I never realized it was possible to meet someone 133 years after their death. But that is exactly what happened to me. During the last few years I started to become interested in where my roots were. My mother's King family Bible provided me with a great deal of valuable information. But when I got to my great great grandfather Gilbert Barnard, there was almost no information. Goodspeed had information about the King family, but when it came to my great great grandparents, even what they had was incorrect. I had a marriage date of Sep. 20, 1860 for Gilbert Barnard and Hester A. Carney, married in Barry County, MO.
With the help of "cousins" and MOSTONE, I was able to fill in a lot of blanks in my family tree, but still no information on Gilbert Barnard. I followed every lead I could get. Then one day an address was posted on MOSTONE for a link to the First Arkansas Union Cavalry. I went to that link and found Gilbert Barnard was in the first regiment of the Arkansas Volunteers, there was information there on how to order a book about the 1st Ark. Cav. When the book arrived a week later I started to get excited. At last information on Grandpa Barnard. The book gave his enlistment date, his age, his birthplace, his rank and the company he was in, also that a Pension Application had been filled by his widow in 1866. There was also an address to write for his service record from the Civil War. I had already known about the pension application being available from the National Archives in Washington DC, and had requested that information in November. I downloaded the form from the Arkansas History Commission site and requested Gilbert's service record. Now nothing to do but wait.
Last week on Wednesday I received the Civil War service record of my great great grandfather Gilbert Barnard. It listed the company muster rolls, gave dates and places he was during the war. It told me that he was a Teamster and drove a wagon for the 1st Ark Cav. There was a page from the company Descriptive Book. His description - - age 27 years; height 5 feet 8 inches. Complexion; Sandy, Eyes blue; hair, Light, Where born; Laurel Co. KY, Occupation; Farmer, Enlisted Aug 1, 1862 in Barry Co. MO, for a term of 3 years, by Galloway. I couldn't believe the information that was contained in the service record. A Muster Roll shows him as "On furlough since June 10, 1864. I am amazed at how any records were able to be kept at all.
On Saturday March 20, 1999, Pvt. Gilbert Barnard walked through my front door. I received in the mail that day the complete Pension Application filed by my great great grandmother Hester A. Carney Barnard. Thirty-eight legal size pages all pertaining to my gg grandfather Gilbert Barnard. It was like he knocked on the door and introduced himself to me. The very first page was a notarized statement from Sam Dennis and John Carney, dated June 26, 1874 who stated that "we was well acquainted with Gilbert Barnard before his marriage, and Gilbert C Barnard is his only living child, and that Gilbert Barnard died about 7 days before Gilbert C was born." Signed and sworn before Elisha J Melton, Notary Public. I couldn't believe what I was starting to read. I started to feel real emotional about my find. I kept on reading what was sent to me. A statement from James A. Melton stating Gilbert Barnard left no heirs other than Gilbert C., the document showing that James A Melton was appointed guardian of Gilbert C. (her stepfather). The family had always believed Gilbert C. Barnard King's first name to be Gilberta, but all the documents clearly show that her first name was spelled Gilbert the same as her fathers. I was beginning to feel like I was being introduced to all of these people from so long ago. I found out that the A in Hester A. Carney stood for Ann. Sworn statements from the mid-wife's Susan Melton and Nancy Wilson that the attended Hester Barnard during the birth of Gilbert Caldonia Barnard. These documents are filled with interesting insignificant items such as " Attest by persons who write". A sworn statement from the minister who married James A. Melton and Hester Ann Barnard on March 9, 1873. The application of Guardian of Minor Children, in order to obtain army pension, states that Gilbert Barnard died at "Home on flat Creek, MO" on the 12th day of November 1865, that his death was caused by "Chronic Disease contracted while in the line of duty". On another sworn document death was listed as "a Disease of the Spine" Another very interesting fact I found was that Hester A. Carney Barnard, was not able to write her name, a fact that isn't surprising, but for her to sign a document, someone had to write her name for Signature of Claimant and she put an X on the line and the words "Her Mark" were written above it.
One of the more interesting and informative sworn documents was written by Capt. George Reeves King (my great great uncle) who was Captain of the regiment Gilbert Barnard was in. George R. King writes " I was well acquainted with Gilbert Barnard who was a Private in the same Company and Regiment know that said Barnard died in Barry county, MO on the 12th of November 1865 of disease of spine contracted while in the service in the line of his duty and without fault on his part under the following circumstances - during the month of March 1865 he was severely exposed while on duty scouting, and escorting trains, and other duty in the field - the weather was very wet, and winds and cold rains prevailed. Said Barnard was exposed all the time - He took sick in March, and remained sick until he was discharged on 23rd day of august 1865, when he was hauled home in a wagon. After reaching home he continued to get worse and died as above stated. This man was a good soldier, and when he entered the service was a stout, healthy and able-bodied man in every respect. I was a close observer of his habits, and know that he was sober and prudent, and there can be no doubt that he contracted the disease in the line of his duty and without fault on his part. I have no interest whatsoever in this matter." Signed George R. King. Another signed and sworn document from Phillip A Slaughter, states that "Gilbert Barnard died at Barry county MO on the 12th day of November 1865 of disease of the spine. Phillip Slaughter further states that "He had entire paralysis of the motor nerves of the lower extremities and partial paralysis of the upper so that there was no power to control muscular action and the affection reached to and affected the pelvic and abdominal area before he died. I gave medical attendance for said Barnard during his last illness and the truly known above facts. I have no interest in this claim. He was a man of sober and steady habits. Signed Phillip M. Slaughter, M.D.
On the CLAIM FOR WIDOW'S PENSION, WITH MINOR CHILDERN, the Civil War as we have become accustom to referring to it, is called "WAR OF 1861"
I feel that Gilbert Barnard, my great great grandfather, has paid me
a visit, 133 years after his death. I thank him for the opportunity
to get acquainted with him. Grandpa Barnard, please know that you
are alive in my heart, rest assured that I will keep your memory alive
in print with the above biography of you.