Teel family faces trials during War Between the States

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 27, 2013

Today’s column will be a continuation of coverage of the Teel family of Covington County. Since Linda Kaple’s work is so well written and thorough on this family, it is being presented in her words with some paraphrasing.

As stated in the first Teel column, John Teel was born in South Carolina in 1792. He married Anna Paget on Aug. 7, 1828, in Covington County, Ala.

Anna was born September 11, 1805, in Darlington County, S.C., to William and Elizabeth (Ward) Paget. It is thought that William Paget was the son of John Paget of the Cheraw District, S.C. Elizabeth Ward Paget was the daughter of Thomas Ward and Anna Goodson. Elizabeth and William’s marriage is recorded in the Thomas Ward family Bible on Sept. 1, 1803. Thomas Ward was a Revolutionary soldier and is buried at the Ward Cemetery in Conecuh County.

The Teels, Wards, Goodsons, and Pagets have been proven to be in Darlington County (Cheraw District) prior to settling in Alabama. By studying the Ward and Paget family records, it can be assumed that the families made their journey to Covington County between 1818 and 1820.

John Teel first appears in the 1830 Federal Census of Covington County, Ala., as a male of 30 and under 45. There is also one male under age five (John) and one female 20-30 years (Anna) of age in his household. His neighbors include Jeremiah Dixon Sr., Reubin Diamond, Seth Dixon, Benjamin Parker, James Hodges and William Hays.

When first investigating this line, no information had been found showing that John Teel had ever served in the military, however one of his land grants in Covington County issued April 4, 1854, is a Bounty Land Grant Warrant No. 10612 for 160 acres to John Teel, private in Captain Covin’s Company, Georgia Militia and also in Captain Barrow’s Company, Florida Volunteers in the Florida Wars. This grant was assigned by John Teel to Bennett B. Bass. A look at the muster rolls of these companies shows that the roll certified July 24,1838, at Camp LeBarron by Reubin N. Barrow included a man whose name was transcribed as John Tules.

The family is then listed in the 1840 Federal Census of Covington County, Ala., with John Teel as 40-50 years old. There is also one male five to 10 years (Richard), two males 10-15 years (John and James), two females under five (Elizabeth and Jane), one female 30-40 years.

The 1850 census is the first federal census record that gives every name in a household. John Teel is listed in the 1850 Federal Census of Covington County, Ala., as a 58-year-old farmer born in South Carolina. He lists a real estate value of $1,000 and also states that he cannot read or write. Also listed are Anna, 40; John, 21; James, 20; Richard, 16; Elizabeth, 13; Jane, 11; William, 10; Henry, 9; and Marthann, 6. Anna was born in South Carolina and all of the others were born in Alabama. John Jr. lists his occupation as a farmer. All children except Marthann attended school within the year. Neighbors included the Moses Ward, Simeon Ward, George Jones and William Mock families.

The 1850 Federal Agricultural census of Covington County, Ala., shows that John Teal had 60 acres of improved land and 220 acres of unimproved land with a cash value of farm being $1,000. His value of farming implements and machinery was $75. He owned four horses, two milk cows, and four working oxen, three other cattle and 25 swine for a value of livestock of $250. In 1849, he produced 200 bushels of Indian corn, 70 bushels of sweet potatoes and had home-made manufactures worth $50. He also had slaughtered $125 worth of animals.

The first recorded land sale for John Teel occurred on November 23, 1854, a date on which he had two entries—one being 161 acres in the Conecuh River Township and the second being 40.15 acres in the Yellow River Township.

By the 1860 FederalCcensus, the family was listed in Covington County with John as a 67-year-old farmer with a real estate value of $1,600 and a personal property value of $1,450. Also listed are Anna, 51; Elizabeth, 22; Henry, 14; and Martha, 13. The children all list Alabama as their birthplace. Henry and Martha attended school within the year. Neighbors included the John Teel Jr., Coleman Mason, Daniel J. Foshee, and James Daniel families.

The War Between the States had an interesting effect on the Teel family and related families. Through a variety of events the Teel family ended up on both sides of the conflict at various times. Prior to the war, no census record has been discovered that shows the Teel family was slaveholders. It appears for the most part that they were farmers and mill operators.

John and Anna Teel had five sons and one son-in-law who fought in The War Between the States. Two of their sons and their son-in-law lost their lives. Keep in mind that three of the Teel siblings married three Bass siblings, children of Bennett Bridges and Mary Elizabeth (Hogg) Bass. James married Nancy Bass, Jane married Wilson Bennett Bass, and William married Mary Etta Bass.

Bennett Bass was strongly opposed to the secession of Alabama from the Union, and it would appear that John Teel Sr. had the same feelings.

Whether it was an attempt to avoid the brewing conflict or to start a new life, Richard Teel moved his family to Texas and was settled in Hardin County by 1860.

Despite the feelings of John Teel Sr. and Bennett Bridges Bass, Richard enlisted in the Confederate Army on May 8, 1862, in Liberty, Texas; William Teel, Henry Teel and Wilson Bennett Bass enlisted in Captain Brady’s Company, Company E., 42nd Alabama Infantry Regiment on April 1, 1862, and John Teel Jr. enlisted in Company I, 57th Alabama Infantry Regiment on October 13, 1863. Although no company is known, James Teel enlisted in the Union draft in Florida in November 1864 with a note that his previous military service included six months in the CSA.

The 42nd Alabama Infantry Regiment was organized at Columbus, Miss., in May 1862, composed principally of men who reorganized, in two or three instances, as entire companies after serving a year as the 2nd Alabama Infantry Regiment. Members came primarily from Conecuh, Fayette, Marion, Mobile, Monroe, Pickens, Talladega, and Wilcox counties. The regiment joined Generals Price and Van Dorn at Ripley in September and was brigaded under General John C. Moore of Texas. A month later, the 42nd went into the Battle of Corinth with 700 men (losing 98 killed and about 250 wounded or captured) and later wintered in Mississippi.

Moore’s Brigade was reorganized with the 37th, 40th and 42nd Alabama, and the 2nd Texas regiments. It was part of the garrison of Vicksburg and lost 10 killed and about 50 wounded there, with the remainder captured at the surrender of the fortress.

The 42nd was in parole camp at Demopolis and then joined the Army of Tennessee; however, none of the Teel family rejoined. It fought with severe losses at Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge, and it wintered at Dalton, Ga. General Baker of Barbour then took command of the brigade, (Clayton’s [Stewart’s] Division, Polk’s Corps).

In the spring, the 42nd fought at Resaca with a loss of 59 killed and wounded. It was then continually skirmishing until the battle of New Hope, where its loss was comparatively light as it was at Atlanta on July 22.

On July 28, the loss was heavy. A few days later, the regiment was sent to Spanish Fort where it remained on garrison duty during the fall and until January 1865. It then moved into North Carolina, participated in the battle of Bentonville, and surrendered with the army.

Field and staff officers were Cols. John W. Portis (Clarke; wounded, Corinth; resigned); Thomas C. Lanier (Pickens; wounded, New Hope); Lt. Col. Thomas C. Lanier (wounded, Corinth; promoted); Major W. C. Fergus (Mobile; captured, Missionary Ridge); and Adjutants Thomas J. Portis (Dallas; resigned); and Thomas Gaillard (Mobile).

The 42nd Alabama Infantry was involved in the following battles while the Teel family members were present: Corinth, Miss., October 3-4,1862; engagement at Hatchie Bridge “Davis Bridge,” Big Hatchie, Metamora, Tenn., Oct. 6, 1862; retreat to the Hatchie River, Miss., Oct. 5-12, 1862; operations on the Mississippi Central R.R. from Bolivar, Tenn., to Coffeeville, Miss.; “Grant’s Central Mississippi Campaign,” Oct. 31, 1862, through Jan. 10, 1863; skirmishes, 40 Hills and Hankinson’s Ferry, Miss., May 3-4, 1863; siege at Vicksburg, Miss., May 18-July 4, 1863; assault, Vicksburg, Miss., May 19 and 22, 1863; and surrender, Vicksburg, July 4, 1863.

The Teel brothers and Wilson Bennett Bass survived these campaigns; however, after being required to take the loyalty oath on July 7, 1863, only Henry Teel and Wilson Bennett Bass made it home. William Teel had apparently been ill, and died soon after taking this oath, leaving a young widow, Mary Etta Bass Teel, and son William Henry Teel at home.

The actual oath of loyalty signed by William Teel, Henry Teel, and Wilson Bennett Bass is as follows:

“I will not take up arms against the United States, nor serve in any military, police, or constabulary force in any fort, garrison, or field work held by the Confederate States of America against the United States of America, nor as guard of prisons, depots, or stores, nor discharged any duties usually performed by officers or soldiers against the United States of America until duly exchanged by the proper authorities.”

These survivors and their families faced many trying challenging in the years ahead after some home and continued with their lives. Their story will be continued in future columns.

The source as stated before is the writings of Linda Kaple, a descendant of this family.

Anyone with questions may contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

Historical meeting: The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thus., Aug. 1, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.

This is the first meeting of the new year and plans for the year will be discussed. Guests and prospective members are invited to attend.