Friday, February 7, 2014
Day 7 - John is home
Not much is known about the family views regarding slavery but they were fiercely independent and didn't care for government interference in their lives. Like many poor families, they would have fought for States Rights. Three of John Elijah’s children enlisted and fought in the Civil War. Sterling, the oldest didn't enlist until 1864, the year before the war ended and he surrendered at Appomattox, VA on April 9, 1865 when he was 38.
John Carter and Abijah both enlisted when the war started. John was 19 and Abijah was 25. They were part of the 29th Tennessee Infantry in Company D. Their company was paroled in Greensboro, NC on April 9, 1865 but both of them were home before the surrender. There isn't any information on why they were home before the end of the war so it leaves it open to interpretation.
“Mama,” Jane yelled as she slammed the door behind her, “He’s home!”
Polly McCollum looked up from the pot she was stirring. “Who’s home?” she asked.
“John is home. Abijah and John are home,” she said. “Lucy just saw them and couldn't wait to tell me. I expect their mother is happy.”
“I suppose she is,” replied Polly. “Will you please call your sisters, dinner is ready.”
Jane hurried to find her sisters. Maybe now, he would ask her mother for her hand. He’d been gone almost three years and she’d heard that the Confederate Army was ready to surrender. It didn't matter to her. John Carter Rhea was home and she was 17- yrs-old, in love, and all grown up. After all, John’s sister Sarah got to get married at 14, the same age that she had been when John went to war.
Polly filled the plates and set them on the table. The girls sat down and offered a prayer.
“I got a letter from your father today,” Polly started but 15-yr-old Caroline interrupted.
“Is he coming home?” she asked. Jane and 13-yr-old Sarah waited expectantly for the answer.
“No, he said that they were finding gold all over the place and he thought he might have a lead on a vein”, she replied.
“Mama, if I get married, will he come home?” Jane wanted to know.
Caroline and Sarah looked up sharply. “Married,” they squealed.
Jane looked a little smug. “John came home today”