Since my last post I have been quite busy going through the requirements to get my certification from BCG. I finally completed the client report, which took almost 2 months, and have now progressed onto compiling a three-generation narrative genealogy. I love researching Italian records, but sometimes when you’re doing something for “work”, you just want to do something for fun. So in the last couple of days I wandered back into American genealogy and specifically into my husband’s family tree.
I have probably mentioned this before, but Ancestry.com is both an asset and an absolute nightmare. I don’t think there is a better resource than Ancestry if you want to research your American family tree, but there should be a disclaimer for stupidity and novice behavior completely destroying the reliability of every hint that you see. People WILL add nonsensical things to their tree, just to forcibly create connections between themselves and royalty or other notable historical figure, and it drives me crazy. Unfortunately this has happened with research previously completed for my husband’s family tree. I am determined to untangle this mess. Rant over.
I was able to discover a very interesting figure in the Stringfellow family tree, that I believe only one other person on Ancestry was able to find, and it certainly wasn’t someone that my family has previously discovered. (So it’s only a semi-new discovery.)
His name is Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow, a seemingly common name in the United States and in the Stringfellow family that I am concerned with researching. This Benjamin, is my husband’s great-great-great grandfather. Finding records for BF Stringfellow was a little confusing at first, because most people researching him came to the conclusion that he was born in Georgia, which is what it says on the Arkansas 1860 Federal Census. However, coming to this conclusion is premature. In the Georgia 1850 Federal Census, Benj Stringfellow, married to an Almarinda Stringfellow, is listed as being born in Tennessee.
Are these two Benjamin Stringfellows the same person? Yes, I believe they are. Here’s why: On the 1860 census, we do not get any names for the wife and children of “B H Stringfillen”, however, we are given their first initials. “M” Stringfellow, is his wife.
There is a marriage record from Georgia for Benjamin F Stringfellow and Marinda Priestley in 1849. While circumstantial, the evidence points to Benj Stringfellow and Almarinda being the same as those who married in 1849, and with the same names and initial, to be the same as those in the Arkansas census. I believe Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow was born in Tennessee, moved to Georgia and then finally moved to Arkansas.
While in Arkansas Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow was enlisted as a private to fight for the confederates in the Civil War. It is not known how long he served or where exactly he fought. He was in Livingston’s Company, in the 10th Regiment Arkansas Infantry. He was captured by the Union on 14 August 1864 in White County, Arkansas and sent to Rock Island Prison in Illinois on 8 December 1864.
The conditions at this prison were very poor. It was built in mid 1863 and was not fully completed when it started taking prisoners by the end of that year. Temperatures were below 0, sanitation was poor, and although a hospital was built, and sewers installed in the spring of 1864, malnutrition and scurvy continued to kill prisoners in droves. (Census Diggins) Unfortunately Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow died from pneumonia on 16 December 1864, just 8 days after his imprisonment. After the war the prison was completely destroyed. The graves of confederate soldiers who died there now fills the space where it once stood.
Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow’s plot 1680 can be found in the Rock Island Arsenal Confederate Cemetery in Rock Island, IL.