Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pride--Pride in Will Graves's citing me in a Footnote in Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters

Some of you know I have been working part time for years on ORNERY PEOPLE: WHAT WAS A DEPRESSION OKIE?
You know that Will Graves with the help of C. Leon Harris and a few others has constructed a magnificent site, the one named in the title.  I don't know of another contribution to American history so herculean as this attempt to put online all the Southern Campaign pension applications under the 1832 law. And he has made it supremely searchable.
One of the puzzles was a word in my GGGG Grandfather Ezekiel Henderson's application for a pension under the 1832 law. He said he served under a Major Wm Penigood or Periegood or Puriegood, in Will Graves's transcription. Very responsibly, Graves included a facsimile of the name--Periegood, maybe the closest reading.
I spent many an hour over a few years looking for the Major.
The official NC site on the American Revolution in the state, Chatham County Regiment of Militia, lists among known "Majors" "Maj. William Penigood."
The only source for this major is grandpa's applicaton.
What a puzzle for a GGGG grandson.

Well, recently I was reading as many applications as I could by men who might have served with Ezekiel Henderson. He was laconic, like his descendants, and I wanted more detail of his skirmishes with the Tories. Had he been face to face with David Fanning, the psychopathically murderous Tory?

In Graves's transcription of the application by James Gardner I saw the mention of a French officer named "Feregood." Gardner was wonderful: "He does not recollect whether Feregood was a Captain or a Colonel and never having seen the name of said Feregood or Ferrygood in print, he does not know the correct spelling of that name, but he knows it was pronounced as above spelled."

Graves's fn suggested that this might be a reference to Jorge (George) Farragut, the father of the admiral. Oh my oh my oh my. Later Graves transcribed the application of Joseph Linton, who said specifically that he has served under "George Farragut, a Frenchman." Now, this is a separate problem: all his men thought Farragut was a Frenchman. Maybe these Scotch-Irish boys (they were boys) thought any foreign ally was French. Anyhow, Linton validated what Graves had decided about Gardner's officer.

Think about it. Graves was transcribing thousands of applications. You think I exaggerate? No. He was doing so over years and years, on his own. When you are looking at specific words 10 years apart you don't connect them. I know, from transcribing hundreds of documents into THE MELVILLE LOG. You focus on the document at hand, unless something jumps out at you.

If you are a GGGG Grandson wanting to find out who grandpa was referring to and if you have more time than money, and if you have access to Graves's magnificently searchable site, you can start looking. I tried variants of Feregood and Periegood. I did not find any P variants. As Graves says, who knows how toothless veterans sounded and who knows how competent or incompetent the bureaucrats were? Some of the hirelings who took applications were plausibly accused of being drunk at the job. One of them denied a decrepit veteran his pension because he played Gotcha!--you mention a battle at Alamance? Ho ho ho, you dottering fool, the battle of Alamance was in 1771! That reminds me of the bureaucrat in San Luis Obispo who in 1998 said I could not have Social Security because I would have income from books, maybe. [I stood up tall and said, "Then I will walk on the beach for a year and not write but you ARE going to enroll me." She did.]  See the amazing dissertation on corruption in office in Virginia by C. Leon Harris in a footnote on the Southern Campaign site for David W. Sleeth S6111. Anyhow, there are reasonable ways of accounting for Grandpa's "P." He may have heard it wrong. Our hearing is not the greatest.

So I started looking and found that in John Banes's application Graves had correctly identified Ferrigot as Farragut. I saw that John Wyatt had served under "Captain Ferrygood (a Frenchman)." I saw that Joseph Williams had served under "Captain D. Faragood." John Mebane had served under "Major Ferigood (a frenchman)." Charles Smith had served under "Colonel Ferrigood," an "officer in the State troops." Jesse Jones had served under "Col. Faragood in the Continental Line."

Will Graves was delighted to hear all this and consulted the work of J. D. Lewis and promptly varied his Gardner footnote for the other applications. Now, there are new records for historians of the Revolution and for students of the Farraguts and for Farragut descendants! Now Farragut's name can go in that official North Carolina site for officers in Chatham County! Vindication for the funny-talking furriner "Frenchman"!

And Oh, Brave Will, Oh Herculean Will--Will Graves put my name in the fns. Can you imagine my pride in being named as helping to resolve a crux in the Revolutionary War Pension Application of my GGGG Grandfather Henderson? I used to be a textual scholar, some of you may remember. See, if you can find a copy, FLAWED TEXTS AND VERBAL ICONS (1984). Can you imagine my pride at being acknowledged in a footnote for clarifying something in grandpa's pension application?

I still have the job of trying to verify and improve J. D. Lewis's chronology by analyzing the pension applications, and still have the job of correlating the information from those who served under Farragut with what several dozen other applicants who overlapped with Ezekiel Henderson say.  But the Southern Campaign site is so splendidly searchable that riches are available to any seeker.

Retirement will be fun. Bob Sandberg is coming up today to work on Melville.

P. S. I keep saying herculean about Will Graves. Well, it's fitting. But it is in my mind because the father of Ezekiel was the Regulator, Argulus Hercules Henderson.Too bad I can't make the Quakers change their mind and bury him properly.

P.P.S. I have been footnoted fairly often, but this is the footnote that gives me greatest pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment