13 April 2011

Civil War Profile: Thomas T Albea

     The following is a profile of one of my Civil War ancestors. What was their life like before, during and after the war? Where did their sympathies lie? How did they feel about the war?
     Thomas T Albea (1845-1905) was my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. He was the son of Tilman Albea and Julia Ann Glaze and appears to have spent his entire life in Lincoln County, Georgia. [Note: He should not be confused with his cousin, Thomas H Albea, about 5 years his senior, who enlisted in 1862] 

     At age 4 Tomas appeared on the 1850 census of District 52, Lincoln County, GA with his family. His father, Tilman, is a "planter." In the 1850 slave census of the same place, Tilman Albea is shown to own five slaves: males aged 20 and 6; females aged 36, 4 and 1. In his father's will, dated 1843, Tilman was supposed to inherit "a negro boy named Ivey." Is he the older male slave record here?

     When Thomas was 14 he appeared on the 1860 census of Samuels District, Lincoln County, Georgia, again with his parents and siblings. His father is listed as a farmer, on land valued at $1400 with a personal estate of $500. At this time Tilman owned only one slave, a 15 year old black female. In 1858, Julia Albea was willed her choice of slaves from her mother, Mary Glaze. Julia was to pick either Issac or Jinney. Is this one lone slave Jinney? What happened to the five slaves that Tilman owned ten years ago?

     Thomas was only 15 when hostilities began on 12 Apr 1861, only about 200 miles from his home. Coming from a family of slave owners, I would assume that Thomas and his family were supportive of, or at least sympathetic toward, the new Confederate States Government. There is no proof that his father, Tilman, fought in the war. He was at home in 1864 for a re-districting census and would be invaluable to a farming family during this time. 

     Thomas' brother, William H Albea, did enlist for the Civil War. In fact, William enlisted on July 14 1861, only four months after the war began.  Thomas was now the oldest son at home, probably wondering how long the war would last. Was he anticipating or dreading a long war that would cause him to join the military?

     Thomas T Albea joined the fight in August of 1863. At the time of his enlistment, Thomas was only 17 years old, about two months from turning 18. It seems that Thomas very much wanted to fight and could not wait until he was of age. He is listed on muster rolls for Co. I, 3rd Georgia Cavalry State Guards in Captain Walton's Company. He "joined for and enrolled" on 4 Aug 1863 in Lincolnton, GA for a period of six months. I found this curious, as all other enlistments I've seen were "for the duration of the war." The website Georgia Cavalry Units, states that this regiment was only organized for a six month period starting in August 1863.

     After this six month period, Thomas re-enlisted on 2 Feb 1864. He was placed in Captain Maxwell's Regular Light Battery. Very quickly, he appears on muster rolls for  Captain Barnwell's Battery, Georgia Light Artillery. According to the website Georgia Artillery Units, "this company was organized on 12 March 1864 and served temporally as Co. C, Maxwell's Battalion, Regular Light Artillery." Records show that he was absent in May and June, sick; present all other months of 1864. There is no record of his service after December 1864.

     Thomas married in 1867 in Lincoln County. He, his wife, Sarah Corely, and their infant daughter Hattie appear in the 1870 census of the 79th District of Lincoln County, Georgia. Thomas is a farm laborer with no real estate and personal property worth $150. Is he sharecropping or does he have a more desirable fixed rent crop contract? They are also living with Elizabeth Crawly, who is listed as a domestic servant. I think this is likely Sarah's sister (Corley/Crawly) and that she worked for a wealthy family in the area.

     Looking at Thomas' parents, Tilman and Julia Albea: In the 1870 census, Tilman is mis-transcribed as William. Of course, Tilman is no longer a slave owner. He does still own his own land, which is given as a value of $650 (vs $1400) and personal property of $600 (vs $500). Julia herself is listed as owning land valued at $450 (willed to her by her mother in 1858).  The combined value of the couple's property is similar to what it was before the war.

     Overall, it seems that Tilman and Julia may have come through the civil war unscathed - at least on paper. It's highly possible that even staying at home the family witnessed the fighting.  Their property could have been damaged or stolen by the union, or taken by the confederacy to support the war effort.  But in the end it looks like this family made it through better than many others. Both William and Thomas came home from war, as did other cousins.

     Finally, what happened to the family's slaves? In the 1870 census, there are only 12 black people listed in Georgia named Albea. All of them live in Lincoln or neighboring Wilkes county.  Albea is not a common surname, and there were only three Albea families living in Georgia at the time (a trio of brothers). Those old enough to have been born into slavery were almost certainly owned by them.  There are a number of Jennies of the right age and gender, and a number of Isaacs, but none named Albea or Glaze. It's difficult to know where the slaves mentioned in Mary Glaze's will went.

1 comment:

Susan Clark said...

So well done! It was a joy to read, the difficult events notwithstanding. Thank you for sharing this.


Related Posts with Thumbnails