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Thursday Throwback: Nathan Croy

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side Nathan Ida

Decatur Presbyterian Cemetery, Fairfield Township, Washington County, Ohio

Nathan Croy, the sixth child of Jacob and Margaret Croy, was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, April 1, 1844.[i] He moved with his parents from Coshocton County to his brother William’s land near Cutler, Washington County, Ohio around 1860.[ii] He was sixteen. By August 1862, all his brothers except the youngest, Calvin, then not quite 15, had enlisted in the Union Army. He stayed to work the farm. But by May of 1864, Calvin was turning 18 and decided to join as well. Nathan enlisted with him. It was a short tour of duty, 100 days.[iii]

Here is the account from the rolls compiled right after the war by Reverend David C. Perry.

“Nathan Croy, son of Jacob & Margaret Croy was born in Coshocton in 1843 [corrected to 1 Apr. 1844] Went from Fairfield in Co. G 148 O.V.I. Continued on duty through the term of service. At the expiration of which he returned & was discharged with the Regiment. [added…at Camp Marietta, Ohio, 14 Sep. 1864]”

While Calvin reenlisted after their return home, Nathan stayed at the farm. On March 1, 1868, he bought two 50-acre lots from his brother, Greer Croy, who was suffering from consumption.[iv] The land was near Vincent, Ohio, a stones through from Cutler, where his brother lived. His father and mother lived with Nathan until their deaths in 1872 and 1884 respectively.

Nathan married Ida Jane Nelson on January 16, 1875.[v] They had two children: Mary Ethel Croy (born 1881) and Wilford Nathan Croy (born 1888.)[vi] Ida died of heart disease on May 9, 1890[vii] when Wilfred was four and Mary was almost nine. Nathan never remarried. He cared for his children and worked his farm until his death from heart disease at 73 on the 17th of May 1817.[viii] His story is one of simple commitment, to a place and his family.

[i] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 June 2015), 1917 > 34201-37120 > image 2979 of 3299.
[ii] Grantee William Croy/Grantor Ales., Sarah Johnson; Washington County Courthouse; Deed Book Vol.46 pg. 332 and census records, 1860
[iii] Handwritten Roll of Honor document, compiled by Charles Strong Perry, 1865, Washington County Public Library, History and Genealogical Archive, 418 Washington St., Marietta, OH.
[iv] Grantee Nathan Croy/Grantor Greer, Melona Croy; Washington County Courthouse; Deed Book Vol.69 pg. 94
[v] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 July 2015), Washington > Marriage records 1864-1880 vol 6 > image 155 of 400; county courthouses, Ohio.
[vi] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 June 2015), 1917 > 34201-37120 > image 2979 of 3299.
[vii] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 July 2015), Washington > Death records, 1867-1908 > image 309 of 494; county courthouses, Ohio.
[viii] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” Database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 22 June 2015), 1917 > 34201-37120 > image 2979 of 3299.


Richer Still: 4 (or 5) Reasons You Need Your Ancestor’s Civil War Records

Nathan sign williams sign Duncan signPreviously I examined the wonders found in Civil War Pension Records. Well, I just received the next and, for now, the last batch of records for the seven brothers I am documenting. My application to honor them through the Ohio Genealogical Society is in the mail. So with that monumental task complete, I want to review the reasons for anyone interested in family history to get those records right away!

Again, they proved to be a genealogy detective’s Mecca. Oh, you’ll fine the dates and some essential records like marriage and death certificates. In fact, I recommend getting pension records first. It might save a lot of unnecessary time and research. But the glory comes from the details, bringing these people to life: their appearance, their health, their service, and their struggles and temperaments. All good reasons to obtain your ancestor’s Civil War Pension Records; let’s look at these four aspects from the perspective of my own family.

  1. Appearance: Not only does a detail regarding the appearance of an ancestor allow you to picture him, (in this case, all ‘hims’) it also gives a little genetic insight. I know that William, Duncan, Robert, Calvin, and David all were at least six foot tall (well above average height for the time) with light hair and blue eyes. Greer was shortest at 5’8” with brown hair and blue eyes, while Nathan had grey eyes, light hair, and stood 5’10”. I witness these same traits popping up in my own family.
  2. Health: Medical information can also provide individual and genetic insights. William, Nathan, Robert, and Calvin all suffered from heart disease. And while it is difficult to separate out their service related ailments from those of old age, rheumatism (and lumbago, what a lovely old word) was a malady common to all the brothers. Service illnesses were also documented in the files. William had typhoid in April of 1863. Duncan suffered from Malaria for most of 1863. Contracted “near the Cumberland River in Tenn.”, the symptoms would plagued him his whole life, debilitating him by 56.
  3. Service: Details of their service experience, when they were sick or detached from their regiment, can help determine in which battles they participated. I provided some sense of four of the brothers’ service in my last blog. Now I know that William’s illnesses did not impact any battle dates but he was “absent detached with Div. train since May 20, 1864”. What does that mean, ‘with division training’ or ‘with division train’? I am not sure, so if you know please respond! I do know it means he likely did not participate in Sherman’s March to the Sea.
  4. Struggles and Temperaments: The government wanted to know whether any habits contributed to claimants’ conditions so documentation was required and sometimes family squabbles erupted in the claims. I know that Nathan had “no evidence of vicious habits,” that William was “a duly sober man of very temperate habits,” and that Duncan “never drank, used tobacco, and had only the best habits”. Then there is the huge argument that played out on the claims pages between Robert Croy and his second wife, Mary E. Atkins Nelson Croy. Robert left Mary twice claiming that she allowed her daughter (his step-daughter) to entertain men in an inappropriate fashion in their home. Both his brother William and sister Francis testified on his behalf, claiming she was unusually cruel to him because he couldn’t work, being deaf and lame. Mary claimed he tried to farm and failed, that they then packed up and moved so he could work as a wagon maker and failed at that, stole things from her when he left so he could sell them, and was one of the “most contrary and disagreeable Persons I know of.” Without resources, because Mary claimed half of his pension, he had his attorney write her begging her to let him “come back to live with you.” She never responded, and Robert died at the home of his sister Francis. A regular soap opera!

I haven’t even mentioned how following post office boxes for each claim found in the records (they were required to reapply often through the years) gives you a very good idea of where that ancestor lived over time. So I have given you FIVE reasons to get those pension records. Can anyone share some more?

All information from Soldier’s Certificates # 928135 (Calvin Croy), #695593 (William P. Croy), #679496 (Robert Croy), #200993 (David Croy), #825314 (Nathan Croy)#779773 (Duncan Croy), and #237291 (Greer Croy)Case files of Approved Pension applications of Veterans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain, 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs. National Archives, Washington, DC

Seven Brothers and the War of Rebellion: Part Five

Sheridan's Ride at Cedar Creek October 19, 1864 by A.R. Waud

Sheridan’s Ride at Cedar Creek
October 19, 1864 by A.R. Waud

The five Croy boys who fought together on the Western Theatre received new orders. After taking Missionary Ridge in Tennessee and securing the supply lines and strategic placement of Chattanooga, the 92nd with Robert, William, Duncan, and David Croy moved south with Sherman. Having completed the three-year obligation to serve, the 36th was due to disband. They moved north, returning to Ohio.

The Union desperately needed these volunteers to reenlist. They were transported to Columbus where Governor John Broughin garlanded them with acclaim. He also explained an incentive plan. If a significant percent of the regiment reenlisted, they would be honored with the title of “veteran” for their regiment and each man reenlisting would receive a $100 bonus. They squeaked by with the required percentage. On February 15, 1864 329 men were sworn into the 36th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry. Among them was Greer Croy.

As part of the “negotiations,” the 36th received two out of the three things they requested. They would receive a 30-day leave to rest and visit family. They would not receive the Spencer repeating rifles they had seen in use in Tennessee. They would be transferred to serve under George Crook, now Brigadier General of the Kanawha Division of West Virginia.

When Greer Croy arrived home for his thirty days of recuperation in March of 1864, he was greeted by a proud father, relieved and still anxious mother, and two awed brothers, all of them bursting with their own questions. By the time Greer left to join Crook in West Virginia on March 29, 1864, his presence had convinced the last two brothers that they could wait no longer. Well, maybe he had only convinced Calvin. Calvin was young and filled with stories of adventure, and he turned eighteen years of age on May 13th. A regiment formed in that month, but mother Margaret would not send another boy off alone.

On May 2, 1864, Calvin and Nathan Croy, 20 years of age, joined the newly forming 148th OVI for a 100 day term.[i]Their service began in disaster. Barely out of Ohio, the train carrying the boys crashed. It killed a local boy in the regiment and injuring many. Calvin and Nathan went on to Washington, D.C. to man the trenches protecting the Capital. They were mustered out on September 14, 1864. Later Calvin would join his brothers in the 92nd marching through the Carolinas. But for one hundred days all seven of Margaret and Jacob’s boys were in the Civil War together.

At the same time, Crook and Greer’s 36th had received orders to destroy the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. Traveling light, living off the land, with orders to do no “indiscriminate marauding,” they marched through rain and mud along the Kanawha River, disrupting supply flow and creating havoc for the Confederacy. With the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain in Virginia, they accomplished the shut down that railroad and moved up the Shenandoah Valley.

Lacking supplies and equipment while battling heat, fatigue, and the guerilla tactics of the Rebels, they lingered on the verge of collapse. Then, in August of 1864, Major General Philip Sheridan arrived with 35, 000 troops. They rallied.

The culminating battle came at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Thinking they now dominated the valley and the front, Sheridan had moved out to focus on Lee. But Major General Early of the Confederacy surprised the Union forces, causing general panic. The 36th held the line, and Sheridan, with word of the danger, returned to rally the troops. Many depict the moment as the now famous, if somewhat overly dramatic, “Sheridan’s Ride.”

There were 5,700 casualties at Cedar Creek with 554 killed. Greer Croy suffered his third and final wound of the war. He was mustered out to go home on March 18, 1865 with a surgeon’s certificate of disability.

Note: For further information (regiment timelines and other interesting facts) (flags of regiments.) (excellent outline of battles, regiments, etc.) and Kenneth P. Werrell, Crook’s Regulars: the 36th Ohio in the War of Rebellion (Christianburg, Virginia, KPW, 2012)

[i] NARA. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 ( T288_105, also Martin R. Andrews, edited and compiled, History of Marietta and Washington county, Ohio and representative citizens, Vol. 1 (Biographical Pub. Co., Chicago, 1902) pg 755-756 (Includes interesting accounts of each Ohio regiments service from the perspective of the late 1800’s.)