North Carolina

Civil War Letters from North Carolina: John A. Beaman to Governor Vance

Amanda and Kelly expressed interest in seeing the following letter written to Governor Zeb Vance during the midst of the war by John A. Beaman, grandson of Valentine Moore and brother-in-law to Hiram Hulin. The letter is undated, but was probably written before Beaman’s Hulin and Atkins cousins were killed.

I discovered the letter in the N.C. Governors’ Papers in 1983 while researching my doctoral dissertation (the basis for Unruly Women). As a graduate student, finding Beaman’s letter fueled my fascination with anti-Confederate sentiments among the southern yeomanry. In it, he does not discuss religious ideology or political philosophy, but does express the rage felt by many nonslaveholding farmers over Confederate exemption policies that privileged slaveholding planters and manufacturers over plain farmers.

Except for adding punctuation and a few dropped letters, I have transcribed Beaman’s letter just as he wrote it. Despite his frequent misspellings, John was more literate than most Southern farmers of the time, and he did not let his rudimentary education prevent him from addressing Governor Vance as an elected official who needed to hear the opinions of his constituents.

Mr. Z. B. Vance

Mr. Z. V., gov, I take the presant opertunity of droping you a few lines to inform you [of] the condition of my settlement and our county and the parciality of the conscript law [so] you know the rotnest of it and the men that is exempted by it; and unles it is repeald you can’t think us conscrps will obey the call that is made. You know the farmer is the life of hour country and I want you to tell me one farmer exempted unles he has twenty slaves; and I want you to tell me one of them that has anything to sell tht will sell for confedrt money

I have trid [to buy from] them and also I hav trid [to buy from] the manufactors that is exempted; and corn or bacon they must have [for payment] or you cant buy cotn [cotten] yarn or shurtin [shirting]. Confedrit money they will not hav, and I want you to tell me hough hour family will liv if we leav to fight for such men as these. We air forced to revlutionize unles this roten conscript exemption law is put down, for they are laws wee don’t intend to obey, for wee farmers had as well to be exempted as the slavholder and the manufactory for we air the life of the hole [country].

I hav made moor corn and mor wheat and more bacon than any slavholder in the confedret state for sale, and I hav dun more smithin than any smith in hour county–for nothin acordin to my fose [foes?]; and yet I must go to fight for the seeceders and all mechanics and men who air doing no good at tall at home.

Mr. Vance, I want you to send me some exemptions for I am doing no good at tall, for they want me to fight and I am bound not to go unless all the rest of the blacksmiths and manufactors do. 

Gov, I will close

John A. Beaman to Mr. Gov. Vance

Note: To visit this book’s page at the University of North Carolina website, click here.

27 replies »

  1. Mrs. Bynum,

    I have recently stumbled across your site while trying to gather information on my family history. Over time, I have heard many stories based around the era and topics which you have focused your research. These stories have seemed to weather through the generations without falter and serve as the pillars of history for many families in Montgomery County. Thank you for your research, efforts, and overall interest in the place we call home. I was wandering if throughout your research you had collected any other information on John A. Beaman or the Beaman family of Montgomery County. If so and if possible, I would greatly appreciate any findings that would provide more detail into my family history. Thank you.

    John A. Beaman
    Charles G. Beaman
    John Riley Beaman, Sr.
    John Riley Beaman, Jr.
    John Riley Beaman, III


    John Riley Beaman, III


  2. Hello Mr. Beaman,

    May I call you Riley? It is wonderful to hear from a direct descendant of John A. Beaman! I find the history of the Montgomery County neighborhood of which he was a part historically fascinating.

    As I noted in my post of John Beaman’s letter, I first wrote about him and his kin in my book Unruly Women. I return to the story of this community in the forthcoming Long Shadow of the Civil War, in two essays that appear in that volume.

    I’m not certain I have any additional family information that you do not already have, but I am more than willing to outline the genealogical data that I have accumulated from various sources over the years.

    According to those sources, John Armstrong Beaman was born in Montgomery Co., NC, around 1834 to Effarilla (daughter of Valentine Moore) and Bryant Beaman. His siblings included Robert, b. 1820; Elizabeth Candace; Abram Jackson; Jane, b. 1828; Matilda; and Adeline, b. 1835.

    The Beamans intermarried extensively with the Cranford family of Montgomery and Randolph counties, NC. Robert, Abram Jackson, and Jane, as well as John A., all married Cranfords. Their sister, Candace, married Hiram Hulin, providing an important link to that family, of which I write extensively in both books mentioned above.

    John A. Beaman’s first wife was Malinda Cranford, daughter of James Cranford, b. 1804, and his wife, Rutha Riley, which I assume is where your middle name originates. (the name Riley also appears in the Leonard Cranford line; Leonard had a son, W. Riley Cranford, b. 1837, who moved to Indiana as a young man.)

    Malinda Beaman’s father, James Cranford, is said by descendants to be the son of John “Jackie” Cranford, b. 1775 in Montgomery Co., NC.

    James Cranford died in 1862, and, last time I checked, his estate papers were posted on Cathy Cranford’s Cranford family website. Those papers contain several references to their son-in-law, John A. Beaman.

    The 1860 census lists John and Malinda (“Linda”) Beaman with two children, Cyrona, age 3, and Elender, age 7 months. In 1870, there are two more children, Abigail, 6, and Adeline, 5. Malinda’s mother, Ruth, age 68, was also living with them. (In 1880, Rutha Cranford is living with John’s brother, Abram Jackson Beaman, who married James and Rutha’s other daughter, Mary.) According to the 1900 census, your direct ancestor, Charles G., was born to John and Malinda in 1873.

    Malinda Cranford Beaman died July 23, 1888. On August 5, 1888, John remarried to Mary Jane Dennis. He was in his early sixties; she was in her twenties. They had several children together: David F., b. 1890; Jesse Blaine, b. 1894; Ephran (female), b. 1896; Vashti Esther, b. 1897; Abihue, b. 1904 (all dates are approximate).

    I can’t guarantee that all the above information is correct, but most of it came from the federal manuscript censuses. Again, you may well already know all this, but I thought it would be useful to post all the same.

    Thank you so much for contacting Renegade South!



    • Hi Vikki,

      Just received a link to this site from one of my ‘cousins’ found as a result of a genealogy search and read with interest your post.

      I am the great-granddaughter of Valentine Lindsay Moore and his wife, Chaney Hulin. My paternal grandmother Francieth (Fannie) Moore would then be related to Effarilla Moore? There are two Valentine Moores in Montgomery County and they both are buried in the cemetery at Lovejoy United Methodist Church. Do you know which Valentine was Effarilla’s father?

      Fannie too married a Cranford, William Carson Cranford, and taught school in a little one-room school house near the church.

      The three Hulin boys you mentioned are buried in my home church cemetery (Lovejoy United Methodist) near Troy, NC. Originally they had one tall, slender tombstone that resembled a 6″X6″ post with each of their names inscribed on one of the sides. This marker was replaced several years ago with three individual foot stones that were also inscribed with the word “Murdered.”

      If you have any further data on which Valentine Moore was Effarilla’s father I’d appreciate hearing about it.


      Sandy Cranford Walker
      Greensboro, NC


  3. Hi Vicki,
    Just noticed the new posts asking about Valentine Moore. I would like to correspond with Sandy, but don’t have an email for her, so I’ll post mine,….I’ll be happy to field any questions she has regarding her Moore lineage.
    Her Valentine Moore is the father and grandfather respectively of the two by the same name buried at Lovejoy. Valentine Moore, Sr. is buried in the Moore family cemetery near Shiloh Church in a cow pasture. I plan on another expedition soon with Amanda, my partner in crime, to see this cemetery and take pictures. So, I will be able to share those with anyone interested. Also, want to ask Sandy if she knows what happened to the old stone when they replaced the Hulin’s marker, and if it possibly had James Atkins’ name on one of the four sides? Maybe someone in her family would know if she doesn’t…And just to clarify, the current marker is just the one footstone with all the Hulin’s names, about 4 ft long and it does state “murdered”. Thanks Vicki, for the forum to share, again!
    Kelly Atkins Hinson


    • Hi!
      I saw this post you wrote years ago, and I was wondering: did you ever find Valentine Moore’s grave?


      • William, according to my notes, Valentine Moore Jr., born 1808, is buried in Lovejoy Cemetery in Montgomery County.



  4. Thank you, Kelly, for responding to Sandy’s question about the three generations of Valentine Moores. According to my own notes, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Valentine Sr., the father of Valentine (b. 1808) and Effarilla Beaman, was born in 1767 and moved to Pasquotank Co., NC, from Virginia sometime between 1790 and 1810. The younger Valentine married Lucy Haltom, and they became the parents of Valentine Lindsey. Does that fit your information?

    On the topic of James Atkins, I just noticed the other day when I reread Linda Beaulieu’s Oct. 23, 2003 article from the Montgomery Herald, that she reported that “the brothers were buried in a common grave, WITH ATKINS NEARBY.”

    I also found a reference in my notes to a marriage between John Parsons Cranford, 51, and Mary F. Atkins, 45, on December 8, 1884. John was the son of Claborn and Patsy Cranford of Randolph Co., Mary was the sister of James Atkins.

    I hope you and Amanda will continue to share your information with this forum! And feel free to send jpgs of photos that you think would enhance our knowledge.



  5. Hi again,

    I was wondering if anyone might have a picture of the original headstone for the Hulin brothers or know what year it was replaced. If so, I would really like a copy of the picture, because I have never seen it and haven’t been able to find anyone with a photo of it. A picture may answer one of the questions Kelly and I have been researching for a while, that being if James Atkins’ name was on the original marker with the Hulin brothers or not?

    Much Appreciation

    Amanda Hall


    • Great question, Amanda. I know the present stone was there in 1984 when I visited the cemetery. Hope a reader out there can give us a more precise answer.



      • The stone for the Hulin Brothers is at the Love Joy church ,i just viewed it yesterday. I have lived in the Shiloh area all my life. i will be glad to post a photo.


  6. Hi Vicki,
    Well, wonder where Ms. Beaulieu gleaned that little vital scrap of knowledge?? I will try to seek an answer as to her source…that might explain the open area next to the Hulin grave, whereas all the surrounding graves are filled but that one spot remains unused. Or at least unmarked. I asked Sandy Cranford Walker if she recalled the marker originally having included James’s name on one of it’s four sides, but she said not to her knowledge. It seems all the “old-timers” are gone when we need their lifetimes of memories to answer our questions. I just know the Atkins family had it hard immediately after the war, that a stone would have been an extravagance they couldn’t afford, then after that generation, I guess, it was forgotten, or maybe wasn’t a priority at least. Poor James lies in an unmarked, unremembered grave. If I can find proof of where exactly his grave is located, I plan on placing a stone and having a ceremony for him. So, everyone, you’re invited….
    And, yes, your info is spot on regarding the Valentines, but I am unaware of the elder’s siblings names for an answer to Joyce in Ky….although I can’t imagine Effarilla is too common, so bound to be a relative! Just another history mystery to seek the answer to.
    Kelly Atkins Hinson


  7. Dear Ms. Bynum,
    My family’s roots run deep in Montgomery & Randolph counties, NC. I’ve enjoyed reading about the Hulin brothers & James Atkins, who were killed due to their objections to fighting for the Confederacy. I also take pride that one of my kinspeople, Martha Adeline Cranford Sheets, was an unruly renegade southern woman who threatened the sheriff with a visit from the Confederate deserters – still laughing about that. The letter to Gov. Zeb Vance from John Beaman, whose wife Malinda Cranford was Martha’s cousin, was also a great treat. John’s choice of words & tone sound just like my brother’s when he gets cranked up discussing politics; he uses the same phrase “you tell me . . .” , just as Beaman did. I thought I’d add some additional info. In replying to John Riley Beamon, you mentioned Riley Cranford, son of Leonard Cranford & a brother to Martha Adeline Cranford Sheets, & that “Riley moved to Indiana as a young man. Not sure if you are aware, but Riley also objected to fighting for the Confederacy. When I saw his name, I remembered him & looked up my info on him. A book entitled The Centennial History of Grant County, Indiana 1812-1912, contains a biography of Riley Cranford. It lists his father as Leonard & Naomi Riley Cranford. It tells that his brothers Nixon & Elsevan were “forced” to join the Confederate army. Nixon was killed in battle & Elsevan was so severely wounded in an engagement that he died soon afterwards. In 1860, Riley married Laura Bingham, both residents of Randolph Co, NC. In 1863 Riley was faced with the samed forced enlistment that had taken his brothers to the front & “as he was strongly opposed in principles” he left the area with a man named William Moffitt. By careful management they succeeded in getting across lines into the north, crossing the Potomac River & found refuge in Pennsylvania among a Quaker settlement. When he went north, his wife Laura remained in Randolph Co, NC , but in the fall of 1865 Riley returned for her. Then they moved to Indiana, eventually settling in Fairmount township, Grant Co, IN. Like both Riley & Laura’s parents, they too were farmers & Methodists. It is noted that Riley was a Republican & that he & Laura had three children. I find Riley Cranford in the 1920 Grant Co Census – he is age 83, a widower living with his daughter Mary Cranford Griffin. The book states that more Grant Co., IN settlers came from Randolph Co, NC than any other eastern area. In that book I also noticed a bio for Ivy Luther, as I have Luther ancestors. He was another Randolph Co, NC native appers to have objected to fighting for the Confederacy. The bio says that in 1855, Ivy, whose parents were farmers & Methodists, had married a Randolph Co NC native, Sarah Stuart, whose parents were farmers & strict adherents to the Quaker faith. Ivy, being reared on a farm, was in sympathy with the tide of public opinion before the war. When war broke out he was conscripted for service with the Confederate Army. Rather than going to the front, he managed to secure an appointment in the Government Salt Works, but soon left the south & journeyed to Henry Co, IN, lived there 7 yrs, then moved to Grant co, IN. The book notes that Ivy & Sarah Luther were farmers & Methodists. They had 4 children. Ivy was in politics a Prohibitionist. At the time the bio was written, their daughter Emily & her husband were mentioned as the oldest couple in their local Quaker congregation. (So apparently the Quaker influence continued into that generation.) Ivy Luther was 80 years old when his bio was written. On further research, it turns out that Ivy Luther was a 1st cousin to my gr-gr-grandmother Caroline Luther, who married Williamson Cranford. Williamson’s brother John P. Cranford married Mary F. Atkins, the sister of the James Atkins who was killed with the Hulin brothers. Both the Cranford & Luther families appear to have come from Maryland into the Montgomery/Randolph area of NC by the mid-late 1700’s. The old families in that area are very interrelated & everyone seems to be “kin”. Well this was long, but I enjoyed learning more of my families history & how these two men’s biographical info supported yours about the “Inner Civil War” in Montgomery Co, NC”, something I was totally unaware of having occured. While some men may not have fought because of an objection to slavery &/or because their Quaker & Methodist churches preached against it, it is also my opinion, perhaps because I live here in the Piedmont, NC area all my life & think I know what the people here are like, that many were independent, didn’t like interference into their lives, were concerned for their families’ welfare if they went off to war or just didn’t like being forced into a fight. Thank you for your website & I’ll be looking for your books now!

    Jane Cranford


  8. Jane,

    What great information you have added to our knowledge of the Cranford, Luther, and Atkins families of the Montgomery/Randolph area of NC! I was pretty certain Riley Cranford, like many of his kinfolk, was opposed to fighting for the Confederacy, but I didn’t have the proof.

    Thanks so much for sharing with Renegade south; I’m sure many of the readers appreciate it as well.


    • Hi, I am also related to Elizabeth Shaw that married into my family, Henry Crandford. Her father’s name was Calvin Shaw and I think her mother was a Elizabeth Shaw but, don’t know her maiden name. Elizabeth married my great grandpa Isom ( Isham ) King. When he was in war they canged his name to Isham. He was a private confederate co. 54 NC Inf. in 1862. I have done a lot on the King family but need help on my great grandma’s side. We are told that she is a che. indian. some of sibs names are Kerby,John,Collier,Eleanor.Lovina,Emsley, Suanna, Eicajah,MaryJ,Robers S,.Elizabeth and Isom King are buried at Sandy Springs Baptist Church Cem. in Yadkin Co. NC. Several of there children are buried there.My grandpa Miles Isom King is buried at Swaims Baptist Church Cem. in Yadkin Co. NC too. He was married twice. First wife was Cornelia (Nelia) Roseline Tucker from Yadkin Co. and second wife Nelia A. Porter from Wilkes Co. NC. Both Nelia’s are buried at Swaims Baptist Chuch Yadkin Co, but not with with my grandpa Miles. Miles and Nelia P King are buried together and Cornelia it buried over next to bank of church in the curve. She was from Randolph Co.Uncles and ects. Tillman,Jessie,Nixson Shaw Elwood and Martha S. Ledwell,William and Nancy S Lax,Hudson and Caroline Nance, Eli Crandford and Jane Cranford,Just have some names and that’s all. I am in my 50’s and would love to find some info on her and her family. Hope this can help someone else. God Bless and thanks


      • Lisa,
        Thanks for commenting on the Cranford family line–it looks like your branch (Crandford) spells the name differently than do the Cranfords of Montgomery County, NC.

        Hope you hear back from folks studying the same lines that you are.



  9. I found your site looking for info on Shiloh Church.My Paternal grandmother was a Haltom and their roots run long and deep during the civil war.There was an article in The High Point Enterprise in 1939,which was an interview with one of my Great Aunts.They called her Rendy.As casual as folk were with names,I always wondered if it were short for Miranda or some other more formal name.Anyway,Aunt Rendy described being taken by Union soldiers while on her way to services at Shiloh.After much questioning,they determined she could not help them and released her unharmed but frightened.
    If I am not mistaken,the Haltom family donated the land that Shiloh stands on today,which is what I was looking for.
    My Paternal Great-Grand-Father was Upshur Williams and is buried in the Dennis Family cemetary on hwy.109 north of Troy.He was in the civil war but I don’t know a lot about his service.
    I salute you and others who have the and reverence for history to research and dig out nuggets that are priceless.


  10. Thank you for your interesting comment, Janice. I’m very familiar with the Haltom name from my research in Montgomery County records. Spencer Haltom especially comes to mind.

    I did not know that the Haltom family donated the land for the Shiloh Church; thanks for that information.

    How wonderful that your great aunt was interviewed about the war. Such interviews show us how volatile the home front was during the Civil War. Do you by chance know who conducted the interview?



  11. Hi Vikki, I too stumbled across this site while trying to help my mom in her search to find the resting place of Valintine Moore Sr. Maybe we were looking in all the wrong places as I read in you’r response to Kelly that Valintine Sr. moved into Pasquotank County, N.C. Do you know what became of him or where he’s buried? My mom is Joann Moore,and plans to be buried at Shiloh when it’s her time.(headstone is already in place there)…We’ve visited the Moore cemetary(in cow pasture) several times over the years as mom likes to clean the weeds out ever so often.Most of mom’s close and now deseased family members are buried at Gravel Hill Church near New Hope,But mom has always seemed drawn to Shiloh and loves to spend her time wandering those parts.The grave site of James Atkins has always bothered mom also.Some say they were all in the same grave.Other stories mentioned the Atkins man wasn’t well liked by some and wouldn’t have been buried with the Hulin men. Again, you’r post may have helped us shed some light on this topic also..Can’t wait to show her what iv’e discovered at this great site! ” Unruly Women”is one of mom’s favorite books by the way.Thanks Vikki,and thanks to all of you nice folks who were also nice enough to share you’r knowledge. Mom’s love of family history seems to be rubbing off on me…lol Respectfully, Douglas


    • Douglas, welcome to Renegade South. I’m always delighted when people stumble upon this site while doing family research–it means the tags are working! Please tell your mother hello for me, and that I’m delighted to know that she enjoyed my book, Unruly Women!In regard to your question about Valentine Moore, Sr., the genealogy that I read (can’t put my hands on it right this moment) stated that he was born in 1767 and moved from Pasquotank Co., VA. sometime after 1790 but before 1810. He lived to be about 93 years old. I’m thinking he may have been the family’s original migrant to Montgomery Co. (which would probably have been Stanly Co. early in the century). But, no, I have no idea where Valentine Sr. is buried.

      I wish I could add more about the location of James Atkins’s burial spot, but I don’t know any more than what I’ve already written. Perhaps others will chime in.



    • Did you ever learn anything moore about the Valentine Moores? There is so little out there! My contact email is wcfurr at gmail dot com


      • Dear wcfurr:

        I’m so sorry I failed to respond to your question back in December when you posted it! Most of what I know about the Valentine Moore family is in my book, Unruly Women. Do you have any specific questions? I’m happy to check my notes.



  12. Hello Ms. Bynum (and all)

    I am a descendant of Robert Beaman, brother of John A. I stumbled across your site doing research on this very topic. I have had your book “Unruly Women” for some years and I look forward to reading “The Long Shadows of the Civil War.”
    I have been wanting to write about these Montgomery County, North Carolina families and their struggles during the Civil War for some time. Now my local genealogy society is planning an issue on the Civil War and it’s the right time for me to do so. I’m not sure if I would have known much about it, except for Unruly Women, so Thank You.

    Judi Beaman Scott


  13. Dear Judi,

    It’s great to know that Unruly Women reached the descendants of Montgomery County families even before the advent of the internet. I hope that you also enjoy The Long Shadow of the Civil War, where I expand on the histories of many of the same families (including the Beamans) that I wrote about back in 1992.

    I’m particularly pleased to know that my research has helped you with your current writing project. I’m also pleased that many genealogical societies throughout the South are publishing articles on Civil War local history, including the histories of Southern Unionists. Good luck with your article, which I hope I’ll have a chance to read, and even post a link to it on this blog!

    Hope you’ll stay in touch,


  14. I am a Cranford be birth most of my early descendents are from Alabama,Gadsden area.but as of my Greta great grandpa John W.Cranford born 1869 in Alabama I can not find anymore information.Not sure if your line connects.If you have any information that may help me I would very much like it.Thank You Patricia Cranford Laux


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