in the 1790s. The survey was the first step in affording the cemetery legal protection by adding it to the farm deed and county maps. Dan Huffstutter, a Nashville, Tennessee attorney (my brother) paid for the survey and will handle all legal work. I will provide an update on the legal framework of the cemetery in a future blog.

Huffstutter Cemetery survey. December 19, 2012. Darnell Engineering.

Huffstutter Cemetery survey. December 19, 2012. Darnell Engineering.

The priorities are to keep the cemetery safe from ever being plowed under (it happened to the cemetery in Indiana where Ulrich’s grandson, George was buried) and to afford us reasonable access should farm ownership change in the years to come. It would be nice to have another cemetery clean-up similar to what we did in 1999. Maybe that can happen in 2013.

Front of the cemetery, Burris Road is on the ridgeline.

Huffstutter Cemetery Survey-December 19, 2012 (front of cemetery, Burris Road is on the ridgeline)

Also in December, Janet Gagnon-Yerkie, a 30-year Huffstutter researcher, graciously sent us her entire Family Tree Maker file for inclusion on the Huffstutter family website. Kudos to Connie Graves who did the heavy lifting to merge Janet’s files with ours. As for statistics, our Media files grew by 10% in December to 1070 records and we have almost 3900 profiles. We have also re-organized some of the albums to make navigating the site easier.

We will continue to expand and improve the Huffstutter Family website in 2013. As always, continued submissions of photos and documents are encouraged.

Ray

 

December news

Well, I am a little late on this month’s post. I held off thinking we would be able to announce the launch of our new Huffstutter family photo gallery link. The technology gremlins ruled otherwise and we aren’t ready. As yet, we do not have a separate photo platform which provides the functionality our growing site (3600 profiles) requires. We’ll get there. We have added a new tab this month on the website strictly for death certifficates. Use the drop-down tab under Media. They are arranged by state. One item I am very pleased about is the pending formation of a non-profit association to protect the Kentucky burial site of Ulrich and Mary Hohsteter (Huffstuter at the time of this death). The small cemetery is not on the county plat maps or the current farm deed. It could be bulldozed and plowed under by future farm owners without legal protection. Fortunately, the cemetery is in the safe hands today of Huffstetter descendant Mary Ann Wood Evans (I571) and her husband Sterling. By having the cemtery added to the deed though, it becomes a designated cemetery which includes rights for reasonable family access should any new landowner arise. The first step is to have the cemetery surveyed which will take place next week (week of 12/9). We have identified a Nicholas County surveyor named Pat Darnell and begun the process. I heard from him again just this afternoon. We hope to have more on this next month including photos. Speaking of which, we welcome any photos, articles and information you can provide. Please pass the word.

Merry Christmas!

November…a new view

We’re growing daily; 3200 profiles are currently in the database. Photos, documents and more types of media are being added regularly thanks to the support of so many Huffstutter family cousins nationwide. We will soon be making some changes to the website. The first is a new photo link where we can better present individual, family and themed subjects into more expansive galleries. The visual presentation will be much better than we are currently able to offer on the Media page of the website and allows for more creativity.

Our first project is “A Huffstutter Christmas.” Please submit groups of 8-10 photos of Christmas gatherings past with the people shown, times identified and locations noted. The older the sets, the better. I will kick things off with photos of my brother and I from the 1950s; complete with a tabletop tree and tinsel! Our other website changes will be more subtle as we improve functionality so we can quickly see how our family lines flow backward and forward and how we relate to each other. It is important to keep our website’s framework in mind. That is, while we all descend from Ulrich, the primary lineage road map for us is either through one of his 4 sons or 4 daughters (Son of Ulrich or Daughters of Ulrich); 8 major family branches. The last change is administrative and involves data management to better secure our information.

I was in Indianapolis on business in October and had the opportunity to visit Crown Hill Cemetery where Harry Campbell Huffstetter (I329) is buried. I also stopped by Charlestown Cemetery near Lousiville, KY where David Hiram Huffstetter (I327) is buried with his two wives Ida (I357) and Lydia (I354) and one of his sons, Merrill David Huffstetter (I406), the first mayor of Charlestown, Indiana. Photos from these visits are on the website.

The DNA project is on-going, we could use a male descendant, a “Son of George,” to participate. “The Son of James” line appears to be down to 3 males. More on that later.

Remember “The Huffstutter Christmas” project for the new gallery and send in your photos.

Ray

October…rocks!

The kind of rocks I am referring to are the gravestone variety. Or as a my friend Marsha Belty calls them, “marble orchards.” In August, I was in Trumbull County, OH and visited rural Pricetown cemetery in search of the grave of Mary Hofsteater, wife of Ulrich’s son, James. She died in 1840, at age 98. James has long been reported to be buried there as well, in an old section surrounded by Revolutionary War veterans. I found Mary’s broken ground-level stone, topped with an American flag and brass veteran’s medallion. Through networking with the cemetery grounds crew and others, I fortutiously ended up making an acquaintance with Kay Gary; a life-long Newton Falls resident and descendant through the Allen line (links with the Hofsteaters). We bonded immediately. She has proven to be an invaluable information source and now, a true friend of our family. Recently, she and fellow Newton Falls resident, Ed Hoerig, went to Pricetown, found the base of Mary’s broken stone, repaired it and re-set it upright. They belong to the local cemetery association, whose members had voluntered to work in Pricetown. Kay and Ed had Mary’s gravestone repaired before the group effort even began. I will post and link pictures of their efforts soon. We owe Kay and Ed a debt of gratitude for restoring a permanent link to the heritage of the Huffstutter/Huffstetter/Hofsteater and Hofstater family;a lingering footprint of our ancestors time in Ohio.

September …a trip to Kentucky

Well, the month is almost over but it’s never too late for a monthly update. I visited the family farm of Sterling and Mary Ann Evans in Carlisle, KY on 9/13 and 14. This is where the Huffstutter cemetery is located containing the graves of Ulrich, Mary, John, the Wilsons, Sparks and more. I was joined by the intrepid cemetery professional Marsha Belty and her friend Pam from California, who descends from the Sears line. It was my first trip in 13 years, since the 1999 dedication. The rebuilt stone wall, stone base for the brass plaque and surrounding wire fence are all in great shape. The final resting place of our family’s original ancestor is secure. It was tobacco cutting time (staking as they call it) in that part of Kentucky. Tobacco was curing in the barns, wagons were loaded and there was a lot of activity in the fields. Mary Ann’s daughter, Becky graciously acted as host and took us down to the cemetery in their truck. Marsha and Becky were the real stars of the day, plunging into the underbrush, cleaning and lifting gravestones. Marsha, Pam and I spent several hours Friday afternoon at the Carlisle Library, photographing marriage licenses in the Archives Room and enjoying our time with the ever-entertaining, Sherry Howard ( who still remembered me after so many years), Afterwards we split up; Marsha and Pam headed to East Union and me to Carlisle (city) Cemetery. The weather was good, the company was excellent and my chigger bites are mostly healed.- RFH