Civil War Roots
Alexander Francis "Frank" McGahey
Submitted by Paul Young
Alexander Francis "Frank" McGahey, second son of Samuel Francis McGahey (1805-1868) and his wife, Florah Barefield (born about 1807 in North Carolina), was born in about 1818 in Pickens County, Alabama. Alexander's siblings were: Enoch Starling McGahey (February 4, 1824 - May 12, 1900); Thomas Jefferson McGahey (about 1831 - November 23, 1903); Mary B. McGahey (January 21, 1833 - January 10, 1901); Sarah McGahey (1837 - 1913); Martha Ann McGahey (about 1839 - 1892); James Josephus McGahey (about 1840 - September 23, 1862); William Thomas McGahey (about 1842 - 1928); Frances J. McGahey (March 17, 1841 - 1905); Nancy Catherine MCGahey (born February 7, 1847); and Louisa A. McGahey (born about 1849).
Alexander Francis married Margaret Watson (born in Scotland on January 28, 1824), the daughter of James Watson. They had the following children:
Rebecca McGahey, born about 1850
Mary Virginia McGahey, born August 4, 1851, married (1st) J. C. Atkins; (2nd) J. B. McGahey; (3rd) P. C. Lee Bridges. Mary died in 1934 and is buried in Bethany Cemetery, Webster County, Mississippi
S. F. McGahey, born September 21, 1843, buried Springhill Cemetery, Webster County, Mississippi, next to his wife Lara J. Hemphill.
Margaret U. McGahey, born about 1855
John A. McGahey, born about 1859
William Jefferson McGahey, born about 1861, buried in tehOld Phoenix Cemetery, Pickens County, Alabama
Alexnader Francis joined Company D, 42nd Infantry Regiment, as a private. His brothers also joined the CSA. Thomas Jefferson was a Sergeant with Company H, 35th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. James Josephus and William Thomas were both privates with the 5th Infantry Regiment, with James in Company C and William in Company E. James died in Frederick County, Maryland on September 23, 1862. Thomas and William survived the war.
Alexander Francis died on July 15, 1863 at the home of James and Elizabeth Parkman just west of Bolton, Mississippi. He left Vicksburg about July 11, 1863 with the rest of the unit, but became too ill to travel. His commander, J.C. Mitchell left a Mr. Williams with him because they had no way to carry him. He was picked up by Federal ambulance and taken to the Parkman home where they cared for him for two days before he died. They buried him on their place by the road. The grave has not yet been located.
Margaret Watson McGahey never remarried. She was buried in the Old Phoenix Cemetery, Pickens County, Alabama
Marshel C.O. Miss Oct the 11th 1862
Dear Margaret and Children
I again take the opertunity of writing you a few loins to let you know how I am agetting along in this unfrinly world. I am not well. I have the diorer and the mumps. I have had the mumps about ten days and thought was well of them when on last Sunday I commenced marching and had bin at it ever since. They have fell on me and I am afrade I will have a bad spell of them. I must say something to you about hour travels for the last 15 days. Wee started from Baldwin on the 25th of Sept and thare to Ripley and from thare to Corinth and thare was a grate battle fought. The Yankeys ganed a grate victory. It is suposed that their brigade lost 12 hundred men. It is not known what hour loss is. Hour company had fifty six men in the fight and brought out 15. Daniel Coleman was lost and it is thought Bill Price taken prisoner. J. T. Huff came through safe. Josiah Eddins is wounded in the left arm above the elbow but the bone is not broke. He is in Holly Springs in the horsepitle. Hour captain is lost. Robert Brown is wounded in two places, one in the coller bone and the other in the foot. James Gibson was killed on the brest work with many others. I must say something about hour fare during this march. Wee drawn 10 days rashins at Baldwin on the 25 of Sept and wee drawn again last night. I have not eat anuff in 3 days to doo a man one good meal but I hope that times will git better now wee have stoped retreting. It is thought by some that wee will gow back to Columbus to recrute up and if wee doo I think thare is a chance for mee to git to come home again. The magor has recamended Columbus as a suitable place. I espect to go into the horsepitle today. There was the soriest generalship displade in this fite that was ever known. It is thought by some that Vandorns command bee taken from him for his management. Thare was but two brigades ingaged in the fight. They was to make the attact on one side and Vandorn was to attact the other and he failed to do it. General Price would have nothing too doo with it after he found out how the thing was going. Theer not more men in our regiment now then thare was in hour company before it went into the fight. I am afrade Brother Tom is lost. Cant hear of him since the first charge. I must close my letter. You must write to mee. I havent had any word from you since I left Columbus. I doo hope that these loins may find you all engoying the blessings of God and the best of helth. Give love to all of the children and kiss them for me. I remain your affectionate husban until deth. Good by.
A. F. McGahey
Visburg January the 1st 1863
Mr. Parharm Huff, Dear Friend
Accordin to promise I seat my selfe for the to writing you a few loins to let you know how I am getting along. I am in tolerable helth and improving. My hand is getting well. I made my trip safe but was from Monday 10 oclock until Thursday night sunset geting to Grinader. I found John and Phil in camps. They are both in good helth. John looks better than I have saw him. Hee was very glad to see mee and I think he was still glader to see his boots. Phil looks very well . He is still wagining. Hee is in the regiment know. He tells mee that hee has rote about 15 letters sinse hee has herd from you. The sitys fool nuse this morning some good some very bad. On yesterday the cars run off the track and killed 9 men and wounded 39 more. They all belonged to the 35th Miss Regt. I have not hird hoo they are yet but I saw one of the company that Tom belongs to and hee told mee that Tom was hear in the brest works. They are fiting a litel hear every day. On last Tuesday they had a purty big fite. 2 regiments of hour men repulsed 8 of the Yanks with a loss of 200 killed. Hour loss is five killed and 5 wounded. It is thought that we will have the bigest fight hear that has ever bin fought. They are reinforsing just as fast as the cars can run and has bin ever sense I came hear. They are coming from all quarters. It is thought wee have 100,000 and the Yanks has 150,000 but we are well fortifide. Hour army is in find spirits here. They feele confident of victory. I think if we are victorious hear that the ware will soon close. A dispatch came in this evening from Brag. Hee has bin victorious at Murpheys Borough taken 40,000 prisoners and 30 peases of artilery and captured 10,000 wagons and still remanes on the field. I have not bin out to the brest works yet. I am garding the bagedg in town. I dont know how long I will remane in thown. Vicksburg is a fine sity. I have not bin all over it yet. I hope those few loins may find you all well and dooing well. Tell my fokes to write to me how they are getting along and to direct thare letters to Viscburg. I must come to a close. You must write to me soon as this comes to how I exspect to stay in Viscburg. Some time I am in fool view of the river. Now give my respects to all enquiring friends. I remane your affectionately.
A. F. McGahey
Viseburg, Miss January the 7th 1863
My Dear Margaret and Children,
I have the opertunity this evenig of sending you a letter to Columbus. I am in tolerable helth with the excepthion of my bowels. They are still running off as bad as they was before going home. I hope those few loins may find you and the children injoying the best of helth. I have nothing of importance to write you. I left Columbus on Monday after I left home at ten oclock and went from thare to Laudadel Springs and thare I got off and went to the hospitle and stade all night. I got a very bad bed to sleep in and it had cost the next day. I went to Meridian and there I had to lay over one day and night and you had beter believe I suffered with my bowels. I swelled up somewhat. I could not bare my pants and drawers buttoned. I never got to my jerneys end til Christmas night. I found the boys all in good and spirits. My captain is not exchanged yet. I herd hes at Jackson with several of the boys. I left Grenader on Sunday after I got thare for Vicsburg and reached thare on Monday night. I have bin dooing very well ever since I have bin garding the bagage that belongeds to the regiment. I have had a good house to stay in of a night. My company is detaled as sity police and wee have a fine time of it. Wee went out policing this morning and found two barels of rum and two sacks of flour. They fought hear every day for a week until last Friday. He Yanks disapeard and went on there gun botes. It is said that wee killed one, taken 15 hundred while hour loss was not more than 110. I have not bin out to the brest works yet but they say that wee can whip any forse that may come agins us. There is bad nuse hea. Evry day it is confirmed that Derag has whiped them badly in Tenisee and that they have reacvatted 10. It is the opinion of everybody that wee will have peace in the corse of two or three months and may God Almity grant this. May hee save it on home and you and the children. Lord send that I could bee with you this night. I doo hope hat when wee meet again that wee may see to part no more on this earth.
I want you to take good care of things for I am in fine spirits in the belief that I will soon return to the bosoms of my family. I want you to take good care of my children and have all the corn made that you can. Vicsburg is the largest sity that I ever saw. Thare was a grate ascident happened on the rale road on last Wednesday about 14 miles from hear. The cars run off the track and killed nine men and wounded forty one more. They nearly all belonged to the 35 Miss Regiment, the same regiment that Tom belongs to, but I learn that hee was not on that train. I learn from one of the regiment that hee is in the brest works. If you see Parch Huff tell him that T. G. was well the last time I saw him. Hee is still wagoning. I have had some bad luck sense I left home. On last Sunday night I had my pocket book stolen with eleven dollars in it. It was taken out of my pocket when I was asleep. Thare was two temsee and came in after I had gon to bed and after I went to sleep they lay down close to my side and I think they got it. I dont exspect to ever see it again. I had loned ut eleven dollars and had got apart of it back and will git the balance when I call for it. I am now writing by candle light and you must ecuse my bad writing and spelling. I hope that those few loins may find you and the children injoying the best of helth. Tell Willice howdy for you and tell him that I want him to spred himselfe and beet all of them fellows making corn. I believe hee can doo it. I must close my letter. I have to start on gard now in a few minets. You must write mee soon as this comes to hand and give mee all the nuse and how you are getting along. When you write to mee direct your letter Viscburg Miss in the care of Capt T. C. Mechel, 42 Regiment, Ala Volunteers, Colnal Portier in command. Write soon. I remane your affectionate husbone until death. Good bye.
A. F. McGahey
Camps near Vicksburg Miss Aprial the 17th 1863
Dear Margaret & Children,
Again I take the plasent opertunity of writing you a few loins to let you know that I am well at this time and I doo hope those few litle loins may find you and all the children injoying the same blessing. I have nothing of importence to write you. Times is hard as usua. Wee have bin runing from one place to another ever sence I got too it. Wee went to Greenwood and stade thar 10 days then wee was ordered back to Vicksburg. They are shelling Vicksburg know. Last knight thare was the heviest canonading thare that I ever hird in my life. Thare was 11 gun bots came down. We sunk two of them and 8 went by. I exspect thare will bee the bigest fight here in a few days that thare ever has bin in Miss. Thare is a Yanky force below Vicksburg and a barg above it and General Grant is ordered to make an attact on Vicksburg. They have all left Greenwood before we left.
Dear Margaret, I must be short. I have the chance of sending this by Mr. Clark and hee is agoin to start in the morning and it is sundown Know. I hear that the wheet has the rust in Pickens and, if that is sow, you must take good care of the
Josiah Eddins brought mee a letter from you and you stated that you had the chance of selling some corn. I dont want you to sell the corne off until you see that the wheat is agoin to hit or not and then make them pay the top of the market for it and I believe that will bee 5 dollars for a bushel. You stated that Smothers wants corn for the schooing. If hee will give $3.50 for bushel let him have it.
Thare is some talk of us havin to gow to Mobiele (Mobile) or to Tenis See (Tennessee) and I doo hope that wee will go some whare for I am tird of the Miss. I have to work about one day in the week but that only gives mee good exersize. Josiah Edins says that hee will bee back in the corse after three weeks and hee said that hee would bring mee a box of provision. I dont want you to send much. Thare is a good chance for it to git lost. You must write mee a letter and send it by Josiah and give mee all the newse. I must close. It is giting dark. P. G. Huff is hear to see mee to knight and hee is as fat as a hog. Hee says to tell his wife that hee will write to hir as soon as hee gits the chance. J. T. Huff is not very well, but is improvin. I will write agane soon. Direct your letters to Vicksburg. I remane your lovin husban until death. Good by.
A. F. McGahey
Camp Near Columbus, Miss., Aug. the 15th 1862
My Dear Margaret & Children,
I this morning set myself on the ground at the root of a blackjack to inform you that I am weel at present as to helth but low in spirits and I doo hope these few loins may find you and hour little children injoying the same like blessing. I have nothing of much importance write to you. I have a hard life to live hear not that I dont get a nuff to eat but the idear of being taken from you and hour dear little ons. But the time has come to where we must bee seperated for a wile. I have the painful inteligences of writing to you that Brother Tom is dead. It is said amongst his friends hear that it is fals. I saw Jess Bryant Monday and hee told mee that hee saw Tom last week Monday at Tooplow and hee was well and harty and report say that hee dide at Ganesvill last week. Wee are getting a long very well as regards hour mess. There is five in it and wee take it time about cooking. That is the worst part of the service with mee. It is thought by the regiment wee will leave hear in 3 or 4 days. I hird some of the officers saying last knight that they hird Colenal Portice (Portis) say hee had marchen orders. It is alsow said that they are exchanging prisenors and that thare is about 13,000 of hour men agoing to rendervoos at Columbus. I want you to doo the best you can and not take on about mee for for I telle you that thare is thousens in the same fix with you. I am now in the service of my country and I intend to doo my dooty as a soldier. I feel very stuped today. I was on gard dooty last night for the first time and it is a pirty hard task. I dont see any chance of coming home. Iit is a very hard matter to get off hear. If wee should happen to stay hear it may bee that I may get to come home between this and Christmas. I have not received my bounty yet but is expecting to every day. The Captain told me the last time I spoke to him about it that he would git it just as soon as hee could. I must fitch my leter to a close. You must write to mee soon. Tell Wilice that I want him to bee shore and tend to the stock well. I want you to kiss little Wiliam for mee and tell the rest howdy. Sow I must close by sining yourese most affectionate husbon.
A. F. McGahey to Margaret McGahey
Enclosed In envelope addressed to Mrs. Margaret McGahey, Antioch P. O., Pickens Co., Ala.
Two Confederate States five cents stamps featuring Thomas Jefferson are attached.
The envelope is postmarked Columbus, Miss, Sep 13.
September the 10th 1862
Camp Harday, Columbus, Miss.
My Dear Margaret,
Again I take my pen in hand to drop you a few loins to let you know how I am getting along. I am not well but better. I have had the bowel complant for about 9 days. I think I will be able to return to duty by tomarrow. I hope those few loins may find you injoying and the chilaren enjoing the best of helth. I have nothing of intrest to write. The helth of the regiment is very good at this time. I have bin trying to git to come home but nuse (news) was red out last night that thare would bee no more furlows only in cases of sicness. Mr. P. G. Huff wants mee to tell you to let his foks know hee cant come to see them soon. I have hird that you had some notion of coming down heaer with Mr. P. Huff if it is aposable thing. I want you to come and I want to see the children two for it is unserting when I will git to see them. I want you to knit me a pare of gloves and send them by the first good oportunity. I saw Brother Thomas the other day and hee looked better than I ever saw him. He was in town last night on his way to his company. His company is bursted up and hee is going join Biluxsis (Biloxi) Company which is at Chutanuga. We git good ware nuse (war news) hear every day. Nuse came yesterday that General Curba Smith (General E. Kirby Smith) taken Sencanatter (Cincinatti) had crost the fedral loins. I learn that the conscrip law has bin rased to forty five. Tell all the boys that consumate the law that I want them come to this regiment. Wee have a fine company. There is 99 men in this company. I saw J. B. Price the day and hee told me that the peple in the nabor hood was generaly well. I must come to a close. You must write to me soon and give me all the nuse. Give my best respects to all enquiring friends. PG Huff ses to tell Parcham to rite him a leter Saturday stating how his wife is.G B.
A. F. McGahey
NOTE: Two letters written on one page.
Baldwin, Miss., Sept 25th 1862
Dear Brother & Sister,
Seat myself this morning to write you a few loins to let you know that I am well at this time. Hoping that those loins may find you and the little ons injoying the same blessing. Thare is grate excitement hear now. We have orders to cook up three days rashins this mornig to bee redy to march this evning. Wee are attached to Moors Brigade in General Prices Army. On last Friday evenin Price and the Yanks run together at Iuka and had a very hard fight. The loss is not known as yet. It is said by some that wee lost 250 men and the Yanks 1,000 though my notion is that wee lost as much as wee gand (gained). I saw Tom yesterday and hee told mee that hee was thare in the loins of battle but was not in the fite. Thare was 1 man killed and two wounded in his regiment. Hee is the 35th Miss Regiment in Moors Brigade. It is said that wee will go to Nashville to reinforse Brag. It is said that thare is 100,000 Yanks betweene hear and Nashville and Brag is near there with 80,000 men. Wee have very hard times hear know. Wee have to live on beef and brad and hit half coked and the salist (saltiest) water you ever saw. The nasties (nastiest) mud holes in Pick(ens) is good to hour water. I tell you how the peple in Pick(ens) is well off to what these are hear. The Army on the retrete from Iuka just swep every thing before them-corn, potatoes, hogs, chickens, and every thing that was to eat. Saw Seeb yesterday. Hee is well and looks well and I understand that John Richardson was in our company yesterday. Hee has been in 7 fites and has not got hurt yet. P. G. Huff is in very bad state of helth though hee is better this morning. Hee had a very hard spell of the colerramolus. Hee thinks hee will not bee able to go with us. H. P. Cooper is complaining with the ruematisum in the hip. The rest of hour boys is well. The helth of the regiment is very good. Jess Edins is well and is first rate fellow in campe. Hee has bin detaled debitee (deputy) post master and is well thought of by the regiment. I want you to write to mee as son I get stationed again. I will write to some of you.
A. F.. McGahey
Dear Margaret and little ons,
I must say something to you. I have rote two letters to you and has not got any answer yet. I am well and harty. I way 165 lbs and seem to bee standing campe life well. I hope these few loins finds you and the little ons injoying the same blessing. I have rote a lion to all the nuse (news) I have. I dont know how soon I may bee rushed in to a fight but I put my trust in God. He is that rules the destany of man in heven and in erth. If it is Gods will for me to bee killed in battle I will gow that way. I exspect to stand up to my post like a man and want your prares. Wee taken ninty prisoners at Iuka and they have been drawn hear and from hear they have bin sent south. They look very sheepish. Some say they intend to fight us two years yet and my notion is that this ware will last two years yet. I must close my letter. You must write to me as soon you get this and give me all the nuse. I have to see to packing up my things know. Tell E. S. McG (brother Enoch Starling McGahey) I want him to write to me. I would write to you all oftener if I had the chance.
Give my love all enquiring friends and exscept a good portion your selfe. I remane affectionate husban until death. Good By.
P. S. Give my love to all the children and tell Willice howdy. Sow nothing more.
A. F. McGahey to Margaret McGahey
Missing first page, no date
You stated in yours that you had got all the hogs but the sow that stayed with the sheep. She is unmarked and I want hir spade. I am proud to her that you are getting along so well with the foder. Tell Willice that I want him to save all the fodder that hee can and I want him to take good care of the stock, the horses in perticular. I want you, if Maryan has not taken away hir horses, to stop Wilice from paying any attention to them. You stated that you wanted mee to git my likness. I intend get it if I can, but it is very unsertin. They cost $7.00. I think that I will get my bounty next week. I must close. This leaves me very well at present. I think that camplife agrees with me very well. My briches is a giting tight aredy. I hope these few loins may find you and all the children injoying the same blessing.
Tell Thomas Dobson that I want him rite to mee. I intende riting to him soon. You must rite to me as you git this and give me all the nuse for I am ansious to from home.
Give my respects to all enquiring friends. I remane your affectionate husborn until death. Good By.
A. F. McGahey to Margaret McGahey
Written in handwriting not belonging to A. F. McGahey:
Direct your letter to:
A. F. McGahey
42nd Ala Regt
Small portion of page with no date
P. S. I will send you some stamps in this letter knowing as I doo if you have rote to me as often as I have to you that you are out before this time. You will see when you look at this paper that you have seen it before. I could rite you all day about one thing or other. While I am writing it seemes like I am talking to you and Little W. P., John and Thomas and Bud, Sisesinel, Mug, Isabeler.
Unfinished letter written by Margaret to Frank five weeks before his death.
Pickens County, Ala, June 7th, 1863
My Dear Frank,
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to writt you a few lines. I received a letter from you the other day. It was dated May 9th. I was getting very anxious to hear from you. I am glad to hear that you keep your health but I am so uneasy about you since they have been fighting there that I cant hardly content myself any whear. All that comforts me is I know you are in the hands of him who made you. He it is that rules the destinie of man. This leaves us all well. We have been very bussie with the wheat. We comensed cuting it last Monday. There is a little more to cut yet. Willis cut it all and the children gathered it and tied it. Our corn looks well. We havent planted any peas yet but soon will. We have set out half of our potatos patch. We need rain very much. We had a good rain yesterday. Was a week and right smart of hail. I have a very good garden. I have it full of greens, beans, onions, and Irish potatos. I have had several messes of potatos. I have everything I need to wish for, but you and I never can be happie again until you get back home. Josiah has not got back yet that I know of, but I wish how soon that he may see about that affair you wrote about. Nance is in very god order now as is Kit and Puss. Willis atends to them well. Nance is a beautiful creatur, but there is nothing on earth but I could part with if I could only get you back and I know if you was hear now you could make that much clean money the way everything is selling. I have been and am yet making and saving all I can and if my working both day and night needin you, I could farely do it. I have sold 143 bushels of corn, 26 at two dollars and a half and the balance at two .
Yorkville, Ala, Augt 7th/63
The painful intelligence reched me yesterday by Mr. J. B. Williams that your husband was dead. He died at Boltons Station, Miss on the 15th day of July of paralasis. He was taken sick a day or two before we left Vicksburg and was unable to travel. I prevailed upon him to remain in Vicksburg and go to the hospital and remain until he would be able to travel, but he was so anxious to get home that he would not consent to remain and said that he would try to make his way out of the enemys lines and then he would stop on the way and remain until he go better. So he started with us from Vicksburg and came out four miles from town where he broke down and was unable to travel any farther. We had no waggon nor other conveyance that we could use so as to get him along and was compeled to leave him. Mr. Williams remained with him and carried on. Went with him to a private home and remaned with him until his death. He got home yesterday and is very sick, so soon as he gets able he promised me that he would come up and see you. I send you by the mail rider the letter that the lady wrote you that Mr. McGahey died at the house of. Also all the money that he had which is $30.70. There is four & a half month due him from the government which I will get for you as soon as I can. Mrs. McGahey, I am verry sorry for you and deeply sympathise with you in the loss of your good husband and if there is anything that I can do for you I hope that you will not fail to call upon me. You, though a stranger to me, will even find in me a true friend to the widow & orpans of a good soldier as your husband was. With the greatest respect, I remain your friend.
J. C. Mitchell
M. Williams is a son of J. C. Williams & is at his fathers.
Bolton, Hinds Co., Miss
Dear Mrs. Magahey,
With pain and regret I seat myself to inform you of the death of your husband. He died on Wednesday the 15th July at 2 oclock in the evening after an illness of about 4 days at my house. He was brought here in a federal ambulance on Monday morning about 8 oclock paralyzed so much as that he could not move his limbs but very little. He thought he had the pneumonia but I thought he had the inflamation of lungs. He complained of his right side and felt like he was burning up all over. His great desire and talk was to get home and see his wife an children. He said he was not afraid to die. He would not get any medical aid but I dont think all the physicians could have saved him after he was brought here. We tended to him and nursed him the same as if he had been one of our own family. He said he went in wading on the day before he left Vicksburg which was on Saturday and that gave him a cold. Nearly all the soldiers who lay in the field so long are affected the same way. There is a great many dying. We buried him nice and clean in a nice box on our place close to the road so that passers by could see who he was. I send you $30.70 all the money he had. Mr. Williams said the government owes him about 40$ more. His knife and a lock of his hair. I will keep a lock of his hair also for fear Mr. Williams never gets home with what he has. I would have written as soon as he died but I knew there was no communication out of the Yankee lines. The Yankees have ruined this country completely and I am afraid this Confederacy is gone also. I send your husbands pocket book and seven letters. You must write to me and let me know if you ever get the things. If ever times are such I can I will write to you again what clothes Mr. Williams can not take you in case it will not be long before you can get them.
Your friend until death
Direct your letter to Elizabeth Parkman, Boltons Depot, Hinds Co, Miss.
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