Samuel Hawkins Hollingsworth
Hollingsworth was born in Jefferson County, Alabama 17 January 1844. He was
6'-1" tall, thin, fair complexion, with light hair and gray eyes as a young
adult. He joined the 1st Tennessee and Alabama Independent Vidette Cavalry, U.S.
on 12 February 1864 in Bridgeport, Alabama, at age 20 and was mustered out 16
June 1864 at the same place when the unit was disbanded. He joined the 1st
Alabama Cavalry, U.S. on 1 April 1865 in Stevenson, Alabama.
Samuel was injured near Decatur, Alabama, while loading rations onto a wagon. He was lifting heavy barrels of pickled pork when he ruptured his right side (hernia) on or about 28 April 1865. The rupture protruded about the size of a hen egg and was bluish in color. His unit was camped in Blountsville, Alabama, at the time and the unit doctor was not available for his treatment therefore, a report of the injury was not recorded. Lack of a physician's report of the incident while he was in the military service caused him a lot of difficulty in gaining a pension for his disability later in his life. Samuel was mustered out of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, U.S. on 20 October 1865 in Huntsville, Alabama.
Samuel returned to his home of Branchville, Alabama, in the fall of 1865 and consulted with the local physician, Dr. Stephen G. Sanders, regarding his injury. Dr. Sanders told him to wear a support and there was nothing else that he could do. Dr. Sanders was married to Temperance Jane Chennault (married 6 September 1860). She was the sister of Andrew Jackson Chennault, Samuel's brother-in-law and fellow soldier in the Union Cavalry. Andrew Jackson Chennault was married to Samuel's oldest sister, Nancy Elizabeth Hollingsworth before the Civil War (married 24 March 1856). Later, Dr. Sanders is said to have deserted Temperance Jane and his daughter, Lulu and traveled west.
Samuel lived with Mr. W. T. Adkins for a while in 1867, and on 23 February 1868 married Temperance Jane Chennault Sanders in Jefferson County, Alabama. She consistently referred to her given name as "Jane." Jane was a very petite lady. She received a share of her father, John Chennault's estate ( John Chennault died in 1849 from "the fever"). It is believed that she was relatively "well off" and that is evidenced by the extraordinary dress and jewelry displayed in what is believed to be her wedding photo to Samuel Hawkins Hollingsworth.
At least twelve (12) slaves of the John Chennault estate were sold as part of his estate settlement beginning January 1852. Almost all of the slaves were purchased by and remained within the family. Jane's mother, Frances Hutchinson Chennault, married John Courson after the death of her husband, John Chennault, and purchased some of the slaves from the estate. It is noted that one of the former slaves, Henry Courson, was living with Samuel and Jane Hollingsworth as a farm laborer according to the 1870 St. Clair County Census.
Several of the former slaves of John Chennault appear to be living with their former family owners according to the 1870 Census. One slave requested to be and is buried near the feet of John Chennault at the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery according to information passed down by the family. It is said that John Chennault was a good "master" and that his slaves loved him. The fact that many of the slaves remained with his family as farm laborers after the Civil War is evidence that it was true.
Members of the Hollingsworth family were known to be rather "colorful" and were noted frequently in the church minutes for violating various church rules. Samuel was no exception. The Bethel Baptist Church Minutes dated January term 1871 noted "...received all so (also) Brother Samuel Holinsworth acknowledgement for drinking to much Spirits."
Samuel and Jane raised the daughter of Dr. Sanders, Emma Louvaina (Lulu) Sanders, and had four sons of their own, William David, James Henry, Andrew Jackson, and Josiah Samuel.
Farm life was very difficult and not very rewarding for Samuel and Jane. Several times they were forced to borrow money to keep their farm producing crops. Samuel was not able to perform heavy manual labor and applied for a Federal Military application for partial disability in February 1885 due to his injury while serving in the Union Cavalry. It was a constant battle for him to receive and keep his little pension of about $8.00 month. Andrew Jackson Chennault, James L. Ash, James S. Ash, C. C. Coupland, W. T. Atkins and others wrote letters, gave depositions, and signed affidavits in the behalf of Samuel to receive assistance from his disability. The Government was reluctant to approve/continue his pension since there was no military record of the injury written by the Unit Doctor and his former Commanding Officers could not be reached.
Samuel filed a claim in March 1885 and noted that he was 41 years old, 6'-1" tall, and only weighed 129 lb. The examiner noted "He is very much disabled as to doing any heavy work. Walks with a stick and rather leans to the right side."
James L. Ash gave a statement to a Federal Special Examiner 2 February 1886 in which he supported the claim of the injury by Samuel Hollingsworth. The Federal Special Examiner noted "The affiant (James L. Ash) is of good reputation and talks squarely. The client (Samuel Hollingsworth) is also of good report a very poor man and a sufferer so I am informed in neighborhood."
Things were about to get a lot worse for Samuel. Temperance Jane, his wife died 13 April 1887 at only 45 years old and Samuel was left the task of raising the five children the youngest of which was only 6 years old.
Now alone, he continued the struggle to raise his family. In January 1894 Samuel applied for an increase of his pension from $8.00 per month to $10.00 per month. The Examiner noted that he was 50 years old, 5'-11" tall, and only weighed 126 lb. The hernia now extended about 8" x 3 ½" and he continued to wear a truss for support.
The Examiner also noted an abnormality regarding the location of his heart. The heart was positioned higher and somewhat at an angle as compared to most people. It functioned normally.
Samuel joined the Masonic Lodge 446 in Leeds, Alabama on 11 December 1897 and became a Master Mason on 13 February 1898.
Samuel died 9 January 1899 at age 54 from cancer of the liver according the St. Clair County Mortality Records. He is buried next to his wife, "Tempy Jane" at Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in Odenville, Alabama.
(Published on www.stclaircountyal.com by permission of the author.)
About the Author
John R. Hollingsworth is the great-grandson of Samuel Hawkins and Temperance Jane Hollingsworth.
This narrative is based on information contained in St. Clair and Jefferson County Alabama Probate Court Records, Federal Pension Application, Claims and Related Data, St. Clair County Alabama Census Records, St. Clair County Mortality Records, State of Alabama Masonic
Records, Civil War Union Military Records and information passed down from the descendants of Samuel and Jane Hollingsworth.
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