January 1993

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Family Stories


Inez Livermore Albee

Several years ago I decided to give my oldest grandchild something about the family for his ninth birthday and I have continued this practice with each child. Now my youngest grandchild is approaching his ninth birthday and I decided to write down some of the family stories which have been repeated over the years. I won't vouch for the truth of this story, but David, here is the way it was told to me.

My g. g. g. grandfather James Miller was born in New Jersey in October 1794. When he was 10 years old, his family was living in Saratoga County, New York, and his father died. His mother was unable to care for her children so she bound James out to a prosperous farmer in the county. Stephen Gardner was a good man who taught James to farm and treated him fairly. When James became an adult, the farmer gave him a horse, some money and his best wishes.

However there was a problem. James and Cynthia, the farmer's daughter, had fallen in love. Stephen Gardner would not give the couple permission to marry because socially they were far apart.

After deciding to elope, James bought a wagon and arranged with Cynthia to pick her up near her home. She stole away from home, met him at the appointed place and they started down the road. Soon they heard rapid hoofbeats approaching. James quickly stopped and helped Cynthia into the empty water barrel on the side of the wagon. He put on the lid and climbed back into the driver's seat. Shortly Stephen Gardner and his two sons rode up to the wagon. The two boys rode on one side of the wagon and looked inside while their father looked on the side with the barrel. He soon called his sons to come with him because obviously Cynthia was not in sight. After they left James went to get Cynthia out of the barrel and here he found some of her skirt on the outside of the barrel. Her Father had to have known where she was, but he let the young couple go. They married, had 12 children and eventually settled in South Dansville in northwestern Steuben County.

* * *

My great grandfather Theodore Livermore was a Private in Co. E, 130th Reg., New York Volunteers in the Civil War.

He was born into a family of 13 children at Brookfield, New York. In the company of his oldest and younger brothers and some cousins, he came west, settling in Allegany County, New York. At Shongo (south of Wellsville) he met Rebecca Graves, the granddaughter of Bela Graves, one of the early settlers of Allegany County. They were married at Scio in 1839 and set up housekeeping in Fullmer Valley, near Shongo. Over the years they had 8 children including two sets of twins.

All went well with the family until the outbreak of the Civil War. Theodore felt that he must go to help preserve the union. Leaving his wife to care for the farm and family, Theodore joined the 1st New York Dragoons on the 9th day of August, 1862.

They trained at Camp Williams in what is now part of Letchworth Park. The Civil War monument in the park states that the 1st Dragoons Volunteers, 1862-65, were from Allegany, Livingston and Wyoming Counties. There were 1414 members of whom 461 were killed or wounded; 131 died of disease; 33 died in Confederate prisons and 130 were killed or died of wounds they received at Todd's Tavern. They served in 65 battles, captured 1533 prisoners, 19 pieces of artillery and 4 battle flags under General Sherman.

After training they embarked from Elmira for Washington, D. C. Two days before Christmas in 1864, the group was engaged in a skirmish with Confederate soldiers at Gordonsville, Virginia.

A creek separated the soldiers and my great grandfather heard a southerner shout "Get the man on the white horse." Ordinarily the officers rode the white horses so that they were easily seen by their troops.

However this time great grandfather was on the white horse. He slipped behind the horse Indian fashion but one leg was exposed. A musket ball tore into his upper thigh severely tearing the muscle and cords.

He was taken from the battlefield to the nearby hospital and given treatment. After that came a long trip to the Union Hospital at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His leg was saved although he had trouble with it the rest of his life. As he recovered from his injuries he helped nurse the other patients in the hospital.

After their father went to war the twin sons were anxious to go also. Enlisting together at the age of 16, they were soon in the war. Edwin, 17 years old, was killed in a battle near Petersburg, Virginia, on the 17th of June, 1864, while fighting beside his brother Edward.

Theodore was discharged in Philadelphia on the 19th day of May, 1865. With his bad leg he made his way home. Getting rides and walking, he arrived at the family farm two weeks later.

He was sick when he arrived and it was soon evident that he had smallpox. His wife nursed him safely through his illness but by the time he was better his wife and all the children had the disease. He put notes on a tree near the road asking their neighbors when they went to town to bring them supplies. The necessities were left in the hollow tree and great grandfather would get them after the neighbors were gone. All the family lived through the illness thanks to his excellent nursing.

Theodore lived until the 10th of April 1885. his wife Rebecca received a widow's pension of $8 a month in 1885 and a generous $12 a month at the time of her death in 1915.

1993, Inez Livermore Albee
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