Intermission in the Nicholson story…

Posted on November 6, 2011 by

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So, here I am, weaving my way through this story, when last night, in the process of ironing out details, I ran into a whole new line of Nicholson family members that had evaded me over the years… somehow. In fact, I’m amazed at the number of Nicholson family members (just a few shy of 20) who were born in Madison County, Virginia, and lived there through the latter 1850s… moved to Doddridge County, Virginia (West Virginia), and ended up serving in blue, in several West Virginia units. Born and bred non-West Virginia, Virginians, who displayed an incredible amount of Unionism through their actions and service. Of course, most readers know just how much this tickles my innards. :) (… and, just to be clear… I do find stories of my Confederate kin just as interesting, however, I prefer savoring the more complex story of the South and Southerners in that war… which includes a more diverse range of sentiments and people, standing in stark contrast to the otherwise over-dominant legacy of the Lost Cause in telling the story of the South and its people).

I need to roll-out a detailed post, sometime after wrapping-up the current multi-part post, but, in the meantime, I just wanted to say, “thank God for Clara Barton and Dorence Atwater!”* The reason I say this is, once again (see the story about my first encounter with a headstone problem at Andersonville, here), I’ve discovered (thanks to a rapid response to my request for a photo for the Find-a-grave page I created for him today) a relative buried in Andersonville National Cemetery, who is misidentified on his headstone. At least this time, the person is identified to the correct state. Here’s the problem…

Probably doesn’t mean much to the naked eye, but the man in the grave is not Burton Nicholas. In fact, there was no Burton Nicholas in any West Virginia units. This is… actually, Jasper Nicholson, Co. I, 3rd West Virginia Cavalry.

A son of Jesse Columbus Nicholson and Tabitha “Bertha” Nicholson, Jasper was born and raised in Madison County, Virginia, but moved with many family members, sometime around 1859 (or before), to Doddridge County, Va (WV). He enlisted, May 1, 1863, at Weston, West Virginia, and was described as 22 years of age, 5’9″, with black hair, blue eyes, and, by occupation, a farmer. When Gen. David Hunter picked-up where Franz Sigel had failed, Jasper was among the Union soldiers to strike deep into the Shenandoah, but was captured near Staunton, Virginia, on June 8, 1864. Soon after, he found himself southbound on a train, to Camp Sumter, Andersonville, Ga., where he died on January 17, 1865.

So, I’ll be contacting Andersonville sometime this week to begin the process of seeing that the man is appropriately identified on a replacement stone.

Stay-tuned for part 3 of your regularly scheduled programming… might not be today, but it’s coming…

*Not to over-simplify, but Atwater and Barton were instrumental in documenting the graves of the dead at Andersonville.

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