Thursday, March 17, 2016

Private John Van Buren Goldsberry

Private John Van Buren Goldsberry
     John Van Buren Goldsberry is my great-great grandfather.  He was born June 25, 1824 in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Finding proof of his parents has been difficult.  I have tried to be very meticulous in my research and records.  Many people take other people's trees on sites such as as a legitimate source, and I have seen many, many errors.  So, I look at other people's research for ideas, but then I look for official documents to prove what I have been told or other people have reported.  If any of you ever see an error in my reports, please let me know!
     My father had told me about John Van Buren, and that Clarence's Grandma (Phoebe Lovett Goldsberry) was adamant that my dad was to be named John in her husband's honor.  Ada Goldsberry (Daddy's mother) had another idea.  She wanted my father to be named Dale.  Finally, the two ladies agreed that my father's name would be John Dale, but he always went by Dale.  Imagine my surprise when I found my father's original birth certificate and it said only "Dale Goldsberry."  However, when my father signed any legal documents, including his military papers, it was always John Dale Goldsberry.  I guess Ada won the battle on the birth certificate, but Phoebe won in the long run!
     Here is a picture of Phoebe.  I don't know if I would have been brave enough to stand up to her!  I like to think of her showing up at Mary Ashworth's door and demanding custody of Clarence.  I can understand Mary handing over Clarence!
     John and Phoebe got married on July 27, 1856 in Racine, Meigs County.  They had a son, George William, listed in the 1860 Census, who must have died at a young age because he is never listed in any further census records.  By the 1870 Census, they have four children, David, 11; Christina, 8; Elza, 4; and Ella, 2 months.  It took me awhile to figure out that Elza was Frank Ellsworth.  In the 1880 Census, there is another son, Charles, 5 years old in 1880.  The nationwide census is not available, and by the 1900 Census, Phoebe is a widow and 12-year-old Clarence is living with her.
     Notice that the 1860 Census asks for place of birth, and John Van Buren states Maryland.  The 1880 Census ask for birthplace of the individual, as well as the individual's parents.  John states that his birthplace is Maryland, as well as his mother's and father's birthplace.  Therefore, I'm pretty sure John Van Buren was truly born in Maryland.
     My father had told me that Glenna Goldsberry Weatherby had done a lot of family tree research.  Glenna is the daughter of Charles Goldsberry, John and Phoebe's youngest child.  Glenna is important in another way. My grandmother, Ada Goldsberry, had a son quite late in life, my Uncle David.  Ada's mental and physical health was not good at the time, and Glenna and her husband, Alan, adopted my Uncle David.  Grandpa Clarence Goldsberry would not allow the Weatherbys to change David's last name, but they cared for him as their own.  My father remained very close to David, and some of my favorite memories of Uncle David are when we traveled out west to attend his wedding.  Daddy served as David's best man, and David and Dorothy traveled back to Ohio with us to meet the rest of David's family. 
     There is a reason I digress!  David wrote a report "An Interesting Ancestor" for a school assignment.  It is a young person's synopsis of what Glenna had found out in her research, and is one of my prized mementos, sent to me by Aunt Dorothy, David's wife.  Enjoy!
     It has been fun trying to substantiate what David wrote in his report.  Another relative, Drennan Goldsberry, wrote an article for the Athens County Historical Society book, Athens County Family History, published in 1987. It states that John V. Goldsberry enlisted in the Ohio 116th Regiment, Company B on August 15, 1862.  This article states that John was wounded at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, right before the end of the Civil War.  He is said to have received a musket ball to the chest, which never healed completely.  John had been a blacksmith and wheelwright before the War, and used those skills for the company.  He worked as a blacksmith for several years after mustering out with his company on June 14, 1865 at Richmond, Virginia. 
       A history of the 116th battles is available on  I don't find any record of them being at the Battle of Lookout Mountain.  John was one of the oldest men in his unit, and was in the same unit as Phoebe's brother,  William Lovett.  Another man in the unit, Dennis Secoy, traded places with John when John was at front of the line because John had children back home and Dennis was single. 
     John Van Buren died August 25, 1884 and is buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Shade.

     Glenna had also told my father that the last name was originally Goldsborough and that John Van Buren's parents died when he was young.  That does not match up with what many other researchers have said regarding John Van Buren's parents, so I am still researching!  Charlene King shared with me research done by Ann Butt, whose husband is the grandson of Charles Goldsberry (the youngest son of John Van Buren and Phoebe).  She believes that John Van Buren's parents are J.W.Goldsberry, born about 1795 in Maryland, and Margaret Shockey.  Many people on have this J. W. moving to Kentucky and living until 1854, which doesn't match up with the family tradition of John Van Buren's parents dying when he was 12 years old.  J.W. Goldsberry's parents are said to be Jonathon Goldsberry, born 1770 in St. Mary's, MD.
     One final thought:  if you have never traveled to Appomatox Court House, Virginia, you should make the trip!  It is an almost spiritual experience to walk the battlefields and know that our ancestor fought and was wounded there.  Appomatox is close to Lynchburg, where my son has lived since attending Liberty University.

1 comment:

  1. Please send contact ifo to james r goldsberry email if you would like history on family .