A Series of Union County Biographies
written by our Visitors
We'd like to encourage all of our visitors to contribute biographies of their ancestors--we'll gladly edit all submissions, so you don't have to worry about grammar and spelling. All articles should be no more than 600 words in length, and only deceased individuals should be profiled.
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF WILLIAM REUBEN LOGAN
Written by David Boehmer
William R. Logan was the second child of Drury Logan, born 1800, and Mary "Polly" Addington Logan, born December 23, 1808. William R. was born in Tennessee about 1831. He died April 21, 1876, age 43, in the Georgia State Sanitarium in Milledgeville, Georgia.
The Drury Logan family lived in Tennessee for only a short time, about 1831 until about 1833. William's exact Tennessee birthplace is unknown, but the most likely counties are those closest to point where North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee come together. The family moved back to Macon County, North Carolina for about three years, then moved to Union County, Georgia about 1836. The Drury Logan family first appears in a Union County census in 1840. The somewhat wealthy Drury Logan settled in Union County on the south side of the Nottely River on land lot fifty in the Owltown District where they had nine other children. They built a two-story log cabin which still stands today. It is presently occupied by their great-great-granddaughter, Fran Kirkland, and her husband, Keith.
The 1840 Census lists the Drury Logan family as having five females and three males.
The 1850 Census lists William Logan as eighteen years old.
William R. is nowhere to be found in the 1860 Union County Census. By this time he has married and has evidently moved elsewhere. He was married twice. His first wife was Mary F. Reid, born about 1834. They were married January, 15, 1852 in Union County. They had three children. Mary died in 1859; family tradition holds that she died in childbirth with her third child, John Drury Logan, born March 22, 1859. William R.'s second wife was Martha Jane Hughes Addington, born 1832. This was her second marriage. Her first husband was Joab Addington. William and Martha were married in Union County on November 18, 1860 and had three children.
These are the children:
To Mary Reid Logan, 1. Joseph Reid Logan, born Nov 10, 1853; married Mrs. Julia K. Butler 2. Nancy Delilah Logan, born March 11, 1855; married Marcus Lafayette "Bud" Fortenberry 3. John Drury Logan, born March 22, 1859; married Margarette Evaline Martin To Martha Jane Hughes Addington Logan 4. Mary Jane "Molly" Logan, born 1863; married Andy Ledford 5. William H. "Will" Logan, born March 1868; married Ada Botts, then Georgia Weaver 6. Walter Logan, died young, never married, was killed by lightening
Though both of William R's marriages, 1852 and 1860, were in Union County, Georgia; it is not at all certain that he lived in Union County during all those years. He is not found in the 1860 Census, and could have been living elsewhere. Strong evidence indicates that he lived in Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee from before1862 until at least 1865.
The Civil War Years
Records show that Captain William R. Logan, of Tennessee, was the commander of Company "G", in Col Isaac Avery's 4th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Cavalry, Confederate Army. He joined in 1862, but the exact date is unknown. This regiment was originally formed as the 23rd Battalion Georgia Cavalry, Georgia Dragoons on 20 September 1862 with three companies. Three more companies were added on 4 October 1862 and a fourth on 1 November 1862. The battalion was increased to regimental strength on 5 January 1863, and became the 4th (Avery's) Regiment Georgia Volunteer Cavalry. Later 10 of 11 companies from the 4th Regiment Georgia Cavalry were formed into the 12th (Avery's) Regiment Georgia Volunteer Cavalry by S.O.#8 A&IGO (ll January 1865).
The 4th Georgia Cavalry saw action in the Middle Tennessee campaigns, and was at Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Knoxville. Cpt Logan lost his right leg in a skirmish six miles below Resaca near Col. Johnsons base and reserves on May 14, 1864. Quoting from Col Avery's book on the History of Georgia, "The Oostanaula runs by Calhoun down to within a mile of Calhoun, when it turns and goes in the direction of Rome. At Tanner's Ferry, 2 1/2 miles, a near point of the bend to Calhoun, Col. I. W. Avary of the 4th Georgia Cavalry was stationed with a brigade of cavalry and a battery of artillary defending 2 miles of river. On the afternoon of 14 May 1864, Sherman made a general attack on Johnston's army at Resaca, and simultaneously threw a heavy force at Tanner's Ferry to drive a crossing. The crossing was forced after several hours of fighting, in which 1/2 the brigade was destroyed." William R.'s leg was amputated above the knee on May 15, 1864. W. L. Stanton, the soldier who saved CPT Logan's life on the battlefield on that terrible day, wrote a letter in 1895 to William R.'s son, William H. Logan. In that beautifully written letter Mr. Stanton detailed the tragic events of the day his CPT Logan was wounded. The following information was provided to the Reece family by Mrs. Vestie (Logan) Ledford, whose mother, Mollie (Mary), kept her father's leg. Mollie was William R. Logan's daughter. They knew the enemy was near. He asked the men in his company to go down to the river to meet the enemy with him. Although he knew it would be certain death. He told them he would not ask them to go where he himself would not go. Ten men volunteered to go with him. They hid their horses and crawled. But, found they were closer then they expected to the enemy. The enemy fired and William Logan was hit with a "Minnie Ball" (small cannon) in the thigh or just above the knee. They had to amputate.
Post Civil War Years
After his discharge from the service CPT Logan went back to his family, probably still in Cleveland, Tennessee. He requested, in November of 1864, that an artificial limb be furnished by the Federal Government. The stump of the amputated leg did not heal properly and gave William much stress and pain for the rest of his life.
In a book of Georgia State Papers (of the Civil War), it is recorded, "William R. Logan of Union County, age 33, dark hair, dark complexion, dark eyes, 5 ft. 11 in. tall, right leg amputated above the knee." It is dated 2 Nov 1866. This probably means that he is in Union County, Georgia by that date.
By 1870 William R. and his family are back in Blairsville, Union County, Georgia. The census lists:
5 LOGAN WILLIAM R. 37 M FARMER 300/200 GA MARTHA 39 F KEEPING HOUSE GA JOSEPH R 17 M FARM LABORER SCHOOL GA NANCY 14 F SCHOOL GA JOHN 10 M FARM LABORER GA MARY 7 F GA WILLIAM 1 M GA
In the same census, John D. age 10 and his sister Nancy are listed as part of the Drury Logan household. Family tradition holds that John D. and Nancy Logan were raised (at least partly) by their grandparents. This could be because of family problems stemming from the stepmother; or it could be because of CPT William R. Logan's failing health and his inability to care for the children.
Family lore tells that following his amputation, William got a colored woman to take his leg and bury it. Of course the flesh rotted off. When the war ended, he got the same woman to take his leg up, wash it and he carried it home with him. When his mother died they buried his leg bone with her in Shady Grove Cemetery in Union County.
For a year after his amputation, his leg would not heal. He got a wooden leg but could not wear it. Finally, it is said, some man told him of something that would, and did, heal his leg. He suffered so much pain that he tried to get it to drain again but could not. His suffering was so great that he finally lost his mind.
From about 1868 until late December of 1875 William R. was working as an ordinary of the court in Union County. He could read and write well and had a good command of the English language.
In the years following the war, until his death in April 1876, CPT William R.'s mental and physical health steadily deteriorated. By about June 1875 it became evident that his mind was affected by the loss of his leg and the trauma of the war. His mental illness was first manifested by incoherent talk and reckless conduct, particularly in making fires. His most prominent delusions were that his best friends were his enemies and were constantly plotting his serious injury. He was admitted to the Georgia State Sanitarium on December 18, 1875. There his general health usually seemed good but he occasionally complained of pain in his chest. He became quite feeble. He began to eat and sleep very irregularly. He died in the hospital, on April 21, 1876. There is no record of his having been buried there, but no burial site is found in Union County. Patients who died at the hospital were usually buried there; and most of the early patients were buried in unmarked graves. Information passed down through the Reece family, from Mrs. Vestie (Logan) Ledford, asserts that he is buried in the Milledgeville State Cemetery. According to one modern-day doctor who read the doctor's report the deterioration of William R.'s mental and physical condition probably resulted from both post-traumatic stress and a biological reaction to pain and stress.
Large charcoal renderings of William R. Logan and Martha Jane
Logan are in the home of David Boehmer in Hendersonville, Tennessee. In
the same home is a tin-type of William R. and Martha Logan in which it
can be seen that William R. has but one leg. This dates the photo to
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This page was last updated on Jan. 17, 2005