Avery Mustain Will

Here is the Avery Mustain will as another family researcher listed it from the Pittsylvania County will book. Spelling is unchanged.

The record of Avery’s Revolutionary War Service, from his pension request, is also on this blog. Grave location is listed under details of his military service.

Avery Mustain Headstone

Avery Mustain (1756-1833)

Pittsylvania County Virginia Will Book 1, 242-243

“I Avery Mustain of the County of Pittsylvania and State of VA.  First I and give unto my beloved, wife, Mary Mustain the tract of land whereon I now live containing upwards of 500 acres more or less….at her death…….to be equally divided between my 4 sons, Joel Mustain, Haley Mustain, Shadrack Mustain and Thomas Mustain.  But my said wife is not to interupt my sons Joel and Haley or interfere with them in the the cultivation of their respective plantations on which they now live, which constitutes a part of the aforesaid tract.

In the division after the death of my wife my son Joel’s 1/4 part is to be laid off as to include the plantation whereon he now lives, and my son Haley’s part so laid off as to include the plantation whereon he now lives, and the balance so divided equally between my sons Shadrach and Thomas as to give to my son Thomas the house in which I now live.  I lend to my wife during her natural life all my slaves.  After the death of my wife I direct that all my slaves shall equally be divided between my children, Drury Mustain, Haley Mustain, Shadrach Mustain, Polly Dove, Thomas Mustain and Elizabeth Shelton.  I lend to my daughter Elizabeth Shelton the tract of land whereon she and her husband Littleberry Shelton now live…..containing 100 acres during her life….at her death I direct that the same be equally divided between her children.

After the payment of my just debts by my executors I give unto my wife Mary during her life all the rest of my estate….at her death to be equally divided between my children, Drury, Joel, Haley, Shadrach, and Thomas Mustain, Polly Dove, and Elizabeth Shelton.  After the death of my said wife, if there be enough of the pershable part of my estate to do so, that my grandson, Clark Mustain, be paid the sum of $100…..I do appojnt my son Joel Mustain and my friend Abraham C Shelton my executors.  Signed Avory Mustain April 21, 1829.  Witnesses:  William A Easley, Vincent Shelton, Jr., David Glenn”.

NOTES:  He only gives land to four sons, no mention of Drury. After the death of his wife he wants all his slaves equally divided between my children DRURY, Haley, Shadrach, and Thomas, Polly and Elizabeth Shelton.  This listing excludes Joel, however, he is listed in the dividing of the “rest of my estate” after the death of his wife. His daughter, Saluda, had died in [year] before the date of the will.

Later Sale of 39 Acres

Abstracted this item from Virginia’s Descendants – Featured Family – Avery Mustaine

Pittsylvania County Virginia, Deed Book, “Sept 3, 1836, Mary Mustain widow of Avery., dec, Joel Mustain and William Pannill as commissioner who conveys Haley, Shadrach and Thomas Mustain to Joseph Younger and Armistead Younger 39 acres, sold for $234.00.”

NOTES:  This indicates that Haley, Shadrach and Thomas Mustain had left Virginia by 1836.


Nathaniel Baxter Mustain, Born 1844: Civil War, Vicksburg Surrender, Union Prison & Discharge


NW Arkansas Infantry Flag

NW Arkansas Infantry Flag

Northwest 15th Regiment Flag

The unit that fought under this flag formerly was designated the 21st Arkansas Infantry Regiment. It earned its Transmississippi battle honors as part of Hebert’s brigade, fighting near the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles at…Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge. The regiment was designated the Northwest 15th Regiment Arkansas Volunteer Infantry in February 1863…

[Arkansas] Old State House Museum

Combined Flag

Combined Flag

Combined 1st & 15th Regiments Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, Hardee Pattern Flag

The 1st Arkansas Infantry Regiment was consolidated with the 15th Arkansas after brigade commander Lucius Polk was disabled on 16 June 1864. Showing all the physical traits of the standard Hardee issue of 1864, this flag was probably issued at the time of consolidation. The battle honors represent each of the separate units, but are applied as though won by the consolidated unit. The crossed cannons probably honor the capture of three artillery pieces by the 1st Arkansas at Chickamauga, although they are incorrectly shown with muzzles up. The flag was captured by the 14th Michigan at Jonesboro, Georgia, on 1 September 1864.

[Arkansas] Old State House Museum

Nathaniel Baxter Mustain’s Civil War Service

Nathaniel served in the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment (Northwest), Company A from Benton County. He enlisted at age 18 in Bentonville, AR, on July 15, 1861.

“…in the Vicksburg Campaign at Port Gibson, Champion’s Hill and Big Black River Bridge, ultimately finding [themselves] surrounded and besieged as part of the Vicksburg garrison. When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, the Northwest Arkansas men were paroled on July 8 and 9, 1863, and sent back to Arkansas to await exchange.”*

Nathaniel, fought in eight battles, over a period of two years, before surrender in the Vicksburg Campaign. I searched to find details about a Union prison, until I discovered that he was, “…Captured 17 May 1863 at Big, Black River Bridge, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 15 Jun 1863. then to City Point, VA 13 Sep 1863.” So, Nathaniel spent three months at Ft. Delaware, and an undisclosed time at City Point, VA. “…Prisoners of war were exchanged at City Point late in 1862 and through much of 1863…”

Wikipedia, Ft. DelawareIn late 1862, prisoners inside the fort were fed three meals a day instead of the usual two. “For breakfast we had a cup of poor coffee without milk or sugar, and two small pieces of bad bread. For dinner we had a cup of greasy water misnamed soup, a piece of beef two inches square and a half inch thick, and two slices of bread. At supper the fare was the same as at breakfast. This was exceedingly light diet,” wrote Lt. Francis Dawson…

Nathaniel’s brother John was “…Captured 4 Jul 1863 and paroled 8 Jul 1863 at Vicksburg, MS.”

All online details follow.

Wikipedia…click on this first link for a list of battles: The 15th (Northwest) Arkansas Infantry Regiment (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army Infantry regiment during the American Civil War. The unit was originally formed as the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion. After receiving the required 10 companies, the unit was redesignated as the 21st (McRae’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment. Upon recognition that there was already a 21st Arkansas, the unit was again redesignated as the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment. This was the third Arkansas unit to bear the designation “15th Arkansas”. The others are the 15th (Josey’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment and the 15th (Gee/Johnson) Arkansas Infantry Regiment. The unit saw action both west and east of the Mississippi, before serving in the Vicksburg campaign. The regiment was surrendered at Vicksburg in July 1863. After being paroled and exchanged, the regiment was consolidated with other depleted Arkansas regiments to form the 1st (Trans-Mississippi) Arkansas Consolidated Infantry Regiment.

From another source: 15th (McRae’s-Hobbs’-Boone’s) Infantry Regiment [also called 21st and Northwest Regiment] was formed in December, 1861, using the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Battalion as its nucleus. It took an active part in the battles at Wilson’s Creek and Elkhorn Tavern, and on March 11, 1862, contained 10 officers and 168 men. Later the unit moved east of the Mississippi River, fought at Corinth and Hatchie Bridge, then was assigned to M. E. Green’s and Dockery’s Brigade in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It sustained 82 casualties at Port Gibson…The field officers were Colonels Squire Boone, James H. Hobbs, and Dandridge McRae; Lieutenant Colonel William W. Reynolds; and Majors D. A. Stuart and William Thompson.

*This regiment has a very complicated genealogy.  Initially organized for State service as a four-company battalion under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dandridge McRae, the battalion enlisted at Bentonville on July 15, 1861.  Upon enlisting in Confederate service, it was designated as the 3rd Battalion Arkansas Infantry.  It fought in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Missouri, August 10, 1861, in McCulloch’s Confederate brigade.  During October and November 1861, four additional companies were added, bringing the total to eight, and the battalion was reorganized as an under-strength regiment, the 21st Arkansas, on December 3, 1861.  As the 21st Arkansas prepared for the imminent Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), a ninth company was temporarily added.  Known as Emergency Co. I, this company was composed of men from Benton County who enlisted for thirty days of “emergency service”.  The company was disbanded after the Battle of Pea Ridge, March 7, 1862.  In April 1862, the 21st Arkansas was transferred to Mississippi.  Upon arriving in the vicinity of Corinth, the regiment was reorganized on May 8, 1862; and, on May 12, 1862, it was finally brought up to a full complement of ten companies when Companies A and B of Williamson’s Arkansas Battalion were assigned.  That same month, portions of the 14th and 17th Arkansas Regiments were consolidated to form a new 21st Arkansas Regiment.  To avoid confusion, the old 21st Arkansas was redesignated as the 15th Arkansas Regiment in October 1862.  Then it was discovered that there were already two regiments designated as the 15th Arkansas!  Therefore, in February 1863, the regiment was redesignated as the 15th (Northwest) Arkansas Regiment, to avoid confusion with Josey’s “real” 15th Arkansas Regiment and Johnson’s 15th (Southwest) Arkansas Regiment.  As the 15th (Northwest) Arkansas, the regiment in the Vicksburg Campaign at Port Gibson, Champion’s Hill and Big Black River Bridge, ultimately finding itself surrounded and besieged as part of the Vicksburg garrison.  When Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863, the Northwest Arkansas men were paroled on July 8 and 9, 1863, and sent back to Arkansas to await exchange.  After being exchanged, the regiment was consolidated with the 14th and 16th Arkansas Regiments to form the 1st Arkansas Consolidated Regiment.  Under this final designation, the regiment served in Arkansas and Louisiana until the end of the war.  Most of the men surrendered at Marshall, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, in May and June 1865.

From the same site (see copyright below):

MUSSTAIN, NATHANIEL Pvt  – Enl 15 Jul 1861 at Bentonville, AR. Age 18. Captured 17 May 1863 at Big, Black River Bridge, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 15 Jun 1863. then to City Point, VA 13 Sep 1863.

MUSTAIN, JAMES Pvt  – Enl 15 Jul 1861 at Bentonville, AR. Died 15 Apr 1862 at Van Buren, AR Hospital.

MUSTAIN, JOHN M. Pvt –  Enl 10 Jan 1862 at Camp Benjamin, AR. Age 22. Captured 4 Jul 1863 and paroled 8 Jul 1863 at Vicksburg, MS.

MUSTAIN, THOMAS Cpl  – Enl 1 Mar 1862 at Frog Bayou, AR. Captured 16 May 1963 at Champion Hill, MS and sent to MP at Ft Delaware, DE. 22 Sep 1863. Exchanged 29 Oct 1863 at Elmira, NY. (Rebecca’s note: Thomas was a prisoner for about 5 weeks.)

[© 2000  by EDWARD G. GERDES all rights reserved. This information may be used by libraries and genealogical societies, however, commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior  permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.  This page is not associated with  USGenweb or Rootsweb and the information on these pages is not to be used or copied by them.]

Note about the three other Mustain’s in Company A: John M Mustain was Nathaniel’s older brother. James Mustain, who died at Van Buren, AR,  was not directly related.

I’ve just found records on Fold3 for John M Mustain. I’ll add a PDF link for those images soon. Their last brother was too young, as shown in the details below.

Children of Joseph Devin MUSTAIN (compiled by George Mustain)

  1.  John M MUSTAIN b: 24 Nov 1839 in Nashville,Marshall,TN
  2.  Clarissa Jane MUSTAIN b: 1842 in ,Marshall,TN
  3.  Nathaniel Baxter MUSTAIN b: 1844 in ,Marshall,TN
  4.  Pricilla Emeline MUSTAIN b: 1846 in ,Marshall,TN
  5.  William MUSTAIN b: 1849

Here is a link to the Northwest 15th Arkansas Infantry, a reenactor regiment of the Confederate Army, Western Theater.

If your Mustain, Musteen or Mustaine ancestor served in the Civil War, please comment. Of course, you may be from a related branch with another spelling.


Grief Hickman Goodwin, Thomas Mustain’s Great-Grandson: Mexican-American War & Civil War

Cathy Gibbons Reedy, a descendant of Thomas’ son Jesse shared these details of military records. You can see her original comments on two pages of this blog: 1) Note to Family, and 2) Can You Add These Details?. I’ve added illustrations, and a bit of my own research, to help us know more about Grief’s experience. See the bottom of this post for a link to Cathy’s researched family list and photos for several of her family branches.

Mexican-American War

Battle of Veracruz

Wikipedia image (public domain): Battle of Veracruz: engraving based on a painting. Originally published in The War Between the United States and Mexico, Illustrated, 1851

Grief Hickman Goodwin was a Private in Company D, Santa Fe (New Mexico) Battalion Mountain Volunteers, Mexican-American War from 1 July 1847 – 17 October 1848 (discharged at Independence, MO). Rebecca’s note. I found no more detail about these Mountain Volunteers.

American and Mexican Uniform Reconstruction

Reconstruction of American and Mexican uniforms. Wikipedia photo with permission from DevonTT.

Wikipedia gives a lot of detail about the conflict and events leading up to the war. See the full article here.

…The Mexican–American War, also known as the Mexican War, the U.S.–Mexican War, the Invasion of Mexico, the U.S. Intervention, or the United States War Against Mexico, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory despite the 1836 Texas Revolution

American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast had been the goal of President James K. Polk, the leader of the Democratic Party. However, the war was highly controversial in the U.S., with the Whig Party, anti-imperialists and anti-slavery elements strongly opposed. Heavy American casualties and high monetary cost were also criticized. The political aftermath of the war raised the slavery issue in the U.S., leading to intense debates that pointed to civil war; the Compromise of 1850 provided a brief respite….

For others in our extended family whose ancestors served in the Mexican-American War, here’s a site with Unit Profiles, Rosters and Photos.

Grief Hickman Goodwin’s Confederate Army Regiment, Civil War 

Grief served 18 months in Baird’s Cavalry Texas (4th Regiment, Arizona Brigade; Showalter’s Regiment), for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

Neither Cathy Reedy or I have seen a photo of Grief, who died in 1875 at age 51. He was was born on 16 APR 1824 in Pittsylvania Co. VA. He died on 7 NOV 1875 in Collin, Texas.

Cathy found the following photo of Grief’s wife, Achsah Caroline Price Goodwin…in her grandmother’s photographs many years after her grandmother passed away. A note on the back of the photo says that Achsah was age 92. The photo was taken in 1924, and she died in 1926.

Achsah Caroline Price Goodwin, 1924

Achsah Caroline Price Goodwin in 1924, widow of Grief Hickman Goodwin, who died in 1875. Note on the back says she is 92 in this photo.

Here’s Cathy’s Branch of Our Family from Thomas Mustain

“Thomas’ son Jesse  & Jenny were my 4xg grandparents > Susanna Mustain & John Walker Goodwin > Grief Hickman Goodwin & Achsah Price > Pauline Goodwin & William Marshall > Noda Marshall & O.O. Gibbons > Harlee Gibbons & Shirley L. Lemke.”

Cathy Generously Shared a Link to Her Family Research Photos

Please view and use this photo archive respectfully: cathyreedy.com. Cathy has collected historical photos for the Gibbons, Reedy and Tyler families.

If anyone is part of Cathy’s branch, please comment about how you’re connected and share any details, links or photos.


Jesse Mustain: Is There a Revolutionary War Record?

I’ve found no Jesse Mustain Revolutionary War Record. If anyone has details, please alert us by commenting on this post. Here’s a list of Virginian’s serving in the Revolution, and Jesse is not listed (source: Ancestry.com).

We know about Avery’s military service from the details in his pension request.

Can we guess that Jesse enlisted in the Revolution at the same time as his younger brother, Avery (the other 9 of 11 children were sisters)?

Jesse was born in 1750 and Avery in 1756.

There is no pension request record for Jesse, who died in Jun 1794, before pension benefits were available. It seems that Jesse’s wife, Jenny (I’ll check further for her maiden name), died in 1792…so she would not have been alive to request a widow’s benefit. These dates are from Carolyn Mckenzie’s “tree-format” research.*

Delores M. Mustaine’s research agrees with the dates in Carolyn’s research (see information about Jesse, beginning on page 55 of Delores’ book). Delores also had no maiden name for Jesse’s first wife or any mention of his military service. Here are details of his second marriage, about one year after Jenny’s death:

Jesse married second June 11, 1793, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Polly Brewis, daughter of Robert Brewis.

Please know that any blood descendant of Jesse’s and Avery’s father, Thomas Mustain, is eligible for Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), based on Thomas donating a firearm and signing the oath of allegiance.

Thomas Musteen for 1 smooth Bore Gun impressed for the use of the Militia on their march to join General Green. 1 pound, 12 shillings, 6 pence
November 10, 1783, Thomas Mustain furnished one gun for the Southward Expedition.

Thomas also signed the Oath of Allegiance in 1777.

Looking to see if I might find an illustration of a “smooth bore” gun, I found that it was a musket. Wikipedia includes some interesting information about how complicated it was to load and shoot one:

A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer


musketeer training

“A Seventeenth-Century manual of arms; step-by-step procedure in the handling of the musket by ranked [arranged in ranks] men was essential to avoid fatal accidents.”

  …In the 18th century, as typified by the English Brown Bess musket, loading and firing was done in the following way:

  • Upon the command “prime and load“, the soldier would make a quarter turn to the right at the same time bringing the musket to the priming position. The pan would be open following the discharge of the previous shot, meaning that the frizzen would be tilted forward. If the musket was not being reloaded after a previous shot, the soldiers would be ordered to “Open Pan“.
  • Upon the command “Handle cartridge“, the soldier would draw a cartridge from the cartridge box worn on the soldier’s right hip or on a belt in front of the soldier’s belly. Cartridges consisted of a spherical lead ball wrapped in a paper cartridge which also held the gunpowder propellant. The end of the cartridge opposite from the ball would be sealed by a mere twist of the paper. The soldier then tore off the twisted end of the cartridge with the teeth and spat it out, and continued to hold the now open cartridge in his right hand.
  • Upon the command “prime“, the soldier then pulled the hammer back to half-cock, and poured a small amount of powder from the cartridge into the priming pan. He then closed the frizzen so that the priming powder was trapped.
  • Upon the command “about“, the butt of the musket was then lowered and moved to a position against the soldier’s left calf, and held so that the soldier could then access the muzzle of the musket barrel. The soldier then poured the rest of the powder from the cartridge down the muzzle. The cartridge was then reversed, and the end of the cartridge holding the musket ball was inserted into the muzzle, with the remaining paper shoved into the muzzle above the musket ball. This paper acted as wadding to stop the ball and powder from falling out if the muzzle was lowered.
  • Upon the command “draw ramrods“, the soldier drew the ramrod from the musket. The ramrod was grasped and reversed when removed, and the large end was inserted about one inch into the muzzle.
  • Upon the command “ram down cartridge“, the soldier then used the ramrod to firmly ram the wadding, bullet, and powder down to the breech of the barrel. The ramrod was then removed, reversed, and returned to half way in the musket by inserting it into the first and second ramrod pipes. The soldier’s hand then grasped the top of the ramrod.
  • Upon the command “return rammers“, the soldier would quickly push the rammer the remaining amount to completely return it to its normal position. Once the ramrod was properly replaced, the soldier’s right arm would be held parallel to the ground at shoulder level, with the right fingertips touching the bayonet lug, and lightly pressing the musket to the soldier’s left shoulder. The soldier’s left hand still supported the musket.

(At no time did the soldier place the musket on the ground to load)

  • Upon the command “Make Ready“. The musket was brought straight up, perpendicular to the ground, with the left hand on the swell of the musket stock, the lock turned toward the soldier’s face, and the soldier’s right hand pulled the lock to full cock, and grasped the wrist of the musket.
  • Upon the command “present“, the butt of the musket was brought to the soldier’s right shoulder, while at the same time the soldier lowered the muzzle to firing position, parallel to the ground, and sighting (if the soldier had been trained to fire at “marks”) along the barrel at the enemy.
  • Upon the command of “fire“, the soldier pulled the trigger, and the musket (hopefully) fired. A full second was allowed to pass, and the musket was then quickly lowered to the loading position, butt against the soldier’s right hip, muzzle held off center to the left at about a forty-five degree angle, and the soldier would look down at his open pan to determine if the prime had been ignited.

This process was drilled into troops until they could complete the procedure upon hearing a single command of “prime and load“. No additional verbal orders were given until the musket was loaded, and the option was either to give the soldiers the command “Make Ready“, or to hold the musket for movement with the command of “Shoulder your firelock“. The main advantage of the British Army was that the infantry soldier trained at this procedure almost every day. A properly trained group of regular infantry soldiers was able to load and fire four rounds per minute. A crack infantry company could load and fire five rounds in a minute.

If you have any details about Jesse’s military service, please click on the comment icon and share details or online links.

*After the tree information loads in Carolyn’s research, click inside the box before you type F for a list of all names. That is not clear in the directions on the research page.


Jack and Joe Musteen: Korean War

Jack and Joe Musteen

Joe_L & Jack_R_in Korea

This photo was pasted into a treasured binder before we had better adhesives! Dad and his identical twin brother, Jack, were part of the 936th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Battery C, in Korea. (Click link above for photos.)* Their mother’s handwriting scrawls across the snapshot. She wrote “Jack and Joe”…though Joe is on the left. Grandma was 43 when the twins were born, and she was a 64-year-old widow as they began their tour of duty in Korea…the last of her four surviving sons to serve in and return from war.

Joe Musteen (L) & Jack Musteen (R)

Joe Musteen (L) & Jack Musteen (R)

The young men from Rogers, AR, National Guard gathered to pose for a group photo in front of the National Guard Armory before leaving to become Battery C. Their high school football rivals, “Bentonville boys,” were Battery A…between them, these young men served as two of the three large-gun firing batteries. They left on a special troop train from Frisco Station in Rogers, with 444 total young men from five local towns for boot camp in Fort Carson, CO,  on August 21,1950…three weeks before Jack and Joe were 21 on September 15.

Dad rushed back on a short leave and married Mother in a small family ceremony on Veteran’s Day, 1950. Mother made all of her clothing, including the dress she wore for her wedding. Their marriage photo was taken by Dad’s older brother, Hubert, who had been a photographer in WWII and was a successful studio owner in downtown Rogers.

Jack had married earlier, and my Aunt Pat waited for his return with her tow-headed toddler, Debbie.

Joe Musteen
Joe and Anita Kooker Musteen married on November 11, 1950 in Rogers, AR.

Dad never really talked about his time in Korea, and I don’t think Jack said much either. Evidently, Uncle Jack was in charge of the largest gun for Battery C and once lost a truckload of much needed shells to Battery A in a long-night poker game. I’m not sure that Jack would be excited for anyone to know about his temporary losing streak, but Battery A was forward of Battery C and much in need of C’s backpiled ammunition.

My brother recently found Jim Rakes’ excellent book, My Benton County Hero, which is a first-hand account of their Korean experiences. From Jim’s book I learned that Dad was technically AWOL when he traveled back to Rogers to marry Mother…though it was not an uncommon practice under some commanding officers, it was more than the 250 miles standard allowance for an off-base pass.

Mother returned to Fort Carson with Dad after their wedding. Several other wives were there, and they came back to Rogers when their husbands shipped out. She kept colorful postcards of the Garden of the Gods and other attractions. Until I read Jim Rake’s account, I had never realized how much mystery and lack of information there was about where the young men were going. As Mother and the other wives traveled back with memories and small treasures to hold, they had no real idea what lay in store for their husbands.

There weren’t a lot of places for entertainment in our small town. Several of the wives were expecting babies. They might walk in twos or small groups to visit, sometimes meandering around town in their maternity smocks on warm evenings in the spring and summer of 1951. Mother mentioned walking with Dot Watkins and others. I was born on September 12.

Anita Kooker Musteen and Rebecca Gail Musteen

Mother with me, on Grandma Musteen’s sofa

While I’m sure everyone made the best of circumstances, many situations were far from ideal. Mother was 18 and expecting her first child while her new husband was sent to war. She lived with a friend, because her father had not approved of her decision and disowned her when she married. She prepared for my arrival, attended Cosmetology College to become a Beautician (her life-long career) and waited for news.


Rebecca Gail Musteen

“Becky’s baby clothes…to show her daddy in Korea.”

I recently found a photo that Mother had taken of my baby clothes, pinned on a line to dry. She noted on the back “First wash of Becky’s baby clothes to show her daddy in Korea.”

One of my favorite stories tells about the first mail bag to arrive in Rogers. C Battery had been gone for weeks, and not a single letter had been received from the men.

Finally, six weeks after they left Fort Collins, a mail bag arrived at the Rogers Post Office. It was evening shift. Here’s how I heard the story:

The postal employee recognized the bag and realized these were the prayed-for letters. He said something like, “Those girls (wives, sweethearts and mothers) will not wait until tomorrow.” He knew that many would be viewing a movie at the downtown Victory Theater. He loaded the bag, drove over to the theater and handed out the mail to those who were present. I believe Mother was there that evening.

When Dad returned from Korea, they pulled a drawer from the polished, Cherry-wood desk that had been Grandma’s high-school graduation gift. Long before the days of padded infant seats, this was my bassinette as they drove to Fort Smith to secure Dad’s honorable discharge papers.

I highly recommend Jim’s book, My Benton County Hero, to anyone whose family member served in the Korean War. If you’re from NW Arkansas and can add to or correct anything in this post, please comment.

*Non-profit Korean War Project online: you may use the database or become a supporting member of the most complete records from the Korean war at this URL: http://www.koreanwar.org/html/membership.html


Hubert Lee Musteen, Born Nov 1 1913

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert Lee Musteen in Uniform_ WWII

Hubert shared the middle name of Lee with his mother, Jennie Lee Brown Musteen. He worked as a teenager behind a drugstore soda fountain in Rogers, AR. Friends teased him by calling him “Susie-Q.” Years later, he was still fondly called “Susie” by some.

We know Hubert was a photographer in WWII, but his daughters and we first cousins have no details about his training or assignments. I wonder if he made newsreels or training films, since we found a photo of him with a movie camera. The last time I watched the famous documentary of WWII, True Glory, I wondered if he was in the midst of battle while filming. For anyone who hasn’t seen the awe-inspiring 80-minute film, it’s free on YouTube at this link.

He was almost 16 years older than the youngest brothers (twins, Dad and Uncle Jack). He died three months before my 6th birthday, and I remember pleading to go with Mother and Dad to his memorial service. I have only happy and loving memories of him.

One of my favorite pictures is a glossy 8″ x 10″ of Cary Grant taking Hubert’s photo! Must have been a USO tour…

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert filming in WWII

Uncle Hubert was the only professional photographer in our homtown of Rogers, AR, until his too early death (Jun 27, 1956). I knew him as a happy and outgoing man, who loved children. Directly below is the last photo that Hubert took personally for Jennie and me. Mother had sewn our dresses, and I recall going to the downtown studio. We were positioned just-so on a bench in the back room of his professional space. The lights were arranged to give a pleasing likeness.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Jennie & Becky_Dresses by Anita_Photo by Uncle Hubert_about 1955

One memory is a visit to our farmhouse on highway 62. It was the summer I was 4…running around in only a pair of cotton shorts because it was so hot. Hubert laughingly picked me up and tossed me into the air. When he caught me, I slid down from his shoulders, into his arms. An uncapped fountain pen was sticking up from his shirt pocket, and the tip unexpectedly skewered me in the navel. Mother, who tended to be a “worst case” worrier, was horrified that I’d get blood poisoning, but I played on with no ill effects.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Michael Wayne Musteen standing on Grandma Jennie’s table. Note Life Magazine cover composities on the dining wall.

Grandma Musteen prized several framed Life Magazine covers with her image and each grandchild photographically manipulated… long before PhotoShop! They hung on her living and dining room walls before her 2nd street house burned, the summer I was 7. Here you see my brother, Michael, standing on Grandma’s huge dining table. The table height made us easy to reach for sewing projects! Behind Michael is a framed photo of Hubert’s older daughter, Martha Jane.

Hubert Musteen

Hubert Musteen, year unknown.

I recently found the photo on the left…neither Martha or I had seen it before. We have no idea of his age, and this is the only childhood photo either of us had seen of Hubert.

He was a talented photographer and an enterprising businessman. His picture postcards of Rogers, AR, and surrounding area appear periodically on eBay and antique postcard sites.

Hubert Lee Musteen

Hubert shot a few minutes of family video in old reel-to-reel format before Grandpa Musteen died in 1946. Grandpa, Grandma and the twins were hamming it up at Christmas. The VHS conversion is not a good quality to share, so one project will be to find the original films as our cousin David Musteen’s children sort through his estate.

In earlier family research, Shelia Snow Musteen posted this photo of Hubert. On the same page, you can see his headstone. Here is a photo with parents and siblings who survived (a brother and sister died as children). Videos of Grandma Jennie show her with a great laugh, so it’s surprising that the family photo looks somber.