Monday, November 6, 2017

John Henry Tedder 1829-1882

Today's featured ancestor is my 2x great grandfather, John Henry Tedder. John Henry was born in 1829 at the beginning the Andrew Jackson administration in Darlington, South Carolina. Unfortunately, not much is known about his childhood and adolescent years, even his parents are unknown. It is believed that he was orphaned at a young age, possibly living with relatives.  He is first found on record in 1850, at the age of 21, living in Lowndes County, GA near Valdosta as a farm laborer for Alexander and Norman Campbell. Campbell had a small plantation in an area of rural Lowndes County called Sharpe's Store, later to be named Morven Georgia. Norman Campbell was an early settler of Lowndes County, and by the time of his death in 1906, he was the oldest citizen living in Lowndes County. More information on Norman Campbell and his family can be found on the RayCityHistory blog.
Norman Campbell

By 1853, John Henry was residing in Columbia County Florida where he married a 15 year old girl named Harriet Ellis (1838-1920). They settled in an area near the growing town of Wellborn in what would become Suwannee County. Their first child, Mary Jane was born 2 years later, in 1855.

By 1860, John Henry had acquired $2000 worth of real estate and had added another girl into the family, Catherine. Also living in the house was Joseph Ellis, Harriet's younger brother. Harriet's mother, also named Harriet (Jones, 1811-1893), was living next door. A son, George, was born in 1860. Considering the circumstances of early Florida pioneering such as: heat, humidity, insects, snakes, and gators; life seemed to be going well for John Henry and his young family. That is until the Southern states seceeded from the United States and war broke out.

 The War Between the States

After the breakout of what would be called "The War of Northern Aggression," a call was made for the enlistment of young able bodied men into the Confederate Army. John Henry, along with his young brother-in-law, enlisted into Company A of the 1st Florida Cavalry nearby Lake City on the 12th of October, 1861.  The 1st FL Cavalry served in Florida until the spring of 1862 when it was dispached to assist the Tennessee Army. 

On November 30, 1864, At the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, John Henry Tedder was captured and taken prisoner. He was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio; a Confederate prisoner of war camp. 
Camp Chase Ohio
 Life in a Civil War prison camp was harrowing, needless to say, for the soldiers. They had to endure starvation, cold, disease, and lice infestations. Not to mention, the soldiers had to suffer with the fear of the unknown. The soldiers wondered about the state of the war, how long it would last, how their comrades were doing, how their family was back home, and would they survive to return home. By this time in the war, prisoners were not traded to the opponents and given their freedom.

John Henry remained a prisoner until General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia  on the 9th of April 1865. It is unknown the horrors and death John Henry witnessed during the war and in the prison camp. One could only imagine the psychological toll that affected the soldiers. Once released from prison, John Henry had to find his way back home to Florida. Many poor soldiers had to walk the hundreds, even thousands, of miles back home. Some soldiers were lucky to hitch rides on steamships and trains if the railroad tracks weren't destroyed during the war.


McLaren Store, Wellborn, Suwannee County, Florida 1884

After the war, poverty was rampant in the South. Infrastructure for transportation of people, supplies, and food was destroyed. The quality of life for the average Southerner was drastically different. During the reconstruction era, Southerners felt oppression from the North as the U.S. Army was stationed throughout the South to prevent uprisings. 

By 1870, John Henry had $1000 in real estate and had 2 more children, Harriet (Hattie), and Ella. Within the next decade he was to have 5 more children - all girls. Ollie, Frances (Fannie), twins Lishie (my great grandmother) and Tishie, and Lula. In all, John Henry had 10 children - 1 boy and 9 girls. He would lose his only son in a logging accident around 1881 when a tree fell on George at the age of 21. One year later, on the 2nd of Aug 1882, John Henry went to be with the Lord at the age of 53.

John Henry Tedder grave at Sandhill Cemetery, Dixie County, Florida

Update: 4/29/21
I recently visited Sandhill Cemetery and was able to film my visit. I tried to document all of the graves there and explain what little history I knew.

The following is a video from Florida Trailblazer of Sandhill Cemetery in Dixie County, Florida where John Henry Tedder is buried. His grave, along with Harriet's second husband, can be seen in the video. Please check out Florida Trailblazer's YouTube channel to see some of the other places he has visited. Many of these places have been lost to time.

If you have any questions or you are related to John Henry Tedder and have additional information, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.

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