Pass on the Stories

Often in our genealogy we focus on finding all the names and dates in our family tree but when it comes to passing the genealogy spirit to our children or grandchildren it’s the stories that count.

Recently my 15 year old granddaughter was staying with us. Along with her brother and sister they have always been home schooled. I always like to find out what projects they are involved with so I asked her what subjects she was studying this year. With a less than enthusiastic attitude she said she was studying American History. Let’s be honest and think back to our school days….names and dates get pretty boring and at 15 seem quite irrelevant. So I started telling her stories of her ancestors from the Revolutionary war and the Civil war.

My 5th great grandfather, John Adair (1759-1812), fought in the Revolutionary War only he was a loyalist along with his father, David. They resided in Delaware but as loyalists they were impounded to New Jersey as were all loyalist families. John, at age 18, enlisted in Lt. Col. Joseph Barton’s company, 5th Battalion of

John Adair 1759-1812

John Adair

the New Jersey Volunteers and fought for the British. Sometime between October 1 and December 1, 1780 he was captured by the rebels and kept a prisoner in a coal mine until the end of the war in 1783. He was paroled but no male over the age of 21 was permitted to leave New Jersey after the Revolution. He had to remain in a selected area. In 1795 John and his wife Phoebe were allowed to leave New Jersey and enter British territory. They joined John’s parents, David and Abigail Adair, who had already settled in Clinton Township (Canada). John petitioned for land on 6 July 1795 and acquired Lots 19 & 20, Conc 4, Clinton Twp. John succeeded his father as Clerk of Clinton Twp from 1806 to 1812. He belonged to the 4th Lincoln Regiment in the War of 1812. He died of disease in the army camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake.

General William Rosecrans

General William Rosecrans Union Army

General Braxton Bragg

General Braxton Bragg
Confederate Army

My 2nd great grand uncles Ezra and Charles Adair fought in the Civil War as soldiers of the Civil War of the Wisconsin 5th Battery, Light Artillery Div of the Grand Army of the Republic. Both men fought in the Battle of Stones River at Murphysboro, Tennessee. On December 26, 1862 General William Rosecrans’s army left Nashville and marched on Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s position at Murfreesboro. The two armies met on a battle field on the banks of the Stones River on the evening of December 30, 1862.

The Battle of Stones River was a strategic Union victory but the cost – 24,645 union and confederate casualties. Among those casualties was my ancestor Charles Adair.

From “Farm Boys Artillery Men” by Nathan Roth:

“It is now January,1863. The 5th Battery has experienced baptisms of fire at Perryville and Stones River. War changes things fast and the 5th Battery will never again be the same. Captain Pinney will die of his wound on 17 February. Privates, Charles Adair, David S. Welty and John G. Thomas were all killed in action at Stones River. Sergeant Elijah Booth, Privates, Martin Campbell and Josiah Forbes were wounded. John Smith had died earlier at Perryville. In as small a military unit as a battery these men would be sorely missed. The big killer of soldiers in the civil war was disease and by this time the 5th Battery had not been immune.”

Ezra Adair survived many more battles and returned to Green County to marry and eventually move to Kansas and then to South Dakota to be with a son.

What are your stories? Are you sharing them? Let’s make history “our family” for our children and grandchildren.



“Farm Boys Artillery Men, The History of Green County’s 5th Battery of Wisconsin Independent Light Artillery In the Civil War” by Nathan Roth, Monroe, Wisconsin; New Life Press, Monroe, Wisconsin; 1997; Pg 26


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