Volume 5, Number 8, Summer 1975
"So, when the summer calleth
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain..."
--The Blue and The Gray.
It was summer and the fragrance of flowering shrubs and trees, and the delightful scent of blossoms growing in neglected gardens throughout the Southland was wafted on a gentle breeze. The terrible havoc wrought by the Civil War was everywhere. Graves of men who had fallen in battle, both Confederate and Union, appeared as mounds in cemeteries called by prominent family names. Until the heart-breaking climax of a war in which brother opposed brother, and fathers sometimes fought against sons, no strangers had been buried behind those grilled fences and stone walls.
But it was so. And when the women of Columbus, Mississippi, took baskets of flowers to honor their dead, it is a matter of record that "they strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and the Union Men."
May 30th, Memorial Day which is also known as Decoration Day, became a holiday in 1868 when Gen. John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the GAR issued an order designating that day as one in which the graves of soldiers would be decorated. In the beginning, the day honored the memory of those who fell in the Civil War. Now it is also dedicated to the memory of the dead of all wars and to the memory of all other dead.
Willis Short and Nancy Kendrick Short, whose home was near Kingston, Roane County, Tennessee, were the parents of 14 children, Scarcely two years apart in age, they were just like stairsteps! The five oldest came to Missouri and settled, three in Stone County, and two in Greene County. They were: Francis Smiley, Elias Bates (Uncle "B"), Melcena Short McCullah, Samuel and last of all, and last to come to Missouri, GranPap John Short.
Left at home in Tennessee were: Jasper Newton, Larriett, Edom, Julius, William F. Jackson Dianah, Margaret and Stanover. The little we know about these Short kinfolks comes from the Window Shade Short Pedigree compiled by Cousin Willis McCuIlah whose home town was Marionville. I fell heir to the one he gave the late Fred Steele, heired it long before Freds death for, said he, "You ought to have it on account of your interest in family history." Manys the time Ive been grateful to Cousin Willis, and to Fred Steele, for this priceless heirloom.
These facts Cousin Willis gleaned from making two or more trips to Tennessee: Jasper Newton was a schoolteacher who was never married. There are no dates on the chart for him. William F was 15 when he died of poison from eating a wild parsnip which he thought was ginseng. Jackson and Standover both died in Belle Isle Prison during the Civil War. Birth dates of both of the boys were given on the chart.
The place of interment of both Jackson and Standover Short is not known. To find their final resting place has become sort of a Family Quest. Cousins Ernest and Mildred Wright of Henry, Illinois, recently visited Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia. In that Cemetery they had located the grave of Pvt. L. H. Short of Tennessee. Could he be a relative? My reply was yes, he could be, for we do not know how many Shorts in Tennessee ARE our relatives. But his is not the grave weve been interested in, lo these many years.
They mailed me a leaflet about Andersonville National Cemetery which is a National Historic Site under the sponsorhsip of the US Department of the Interior. One paragraph caused me to write for more information. It said that, for security reasons, in September 1864, prisoners were moved from South Carolina and other places to Andersonville. I received a blank which I filled out and sent to the National Arhcives in Washington DC.
Looking over the Window Shade Pedigree recently I was impressed by the fact family names carried over, sometimes through four and five generations. Like GranPap must have named his
son Jackson Grant for the brother back in Tennessee, then Congressman Dewey Jackson Short was named for his father. The late Blame Short, Deweys brother, had a son named Jack, and I believe that son had one named Jack. So, I filled out the blank for information about Jackson Short, rather than Standover, because of the name carryover. I knew his date of birth but little else other than that he died a prisoner of war at Belle Isle Prison. This information was sent me by National Archives:
Jackson Short, born May 18, 1837, was a farmer from Kingston, Tennessee, who enlisted in the Union Army on August 10th, 1861, for a period of three years. he was 22 years old at the time of enlistment.
On August 20, 1861, the Muster-in Roll shows that he was present for duty at Camp Robinson, Kentucky, and was assigned to Capt. Bowmans Co. A, 2nd Regt. East Tennessee Infantry. Copies of various Muster-in rolls show he was present until he was captured at Rogersville, Tennessee, on November 6, 1863. And this, the Memorandum from Prisoner of War Records says was noted in red ink: "Died prisoner March 9, 1864, at Richmond Va., Prison Camp." The Casualty sheet says: Cause of Death - Disease - February typhoid with complications. It further states that on Nov. 16, 1863, Pvt. Jackson Short was confined at C.S. Military Prison Hospital, Richmond, Va. He was 24 years old when he died.
Apparently, the next line was intended as place of burial though it just says: Americus, Ga., or Andersonville, Georgia. My second letter of inquiry brought this reply: "There is no Jackson Short buried here at Andersonville. His records state he died at Richmond, so he would have been buried there. The Confederates had enough problems trying to move the living from Virginia to Georgia without moving the dead. Even those who died on the trains were put off at the next stop. Belle Isle was an enlisted prisoners of war camp in the James River at Richmond, so sick from that camp were taken to the C.S.A. military hospital at Richmond. And those who died there were buried there.
"There are seven Shorts buried here at Andersonville, all from New York, New England or other more northern states. But no Jackson and/or Standover Short."
With the returned receipt from National Arhcives came the address of one more place to write to, another possible Open Door which I shall try. Meanwhile, the Quest goes on. If you live in or around Richmond, Virginia, and your name is Short or you have Short kinfolks, please join the ranks!
"Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day...
Wet with the rain, the Blue
Wet with the rain, the Gray.
Francis Miles Finch.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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