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.

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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.

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Thomas Mustain Children

Thomas Mustain and Mary Haley Mustain had 11 children, born from about 1750 to 1774.

I’ve found that many family researchers have entered data on Thomas’ descendents into programs like myheritage.com, geni.com, or onegreatfamily.com…if you want to join any of those services. So far, I have not found an easy way to share details entered in those formats. However, rootsweb in ancestry.com and familytreemaker at geneology.com allow descending, clickable links. In this post, I’ll share a list of Thomas’ and Mary’s children from each, because the two lists are different (note that the familytreemaker list is from Carolyn Mckenzie’s excellent research).

Some differences in the two lists of Thomas Mustain children:

Children are listed in different order, and the details given are not complete in either. I checked dates for any difference. The rootsweb list does not include Tabetha, and the familytreemaker list has spelled her name as Tabitha. We see Rebeckah and Rebecca. If we look at Thomas’ will, we confirm Tabetha and Rebecca. Avery’s birth date is listed first as Feb 16 1756, then as Feb 26, 1756.

To preserve your ability to click through to other details where available, I have not changed any format or content of either list. The rootsweb link also contains some research details for Thomas, two segments of which are included on this page. Links in the first list have a few spouses and more details for Avery, but clicking on links in the 2nd list of children will give you much more information and let you move into other generations. I have not compared dates or other details as one clicks though for more information.

Thomas Mustain House

Original fieldstone is still visible in the dining room.

As I looked closely at both lists of children and birthdates, I had to wonder where the family lived as each child was born.  Since Thomas’ first land grant was in 1753, it seems unlikely that any child before Milly (about 1755), Winifred (Winney – about 1756), or Avery (1756) could have been born in the historic home that is still standing. Some estimate the home to be built as late as 1769, but that date could refer to additions made by Jesse.

The first record of Thomas Mustain is in 1748, he is on the list of Tiltable. I could not find any information about him before this date.

Thomas received his first land grant Feb. 5, 1753 from King George II of England, signed by Robert Dinwiddle. It consisted of 400 acres in Luneburg co., on Poplar Branch of Mill Creek…

Thomas Mustain’s home is still standing in Pittsylvania Co., VA, even though it was built nearly 200 years ago. Thomas’s home was built ca 1769. Thomas, his sons Jesse and Avery, and his son-in-law-s father Littleberry Patterson built their homes within 15 miles of each other.

Marriage 1 Mary Haley b: WFT Est 1726

  • Married: WFT Est 1750 in Pittsylvania county, Virginia

Children

  1. Anna Mustain b: WFT Est 1750 in Pittsylvania Co., VA
  2. Jesse Mustain b: WFT Est 1750 in Gretna, Pittsylvania Co., VA
  3. Rebeckah Mustain b: ABT 1752
  4. Molley Mustain b: WFT Est 1752
  5. Milly Mustain b: ABT 1755
  6. Winifred Mustain b: ABT 1756
  7. Avery MUSTAIN b: 16 FEB 1756 in Camden Parish, Pittsylvania Co., Va.
  8. Salley Mustain b: ABT 1767
  9. Saludy Mustain b: 1772 in Pittsylvania Co., VA
  10. Mary Ann Mustain b: ABT 1774

Descendants of Thomas Mustain

Generation No. 1

1. THOMAS1 MUSTAIN was born 1725 in Halifax, Lunenberg Co., Virginia, and died 1791 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. He married MARY HALEY 1748-1750 in VA.
     
Children of THOMAS MUSTAIN and MARY HALEY are: 

 

i.

  MOLLEY2 MUSTAIN, m. JOHN PATTERSON, June 30, 1794, Pittsylvania Co., VA.
 

ii.

  MARY ANN MUSTAIN.
2.

iii.

  TABITHA MUSTAIN.
3.

iv.

  WINIFRED MUSTAIN.
 

v.

  REBECCA MUSTAIN.
4.

vi.

  ANNA MUSTAIN, b. Abt. 1750, Pittsylvania Co., VA; d. 186-1820, KY.
5.

vii.

  JESSE MUSTAIN, b. 1750, Gretna, Pittsylvania Co., VA; d. June 1794, Gretna, Pittsylvania Co., VA.
6.

viii.

  AVERY MUSTAIN, b. February 26, 1756, Camden Parish, Pittsylvania Co., VA; d. August 31, 1833, Camden Parish, Pittsylvania Co., VA.
 

ix.

  SALLEY MUSTAIN, b. Abt. 1767; m. PRICE SKINNER, June 30, 1794, Pittsylvania Co., VA.
7.

x.

  MILDRED MUSTAIN, b. 1770-1780, VA; d. August 1838, VA.
8.

xi.

  SALUDY MUSTAIN, b. 1772, Pittsylvania Co., VA; d. 1812, Chimney Rock, Gallia Co., OH.

If you can add information from your family stories or research, please leave a comment and share details and/or online links with our extended family.

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Thomas Mustain’s Daughter: Anna Mustain 1750

Family, please see 2 recent posts from Ben Buckner below this article. Contents of the article have not yet been fully compared and updated to agree with several details contributed by Ben.

I’ve found some information about Anna Mustain and her descendents. If anyone has more details, please click on the comment icon in this post and share with us.

Anna Mustain was born about 1750 in Pittsylvania Co. VA, and this source estimates her death in about 1800 in KY. Carolyn Mckenzie’s (tree-format) research agrees with 1750, but lists no year of death.

Anna was listed In Thomas Mustain’s 1791 will, so we know she was living at that time.

To son Avery Mustain and daughters Anna Buckner, Milly Keesee, Tabetha Bruce, Winney Lewis, and Saludy Shelton one equal part of the money from the sale of the land;

There’s some confusion in online records about Anna’s marriage. The rootsweb/ancestry.com link that I used above to show her birth year lists her marriage to William Buckner II, not William Buckner.

Both Delores Mustaine’s research (page 6) and Carolyn Mckenzie’s “tree format” research* agree that she married William Buckner on Sep 9, 1782 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. Delores and Carolyn also list a marriage (same date) to Jeremiah Bucknor. Delores has crossed this out and added a hand-written note, based on information from Kent Buckner, provided Feb13,1996.

From Kent’s input we know that Anna and William Buckner’s son, James. married Lavina West on Nov 4, 1805 in Green Go. KY. If you click on link # 19 below, Carolyn gives the marriage date as Nov 5, 1804.

From a reader of this blog, we know that Anna’s daughter, Mary Buckner, married Henry Spencer Sullivan.  They first lived in Knoxville, TN area and had a son Henry II, who was married twice. Henry II later moved to Southern IN, Bloomington area. His first wife had two children, Nancy and Dennis Sullivan.

If we look at Carolyn McKenzie’s list-format research, we see two marriages, but the years are 1768 to William Buckner and 1782 to Jeremiah Bucknor. I have to doubt the marriage to Jeremiah Bucknor, because Anna’s last two children are named Buckner and born in 1782 and 1785. It would seem that Anna was married only once, in 1768.

ANNA2 MUSTAIN (THOMAS1) was born Abt. 1750 in Pittsylvania Co., VA, and died 186-1820 in KY. She married (1) WILLIAM BUCKNER Abt. 1768 in Pittsylvania Co., VA. She married (2) JEREMIAH BUCKNOR September 09, 1782 in Pittsylvania Co., VA.
     
Children of ANNA MUSTAIN and WILLIAM BUCKNER are (click the number links to the left of a child to see more on his/her descendents. Where there are no links, this research did not find more details):

15.

i.

PRESLEY3 BUCKNER, b. June 06, 1769, Washington Co., NC; d. January 07, 1838, Martinsville, Morgan Co., IN.

ii.

MATILDA BUCKNER, b. 1770, VA; m. LITTLEBERRY COX, 1790-1795, VA.

iii.

MARY BUCKNER, b. 1773, VA; m. HENRY SPENCER SULLIVAN, Abt. 1783.
16.

iv.

HALEY BUCKNER, b. 1773, Washington Co., VA; d. April 15, 1819, Simpsonville, Jefferson Co., KY.

v.

WILLIAM BUCKNER, JR, b. 1774, VA.

vi.

GEORGE BUCKNER, b. 1775.

vii.

DANIEL BUCKNER, b. 1776.

viii.

JOHN BUCKNER, b. 1778.
17.

ix.

SUSANNA BUCKNER, b. 1780, VA.
18.

x.

KEZIAH BUCKNER, b. 1782.
19.

xi.

JAMES M. BUCKNER, b. 1785, VA; d. Bef. 1850, IN.


More about Anna’s Husband, William Buckner

Carolyn McKenzie shows William Buckner’s birth as: 1745, VA, and his death as Apr 1822, Green, KY.  There is a Revolutionary War record for William Buckner, Pittsylvania Co., VA, BUT it was filed on Oct 20, 1829…seven years after Carolyn shows William’s death.

The William Buckner, who was a resident in Pittsylvania Co. VA at the time this pension application for Revolutionary War Service was filed, was born in 1760 (he was age 69 on Jul 4,1829, according to the application). We see above that Anna and William’s son, William Jr., was born in 1774.  Could the war veteran be a cousin from the local area?

* When you use the “tree” view of Carolyn Mckenzie’s research, click inside the tree box after it loads the information (you’ll see a bar inside the top of the box as all the information is added), then type F to see an alphabetical list of names. Other directions are on the page, but the need to click inside the box before typing F to get the full, alphabet-order list is not clear.

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Nathaniel Baxter Musteen: Benton County Arkansas Roads

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen

Nathaniel Baxter Musteen with one of the draft horses used to pull grading equipment for Benton County roads.

Nathaniel, born Aug 7 1876, held a contract with Benton County, AR, to grade roads, and heavy equipment was drawn by teams of large draft animals. Dad once said Grandpa’s barn had room for 65 horses. If any cousins have different details about the number of horses, know more about the equipment, own photos, etc., please email me (rebecca-johnson@sbcglobal.net), or post details in the comments section below.

I know very little about the types of equipment, other than graders for the many dirt roads. And I’ve never seen a photo of a wide, multi-pronged grader…Dad talked about the horses, barn and equipment a few times as I grew up.

Grandpa was still using horses for several years after the last children, Dad and Jack, were born in September of 1929. Nathaniel stood well over six feet, so you can see in the photo above that his horses were sturdy work animals.

Rogers  Brick Streets

Rogers brick streets, photo from Wikipedia, with permission of Douglas Wertman

For years I believed he had paved the brick streets in downtown Rogers, but I later learned that Grandpa’s crews graded the roadbed very finely, and an outside contractor from another town brought his teams to place the bricks.

Debbie Musteen Phillips and Rebecca Musteen Johnson

Debbie and Becky on Grandma’s block

When Grandpa died from a heart attack at age 70 in 1946, he left the frontage of an entire commercial block on 2nd street to my grandmother. Their white stucco home was on the south end, next was a barber shop. Other businesses included a tire shop, a laundry and a grocery at the north end, managed by Jack and Rosemary Garner who attended the Church of Christ with Grandma.

My  cousin, Debbie Musteen Phillips, scanned the only photo I have of Grandma’s block view. The house and the small, white frame barber shop are south of where she’s standing behind me. Debbie reminded me recently that Grandma was always telling us to stand facing into the sunlight as she snapped photos…resulting sometimes in glaring squints instead of relaxed smiles!

If anyone has more photos of this block, please let me know. The buildings have recently been demolished to build a large, national chain gas station.

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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

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Hooked on My Family History: Rebecca Musteen Johnson

I can tell you exactly when I became entranced with my family history.

One month before my 12th birthday, I was resting fretfully at St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, OK after surgery to remove my right kidney (due to a birth defect, which had been undetected earlier). The actual procedure was far more fearful to Mother than me…I was greatly relieved to be done with weeks of irritating and painful tests.

My main problem was entertainment. I’d read ALL the classic Nancy Drew mysteries on the top shelf of our Candy Striper’s gray rolling trolley, and Mother had gone back to Northwest Arkansas to tend my three younger siblings.

Grandma Musteen Came and Shared My Family History

Dad’s 76-year-old Mama* arrived to sit with me and told me stories we had never enjoyed the solitude to share. While I dined on broth, weak tea and any flavor of Jell-O that my heart desired, she shared tales that were far more flavorful.

Jennie Brown Musteen

Jennie Brown Musteen with the 6th of her 12 grandchildren…me.

Her grandfather was a solid Ozark farmer with eight children. For his main livelihood, he tanned hides in an earthen pit, filled with tanning chemicals. Northwest Arkansas was just slightly south of the Mason-Dixon Line, so his pit was covered with branches and leaves to conceal it from armed bands of post-Civil War raiders from both sides.  

Food was precious. One story told of his youngest, Mary, crying for the warm bread her mother had just taken from the oven…after “Bushwhackers” rode into the yard and rudely stole it away.

Butterfield Overland Trail

Butterfield Overland Trail

To supplement his family income before the Civil War, John drove a Butterfield Stage from a point in MO to Fort Smith, AR on a regular route. Great-Great-Grandpa’s route went right through that upper corner of AR, which you can see in the official trail map. Grandma specifically mentioned that he stopped at the Elkhorn Tavern. I’ve searched the Butterfield records and found that it was an unofficial, but popular stop.  

Prior to the Civil War, the house was used for many purposes, although it was well-known locally as a stop for the Overland Stage. Although the Butterfield Stage passed by on the Telegraph Road, the Elkhorn Tavern was not an official stop on the Butterfield line. During this period, the Tavern was described as a place “of abundant good cheer”.

Wait! While Grandma was describing the tavern, I knew something about it. In my 5th-grade class, the silver-haired granddaughter of the tavern’s Civil War-era managers came to share her mother’s unforgettable, youthful memories from The Battle of Pea Ridge. The tavern was occupied as the field hospital by Army surgeons, who worked tirelessly to remove shattered limbs and save as many lives as possible.

Now, my region’s history, my country’s history, was also my family history! (Dad’s mamma was born in 1887 and would have been close in age to the kind woman who shared her mother’s Civil War memories with our class.)

It was Cox, who later renamed it Elkhorn Tavern. Under Cox’ management, the structure served as a trading post, an unofficial Butterfield Overland Mail stop, post office, voting place, eating establishment, church of the Benton County Baptist Society and inn. As the war moved near, Jesse Cox left the tavern to the care of his son and daughter-in-law Joseph and Lucinda Pratt Cox and went to Kansas.


The last time I visited Pea Ridge National Military Park, a stretch of bare-earth ruts from Telegraph Road were still visible near the tavern. I stood and thought of my great-great-grandfather driving his coach and team over those ruts.

By a quirk of fate, my only granddaughter now attends Butterfield Trail Elementary School in Fayetteville, AR. Even stranger, the first successful Butterfield stage run was finished on her birth date of September 19—148 years and six family generations before she was born.

The first Butterfield stage entered Forth Smith on Sunday, September 19, 1858, at 2:00 a.m. Its route took it over Fort Smith’s old Washington Street, which today is 2nd Street. Even at that hour, its arrival was greeted with music, cheering, and cannon fire, which continued until the coach left for California.

While it thrills me to know something of my family history, I wish I knew so much more! The last Musteen in my dad’s direct siblings is gone now. My cousins and I never sat down with her and captured her rich trove of memories. We intended to do it “next visit,” “when we get the chance.”

Time didn’t wait for us. If you’re interested in your family history, please grab any opportunity NOW to capture family stories…those treasured memories can live forever.

I’m very fortunate to have history for several generations on three of my grandparents. The main focus of this blog is my dad’s Mustain lineage. I begin with this history because our ancestor, Thomas Mustain, built a home that has stood for more than 250 years. I love that tangible reminder of my heritage. I have no idea why Thomas received a royal land grant, so that’s a subject for future research.

Any blood descendent of Thomas is eligible to join Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Click here for details about Thomas donating a firearm, and you can also find more information on all requirements at www.dar.org.

Avery and Jesse were both enlisted in the Revolutionary War, so their service records can be used, too.

According to Delores M. Mustaine’s book, The descendents of Thomas Mustain of Pittsylvania County, Virginia; Thomas’ daughter Molley’s father-in-law, Littleberry Patterson, was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War. So far, I’ve found this reference. The online photo archive of Delores’ book has page numbers in the upper right corner…details about Molley and the Patterson family begin in the middle of page 5.

Dad’s grandfather, Nathaniel Baxter Mustain, fought in the Civil War, waited for wages that didn’t come and endured a Union prison camp…more about that in a later post.

Please comment and share this blog with your family members. The details of our family histories are too precious to lose!

*Jennie Lee Brown married Nathaniel Baxter Musteen when she was 23. Only the oldest of Nate’s four surviving children, Walter, raised his own family. More about this in a later post. Four of Jennie and Nate’s seven children gave Jennie 12 grandchildren. Nate died in 1946, so we grandchildren have photos and a few minutes of video made by my Uncle Hubert in the handful of years before Grandpa’s death.  

Hubert: Martha Jane and Sarah Lee Musteen
Mary: Lisle Gene, Bennie Joe and Gail Lou Stevenson
Jack: Debbie, David and Margie Musteen
Joe: Rebecca Gail, Jennie Lynn, Michael Wayne and Barry Twan Musteen

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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.

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Jennie Brown Musteen: Gardening Memories

Grandma Jennie Brown Musteen always had a well-worn, slim paper copy of the Farmer’s Almanac at hand for in-person or telephone updates about phases of the moon or the best time to plant above-ground or root crops.

When I was very young, her garden was a large plot that had once been occupied by Grandpa Musteen’s horse barn. She thought it was helpful to the soil to burn off old growth, and I watched at least once. When my own dad, following her example, lit a fire to clear our own moderately large garden space on 4th street, concerned next-door neighbors called the Fire Department to stand on alert until Dad’s project was finished!

Seed Store, Rogers, ARI recall the excitement of going each year to buy seeds. Grandma would know exactly how much she wanted of corn, green beans, peas, squash, watermelon, and other staples. Her selections would be measured or weighed and bound in tiny brown bags, tied with twine. I’m searching for the name of the seed store, if anyone can give that information. I had copied the image above from Rogers, AR Museum online photo archive, and I might simply have failed to tag it correctly.  

Grandma Jennie’s Garden

I have never in my life tasted a more delicious cantaloupe than the warm, fragrant and perfectly-ripe melon that I remember being carried directly into her kitchen and cut into eighths. Grandma liked to sprinkle her cantaloupe with ground black pepper. That was OK with me as a taste test, but I really preferred mine with nothing added. To this day, I much prefer the wonderful taste of a sun-warmed, ripe tomato to any room temperature or chilled supermarket version. Standing in the garden, brushing it off and biting into it…there’s just no comparison.

She’d split tiny yellow squash in half length-wise, score and dot with butter and pepper before baking. I’ve never eaten squash prepared in any way I like better.

For family gatherings, when we cousins were young, watermelon would be cut in half length-wise, then into several slivers of about 2 inches at the rind. We’d all be given a slice and run around her yard, spitting seeds into the grass. You can imagine how sticky we were and in need of a wash cloth or water hose by the time we were finished!

Grandma’s green beans with bacon were a constant at meals. She cooked them until all water was gone and the beans were just short of being scorched on the bottom of the pan. We didn’t know anything about nutrition, so everyone just enjoyed the taste and no one worried.

I learned with her to make crisp bread-and-butter pickles and pickled beets. She’d probably canned everything at least once, including salmon on a trip to the Pacific Northwest to visit one of Grandpa’s older sons, Howard.

It’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve had a space to plant anything, but my sister gardens and cans every summer.

Question for my siblings and Musteen cousins: what memories do you have of Grandma in her garden or canning? Please leave a comment and share with your children.

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Jack and Joe Musteen: Twins and Tough to Tell Apart

Jack and Joe Musteen were identical twins, dressed alike and enjoyed great advantage in being so hard to tell apart. Imagine two feisty, identical twins in constant motion, and you can understand why people had such trouble telling one from the other. Their children can usually study a photo like the one below and tell you which twin is on the right (Jack) or left (Joe).

Jack and Joe Musteen

Jack and Joe Musteen

In our small hometown of Rogers, AR, many simply greeted them by saying, “Hi, Twin.” My husband once waited for me outside a grocery store and said, “I saw your dad.” I had to smile. I’d seen him in the store, and it was actually Uncle Jack.

The twins were notorious for minor scrapes and could fool pretty much anyone. The brother who liked English in junior high attended twice a day, while the brother who liked math sat in both classes.

There’s a family tale about one twin being spanked twice when Grandpa grabbed one, while the other ran around the side of their barn. Grandpa thought the next boy was sobbing in anticipation and didn’t realize it was the twin he’d already punished. Both boys claimed to be the one who was thrashed twice, so we never got the true story.

Mrs. Rogers, our Guidance Counselor in junior high, was a teacher or counselor when Dad and Jack were in school. She told me once about an infamous disagreement. The twins were born in 1929, and Grandpa was still using horse-drawn equipment to grade county roads during the depression years. To make the boy’s shoes last longer, he tacked narrow strips of iron—left over from making horse shoes— around the toes of each boy’s sturdy leather shoes.

Jack (later a successful salesman) secured an usher job at the downtown Victory Theater, and Dad agreed to do both his and Jack’s home chores for half of Jack’s weekly wages. Everyone was happy until Jack received a 5-cent raise and neglected to advise Joe. Mrs. Rogers was present when Dad learned the terrible truth. She said he had Jack on the ground and was kicking him “for all he was worth” with those steel-toed shoes!

When both twins returned from the Korean War, they were at Grandma Musteen’s house for a few days to rest and visit with family. Grandma’s one bathroom was divided, with the sink and mirror facing the door, and the toilet and tub behind that wall. Mother was so embarrassed when she discovered that she had walked up behind Jack at the sink to hug him around the waist…Dad was behind the partition!

They sounded alike on the phone, too.

For a few years we lived on Hiway 94 at the edge of Rogers, AR city limits, and our huge front yard and gravel driveway would flood almost up to the house during heavy rains. It was great fun for the kids to scamper around in exciting water streams, less for Mother. Dad would often travel with teams of Bell Telephone colleagues for repair during storms or ice damage. Jack called once for Dad, and it was quite awhile before he could say over her irritated description of our home situation, “Anita, this is Jack.”

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