Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Large Quantity of Wood and Flour, and a Barrell of Pork . . .

Well, finally something about my actual third Great Grandpa!  I'm stuck on Julius La Porte with little movement over the past year or so in my research.  I've got a lead on some church records in Philly that might help, but I'm not in Philly and the records cannot come here. (Volunteers??)

So, as is often the case, I tend to re-plow old ground.  Most of it is not fruitful, but sometimes I turn up a nugget of info that I missed on the first go around.

This is an example of TWO cases of that happening. First, this is from the second part of my 3GRGR's Civil-War Pension file.  The first part I ordered upon urging of my Uncle Pat, who blogs about his life and about my mom's side of the family. The second part, I didn't order until almost a year later because I had overlooked the National Archives note telling me that they only sent half of the file.  Put aside for a moment why they would ever do that . . . I'll blame myself for not reading carefully.

In any case, there it is.  I went back to this record recently, trying to find a clue as to his ancestry (virtually no new leads here) but I did find this nugget below (after some background).  My 3GRGR went to war twice.  Not as a young kid, but as a late 30s early 40s guy.  He didn't go because he had no family.  In fact, he had a wife (FN: more on this later), and at least six kids (more on that later also), one of them (my 2GRGR) who was only about 7 years old at the time and his younger sister only about five.  And, he didn't go as some lifelong American Patriot.  As near as we can tell, he only came to the United States (from Quebec) about 20 years earlier and until his death doesn't seem to have been able to speak much English (having been described as a "decrepit old Frenchman" by the pension examiner).  So, there's my 3GRGR, abandoning a wife and several kids to go fight in a war that he should have been pretty uninterested in, politically speaking.

Suffice to say that I don't have a great impression of the guy.  Well, in the WDYTYA theme of things, I found this nugget that, if I were on the show, would sway me to say things like "it really took guts to do what he did . . .. "  Not really, but I just think its funny in a aren't-people-who-lived-in-olden-days-kinda-funny? sort of way. This is an excerpt from the "deposition"/interview of his ex-brother in law, describing how he provided for his second wife as he left for war:

The money quote is:  ". . . when [Julius] went away into the army, he left her [his second wife] in his place here, furnished her large quantity [sic] of wood and flour and a barrel of pork, and besides left considerable money with James Fitch, a merchant here to furnish said Emily provisions whenever she wanted them." (emphasis mine).

Good, god, can you imagine the diet in 1861 -- no fridge, etc.  A steady diet of bread and salt pork!  Maybe some carrots, potatoes and beets.  Yikes!  Before judging, though, perhaps I'll brand this the "Julius Diet" and make a fortune, as he seemed to have stayed pretty thin and lived to his mid-80s!

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