Crain - Zephaniah Crain - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

Go to content

Crain - Zephaniah Crain

The blue & gray together made one fine young man
By Karen Zach, Around the County
Thursday, August 20, 2020 4:00 AM - The Paper of Montgomery County

• • •
One of my best genealogy buddies is Scott Busenbark and let me tell you this young man is a family history lover. Recently, he was extremely excited (and I’m so happy for him) about receiving a picture of his 3rd great grandfather who fought for the Southern Army during the Civil War. A distant cousin who had the photo is getting up in years, has a family that isn’t all that excited about history and thus Scott was blessed with the Confederate soldier’s original picture. Can you imagine – opening a package received in the mail with a third great grandfather’s photo who fought in the Civil War? WOW! You can see the image by clicking the dot under my name.
Just as exciting is that Scott has a Montgomery County soldier who obviously fought for the Northern side. Between the two of us, hubby Jim and I only have one Northern soldier, so I am impressed that Scott has one of each. Joseph C. and Nancy Stewart Lee were married in Calhoun County, Alabama on March 15th in 1843. Their oldest child William David was likely born in that county the next year. Being a librarian having been taught to research, English teacher expecting to research and hard-head not giving up on research, neither I nor Scott who is one heck of a researcher by love and experience, can find this family in the 1850 census but by 1860, they are living in Hardin County near Clifton, Tennessee, Joseph listed as a carpenter. W.D. is listed as David in this census, William the next and then David again. His brothers and sisters are Samuel, Green, Sarah, Joe, Presley, Mary and Martha. This area was very back-woodsy and if they lived there ten years earlier (likely) then they simply may have been missed.

Following this census, Hardin County voted to stay in the Union thus many men served in the northern army; however, just as many joined up in Confederate Companies. By December of 1861, David opted to join forces with the Confederate Army along with his uncle, 4th Sgt, B. Martin Stewart, travelling a long 40-miles to sign-up in the 52nd Tennessee Infantry. With a very short time to learn the soldiering business, the 52nd was ordered to go defend Ft. Henry on the Tennessee River. Too late. It fell to the North before the 52nd could give aid. On April 6, 1862 David’s group was back in Hardin County, ready to defend the Shiloh Church area. Brig. Gen. James Chalmers’ first attack was successful with a surprise on the Northern camps. Soon the North woke up and drove them toward Locust Grove Run where the Union Army got ‘em in the rear and the 52nd “broke and fled in most shameful confusion!” However, they would go on to be in several skirmishes during that day. That night, reinforcements came from the North so David’s unit retreated. From this day he received the rank of Corporal. When his company merged with another he lost that title due to number. A several day battle at Stone’s River brought forth an injured David Lee who was one of the 76 men killed, wounded or missing of the 270 going into the battle. The Confederate records wane as the war progressed. Scott knows that he also served in the 19th Tennessee and was at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky (when with the 52nd) where Scott’s Northern soldier was as well. However, their units did not come head to head. Now, that would have been wild!

Upon the end of the war, David returned and married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey. They raised a large family and David evidently died between the 1870 and 1880 census. Scott has written a wonderful account of David and ends the story with saying that he wishes there was a gravestone, a place to plant flowers or a flag, but alas, all he has is that wonderful photo to gaze upon his 3rd great grandfather, William David Lee, a true Confederate soldier!

Zephaniah Crain, Scott’s Northern soldier was born in Warren County, Ohio and came with his father’s family at age five from Warren County, Ohio October 30, 1822 (purchasing more land in July of the following year) to settle on the property purchased by his father, Elihu Crain, 160 acres which is now split by Interstate 74 just above Mace. Such little information is known about this family but in the 1830 census Zephaniah had seven brothers and sisters, with just a few known but James H, Washington, Hannah, and Susan are likely in this family. Wife? Not positive on that either but we are fairly certain Zephaniah’s mother is Mary Clark. Also fairly certain that Elihu’s father is Elihu, a Revolutionary War soldier, born in New Jersey and passed away in August 1823. He had a son Cyrus whom we believe to be Elihu’s brother (from same place in Ohio) and an Elihu. He passed away in Hamilton County, Ohio right next door to Warren. Needs proof but very good speculation. Also, the Montgomery County Elihu was likely in the War of 1812 so need to further research on that possibility since he received government land.
Almost immediately upon entering our community we are fairly sure this Elihu stepped in with others and started the Sugar Creek Baptist Church showing that religion was a top priority. Sadly, he would die when his son was but 14, leaving Zephaniah in the care of Solomon Ball who may have been an uncle as his wife was Lucretia Crane. At age 24, Zeph married Sarah J. Busenbark, daughter of Redden on February 24th, in 1848. Their only daughter, Malinda who married Samuel Busenbark, was born later that year followed by five sons: Isiah, Squire, Joseph, Frank and Henry. They farmed.

At the not so young age for the times, Zeph decided at age 42 even though he had a wife and five children to follow so many in Montgomery County and join-up to fight, his unit being Co B 10th Indiana, which was formed in Montgomery County, mustering in on the 15th and going into regular duty on the 20th of August in 1861. This was the very active group known as the “Crawfordsville Guard.” Zeph had a wonderful record during several battles throughout his three years and remained in the service (Veteran Reserve Corps mainly guarding captured Confederate soldiers) even after losing an eye charging up the hill at Perryville when the fellow in front of him hit a tree and a limb flung back to put out the unfortunate Zephaniah Crane’s eye. One tough cookie, Zeph also was wounded in the write in the Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky.

As many in any war, Zeph likely had a type of Post-Stress Syndrome as he and Sarah were divorced by 1880, she and their son Joseph living together while Zeph lived with son Isiah and his family. Much of his latter few years were spent in great pain due to rheumatism, confining him to the home. The end came August 23rd in 1898, specifically from cholera morbus. He suffered for many hours until he finally passed at 4 that afternoon. The funeral was held in their home church, Mace M.E. under the auspices of his GAR Post. Buried in the K of P. Cemetery (see stone), Sarah followed him the next year and is buried under a beautiful stone at Oak Hill.
So, there you have two interesting ancestors of one fine community fellow – one from the north, one from the south, both a part of Scott Busenbark – thanks so much pal for letting me share their story!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.

Back to content