Back to the Farm – the Hard Way
John Foster Landreth, my great-great-great-grandfather, was born Jan. 18, 1826 in Stokes County. He was the eldest documented son of Obadiah Landreth and Mahalia Branson Landreth. Like his father, he was a farmer. His family did not own slaves. John married Eleanor Nellie Goode in 1853. They had two known children at the beginning of the Civil War: George Washington Landreth and Ann Eliza “Annie” Landreth Freeman. Leaving his pregnant wife and children behind, John voluntarily enlisted as a private, along with his brother Zachariah, in the Confederate States Army on March 13, 1862. Their other brother, Isaac, followed them into the army on May 1. They served in Co. D (McCullough’s Avengers), 52nd North Carolina Infantry, later transferred to Pettigrew’s Brigade, Heath’s Division, A.P. Hill’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. All three enlisted for the war’s duration. Robert E. Lee (“Lee”) Landreth, John’s third known child, was born the following summer. The brothers fought at Gettysburg, helping to push the Union army through town toward Cemetery Hill on July 1, 1863, and were involved, with the rest of Pettigrew’s Brigade, in the left wing of Pickett’s Charge on July 3. John and Zachariah survived the charge. Isaac was wounded and captured, ending up at Point Lookout, Md. The 52nd North Carolina was part of the rear guard during Lee’s retreat. John was in a hospital when Zachariah was captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. Zachariah also ended up at Point Lookout. Isaac and Zachariah had been released by the time John, who was captured in April of 1865, was imprisoned there. John Foster Landreth took the loyalty oath two and a half months after Lee’s surrender. After the war, John was once again a farmer, now living in Belews Creek, in Forsyth County. He and Eleanor had more children, including four daughters and a son. Eleanor died at Belews Creek in 1898. John followed his wife in 1905. They are buried in the Goodwill Baptist Church Cemetery, near Kernersville. My descent from John Foster Landreth is through his eldest son. George Landreth’s daughter, Ada Fostina Landreth, was the mother of Carlene Preston, the mother of my late father, Gaither Alexander Loy (1928-1999).