I did some unexpected traveling with John Jackson Proffitt this weekend, which I hope will help me verify his parents in the upcoming days. But let me not get ahead of myself.
When I found a pension application for John Jackson and Dicie in the Civil War Pension Index, trust me, I was confused. John was only 10 or so when the Civil War ended. Furthermore, this record only contains Union soldiers, which we would assume John would not have been. But as it turns out, this index holds pension cards for service after the Civil War as well. Later on, I may contact the National Archives and Records Administration to get his full case file. For now, I just grabbed his service details to see what I could find.
Using this information, I found a register of enlistments from 1881. There is a John J. on the list, but he is listed as being 22 when he should be 27. He also enlisted in Little Rock, Arkansas, which is strange. So that didn’t add up. However, this John J. was born in Newport, Tennessee, and he is in the same regiment and company as John Jackson. He is also a farmer. I feel pretty confident this is the right John J. One of my favorite things about this document is that it includes a physical description of John. Blue eyes, dark hair, dark complexion and 5’10.5″.
The document also states that he was discharged in April of 1886 at St. Francis Barracks in Florida, and apparently his character was very good (NOT excellent).
As I scanned the rest of the enlistment sheet, I found an entry for a David Proffitt with very similar information, except he was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, about 25 miles from Newport. I felt it was safe to assume these two might very well be brothers.
I’d worked my way back to the 1900 census, but the 1890 census is nowhere to be found. It’s tough to leap back 20 years with these wanderers, but I found a David and John in the 1880 Census, in TEXAS of all places!
They’re the proper ages and everything! It’s going to take some digging to get back further than this, but this census does give me a hint that David was married by 1880. Hopefully if I follow his trail around, I can get enough clues to jump back another generation.