I moved to North Carolina 20 years ago from upstate New York. I had lived there 18 years of my life moving from Maryland at the age of 4, and considered New York State to be my “home.” Growing up, I lived with my mother and didn’t know much about my father’s side of the family. They primarily still lived in Maryland and I did not see them much.
I guess I lived here in North Carolina for about 10 years when my mother finally decided I was not going to move back “home.” It was around that time she informed me that my father’s family was originally from North Carolina and maybe that’s why I liked it so much. My grandmother had been born in Washington N.C. and my grandfather was from that area as well. About this same time, I did reconnect with my father, sadly his health was very poor and he passed away shortly thereafter, and once again my ties to that side of the family seemed to be broken. Not too long ago I decided to to find my grandfather I sent a card to his last known address in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and it being a small town, the card found its way to him. We have since been spending time together and I have been listening to stories of our family. On a visit this past fall to see my grandfather, I learned that his grandfather had been in the Civil War. Not only had he been in the Civil War but he had been imprisoned at Point Lookout, which is only 20 minutes from my granddad’s home in Southern Maryland. He told me his name was Thomas Hatten Langley and he was from Pitt County, North Carolina.
With my new found information I decided to do a little bit of digging and see what I could find on this ancestor of mine. Now I will have to say that I am not a historian and this was my first stab at really conducting any research of this sort. My first step was to go to our online catalog, Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS). I did a search on Langley, Thomas H. and much to my surprise, I got a hit. The search had found a pension record for Thomas H. Langley of Pitt County. The pension could be found in the State Auditors Records, box 6.424. I then went to the Search Room found the record, and sure enough this was my great-grandfather Thomas Hatten Langley.
The images below are the Solder’s Application for Pension for Thomas H. Langley. He turned this application in on June 23, 1906 at the age of 66. He states in the application that he is “old and worn out with old age- not able to earn a living at manual labor.” Thomas H. Langley lived to be eighty years old, and died on November 26, 1920.
From here I went to the North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster in the Search Room. They had a listing for Thomas Hatten Langley and his brother Pollard E. Langley. Pollard E. Langley had enlisted on August 26th 1861 at the age of 19. He was part of the Eighth North Carolina State troops (NCST) and stationed on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where he died on November 17th 1861 in camp. The cause of his death is not reported, so that will remain a mystery. Thomas H. Langley enlisted on April 26,1861 at the age of 21. He was captured at Fort Hatteras, N.C. on August 29,1861. He was confined at Fort Columbus, New York, the name used by Fort Jay, Governor Island, New York during the Civil War, and later transferred to New York City harbor. From there he went to Fort Warren in Boston, Massachusetts. On January 30, 1862 he was paroled and declared exchanged on February 20, 1862. When his company disbanded in March of 1862, he served in Company H of the seventh Regiment Confederate Cavalry, where he was once again captured, and this time he was sent to Point Lookout, Maryland. While he was in Point Lookout, he was transferred to Co. F of the sixteenth North Carolina Cavalry. It seems that being held captive in prison camps did not impede his military career. Thomas H. Langley enlisted as a Private but was promoted to a Corporal, and then later a first Sergeant. At the end of the war he was paroled and exchanged at Boulware’s Wharf, James River Virginia on March 18, 1865.
I have looked high and low in search of a photograph of Thomas, but to no avail. I will keep searching and if I ever do come across one I will post it.
I am now looking into the other side of my family and have found that I am related to the Wollard, and Roberson families from the Pitt County/Beaufort County area. I have found that the Wollard family had both Confederate and Union soldiers involved in the war and look forward to finding out more information. I will be talking with my friends in the Search Room and see if they will be willing to guide me in the right direction, so stay tuned.