I have been doing a lot of intermittent research on the Cross line on my Dad’s side of the family. Along with other Cross researchers, (some of whom are quite surly and rude), I have been trying to find that magical document that connects my Clarissa Cross to her probable mother Serviah (Warner) Cross. No luck so far.
During this search I have been gathering any documents I can find on the surname. In particular I have been focused on Sophia (Rosa) Cross, the eldest sister of my 3x great grandfather Abram Rosa.
Like her father Garrett Rosa, Sophia also married a Cross, Amandor Mandrick Cross to be exact. He is believed to have been her uncle, her mother’s brother. (And with the reputation this family has, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.)
So, while I haven’t found that ‘holy grail’ document, I thought I might share a bit about what I have learned about herself, and her sons George H. and Daniel Wellington Cross, from their Civil War pension application files. Both boys were Union soldiers.
Daniel Wellington Cross
If you will recall, not too long ago I had some interesting research results to share about Daniel regarding his foray into larceny and his stint in prison. All of which happened after he served, pretty much the duration, of the Civil War in Co. I of the 17th Michigan infantry, and later, in Co. C of the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters.
Daniel was only in his first unit for about 6 months, about half of which time he was in the hospital ill. So, in February of 1863 the military discharged him due to this illness.
In April of that same year he signed up again, this time with the Sharpshooters. Unfortunately, I could find no record of his time in this unit, other than he was mustered out at the end of the war on the 28th of July 1865. After looking at the regiment’s timeline during the war I found that Daniel’s unit was involved in several battles that would put him in the same area as my great great grandfather FW John: Weldon Railroad, the mine explosion in Petersburg. Maybe they ran into each other. I hope gramps checked his pockets afterward if they did! If you are interested in a little bit of the regiments history there are a couple of links below you can check out.
We know next to nothing about Daniel’s personal experience in the Civil War, except regarding his health. Thanks to his pension record we know that while serving guard duty at Camp Douglas in Illinois on New Year’s eve 1863/4, his feet were frozen to such a degree that he most likely experienced frostbite. This incident affected his feet for the rest of his life. Below is his mother Sophia’s testimony and a friend or neighbor Darius ____ regarding the matter.
Both above items from Daniel’s pension record.
Although Daniel had been married for a short time, (they divorced), there were no children from the marriage, so Daniel died in 1918 without issue.
An interesting note regarding Daniel’s service, he was most likely only 16 or 17 when he signed up in 1862. Maybe his enthusiasm for battle had him running away and lying about his age. There is nothing in the pension papers that gives any sense of Sophia’s feelings regarding the matter, but she must have been frantic with worry with her two eldest sons off to war.
George was born about 1840 in Michgan. The eldest of the Cross boys he has the dubious honor of having died during the war after contracting an illness. Although he did die at home while on leave. According to my quick research, dysentary was the leading cause of death of 2/3rds of the men during the Civil War, and it is most likely that this was the cause of George’s demise. He had also contracted measles earlier in the war but apparently survived that.
Like his brother Daniel, George was also in the war for pretty much the duration. Although he was sick throughout much of his service. He enlisted in Co. I of the 1st Michigan Cavalry and was later tranferred to Co B. When he enlisted he signed with his mark as he was unable to even write his name.
Image of 1st Michigan Calvary.
This particular unit was under the command of General Custer and was known as the Michigan Calvary Brigade, Wolverines or Custer’s Brigade. They fought in every major campaign of the Army of the Potomac from the Battle of Gettysburg to the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865. George was unable to be there for the surrender as he had died at home in February of that year. (See below several links regarding some history of this regiment.)
Custer on the field with the Wolverines.
George’s illness made for some interesting reading in his pension record as he was arrested earlier in the war for desertion, an accusation which was later rescinded. He hadn’t informed his superior that an illness prevented his returning to his company after his furlough was over.
George had been captured at Berryville, Virginia in August/September of 1864. His service record indicates that he was confined at Richmond, Virginia, which would mean he was most likely at Libby Prison. Another of those nasty hell-holes they called a prison during the war. By December he had been paroled and was back with his unit. It was shortly thereafter that he was transferred to Co B.
Much of George’s time in the Civil War was spent being ill. The time he spent in a confederate prison made his health worse, a situation which eventually contributed to his death in February of 1865. Like his brother Daniel, George died single and without any issue. But least Daniel had had a chance to make a life for himself, even if the choices he made were very poor ones.
Sophia Rosa Cross
George’s mother Sophia was the person who applied for a pension under her son’s name. She was alone and in need of support. She had been widowed in 1866, her drunkard of a husband, Amander, having died. Below is a statement from George’s pension regarding Amander’s weakness in this regard:
Transcription: That they have known Amander Cross, the father of George H. Cross, deceased, since the year 1850 and befor, and from the year 1860 he never did anything for the support of his family for the reason that he was an habitual drunkard from 1860 and befor until the day of his death about July 9th 1866, Sophie Cross was dependent on George H. Cross her son for her support and at his death was in destitute circumstances, and has been ever since.
It appears that Amander put little effort into making the farm they owned a viable resource for providing for the family. He had probably been too busy getting drunk.
So. He died in 1866. Sophia’s eldest son died during the war. Daniel was a thief and ex-con, and lazy Frank wasn’t much better. After Amander died Sophia ended up having to sell her land and everything on it to pay the mortgages that were owed on the property. As that only paid the debts, she hired herself out to clean houses and the like to make money to live on. All told, she was in desperate straights. Thankfully, the pension board saw fit to provide a small pension for Sophia. It was nothing to get rich on, but it help a little.
Sophia died in 1901 at about 85 years of age. She had ended up in a facility for the mentally incompetant and had a guardian; dementia or Alzheimer’s is probably what put her there.
Sophia’s legacy regarding her sons is not a pretty one, they were mostly not good folk. I have my suspicions she had some pretty loose morals herself. After all her favorite brother was Joseph, who had been her son Daniel’s partner in crime, literally, and she had had one of her daughters lie in their pension affidavit about her not having married again, because she had, although the marriage didn’t last.
All-in-all a family of many scoundrels. Makes for interesting reading.
And as for George, (whose illness and poor health during the war contributed to abruptly ending any chance of his having a life), he still died honorably in service to his country. Even Daniel, whose later life choices were usually bad, did at least one good thing in his life by serving his country throughout the war. I respect that.