Monday, February 2, 2015

Thomas Jefferson Poteet, Jr. - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 5, "Plowing Through"

Thomas Jefferson Poteet, Jr., is my maternal 4th great grandfather in my maternal grandmother's branch of the family tree.  I chose him for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks' Week 5 "Plowing Through" theme, because it seems he plowed through life, no matter what it threw at him, and kept right on going.

Thomas Jefferson Poteet, Jr. and his second wife,
Sally Elizabeth Gregory Poteet
Murl Sanders Litaker, Sr., listed above, was my maternal grandmother's father.
(My grandmother and mother are both living and are not listed here for privacy reasons.)

Thomas Jefferson Poteet, Jr., son of Thomas Jefferson Poteet, Sr. and Esther A. Reid, was born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, on 26 February 1840.  He lived in Cabarrus County throughout his childhood.

On 21 Apr 1860, in neighboring Rowan County, North Carolina, then 20-year-old Thomas married Terissa Adaline Overcash.  Adaline, always called by her middle name, was born circa 1840 in North Carolina.  On 11 June 1860, the 1860 U.S. Census showed Thomas working as a laborer on a farm and living in the western section of Cabarrus County.

Rowan and Cabarrus Counties
in North Carolina
On 22 March 1861, Thomas enlisted, in Concord, North Carolina, to be a Confederate Army soldier.  He was a Private in Company A (Cabarrus Riflemen) of the 52nd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry.  The Confederate muster roll shown below indicates that Thomas was 22 years old, 5' 11' tall, and worked as a farmer as of 28 April 1862.

Pvt. Thomas J. Poteet on the 28 April 1862 Confederate
Muster Roll for Company A, 52 Regiment NC Infantry
Three days after the Battle of Gettysburg ended, on 06 Jul 1863, Union soldiers captured Thomas in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  He became one of the Union Army's prisoners of war.  On 16 Aug 1863, he was "sent for exchange" to the Union advance supply depot in City Point, Virginia.  Then, on 30 Oct 1863, he was sent to Point Lookout Prison in Maryland.

Information on Thomas J. Poteet as found in the
Civil War Prisoners of War Records, 1861-1865.

Thomas must have been released from or managed to escape from Point Look Prison and found his way back home before the end of 1864; because, on 16 August 1865 in Rowan County, Adaline and he welcomed their first child, a daughter named Angeline Thomas Poteet.  Angeline was my 3rd great-grandmother.  All information I have indicates that Angeline was a first child for both parents, as well as the only child they had together.

The next time Thomas shows up in records, he is marrying Sally Elizabeth Gregory (reference first photo in this story) on 25 April 1870.  Adaline and Thomas must have divorced, because she appears in the 26 June 1880 U.S. Census living in Atwell, Rowan, North Carolina.  Her employment is recorded in that census as "Hired;" and her married daughter, now named Angeline Ashby, and Angeline's one-year-old daughter are living with Adaline.  Neither Thomas nor Angeline's husband, James A. Ashby (1859-1903), are listed as part of their household.  Adaline appears again in the 1910 U.S. Census and is then living with Angeline and her family.  Interestingly, she is listed in that census with a marital status of "Widowed," though she is still using the surname "Poteet."  There is no indication in the records I have found that she was married to anyone after Thomas.

In 1871, Thomas appears in records again.  This time, he is about 775 miles west of Cabarrus County, North Carolina. That year's Little Rock, Arkansas, City Directory showed him living at 212 W. Thirteenth and working as a carpenter.

Thomas Poteet - Carpenter in Little Rock, 1871
Red pin shows the location of 213 W. Thirteenth St. in Little Rock.
(Courtesy of Google Maps)

A few years later, on 15 January 1883, the United States Land Office in Little Rock granted Thomas Homestead Certificate No. 2008, based his Application No. 7119.  The Homestead Certificate gave him 80 acres of land in Arkansas on which to homestead.  His certificated, pictured below, described his 80 acres as "south-east quarter of the north-east quarter and the north-east quarter of the south-east quarter of section twenty-seven in township one south of range thirteen west of the Fifth Principal Meridian in Arkansas containing 80 acres."

Thomas J. Poteet's Homestead Certificate No. 2008

The 1900 and 1910 US Censuses find Thomas and Sally Poteet living in Niven Township, Arkansas.  The map below shows Niven, as it exists today, outlined in red.  It is southeast of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, proper, though it is considered part of the Pine Bluff's metro area.

On 19 Apr 1915, at the age of 75, Thomas Jefferson Poteet passed away.  I was lucky enough to meet a very kind and generous fellow genealogist named Patti Robinson who lives in Pine Bluff.  She went to Thomas' gravesite and did a rubbing of his tombstone, as well as of Sally's, for me; and she went the Pine Bluff library to get a copy of his obituary to send to me.  Because of her, I am able to share his 20 April 1915 obituary from Pine Bluff Commercial newspaper, along with her transcription of what it says:

As the obituary above states, Thomas was laid to rest in Union Cemetery on 20 April 1915 alongside many other Confederate soldiers.  His headstone has the Confederate flag on it to commemorate his service in the Civil War.

Entrance to Union Cemetery in Jefferson County, Arkansas
T. J. Poteet's Headstone
Rubbing of T. J. Poteet's headstone, courtesy of 
Mrs. Patti Robinson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

After Thomas' death, Sally, his widow, applied for for a Confederate pension based on his service as a soldier:

Arkansas Confederate Pension Record for T.J. Poteet

So far, I have not been able to find a record indicating if Sally was granted the pension for which she applied.  If it was granted, she did not collect it for very long.  On 14 November 1915, Sally Elizabeth (Gregory) Poteet passed away.  It had been less than seven months since her husband's death, and they had been married for 45 years.  Sally was laid to rest beside her husband in Union Cemetery.

T. J. Poteet's headstone, right, and Sally Elizabeth Poteet's headstone, left
Rubbing of Mrs. S.E. Poteet's headstone,
courtesy of Mrs. Patti Robinson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.