My father, Charles L. HEISER (1913-2001), was raised in Frederick, Maryland by his maternal grandparents, Montgomery PRICE (1859-1847) and Sally PYLES PRICE (1862-1940), both of whom were from Montgomery County, Maryland. Dad said that he remembered hearing that during the Civil War that some of his uncles fought against each other, brother against brother, one on the north side and on the south.
I hadn’t found evidence of this legend being true, but I decided to look a little closer for the recent Legend prompt for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.
First, I made a list of the all the possible uncles according to age. This included these surnames: PRICE, PYLES, and WHITE. Montgomery and Sally were first cousins through the Price line which is why I only have three surnames to work with instead of four.
The three WHITE brothers were the right age, but none appear in the draft registration. I have no idea why.
The PYLES were either too young OR were drafted and never served. The ones drafted were William W., Sr. (about 1837-1877), Isaac J. (1837-1895), and Richard T. (1832-1889). I expect that a substitute was hired for each of them.
That leaves the PRICE brothers: Elias (1840-1904), William (1827-1899), Charles Thomas (1833-1902), and Nathan (no dates for him). Charles Thomas Price was father of Montgomery Price, making Charles Thomas Price my 2nd great grandfather.
I know for fact that Elias took a horse, crossed the Potomac, and fought for the Virginia Cavalry. I used Elias’ service record many years ago to become a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I already knew that Nathan doesn’t appear in the draft registration, but William does.
Two Thomas Prices were drafted, but I had no reason to believe either was my Charles Thomas because in every record I looked at for him he was always listed as Charles, never as Thomas. But never say never.
Looking back over the records I found something I’d missed before. On the 1850 U.S. Federal Census when Charles Thomas was 17, he was listed as Thomas. Using that information, and the age of the two drafted Thomas Prices, I determined that one of them was indeed my Charles Thomas PRICE.
Neither William nor Charles Thomas have a service record, though. Why, I wondered, if both were drafted. Also, if the family legend was true it had to be one of them fighting for the Union.
Recently, a fellow Price-researching cousin told me that William and Charles Thomas’ father, Daniel Thomas Price (1796-1875), paid for a substitute for Thomas. That made sense. Daniel was a wealthy man and surely didn’t want his son fighting. He probably paid for a sub for William, too.
That was enough research for me to declare that family legend busted. Probably my dad just misheard what was said.
What family legends have you proven or busted? Please comment if you have one to tell.
Copyright © 2019 Nancy H. Vest All Rights Reserved
Virginia Allain says
Good sleuthing here. I’ve been doing a lot of research on my Civil War ancestors.
Nancy H. Vest says
Thank you, Virginia. Has your Civil War research been fruitful?