Gus Watkins’ maternal grandfather, my third great-grandfather, Andrew Radford, was born about 1827 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. I have been unable to locate a birth record or direct connection to Andrew’s parents. There are two tenuous connections, but I need to do more research into them. However, I believe Andrew’s parents were Thomas and Sarah Nanney Radford.
Andrew applied for a marriage bond in McDowell County to “Mirey Arewood” (Elmira Arrowood) on 9 January 1850. He and Elmira are enumerated in the McDowell County census together on 11 September 1850 and marked as married within the year. Andrew is listed as a miner.
In 1860, Andrew and Elmira have 3 sons and 1 daughter, ages 9, 8, 5, and 1.
About a month after Gus Watkins’ paternal grandfather, George, enlisted in the Civil War, his maternal grandfather, Andrew did as well. On 11 March 1862 a Shadrach Radford, whom I believe to be Andrew’s brother, enlisted in the McDowell Rifles, Co B, 22nd NC Regiment for three years. On 26 March 1862, Andrew followed suit. Based on this timeframe, battles Andrew may have been involved in that his regiment participicate in were:
- Yorktown Siege (April-May 1862)
- Seven Pines (May 31-June 1 1862)
- Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1, 1862)
- Beaver Dam Creek (June 26, 1862)
- Gaines’Mill (June 27, 1862)
- Frayser’s Farm (June 30, 1862)
- Cedar Mountain (Aug 9, 1862)
- 2nd Bull Run (Aug 28-30,1862)
The muster roll indicates Andrew was “absent sick” during the month of July. He was then placed on a Roll of Honor, paid $68.26 on 29 July 1862 and discharged due to a cataract of the eye causing partial blindness. I have not found records to indicate in which battle, if any, this injury took place, or how it occured. Research into this type of injury revealed that it accounted for less than 1% of Civil War injuries. Andrew’s discharge paperwork did reveal other details about him and his life that were otherwise unknown before. The paperwork indicates he was born in Rutherford County, which I had not found elsewhere. It also states he was five feet eight inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair.
Andrew’s brother Shadrach was also injured and discharged at the same time. His discharge paperwork states that he had an “injury to the chest, the ribs being torn from the sternum.” The paperwork states he was also born in Rutherford county. He is listed twelves years younger than Andrew. It also describes him as six feet tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.
Both brothers appear to have just missed the bloodiest day in American history which was right around the corner at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) 17 September 1862. However, as awful as Shadrach’s injury sounds, it appears from future muster rolls that he reenlisted 1 November 1863. This could have put Andrew’s brother Shadrach at the following battles:
- Mine Run Campaign (Nov-Dec 1863)
- The Wilderness (May 5-6, 1864)
The July/August and September/October 1864 muster rolls list Shadrach as “Absent wounded since May 6, 1864” so perhaps he was wounded in The Wilderness battle. While he was wounded, his regiment fought in Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Reams’ Station, Fort Harrison, and Jones’ Farm. I do not know the types of injuries or whether he recovered enough to rejoin his regiment for the end of the war. The 22nd closed out the war at Hatcher’s Run and the Appomattox Court House 9 April 1865.
It seems Shadrach returned from the war and recovered from his injuries. He married and had children.
Andrew seems to have recovered as well. In the 1870 census, he and Elmira have had two more children for a total of seven. Andrew is farming. He is not listed as blind or disabled on the census. Perhaps his partial blindness was not permanent or perhaps he found ways to compensate for it so that he was able to provide for his family and others didn’t even notice.
In 1880, Andrew and Elmira still have five of their seven children living at home. After that, I lose track of him. The 1890 census was destroyed in a fire and I have been unable to find him in the 1900 so he probably died by then but I have found a death record either. My Gran’s cousin Leon, a wonderful genealogist, provided a photograph of Andrew’s grave. Unfortunately it does not have any dates listed.