Boy Soldier

Hanging by a chain on the wall of my Grandmother McKinley’s home was a picture encased in glass with a black background. The picture was difficult to make out because it was so old. It now hangs in my living room. The picture is actually a tintype of a young boy. It took me quite a while to figure out that it is the memorial picture of William Singleton Erp.

William Singleton was born April 9, 1846 in Pulaski County, Kentucky. His parents were Allen Erp and Sarah (Alexander) Erp. He carried the names of his Grandfathers: William Alexander and Singleton Erp. He moved to Indiana with his parents when he was about a year old.

Grandma said he was known as “Uncle Sing.”

There is a commemorative marker in Spencer Cemetery, Hamilton County, IN leaning against his parents’ grave marker that states: “Wm. S. son of Allen & Sarah Erp belonged to the 40th Ind. Co. E. He lies buried at Nashville Tenn. Age. 15Y 11M & 28D”

So, he was a soldier during the Civil War? What happened to this 15 year-old boy? Grandma said the story was that a group of Southern women entered a train with a basket of cookies for the soldiers, over half the soldiers died, including Wm. S. Erp. Grandma requested that I find his grave in Nashville.

I found a Roll of Honor book in my local library: Roll of Honor: Names of Soldiers Who Died in Defense of the American Union Interred in the National Cemeteries, Vol XXII-XXIII, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1869, p. 76, that listed his death date as April 2, 1862 & that Wm. S. was buried at the National Cemetery at Nashville, TN. I had no idea there was a National Cemetery in Nashville. One day I went to Nashville, stopped by the cemetery and found his grave marker. I couldn’t stay long because a storm was coming up. I had enough time to find the marker and take a picture for Grandma.


But I wasn’t satisfied there. Was the story really true? Was he poisoned? I found a book in the Clinton Co. IN, library: Muster Roll of Co. E. 40th Regiment Indiana Infantry, by Helen E. Grove, 1990. This gave his rank as Private, Age: 15, Height: 5’4”, Eyes: Brown, Hair: Dark, Complexion: Dark, born in Pulaski Co., KY, occupation: Farmer. He was enrolled Oct. 16, 1861 at Hillsboro, IN. His Residence was Hillsboro, Clinton Co., IN. It states he died in April 1863 (off by 1 year) in a hospital at Nashville, TN of Lung Fever (pneumonia). So I guess the story of poison wasn’t true.

William Singleton spent 6 months in the Union Army. According to the National Park Service information about the 40th Indiana Infantry, the unit was mustered in December 30, 1861. Went to Bardstown, KY until February 1862. Then marched to Bowling Green, KY & on to Nashville, TN from Feb. 10 to March 13, 1862. Then they started for Savannah, TN March 29 & on to the Battle of Shiloh April 6, just after Wm. S. died. Who knows how long he was ill before he died. I expect he got sick during the march to Nashville. I wonder how his parents were notified. And did his Father, Allen, know where Wm. S. was buried when he came through Nashville while he was in the Union Army?

Also in Grandma’s collection of pictures,was this picture of the boy soldier:


The photographer who took the picture was located in Frankfort, IN. So the picture was probably taken soon after he enlisted.

Then I wonder how a boy was allowed to join up. But in doing research on the 40th Indiana, I found through the National Park Service website that some of Wm. S.’s relatives were in the same Regiment. John T. Alexander is listed as a soldier. I don’t have much on him, except he may be Wm. S.’s Great Uncle. Another Great Uncle, Galen Alexander, age 30, died in January 1862 in Louisville, KY after contracting a fever. So illness was an issue for the soldiers. Hard to imagine what the conditions were like. The Regiment lost more soldiers (206) to disease than to wounds (143).

Finally, in a small photo album full of tintypes, many not labeled, I found another copy of the picture that is in the black frame:


I like this one better than the one of him in uniform. But he looks so young!
Rest in peace “Uncle Sing.”

© MJM 2016


The Growth of the Farm

“Old Clark Millikan had a farm…ee—i—ee—i—o!…”

Clark Millikan settled on the farm southeast of Sheridan, Hamilton County, Indiana in the late 1860s. He “traded” his land in North Carolina with a relative for his first 80 acres in Indiana. (There’s more to that story & I’ll get into it sometime in the future.) He had 1 son and 5 daughters living on the farm until the early 1880s.

The Agriculture Schedule of the US Census shows how he improved that farm in the 10 years from 1870 to 1880. We went to the Indiana State Archives a few years ago to check the microfilm of the Agricultural Schedules for several Indiana ancestors. (The schedules for some of the states are available on, but not for Indiana)

Here is the information from the 1870 Census schedule:

Clark is listed on line #6 on page 3 of the schedule for Adams Township of Hamilton County, IN.

  • He had 25 acres of improved land, 55 acres of wood-land.
  • The value of the farm was $2400, farm implements/machinery $40
  • He had 2 horses, 2 milch cows, 4 other cattle, 7 sheep, 17 swine. Value of livestock: $298
  • Produced 112 bushels Winter Wheat, 200 bushels Indian Corn, 30 bushels Oats
  • Produced 12 lbs Wool, 2 bushels Peas & Beans, 25 bushels Irish Potatoes
  • Had $7 worth of produce from Market Garden
  • Produced 100 lbs Butter, 1 ton Hay, 25 lbs Maple Sugar, 70 gal Molasses
  • Had $128 from Forest products, $300 value of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter
  • Total estimated value of all farm production: $480

The 1880 Census schedule gives the following information:

Clark is on line #10 on page 29 of the schedule for Adams Township of Hamilton County, IN. (*The enumerator’s handwriting makes it difficult to discern “3” from “9” so I’m making my best guess at times.)

  • He owns the farm with 68 acres of tilled land, 2 acres permanent meadows, orchards, pastures
  • 62 acres of wood-land, 28 acres of other “unimproved” land
  • Value of the farm was $4000, farm implements/machinery $100, livestock $490
  • Cost of building & repairing fences in 1879: $6
  • Amount paid for wages and board of farm labor in 1879: $50, with 19 weeks of hired labor
  • Grasslands: mown 3* acres, not mown 7 acres, 5 tons Hay, 9 bushels Grass seed
  • He had 5 horses, 3* milch cows, 6 other cattle, 1 calf dropped
  • Produced 250 lbs butter
  • He had 44 swine and 96 barn-yard poultry, producing 150 dozen eggs
  • Had 3 acres Buckwheat, producing 35 bushels
  • Had 35* acres Indian corn, producing 1300* bushels
  • Had 3* acres of Oats, producing 125 bushels
  • Had 14 acres of Wheat, producing 400 bushels
  • Had 1/2 acre of Sorgum, producing 40 gallons Molasses
  • Had 2 1/2 acres of Irish Potatoes, producing 150 bushels
  • Had 2 acres of Apple orchard, with 90* bearing trees, producing 50 bushels, sold $10 worth
  • Total estimated value of all farm production in 1879: $982

So he had 80 acres in 1870, by 1880, he had doubled that to 160 acres. The original 80 acres was in Twp 19N, Range 3E, the NW corner of the NW Quarter of Section 9. He added 17 acres just north of this property, in the southern part of Section 4, bordered on the North by the rail road line. I assume the remainder of the 180 acres is in Section 9, but I don’t have the land records to prove it. I guess I’ll have to take another road trip to Indiana sometime to find the records.

As for Livestock: He got rid of the sheep and increased the amount of swine significantly. The 1880 census included poultry # and that seemed like quite a few. However, the egg production was low in that other farms listed near him had the same amount of poultry or less and had significantly more eggs produced.

He increased his crop production in 1880, with so much more land. I guess that’s why he had to hire farm labor. Not to mention the fact that he was almost 60 years old!

So all in all, it seems like Clark was making a pretty good living on the farm, but obviously he had to work hard to manage all of that.

© MJM 2016

Clark Millikan’s 100th Birthday Party

The “oldest man in Hamilton County” celebrated his 100th birthday at his home on April 12, 1924. Below is the leaflet given to guests at the celebration. Pretty handsome old guy!

The poem on the back of the card gives a synopsis of his life.

There was an article in the Sheridan News April 18, 1924 that gave details of the celebration. It indicated that there was a dinner for 60 relatives. Some relatives came from North Carolina, Montana and Illinois. There were also 400 people who stopped by to celebrate with “Uncle Clark.” He reportedly shook hands with all of those visitors.

There was “an enormous three-tier birthday cake containing 45 eggs & 15 cups of sugar” made by his daughter, Alice Cox and granddaughter, Carrie Cox Bell. The cake had 100 candles. It didn’t say if he blew all of those out in one breath!

There were flowers and gifts given to Clark. He received “90 letters of congratulations” during the week. One of the largest flower arrangements was of 3 dozen carnations from the Indiana Condensed Milk Company of Sheridan. Clark indicated he appreciated the flowers while alive, something he couldn’t do when dead.

Also a part of the celebration was a “room of relics” from the Millikan family. These included many hand-woven items. A quilt was made from scraps woven by both of Clark’s wives and quilted with home-spun thread. A hammer that was 150 years old was on display. There were also items of clothing, including 3 vests “made of hand-woven cloth and hand stitched.” The black satin vest worn by Clark on his wedding day in 1855, when he married Lydia Hinshaw, was also displayed. This vest is still in the possession of a family member. I saw it a few years ago & it was in pretty good condition. I was surprised at how small it seemed.

One other thing that happened on this special day was that Clark listened to the radio for the first time in his life. Hard to imagine!

The News article stated that “this celebration will probably never be paralleled in this locality.” I wonder if it ever was? And “Uncle Clark survived the day with splendid endurance.” I bet he slept for a few days after! And “several kodak pictures were taken.” Here is one of them:


This is Clark in front of his house with the cake and several of the flower arrangements. I expect the large arrangement in front is the one from the Indiana Condensed Milk Co. Looks like he was having a good time!

© MJM 2016


The Oldest Man in the County

When Clark Millikan died in February, 1926, at age 101, he was the oldest man in Hamilton County, IN. He was a little over 2 months shy of his 102nd birthday.

He was the patriarch of the Millikan family in Indiana. He was born in Randolph County, NC on April 12, 1824. His parents were Samuel Millikan (1789-1871) and Sally Clark (1800-1869).

He was married to Nancy Adams in 1851 and they had a daughter, Nancy Angeline (1852-1926). Nancy died soon after Angeline was born. Angeline never married & lived with her father all of her life.

Then in 1855, he married Lydia Hinshaw (1833-1917), who was the daughter of Trustum (1801-1869) and Martha (1799-1871) Hinshaw. Lydia’s parents were from two branches of the proliferative Hinshaw family originally from Ireland.

Clark came to Indiana in 1864 (there’s a story there, to be told later) and his wife and family came up from North Carolina in 1865.

Clark and Lydia had 7 children:

  • Lewis Elwood (1855-1949) my Great-Great Grandfather
  • Unnamed infant born in Nov and died in Dec 1857
  • Florence Ellen (1860-1923)
  • Lunda Martitia (1862-1947)
  • Alice Martha (1864-1926)
  • Anna Florence (1869-1945)
  • Lucetta J. (1875-1878), was 2 years old when she died.

He worked as a farmer, with a thriving dairy farm in Hamilton County, southeast of Sheridan. He started with 80 acres and added 17 more.

So what factors in his life helped to get him to such a ripe old age? I assume he worked hard on the farm and that itself would seem to run a person down. But maybe that just kept him going.

Here’s a picture of him chopping wood at the age of 95!


Then there are news clippings from his 99th year that say that he “set out 500 sweet potato plants alone and harvested the fall crop without assistance.” (Wabash Plain Dealer, Dec 13, 1923)

His obituary from the Sheridan News (Feb 5, 1926) also states that Clark “had a wholesome philosophy of life and did great good during his long life.”

So maybe it was a combination of hard work and “good living” that got Clark to the milestone of being “the Oldest Man in the County.”

© MJM 2016

Chickamauga Battlefield

Recently, my folks made a visit to Chickamauga Battlefield National Military Park in North Georgia. Relating to my early blog posts about our ancestor, Allen Erp, they followed the 86th Indiana Infantry markers at this battlefield. One of the places they visited was the Snodgrass Cabin, which was used as a field hospital. So, if Allen was still working as an ambulance driver, he would have frequently been close to this cabin.

In general, after spending time at Murfreesboro, TN, Allen and the 86th moved on to Chickamauga as part of the Army of the Cumberland. The battle occurred September 19 & 20, 1863. The Union Army was defeated at this battle and withdrew back to Chattanooga to then find victory at Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge in November 1863. There were about 62,000 Union soldiers and 65,000 Conferderate soldiers involved in the Chickamauga battle. The approximate number of casualties (killed, wounded, missing/captured) was 16,170 on the Union side and 18,454 on the Confederate. Hard to imagine all of that in only 2 days.

The book mentioned in the early blog: The 86th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. A Narrative of It”s Services in the Civil War of 1861-1865. James A Barnes et al. Crawfordsville, Ind. 1895 (available on Google Books) gives a very detailed story of the Chickamauga battle. The book was published at the same time the Military Park was dedicated. The author ends the chapter on this battle with the following:

“Thus has been given the part that this, the Eighty-sixth Indiana, bore in one of the severest battles of modern warfare, in many respects the severest. The members of the regiment who yet survive may glory in the part they bore on that deadly field. The children of all of the members of the regiment, of the members living and of those who are dead, will never have cause for feelings other than of honest pride that they whose names they bear, were with those who fought at Chickamauga. They joy of to-day comes to the survivors in that the war in which they participated has passed, and Peace shall ever reign within this land. He who shall visit Chickamauga in the future may read in enduring bronse and firmest granite the deeds of valor of the men of the North; and the sons of the South, may see the pride and glory of the Nation in that now all cause for strife has passed, and that only deeds of bravery are remembered where once ran the red tide of battle.

“The roar of the battle on the field of Chickamauga is hushed and in its stead from the leafy bowers and beside the quiet stream is to rise for all future time the anthem of peace. The men who died on this field did not shed their blood in vain. The cause for which they of the Union army fought was triumphant, and Chickamauga was the beginning of the end of the years of strife.” (p. 209-210)

So one of these days I hope to visit the battlefield myself and walk in the steps of my ancestor from the Indiana 86th.

©MJM 2016

Remembering with Granny Boone, Part 2

As mentioned in the previous post, my Grandmother, Margaret Millikan, kept some notes of conversations with her Grandmother, Sarah Alzada Erp Boone, “Allie” or “Granny Boone.” Allie’s mother was Sarah Alexander Erp. Here are more of those memories.

Sarah Erp washed on a big rock by the stream. Water was heated in a big iron kettle over an open fire. A paddle was used to beat dirt out of clothes on a big flat rock. One of the sons made a paddle & bored holes in it as a gift to his mother to help with the washing. A big board with grooves cut in it made a scrub board. Clothes were spread on grass, bushes and fence to dry. They would “wash clothes on Saturday night for Sunday School.”

All clothes, dresses, overalls, men’s clothes were cut and sewed by hand. As mentioned before, Sarah wove cloth on her loom. Clothes were not plentiful. There were two outfits for each with “one on & one extra.” Allie had a little white dress with “saw teeth” (rickrack?) around the neck and sleeves and she was afraid it would cut her head! She remembered a little pink bonnet and a black and white dress. Her first high boots had red tops or “uppers” and copper toes. Their stockings were knit from wool they had spun. The wool came from sheep they helped to shear. Natural dyes made “butternut” pants and “hickory” shirts. Sarah Erp also wove “coverlets.” She sewed for neighbors too.

A baby would be placed in a horse collar on the floor with a pail of water with a rag in it in front of the baby to teach it to sit up. What child could resist playing in water!

Christmas was “slim.” They would shoot guns, had gun powder “fireworks” and used big boards to make “spring boards” to make noise.

There were few toys. Allie was seven or eight years old when she had a rag doll, “Dinah,” with shoe-button eyes.

Allie must have gone to school when 4 years old. It was a log house with no desks. Seats were split logs around the room and heat came from a long box stove. Spelling and ciphering were about all they did. They were called to a long bench in front to read in concert. There were “spelling schools” and “singing schools!”

There were no musical instruments in church.

Allie told of a trip to visit “Uncle Henry” (possibly an Alexander relative) who lived right on the Wabash River in a two room house or cabin. He could sit in front of his house and fish in the river. He built a 6 or 8 foot rock-lined pool where he kept fish to sell. Steam boats came up the river at night and the boat lights scared Allie. Uncle Henry had a big watermelon patch, would thump a big one, drop and burst it and “the kids ate out of it by the fist-fulls.” She told about dividers in a door made of dried corn stalks cut into different lengths & strung on twine.

Granny talked of “love apples;” tomatoes planted in the yard like flowers. They were afraid to eat the fruit. (Maybe she was talking about passion fruit.)

When she was 20 years old, Allie married 28 year old Alva Lorenzo Boon, November 28, 1889 in Clinton County, Indiana. (The “e” shows up at the end of Boon after their marriage.) They lived in the Dillard community of Clinton County, Indiana; then moved East of Sheridan, Hamilton County, Indiana around 1908. They stayed on this farm until just before Alva’s death in 1945. They are buried in Spencer Cemetery, Sheridan, Hamilton County, Indiana.

Allie and Alva had 6 children:

  • Nora Mabel, born in1891 and died less than one year later in 1892
  • Chester Emmett (1892-1954)
  • Rachel Gertrude (1896 or 1898-1969)
  • Mary Geneva (1897-1992) my Great Grandmother!
  • Chauncey, born in 1902 and lived 7 days
  • Richard Edwin (1906-1980)

Mary Geneva Boone reminisced with her daughter, Margaret: She told of few toys. Jimson weed blossoms were dipped in suds and used as bubble pipes. Balls were not from stores but “we raveled Papa’s heavy work socks and wrapped the string around a wad of cloth to make balls.” The only dolls were corn cob dolls.

The school house was just South of the house at Dillard and a store was South on the West side of the road. The church was North in the N.W. corner of the cross roads.

Granny (Allie) & Chester sold Larkin goods. (soap products & household goods. The company offered premiums that could be redeemed for other items.) He got a guitar through sales for Larkin. Granny Boone’s bookcase desk was a Larkin premium.

©MJM 2016