|Birth: ||Mar. 26, 1840|
|Death: ||Feb. 19, 1933|
JOHN NELSON HAGGARD'S BIOGRAPHY
The Haggard/Hoggard Link
Vol. 1, No. 3, March, 1983
Editors: Glenda C. Malcom & Burton F. Whited
(This history was written by Burton F. Whited, a greatgrandson of John though his daughter Mary Evelyn Haggard Massey. It is based on U.S. census records, Confederate and Union military records, and interviews with (two) children of John.) John Nelson Haggard was the seventh child of William Alexander and Jane Oglesby Hoggard. He was born on 26 March 1841 at Campbells Station in Knox County, Tennessee. (Interestingly, this history of his life is being written on the anniversary of his 142nd birthday.) Campbell Station was established in 1787 by Col. David Campbell as a frontier fort for protection against Indian attacks. Lying on the main highway from the eastern settlements, it was an important trading post and stopping place for travelers and stock drovers. The Hoggard family seems to have lived here from the 1820s to the 1850s before resuming their trek from the point of origin in North Carolina to Middle Tennessee, Northern Arkansas, and other places.
One wonders how John's parents came to assign the names to their children as they did.
The writer's research in to early Knox County records has revealed that a very prominent family of Nelsons lived in Knoxville, one of who was named John Nelson. This family of Nelson were led by Thomas Nelson, the minister of the main Presbyterian Church in Knoxville for about 20 years. All of this raises questions as to whether the Hoggards were affiliated with that church during their Knox County residence.
John appears first in any record in the 1850 Knox county census where he is listed as a lad of age 9 at home and attending school. The previous spring, in March of 1850, his mother had died. The following year, on 5 December 1851, when John was past 10 years old, his father took another wife, a widowed mother named Parthena A. Slate. One wonders what kind of domestic adjustments were required when a woman with at least one child became stepmother to ten children all of whom apparently were still living at home. There is little way that we can recover that kind of knowledge today, but we may speculate from certain observations. For one thing, Elizabeth, the eldest child, totally disappears. After a brief appearance as "servants" in a DeKalb County (Tennessee) household in 1860, Sarah and Nancy, two of the other older children also disappear. Did these older girls clash with their stepmother and leave home? Or did Parthena "drive" them out? On the other hand, there are reports that John became very fond of Wade Slate, his stepbrother. Furthermore, he evidently thought enough of his stepmother to name one of his own daughters after her, whereas he conferred his own mother's name upon no one. Sometime in the mid 1850s the Hoggards pulled up roots in Knox County and moved west. John's uncle and namesake moved to Northern Arkansas with his family. There seems to be evidence that William accompanied his brother, but shared Arkansas only briefly with him. For before 1860 he had made his home in Buffalo Valley in Putnam County, Tennessee. It is possible that part of William's family (some of the older children?) had moved from Knox Co. directly to Buffalo Valley, where they were joined by their father and younger family as they rebounded from the West. At any rate, the family shows up in the 1860 Putnam Co. census where William is credited with personal property valued at $400 (probably some livestock and farm implements). Of John's 9 full brothers and sisters, only two were still at home (Robert and Mary). His three young halfsisters (Permelia, Missouri, and Eliza) were there, as were his stepbrother Wade Slate and an unidentified child named Nancy Austin. (She was apparently a grandchild of Parthena.)
When the Civil War broke out in the spring of 1861, two of John's older brothers at once enlisted. William A. entered the Confederate Army and was assigned to Co. K of the 16th Tennessee Infantry. James Robert, however, with differing convictions entered the Federal Army and was assigned to Co. I of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry. Although John was a full 20 years old at the time, for some reason he chose not to go away with either of his brothers. About a year and a half later, however, Lt. F. M. Amonette entered Buffalo Valley raising recruits for the 16th Tenn. Infantry. On 21 November 1862 he managed to enlist John, who was assigned to Co. H. Six full weeks had not transpired before he saw action in one of the major battles of the war. On 31 December 1862 and 2 January 1863 he saw the death and destruction of the great Battle of Stone River near Murfreesboro (Tennessee). On the first day of conflict he suffered a slight wound when a minie ball gashed the bridge of his nose. In the same battle he saw his future brother-in-law, John Crowell, shot to death while his brother David held him.
John was with the Confederate Army as it withdrew southeastward into the defense perimeter of Chattanooga. Followed closely by the Union Army, the Rebels saw their next major action in the late summer and early autumn of the next fall in the dramatic battles at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. In connection with the latter battle, John's unit was on duty at a place on the Tennessee River a few miles northeast of Chattanooga called Harrison's Landing when he was cut off and taken prisoner on 27 November 1863. During these battles in the Chattanooga area, John received his second wound when another minie ball gashed his nose in almost the same place as before. He later recounted the hardships of the Southern soldiers in those days. Rations were distributed once a day, and very meager they were. John reported that hunger eroded self discipline in saving the food for a full meal at the best time, and that continually nibbling consumed the rations instead.
After his capture John was forwarded to Cpt. S. E. Jones, Provost Marshal, in Louisville on 9 December 1863. Two days later, however, he was transferred to a major Federal prison at Rock Island, Illinois, for permanent incarceration until the end of the war. He must have hated the prison environment so much, (or perhaps his political convictions were so weak), that he took advantage of a Federal offer for freedom by joining the Union Navy. At any rate, on 21 January 1864 he entered the service of the U. S. Navy and was assigned to the USS Atlanta. As the months of the war went by, he was rotated from one ship to another: from the Atlanta to the Minnesota to the Ft. Jackson to the Tuscarora to the Macedonian to the Marblehead and finally back to the Macedonian.
After serving for one year and eight months in this capacity, John was discharged on 27 September 1865. Later in life, beginning in 1890 and continuing for more than 40 years until his death, he drew a pension from the Federal government on the basis of this service.
After his discharge John returned to his father's home in Buffalo Valley. Very shortly, on 7 January 1866, he married Mary Elizabeth Crowell, the daughter of Elijah C. and Anna Young Crowell. The Crowell family had suffered greatly during the war. At the beginning of the conflict four of Mary brothers had entered the Southern army: Maffett, Cass, John, and David. Maffett was murdered while home on leave by Bushwhackers.
John was killed in the Battle of Murfreesboro, as peviously stated. Cass was wounded during the war, although he recovered and continued in service until the surrender. Elijah, John's father-in-law, was murdered by Bushwhackers not far from his home. (Elijah was a partner with Joseph McKee in the operation of a gristmill. One of their employees was William Hoggard, John's father.) John and Mary made Buffalo Valley their home for about two years or so. Their first child, William Maffett, was born there on 25 October 1867. Within the following year they moved to the village of Tracy, Kentucky, in Barren County where John's older brother, James Robert Haggard already resided with his wife and family. Their second child, John Cass, was born there on 9 October 1868. In the 1870 Barren Co. census, John and Mary are listed in Tracy City with their two baby boys. John is credited with $200 worth of personal property, and his occupation is given as a farmer. A few years later James Robert took his family and moved on to Arkansas, but John moved his family back to Tennessee. However, two more children were born to them while they lived in Tracy City: Annie Frances (on 12 September 1870) and James David (on 2 December 1872).
Upon their return to Tennessee, John and Mary bypassed Buffalo Valley, where the bulk of their kindred still lived, and proceeded southeastward into the Sequatchie Valley of East Tennessee. Settling in Bledsoe County near the village of Dunlap, they apparently remained there for a period of some 8 to 10 years. Three more children were born to them in this location: Martha Sildona (on 7 February 1875), Mary Evelyn (on 11 September 1878), and Daniel Carr (on 1 January 1880). In the 1880 Bledsoe Co. census, John and Mary with their 7 children are recorded in the 9th Civil District. John is noted as being a farmer.
Leaving Bledsoe County, John moved his family to a location that two of his daughters later identified as "up on the mountain" as opposed to "the foot of the mountain." This seems to indicate someplace on Cumberland Mountain in either Van Buren or Cumberland Counties as opposed to Bledsoe County in the Sequatchie Valley at the foot of Cumberland Mountain. This move was made in the early 1880s, for on 17 May 1883 their eighth child, Parthena Tennessee, was born in this "up on the mountain" home.
After another period of not more than two years they moved again, this time back to their point of origin in Buffalo Valley, after an absence of about 18 years. It was there, on 18 September 1885 that their ninth and last child, Elijah Harmon, was born.
It is possible that Mary suffered an injury, or developed an illness, in association with Elijah's birth. There was a report passed down in the family that she was injured while bringing "a stick of wood" in for the fire. (In Tennessee dialect "a stick of wood" can be anything from small limb to hundred pound backlog.) At any rate Mary died on 24 February 1886 and was buried in the Titefit (Tight Fit) Cemetery near Boma, on the ridge just east of Buffalo Valley. She left John with nine children to keep, ranging in age from 5 months to 18 years. One wonders today just what John felt with this awesome responsibility. How does a man make a living for ten people and still look after children as young as 5 months, 3 years, and 5 years old? Somehow he managed for about a year, but it seems that at last the strain overtook him. It was evidently in the early spring of 1887 that he took action to relieve himself of the responsibility and break away free, albeit in a way that does not seem kind and that provoked feelings of resentment toward him by his children for the rest of their lives.
The story goes that one day he put his children (the 6 youngest) in a wagon and set out for an orphanage. One the way, however, the wagon broke down. So he returned with the children to Buffalo Valley and proceeded to make other arrangements. Shortly before, on 3 February 1887 William Maffett, his oldest child had married (to Armindy Barnes). What newlyweds do not need is instant family, but Maffett and Armindy got one! John came to their house and deposited the four smallest children (Mary, Daniel,Parthena, and Elijah) with them. Martha, who was 12 years old was taken to the home of Layton and Ellen Staton, who lived in the community. James, who was 15 years old, was taken to the home of Sam Leftwich. It was perhaps at this time, when this pitiful drama was being enacted, that Frances was married to George Leftwich on 10 March 1887.
Cass, being past the age of 18, was able to fend for himself. Maffett soon was relieved of some of the younger four. Joe McKee and his wife Queen (Mary Crowell Haggard's younger sister) took Elijah and reared him. George and Frances Leftwich took in Daniel and Parthena and gave them homes. Mary was also taken temporarily by Joe and Queen McKee (for about two years), but then went to live with other neighbors.
Having escaped from his family, John went to Marion County, Indiana, where he lived for a period of time with William, his older brother. Then he traveled over the states of Indiana and Kentucky selling patent medicine until 1894. On April 24th of that year, in Hart County, Kentucky, he married Nancy Bell Clark in the town of Dennison. Nancy, the daughter of William and Sarah Jackson Clark, was born there in Dennison on 13 July 1857 and was thus 26 years old at the time of this marriage. She owned, by inheritance, a farm of upwards of 500 acres. (This was a part of an earlier tract which included Mammoth Cave and which had to pay it off, thus entitling himself and his heirs to part of it. John and Nancy had one child, Rosa Maselar, who was born on 6 July 1896. After less than three yeas of marriage Nancy died on 14 February 1897.
John married for the third time on 22 July 1900 to a 41 year old divorcee named Rachel West Reynolds. The daughter of Robert and Nancy Logsdon West, Rachel was born at Munfordville, Kentucky, on 11 June 1859. Her first husband was Gus Hanners, and her second was Gabe Reynolds. In these marriages she had a total of seven children. In the 1900 Hart County census (in the village of Cub Run) John appears as a "farmer and pensioner" with his 4 year old daughter Rosa. Rachel, whom he had not yet married, was
nevertheless living in his home as a "housemaid." So were five of Rachel's children: Nannie Puckett (married), Robert L., William E., John C., and Willie B. Interestingly, their last names are spelled Rands instead of Reynolds.) Willie, who was born on 18 May 1900, later adopted the name Haggard and claimed John as his father.
When Rosa came of age, she claimed her mother's farm as her inheritance and got it. (On 14 June 1914, at the age of 18, she married Victor Carroll.) John, Rachel, and Willie then bought a house in Cub Run and lived there for the next 18 years. Then they bought another house in Munfordville where they lived the rest of their lives.
From 1887 until 1929 John did not return to Tennessee to see his children. Finally, however, he made the trip and tried to visit the homes of all who were still living. The only contact that his grandchildren had with him was during this visit. They remember him speaking of his Civil War experiences. One recalls that he said: "I married three times once for love, once for money, and once for someone to nurse me." He was referring, respectively, to Mary Crowell (who bore him 9 of his 11 children), to Nancy Clark (who left him at her death with an enormous farm), and to Rachel West (who cared for him until his death).
Willie Haggard has left us with this description of John: "He was tall and very slim. He was a Republican and a Methodist. He liked strong coffee and strong chewing tobacco, but never smoked. He liked liquor, but hardly ever drank any. He was very neat in his appearance. He had a quick temper, but cooled off about as quickly as it flared up. In his later years he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan." When revivals were held at the church where he attended, John hosted them at his house. He was also instrumental in erecting an elementary school in the neighborhood. On 19 February 1933, just seven weeks from his 92nd birthday, John slipped away from this world. He had been the last surviving child of the 14 that were born to his father, William Hoggard. Many wonder why some in our family group use the name Hoggard while others use Haggard. It appears rather certain that originally the name was indeed Hoggard and that John was largely responsible for the change to Haggard. In the 1850 Knox County census, in the 1860 Putnam County census, and in the records of the 16th Tennessee Infantry, John's name is always spelled Hoggard. But in the Union Navy records, in the 1870 Barren County census, in the 1880 Bledsoe County census, and in the 1900 Hart County census, his name appears as Haggard. Evidently, when John broke with his allegiance to the South in the Rock Island Prison in January, 1864, and joined the Federal cause, he changed his name. In the late 1880's, when he visited his brother William in Indiana, he apparently persuaded him to do likewise. For William also, having used the Hoggard spelling until that time, began to use the Haggard spelling.
Click on the story of his daughter Anna Frances below for a little of his life story.
William Alexander Hoggard (1806 - 1890)
Jane Oglesby Hoggard (1808 - 1850)
Mary Elizabeth Crowell Haggard (1843 - 1886)
Anna Frances Haggard Leftwich (1870 - 1933)*
Mary Evelyn Haggard Massey (1878 - 1941)*
Munfordville Municipal Cemetery
Created by: adalel
Record added: Jul 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39651332