Hometown Tuesday #41 ~ Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri

Moberly lies in a glacial plains area in a county organized in 1829, and named for John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia in Missouri’s Little Dixie Region. It was first settled by William Holman in 1818. William Fort boiled salt at a spring near Huntsville in the 1820s. The Bee Trace, a pioneer trail, ran along the Grand Divide (the high point in The Grand Prairie) between the Missouri and Mississippi through the county. The Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes gave up claims to the region, 1824.

Moberly, the “Magic City”, grew from the town platted by the North Missouri Railroad (Wabash) in 1866, it was built to connect to a transportation center with a 6,070 population by 1880. The North Missouri acquired the site when it took over the Chariton and Randolph Railroad after the Civil War. In 1860, the C.& R. had planned to build a road westward to Brunswick from this point on the North Missouri then turning north reaching toward Iowa.

The Chariton and Randolph Railroad named its proposed junction for William Moberly, head of the railroad, and offered free land to residents of once nearby town if Allen to settle here. Patrick Lynch, was the only one to accept this offer, and he was given two lots by the North Missouri after the Civil War for holding the site without “the loss of a life or a house.” On September 27, 1866, the first lots were sold for what would become Moberly. Moberly at this time was a very rough railroad town, considered course with too many taverns and brothels. Moberly in only five years had as many murders as the entire county had in its previous 20 years of history. In light of its mud streets and rough and tumble ways, the St. Louis papers regularly ridiculed the town in light of the more attractive, cultured, and older Huntsville. Despite this, Moberly continued to grow.

Moberly had been a division point since 1867 when the North Missouri (Wabash) reached Brunswick. In 1872 many businesses like the huge railroad repair shops, one of the earliest railroad plants west of the Mississippi, were opened. In 1873 the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad formed a junction here. Transportation facilities brought industrial growth and the development of the soil, fire clay, and coal resources of the area.

My paternal Great Uncle, Greenbury White was born in Moberly in 1844, the youngest of 4 children of Augustine White (1798-1876) and Margaret McClain (1798-1880). He fought for the Union Army, joining when he was 21 years old. He married Mary Jamison on December 31, 1866, they had 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. He owned his own farm and lived in Moberly his entire life. He died on March 15, 1930, at the age of 86.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday’s Salute #39 ~ William Riley Divine ~ Union Soldier

William Riley Divine is my maternal 1st cousin 4 times removed. He was born in 1819 in Spartanburg, Greenville County, South Carolina. He was the 3rd child of 7 born to James Marshall Divine Sr (1793-1872) and Nancy Calloway (1796-1872). His family moved to Monroe County, Tennessee when he was 5 years old.

Here he married Amelia “Milly” Webb (1825-1897) on September 27, 1842, and they had 18 children, 5 sons, 10 daughters, and 4 who died at birth and their gender is not known. In 1860, William moved his ever growing family to Morgan, Dade County, Missouri. Here they purchased a farm. On April 14, 1862, he mustered into the E 14th Missouri State Militia as a Private in Springfield, Missouri.

At the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas December 6, 1862, Captain Julian Greene’s county company of the 14th cavalry, Missouri State Militia, fired the first gun on the Federal side discharged by Gen. Herron’s division. The entire portion of the regiment engaged, numbering about 100 men, and they performed a valuable service for the Union cause by uniting with 25 men of the 1st Arkansas (Union) cavalry and 175 men of Judson’s 6th Kansas. They were able to hold a road, thus preventing the Confederate General Hindman from throwing his entire force upon General Herron and crushing him before General Blunt could come up and cooperate. The Confederates were delayed two hours by this small force.

On the 14th of December 40 men of the 14th M. S. M., under Lieutenant John R. Kelso, 60 enrolled militia under Captains Green and Salee, raided the Confederate saltpeter works on White river, near Yellville, Arkansas. They took Captains Jesse Mooney and P. S. McNamara prisoner as well as 36 other men. They then destroyed 35 stands of arms, a complete three months supply of provisions for 50 men and burnt four buildings, along with machinery, kettles, manufactured saltpeter, etc.This destruction cost the Confederacy the amount of $30,000 and brought their 38 prisoners to Springfield without the loss of a man.

William was transferred to the 8th Regiment Calvary on February 4, 1863, but he mustered out in April of that year. He returned home and continued to farm. He was also made a Justice of the Peace in Dade County. On October 10, 1874, William received a Homestead Deed for 160 acres of land in the township of Bona. He became sick about 6 months later and died on October 4, 1875, at the age of 56.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute ~ David Hunter Strother ~ Brigadier General

David Hunter Strother, my 3rd cousin 5 times removed, was born September 26, 1816, in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia. He was the oldest of 8 children born to Colonel John Strother (1782-1862) and Elizabeth Hunter Pendleton (1786-1861). He was the only son that lived to adulthood. After receiving his schooling at the Martinsburg academy, as well as his father’s tutelage, David traveled to Philadelphia to study drawing in 1829. He also spent a year (1832) at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1835 David and his friend John Ranson took a 500-mile round trip hike in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, down to Natural Bridge and Rockbridge County, Virginia, and back up through the Shenandoah Valley, which changed his outlook on life. In 1837–38, David traveled to New York City to study painting under Samuel F. B. Morse, who later became more famous for inventing the telegraph. David first married Anne Wolfe (1830-1850) in 1849, and they had one daughter, Emily (1850), but mother and daughter died. David then married Mary Elliott on May 6. 1861, and they had 2 sons, with one dying at 5 years old.
At the beginning of the Civil War in June 1861 David volunteered as a topographer due to his detailed knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley. By March 1862 as West Virginia continued its drive toward statehood, he received a commission as captain in the Union Army and was assigned to assist General Nathaniel Banks in the Valley Campaign. In June 1862, he accepted a commission as Lt. Col. of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, and was the topographer on General Pope’s staff during the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Manassas. During the Antietam Campaign, he served on General McClellan’s staff until that officer was relieved in November 1862. He then returned to the staff of General Banks, again seeing action at the Battle of Port Richie in Louisiana. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was back to Washington, unassigned, but promoted to Colonel of his regiment (which he never commanded in the field).
During the war David documented his wartime experiences in a detailed journal, some of which Harper’s Monthly published after the war as “Personal Recollections of the War.” His articles won praise for their objective viewpoint and humor. On June 12, 1864, Colonel Strother was chief of staff to his distant cousin General David Hunter. He was involved in 30 battles, though never wounded. He resigned his commission on September 10, 1864, when General Hunter was replaced by General Philip Sheridan. In August 1865, David was appointed a brevet brigadier general of volunteers and remained Adjutant General of Virginia militia into 1866.
Due to his dedication to his home state, especially its rural character, he moved to Charleston for a short period in the early 1870s. There, he edited a newspaper and dedicated himself to furthering West Virginia’s growth and well-being. He convinced state leaders to prioritize infrastructure initiatives. David became one of the first writers to understand West Virginia’s unique place in both wanting to preserve its natural beauty while also encouraging growth, both economic and industrial.
In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed David as the General Consul to Mexico. In that capacity he hosted former General and President Ulysses S. Grant and dealt with the problems of various Americans in that country. He also dealt with the country’s relations with the government of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. He served until 1885, after which he returned to West Virginia. David died in Charles town, West Virginia three years later on March 8, 1888, at the age of 71.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday Salute ~ John Washington Divine ~ Civil War Surgeon

John Washington Divine - doctor - Civil War in uniformOn April 17, 1836, in the County of Monroe Tennessee, John Washington Divine was born to Thomas and Elizabeth (Avens) Divine.  He was the last of their 8 children. The county is located in the southeast part of Tennessee and it had a lot of sprawling farms, an abundance of wildlife and streams to fish in.  The first gold mine in Tennessee was found in this county and that began to draw many newcomers looking for a better life. It was also one of the few East Tennessee counties to support secession at the outbreak of the Civil War.


John made the decision to become an Allopath  (Medical Doctor) and he attended Columbia Medical School in South Carolina. During this time period, it only took 2 years to earn a degree. Knowledge of major surgery was very limited when a doctor graduated. Any doctor with surgical experience was immediately used to perform amputations or complicated surgeries during the Civil War which began in April of 1861. John was recruited within the first few months of the war.


He first mustered in when he was 24 years old. He enlisted as a private in the Union’s JW Divine blogmedical division. On October 1, 1863, John joined the newly formed 11th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry signing a 3-year commitment. He assisted the more experienced doctors and learned more complicated surgical procedures. He quickly moved up the ranks becoming a Lieutenant by March of 1864. On March 24th of that year, the 11th Regiment merged with the 9th Calvary Volunteers. He was sent to the Cumberland Gap Tennessee Post Hospital where they housed the more critically injured soldiers. In April 1865 he requested a 20 day leave to return home. During that time he married his longtime girlfriend Mary Adalaide Newlee. Although the war ended on May 9, 1865, John continued his service at the hospital, taking care of the soldiers. He officially mustered out on September 11, 1865, returning home to Monroe County and his new wife.


John and Mary welcomed their first child, William in 1866. Paul was born in 1871 and Nellie in 1879. It has not been proven as to how many children they had. We know of these 3 who survived but the years between the births leads one to believe there may have been stillbirths or miscarriages in between. In 1876 there is a record of twins being born but dying within a few days after the birth.


JW Divine HSJohn opened his own Doctors’ office immediately after the war and he practiced medicine in Monroe County, He and his little family moved to Tazwell, Claibourne County, Tennessee in 1871. Once again he practiced medicine there until his death on September 3, 1903. According to a journal that he had kept, he had been haunted daily by the horrors he had seen and the deaths of the men in his care during the war. He would write that he welcomed death as it would be the end of these memories.



cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.