Was the family divided?

There are notes in my family history that there were 2 brothers that fought for the Confederate States of America and another brother that fought for the Union. I have not yet reached the same conclusion, but I hope by writing about them here is that family members might be able to fill in some gaps. I do know that George Wiley and Elijah Dean were both soldiers for the Confederates. William Franklin fought in the Mexican American War.

Joel Whitehead married Mary Polly O’Kelley. Together they had five sons and seven daughters. For this post, I am just going to focus on the brothers.

What I do know about the Whitehead brothers:


  • Samuel, Joel’s oldest son, was born about 1821 in Oglethorpe County. He was named after Joel’s father. The last census record that I find him in 1860; he is living in Oglethorpe County, with his wife Savenia. He is listed as a living next door to his mother as a farmer and they show no children residing. He is aged 39 years.
  • William Franklin born about 1826 in Oglethorpe County, he married Pamela Fannie Jones. According to his tombstone, he was in the Mexican American War. This war was between 1846-1848. He fought with Captain Loyall’s Company, the Georgia Mounted Volunteers. The 1870 Census shows William aged 43 with his wife keeping house in Starkville, Oktibbeha Mississippi. It shows that his three children Robert, Margaret and Lasella were born in Mississippi. However, by 1880, the Pamela and her children are back in Georgia, and she is listed as a widow.
  • George Wiley was born 26 January 1829 in Oglethorpe County. George served in the Confederate Army. He was also a County Surveyor. See my previous post (https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/george-wiley-whitehead/)
  • Elijah Dean was born 23 October 1833. He was the fourth son born to Joel and Mary. I have records showing him also fighting for the CSA. He was a Private for the 38th Regiment Georgia Infantry.
  • Charles E. was born in 1841. In the 1880 Census, Charles is listed as blind and living with his brother Elijah in Jackson County. In addition, he is also found on the 1880 Non-population Census for Georgia; Schedule of Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes.


Union Soldier Button

Union Soldier Button

csa button

Confederate States of America Button


If any of my readers have information about any of these brothers, I would love to hear from you. Until later, I will continue to explore backwards.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I am going to Georgia on a genealogical journey!  I am going to be ‘exploring backwards’ in the exact same places of some of my oldest ancestors. I am going to meet some extended family along the way.

Why do genealogists like to go on these adventures? Well, unbelievably, not everything is on the internet. You have to get out from behind the monitor sometimes to see what all there is to explore.

I have written on this blog before about some of the places I would like to explore, homesteads, churches, and cemeteries, etc.

Two family homes in Oglethorpe and Madison County come to mind. My recent connection with Sara (my second cousin) has me more curious than ever. Her and her brother, James, own the two family homes that I have been interested in revisiting.

Sara wrote in her last email that the Carlton house was built around 1919-1920. Luna May died on 16 July 1921. “The house was designed by her around her…Papa never finished the upstairs.”

I did know that the house was designed with her (Luna May) in mind due to the debilitating arthritis she had. I also knew that I had stayed at the house when we went to visit in the early 1980’s. But, I didn’t know that the upstairs had not been finished. As a child, we do not look at those things. I remember it being the biggest house I had ever been inside. It was so grand and stately.

Walter and Luna May

Walter and Luna May Whitehead

There seems to be some confusion as to the original Whitehead owner of the Whitehead Homeplace and when exactly it was built. According to the book that I used previously the original owner was Samuel Whitehead (Rogers, 1971). I just assumed since it was directly in my family tree that it made sense that it was Samuel Whitehead (1760-1844). But it could have been Joel’s son Samuel (1821-unknown). However, on my copy of the book, there is a handwritten note by Martha W. Moore that states it was built by George Wiley Whitehead. This makes more sense to me as this was Walter’s father.

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

There are some deed books and marriage books in the local court houses that are calling on me. I would like to figure out once and for all who was the original owner of this homestead.




Source: The Housing of Oglethorpe County, Georgia 1790-1860, Ava D. Rodgers,
Publisher: Florida State University Press, Tallahassee, 1971
St. Petersburg Printing Company, St Petersburg FL
Page 69