Posted by on May 10, 2014 in Ask Ancestry Anne
Library of Congress, "Thomas Jonathan 'Stonewall' Jackson CSA," digital image from negative,  Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpb.07475  : accessed 1 May 2014), Digital ID, cwpb 07475.

Library of Congress, “Thomas Jonathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson CSA,” digital image from negative,
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpb.07475 : accessed 1 May 2014), Digital ID, cwpb 07475.

 

On May 10, 1863, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson died after being mortally wounded by his own men on May 2nd at the Battle of Chancellorsville. North and South Carolina reserve May 10 as Confederate Memorial Day in his honor.  (Many Southern states have a Confederate Memorial Day — it varies from state to state.)

Now I’m not related to Stonewall by blood, but he did wander through my family history from time to time.

Dehaan, Rachel, Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington, Virginia, 26 Jul 2013.  House that Stonewall Jackson and his wife lived in before the Civil War.  It was converted to a Hospital from 1906 to 1954.

Dehaan, Rachel, Stonewall Jackson House, Lexington, Virginia, 26 Jul 2013.

Before the Civil War, he taught at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and he lived with his wife in a house on 8 East Washington Street, not far from where some of my ancestors lived.

 

When the Civil War broke out, he served the Confederacy.  He earned his nickname “Stonewall” at the First Battle of Bull Run.  My second-great-grandfather James Donald served under him as part of “Stonewall Brigade” for a time before he moved over to cavalry.

Mitchell, Anne Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson’s Memorial, 2 Aug 2010.

Mitchell, Anne Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson’s Memorial, 2 Aug 2010.

Jackson was eventually buried at what was then known as the Presbyterian Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia, later renamed Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.  At least five generations of my family are buried here.

When I visit the cemetery I start at the bottom of the hill, stopping at various family member graves working my way up the hill to Stonewall Jackson’s memorial. From there I take a sharp left and end up at the grave of my great-grandparents Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie. They owned a house at 108 Houston street that right next to that cemetery. As a boy, my grandfather, now also buried there, used to scare the neighbors by using lanterns in creative ways to make it appear as if ghosts were in the cemetery.

From 1906 to 1954, Jackson’s house on East Washington Street was converted to Hospital.  If you were born there during that time, you were eligible to belong to the Stonewall Jackson House Birthday Club. My father, his brother and his two sisters were all eligible for membership.

We all love to talk about the famous ancestors in our tree whether they are in our direct lines or very distant cousins. But even if these larger than life characters aren’t part of your tree, they may have been part of your ancestors’ lives and part of your family history.

Who has walked through your family history?

Happy Searching!

 

About Anne Gillespie Mitchell

Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.

2 Comments

Liinda Elder 

Anne, Thanks for the Jackson review. We have visited those places you mentioned on vacation with my Civil War minded brother-in-law! Enjoyed the article.

May 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm
Patricia Stainback Hart 

Enjoyed the article on my hero!! Stonewall Jackson.
Mitchell, Amy Mitchell married Michael Satterwhite, wonder if
you are kin to them? I am.
Thanks,
Patricia

May 12, 2014 at 10:01 pm