Wiley Thomas Childers: a confusing Confederate
Like many Americans, I had ancestors fighting on both sides of the Civil War (and Revolutionary War, but that’s another story). One of my Confederates was Wiley Thomas Childers (1847-1901). My great-great-great grandfather appears in Alabama on US census records in Talladega, Marshall, Clay, and Morgan counties between 1850 and 1900. He and his second wife, Nancy Susan Windsor (1857-1939), left Morgan County and moved to Texas in December 1900. Ancestry.com lists a WT Children who served in Hardie’s Reserve Calvary, a unit which saw action in Georgia and Alabama (including Talladega) from 1864-1865. So I assumed this was my ancestor’s war record… until I saw the Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension that Nancy filled out!
“He enlisted as a Private in Company H, 53rd, Regiment Georgia Infantry May 5, 1862 at Zebulon, Ga. Was taken prison Dec 3, 1863 Near Knoxville Tenn, imprisoned at Rock Island Baracks, Rock Island Ill. Released June 17, 1865.”
53rd Regiment of Georgia Infantry?? Prisoner at Rock Island from 1863-1865?? My ancestors are awesome, but they cannot be in two places at once. There must be some bad information somewhere. This new guy sounds more exciting, and I would hope his own widow would know the correct information when she applied. The most logical explanation would be two guys with the same name serving in the war. I found a new Wiley T. Childers who lived in Pike County, Georgia (where the 53rd was formed). It appears that either my ancestor just happened to enroll 120 miles from home where another Wiley T. Childers lived, or my ancestor’s wife unintentionally(?) used the Confederate service record for the wrong Wiley Thomas Childers when she applied in 1932. Either way, I have some more research to do!