Henry Johnson – Member Co. D, 5th United State Colored Volunteer Calvary

Henry Johnson served with Thomas Ray Allen during the Civil War. He testified in July 1907 about Thomas’ name change.

Johnson was born about 1839 in Adair County, Kentucky. His slave owner was James L. Johnson.  Henry Johnson enlisted for three years on August 15, 1964 in Lebanon, Kentucky. He was six feet tall. I believe this is the tallest man I’ve come across in the USCT records so far. His eyes, hair and complexion were described as black. He was 25 years old and his occupation was farmer. He was sent to Camp Nelson near Louisville, Kentucky where the rest of his troop was stationed.

Here are some activities listed in his records:

In January 1865 he was absent and sick in the hospital in Camp Nelson, KY.

August 1865 (Bugler) On duty headquarters.  (Note: Thomas Ray Allen was also listed as a bugler)

Dec, 1865, On duty with Regimental Band

October 1865 to Jan 1866 (Private) On duty, Regimental Band.

On February 23, 1866 Henry Johnson was appointed Sergent from Private.

February 1866 (Sergt) On duty in Regimental Band.

He was mustered out in Helena, Arkansas March 16, 1866.

He signed with his mark X when he joined the USCT. He was able to sign his name when he gave testimony for Thomas in 1907.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

There were so many Henry Johnson’s that I was unable to follow him through census and other civilian records. He seems to have been an interesting man and I am sorry I was not able to get to know. more about his life.

Georgie McDougal Ray – Divorce Testimony

Part of this testimony is written in Thomas Ray Allen’s own handwriting.

Thomas Ray Allen’s first wife Georgie Ann Martin/McDougal was about 1853 in Larue County Kentucky.  Her mother was Fannie McDougal and her father was Ephriam Martin. In the records her surname is given as “Martin” although Thomas uses “McDougal”.  She had a large number of siblings. One brother, Thomas McDougal, served in the United States Colored Troops, although in a different unit than Thomas Ray Allen.

In 1870 Georgie Ann was enumerated twice, once with her family in Larue County and then with her future husband Thomas in Marion County.  Thomas Ray Allen and Georgie Ann were living with his sister Sarah Ray Primus and her family.  Georgie’s occupation was given as “servant”.

Thomas Ray Allen and Georgie were married on March 9, 1871 in Larue county. They moved to Indianapolis about 1877 and were divorced there in 1878.  I lost track of Georgie after that, finding her only once in the 1880 census. She was living in Indianapolis, divorced and doing washing. I found someone with the same name giving mandolin lessons and so wanted it to be her, but when I followed up that person in the census it was someone else.

I found this information in the Pension file and in census records.


Foster Ray – Slaveholder

Click to enlarge. Thomas Ray Allen gave this testimony two months before his death.

I had never heard the name of Foster Ray before reading it in my 2X great uncle Thomas Ray Allen’s military papers.  Foster Ray was born in Washington County Kentucky in 1796, the second son of Nicholas Ray Sr. and his wife Susan Sheckles. They were a large family with seven or eight children.  In the 1820 census he was 24 years old and was the only person in his household. He had no slaves and was engaged in manufactures.

Foster married Marietta Phillips in 1829. In the 1830 census he was enumerated in Lebanon, KY. There were 9 people in his household. That included 4 enslaved. In 1837 he received a land grant for 50 acres in the recently organized Marion County. The new county included Lebanon and other parts formerly of Washington County.  In 1840 Foster’s brother Nicholas died and his son Hugh Ray came to live with Foster, who seems to have had no children.  In the 1840 census the household included three free white people – Foster, Marietta and Hugh, who was about five years old. There were also five enslaved which included one male under 10; one male and one female between 10 and 23 and two females between 24 and 35.

In 1850 when Thomas would have been about 2 years old, Foster Ray was enumerated in Hannibal Missouri. He was lodging at the Brady House with his wife and nephew. His occupation was listed as “Pork Packer” with real estate valued at $12,000. Hugh was attending school. There were 38 people staying at the Brady.  This included nine families.  This is the first census where slaves were enumerated separately. One fourteen year old girl was counted for Foster Ray.  He had land in Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois. Thomas would have been about two and living back in Kentucky on Foster’s land there. I could find no list of his enslaved there.

In the 1860 census, Foster was enumerated in Lebanon, Kentucky again. He was 62, his wife Marietta was 47, Hugh was 24. They were all literate. Ninety year old Nancy Ray, black,  was enumerated with the family.  Had she been freed? Was it a mistake? I don’t know.  She was illiterate.

Foster’s occupation was “farmer” with real estate worth $120,000 and a personal worth of $100,000. In 2015 dollars, this was wroth over Six million dollars. He owned 28 slaves between the ages of six months and sixty years. My uncle Thomas Ray Allen, now about 12 was among them. No names are given for the enslaved, so I can only guess. Hugh was a clerk with real estate worth $700 and personal worth of $24,000.  He owned one 64 year old male.

Foster Ray’s and Hugh’s list of enslaved. Because there are no names, I can only guess that the 12 year old mulatto male I highlighted is Thomas Ray Allen.

Foster Ray died on January 15, 1863. He wrote a will and left everything, his lands and slaves and all to his wife Marietta Phillips Ray and his nephew Hugh B. Ray.  Unfortunately for me, because he left his estate in order, there was no list of those enslaved on his plantation.

Thomas Ray Allen joined the United States Colored Calvary two years later. He considered that Foster Ray was the only slave owner he had.



Major Edmundson Gave Testimony

Major Edmondson testified that Thomas Allen was who he said he was as he continued to try and have his military pension raised.  I do not know how they met. Perhaps they worked together. Major Edmondson’s first name was “Major”, not a rank in the armed service. He never served. The earliest that I found Major Edmondson in a record was his 1884 Marriage license. On October 8, 1884 he married Lucy Elms in Manhattan, New York. Lucy was born in Monroe, North Carolina and lived there with her mother and siblings in 1880 when she was working as a 16 year old cook.  What brought the two of them to New York City? Probably the desire for better opportunities and less discrimination.

They lived there until at least 1888 when he appears in the New York City Directory as a hostler, a man who looks after horses. In 1889 he and his family were living in Indianapolis where over the years he worked as a laborer, usually a hostler.

In 1890 his wife Lucy gave birth to their daughter Emma. She had two other children who were both dead by 1900. Lucy was literate, although Major was not. In 1900 Major was working as a hostler. Lucy was not working outside of the home. They had 8 roomers living with them. There were two married couples. They worked at various occupations, including barber, waiter, bar keeper, laborer and porter. All of them were literate. Daughter Emma attended school and could read and write. She died at the age of 13 in 1903 from Typhoid fever.

In 1910 Major worked as a janitor at the state capital. Lucy did washing for a private family.  They owned their home free and clear. Major Edmondson died in 1913.  I was unable to find a death certificate for him but did learn he was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.  He was 63.

His widow Lucy remarried in 1918. In 1920 I found her second husband, George W. Rankin, a widower, living with his adult daughter. I cannot find Lucy so assume she died between her marriage and the census. She would have been in her early 50s.

I would have liked to find death certificates for all the members of the family. I would also have liked to find Major in the 1870 and 1880 census.  I wonder what took them to New York, how they met and why they decided to move to Indianapolis.

Doctor’s Medical Testimony

The medical testimony that was given regarding the physical condition of Thomas Ray Allen over the years was covered in his pension file. I have chosen one testimony from the beginning of the process and one from near the end of his life to share. (Click to enlarge the handwritten reports.)

The first doctor’s testimony is dated December 13, 1894. At this time Thomas’ pension of $12 a month had just been reduced to $6 a month.

Indianapolis, Indian December 13, 1894

Medical testimony

This is to certify that I am acquainted with Thomas Ray, who was a private Co D. 5th Reg. U.S. Colored Vol. Cavalry, and I have been his physician for the past two years. I know that he has total deafness of right ear. He also has chronic Dyspepsia, and Gastro-Intestinal indigestion. He is not able for manual labor, more than half the time. In my opinion he is entitled to more pension than he is receiving. Certainly it should not be reduced, in his present physical condition. This is in my own hand writing. (I have been a regular practicing physician and surgeon for 16 years. Graduate of the Medical College of Indiana.)

I have no interest whatever in the case.

Very Respectfully,

Geo. H.F. House M.D.

State of Indiana

Marion County

Subscribed and sworn before me the undersigned Notary Public in and for said County and state this 13th day of December 1894

Theodore F. Harrison  Notary Public


Twelve years later, in July of 1907, Thomas was in even worse shape. His pension remained unchanged at $6 a month. Thomas died five months after this examination in November of 1907.Medical Evidence

State of Indiana

County Marion

Personally appeared James M. Phillips whose Postoffice address is 427 W. 10 St. Indianapolis County of Marion and state of Indiana, who, being duly sworn, upon his oath declares as follows:  that Thomas Ray or Allen came under his care and treatment on or about June 10th 1907, suffering as follows: catarrah of the stomach, & piles,& has catarrah of the bowels, kidney and urinary trouble & swelling of the lower extremieties . This man is generally broken down, and has not a perfect organ in his body. That the catarrah of the bowels has caused a bad case of chronic diarrhoea. This man is wholly & totally diabled for any and all work or labor & is confined to the house & part of the time confined to the bed, & my opinion he will not live to exceed two months. He will not be able to leave the house for an examination & will have to be examined at his house.

His case is an urgent one & deserves prompt & immediate attention, as he will not last long.

This affidavit is written at my dictation & I know the contents thereof.

That from the date of my discharge from the army (Co. D 2 Mass.) I practiced as a physician until about 16 years ago & since that time have given Indian (?) treatment exclusively.

Affiant has no interest in  this matter.  James M. Phillips

Subscribed and sworn to me this 24th day of July 1907 and I certify tht the party whose name appears signed the foregoing affidavit is the person he represents himself to be a good redible witness, so far as I know, and that I have no interest in this matter.

Official signature Bert Delp  Notary Public

Clara Hoskins Green – Thomas’ Mother

My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s hand written family tree.

Finding my 2X great grandmother’s name – Clara (Hoskins) Green on Thomas Ray Allen’s death certificate made me realize that he was my great uncle.  I had seen her name on my great grandmother Anna’s death certificate and on the family tree that my grandmother Pearl wrote out for me, but I had never heard any stories about her except that she was Catholic and a Cherokee Indian. Which, judging by the amount of Native American dna in her descendants dna, that was not the case.

On both Anna’s and Thomas’ death certificates, their father’s name is given as James Allen and Louis Allen. I have found no records, aside from the death certificates, to connect Clara with an Allen. I believe that is because it happened while she was enslaved.  Thomas named his owner as Foster Ray. Both of Thomas’ sisters went by the last name of Ray. I believe that Clara was enslaved on the Ray plantation also, but have no records to prove it.  There were ties between Clara’s family and Perry and Rachel Hoskins.  Rachel Hoskins left money to Clara’s daughters, Anna and Sarah. I have no records to show what that relationship was. Here is what I have been able to find about her.

Clara was born in Kentucky about 1825.  In 1870 she lived in Lebanon, Kentucky with her husband James Green, ten year old Benjamin Green and five year old granddaughter Josephine “Josie” Campbell.  I do not know if Benjamin was their child, another grandchild or a nephew.  He was attending school and was able to read. Clara did not work outside of the home. James was a carpenter. Both were illiterate. Her three children lived within walking distance of her home. The neighbors on both sides were also carpenters.

In the 1880 census James and Clara lived by themselves. James occupation was still listed as carpenter but he was also sick and disabled. Benjamin was no longer living there. I have not yet found him anywhere else. My great grandmother Anna Reed lived next door with the six children she had then, Josie 15, George 13, Sallie 10, Lulie seven, Hugh four and two year old Minnie. Nobody in either household could read or write. None of the children were in school.  Several people who lived near her had tuberculous.

Clara died before her husband. I do not have a death date because Marion county did not keep death records at that time, however, on October 31, 1895, Frank White was appointed to administer the estate of James Green, deceased. Because there was no mention of Clara, I surmise that she was already dead.

As Clara was Catholic, I hoped that I might find her and her family in the Baptismal or Burial records for Marion County. I found her daughter Sarah and her children listed as being baptized at St. Augustine Catholic church. I did not find Thomas or Anna listed. A Clara was listed, but if Clara was born in 1825, I do not think she would have given birth ten years later.

“Ceremonies of baptism supplied, 6-21-1835, to St. Charles Catholic Church of Susanna Rebecca, servant of Widow Osking or Hoskins. Age 7 weeks. Sponsor, Teresa, servant of Th. Spalding. Mother: Clara, servant of Widow Osking or Hoskins.”  from  the CD “Marion   County – Black   Baptisms”



Bluford Hubbard – Served with Thomas in the U.S.C.T.

Gravestone. Click to enlarge.

On September 5, 1864, Bluford Hubbard enlisted in the United States Colored Troops (Calvery) in Lebanon, Kentucky. He was 19 years old. It was a month after Thomas Ray Allen had enlisted.  Bluford was born about 1845 in Taylor County, Kentucky.

On his enrollment papers he is described as 5 ft 7 in, copper colored with black hair and black eyes. He had been enslaved by George Hubbard of Taylor County and enlisted without his consent. Bluford served along with Thomas until the end of the Civil War in 1866 and was mustered out in Helena, Arkansas.

Bluford returned to Taylor county and a year later married Eunice Buckner. They lived near to his mother Rachel Gaddie and several of his siblings. Bluford farmed and Eunice kept the house and worked along with him. Six children were born to them but only two lived to adulthood, John born in 1872 and Lewis born in 1878.

USTC enlistment paper. Click to enlarge.

By the late 1880s the family had moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1887 Bluford began to receive an invalid pension. He testified for the first time in 1897 that he knew Thomas Allen to be one and the same as Thomas Ray because he had served with him in the army and also continued to see him over the years.

Testimony of Bulford Hubbard.
He testified again in 1897. Click to enlarge his testimony.  His name is spelled “Buford” here, but “Bluford” most places.  This transcribed copy of his testimony was included in Thomas’ pension file.

He is listed as a pensioner in the 1900 census. He and his wife Eunice have been married 33 years.  Six people lived in the household on Paca. The two sons are listed as common laborers. Eunice’s younger sister, Fannie, is living with them and both Eunice and Fannie are taking in washing. Seven year old nephew Burford Palmer is also a part of the household.  The three younger members of the household are literate. The older ones are not.

In 1908 Bluford was admitted to the Old Soldiers Home in Center, Grant, Indiana. He was still ennumerated with his family in the 1910 census.  Eunice is doing laundry for a private family, both sons are laborers. Nephew Burford is 16 and an actor and comedian. There is one border who is also a laborer.  The family is still renting the house at 868 Paca Street.

Bluford Hubbard died on February 2, 1915 of chronic nephritis (inflamation of the kidneys). His son Lewis was the informant on the death certificate and gave Bluford’s parent’s names as Zealer Hubbard and Rachel Gaddie.  He was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery and has a veteran’s headstone.

His son John died in 1929 of a pulmonary hemorrhage brought on by tuberculosis. Bluford’s widow, Rachel, lived for another 20 years after her husband’s death, dying in 1935 at the age of 84 of bronchial pneumonia.  Lewis disappeared after the 1920 census.

*Resources I used to find the information in this post: 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 US censuses; Indianapolis City Directories; Bluford’s military records; death certificates for Bluford, Eunice and John Hubbard; records found in Thomas Ray Allen’s pension file.  The photograph of Bluford’s gravestone is from find-a-grave. Except for the pension file, which I have in my possession, I found these records on Ancestry.com and familysearch.com  I also did a bit of random googling if something called for it.


The Life, Times and People of Thomas Ray Allen #A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

This is my 5th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. This year I am going to use the life of my great great grandmother’s brother Thomas (Ray) Allen as the basis of my blog posts in April. I first “found” him in late November of 2016.  Thomas served in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War.  By ordering his pension file I was able to find the names of his family, friends and people who served with him during the war and the name of the man who formerly enslaved him.  Through researching these people using census records, directories, Catholic Baptismal records and DNA matches, I was able to find other family members and get a picture of his life in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Click to learn more about the A to Z Challenge.