Monday, August 24, 2009

Photo of Eli Sigler Thomas & wife, Susan Mary Hedenberg Thomas

This is a photo of Doctor Eli Sigler Thomas and his wife, Susan Mary Hendenburg Thomas.
Doctor Eli Sigler Thomas was one of the men killed in the Gainesville Hanging. He was hanged on 19 Oct 1862, along with nineteen other men. He left behind a wife and two children.
Information on Eli Sigler Thomas can be found in several earlier posts:

Many thanks to the Dr. Eli Sigler Thomas descendant who sent this photo to the blog.  This is one of two known photos of a victim of the Great Hanging.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Henry Field

Henry S. Field, the son of Henry and Lucinda Frisbee Field, was born 12 Feb 1810 in Elbridge, New York. He settled in Bellevue, Jackson, Iowa in 1838. In 1842, Henry married Jane Augustine Potter. They had four daughters and one son: Laura, Julia, Lydia, Marcus, Jane. Henry's wife, Jane, died in 1848. Henry then married Mary Ann Bail on the 4th of July 1850 in Iowa. They can be found in the 1850 Census (Jackson County, Iowa) that was taken in September of that year.

Henry and Mary had five children, two sons and three daughters: Marcus, Gratia, Martyna, Willliam and Sarah. Sometime around 1857, Henry and Mary moved their family from Iowa to Texas. The youngest two children were born in Texas. They can be found in Cooke County, Texas in the 1860 Census. Henry listed his occupation as a shoemaker. He had $800 in personal estate and no real estate.

The following is from McCaslin's book:
"The Citizen's Court tried Henry S. Field, a shoemaker, after they condemned the Chiles brothers. Henry Chiles had admitted that he initiated Field, and a neighbor recalled a conversation in which Field unwisely asserted that if conscription were expanded to include men his age, he would rather hang than serve in the army. Field had also intemperately applauded General Benjamin F. Butler's infamous proclamation, made during his occupation of New Orleans, that any female who showed contempt for a soldier of the United States Army would be treated 'as a woman of the town plying her occupation,' and carried with him a newspaper containing the edict. Field denied being a member of the Peace party but, after being returned before the jury, admitted that he had taken the first degree from Chiles and 'afterwards did go through' a full initiation. He insisted he would have confessed earlier, before the arrests, but was afraid."

After being sentenced to hang by the Citizen's court, Henry wrote a will on 3 October 1862. Below is a copy of the will (transcript follows):

Cooke County Probate Minutes, vol. 1, 1857-1863; FHL US/CAN Film 1290682
3 Oct 1862
"I Henry Field of Texas in the county of Cooke..I desire to be decently and privately buried in the yard near my residence with as little expense as may be, also I give and bequeath my daughter Lydia C. McKool three cows and calves also one colt known as the Roan Filley for her own use and benefit, Also I give and bequeath my wife Mary Ann Field for her and my infant childrens benefit and maintanence consisting in the public land improvement where she resides, also two large mares and one filley, one yearling colt and one colt, also two wagons, also all the remainder of cattle and all movable effects, after paying all my debts. I do hereby appoint and constitute my said wife M.F. sole executrix of this my last will and testament...
the third day of Oct 1862
Henry Field (seal)"

Diamond's account of the trials states, "Fields was called by his neighbors a clever man, and a useful citizen. His implication in this secret and wicked plot astonished the people, more perhaps, than any others."
Henry Field was hanged on October 4th. He made a speech just prior to being hanged and confessed that he was a member of the Peace Party. He also pleaded for charity toward his memory and toward "those who bear my name and are attached to me by kindred ties."

A Field family descendant posted the following on's World tree (accessed 28 Oct 2007) contact unknown:
"Henry Field, Jr., son of Henry and Lucinda, settled in Bellevue, Iowa, in 1838. In 1854 they moved to Bolivar, Texas, where he resided at the breaking out of the rebellion of the slave-holding states with other northern families. He with eighteen of his neighbors were arrested for refusing to take up arms in the Confederate service, and being refused the privilege of returning north, were hung December, 1862. He wrote a farewell letter to his family of which his family ( Dorothy Dorchester Melville, his great, great niece) has a copy. He had five children by his first wife, Jane, and five children by his second wife, Mary Bail."
There are a few mistakes in the above family account, but it interesting to note the mention of a farewell written to his family.

Notes on the second wife of Henry Field, Mary Ann Bail Field. There is a marriage record for marriage record for Mary Ann Fields to Jefferson Anderson in Cooke County, Texas on 10 Dec 1863. But if this was the widow of Henry Field, then she changed her name from Anderson back to Field by 1900. Mary Field or Mary Anderson cannot be found in the census records for 1870 or 1880. But, Mary Field is found living with her daughter, Martyna, & son-in-law, James Jennings, in the Census records of 1900, 1910 & 1920. She gives her name as Mary Field in all three census records. Mary stated in the 1900 census that she gave birth to 6 children and only one (1) was still living in 1900 -- that would be her daughter, Martyna Field Jennings. Mary Ann Bail Field lived to be almost 92 years old. Her life was touched with hardship and sorrow -- she lost her husband in the Great Hanging of 1862 and five of her six children by 1900. But hopefully, she also experienced peace and joy during her life. Mary died 1 Oct 1921 in Lamar, Colorado, while living with her daughter, Martyna.
Question: Where was Mary living during the 1870 & 1880 census?

For a post about Henry's daughter, Lydia Field, click here.