Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Touching Personal Advertisement

While browsing through issues of the Richmond Daily Dispatch looking for resolutions issued by Confederate soldiers, I came across the touching personal advertisement above. It is quite unlike anything I have ever seen. In this March 15, 1865 issue, John [McKeehan] of Co. E, 7th Tennessee Infantry placed a personal classified advertisement seeking to locate his brother, Samuel McKeehan. John was sick in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond and likely thought he was going to die.

Curiosity had me searching Fold3 for the brothers' records. I found them; what little there was to them. There was only one card for John G. McKeehan. It states that he enlisted February 12, 1865 in Bristol, Tennessee. I suspect that the written in date of 1865 is possibly incorrect. However, it may be correct as brother Samuel's enlistment was also listed as February 12, 1865, but noted as enlisting at nearby Carter County, Tennessee. Also in Co. E, was Landon McKeehan, who, too, enlisted in Carter County on February 12. Were all of these men late war conscripts? I'm not sure.

Doing additional research I found the East Tennessee McKeehans in the 1860 census. John is listed as fourteen years old and in the household of W. W. McKeehan. By 1865 he would have been eighteen or nineteen years old. There is a twenty-seven year Samuel in his own neighboring household. Landon McKeehan is also twenty-seven and in a neighboring household, perhaps that of an uncle. Landon may have been a cousin.

I was unable to positively determine if John survived his illness or not. But I did locate a John McKeehan living in Kansas in 1870 who was born in Tennessee and was 24 years old, which matches perfectly with the John in the 7th Tennessee Infantry who laced the ad. Samuel was still living in Carter County in 1870. He was married and had five children.

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