Tonight we take a moment to honor the memories of additional ancestors who I recently discovered served in the armed forces. We already know about ancestors that served in the Revolutionary War, including a Great Grandfather that died at Valley Forge (see previous blog posts). Tonight we learn about a few others. The information on them is brief at best (which is typical for most genealogical research) but worth mentioning and remembering.
We begin with my generation’s 4th Great Grandfather, Bennett Willis. He was born in 1780. On November 13, 1800 he married Katherine Nossaman. She was born in 1779. Bennett was Katherine’s second husband.
Bennett enlisted to fight in the war of 1812 against the British. He was 32 years old. He was killed in action on January 18, 1814. I don’t know the battle or the circumstances of his death. He left behind a widow and eight children. One of them was our 3rd Great Grandfather, Jonathan Willis.
Jonathan Willis was born in 1807. He was seven years old when his father died. He spent his entire life in farming. In politics he was a member of the Whig Party, at least until the Civil War, when he became a member of the Democratic Party. The Willis’s were all Southerners proud and true, as were many of the Williamson’s - coming from Virginia, one would expect that. Religiously Jonathan was a devout Lutheran.
John married Arabella Phlegar and with her had ten sons and four daughters! Imagine that, 14 children!
One of their daughters was Margaret Ann. She married my generation’s 2nd Great Grandfather, George Matthew Williiamson.
I’d like to mention two of the other children, our Great Great Great Uncles and brothers of Margaret Ann.
Son Bennet was a soldier in the Confederate Army serving in the Virginia 24th regiment Infantry.
The 24th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. It fought mostly with the Army of Northern Virginia.Son Samuel was killed during the Civil War serving with General Stonewall Jackson in the Confederate Army during a battle a Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864.
The 24th Virginia was assembled in June, 1861, with men from Floyd, Franklin, Carroll, Giles, Pulaski, Mercer, and Henry Counties. It served under Early at First Manassas, then was assigned to Early's, Kemper's, and W.R. Terry's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia.
The 24th participated in the campaigns of the army from Williamsburg to Gettysburg except when it was detached to Suffolk with Longstreet. Later it was involved in the engagements at Plymouth and Drewry's Bluff, the Petersburg siege north of the James River, and the Appomattox operations.
The regiment contained 740 men in April, 1862, and reported 189 casualties at Williamsburg and 107 at Seven Pines. It lost 4 killed, 61 wounded, and 14 missing at Frayser's Farm, had 8 wounded at Fredericksburg, and had about forty percent of the 395 engaged at Gettysburg disabled. Many were lost at Sayler's Creek with no officers and 22 men surrendered on April 9, 1865.
At dawn, October 19, 1864, the Confederate Army of the Valley under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early surprised the Federal army at Cedar Creek and routed the VIII and XIX Army Corps. Commander Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan arrived from Winchester to rally his troops, and, in the afternoon, launched a crushing counterattack, which recovered the battlefield. Sheridan’s victory at Cedar Creek broke the back of the Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley. Lincoln rode the momentum of Sheridan’s victories in the Valley and Sherman’s successes in Georgia to re-election.In closing, I want to comment on the diversity in our Williamson family. My research shows a family of many different religions and political persuasions. We have ancestors persecuted for their religion (Quakerism) which motivated them to leave England to seek a new life in the new world. We are a family descended from others seeking to improve their situation in life by starting fresh in the new world (Phlegars, Goodykoontz, Trouts - All German). We have ancestors who fought on the Union side and the Confederate side in the Civil War. We have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, and every other war since then.
- 5,665 Union
- 2,910 Confederate
We are descended from a patchwork of nationalities, beliefs, and traditions which makes us the people we are today. I'm learning of a family of proud and strong individuals who survived the trials and tribulations of life with faith in each other and in their God and Country.
Jonathan Willis Married Arabella Phlegar
Margaret Ann Willis. Married George Matthew Williamson
William Jonathan Williamson. Married Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.
Charles Williamson (CB)
Me (my generation)