Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Civil War Bodyguard

Our great-great grandfather was William Hayden.  He was born in Virginia in 1844 and by 1850 was living with his family in Ohio.  He became a soldier in the 1st Ohio Infantry and fought at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, TN, where he was wounded and hospitalized.  

The images in this post are from Stones River Battleground in Murfreesboro, from research at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, and from

William served as the bodyguard for Union General George H Thomas.  He enlisted in the Civil War September 16, 1861, was discharged January 3, 1864. He re-enlisted one day later.  

His re-enlistment was in Pulaski, Tennessee, his final discharge was at Hilton Head, SC. (I learned from the docent at Stones River that Pulaski was the birthplace of the KKK.  It's little facts like this that put people within a particular social and political climate that may have had a direct impact on our family.

There are some interesting pieces of his family history that remain a puzzle.  For example: his father, also named William E. Hayden, was an Irish immigrant and was not living with his wife and children in Cincinnati in 1850. Instead, our Great-great-great grandfather was listed on the 1850 census as a carpenter and was recorded by the census-taker as living with a family with the last name of Hendy. 

In the same census, our great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah A Hayden, is listed with   two older children with the last name of Hayes, along with two younger sons, William (our Civil War bodyguard) and Edgar.

I have wondered whether there was a lot of construction in Cincinnati in 1850 and maybe WilliamE. Hayden was working on construction during the week, boarding with the Hardy family close to construction sites, and was "home" with his wife and children on the weekend.  All this is purely speculation but is based on the fact that the family is listed separately on the 1850 census.  More research is needed to put these puzzle pieces together.

This was part of a Cannon Family group photo

This link takes you to a slideshow containing more documents regarding the military service of William E. Hayden.

He was married to Mary Ann "Polly" Wheatley in Lyon County on January 15, 1867 and died November 7, 1922. He is buried at Macedonia cemetery alongside Mayme Cannon  Hayden, her husband, Ed Hayden, and Uncle Fred and Aunt Lucille Hayden.

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