Re: Hart's Island Civil War Prison NY
I very much appreciate the helpful information and schedules. More questions! Strangely, Abijah's wife initiated legal proceedings to declare Abijah dead sometime late 1862 or early 1863. It appears it took her until about 1866, a year after Abijah was released from Hart's Island Prison and took the Oath of Allegiance, to complete the estate hearings to divide his property by jury. Then 18 years later a commission made another decision about Abijah's property and transfers it to two of his three children. These children's mother was deceased by this time. However, all of the children were born before Abijah left in 1862 to join the Confederate Army. I cannot find any reliable record indicating he returned to Nash County, North Carolina in or after 1865. Could his wife have honestly thought Abijah was killed in one of the battles? Were families notified of the death of a soldier during the Civil War? If so, how were they notified? Also, was the family notified when they were imprisoned and released? If so, how? To add another twist to this scenario, Abijah appears to have had a another wife he married before the wife who had him declared dead! I don't know how they know this, but some say he returned in 1865 to his first wife to raise quite a large family; however, there is no indication that he took legal steps to reverse his second wife's legal proceedings to have him declared deceased nor did he ever take legal possession of his property again as best I can determine. And I can't find any indication that any children from the first marriage ever filed papers to repossess or take any of Abijah's real estate or possessions back from the 2nd wife and children. There's record in the Census documents of a man and family that could be Abijah but it's not definitive. He uses another given name (Hegey; A. H.) but the wife and children match the first wife/family information. Could this be him, I really don't know! This all makes me wonder, did Abijah really die during the war and although it seems so unlikely, could someone who was at Hart's Island Prison have assumed his identity for whatever reason? Or just simply, could the records be wrong? When these soldiers's records were processed for these events, were they done in mass? What was the probablity for error in names associated with events like injuries, imprisonment or death? I'm sure there are many complicated Civil War scenarios maybe not like this one but just as challenging to attempt to unravel as this one!