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Lost Confederate Weapons and Uniforms in a Secret AtticTim King Salem-News.com
A story left by my grandfather before his death in 1968.
(SALEM, Ore.) - I've stumbled upon the most fascinating information about the discovery of Confederate weapons and uniforms in an abandoned Arkansas house in 1890.
This Norman Rockwell-like experience is a story left behind by my late grandfather, Francis Albert King, who made a reel to reel audio tape of his life's experiences shortly before his death in 1968.
The contents of that audio tape were transcribed into written form and this is the gem that my wife Bonnie recently located.
The Civil War - what a time that was. A young nation was ripped in half over a central theme of slavery and secession. I am descended from men who fought for each side, even participating in some of the same battles.
While they never knew each other (as far as I know), I owe them both my very existence and it has never been hard to find their lives very interesting, as little as I actually know.
My grandfather was able to discover a snapshot in time and as I recall, even though it is not part of the current written narrative below, I believe he also mentioned that there were letters written home that were never sent.
The Union Army conducted a massive deadly sweep of the south as the war wound to a close, burning and raping and destroying every piece of southern pride and wealth that they could get their hands on, all the way to the Atlantic as General Phil Sherman said.
Both sides failed to act humanely often due to resources, and as a result prisoners during this war, like many others, starved and struggled to survive.
There must have been thousands of homes that assisted their war weary forces by providing refuge. That is certainly the basis of this story we can be sure, and the reason my grandfather saw these amazing things.
I have to wonder if these soldiers hidden in a secret attic in my great great grandparent's home in Arkansas, survived, or were discovered, therefore leaving their weapons and uniforms behind. Perhaps we will never know, but anything is possible.
One interesting fact is that these men who lived long ago, are connected to me by only a short string. Because my dad was in his mid 40's when I was born, and so was his father, and so was his... the generations on that side of my family are very long. As a result, James Stanhope King, a Confederate Major in the Civil War, was my great-grandfather.
Many people know their great grandparents, but I am in my late 40's, and my great granddad was actually in the Civil War. Although he was from Arkansas, he served in a unit from Tennessee.
On my mom's side, my great great grandfather, Edward (My immediate family always thought it was Edmond) Hazel was an enlisted soldier in the Union Army who joined Company B of the 9th Illinois Cavalry in Geneseo, Illinois, and that he later joined Company E of the 45th Illinois Infantry.
Our understanding is that he initially joined in 1861, then reenlisted into a different unit in 1862. A war record certificate from this gentleman's life hangs in my brother's home, and is a fantastic document, gracefully adorned, with the dates and locations of the battles that my great great grandfather fought in, and I believe it also lists his medals and achievements.
This week I received an inquiry from a researcher in Arkansas who was investigating the life of Edward Hazel. Of course that is the ancestor who fought on the Union side, so naturally I mentioned my great grandfather who was from Arkansas, as it seemed a nice piece of irony to utilize.
That turns out to be the case, and now the gentleman in Arkansas has offered to look into the King side of things there, and this led to our searching of related family documents, and the discovery of my grandfather's letter.
He died when I was only four-years old, but again I am fortunate to have known him, to have a real memory of this man, and I sure know that to us, he was 'Pop King' and I remember that he liked to order baked potatoes in restaurants with "lotsa buttah".
These are the words of Francis Albert King, recorded in approximately 1968:
Though it isn't perfectly clear, it appears that my grandfather was in the home of his future mother and father-in-law. My great grandmother as referenced, was Sally Cook, and sadly that is where things begin to become foggy.
I know that the area is 17 miles from the Mississippi River and outside of Helena, and I know that two references to the area are Big Creek, which my grandfather says was a fantastic hunting area, and also 'Forest City' but I have no further information.
I look forward to seeing this area in great detail in the future. I have investigated hundreds of stories in my writing career and almost none of it ever pertained to my own family, but I find this interesting and I believe there are many dots to connect.
One thing I know is that the King family came across before the Mayflower, and that there is a King family cemetery in Virginia that apparently contains the remains of some of my earliest relatives in the U.S. on that side. At least one was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The information is available, I will explore it in future writings.
The really interesting stuff comes into play much farther back in time, as my wife has discovered that the Kings are directly descended from King William, and on my father's mother's side which is Spanish/Californian, we are descended from the last Spanish Governor of California and also from Pedro de Alvarado. That connection is hard to be excited about, but still utterly fascinating.
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