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William Castleberry, my great grandfather, was ten years old when he arrived in Tishomingo County, MS, in 1840 with his parents (James and Elizabeth Castleberry) and his twelve brothers and sisters from DeKalb County, GA. He was born in 1830 (according to his military service record he gave his age as 35 in June 1865 when he was released from the Camp Chase, OH, Military Prison). He died on 15 Jul 1882 in Pontotoc, MS, at the age of 52. His name appears in several Tishomingo County land deeds in the 1850's and he was also in the saloon business for a time in Eastport, MS [1].

He evidently moved to Pontotoc, MS, in the early 1860's since , according to their marriage bond, it was there that he met and soon married Annie R. Coleman on 27 January 1862; however on her last Civil War pension application in 1923 (when she was 82 years old and lived with her daughter in Lafayette County, MS) she stated that they were married in Lafayette County, MS.

One year later, in February 1863, William, along with two of his brothers, Charles C. and Thomas, enlisted in Company B of the 11th Alabama Cavalry. William rose through the ranks to become a Sergeant by the time he was captured by Union forces on December 23, 1864. His military service record states that he was captured near Huntsville, Alabama, on 23 December 1864, by forces under the command of Major General Thomas, Department of the Cumberland. In Charles Rice's paperback book "Hard Times" [2, p. 129] about the Civil War in North Alabama there is a brief account of a skirmish near Huntsville on Indian Creek on 23 December 1864, where 48 Confederates were captured. Perhaps William Castleberry was one of the captured 48. Rice's book says, "the wounded men were badly cut up with saber cuts, as it was a hand-to-hand fight, and the enemy says the young Rebels fought bravely". He was first sent to a military prison in Louisville, KY, and then in March 1865 to Camp Chase, Ohio. He was paroled on 13 June 1865 after taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. According to information in William's 1865 military service record he had blue eyes, dark hair, fair complexion, and was 5 feet, 9 and 3/4 inches tall.

After the war William returned to Pontotoc and opened a dry goods store where he and his father-in-law, Daniel T. Coleman, were partners. In the 1870 census for Pontotoc, MS, William Castleberry's occupation is given as merchant and in the 1880 census it is given as dry goods merchant. In 1880 his seventy-five year-old mother-in-law (Clarinda Ann Coleman) was living with the family, according to the census.

All of the children of William and Annie Castleberry were born in Pontotoc, MS. Seven of the eight (one died very young) are listed below: Clara (b Apr. 1866) Mary L. (b Mar 1871) Ann E. (b ca 1871) William C. (b Mar 1873) Robert L. (b Sept. 1874) Florence (b Mar 1875) Charles Rufus (b 24 Oct. 1878, d 21 July 1963).

William Castleberry's will is dated 15 July 1882. In it he names his wife (Anna R. Castleberry) as the Executrix and to her he wills all of his Real Estate, Household and Kitchen Furniture and all Stock and Cattle. Finally he ask that she secure the assistance of W. R. Peguis in the management of his estate. William's brother from Tishomingo County, Rufus, was a witness. William died on the same day that his will was written (15 July 1882), according to the Proof of Will court records dated 5 Sept 1882. The estimated value of his store merchandise was about $10,000 and his debts were estimated to be between $4,000 and $5,000. His widow petitioned the court to allow her to set apart a sufficient sum of money from the estate to support herself and her children for one year. William Castleberry is buried in the city cemetery in Pontotoc, MS. His tombstone inscription erroneously says that he died in 1885. It also has the inscription: "THE HONEST MERCHANT OF PONTOTOC".


 1. Gunboats and Cavalry - A History of Eastport, Mississippi, Ben Earl Kitchens, 1985

 2. Hard Times, The Civil War in Huntsville and North Alabama (1861 - 1865), Charles Rice, 1994

 3. The Life and Times of Mr. Memory E. Leake by Julius Garnett Berry

4.  Story of Pontotoc, Part 1, The Chickasaws, E.T. Winston, 1931

5. Soundex to Mississippi Marriages, Huntsville, AL, Public Library

Submitted by: James K. Harrison
995 Gilstead Circle
Huntsville, Alabama 35802
(256) 882-8655
E-Mail: jkharrison2@comcast.net
December 23, 1999

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