Genealogy,  Hutchison,  Langley,  Military

He died on Mr. Lenhart’s Porch

Widow's Pension Application for Rachel McCoy Langley Hutchison for Eli Langley Civil War Pension

While researching the death of Eli Langley, who died while a prisoner of war at Andersonville Prison in 1864, I came across his widow’s Rachel McCoy Langley pension application files 1. One hundred and six pages of pension records-a genealogist’s jackpot!2

But this post isn’t about Eli, it’s about Rachel’s second husband, Andrew Hutchison.

After the death of Eli, Rachel had a child (William Langley), fathered by Eli’s brother Braz Langley. I have found no record of their every marrying.

Rachel went on to marry her second husband, our mystery man, Andrew Hutchison in 1870. It is unknown who his parents were. There are a lot of Hutchisons in Union County, Tennessee as well as McCoys, Langleys, and Loys that all intermarried and created family lines that resemble a plate of spaghetti.

Not much is known about Andrew and it seems that his death was a bit of a mystery as well.

So what happened to Andrew? 

Thanks to military pension records we have insight into the life and death of Andrew Hutchison.

In order to receive her widow’s pension benefits, Rachel gave a deposition regarding her second husband’s death. In her deposition, she states: “On July or August 1875, my husband who was working for a neighbor called Stooksbury left my home in this neighborhood on a Monday night to go work for Lewis Stooksbury.

I heard no more of him until the following Thursday morning when I heard that he was dead.”

“I heard no more of him until…I heard that he was dead.”

For almost three days she was unaware of her husband’s demise.

Further, she states: “What I know of his death was told me by others and principally by the miller Mr. Lenhart.”

Mr. Lenhart in his deposition stated that a man driving Mr. Stooksbury wagon came to the mill. The man was sick and “he had him put to bed. During the night the man went out to the porch and that’s where he died”.

He did not recognize the man but did recognize Stooksbury’s wagon.  He had two negros dig the grave and the unknown man was put in a dry-goods box and buried as soon as possible.

Witnesses say that owing to the fear surrounding cholera, those who died during this period were buried quickly without ceremony or record.

It was noted, by the pension board interviewer, that Mr. Lenhart, a wealthy man, was irritated that he had to “pay” for the unknown man’s burial and was never repaid by the family.

Fortunately, before he was buried a neighbor of Andrew’s saw his body on the front porch and recognized him. Otherwise, there would have been no legal witness as to his identification.  His deposition is on record in her widow’s pension application.

Throughout the records, witnesses maintained that Andrew Hutchison died from cholera, which was rampant in the area. Mr. Stooksbury, his employer, lost a family member to cholera the same week. It is likely that Andrew contracted cholera when he picked up the grain to take to the mill.

After the burial, Mr. Stooksbury retrieved his wagon along with the clothing and boots of Andrew. He held onto the effects for a while for unknown reasons, perhaps out of fear of spreading the disease, eventually returning them to the widow.

The Langley’s, McCoy’s, Hutchison’s lived in the area known as Loys Crossroads, Racoon Valley and Warwick’s Crossroads in Union County, Tennessee. The area is now mostly under the waters of Lake Norris at Big Ridge State Park. A few of the cemeteries remain, such as the Langley Cemetery.

I’ll be searching for the parents of Andrew Hutchison and as there are many Hutchisons in Union County, Tennessee it may take more than a lifetime, it’s quite a tangled web.

  1. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Index to Pension Applications Files of Remarried Widows Based on Service in the Civil War and Later wars in the Regular Army after the Civil War; NAI Number: 2588478; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 – 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Number: M1785; Roll Number: 4 []
  2. Page 6 – Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War Veterans, ca. 1861 – ca. 1910Web addresshttps://www.fold3.com/image/295539311?xid=1945 []