Some of my ancestor’s stories seem to reach out and draw me in as if inviting me to learn more. I’ve never quite figured out why some ancestor’s stories are so much more compelling than others, but some are. Such is the case with David Ganus.
Life in Fayetteville during those first few years of their marriage appears to be typical for a small farming community in Georgia, but that would soon change. A regiment made of men from several neighboring counties, including the county of Fayette, was formed in the spring of 1862. May 1, 1862 David enlisted in the confederate army, along with two brothers and 3 brothers-in-law. David became a Private with the Fayette Planters, Co C 53rd Regiment.
Co C 53rd Infantry
Among other battles, David participated in the Battle Of Sharpsburg, but by October of 1862 David was shown as “absent” due to sickness. In December, his service records show that he had febris typhoid, which is a bacteria caused by salmonella. By the 15th of December, records indicate that he had pneumonia and then on December 24, 1962, David Ganus, lying in a hospital near Fredrickburg, Virginia, died. He is listed among those buried in a mass grave at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.
As I slowly cranked the wheel of the microfilm reader, looking for David’s civil war service records, I wept when I came to the card that indicated that he had died. Really, the war had just begun, and he was so young, I had been excited to learn more about him and had not expected for his life to end quite so soon. Next my thoughts turned to his young wife. I cannot fathom the obstacles that Malinda faced at that point in history. It was 1862 and suddenly Malinda was a 20 year old widow with two children and a third baby on its way. Living just outside of Atlanta, she would soon have three children to feed, clothe and protect and she had no idea what the war would yet bring to citizens of that community.
During the Civil War, many of those living in the Fayetteville area were victim to losses and much violence. On the 27th of September 1871, along with many of her neighbors, Malinda filed a claim for damages claiming 475 lbs beef, 25 bushels of corn and house furniture had been taken by General Wm. T. Sherman’s Army on August 30, 1864 .
Malinda consistently filed for her Widow’s Pension until the end of her life. Most of her later years , she lived in Whitfield, Georgia, close to her children. She appears on the 1900 census living with their son, Burton, and his family. Living a couple of doors away is daughter, Mary Jane (Ganus) Alexander. Burton was the child born after his father’s death.
for mother’s burial
The final record that I have for Malinda is a document in David’s Civil War service file, filed by Burton. He indicated that his mother died on the 7th of December 1908 and that her burial expenses amounted to $20.00. Malinda was approximately 65 at the time and there is no evidence that she ever remarried. She always appeared on census records and other documents as Malinda Ganus.