Births That Caused a Truce

I have not been able to document this family story that has been passed down for 3 or 4 generations now. The documentation will depend on Civil War skirmishes or encampments in this particular area within a particular time frame and the names of the commanders of the opposing troops.

My paternal great grandfather, Edward Esther Dow, was born a twin in Kanawha County, VA (now West Virginia) on 17 February 1863 (according to his gravestone, or the 18th according to his death certificate – neither of which are primary documents for his birth date, but the only documents I have found at this time).  His twin, also a boy, was named Edwin Ellsworth. Their parents were James Vincent Dow and Rebecca Whitlock.

The story goes like this.  At that time, the survival of twins was a huge event. As word spread of the birth of these boys, a temporary truce was called by the Union and Confederate forces so the commanders (and whoever else) could visit the family and see the twins. Supposedly, the boys were named for the commanders. [The story at one time had the commanders as generals! I’m sure they were much lower in rank than that.] 

Whether the twins’ first or middle names were those of the commanders, or both, I have no idea. And whether the names were the given or surnames of the officers, I have no idea.  I hope there’s some truth to the story because of my great grandfather having the middle name of Esther! 

In my research, I have found there were troops stationed in this area during this time, but none of the names of the officers I have found would account for the twins’ names. A diary might be helpful for this research, but I haven’t been able to locate one. 

I have contacted Civil War history buffs in Kanawha County, and they have never heard the story or know of any major battles in the area during that time period. I have even scoured the War of the Rebellion Official Records for the time period and location looking for mention of a skirmish in Kanawha County around the time of the birth and the names of the officers involved, but to no avail.

This may be one of the family stories that can never be confidently proven or refuted, but somewhere there must have been some thread of truth. I just wish I could find the thread.

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3 Responses to Births That Caused a Truce

  1. I had never heard this story…your efforts are appreciated.

  2. Pingback: Unknown Courtship | ancestors2013

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