A Tale of Father and Son

by Terry Hogan

This is a tale of my great grandfather and my great great grandfather. It is a tale that I believe to be true. It is a tale comprised of extremely well documented facts and strong circumstantial evidence forced by the limited documentation of the times. It is an important story to me and maybe to some of my kin. It is also the product of my belief that genealogy needs to be, and deserves to be, more than a collection of names, dates, and places. This is one of my efforts to "put meat on the bones" of my ancestors. Perhaps it will inspire you to go back to the libraries, court houses, county histories, and the Internet to find a little more about your own kin.

Like all good stories, I will begin at the beginning, or at least pick a place to be called the beginning. I choose the beginning to be my great, great grandfather, Bannister W. Hogan. I could go earlier than that as I know his ancestors now, but they remain only bones, with little story to attach to them. So Bannister will be my beginning. As a story cannot be fully told, my story telling will be mostly linear. I will not tell tales of Bannister's clan who also went to war. Most died, some were captives, a few survived. They all fought for North Carolina. They fought for the South.

Bannister (Banester; Bannester) W. Hogan was born in Montgomery County, North Carolina. He was part of an extended family of Hogans in that area. Census records show some of his family as "Hogans" rather than "Hogan", but that is not at all unusual. Bannister left North Carolina, perhaps by himself, perhaps with others. I don't know. On October 30, 1840, he married Elizabeth Driskell (Driscell and other variants) in Montgomery County, Tennessee. Their marriage records remain, but provide no names of Hogans or Driskells as bond holder or witness. The county is adjacent to Kentucky and not far from Todd County, Kentucky where it appears that Elizabeth lived.

In 1850, the Todd County census records show Jasper Newton Hogan, my great grandfather, living with Samuel and Amy Blake. The Blakes were from Montgomery County, North Carolina and were also an extended family, living not far from some of the Montgomery Co. North Carolina Hogans. The census record shows Jasper to be 6 years old. There are no known records of the death of one or both of his parents. There are no known adoption or other legal papers handing off Jasper to the Blakes. Samuel and Amy Blake had one household slave.

In February of 1860, Amy Blake died of "erysipelas" in Logan County, and her husband, Samuel, had moved in with one of his sons and family in Kentucky. Jasper Newton Hogan, now about 16 years old, left Kentucky for Illinois. He either traveled with, or followed after one of Samuel and Amy Blake's son, Whiley, and his wife Frances ("Fannie") and family. They settled in southern Illinois, in Macoupin County.

In 1862, Jasper Newton Hogan, now 18 years old, joined Company H of the 91st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He signed up in nearby Greene County, Illinois. He is described as being nearly 6 feet tall, with gray eyes. In his military records, he said he was an orphan and that he was told he was born on April 7, 1844, but there was no record of his birth. In various records, Jasper lists Todd and Logan Counties as his place of birth, but they are adjoining counties and the lines have moved slightly, so this isn't a disturbing conflict.

This statement conflicts with the clear documentation that his father, Bannister, was still alive, but his mother apparently was dead. Bannister married a much older woman in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. He married Margaret Hobbs on May 9, 1847. It can be speculated that this was done to provide a quick mother for his young son, but for some reason, Jasper was not reunited with Bannister. There is no way of knowing now whether Jasper believed he was truly an orphan (perhaps told that by the Blakes), or whether he knew that he had been abandoned by his father and just opted for this version.

About the time that Jasper was traveling north to Illinois, Bannister was returning from Kentucky back to Montgomery County, North Carolina. There, Bannister married for a third time to a younger woman, named Amanda, some time prior to 1857. Amanda was 17 years younger than Bannister and there were three children from that marriage - Elizabeth 1857, Eli in 1859, and William F. Hogan, born in 1860. Bannister is listed as "Banister Hogans" in the 1860 Montgomery County census.

At about the same time that Jasper Newton Hogan was joining the 91st Illinois Infantry, his father, Bannester, was joining the 44th Regiment North Carolina Infantry. Bannester was in Company H along with Alexander Hogan. Other Hogan family members joined the 34th Regiment and the 52nd Regiment of North Carolina Infantry. All in all, the Hogans from Montgomery County who enlisted in North Carolina units included "Banester" W. Hogan, Alexander Hogan, Zachariah "Hogans", David "Hogans", Archibald B. Hogan, and Calvin Hogan.

Bannester's involvement in the Civil War was rather limited. His unit never faced the 91st Illinois. They never fired weapons at each other. According to Bannester's Civil War military records, obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C., Bannister enlisted on March 1, 1862, at age 45. This would make him very old for participation in the war. He enrolled either at Asheboro or at Troy, North Carolina (another records conflict). He was mustered into service on April 3, 1862 at Camp Mangum, near Raleigh, NC. His military records are pretty skimpy, but they show that he died in the hospital at Weldon, NC on January 8, 1863 from an unspecified cause. Bannister held the rank of private.

Jasper Newton Hogan enlisted August 22, 1862. The 91st Illinois Infantry unit was organized at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Illinois. The unit was mustered into service in August 1862, only a mere 3 months after his father's North Carolina unit was mustered into service. Jasper held the rank of private.

The 91st Illinois Infantry was ordered into Kentucky which had claimed neutrality during the early part of the war. The 91st drew the duty of guarding key railroad bridges and tracks of the L&N Railroad that were important for the movement of goods and troops through Kentucky.

On December 27, 1862, the 91st was to sample its first of many encounters with war, and it was not a good taste. The newly formed and poorly equipped unit encountered General John Hunt Morgan's troops. Morgan's troops were trained, experienced, and on home ground. Morgan's troops had relatives and friends who lived in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where the 91st was in place. The 91st was assigned the responsibility of the L&N main line that passed through Elizabethtown. The story of the battle varies, depending upon the teller of the tale. The version from the Confederate troops differs substantially from the tale from the 91st. But the final outcome is not in dispute. The 91st, some 650 men, was taken captive after a substantial fight involving cannon and rifle fire. The 91st was substantially outnumbered. The 91st was stripped of weapons, food and supplies, winter wear, and money. It was then paroled to head north to the Ohio River by foot. Although I have not seen it (yet), there is purported to be a cannon ball (relocated) in a wall at Elizabethtown that is a reminder of the battle that occurred there.

The 91st returned north and was refitted with newer weapons, received additional training, and was returned to service. It is probably beyond the scope of this article to track through all the battles and casualties sustained by the 91st Illinois Infantry. But such records are easily obtained for any federal unit in the Civil War from the Adjutant Generals Reports, available on the Internet. It can be summarized that the 91st, and Jasper, served throughout the rest of the Civil War in such places as Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The 91st has the unfortunate distinction of fighting in a major battle after Lee's surrender and the war was effectively over. Jasper served with the 91st from 1962 through the end of the war. He entered and left the service, with the rank of private.

After the war was over, Jasper returned to Illinois. He married for the first time to Ruth Elizabeth Atwell on January 11, 1866 in Winchester, Illinois. She died March 25, 1876 in a tragic drowning accident, which also took the lives of three of their four children. James Albert Hogan was the surviving son. They were crossing a stream known by different names (Sandy Creek, Crooked Creek, and LaMoine River). The lumber wagon was swept away, drowning all but Jasper and the oldest son. I have found two brief newspaper articles mentioning the accident. One makes mention a bridge. The other does not. We have found the location of the crossing, where there is a bridge today. We have also found the burial site, just up the hill from the drowning site, marked with local stones, but with no names. The site was known by local residents near Camden, Illinois. It is overgrown, back in the woods, and is known locally as the Taggart-Zimmerman-Decounter Cemetery.

Jasper Newton Hogan married a second time. For this marriage, he took a step back in time and married the daughter of Whiley and Francis Blake. This daughter was named Martha Anne Blake and was the granddaughter of Samuel and Amy Blake (the folks who raised Jasper). Martha Anne Blake's parents were the ones who traveled to Illinois at about the same time that Jasper did. Martha was substantially younger than Jasper. She was born around 1859. This marriage produced a number of children, one of which was Earnest Hogan, who was my grandfather.

Martha Anne Blake did not live long. She died August 16, 1895 and is buried in a rural cemetery near Camden, Illinois. The cemetery is named Marlow and is not far from the location of the burial of Jasper's first wife and children. Keeping with family tradition, although the cemetery records show her burial, there is no stone marking the site.

Jasper grew to be an old man and suffered from a hearing loss and a leg injury that would not heal. He spent some time in the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy, Illinois. I have the records for that period of time of his life. Toward the end of his life, he moved to Galesburg and lived with his sons until his death on October 1, 1918. His death certificate lists his father as "B. Hogan". Jasper is buried in the Linwood Cemetery on the west side of Galesburg. He has a military stone, reflecting his years of service with the 91st Illinois Infantry. Buried next to him are a daughter and two grandchildren.

I do not know (yet) where Bannister Hogan is buried. Records are "iffy" with all the damage that was done in the South, and subsequently compounded with court house fires and the like.

But this is the short version of what I know. I know much more such as names of children, his Jasper’s involvement with the GAR, his local obituary, and the like. But there is a point to stop before the readers' eyes gloss over too much.

I should say that during this hunt, I have made contact with two Hogan relatives who I did not know I had. One lives out west, and I came across her name on a letter seeking information on Jasper Newton Hogan. The letter was on file at the Kentucky State Historical Society in Lexington. The other is a descendant of the single surviving son from Jasper's first family. He had also tried to track down Jasper's history. I learned of the living as well as the dead.

This is a tale that has taken probably two decades to put together, with only intermittent efforts. You can only beat your head against a wall so long before you need to take a pause and seek another path. But given enough effort, enough luck, and finally a conclusion that this is about the best as you are going to get, you put it all together. It is unlikely to be perfect. It may even be wrong, but it will be an educated mistake.

There is no dramatic conclusion. There is no commanding general leading troops to victory. There is no pause in the war for father and son to greet each other across the no-man's land of death and destruction. It is simply the story of my ancestors, or at least one line, based on what I know, without embellishment or significant deletion. But it is, I hope you’ll agree, much better than merely name, dates and locations.

But if you have paid attention to the article, it may have occurred to you that I got a bonus out of my Jasper research. Because Jasper married the granddaughter of the folks who raised him, I not only found Jasper (my great grandfather) in the 1850 census, but I also found my great, great great grandparents (Samuel and Amy Blake, who were grandparents of my great grandmother). Sometimes you get lucky.

I hope you will find this an encouragement to put the meat on the bones of your ancestors. What better gift is there for those who will come after you?

References (incomplete list)

Census records, NC; KY, TN, IL

Mortality record, Kentucky 1860

Civil War records from National Archives

Marriage records, NC, TN, KY, IL

Search of KY and IL court house records

Internet records (verified)


Death Certificate

Military Unit histories

Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home records (Quincy, IL)

Hogan family oral histories and copies of entries from the Hogan family Bible

Site visits- cemeteries, river crossing, local history/genealogical societies, local libraries in KY and IL

Reading of Civil War histories concerning relevant battles named in Unit Histories