My great-great-grandfather on my mother’s maternal side was Enoch Keithley. Enoch was born April 5, 1831 in Missouri. My daughter and I have found five records specifically linked to Enoch: a marriage record, the 1850 and 1860 federal census records, an 1855 Wisconsin state census and records of his service with the Wisconsin 16th Infantry during the Civil War. The 1850 census for Jo Daviess County, Illinois listed Enoch as 18, indicating a birth date of about 1832, and as being born in Missouri. Although he was not listed with an occupation, he was also not living with any known family member. David Matlock. whose family he was enumerated with, was a collier – someone who works in a coal mine. The head of household below was also a collier; it is probable that Enoch would soon be working for the mine as well.
My daughter, Kay, had quite a search in order to find the marriage record for Enoch and his wife, Amy Turner. It was eventually with the help of a records clerk that the oddly spelled record was located and on a 2008 trip to Illinois and Wisconsin we saw that marriage listing in the county record book. It was Enoch Ethley [the name obviously recorded based on hearing the two names elided together] and Emma Turner. They were married on August 29, 1852 in the small community of New Diggings, Wisconsin by a Justice of the Peace named Joseph Thompson. We drove through New Diggings on our trip; by 2008 it was mostly just a bend in the road with businesses on each corner surrounded by several homes. I took a photo of one of the buildings that may well have been a part of that community when Enoch and Amy were married. An 1855 Wisconsin state census listed Enoch Keithley [transcribed as Kershley or Thershley] enumerated the household of two males and one female in New Diggings. The family unit at that time would have been Enoch and Amy and their first child, Joseph Henry, born in 1853. Enoch and his wife, Amy, and their three sons were enumerated in the 1860 census for Schullsburg, Wisconsin [Lafayette County]. They were enumerated next to the George and Juditha Turner household; other research showed that George was Amy Keithley’s brother. Enoch was listed as a farmer who was 28 and born in Missouri.
By 1861, the United States was in a time of extreme turmoil over the issue of states rights. Ulysses S. Grant, who was a resident of Galena, Illinois just over the border from Wisconsin, was rallying support for the Union cause and many of the men of the area joined the fight. Enoch’s brother-in-law, George Turner, joined the Union cause on September 16, 1861, and Enoch followed suit on November 4, 1861; records indicated both of them were residing in Darlington, Wisconsin at the time of their enlistment. When the Wisconsin 16th Regiment Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin and mustering in completed on January 31, 1862, Enoch and George were a part of Company I.
Military records for the regiment state they departed by boat for St. Louis on March 13, 1862, arriving on the 15th. They embarked on transports from St. Louis on March 16 traveling the Tennessee River and disembarking at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on March 20. They were assigned to the Sixth Division, which was a combining of regiments from several states. Their specific assignment was to occupy a position in the extreme front. They engaged in camp duties and drilling until the evening of Saturday, April 6th when they engaged in a skirmish with Confederate soldiers who were hidden behind a log fence. The Confederate soldiers opened with a volley directly in the faces of the Wisconsin 16th. Several men were killed or wounded and they fell back. April 7th was a full day of battle, beginning before breakfast and ending in the late afternoon – the Battle of Shiloh was one of the severest battles of the war; this deadly battle was the first conflict for these soldiers.
Following this battle, the unit remained in Pittsburg Landing until May 1st when they departed for Corinth, Mississippi, a few miles southwest of Shiloh, to seek an advantage by commanding the railway system in that community. The unit remained in Corinth until May 29th.
Records show Enoch died of disease in Pittsburg Landing on May 8, 1862. Because he died in Pittsburg Landing during the time his unit was in Corinth, I assume he had been too ill to travel and did not make the march to Corinth. The records of the Wisconsin 16th Regiment Infantry list 77 men who died in action, 64 who died of wounds, 267 who died of disease and 6 who died of accidents for a total of 303 men over the course of the Civil War.
Kay and I visited the Shiloh Battlegrounds and Cemetery in 2010 and stood at the site of their battle, at the location of the camp hospital, and at the burial site for those of the Wisconsin 16th who died during those days at Shiloh. Most of the men were buried in unmarked graves with just a small rectangular pillar to mark their graves.
This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.