Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fawkner, by George!

A quick reminder... I am glad you are reading my blog, but I am writing these posts at least partly for myself. They are a way for me to informally gather together some of what I have learned of the Fawkner, Fonkert, Zorgdrager, Tidball, Morstad, and other families. These posts are not intended, and should not be used, as research reports. While I try to generally identify major sources within the narrative, I do not fully cite sources. Readers may contact me for more information.

I haven't even started with the Tidballs or Morstads, but it is time to get back to the Fawkners, by George! If you'd like to review, the Fawkners took center stage in this blog between April and October 2015.

Over those six months, we focused on the family of James C. Fawkner (1829-1889). Born in Kentucky, James was the oldest of the five children of John C. Fawkner and Ann B. Faulconer. George S. Fawkner, born 23 May 1839 in Hendricks County, Indiana, was the youngest. He never knew his father, who died a few weeks earlier. George's middle name, Spencer, came from his mother's brother, Spencer Faulconer.

George S. Fawkner, Indiana Historical Society
George came of age just in time to go to war. This is, of course, fortuitous for a family history researcher because of the records the war generated. Beyond censuses, most of what is known about George comes from his Civil War pension file.

Immediately before the war in 1860, George was living in the household of Robert Coleman in Kenton County, Kentucky. Why was he there? This is a mystery worth solving because if might give clues to family relationships (George's maternal grandmother was a Coleman); for now, we must let it pass. In any event, George was soon back north of the Ohio River. He enlisted 20 August 1861 in Company H of the 7th Indiana Infantry; he was mustered-in 7 September.

While on detail as a Scout as Strasburg, Virginia, on 20 March 1862, fragments from an exploding shell struck George Fawkner, injuring his right lung and breaking bones in his right hand.  Three months later, during a downhill charge through enemy lines at Port Republic, his frightened horse threw him against a log, causing renewed hemorrhage of his lung.  His reward was a furlough home.

Muster rolls showed him absent July through October, but The Adjutant Generals’ Office reported that George was discharged 6 August 1862 by reason of promotion to 2d lieutenant, Co. E, 8th Kentucky Cavalry Volunteers.  Later corrected records of Company H stated that George Fawkner was discharged at Alexandria. Are you confused? I am.

George resigned from the Kentucky Cavalry 6 December 1862. Back in Hendricks County, IRS tax records indicate that he probably sold horses with his brother Cyrus. Whether business was slack or he just hankered for the army, he was soon back in uniform. He received a $60 bounty and was promoted to 1st Sergeant when he enrolled for a three-year term in Co. L of the 9th Indiana Cavalry at Indianapolis in March 1864.  He gave his residence as Kelso in Dearborn County, just a few miles from the Ohio River and just inside the Indiana-Ohio border where it touches the Ohio River. Kenton County, Kentucky, is just across the river.

George was promoted from 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant 31 January 1865. During his 1864-65 service, he saw detached duty at Louisville; Rodney, Mississippi, and later with his unit at Vicksburg in March and April of 1865. In March 1864 he was absent buying horses for the Company.

At the end of the War, George was 26 -- perhaps ready to settle down. He did marry, but he didn't settle much. Next week's post will cover the next chapter of his life.

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