Thursday, December 5, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Abraham Wrightsman

Today's spotlight is on an ancestor of a new friend of mine, Laurie Illig of Maryland. Laurie's family originally comes from Indiana, which is where her ancestor Abraham Wrightsman was from.

Abraham Wrightsman was born around 1827 in Indiana, where exactly is unknown. We know from a 1937 article in the Kokomo Tribune that he was an early comer to Howard County. He lived in the little town of Center, just outside of Kokomo. On March 10, 1848 Abraham married Judah Davis. To this union were born eight children. Abraham was drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War, serving in the 132 Indiana Infantry. In the draft papers he is listed as a "laborer," but he was also a marshal in Indiana. Records aren't clear as to his death date. Some say he died in 1870, but it is likely he didn't die until as late as 1889, as Judah files for his pension in that year.

Facts are always interesting in genealogy, but us researchers and descendants always get excited when we can get our hands on a real life story about our ancestors. Abraham in particular is remembered for his secret work on the Underground Railroad. A 2004 article from the Kokomo Tribune reads:

Native Hoosier and Underground Railroad engineer Abraham Wrightsman moved to the area of Center, Ind., and used his home as a railroad station. Once, Wrightsman aided a slave husband and wife flee to freedom.
During their flight, they heard the deep-throated bark of the bloodhounds. The terrified trio headed toward a nearby stream; if they made it there in time, they could wade downstream a bit and possibly throw the dogs off their trail.
Prepared for such an emergency, Wrightsman pulled out a box of ground red pepper he had on him. He scattered a small amount in their tracks; the dogs could not follow their trail and the three made their escape.
Wrightsman enlisted in the Union Forces during the Civil War, received an honorable discharge, returned home and died in 1870.

What a treasure for Laurie to have in her files! You ought to be proud of your heritage, Laurie!

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