Week 4: “I’d like to meet..”
This week, I was still involved in researching the Dudley family ancestors, particularly the children of Robert Dudley and Clarissa Isabell Ross, my 4th great-grandparents. See their story on last week’s post. Usually, I gather some basic details on each child and look for interesting stories. The stories often makes them more human as opposed to being just names and dates. I find that when I come upon someone who has an interesting story, I usually also learn some history – a learning experience! That is what happened this week and I found someone I would like to have met!
Robert and Clarissa had 10 children that I know of and the seventh child was named after her mother, Clarissa Ross Dudley, but the family called her “Clarry” and many records used the nickname rather than her formal name. Clarry was born in 1806 in Surry County, North Carolina, which is near the southern Virginia border. Clarry married a man named Asa Hodges on 9 Oct 1830.
Asa is the man I would like to have met! Asa was born in 1804 in Mount Airy, Surry County, North Carolina. His parents were Giles Joseph Hodges and Mary “Polly” Noblett. I found the will of Joseph Hodges who died about 1841 in Surry County and his will was probated on 4 July 1841. In the will, his son Asa Hodges was left some stock and appointed one of the executors of the estate. Others in the will besides his wife Mary were Asa’s brother Meredith Hodges (first born) and seven sisters.
Joseph Hodges parents, I discovered, were Bartholomew Benjamin Hodges ( 1752-1831) and Elizabeth Cockerham. I found a picture of the cabin built by Bartholomew, Asa’s grandfather, that Asa’s father Joseph grew up in – an interesting picture. The cabin was located on White Dirt Road in Surry County. Asa probably was familiar with his grandparent’s cabin and visited there while growing up. Amazingly, it still stands!
After Clarry Dudley and Asa were married, they stayed in Surry County according to the 1840 Census for Surry. Sometime between 1848-1850, they had moved to Murry County, Georgia. In the 1850 Census, Asa was 46 and a farmer. Clarry was 44 and they had 9 known children, ages 2 to 18 (5 sons and 4 daughters). All the children were born in North Carolina. The 1860 Census found them living in DeKalb County, Alabama with a Post Office of Lebanon, Alabama. Asa, listed as a farmer, was now 55 and Clarry 54. Six of the children were living with them and three of the sons were farm laborers. The value of his real estate was $150 and personal estate was valued at $200. That would be about $4500 and $6000 today. Comparing Asa’s values with neighbors, several neighbors were around the same values as his but quite a few had higher values.
The Agricultural Census for Asa Hodges in DeKalb County, Alabama in 1860 did indicate that they were not really well off. He held 30 acres improved and 10 acres not improved. He owned no horses, mules or donkeys but had 2 oxen (for plowing) and 2 dairy cows and 2 other cattle. He did have 15 sheep and 30 swine for a livestock value of $150. As for crops, he did not grow wheat, rice or rye but had 300 bushels of Indian corn, 50 pounds of tobacco and 15 pounds of wool.
So far, Asa Hodges seemed like an ordinary farmer – until I came across his military service! His muster card for the Confederate army listed him as a private in Capt. J. T. White’s Co., Hunter’s Regiment of Indian Volunteers. The muster-in roll was dated Sept. 10, 1863 as part of the Chickasaw Nation! Asa was Native American – Chickasaw to be exact. He joined under Capt. Thomas Miller for 3 years or for the duration of the war. This regiment of Indian Volunteers was organized Oct. 23 of 1863 so Asa was probably among the first volunteers. Having an “Indian” regiment fighting for the Confederacy was new to me. He was in the First Chickasaw/Choctaw Cavalry Regiment and keep in mind that he was about 58 or 59 years old at this time.
Some of the history of the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles Regiment that I found states the regiment was first organized at Scullyville, Choctaw Nation in July 1861 with 1085 men, In May 1862 it had 27 officers and 707 men. The regiment had six companies of Choctaws, three of Chickasaws and one of half-breeds. It lost 12 men at Newtonia and was attached to D. H. Cooper, T. Walker brigade, Tran-Mississippi Department. The regiment skirmished in the Indian Territory (Arkansas) and lost three men at the battle of Poison Spring. It was included in the surrender of June 23, 1865.
Asa Hodges died in 1865 as he was killed or severely wounded, causing his later death, while serving in this Indian regiment, likely at the Battle of Poison Spring (Arkansas Territory) or Newtonia (Missouri Territory) although there is no recorded evidence of his death in battle or anyone else’s for that matter.
Asa was likely in the 2nd major battle of Newtonia on Oct 28, 1864. Confederate forces numbered 4,000 and Union forces were about 6,500. This was the last battle of the Civil War fought in Missouri. The Southern forces had Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasaw soldiers while other Cherokee soldiers fought with the North. More information can be found at http://www.newtoniabpa.webs.com..
So what happened to Clarry Dudley Hodges? She is listed in the 1870 Census at age 64, widowed, living on the farm with her son, R. (Robert) D. Hodges, 25, who was head of household. Four more children all in their 20’s lived there also – Martha, 29; Matilda, 27; Charles, 23; and Rebecca, 21. In 1880, Clarry, 73, lived with her daughter Martha J Bruce and Son-in-law, James M Bruce, who was a farmer. Clarry died in 1895 in DeKalb County, Alabama at about 89 years old. Clarry was my 4th great – aunt. Although her husband, Asa Hodges, was not a direct line descendent (although his children are cousins), I think he had an interesting story – a story waiting to be told! I am sure he would have had many adventures to relate!
Marriage Bonds of Surry, North Carolina: County Court Records at Dobson, North Carolina; Also, FHL microfilms: 0546467-0546474.
Wills, Vol 4-5, 1827-1867; Surry County, North Carolina; Will of Joseph Hodges probated on 4 July 1841; pages: 181-182.
United States Federal Census; Year: 1850; Census Place: Murry, Georgia; Roll: M432_78; Page: 200A; Image: 408.
United States Federal Census: Year: 1860; Place: Division 2, DeKalb, Alabama; Roll: M653_9; Page: 182; FHL microfilm: 803009.
23 July 1860, Division 2, DeKalb, Alabama Agricultural Schedule; Archive Collection; Number: M279; Roll: 27; Page: 25; Line: 13; Schedule Type: Agriculture.
U. S. Confederate Service Records, 1861-65; Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.
Historical Data Systems comp. U. S., American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 1999.
United States Federal Census: Year:1870; Place: Township 6 Range 7, DeKalb, Alabama; Roll: 593_15; Page 826B; FHL microfilm: 545514.
United States Federal Census; Year: 1880; Place: DeKalb, Alabama; Roll: 12; Page: 577D; Enumeration District: 055.