Deanne, That's a very interesting story about Martha's husband Lewis swindling your grandfather out of his inheritance! These are just the sort of stories I'm seeking--they reveal splits within a family, and those splits might even have grown out of events that happened during the Civil War. Can you provide any more details? I don't really know if the Cranfords were unionists; I only know that many of them intermarried with prominent unionist families like the Hulins, who were also Wesleyan Methodists who disapproved of slavery. Three Hulin brothers, one of whom was married to Eliza Cranford, daughter of James and Rutha Cranford, were murdered by Confederate home guard during the war for their refusal to serve the Confederacy. Malinda Cranford, who was Eliza's sister, was married to John A. Beaman who wrote a scathing letter to Governor Vance during the war criticizing the Confederacy and swearing that he would serve no longer. But the most interesting document of all (I found all these records at the NC state archives) is the threatening letter that Martha A. Cranford Sheets wrote to governor Aaron H. Sanders on January 27, 1865. I will transcribe it in full, with its original spelling, for you and others:
"Mr Aron Sanders. Dear Sur I can tell you the truth but I dont reckond that you want to her hit. If you dont send me too bushels of wheat and too bushels and a peck of corn in the corse of tenn days I will send anuf of Deserters to mak you sufer that you never sufered beefore. And send me good grain if you want to live. Pepel told me whow mean you was before I went to see you but I found you wors than they told me and athout a grate alterrashen you will go to the Devile and that soon. Ther you have got all of your suns at home and when my husban is gon and he has dun work for you and you try to denie hit. And when this ware brake out you sad Goe Boys ill spend the last Doler for your famleys, and drat your old sold you never have dun a thing for the pore wimming[women] yet. You nasty old whelp you have told lys to get your suns out of this war and you dont care for the rest that is gon nor for their famelys. Now you ma depend if you dont bring that grain to my dore you will sufer and that bad. This from Martha A. Sheets"
Martha was arrested for writing this letter, but apparently released soon after, probably because the Confederacy was defeated. I quote from the letter (and also from John Beaman's letter to the Gov.) in my book UNRULY WOMEN, and I quote from them again in an upcoming article. Let me emphasize that many Cranford men served and died for the Confederacy. But it's not clear whether they actually supported the cause, given their connections to the other unionist families. Certainly, as Martha's letter reveals, they were sick of the inequities brought by war after the first few years.