"Last year, Conner Prairie opened a new experience area called Civil War Journey. The experience is based on confederate officer, John Morgan’s, raid on Indiana during the Civil War. Guests arrive to find what is left of 1863 DuPont, Indiana, the day after Morgan’s raiders pass through and need to decide if they will sign up to join the Union in pursuit of Morgan and his men or stay home and protect their families and property.
Also last year, my son and I started participating in Civil War reenactment events; particularly, events in Southern Indiana, which represent this same historical raid. Knowing we had ancestors who served during the Civil War, we decided to do a little more research. We discovered that my 3rd great grandfather, Theodore F. Hinton, lived near DuPont, Indiana, and was one of the men who joined the 7th Indiana Cavalry immediately after Morgan’s raid to pursue John Morgan. But what is even more interesting is that his first cousin, Benjamin T. Butler, was a member of the confederate 5th Kentucky Cavalry and was one of the men doing the raiding.
So…I just happen across a job at Conner Prairie. And then…I find out they need a volunteer to help this summer in the Civil War Journey area. My son just worked his first day at it today and will be spending his summer at “The Raid” which represents his 4th great grandfather. I think that is pretty cool.
And if that didn’t raise the hair on your neck…I met Milah online because my blog is called Front Porch Indiana. Hers is called From My Back Porch. We made an instant connection and ended up taking a road trip through Kentucky where I met up with another blogging pal, Sara at Punkin’s Patch. We passed a sign that read “Hinton” on the way to her house. Come to find out, my ancestors settled that area of the country and, in fact, a Hinton descendant is Sara’s next door neighbor.
Coincidence? I think not.
I’m just following the plan. I don’t know what He has in store for me, but I don’t doubt that I’m going the right direction."
Many changes have happened in my life since the day I wrote that. I can see now that I am not just being led down a path, it is more like I am being shoved off the gang plank. I had planned to write a book loosely based the story of those ancestors someday. I figured it would make a good young adult novel, nothing too serious yet adventuresome. I thought I would need to make up most of it. However, over the past year I have met some incredibly interesting people and have made some interesting discoveries. I am now realizing there is a much bigger true story in my ancestry than I first thought. So big now that I am having difficulty narrowing the focus.
It all starts with Asher and Nancy Hinton who lived near my friend in Northern Kentucky. They were farmers and raised nine children. Those children blessed Asher and Nancy with many grandchildren, ten of which went on to be soldiers in the Civil War. Those that settled across the river in Madison Indiana all fought for the Union. Those that remained in Kentucky were divided, four of them joining the confederacy under the command of John Hunt Morgan, two of them joining the cavalry that pursued him. After studying the timelines of the various units it appears the cousins fought each other on multiple occasions. Some were in the great battles such as Shiloh and Chickamauga others spent most of their time building corduroy roads. One, William T. Hinton, died of measles near Memphis leaving behind a wife and child. I happened to run across one of his descendants, but more on that later.
Two of the rebels were captured after Morgan's Raid and were kept as prisoners of war at Camp Douglas in Chicago, the northern equivalent of Andersonville. Only one survived the ordeal. I think I am being shoved off the plank in order to answer the obvious questions. Why would a family that never owned a slave become so involved in the war? What was so special about John Hunt Morgan that four of them would sever their family ties to follow him? And how did the war change that family forever?