Landrums in Gray & Blue: Conflicting Loyalties in Piney Woods Mississippi (part 3)

This is the third and final of Ed Payne’s three-part series on the Landrum family of Civil War Mississippi. To read Part 1: “The Gray,” click here. To read part 2: “The Blue,” click here.—vb

Part 3: Aftermath


By Ed Payne

The Albany Journal celebrates the Union’s victory, 10 April 1865. Cowan’s Auction, Public Domain

After four years of bloodshed, the Civil War ground to a conclusion in the spring of 1865.  Of those Landrum men who had joined Confederate units, only the records for Wiley H. Landrum trace him until the end.  The 15th AL Partisan Rangers in which he enrolled had merged with the 56th AL Partisan Rangers.  Wiley’s name appears on the prisoner of war register following the surrender of his regiment at Citronelle, Alabama, on 4 May.  He was among 10,000 troops under the command of CSA Lt General Richard Taylor who stacked their arms that day.

Samuel Landrum last appears on muster rolls of the 2nd AL Light Artillery when he was returned under arrest on 12 Nov 1863.   A later pension application by his widow cited service in “Cobb’s Battalion,” suggesting that he remained with his company when it merged into Cobb’s Battery (1st Kentucky Artillery) in January of 1864.  Cobb’s Battery also surrendered as part of Taylor’s command, but Samuel Landrum’s name has not been located on the records.

The Landrum men who joined the Union army’s 1st New Orleans signed up for a three year term

Death record of John Tucker

of service—which meant remaining in uniform until March of 1867.  But officials disbanded the regiment as of 1 June 1866.  Thomas Landrum, William Pinkney Landrum, and Henry Landrum received honorable discharges and the remaining $75 of their bounty money.  Thomas left behind the graves of his wife Sarah and three children; his brother Linson B. Landrum; his first cousin John Landrum; and the husbands of three first cousins, Thomas Holliman, James W. Lee, and John Tucker.  The Landrum family and in-laws paid a steep price for their Unionist sentiments.

Even before leaving New Orleans, Thomas Landrum sought to settle a matter with the army.  In July of 1864 he had turned over three mules, described as in ‘good condition,’ to the Quarter Master of the 1st New Orleans and received a voucher for $600.  Payment was not forthcoming and the Congressional Reconstruction Acts of 1867 placed the claim in limbo.  In 1871 the matter passed to the newly created Southern Claims Commission (SCC).   Thomas found that his service in the Union Army did not remove the burden to prove that he had been loyal throughout the war.  The definition of ‘loyalty’ under SCC rules specifically excluded those who, like Thomas, had served in the Confederate Army other than by forced conscription (see Newt Knight: Southern Unionism under Scrutiny).  Whether aware of this provision or not, Thomas never acknowledged his Confederate service.  After contracting with an attorney in Washington, D.C. and submitting numerous affidavits, Thomas received a reduced payment of $450 in December of 1873.

Thomas Landrum re-married to Martha Jane Johnson Britt in 1867.  She was the widow of Alfred Britt who had served in the 7th Battalion MS Infantry and, following his capture in July of 1864, died at Camp Morton the next month (see Camp Morton: A Black and Damning Trail).  In 1869, under Military Reconstruction, Thomas received an appointment to the Board of Registration for District 3 of Wayne County.  His participation in postwar Reconstruction politics as a scalawag could have played a role in the couple’s decision, in 1872, to leave Wayne County for Louisiana – where they would spend the rest of their lives.

Notification of pension approval for Thomas Landrum

In 1883 Thomas applied for a Union disability pension, citing the after-effects of sunstroke as well as continuing chronic diarrhea.  This initiated a lengthy official investigation into his military service, personal and family history, and medical status.  After five years, Thomas received approval for a pension of $6 per month retroactive to the date of application.  In terms of household purchasing power, that would equate to about $156 today.  By the time of Thomas’s death on 27 June 1898, the pension had increased to $12 per month.

Soon after her husband’s death, Martha Landrum filed for a widow’s pension.  The expansion of the Federal Civil War veterans’ pension system during the 1880s and 1890s had produced a similar expansion in the bureaucracy needed to oversee it.  The military muster roll record cards that prove so useful to modern genealogists today began as a method to organize, locate, and evaluate eligibility for pension benefits.  When Thomas had first applied for a pension 16 years earlier, a check was made for prior Confederate service – which would have disqualified him.  But the search only covered Mississippi units, whereas Thomas enlisted in the 2nd Battalion AL Light Artillery.  The application by Martha Landrum faced more intense scrutiny, ending with a Special Examination that called on witnesses from Sabine Parish, Louisiana back to Wayne County, Mississippi.  The affidavits finally revealed Thomas’s service in the Alabama Confederate unit and in 1902 Martha’s application was rejected for that reason.

Grave of Thomas Landrum

Luckily for Martha and other Piney Woods 1st New Orleans veterans and their widows, official attitudes softened over time.  In 1904, officials suspended the prior Confederate service disqualification.  Southern Union veterans whose dual service had resulted in rejection of their pension claims, such as Hanson Walters of Jones County, could now reapply (see Part 3: Ed Payne on Jones County widows).  Martha’s application was resubmitted and approved.  She continued to receive a monthly payment until her death in 1923.


The sons of Henry Marshall Landrum Sr.

Thomas’s son HENRY LANDRUM moved to Texas at the end of 1868.  En route he married his companion Nancy Reid.  The couple settled in Bell County.  In 1903, at the age of 57, Henry filed for a Union disability pension citing lung problems resulting from a bout of measles while in the 1st New Orleans Infantry, along with chest pains and rheumatism.  Henry’s wife Nancy died in 1906.  A decade later, the 70 year-old veteran married 27 year-old Dot Bennett and remained with her until his death on 12 July 1923.  She filed for a widow’s pension only to learn that legislation specified 27 June 1905 as the eligibility cut-off date for such re-marriages.  Understandably upset by this turn of events, Dot wrote numerous letters of complaint over the following years.  Her pension application was never approved, but in 1940 she did receive three years worth of accrued pension payments that her later husband had not collected.  Dot eventually remarried and lived until 1965.

James Johnson Landrum’s son WILLIAM HENRY LANDRUM moved to East Texas in fall of 1865, where he labored to make a living as a one-armed farmer.  He married Phoebe Wright in 1866 and, following her death in 1894, wed 18 year-old Eliza Spikes in 1898.  Although 36 years older than his second wife, William Henry outlived her, too; she died in 1901.  The 1910 census found William Henry back in Jones County, living with his nephew Hill G. Landrum.  But he returned to Texas and in 1914 applied for a state pension designated for those Confederate veterans in “indigent circumstances.”  He died in Newton County, Texas, on 6 November 1918.

LINSON B. LANDRUM was probably buried in the Charity Hospital Cemetery in New Orleans.  In 1870, his widow Elizabeth Ann Pitts Landrum was enumerated in Jones County, in a household with six of their eight children.  She formed a relationship with Confederate veteran Elijah Shoemake.  They moved to Nacogdoches, Texas and married in 1882.  Elizabeth died in 1885.

HENRY MARSHALL LANDRUM JR was appointed a constable for Jones County in 1864, a position that exempted him from Confederate military service.  Around the same time, he boldly named a son Ulysses Grant Landrum (see Unionist naming of MS children— revisited).  He was reappointed to the constable position in 1869.  Henry continued to farm in Jones County until his death in 1900.

SAMUEL LANDRUM cannot be located with certainty on either the 1870 or 1880 census.  Records indicate he married Mary F. Johnson around 1865.  On the 1900 census he is found living in Wayne County with his wife and four children.  He died in 1910, after which his wife filed for a Mississippi Confederate pension.  In 1938 a son applied for a government military headstone which cited his service Cobb’s Battalion.

WILLIAM PINKNEY LANDRUM married Sarah A. Cooper in March of 1863 according to later pension affidavits by his cousins Lewis and William Manuel Landrum.  After the war, William Pinkney farmed in Wayne County.  In 1881 he filed for a Union disability pension citing rheumatism and lung disease, which was approved by the end of the year.  In the midst of seeking a pension increase in 1890, William Pinkney Landrum died of “epilepsy & brain disease.”  Although his headstone in Bezer Cemetery, Smith County lists his year of death as 1891, two documents signed by his doctor in the pension file report he died on 13 March 1890.  His widow, Sarah, received a pension until her death in 1928.


The sons of Jesse Marion Landrum:

WILEY H. LANDRUM married widow Sarah Elizabeth McCraven in 1856.  After the war they moved to Jackson County where Wiley produced charcoal.  If Wiley held any harsh feelings towards his first cousin William Pinkney Landrum for his Union service, it did not prevent him from bestowing the same family name on a son born in 1866.  Wiley probably died around 1883.

LEWIS L. LANDRUM married a woman named Carrie in 1857.  On the 1900 census Carrie reported having given birth to ten children of whom seven were still alive.  Lewis farmed in Jones County.   No cemetery or family tree information was found indicating his death date, but I discovered a small item in the Laurel Chronicle of 21 October 1910 (page 6) mentioned that “Lew Landrum, an old citizen of Jones County” had died the previous Thursday – or 13 October.

WILLIAM MANUEL LANDRUM married Mary Emily Lewis around 1874 (on the 1910 census he indicated it was his second marriage).  The 1900 census listed seven children in the household, ranging in age from 23 to five.  William Manuel died in 1914.  Two years later Mary filed made application for a Confederate pension for indigent widows.  She lived until 1933.

As noted previously, JOHN LANDRUM died of tuberculosis while serving in the 1st New Orleans Infantry.  His mother, 61 year-old widow Jemima Landrum, applied for a pension in 1867 by reason of her economic dependence on her late son prior to his enlistment.  A portion of the statement she dictated read that:

“during (John Landrum’s) lifetime he reared a cabin on public land and operated a small farm, off of the proceeds of which (he and his mother Jemima) subsisted partially – that with his services as a laborer they did live – Since his enlistment in the Federal Army she has had to abandon the farming business & resort to the practice of Midwifery for a scanty support – that she owns no real estate that her personal estate consists of one bed and a little household furniture not exceeding fifty dollars in value . . .”

Approval finally came in 1869 with an authorized payment of $8 per month.  Jemima died in 1875.

This inquiry into the Landrum family demonstrates that, like several other Piney Woods kinship groups, the Landrums generally opposed secession (see Collins Family Unionism and The Family of James Richard Welch).  The 1873 affidavit of Joel E. Welborn indicates that some family members were outspoken enough to have drawn the attention of Confederate officials.  Various pressures caused Landrum men to enlist in Southern units, but their lack of commitment resulted in desertions by the end of 1862.  Thomas Landrum may have led a band of deserters who hid out in the Piney Woods.  Circumstances also suggest he played a role, largely undocumented, in facilitating the enlistment of Mississippians in the 1st New Orleans Infantry.  The war and pension records of the Landrum men, while lacking insights into motivation, add to the complex picture of Civil War loyalties in the Piney Woods region.



My thanks to Landrum family descendants Sandra Nash and Tommy Robinson for providing information, although the conclusions I draw may in some cases differ from theirs—ep.

Categories: Uncategorized

14 replies »

  1. One of the six children enumerated on the 1870 census with Elizabeth Pitts Landrum, Erasmus, was her son by Elijah Shoemake. I also believe a daughter, Minerva, and on the 1870 census as well, was fathered by Elijah as her birth date is 2 years after Linson’s death. Also listed in the household is Robert Shoemake, son of Elijah and his former wife Elizabeth Boyce Shoemake. Elizabeth and Elijah would go on to have a third child, Ransom, born in 1874. By 1870, two of Linson’s and Elizabeth’s sons, Jesse and Maston “Shrimp”, were living in Texas. Maston would return to Mississippi to assist his mother with her dower claim for property left by Linson, “small real and personal estate 240 acres of land in Jones County”. With the claim settled, Maston moved his mother and Elijah to Texas after 1874. Elijah and Elizabeth would establish a farm in the Harmony Community, Nacogdoches County, Texas. Harmony was established in 1877 by James Norvel Pitts, a cousin of Elizabeth’s, and other family members and friends. James would donate land for a church/school building and public cemetery. (I got to hold the gun purportedly carried by James on his journey by wagon train to Texas). Most of Elizabeth’s and Linson’s sons, Jesse, Maston, John, Stephen and Zack, would live out their later years in neighboring Angelina County. Son Charlie would move on to Oklahoma. Son William and daughter Isabelle would remain in Mississippi. Isabelle would go on to marry my second great grandfather Phillip Vincent West.


    • Thank you Ed for all the hard work you do on this site. I have enjoyed your work and info on my 4th great-grandfather Thomas S Landrum and family Your friend Tommy.


  2. Chuck:

    You are correct. I should have written that the 1870 census enumerated Elizabeth Landrum in a household with 4 of her children by Linson, rather than 6. As you state, their ages indicate Minerva and Erasmus were children by Elijah Shoemake. I hope those with a deeper interest in the Landrum and allied families will visit you “Shoemake Family Tree” on Ancestry.


  3. Thanks Ed. I’ve put a lot of work into that tree…not that it’s without flaws.I visited Harmony a few years back. Some distant Pitts cousins took me to the Old Brister aka Old Harmony Cemetery where we believe Elizabeth and Elijah are buried. We also believe their son Ransom is buried there. It has been out of use for many years and has been used for a number of purposes from grazing cattle to growing watermelons. The cattle did a job on the stones with only a half dozen or so remaining, most of which are leaning against trees. The cemetery records were destroyed in one of several fires at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse in Nacogdoches. Erasmus traveled back to Jones County to attend the annual Shoemake family reunion in the mid 40s. I have photos and it was the last time he and his half brother Robert would be together. I would like to communicate with you sometime about where else to turn concerning “all other free” in my line back to the 1700s in South Carolina. Thanks again for this series!


      • Good question Dennis. Generally, the term “all other free” referred to people of mixed European, African and/or Native American descent who were not enslaved and who did not appear “white”.


  4. Mr. Payne, I thought I would add something that I found looking through the Union Citizen files on Fold 3. I believe I have found a record for the parents of Thomas Hollaman. Thomas Hollaman married Elizabeth Landrum, as stated in your article. Thomas Hollaman’s parents were James Hollaman and Matilda Oliver Hollaman. I found a record where James Hollaman, Wife and daughter were recommended to be released from arrest after he gave a statement, ” . . .Mr. James Hollamon Wife and Daughter came from Jones County, Miss. Left in March last and came to Honey Island. Mr. H. is quite an old man and in very poor health. He states that he left his house because he has always been a Union man and on this account has continually annoyed by rebel troops. Remained home until he was compelled to leave from the abuses of the Guerillas. Wishes to remain inside the Union lines. Mr. Hollaman is 63 years of age and has suffered considerably. Brought no letters or messages with him. Respectfully recommended that they be discharged from arrest on taking the Oath of Allegiance. . .” This same James and Matilda had three sons, Thomas, Oliver and James, that joined 1st Infantry in New Orleans. Oliver is the only one that lived through it. Thomas and James die of decease. They had a cousin, Brazell Holliman, aka William B. Holliman that also died of decease after joining 1st Infantry in New Orleans. If you look on Fold 3 under Civil War/Union Citizen/James Hollaman, you will find the record. James Hollaman is listed on 1850 Census in Greene County, 1860 Wayne County as a Doctor, and 1870 Census in Harrison County.


      • Kimberly:

        I agree with Chuck that this is a very interesting find. The contents of the Union citizens file on Fold3 do not seem to be easy to search (indexed only by name; not by state), but the document sheds light on those who fled the Piney Woods for Honey Island in the wake of the Lowry campaign.

        As you noted, James, Oliver, Thomas, and William Brazell Holliman all enlisted in the Union Army at Fort Pike, with only Oliver surviving. Pension applications were filed for all four men. If you are interested in learning more about these files, request my email address from Vikki and send me a message.

        Ed P.


  5. I’m certainly interested Ed. Holliman is a blood line through my grandmother Darlie Belle Holliman. Vikki, please send me Ed’s email address. Thank you!


    • I am very much interested. The applications submitted by Martha Holliman in 1890, as mother of William Brazeale Holliman, and the application submitted by Russel Holliman in 1893, as father of WBH, I would love to have. I have the index, but not the applications. Here is what is interesting to me about the parents’ applications, you had to prove that you depended solely on that son (according to article “Anatomy Of Union Pension File). Applications give all info on parents. WBH dies November 5, 1864; Martha files in February 1890 and dies within the year; Russel marries Sarah Pitts in February 1891; and Russel files in January 1893. Those two application may tell an interesting story. Ms. Bynum, please send me Mr. Payne’s email address. Mr. Payne, please send me all on the Holliman boys. Thank you all for your great work.

      If you do not have the applications stated above, I will order these and share once these arrive.


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