Monday, September 30, 2013

1890 Veterans Schedule

This is an often overlooked record set, especially by those that do research in the south.  Technically this is a census of surviving Union soldiers but a bunch of Confederate soldiers managed to make the list.

I had no problem finding examples but I picked this one because these men were enumerated while in the Bexar County, Texas jail which makes them all the more interesting.

VetScreenshot from

The last line shows Ephraim E. Cottingham, Company G, 2nd Regiment, Texas Infantry which was a Confederate unit.  You can read more about this unit HERE.  If you click on the roster you will see E. E. Cottingham listed in Company G.  The enumerator realized his error and tried to scratch Ephraim out.  No problem though, we can still see what he wrote.  I wonder what Ephraim did to end up in jail.

Anyway, the 1890 Veterans Schedule is a great resource especially since almost all of the 1890 population schedule is lost.  It is definitely worth your while to take a look, even if you are looking for a Confederate.  These schedules are available on and FamilySearch.  Unfortunately, the states of Alabama through Kansas and half of Kentucky are lost.  The District of Columbia and half of Kentucky through Wyoming survived.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Ephriam E. Cottingham was my great-great-grandfather. When I was growing up, glorious stories of his service to the Confederacy were told and how he and his brother carved a cattle company out of the Wild West, with my grandfather raising the cattle in Texas and his brother selling them at the rail head in Kansas City. And when E. E. Cottingham died in 1885, his dastardly brother swindled his brother's widow and her two children out of their inheritance. And this noble cattleman's name was supposedly Edward Everett Cottingham. And that was my first clue there was something amiss in the family story. E. E. Cottingham was born to John Wesley Cottingham and Elizabeth Matilda Wallace in Mississippi in 1838. The chances that farmers in Antebellum Mississippi would name their son after the then sitting governor of Massachsetts strikes me as unlikely in the extreme. But young E. E. and his family moved from Mississippi to Burleson County, TX, which accounts for E.E.'s presence in the Burleson Guards. And apparently post Civil War Texas was not kind to E. E. and he drifted from job to job throughout the state. A small grocer in Dallas and a tombstone salesman in Rockdale, Milam Ct., Texas among his occupations. But he most definitely did not die in 1885. But his wife, my great-great-grandmother, did divorce him in 1880 on grounds of desertion. Apparently the Courthouse in Milam County (about halfway between College Station and Killeen and northwest of Burleson County) never burned down, so the court proceedings from 1880 are still available. And, man I am telling you, lawyers most definitely had better hand writing in 1880 than they do in 2015. It was apparently at this point tnat my great-great-grand mother and her two children (including my great-grandmother) travelled up to Kansas City and presented themselves to their husband/father's brother and demanded support. Which he provided. But when my great-grandmother's older brother reached the age of majority, apparently my great-great-grandmother then demanded that her brother-in-law make her son a full partner in a business her husband had never had anything to do with. And this was where the brother-in-law drew the line at his charity and my g-g-grandmother and her two children stomped out in a huff and moved to St. Louis. As for what set of circumstances led E.E. to the Bexar County Jail in 1890, I don't know, but his last listed occupation in the 1880 census gives a clue, "tombstone salesman." Needless to say, tombstone salesmen didn't travel with their merchandise in a salesbag. But tombstone salesmen of that time and place were notorious for taking advantage of the trusting bereaved by taking their money in exchange for a promise of shipping a tombstone. Whether such shipment ever occurred depended on how much advance money was received and how many bars were between the telegraph office and the breaved's home. So my guess, and that's all it is, is the E.E. was in prison for swindling widows and widowers on tombstones. B/T/W Bexar Ct. and Bexar County Jail both claim they have no records from that time. But in a final note to this sad story, when my grandmother was about 10, the bachelor brother of her black sheep grandfather died, in Bexar Ct., and he left his estate to his six brothers and sisters or their descendants. And my great-grandparents, with my grandmother in tow, traveled to Texas to claim their share. At this family gathering, it is difficult for me to believe my grandmother would not have heard a word about her colorful grandfather. But nevertheless, my entire childhood was filled with stories of the courageous and resourceful E. E. Cottingham. B/T/W, I kept the details of this story to myself until my mother's generation had passed away. Because what for me was a way more fasinating story than the phablam I was fed as a child, would have been denounced as nothing but a pack of lies by by mother's generation.