Flint and Courtright Family Civil War History

by Cathy Clare

Austin Veeder Flint Samuel Franklin "Frank" Courtright

Austin Veeder Flint was born on February 1, 1835 in Canajoharie, Montgomery, New York. His parents were Gideon Zachariah Flint and Margaret Rowe Flint, both of New York, and he was the eldest of eight children. In 1842, Zachariah moved his family to Greenville, New Jersey to be close to his wife's younger brother Peter. In 1856, Zachariah moved his family to Kankakee County, Illinois. His decision to move to Illinois was because his wife's older brother, William, had moved there several years previously and her younger sister Sarah Ann Rowe was getting married to a gentleman from Ohio, Samuel Franklin "Frank" Courtright, that March. Frank was a widower--having lost his wife and two baby daughters in 1851--and his eldest son James died in a accident in March 1856. They are all buried in Bloom's Grove Cemetery in Kankakee County, Illinois.

Austin's parents and their children arrived in Kankakee that spring and I believed they stayed with William Rowe until after the wedding and could find land of their own. I have found no record of Zachariah purchasing any land so I think he must have rented though to whom I have no idea. Austin met Alice Courtright at the marriage of his Aunt and her husband and he became close friends with her older brothers Samuel Franklin Courtright, and William Dean Courtright. Sam went by his middle name Frank as did Dean. Alice was 13 at the time and Austin 21.

On October 29, 1860, Austin Flint and Alice Martha Courtright were married one day after her 17th birthday. Five months later, on March 1, 1861 his sister Jerusha Lynn married Alice's brother Frank and another of Austin's sisters, Sarah Ann Flint married another of Alice's brother's, Dean Courtright on August 26, 1865. Mary Jane Courtright, an older sister of Alice's, married Jacob "Jake" Kneadler on December 15, 1853.

At the onset of war and with Abraham Lincoln asking for volunteers Jake Kneadler and Alice's younger brother Amos Evans Courtright enlisted in Company F, 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry "1st Battalion, Yates Sharp Shooters." In the fall of 1861, Austin found out his wife was pregnant with their first child. His father, Zachariah, encouraged his son to remain home and take care of his wife and baby rather than enlist immediately. Austin's younger brother John C. Flint and his cousin George Rowe, however, enlisted in August 1861 in the 42nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Seven months after their daughter's birth, on the 22nd of August, Austin enlisted in Company F, 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, then known as a Battalion (consisting of 6 companies). He reported for duty on September 1st at Camp Butler in Springfield and approximately one month later, on October 17th, Austin was sent south to the garrison called Camp Glendale near Corinth, Mississippi. He remained at Camp Glendale until his furlough in December 1863 when a majority of the Regiment re-enlisted and was sent home for a month's leave. When they reported to duty in February 1864 they reported to Camp Morrill located in Ottawa, Illinois. At this time Frank enlisted, joining his brother and brothers-in-law in the 64th, now a full Regiment (by adding 4 additional companies for a total of 10).

After Austin returned to his regiment or soon before, his wife finds out she is pregnant again. He goes through the pregnancy in letters trying his best from his distance to help her but not really being much help except with words of comfort. Their 2nd child is born on November 1st as Sherman's March to the Sea is beginning to get underway and they are chasing after Hood's Army of Tennessee. He mentions this child, a boy she named Elsworth, in his January 1865 letter, the last of the 12 that I have or have copies of. Unfortunately Elsworth died the following March from spotted fever, Austin never getting to see him. I don't know where he is buried, possibly on the family farm.

The first letter or partial letter, which is a copy, was written in Camp Morrill as the men are waiting for orders. The next one is at Camp Decatur at the end of March. The 3rd is a week later at the beginning of April and then weeks go by before there is another. I don't know how many letters there were in total. I suspect there were hundreds as he seemed to write every other week the whole time he was gone in 1864 & 1865. He does mention to his wife to keep his letters and not to give them to his daughter Ella so I know they were kept. My grandmother got 11 and the 12th I got from my cousin who lives in California. I don't know where the rest are as no one else I've written to has one. I keep looking at Book & Paper shows in hopes that I will find one but that prospect is highly unlikely especially here in Texas. Some of the letters that are in my family's possession were not cared for properly. One of my uncles has two and he did not keep them out of the light and had them in a picture frame. They deteriorated so badly a book editor suggested he have them sealed, inside the envelopes, for posterity's sake or so he says. Another of my uncles had a photo taken of a partial letter he has but it too was put in a frame and has deteriorated very badly. I read the ones my mother has and they are in perfect condition. One is written in pencil and the other in ink.

I also did not mention a letter another of my cousins has simply because she doesn't know where she put it. She said that she remembers she put it in a safe place, which now has become so safe not even she can find it.

After the war, in August 1865, William Dean Courtright married Austin's sister Sarah Ann and his brother John married his first cousin Rue Ann Rowe in 1869. Soon afterward the entire family--Austin and his family, his parents, most of the Courtrights and many others--moved to Benton County, Indiana. William Rowe had purchased land in Benton County in 1868 and after they arrived they remained living on William's land until 1871 when Zachariah purchased a farm in the northern part of Union township. Austin and his brother purchased 160 acres due to the land act of 1862 and remained in Union Township, Benton County until 1889. At that time Austin's health had gotten too bad to work the land and he moved to Valparaiso where his sister Jerusha and brother-in-law Frank lived. John remained in Benton County until 1891 when he too moved to Valparaiso. From 1889 and 1891 Austin rented a house on College Avenue and in 1891 he purchased a large house several blocks away from his current home. He also ran for and won a seat on the Town Council which he held until his death in 1905. Previously in Benton County he was a Justice of the Peace and held many court cases in his home. He joined the GAR in Valparaiso and applied for a soldier's pension in 1888 which he received the sum of $6.00 a month.

Austin and Alice had 13 children, 9 living to adulthood. One died in Illinois, Elsworth; two in Benton County, one from scarlet fever and one from cholera; and one in Valparaiso from typhus. When they left Benton County 8 of their 9 children moved with them. One of their daughters remained in Benton County, living with her Uncle John until she finished school. All of Austin's children married in Valparaiso before his death except for my grandmother and two of her siblings. John remained in Benton County for another 2 years before also moving to Valparaiso. He purchased a large home several blocks away from Austin's on Union Avenue.

In May 1905 after a two week confinement in his bed due to a heart condition, Austin left the house to attend a special Council meeting to elect a new Council member to replace him due to his health. After the election he walked down the steps of the police station to the old firehouse which was adjacent to the police building and walked to the firehouse doors. After arriving at the entrance he suddenly grabbed his chest, yelled and collapsed. His doctor, also on the town council, was summoned but it was too late.


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