Monday, November 26, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Myrtle Van Every Requests Documentation On Her Grandfather's War Service

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

I began this project back on February 16, 2009.  Since I began, many others have joined in on the meme. I am thrilled that this meme I started has inspired so many to transcribe their family history documents. Why do we transcribe? I provide my three reasons in the linked post. You may find others.

This week I share documentation of my maternal grandmother participating in some genealogical research of her own. She submitted a letter requesting official documentation of her maternal grandfather's war service. She received two responses - one from the War Department, and one from the Texas Library and Historical Commission State Library. (If she submitted a separate request to the Texas State Library, she didn't save a copy.)

OCT 27 1933

5660 Kingsbury Blvd.,
Saint Louis, Missouri,
October 25, 1933

Department of the Interior,
Washington, D. C.


     Will you please advise me whether or not your office has a record of the service performed by my maternal grand-father, Ebenezer Opham Denyer, in the Confederate Army?

     According to our family history, “Ebenezer Opham Denyer joined the 2nd Texas Company Volunteers at San Marcos, Hays County, Texas in the summer of 1861 and served throughout the war. He was taken prisoner, exchanged, but was forced to remain in a hospital until the close of the war.” His discharge papers have become lost, and we should like very much to get documentary evidence that he served in the Confederate Army. My grand-father married Sarah Ann Hartley, and my mother was Margaret Jane Denyer, their second child. My mother married Melvin E. Van Every.

     Our family would like to obtain authentic information in this matter in order to establish my nephew’s eligibility to a scholarship for descendants of Civil War Veterans, and also to make me eligible for membership in the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

     Thanking you for any assistance or advice you may give in this matter, I am

Sincerely yours,

Myrtle Van Every

Oct 28, 1933

OCT 31 1933
Old Records Division



NOV. 1, 1933.

Respectfully returned to

Myrtle Van Every,
5660 Kingsbury Blvd.,
St. Louis, Mo.

     The records show that Ebenezer U. Denyer, private, Co. E, 2nd Regiment Texas Infantry, Confederate States Army, enlisted June 12, 1862 at Hays Co.
     He was captured at Vicksburg, Miss. On July 4, 1863 and paroled on July 7, 1863 at the same place.
     The company muster roll for January and February, 1864, last on file, shows him absent, on extra duty as teamster since February 15, 1864.
     The regimental return for April 1865 shows “Teamster in Regtl train April 1, 1865 order Maj. Fly.”
     No later record found.

(signature)James F McKinley [James Fuller McKinley]
Major General,
The Adjutant General.
By (initials)


Members of the Commission
Emma K. Burleson, Austin, Chairman
George E. Shelley, Austin
Elizabeth R. Houston, San Antonio
R.L. Irving, Fort Davis
Laura Aline Hobby, Dallas

Fannie M. Wilcox, State Librarian

Texas Library and Historical Commission State Library, Austin
October 30, 1933

Miss Myrtle Van Every,
5660 Kingsbury Blvd.,
Saint Louis, Missouri.

     Ebenezer O. Denyer, private, enlisted June 12, 1862 in Hays County, Texas for the war in Company E, Captain William Holder commanding, 2nd Regiment Texas Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Ashbel Smith commanding, Confederate States Army. The rolls on file in the archives of the Texas State Library show the company stationed at Camp Maury, Mississippi, January 17, 1863; Fort Pemberton, February 26, 1863; Camp Timmons near Vicksburg, April 11, 1863; in the field in Mississippi, April 30, 1863.

Harriet Smither


1) The information the War Department provided, naturally, matches the documents I downloaded from Footnote (now Fold3) several years ago. However, the Texas Library and Historical Commission State Library provided some details of where the company was stationed on certain dates.

2) The "family history" my grandmother refers to is clearly A Brief History of John and Christian Fretz and a Complete Genealogical Family Register With Biographies of their Descendants from the Earliest Available Records to the Present Time – by Rev A.J. Fretz of Milton N.J. copyright 1890. Mennonite Publishing Co. Elkhart, Indiana. The quotation matches the bio provided for Ebenezer. She didn't save a copy of the entire book, but I believe I've seen some photocopied pages. Likely the same ones I transcribed here.

3) I am unsure if my grandmother joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy, or if her nephew received the scholarship, though the letters should have provided the documentation they needed. My grandmother only had two nephews alive in 1933 - one was 17 and the other 22.

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