Friday, May 31, 2013

Moan, Rich and Pinkstaff



On April 19, 2013 a blog was posted about Bernard Moan, Indian War fighter and Civil war soldier. Since then a photo has surfaced of him, and a description of his Civil War injury from his pension files.  After this native born Irishman served with the US Army in the Seminole War he relocated to Lawrence County and purchased the SW/4 Sect 26, T5N, R11W from the federal government on 6 June 1851 using Military Warrant 3875 issued 1 Nov 1851.  Other public domain land purchases included the NE/4 NE/4 Sect 34, T5N, R11W on 4 Sep 1852 and the S/2 SE/4 Sect 27, T5N, R11W on 29 Sep 1852, for a total of about 160 acres, all in present Russell Twp, Lawrence Co, Illinois, located about 2 miles east of Birds.  The one-room Moan Public School was located on his farm.  The 1875 Atlas shows that Alfred Pinkstaff, owned the adjacent farm to the south of Bernard Moan.

Bernard Moan was 45 years old when he accepted the bounty to serve as the substitute for his neighbor, Alfred Pinkstaff. About four months later he was injured and had returned to Lawrence County.   An account in a General Affidavit filed on his behalf so he could receive a pension says:   “He was detailed to assist in the firing of the national salute on the 4th Day of July 1865 at Greensboro, North Carolina.  Moan was  at Canon Post No 2, on duty,  when the cannon was fired about sunset.  The concussion (caused by any over-load) drove the wheel of Post No 2 against the Moan’s breast with such force as to knock him down. Henry Miller carried him to the shade tree nearby until Moan came to and then went with him to the company hospital.  The next day he was excused from duty and placed under doctors’ care. From this injury there was a considerable amount of blood and Moan’s hand became paralyzed.  He also became partially deaf in his right ear and his nerves were shattered¼.”

Sometimes to researchers it just seems like the dead want to tell you their stories.  Not long after this, I was at the Lawrence County Courthouse ‘browsing’ through the Circuit Court Records and I found an interesting case that involved Alfred Pinkstaff and another Civil War soldier John B. Rich.  He was from the Russell Twp area and had enlisted in Feb 1865. 

 In 1880 Charles Freman Pinkstaff was the 16 yr old son of Alfred and Martha Borden Pinkstaff of Russell Twp.  The widow Rachel C Emmons married John B Rich  and lived in the same neighborhood as the Pinkstaffs and the Moans.   Their children knew each other and I guess one thing led to another…..and a complaint for Trespass was filed Nov 24, 1886 by John Rich, Plaintiff  against Charles F. Pinkstaff, defendant.

John B Rich, represented by Synder T. Barnes of Callahan and Jones, Attorneys, stated that Charles F. Pinkstaff intended to deprive him of the services and assistance of Jennie L. Emmons, Mr. Rich’s stepdaughter and servant.   On July 4, 1884 and other days between that day and the commencement of the suit, Jennie L Emmons became pregnant and sick with a child for the space of 9 months and delivered a child on April 4 1885 and according to Mr. Rich, her stepfather and plaintiff, she was unable to do or perform necessary affairs and business for the said Mr. Rich.  He also incurred expenses which he was obliged to pay:  $500 for nursing, taking care of said Jennie L. Emmons, and for the delivery of said child and healing of Jennie L. Emmons from said sickness.  He asked $5000 damages.   
Edmund Ryan was the sheriff at that time and he served a subpoena on Dr. McGowan and A. P. Wolfe, MD to appear as witnesses for the plaintiff at the Jan 26, 1886 trial.   The defendant’s attorneys were William Robinson and Charles J. Borden; they stated that Charles F. Pinkstaff, the defendant was not guilty. 
I bet you are wondering how the case turned out, well so am I.  More research is required but the charge of Trespass suggests this was a property crime against the stepdaughter’s father. Not a crime committed against the woman who was its direct victim but against the man under whose social protection and identity, the woman existed. ( If a charge of Rape had been made, consent  by Jenny might have been a defense…..)

This must have been quite a scandal…. I would sure like to hear the rest of the story…Charles wasn’t charged with rape just trespass; the stepfather wanted to recover his expenses, and a little extra for his inconvenience;  and Jennie, well she was just a teenager,  very close to 18 yrs old when she had the baby.

OK History detectives:  What happened to Jennie and the baby and Charlie?