Posted in Cannon/Fincannon, Craig, Research Tips & Tricks

Surviving the Civil War in an unusual way.

Alfred Harrison Craig with wife Nancy Cannon.
An old tin print of Alfred Harrison Craig and wife Nancy Cannon. Look closely and you will see the patch on his cheek that hides his wound from the Battle of Chickamauga. This photo will be featured in an upcoming book by Civil War historian Michael C. Hardy, about the 58th North Carolina Troops and will be published by McFarland and Company, of Jefferson, North Carolina.

Before I became interested in genealogy, my Dad used to tell me about a great-grandfather of ours that was shot in the cheek in the Civil War and swallowed the bullet.  It sounded like grandiose family-lore at the time, so I was pleasantly shocked when I found out it was a true story of my GGGgreat-grandfather Alfred Harrison Craig. I first saw the evidence of the story when my grandmother showed me his picture. You can clearly see a patch on his right cheek where he was wounded.  I also came across a Civil War document that described his wound.

Alfred was born 25 Dec 1840 in Caldwell County, NC. He was the son of Austin Holland Craig and Saphronia Fincannon.  He married Nancy Cannon in 1860.

He enlisted for the war in Caldwell County on May 12, 1862. Probably a recruit for Vance’s Legion.  He mustered in as a private in Company H, 58th North Carolina Troops, on July 29, 1862. Reported present January through June 1863. Wounded in the right check at Chickamauga, Georgia, on September 20, 1863. Reported absent wounded through August 31, 1864. Reported in the hospital at Montgomery, Alabama, on November 15, 1864.

Alfred and Nancy had the following children:

Laura Jane Craig (1862 – 1925) m. John Wesley Stallings
Anderson Asbury Craig (1864 – 1919) m. Mary M. Gibson
Eliza Craig (1869 – 1946) m. a German
Mary Emma Craig (1871 – 1945) never married
Margaret Craig (1873 – before 1900)
Louisa Corbelle Craig (1876 – 1967) m. Elisha A. Martin
Harrison Andrew Craig (1878 – 1953) m. Elma Leona Hatley
and 2 other children who died before 1900.

A helpful genealogy tip is to go to your local library and find the obituary for your ancestor.  The Caldwell County Public Library in Lenoir, NC have local newspapers on microfiche dating back to 1906.  I was able to find the following obit for Alfred:

In Memory of Mr. Alfred H. Craig

Alfred H. Craig was born Dec. 25 1840, and died May 30, 1920, being 79 years 4 months and 25 days old. He was married to Nancy Cannon in 1860. To this union were born 9 children, of whom 5 are living. He enlited in the Confederate Army in 1862, in Capt. Harper’s company of the 58th North Carolina regiment, and was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga Sept. 20, 1863.

He was a member of the Methodist Church for thirty years and lived a quiet Christian life. He was an honest, upright citizen. The funeral services were conducted at Mt. Hermon Church, in a very impressive manner, by Rev. M. H. Tuttle, and the body was laid to rest in the family burying ground near the home of the deceased. He has answered the last roll call and gone to dwell with the saints above.  ~A FRIEND

I love obits because they always provide a ton of great information. It’s also neat seeing the other stories that appear in the same paper to give you an idea of the times.  For instance, the article above his obit is an article about the population growth of key southern cities from 1910 to 1920.  Atlanta, at the time, had a population of only 200,616.

Next Post: Adventurous spirit takes John Franklin Puett from the Spanish-American War to the Klondike Gold Rush.



Jonathan Medford is an experienced genealogist who specializes in researching North Carolina records. Contact him at

6 thoughts on “Surviving the Civil War in an unusual way.

  1. For a while I tried researching our families. Then I gave up. I went pretty far on my mom’s side of the family though. My grandmother is Lillie Pearl Hardee Joyner. Her father was Joseph Bryant Hardee and his father was Bryant H. Hardee. Now this makes me want to start up again. Nice blog to get started on! Thanks, Jonathan!

  2. Tammy, brick walls can be very frustrating. You are welcome to send me some info on the line you are getting stuck with. I would love to help you with a few ideas. I’ve had brick walls solved with obituaries (since they usually name the parents and siblings), death certificates (list the parents), names changes (Wallace was really Wallis), etc… My genealogy email is Thanks for commenting!

  3. Have you found the Confederate unit and service records for
    Austin Holland Craig, my son’s 3rd great grandfather? We have a photo
    of him in his officer’s uniform.

  4. The Craigs are part of my family tree (Anderson Asbury Craig and Mary Gibson Craig were my great-grandparents. It was so neat to find your picture of Alfred & Nancy Cannon Craig on Do you know anyone who might have pictures of any of the other Craigs, especially Anderson and his daughter Jessie, my grandmother (she was married to Thomas Shumaker in Lenoir, NC? Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to give me.
    Sherri Shumaker Hollar

  5. Jonathan, Austin Holland Craig is a GGGrandfather of mine. this story is very interesting and if you do not mind, I would like to attach it to my Craig family tree.
    Thank you,
    Fran Craig Sitton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s