yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


From the research notes of Francis Thomas


These questionnaires were completed between 1915 and 1922. Form No. 1 was sent out in 1914 and 1915. Form No. 2 was sent out in 1920.

"Form No. 1"

The chief purpose of the following questions is to bring out facts that will be of service in writing a true history of the Old South. Such a history has not yet been written. By answering these questions you will make a valuable contribution to the history of your State.

Pp. 1890-1

1. State your full name and present Post Office address:

W. A. Rushing, Lebanon, Tenn. R.R. 5

2. State your age now:


3. In what State and county were you born?:

Rutherford Co., Tenn.

4. In what State and county were you living when you enlisted in the service of the Confederacy, or of the

Federal Government?:

Cannon Co., Tenn.

5. What was your occupation before the war?:


6. What was the occupation of your father?:

farmer, merchant, brick cont.

7. If you owned land or other property at the opening of the war, state what kind of property you owned, and state the value of your property as near as you can:

not anything

8. Did you or your parents own slaves? If so, how many?:

Yes - 6

9. If your parents owned land, state about how many acres:

400 acres

10. State as near as you can the value of all the property owned by your parents, including land, when the war opened:


11. What kind of house did your parents occupy? State whether it was a log house or frame house or built of other materials, and state the number of rooms it had:

9 room brick building

12. As a boy and young man, state what kind of work you did. If you worked on a farm, state to what extent you plowed, worked with a hoe, and did other kinds of similar work:

Regular farm work of all kinds

13. State clearly what kind of work your father did, and what the duties of your mother were. State all the kinds of work done in the house as well as you can remember--that is, cooking, spinning, weaving, etc.:

My father was superintendant of all work and Mother with the servants did all work mentioned above.

14. Did your parents keep any servants? If so, how many?:


15. How was honest toil--as plowing, hauling and other sorts of honest work of this class--regarded in your community? Was such work considered respectable and honorable?:


16. Did the white men in your community generally engage in such work?:


17. To what extent were there white men in your community leading lives of idleness and having others do their work for them?:

Very small percent

18. Did the men who owned slaves mingle freely with those who did not own slaves, or did slaveholders in any way show by their actions that they felt themselves better than respectable, honorable men who did not own slaves?:

no social difference

19. At the churches, at the schools, at public gatherings in general, did slaveholders and non-slaveholders mingle on a footing of equality?:


20. Was there a friendly feeling between slaveholders and non-slaveholders in your community, or where they antagonistic to each other?:

They were friendly and no difference made

21. In a political contest in which one candidate owned slaves and the other did not, did the fact that one candidate owned slaves help him in winning the contest?:


22. Were the opportunities good in your community for a poor young man--honest and industrious--to save up enough to buy a small farm or go in business for himself?:


23. Were poor, honest, industrious young men, who were ambitious to make something of themselves, encouraged or discouraged by slaveholders?:

They were encouraged.

24. What kind of school or schools did you attend?:

Public schools all met on social equality.

25. About how long did you go to school altogether?:

40 or 50 months, in the fall of the year, working on farm in spring.

26. How far was it to the nearest school?:

1 1/2 miles

27. What school or schools were in operation in your neighborhood?:

Woodbury Academy, and private school

28. Was the school in your community private or public?


29. About how many months in the year did it run?:

Academy 10 mo. - private school 5 mo.

30. Did the boys and girls in your community attend school pretty regularly?


31. Was the teacher of the school you attended a man or a woman?:


32. In what year and month and at what place did you enlist in the Confederate or of the Federal Government?:

Confederate Army, July 1st 1862 Woodbury, Tenn.

33. State the name of your regiment, and state the names of as many members of your company as you remember:

We were known as 4th Tenn. Baxter Smith, Col. Baxter Smith was captured in the spring of 1863 and Col. Paul Anderson commanded regiment the balance of the war. This was a cavalry regiment.

34. After enlistment, where was your company sent first?:

to Ky.

35. How long after your enlistment before your company engaged in battle?:

Do not know

36. What was the first battle you engaged in?:

Perryville, Ky.

37. State in your own way your experience in the war from this time on until the close. State where you went after the first battle--what you did, what other battles you engaged in, how long they lasted, what the results were; state how you lived in camp, how you were clothed, how you slept, what you had to eat, how you were exposed to cold, hunger and disease. If you were in the hospital or in prison, state your experience here:

My horse died after first battle, went with wagon train back to Cumberland Gap, then my Captain gave me permisin to go home after a horse. Rode a borrowed horse across Cumberland Mt. home, safe through the bushwhackers, to Woodbury, from there to Unionville, Bedford Co. where my wife was, from there to Shelbyville where I joined the regiment.

In spring of 1863 I was appointed Sargent Major I served as such till the surrender. In the latter part of '64 in February I think, I drew a furlow to go to Courttw___? Ala. when I got there I passed into the river and footed home to Woodbury. When I got there my wife fitted with the best grey jeans suit so good it lasted till the close but it was alive [with] body lice and burned immediately. What did I eat - Cavalry Soldiers had to forage for themselves and horses, never in reach of Government rations and the regiment all loved me and there was 1 or more messes that would have plenty to eat and I in passing making details was told help myself which I did in proportion to quantity. We slept when we got time where we were on horse on ground on brush or rock pile.

I will give you the history of a faithful slave name Henry my grandfather hired him to Yanky to work in pork pac[k]ing house in Shelbyville. Said Yankee offered a fine hat for the one doing the most work on[e] day and the result was they had to do that [much] every day and the negroes were worked to death most and that made tanny? the most reliable friend a confederate soldiers ever had after the [that?] was he voted democratic ticket.

38. When and where were you discharged?:

Greenburo, North Carolina

39. Tell something of your trip home:

Grant was good enough to give us our wagens and teams to pay our way across the mountain. Then we were ordered to report to Knoxville, part of us left without reporting, we were robbed of our side arms and ordered to camp but went on home instead.

40. What kind of work did you take up when you came back home?:


41. Give a sketch of your life since the close of the Civil War, stating what kind of business you have engaged in, where you have lived, your church relations, etc. If you have held an office or offices, state what it was. You may state here any other facts connected with your life and experience which has not been brought out by the questions:

Farming, Cannon Co. 11 yrs. Rutherford Co. 12 yrs. Wilson Co. 33 yrs. Baptist made 2nd Tenn. Legd. 1 term.

42. Give the full name of your father:

Abel Rushing; born __________ at Shelbyville; in the county of Bedford; state of Tenn. He lived at Woodbury, Tenn.

Give also any particulars concerning him, as official position, war services, etc.; books written by, etc.

[answer left blank]

43. Maiden name in full of your mother:

Amanda Ann Kembro; She was the daughter of (full name) William Kembro

and his wife (full name)_________________, who lived at Lawren (?) Tenn.

44. Remarks on ancestry. Give here any and all facts possible in reference to your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., not included in the foregoing, as where they lived, office held, Revolutionary or other war services; what country the family came from to America; where first settled, county and state; always giving full names (if possible) and never referring to an ancestor simply as such without giving the name. It is desirable to include every fact possible and to that end the full and exact record from old Bibles should be appended on separate sheets of this size, thus preserving the facts from loss:

My grate grand parents first settled in North Carolina. My great grandfather came to Bedford Co. where my grand father was born, afterward becoming a Baptist preacher.

45. Give the names of all the members of your Company you can remember: (If you know where the Roster is to be had, please make special note of this.)

[answer left blank]

46. Give here the NAME and POST OFFICE ADDRESS of living Veterans of the Civil War, whether members of your company or not.

[answer left blank]

P. S. I am under the care of a Doctor not only that but I am wore out mind as well as body.

W. A. Rushing, R. 5, Labanon, Tenn.

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