Daniel Artis’ pension file arrived today, and I was puzzled. Was this either of “my” Daniels?
As detailed here, Daniel Artis, allegedly went to war as a body servant for Confederate officer Christopher C. Lane. There are two Daniel Artises. One was born about 1820 and would have been well into middle age when he trudged off to battle. On the other hand, his nephew Daniel Artis, Sylvania’s son, was born about 1843, and was in his prime when the Civil War erupted.
What does the file tell us? It’s a slim one, as pension application files go. Daniel’s request for assistance was rejected summarily, so there was no need to interview his neighbors and kin to corroborate his claims. Still, it is useful.
On 2 December 1901, the Board of Review received an application from DANIEL ARTIES, G 14 USCHA, and assigned it claim number 1277226. Milo B. Stevens & Company of Washington, D.C., a firm of attorneys specializing in pension claims, represented the old soldier. Daniel gave his address as P.O. Box 5, Greenville, Pitt Co., NC, and stated that he had enrolled in the Army in an unknown date in 1865 and been discharged on 11 December of the same year. Despite the Pitt County address, Artis granted Stevens power of attorney on a form sworn to in Wayne County — specifically, Eureka — in the presence of W.M. Exum and Philip Forte. I’m not clear on Exum’s identity, but Forte was a prominent African-American in the neighbor and himself a Union veteran. Further, Forte’s daughter Hannah married Daniel’s cousin Walter S. Artis, son of Adam and Frances Seaberry Artis. Simon S. Strother, the notary public who stamped Daniel’s application, was executor of Adam T. Artis’ estate.) At some point, a commissioner requested “personal description and name of owner” from Artis, but the response — which would have included an assertion of his freeborn status — is not found.
Daniel’s supporting declaration for invalid pension stated that he was 68 years old, that he had been discharged at Fort Macon, and that he was unable to support himself by manual labor due to “rheumatism in back and hip and piles and affected in the breast.” Daniel signed the document with an X.
And then the downer: “Rejection on the ground that the soldiers name is not borne on the rolls of Co G, 14th U.S.Col.H.A., as alleged, as shown by the report from the War Department.”
So, which Daniel is this? Several clues help eliminate Daniel the elder. First, he was born circa 1820, well before Daniel the applicant. Second, Daniel the elder owned significant property in Greene County and is not known to have lived in either Wayne or Pitt Counties. Last, and this applies to either, if Daniel served Christopher C. Lane during his time as an officer in Company A, 3rd North Carolina Artillery from about 1861 till his death in 1864, is it likely that he would have trudged home from Georgia, turned around, gone to New Bern, and enlisted in the Colored Troops in 1865?
My money is on Daniel, son of Sylvania Artis and Guy Lane. Here’s the little I know about him:
In the 1850 census of Greene County, next to white farmer John Lane, Silvany Artess is listed with her children Daniel, Mitchell, Meriah, Gui, and Penny Artess. Ten years later, John Lane’s household included Dannel, Mike, Penney, Dyner, Juley, and Washington Artis, who probably were his apprentices. Next door was 40 year-old Dannel Artis, the children’s uncle. On the other side, their mother Sylvania Artis.
Around 1861, Daniel went to war with John Lane’s son Christopher and returned home in 1864. Surely it is he, and not his 45 year-old uncle Daniel, that enlisted in the Union Army in 1865. His service was short-lived, and he apparently returned to Greene County after.
Guy Lane and Sylvania Artis formalized their marriage a year after he was emancipated, and by 1870 the family had moved several miles west into Nahunta district, Wayne County. There, Guy Lane and wife Silvania are shown in the census with children Daniel, Mike [Mitchell], Mariah, Guy, Penny, Dinah, Julie, Washington, and Alford.
In the 1880 census in Bull Doze [Bull Head] township, Greene County, Daniel Artis appears with his wife Eliza and children Emma D. and James W. I cannot find him in any census thereafter. However, if he is the Daniel Artis who applied for a Civil War pension, he was living in Wayne or Pitt County from 1900 until at least 1904. The notice below also seems to indicate that he was alive as late as 1905, when Dunk Lane and “Miss Dickerson” used his house as a place of assignation. This is the last evidence I have of Daniel Artis’ life.
Goldsboro Weekly Argus, 1 August 1907.