Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sites, Slaves, and Soldiers: The Vest-Lindsey House

Here in Frankfort, on the corner of Wapping Street and Washington Street, adjacent from where Philip Swigert's "The Terraces" once stood is the Vest-Lindsey House. This beautiful federal-style home was built in the last years of the 18th century or early years of the 19th century. It was the boyhood home of George Graham Vest, who moved to Missouri in the 1850s, and during the Civil War served the "Show Me State" as a Confederate senator, and then a U.S. senator from 1879-1903.

In 1846, Thomas Noble Lindsey bought the house and lived in it with his family at the time of the Civil War. Lindsey was a noted lawyer, state legislator, and general mover and shaker in Frankfort. Lindsey's son Daniel served in the Union army during the war with the 22nd Kentucky Infantry and later was the adjutant-general of Kentucky. 

I was unable to find Thomas Lindsey in the 1860 census slave schedules. It is possible that he bought a slave or slaves after the census was taken, but it appears that he owned at least one man, as that man enlisted in the Union army and provided the authorities with Lindsey's name as his owner.

Theophilus Patterson enlisted in Lexington on June 30, 1864. Patterson was noted as being 29 years old and was described as copper complexioned. He was 5' 10" tall and was born in Franklin County. Patterson was assigned to Company I, 114th United States Colored Infantry and trained at Camp Nelson.  

Patterson appeared to spend much of his service ill. After the 114th was transferred to Virginia for the Petersburg Campaign, Patterson was noted as being in hospitals at Chapin's Farm, Point of Rocks, and Fort Monroe. 

Patterson's illnesses must have continued as he was finally discharged due to his disability on January 13, 1866, while at Hicks General Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The explained cause of discharge from service was noted as condition, that was "developed after typhoid fever contracted at Fort Monroe while on duty as Hospital guard Sept. 1865." On the bottom of Patterson's disability discharge it noted that he wished to be addressed at the town of Franklin [most likely meant Frankfort] in Franklin County, Kentucky.

It is unknown whether Patterson continued to suffer from his sickness once home or if he made a full recovery. Many soldiers, both North and South, struggled with various illnesses and diseases contracted while serving their respective causes, so it is likely that Patterson did as well.

Although a native of Franklin County, Patterson's name is not listed among those on the Colored Soldiers Monument at Greenhill Cemetery. He may have been long forgotten since he did not serve out his enlistment with his regiment, or perhaps he moved away to a distant locale after the war. Therefore, it is fitting then that at least some recognition is given here for his service to his country.

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