Finding A relative in the Civil War – Henry King (part 2)

Unidentified USCT Civil War Soldiers
Unidentified African American soldier in Union corporal’s uniform

I received Henry’s pension file and it helped answer my most burning questions: how did Henry King end up in the Union Army? Did he run away from slavery? If so, how did he manage to escape? [See part 1 Finding Kin in the Civil War – Henry KING aka Henry Tatman (part 1).]

As a genealogist, my explorations include researching my African-descent ancestors from before the Civil War.  Some of these ancestors were enslaved, but a large portion of my family were free.  Doing slave research can be emotional, especially when you have a blood connection to the persons who are enslaved.  There’s a sorrow that touches your spirit seeing your family in slavery documentation.

It meant a lot to read the pension file and learn that Henry had, in fact, run away from the Tatman plantation during the Civil War. A copy of Isabella King’s Widow’s Declaration, included in the pension file, states “that her husband was a slave and was ‘so said’ married to another slave ‘Matilda,’ who died about 1864.” Cyrus Tatman (the son of Henry’s last enslaver) corroborates this in one of his own affidavits: “…we know he was married the first time to a woman by the name of Mathilda Jason, who left Opelousas with Henry Tatman at the time the Federal army passed through here about December 1863, and they went to Berwick’s Bay, La., with the army.”




Recently a reader of this blog, Jessamy, contacted me about a book she had just inherited with information about my family.  (Thanks Jessamy!) Coincidently, the snapshot of what she shared is relevant to this story.  Spanning Three Centuries 1898 Onward, was written by Martha Alma Adelaide Tatman Hudspeth, Jessamy’s great-grandmother.  Hudspeth is the granddaughter of Cornelius Duchane Tatman (Cyrus Tatman’s father) and Hester Griffith.

“Grandpa’s slaves were treated fairly and they behaved well.  They were worth a fortune, which was all lost after the Civil War when the slaves were freed.  Some of the slaves chose to stay and continue working as free men.  There was old Aunt Tempie and her husband, Warren.  Their children were Henry, Bob, Lewis, Frank, Martin, and Martha.  Other slaves were Phyllis, Winnie, Phoebe, and Stella.  All stayed until long after they were freed, except Henry.  He ran away to the Yankees.  Frank died.”

Note: Phyllis, Winnie, Phoebe, and Stella were also the children of Tempie[y] and Warren.  Phoebe and Stella are living in Henry’s and Isabella’s household on the 1870 US Census.


Spanning Three Century 1898 Onward
except from Spanning Three Century 1898 Onward by Martha Alma Adelaide Tatman Hudspeth regarding Henry King and family.


Henry Tatman—now known as Henry King—was sworn in on June 21, 1863 as a private in Company H, 80th Regiment Corps d’Afrique of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) Infantry.  Henry’s official muster in was 1 September 1863 at Port Hudson, Louisiana.  Henry was promoted from Private to Corporal on 2 November 1863 and up to Sergeant, 22 May 1864.  His rank was reduced down to Private on 20 January 1865.   He was promoted, once again, to Corporal on 15 June 1866.  His muster-out date was effective 31 August, 1866, in New Orleans, Louisiana.  During his service, his medical records show that he also was admitted in the hospital several times, including to treat him for fever.  Below, you will find his military service summary.  Also, from Fold3 I’ve posted some of the details on his rank movements.



Henry Tatman aka King service from Fold3
Muster in, Rank promotions
Henry Tatman aka King service from Fold3
Reduced Ranks, promotion, and muster out.


The file is combination of both Henry Tatman’s invalid pension application and Isabella’s widow’s pension file.  On August 12th, 1890, Henry submitted an invalid pension and over the next two years, multiple documentation supporting his application.  Henry said he suffered with rheumatism making him unable to do manual work.  However, the doctor observed that Henry had “no chronic Rheumatism” and therefore was ineligible for a pension.



Henry’s pension application was rejected 20 January 1892 and he died February 25th, 1896.  Henry never received his pension.  In his affidavit for Henry, the doctor may have accidentally foretold Henry death. In his note, Henry’s doctor dismissively observes that “… in our opinion, [Henry is] entitled to a 4/18 rating for the disability caused by Piles [hemorrhoids].” Henry died from chronic diarrhea, a known symptom of Piles.




Later that year, after Henry’s death, Isabella applied for her widow’s pension. From September 1896 through to the end of 1897, numerous reports were submitted in support of Isabella’s widow’s pension application.  On January 22, 1898, Isabella’s petition was finally approved with a monthly payment of $8, effective September 1896. Isabella was dropped from the pension rosters on May 3, 1906, after her death in February of that year.




There’s a healing that comes about when you view manumission documents or see that an enslaved person successfully ran away.  I enjoyed learning more about Henry.

Happy searching!


Finding Kin in the Civil War – Henry KING aka Henry Tatman (part 1)


Unidentified Civil war soldier3
Unidentified African American Union soldier in sergeant uniform holding a rifle

Early August 2017, I received a shaky leaf hint on, alerting me to a military record.  Note: The shaky leaf is an indicator that lets the user know that there is a possible record that may be a match to a person in your tree that is displaying the leaf.  This leaf led me to a U.S. Civil War Pension index record for a Henry King.

Henry was a known relative on whom I had completed some research and included in my family tree.  The US 1870 census indicates that 30-year old Henry King lived in Opelousas, Louisiana with his wife, 25-year old Isabella and several others who I know are his sisters.  Living next door are Henry’s parents, Warren King and his mother, Temperance (Tempy).   Tempy is the sister of my 3rd great-grandfather, Moses Jason, and the daughter of my 4th great-grandfather, Godfrey Jason.

Henry King 1870 US Census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 1, St Landry, Louisiana; Roll: M593_530; Page: 8A; Family History Library Film: 552029

The following US Federal 1880 census, Henry, again, is living in Opelousas with his wife Isabella.  Henry’s siblings have moved out of his home and his parents, are no longer living next door.  However, all the family are still living in Saint Landry Parish – living not far from where the family had been enslaved.

Henry King 1880 US Census
Year: 1880; Census Place: 1st Ward, St Landry, Louisiana; Roll: 469; Family History Film: 1254469; Page: 153A; Enumeration District: 039

On a document dated April 18, 1848 document in Saint Landry Parish, Henry and his enslaved family’s ownership are being transferred.  Mary Ann Ferguson, the wife of Isaac Griffith is donating this enslaved family to her daughter, Hester Griffith, the wife of C. D. Tatman.  At the time of this transaction Henry is four-years old.  You can read more about this story and the connection to my family in this previous post>>> Jason Family of Ville Platte, LA –  Brick wall knockdown.

Henry King slave doc2
Henry King and family being “given” to the Tatman family

So, now I’ve discovered some fascinating information about this 1st cousin 3 times removed.  Henry fought in the Civil War.

This was a shocker to me.  To be honest, I didn’t expect to find any of my Southwestern Louisiana relatives to have fought in the Civil War.  I know that really is a naïve statement, especially since most of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) that fought in the Civil War were from Louisiana.  Of the estimated 185,000 USCT, the highest number of volunteers, a little over 24,500 of them, were from Louisiana.  Note: There are some estimates that show there were as many of 200,000 USCT volunteers. Estimate of USCT soldiers.

Henry King civil war pension index
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Record Group Number: 15; Series Title: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Series Number: T288; Roll: 262

This index record is of combined file of both the Invalid Pension (#902964) and the Widow’s Pension (640104) applications.  The certification (459472) on the Widow’s line indicates that her application was granted.  Henry submitted his application on 23 Aug 1890 and Isabella filed her widow’s application six years later on 2 Sep 1896.  According to this record Henry was a part 8th Regiment Colored Afrique Louisiana Infantry and also the 80th Regiment US Colored Infantry.  According to the National Park Services on the Civil War, the 8th Corps de Afrique Infantry was organized September 1, 1863 and eventually reorganized as the 80th.  More details can be found here: Brief overview of the 80th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

Even though, the index doesn’t contain a lot of information, I reviewed what it does contain to determine if this could be my relative.  Comparing the index to known information I had about Henry, I was able to surmise this could, indeed, be my Henry:

  • Assuming Henry joined in 1863, he would have been around 19 years of age which is viable age for war volunteer.
  • Solider in the index for a person of African descent, like Henry.
  • Solider and widow filed from Louisiana, which where they both resided.
  • Henry’s wife was also a match to my Henry.

All of this information pointed to this being my cousin Henry.  However, the biggest clue that pointed to this being my Henry was the alias under which Henry served in the Civil War – Henry Tatman.  As I mentioned earlier, Tatman was the surname of the last known enslaver – C. D. Tatman and his wife, Hester.

Finding this record just elicited more questions: How was he able to join the Union Army?  To date, I’ve not found any manumission papers for Henry.  Did he runaway from slavery? When did Henry serve?  Where did he serve? How long were his services?

I had to get my hands on the pension file and get answers to my questions.  Stay tuned for my next post as I learn more about cousin Henry King.

Happy searching!