Horace was the ninth child, forth and youngest son of Solomon Siler and Susan Bray. He was born 2 Jan 1844 in Chatham County, in central North Carolina. The 1850 Chatham County, NC Census is first known record of him. He is said to be age 6.
Based on a review of Siler family census records during that time period, young children, both male and female, attended school until about age 18. Horace probably helped out with farm chores before and after school. Males about 18 who were not married typically continued to live with their parents and help work on the farm. However, a national tragedy was to interrupt the lives of most families on the United States, the Siler family included.
In February, 1861, North Carolinians narrowly defeated a referendum to hold a convention to discuss secession. However after President Lincoln called for troops after the battle of Fort Sumter, the secessionists gained the upper hand in the state. Once the state decided to secede, efforts began to recruit the 30,000 soldiers called for by North Carolina Adjutant General John Hoke.
Horace was 17 when he enlisted 6/10/1861 as a private in what was to become Company G of the NC 26th Regiment. Company G, sometimes referred to as the Chatham Boys, was organized at Matthews, Chatham County, NC on June 21, 1861. Mustered into Confederate service on August 27, 1861, the 26th Regiment served its first 10 months in eastern North Carolina in an undistinguished effort to contest the foothold made by the Union forces. On June 21, 1862, the regiment arrived at Petersburg, VA., and became a part of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. That began an association that lasted until the regiment's flag was finally and forever furled at Appomattox. They participated in some of the hardest-fought battles of the war, including Malvern Hill, Bristoe Station, and Spotsylvania; but it was Gettysburg that earned them a place in the Civil War record books.
After their disastrous first day at Gettysburg, the 26th was not utilized in the actions fought on the second day. However, the third day of the battle found the regiment charging under its battle flag across the fields to the federal position behind the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. Members of the 26th North Carolina advanced as far as any other of the Confederate troops that took part in Pickett's charge, and like the rest, they paid a terrible price for their bravery and determination. Only 90 soldiers from the 26th North Carolina were able to make their way back to the Confederate lines on Seminary Ridge. The Battle of Gettysburg claimed as casualties 88 percent of the regiment, the highest percentage of casualties for any regiment, North or South, in any battle.
You can be reminded of this national horror every time you go to your mail box. Before the war all mail was general delivery and had to be picked up at the post office. Home delivery of mail began during the Civil War so that family members would not have to bare their grief in public when they received mail that loved ones had been killed.
We have a few specific war records for Horace. Some records may have been lost or in the chaos of war record keeping may have been lax but the following is what we know about his war years. He enlisted as a private March 6, 1862 at age 17. Payday appears to have been every two months. For March, April 1862, his first payday, he received $11.00 per month. On the third day of the battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Horace was wounded. Based on the known position of the NC 26th, this most likely happened during what is often called Pickett's Charge. Ten days later, July 13, 1863, he was admitted to Winder Hospital in Richmond (See newspaper accounts of Winder below). He was paid again August 25, 1863 and December 31, 1863. There is a clothing receipt roll for the 4th Quarter, 1863. Horace was present at roll call for January-February, 1864 when stationed in the field. He was paid April 30, 1864 and there is a clothing receipt roll for the 2nd Quarter, 1864. Admitted to Winder Hospital again October 2, 1864, Horace apparently was wounded while stationed near Petersburg, VA. He was absent at roll call September-October, 1864 near Petersburg, VA because of furlough. He returned before the next payday October 31, 1864. Horace was present at roll call November-December, 1864 when posted near Petersburg, VA. Horace was promoted to 2nd Corporal December 1, 1864 while in Petersburg. Horace is listed as deserted February 22, 1865 near Petersburg. John Q A Siler, Horace's 1st cousin, is also said to have deserted the same date. It is suspected that the two met but latter returned.
When the siege at Petersburg was broken, Lee led his troops westward, during the night of April 2, 1865 in a vain attempt to unite with Gen. Joseph Johnson’s army. Lee and his men were chased and harassed for a week before being stopped at Appomattox Court House, VA.
On Sunday April 9th, Palm Sunday, “the men, deprived of food and sleep for many days, were worn out and exhausted.” Lee, seeing all of his ways of retreat were blocked, initiated surrender. Riders with white flags rode throughout the lines. Shooting quickly stopped. No one wanted to have survived the War only to be shot on the final day. In the surrender negotiation with Grant, Lee asked for parole passes for his men. Grant insisted on a format Stacking of Arms ceremony. Men worked through the night in Clover Hill Tavern using hand cranked mobile printing presses to print 28,231 parole passes.
Monday April 10th, since the Confederates had rosters of their troops and knew their men, the blank paroles passes were given to them so that each man’s pass could be signed by his commanding officer. The paroles were useful in several ways. Lee only surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. There were other Confederate Armies in the field with Union forces closing in. The parole passes were to help prevent solders being shot on the way home, by Union forces as combatants or by Confederate forces as deserters. Horace Wilburn Siler would be heading home to Chatham County, NC which was about 40 miles from where Gen. Sherman was chasing Gen. Joseph Johnson of the Army of Tennessee.Parole passes were also good for free transportation, train or boat, and food where available. Grant had been ruthless in battle but was generous with surrender terms.
Tuesday April 11th, after leaving their armament, cavalry and artillery units were allowed to head home because their horses were staving and there was no food for them nearby.
Wednesday April 12th Lee and Grant signed the formal surrender. Union troops lined both sides of the stage road from the end of town down to the river. The Confederates filed up hill between the two lines to lay down their arms for the last time at the site later called Surrender Triangle. Horace Siler was one of about 2,000 men who had served in the 26th NC Regiment; just 131 of them were left to receive their paroles. He was now able to trek 140 miles due south to his NC home.
Friday April 14th, Good Friday, Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theater.
We do not know when Horace arrived home from the war. The first event we find is in Chatham County, NC 25 May 1866 where he is acting as a bondsman for his cousin Eli Patton Stinson. A bondsman was the person, usually a close friend or relative, who made sure a marriage was recorded at the courthouse. After the marriage was performed by Atlas J. Gilbert 17 May 1866, it was recorded at the Chatham County courthouse 25 May 1866.
NAME NAME DATE OF BOND COUNTY BONDSMAN
BROOKS, Callie E. STINSON, E.P. 25 May 1866 Chatham H.W. SILER
(Married 17 May 1866(sic) By Atlas J. Gilbert)
Horace and Eli were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters. Their common grandparents, the parents of the two sisters, were Jesse Bray and Nancy Jones. Eventually Eli and his wife Callie Brooks, would migrate to Hardeman County, TN, near were Horace would migrate. However, he and his family would eventually move on to Arkansas. He was a wagon maker as was his second cousin Joab H Bray, also a cousin of Horace. Eli and Joab were neighbors in both TN and AR. They were probably in business together explaining why they moved together and were neighbors.
A short time after acting as a bondsman, based on oral history, Horace married Eliza Phillips 14 Nov 1866. The marriage record has not yet been found but Horace, Eliza and their first child Laura Lea Siler can be found in the 1870 Moore County, NC census records.
Horace and Eliza had four children together.
Name Born Died
Laura Lea Siler 27 Jul 1869 28 May 1937
Walter Laten Siler 11 Jun 1873 10 Jul 1944
Hattie A. Siler 15 Nov 1874 14 Apr 1946
Bertha L. Siler 9 Aug 1878 DOD not known
It is possible they continued to live and farm in Moore County. We know nothing else about this marriage. It is assumed Eliza died 1878 or 1879. The burial site is unknown. All 4 of her children would have been under the age of 10.
Horace next married his second wife, Martha Antonette Curtis, 4 Dec 1879. They had 7 children. Horace is in NC during the 1880 census and in TN in 1890. Based on the births of his children, Horace and his family migrated from NC to TN between the birth of Rossie Lee and Maude Grace, between 21 Nov 1880 and 28 Oct 1883. All 7 of these children would have been under 18 when their mother died 6 Mar 1897. The tomb on her grave marker reads, and I can see the widower and 7 young children standing over the fresh grave,
Rest in Quiet Sleep
While Friends in Deep Sorrow
Over Thee Weep.
Comparing the age at death of Eliza's and Martha's children, the heart problems that afflict some of Martha's children and descendants appear to come from the Curtis side of the family.
Name Born Died
Rossie Lee Siler 21 Nov 1880 23 Aug 1935
Maude Grace Siler 28 Oct 1883 1943
Bascom Cleveland Siler 14 Dec 1886 2 May 1935
Dennis Cicero Siler 9 Sep 1889 2 Aug 1947
Houston Wayland Siler 10 Mar 1891 2 Jun 1950
Lacy Curtis Siler 23 Jan 1894 22 Jan 1942
Murd Brttion Siler 14 Sep 1896 1988
Annie H. Knott married Horace Dec 1898.Horace had small children that needed care. Annie, who never had any children of her own, had the task of taking care of all seven of his second wife's children who were still living at home.However, Horace and Annie would only be married 4 ½ years.He died 26 Jul 1903 in Madison County, TN and was buried next to his wife Martha.
HARDEMAN COUNTY, TN - VITALS - Marriage Records, 1824-1950, Sadberry - Smally
Siler, H.W. Knott, Annie H. Dec 1898
Horace and Martha are buried at Shady Grove Church Cemetery located on Shady Grove Road about 12 miles south of Jackson, TN and about 2 miles east of Mercer, TN.
Siler, Horace W., Jan. 2, 1844-July 26, 1903
Siler, Martha A. May 17, 1854-Mar. 6, 1897
Annie was left to raise his five youngest children. The oldest two had probably already married and left their father's house. She either could not or was not inclined to keep the children for long, however.By 1910 she was living with her younger, unmarried brother and her widowed mother. All five of the children were either living with other relatives or were boarding with unrelated families.
Sometime after Horace's death Annie applied for his Civil War pension.
Name: Siler, Harris W. (This Harris should be Horace)
Widow: Siler, Anna H.
Pension Number: W9589
Annie Knott Siler, much later, became the second wife of a Babb whom she married 4 January 1933. She died in 1961 at the age of 95 never having had children of her own.
HARDEMAN COUNTY, TN - CEMETERIES - RAINEY CEMETERY
Babb, Annie Knott 10 June 1865-27 Feb 1961
The 1910 Census in Madison County, TN, lists the 23 year old Bascom as a boarder in the house of Lula E. Mulh____ .
The 1910 Census in Shelby County, TN, lists the 21 year old Dennis as a boarder.His occupation is street car conductor.Shelby County marriage records report he married there twice, March 18, 1916 to Clara McConnell and November 4, 1922 to Bessie Lea Smith.For his second marriage, his brother Murd also signed the marriage record, attesting to the event.
The 1910 Census in Obion County, TN, lists the 19 year old Houston as a farmhand living with the Clement family.
Lacy was three when his mother died and nine years old when his father died. One of Lacy's sons, Jack, remembers hearing that his father Lacy went to live with a "cousin" in Madison County named Ford when he was 13 or 14.Lacy's older half sister, Bertha, had married Solomon Ford.They lived in Madison County.Since this is the closest relation named Ford, it is suspected that this is the family that Lacy went to live with.Later, the 1910 census has 17 year old Lacy living with C B Holloman and his family as a hired farmhand.He had not worked for them in 1909 and only worked for them 10 weeks in 1910 at the time of the census.Lacy would marry 30 Sep 1914 at age 20.
Murd was about 6 months old when his mother died.When Murd was two years old His father remarried.His father died when Murd was almost seven years old.Some say that he went to live with his sister Maude Grace and her husband William Carroll Reams. The census shows him at 13 was living with them in Chester County, TN.Within four years WWI began and he joined the army sometime during the war.By 1920 he was living in Memphis, TN as a boarder in the house of John L and Dove Risser?.He was 23 years old, working as a fireman for the railroad.While in Memphis one of Murd's fellow boarders was a stenographer.The 1920 Census says that Murd's future wife, Cordye, was living with her parents in Lafayette, MS working as a stenographer.One can fantasize that Cordye moved to Memphis, worked there as a stenographer and meet Murd through his fellow boarder.Shelby County marriage records report he married Cordye September 26, 1926.His brother Dennis signed the record as a witness.By 1930 Murd was living in Chester County again and owned and operated a dry goods store.