Link 1 - Pickett's
Link 2 - Pickett's
Link 3 - Annimation of Gettysburg
Samuel Jones Ewing wearing a Confederate Medal of Honor (sometimes called the Southern Medal of Honor), bestowed around 1900 by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Samuel Jones Ewing - My Great-Great-Grandfather
born 1839, Gwinnett Co. GA
Sharecropping Farmer and Civil War Hero
There is no other event in America’s history that stirs more sentiment, passion, debate, anger, and fascination as the American Civil War. Depending on your location you may have also heard it called "The War of Northern Aggression” or “The War of the Rebellion”. Debate rages whether the cause was slavery, economy, or states rights. Maybe we were just destined someday to have a family feud, which just happened to coincide with the maturing of modern weaponry. This resulted in bloodbath like the world had never seen, and even still resonates today. Our daily news in great part still suffers from echoes of this great conflict, from race relations, to gun control, to government overreach. Even the southern passion for college football versus the fondness for professional football elsewhere has its roots in post-war reconstruction. We can’t get away from its impacts, yet when you look at it closely the people that fought it were just common folks. Most of the time they were not aware of the underlying issues, but instead were fighting for the interests of their home state, or even because their relatives joined up after being moved by a sense of patriotic duty.
The making of a hero: There is a story of a man from Gwinnett County named John J. McDaniel. He was a Sergeant in Company F, 35th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A. At the Second battle of Manassas August 1862 (referring to Manassas Junction in present-day Prince William County Virginia near the Potomac River; and also called the Battle of Second Bull Run, referring to a nearby creek). Maj. General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson captured the Union supply depot there and took a defensive position nearby to await General Longstreet’s reinforcements. In the days following, the battle that raged resulted in a resounding defeat of Union forces thanks to a surprise flanking assault by Longstreet that swept the union army from the field. Until that assault, Jackson’s troops taking cover along a railroad grade of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad were experiencing heavy casualties and were stretched to their limits. Company F of the 35th Georgia Infantry was among these in the railroad cut. And there in the midst of battle, John McDaniel killed two horses with one shot as they pulled a union cannon, allowing the cannon to be captured.
This bit of John McDaniel trivia would not likely have been remembered, were it not for the Battle of Fredericksburg only four months later, where this same John J. McDaniel was with his company in the defense of the heights to the south of town. Witnesses later reported that Saturday December 14, Company F suffered greatly, perhaps among the highest casualties in General A.P. Hill’s Division to that date. And there on the heights overlooking the attacking union forces, John McDaniel was wounded in the left leg, and carried off the battlefield by his friend, Private Sam Ewing.
Sam Ewing and the 35th: He has been described by family members as being a big man, especially when compared to his wife Mary Frances after the war, who was tiny by comparison. Various archival and veteran records list Samuel Jones Ewing as a Private of Company F enlisted September 23, 1861. He was 22 years old at the time of his enlistment. He was appointed 2nd Corporal in 1864 sometime after Gettysburg. He was paroled at Farmville, Virginia in April of 1865 and is listed on the Pension Rolls from 1900 through 1917.
I could write a book on the involvement of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Army of Northern Virginia led by Robert E. Lee, but that had already been done. I would highly recommend the book "Red Clay To Richmond: Trail of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A.", by John J. Fox, III. The book is an incredibly exhausting history of the regiment that details the soldiers, their lives, the battles, and the aftermath. It is an outstanding study for any who are interested in the reality of the war from the southern perspective. Many who would revise American history would find many surprises in the source documents used in Mr. Fox's book.
The regiment was first led by Col. E.L. Thomas (later a Brigadier General) as a part of the famous "Thomas Brigade." They were involved in numerous major battles, the major ones listed below:
At Mechanicsville (also known as the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek), the regiment as a part of the northern-most flank suffered it's worst casualties, struggling to assault a position held on high ground across a wide creek against Pennsylvania Rifles and Reserves led by Brigadier General John F. Reynolds. As the attack occurred, John Reynolds gestured at the oncoming mass of Confederates and told a staffer "There they come like flies on a piece of gingerbread.". Many drowned or were held up by quicksand while receiving an onslaught of continual fire. Even Col. Thomas fell with injuries after leading his troops in this ill-advised effort.
At Gettysburg, they were a major part of the battle, fully engaged on day one. As they approached Gettysburg the Georgians were assigned to guard a wagon train. Shortly after guns were heard in the distance and the call was made to march double-quick for three miles to rejoin the Thomas Brigade, providing infantry support for McIntosh's and Pegram's artillery brigades. The day was mostly surviving artillery bombardment while observing other confederate units advancing into fire. On day two, they spent the day again in support of artillery, then at around 10 pm moved to the Long Lane. On day three (July 3) upon advancing in support of the ill-fated Pickett's Charge as ordered by Lee, they experienced some of the most severe skirmishing they would see in the war, and toward the end they covered the retreat of the shattered Pettigrew and Trimble brigades after the failed assault.
21 months later, April 4 of 1865, he was in the rear-guard of Longstreet's Corp in the remnants of Lee's Army after losing Petersburg and Richmond. These troops were working their way west toward Farmville after food and supplies failed to arrive at Amelia Court House. At the Battle of Sayler's (Sailor's) Creek about 9,500 Confederate troops were captured, cutting Lee's army in half. The battles of High Bridge and Cumberland Church followed, leading to the Surrender at Appomattox. Somewhere among these three small battles, Samuel was captured and held in Farmville from April 4-11, 1865, and records show he was paroled to return home two days after the surrender at Appomattox.
Company F of the 35th Georgia Infantry had 131 total members that served throughout the war, of which Samuel Jones Ewing was one. Of those 131, 13 died in battle and 30 died by illness, almost 33%. There is no final account of the wounded but you can bet that number was much higher.
Family stories indicate that he walked home all the way from Farmville VA. to Gwinnett County GA. There is no evidence for this other than there would have been no other means of transportation with the rail lines all cut. He may have been able to ride a wagon occasionally, but horses and other pack animals had also been confiscated, so he was on his own. Food and supplies would have been nearly non-existent until he reached south-central Virginia and North Carolina, and even then it would likely have been scarce, picked over by both armies on supply raids toward the end of the war. We have no stories of him arriving after the war, but we know he celebrated his involvement in the war there after. He was involved in confederate soldier reunions until very late in life. And a picture with his wife Mary Frances shows him wearing a Confederate Medal of Honor, likely bestowed by the Daughters of the Confederacy around the turn of the century.
When he arrived home after the end of the war, he married Mary Frances Freeman Harris in August 1865, only 3 1/2 months after the end of the war. He began a family right away with his first son Robert Wesley "Bob" Ewing being born eleven months later in July 1866.
Sam Ewing and Slavery: Sam was a sharecropper, never owning his own farm, much less slaves. So it's not likely the issue of slavery held much interest with him given his economic condition and young age. In fact at the inception of the war and the formation of the 35th GA Infantry Regiment, several soldiers, including a 26 year-old Gwinnett County school teacher and Lieutenant James Thomas McElvany of Company F (Sam Jones' company) wrote of fighting for independence and a new nation and government. Most wrote to their families of their belief that independence was noble and right. There was not a single mention of slavery. It wasn't necessarily because they did or didn't support slavery, it just wasn't related to their reason for joining.
Sam the Farmer: The fact that he never owned any land is in sharp contrast to his father Thomas, who owned two farms, and his son John Tyler, who owned one. We may never know the reasons for this, but as his family appears to have prospered (if photographs are any indication), we can credit some degree of resourcefulness to Sam. After all, the war ended with him being 26 years old, and photos of him and his family do not seem to convey any sense of poverty. We don't know if he received any inheritance from his father, who sold his property at some point and moved to Oklahoma about 20 years after the war.
But sharecroppers who were hard workers could do quite well, possibly as well as the farmers, and given that the farmers had a mortgage to pay and expenses for upkeep, a sharecropper could quite possibly do better than a farmer. So one question might be what kind of worker was Sam and could he be successful as a sharecropper?
At some point late in life, Samuel and family lived on the William Williams farm on Dogwood Road about 200 yards northwest of the intersection with Mountain View Road in Snellville GA. William Williams' son Clyde married into the Brownlee family (the sister of Sytha Ewing, wife of Thomas Kelly), and my father Thomas Harvis "Pap" Ewing remembers his Uncle Clyde Williams. Once my father asked his Uncle Clyde if he remembered Sam Jones Ewing, and he replied that he remembered him well, that he had a serious disposition (probably not unlike Sam's son John Tyler), was a hard worker, and was a very strong man. Clyde recounted a story that even in his older years he could pick up a bale of cotton and put it into a wagon all by himself (probably one end at a time because of the size, but a bale of cotton weighed about 300 pounds).
Eventually while living on the Williams place, Sam Jones became sick (family stories report some type of heart disease), and his son John Tyler (my great-grandfather) brought him to his house on the Hannah farm southwest of Snellville on GA Hwy 124, and cared for him until he died in February of 1917. There were some family stories that he died at the house at Webb Gin House Road, but that property wasn't acquired until December of 1917.
Mary Frances Harris Ewing: Some of my Aunts have passed along family stories of Mary Francis Harris Ewing, and report that she was called "Little Granny". It is said that Sytha, wife of Thomas Kelly (Sam's grandson) learned a great deal about sewing and cooking from Little Granny. My father was five years old when she passed away, and he remembers her sitting on the front porch at the house of daughter Amanda Ewing Knight (house pictured to the right) with other women. But only one person remains as of 2019 that has memories of Little Granny.........
[Per Interview with my Aunt Edna Ewing Cofer, b. 1921] - "I don't remember her husband, but I remember great-grandma (Mary Frances, wife of Sam Jones Ewing) because I was about 8 or 10 years old then. It was after we moved back from Atlanta around 1930 that I remember her. Great-Grandma would come and stay with our Grandpa (John Tyler), and he'd have a big fire in the fireplace to keep her warm, and she was pretty feeble, but I remember her coming a lot and living with Grandpa and Grandma. She had a very sweet and quiet personality. I'd run in and out playing but I remember her being there. I used to have an old snuff can that belonged to her, and I might still have it somewhere. I was thrilled to death when she came to visit because they'd make special things to eat for her.
In Conclusion: Sam Jones Ewing was certainly one of the more historically colorful in our family's history. But I would point out that he was really just an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances, and such is the case with even the greatest men in our history. Often times it is not just about the man that makes the history, but the history that makes the man.
Samuel Jones Ewing (CW)
b: 25 May 1839, Gwinnett Co. GA
m: 13 Aug 1865, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 10 Feb 1917, Gwinnett Co. GA
m. Mary Frances Harris (previously married a Freeman)
b: 17 Mar 1844
d: 25 Apr 1935, Gwinnett Co. GA
Robert Wesley “Bob” Ewing
b: 4 Jul 1866, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 6 Feb 1939, Fulton Co. GA
b: 1 Oct 1868, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 24 May 1960, Lawrenceville, Gwinnett Co. GA
Mary Frances “Fannie” Ewing (Twin)
b: 17 Jul 1869, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 7 Apr 1940, Gwinnett Co. GA
Lizzie Ewing (Twin)
b: 17 Jul 1869, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: abt 17 Jul 1870, Gwinnett Co. GA
Marcus “Mark” Ewing
b: 13 Sep 1873, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 6 Jul 1947, Gwinnett Co. GA
Linton Loranzo “Lint” Ewing
b: 13 Oct 1877, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 4 Jun 1962, Gwinnett Co. GA
Amanda “Mandy” Ewing
b: 11 Dec 1880, Gwinnett Co. GA
d: 24 Mar 1953, Snellville, Gwinnett Co. GA
b: Nov 1883
Married Joe Grisham. They had one child, and then may have left for California. May have been found by Thomas Harvis "Pap" Ewing in a newspaper article where a man visited them and he reports he stayed with Joe Grisham.
Born in Harbins District (408), Gwinnett Co., GA.
1850 Census: Gwinnett County: United States Government, Census Record or Soundex, Harbins(478) District, DW 457, Fam 457, Page 161. .
1860 Census: Gwinnett County: Harbins (478) District, Chinkapin, P. O. , page 703. name spelled "Uins"
Marriage 13 Aug 1865 to Mary Frances Freeman Harris
1880 Census: Gwinnett County: United States Government, Census Record or Soundex, Harbins Dist (478), Pg 34. DW 301, Fm 302.
1890 Paying Taxes: Terry Edward Platt Manning, Gwinnett Co., GA 1890 Tax Digest (Substitute for lost 1890 Federal Census) (Gwinnett Historical Society), 1890, book, page 25, Lawrenceville District.
1900 Census: Gwinnett County: United States Government, Census Record or Soundex, Cates (408) Dist., Ed 50, Pg 125, Sh 7A, Dw 118, Fm 118, Line 71.
1910 Census: Gwinnet County - Living on the farm of and next to William D Williams (DW 111, Fam 114), and also next to Columbus H. Gresham (DW 112,Fam 115). : United States Government, Census Record or Soundex, Cates (408) Dist., ED 59, Pg 134, Sh 7B, Dw 110, Fm 113, Line 52.
Died 10 Feb 1917: Died at the home of his son, John Tyler Ewing, near Five-forks community, Gwinnett Co., GA.( NE corner of Webb Ginhouse Road and Ronald Regan Parkway). : Obituary (Newspaper), The News Herald, Gwinnett County, 13 Feb 1917 and 21 Jun 1917.
Religion: Joined Alcova Baptist Church, Gwinnett Co., GA 1875. Member Snellville Baptist Church, Snellville, Gwinnett Co., GA at death.
Occupation Farmer - Sharecropper- no record of him ever owning a farm.
Burial: Buried in Mt Zion Baptist Church cemetery, on Ga Hwy 124 north of Snellville, Gwinnett Co., GA. Obituary (Newspaper), The News Herald, Gwinnett County, 15 Feb 1917.
Military 1861-1865 Gwinnett Co. GA: Joined Company F, 35th Georgia Infantry, CSA, Sep 1861, Gwinnett Co., GA. Served with Army of Virginia until two days before Lee's surrender at Appomatox when he was left sick with the "fever". Held the rank of 2d Corporal when released. Unit was in most major battles in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.Receiving Military pension in Gwinnett Co., GA 1911. : The Gwinnett Journal, 7 Jan 1911.
"Red Clay To Richmond: Trail of the 35th Georgia Infantry Regiment, C.S.A.", by John J. Fox, III. copyright (c) 2004, Angle Valley Press.
Interviews of Thomas Harvis "Pap" Ewing, Deloris Ann "Doodle" Ewing, and Edna Gannell Ewing Cofer.
"Historically Speaking - John J. McDaniel" by Tracy Power, Gwinnett Life, supplement to Gwinnett Daily News, April 27, 1975.
Thomas Brigade monument at Gettysburg. Click photo for larger image.
Samuel Jones Ewing attending a confederate reunion on the Lawrenceville Courthouse lawn in the early 1900s. Click picture to view larger image.
1911 birthday reunion for Samuel Jones Ewing
Six of the eight children of Samuel Jones Ewing and Mary Frances Harris Ewing pictured with their mother. John Tyler Ewing is at the top-right.
Uncertain who is peeking out the window.