Saturday, February 4, 2023

Mary Emeline Marchbanks's Civil War


 Burton Newton Marchbanks (1830 -1864)

Mary Emeline Vance Marchbanks (1830-1924) born in Tennessee went west to Texas after marrying Tennessee-born Burton Newton Marchbanks in 1850 in Tennessee. His extended family including sister Ellenor Marchbanks Fowler emigrated that year to Texas.

 Ellenor Marchbanks Fowler (1811-1887),
Mary Emeline's sister-in-law
Her Findagrave file tells us: In 1850 she joined a group of 
Marchbanks family coming to Texas from Overton County, Tennessee.

The extended Sullivan/Marchbanks family and several of the people they held in slavery went to Texas in two groups in 1850 and 1851. Boling Feltz Marchbanks (1839-1922) wrote a manuscript recalling the 1851 trip when he was 11 and remembered Uncle Burton and his new wife Mary Caroline (sic) in that group.

Burton and Mary Emeline settled about thirty miles south of Fort Worth near what would became the Johnson County seat of Cleburne after the Civil War.

Johnson County, Texas

When the Civil War began Mary Emeline and Burton lived near the Nolan River. 

The 1860 census lists her husband as a stock herder (a cowboy?) They lived with their three young children Emily, Sarah and Josiah and an older man named Rukell(Rusell?) Marchbanks, a relative who was a Stock Raiser. They had assets of $540. Of those 3 children only one seems to have grown to adulthood. Sarah Marchbanks Shannon lived until 1903.

Burton enlisted in the 30th Cavalry Company E, also called the First Texas Partisan Rangers, in July, 1862. In the summer, 1863 his company was in the Indian Nations in what is now Checota, Oklahoma, battling the First Kansas Colored Infantry .

Kansas Museum of History
The First Kansas Colored Infantry's flag commemorates the victory
at Honey Springs in the top right.

Burton Marchbanks was injured there and captured, then paroled and mustered out a few weeks later in August, 1863 to go home to die the following year. The widowed Mary Emeline was left with Sarah, about six, and infant Mary Angeline born in April, 1863.

Collection of the Layland Museum in Cleburne, Texas

She saved her husband's clothing, which was handstitched, undoubtedly by her and possibly by others in that extended family. 

In 1861 Dallas merchants Haswell Brothers offered to pay
shipping for any clothing, quilts etc. for the use of the troops.
Industrious women made clothing for soldiers they did not know but Mary Emeline
had a hand in her husband's outfit and kept it as a memorial to him.

The garments he was wearing when he came home, most embroidered with an "M", were donated to the Layland Museum with the cased photograph of Burton in his woolen overshirt.

Poor Confederate widows rarely were able to thrive financially if they did not remarry. M. Marchbanks from Johnson County is listed in the Texas Indigent Families index, eligible for government commodities like cloth. Censuses from the postwar years show her living with daughter Sarah Marchbanks Shannon and then Mary Angeline Marchbanks Shannon.

Fort Worth Star, 1921

Mary Emeline lived into her nineties in Cleburne. She had ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren when she died of "old age" on July 23rd, 1924.

Her death certificate from Find-A-Grave:

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