A Little More Background

Genealogy is an old hobby of mine. One that I haven’t spent too much time on recently.

On my Dad’s side I’m Irish (Moore family goes back to the Irish lords of Leix), German (Spangler family goes back to 12th Century Crusader), Jewish (Shaltiel family goes back to the House of David), among other lines. And on my Mom’s side I’m German (Hahn family goes back to Prussian fowlers), Welsh (Vaughn family goes back to Pre-Saxon Britain), and English (St. John family goes back to Elizabethan era peerage), among other lines.

Three people stand out at the moment. Probably because they all fought in the Civil War.

One member of the Spangler family who came over from Germany as a teen and served as a Union Army officer in the War of Northern Aggression (I have to get my digs in). He presumably came over in the late 1840s after all the unrest and revolutions in Europe. The Union Army was full of such immigrants. Many of them were socialists. Some of those were officers.

One member of the Shaltiel family was living in Louisiana at the time the Civil War broke out. He became an officer in the Confederate Army. He was also a spy and was captured by a Union outpost but later made his escape and became a mining magnate and Newspaper tycoon in Colorado after the war.

And one member of the St. John family was hanged as a war criminal for being a member of the Quantrill Raiders. They were quite the hands at guerrilla warfare, what some might call terrorism. Other members of this group included William Quantrill, “Bloody” Bill Anderson (he was so bad that people wear his face on t-shirts to this day), the James Brothers (Frank and Jesse), and yes, Josey Wales and Reuben Cogburn.

7 thoughts on “A Little More Background

  1. Quite an ancestry you have there–explains a lot. ;-) (Pulling your leg, of course.) Very interesting! Your level of knowledge about your family is impressive. I’m not a genealogist but my mother is. I’ll probably get this somewhat wrong–genealogy is NOT a particular interest of mine or my forte–but I’m going to share some information about my family.

    On my father’s side ancestors were German–great-grandfather (Dad’s, Dad’s, Dad) came over to Mississippi in the late 1800’s from ?–, French, and English. On my mother’s side ancestors include Thomas Laidley (originally Laidlaw) from Scotland – http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wvcccfhr/revolwar/laidley.htm – who served under George Washington at Trenton, and John Laidley who helped found Marshall University https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_University; Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, credited with expanding the power of the Federal Government, was a friend of his–please don’t hold this against me ;-). Thomas Laidley settled in what became Morgantown, WV. We are also related to the Morgans for whom the town was named (though I don’t know whether that’s documented yet). Another ancestor is Stephen Holston (Scandinavian, Danish?) who was an early settler in Virginia and a captain in the “Revolutionary Service” http://www.stephenholston.org/sh_tn_biosh.htm

    Someone, somewhere came from Wales. And, as with so many American families, there are rumors of being related to the Cherokee, on both sides–no connection proven (we would never pull an “Elizabeth Warren”). There was a character on Dad’s side who went by the name of Wild Bill, and speculation is he might have lived among Indians and married one. And on Mom’s side, my grandmother’s dark complexion, high cheekbones, and deep brown eyes make it seem possible one of her ancestors married a native.

    As for the Civil War, I think there were a number of ancestors involved (on both sides of the family and the fight). If I recall correctly one was held prisoner at Point Lookout http://www.plpow.com/, a place I visited often as a child, not because of our ancestor, but because it is a lovely park on the water, complete with a lighthouse http://www.ptlookoutlighthouse.com/ Until recently, I did not know about our ancestor having been held there–don’t think Mom did either.

    I’ve heard tell there was a known horse thief somewhere in the family –so we have our share of utter disgrace.

    As mentioned above, my narrative is sure to contain at least minor errors, despite my best efforts–Mom would likely be horrified–so please remember this is subject to correction.

    Thanks for sharing your family history and for inspiring me to think about mine.

    • I always like to hear about people’s ancestry. Like I said its a hobby of mine, and not necessarily just my own family. I’ve got a few sordid tales in the family tree. One was a womanizing preacher. As a child he got into a shoot out with Pinkerton agents, at least according to my dad. And my dad’s dad was a draft-dodger during World War II. Actually, he didn’t evade the draft, they declared him “F4”, which means unfit, either physically or mentally. He wasn’t physically unfit, thats for sure (my dad has all sorts of stories of him getting into fights with local gangs, sister’s suitors, drunk Swedes, etc.), so it must be that they meant the second category. But the real reason was that he told them he thought FDR was little different than Hitler and he wouldn’t fight for or against either of them, he would only fight for himself and encourage others to do the same. So more of a trouble maker than a nut job.

      Oh and there’s a really interesting one. This isn’t from my dad, its from the records of some distant Jewish cousin: one of the sons of the Shaltiel that was a mining magnate in Colorado apparently beat Annie Oakley in a rifle target-shooting contest. Sounds too good to be true, but you never know. Maybe she was having a bad day.

      And then there’s this guy, 5th cousin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Shaltiel

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