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Friday, February 7, 2014

A Civil War Account Leads to Missing Family Tree Data

 There was an old typed account of one Corp. Gilmer Young, along with many family papers found in an old suitcase at the home of my husband's parents. The page was entitled : Corp. Gilmer Young of Company F. First Regiment Kansas Vol. Infantry -- taken from An Early Kansas History and Atlas by A. T. A.   In a handwritten note at the top of the page, the following was scribed : "Mother's Brother Killed at Battle of Wilson's Creek". Who penned this?  Why would this paper be important to my husband's family?

I jumped on to look at my Reif-Fuston Family Tree data.  Gilmer Young did not sound familiar to me, but the Young surname did.  Doing a quick search of individuals on the tree, I found Gilmer listed.  Apparently I had placed him on the tree, along with the birth year of 1834.  Referring to the handwritten note, I found that he was a sibling of several persons listed, but one in particular....Amanda Young.  Amanda Young Tipton was the mother of Anna Tipton.  Anna married Dr. Joseph H. Downing, who was the great grandfather of my husband.  The note must have been written by Anna, my husband's great grandmother.  Wow.  How cool is that.  Apparently Anna Tipton Downing was interested in family history.  Thank goodness.  I decided that this paper did indeed have some worth.  Time to read further....

"An account of the Battle of Wilson's Creek in which Gilmer Young was killed on August 10, 1861."
Well, now I know the date of his death, which I did not know before today.  And I had heard about the battle of Wilson's Creek, previously.  According to the National Park Service website (, Wilson's Creek was the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River. The first Union general was killed there, and the Confederate victory over the Union army made the nation pay closer attention to this war between the States.

In the second paragraph, noted as from page 181, the soldiers of Company F killed at Wilson's Creek are mentioned.  There, Corp. Gilmer Young of Lawrence, Kansas is mentioned.  Another handwritten notation at the side of the page notes "Mother's Brother" next to the name, with a bracket drawn at the location of his name.

The third, and last lengthy paragraph, taken from page 180 of the referenced text, introduces the First Regiment Kansas Volunteer Infantry.  The names of the Kansas Governor and the Regiment officers are mentioned after a brief history of the unit, which began in 1861.  Corporal Gilmer Young is mentioned with these men.  They left Fort Leavenworth on to Kansas City and then to Springfield, Missouri. They met the enemy at Wilson's Creek, just 12 miles outside of Springfield.  The rebels were entrenched and waiting to
rout the Union army.  After 6 hours of battle, the First Kansas lost 77 men...Gilmer Young was one of them. It goes on to say that 333  men were wounded.

To further my research on Corporal Young, I will search various websites to find his mention.  He must have been a brave soul to participate in such a horrible battle and lose his life after being in the service of our country for just a few short months.  At least he is at rest... and I have another person on the family tree with a conclusion to the story of his life.

Thanks to the research completed by Anna Tipton Downing (1859-1945), a sincere patriot has been uncovered. We honor him today, and always.

The last notation states that the lost members of the First Kansas Volunteers are buried at the National Cemetery in Springfield.  A handwritten note follows, " No names on markers at cemetery".  Really?  I need to check this out.  Where would I look?  Let's see...  I looked at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website,, and here's what I found :

Many men who died at the Battle of Wilson Creek would eventually be buried at Springfield National Cemetery, established in 1867 when the city purchased five acres for a burial plot. In 1911, the Confederate Cemetery Association (CCA) donated six acres, two of which were enclosed by a stone wall. Along with the land came the provision that burials would be restricted to men who died serving the Confederacy. Through a series of amendments to this provision in 1948, 1957 and 1984, all eligible veterans are now permitted in this portion of the cemetery. An 1871 cemetery inspection report recorded 832 known and 689 unknown interments in the cemetery. It continued, “A very worthless superintendent was in charge last year, and the cemetery was sadly neglected. This year it has been put in good order.”

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