AUTHOR: Jim Dugan (vetted by Cheri Todd Molter)
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Anonymous William Quinn, LDS ID LC32-RXV, #8845442, (family tradition states he was named Aaron at birth, but he didn’t like the name and changed it to Anonymous; another reference states A.W. stood for Aaron Wesley), “Nony”, “A.W.”, was born in Rutherford (now Cleveland) County, North Carolina, June 1, 1828 and died in Earl, Cleveland Co., North Carolina on April 30, 1887. He was buried at Sunset Cemetery (Old Section), Shelby, Cleveland Co., North Carolina, on May 2, 1897.
About 1850, A.W. married Elizabeth Sarah Ellen Erwin, MG5M-LGQ, #29546778, (see Erwin Chapter) in North Carolina. She was born February 7, 1832 in North Carolina and died in 1899. She was buried at Sunset Cemetery (Old Section), Shelby, Cleveland Co., North Carolina.
He was by profession a tailor.
Anonymous was listed in the 1850 NC Census in Cleveland County with the Nowel household (#737) as John P. Nowel, 28, tailor, b. NC; Mary Nowel, 38, b. SC; Anonymous Quinn, 21, tailor, b. NC; Standford M. Quinn, 19, tailor; Jane Quinn, 14; Thomas Hamric, 22; and John McFarland, 12. The 1850 Census listed his future wife Ellen Erwin, 18, seven households away (#730).
Anonymous was commissioned a Lieutenant in the State of North Carolina Cleveland County Guard on December 10, 1858.
He was listed in the 1860 NC Census in Cleveland County, NC, as A. W. Quin, 32, Tailor with his wife, Ellen, 28. They had four children at that time: Cliftin, 9; Henry B., 6; John B., 4; and W.C., 1.
A.W. advertised in the Shelby newspaper in 1861 as a “Merchant Tailor.” Then the war started, and he enlisted at the age of 33 at Shelby, NC, on April 22, 1861, as a 2nd Sergeant in Capt. Augustus W. Burton’s Company, known as the Cleveland Guards. This company subsequently became Company E, 12th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry (State Troops). [Also in Co. E were John P. Nowel, 39, tailor; Daniel Warlick, 23, blacksmith; and William A. Warlick, 26, farmer.]
He appears as a 2nd Sgt in the Cleveland Guards in April 1861 on a “list of men composing the Company of Cleveland Guards to be employed in the defense of the Southern States, and who were transported over the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Rail Road from Lincolnton to Charlotte, 32 miles.”
In May 1861, he was mustered into service in Raleigh, NC, a distance of 228 miles from Shelby. His occupation was “Tailor.” He was mustered in at Raleigh, NC, as 2nd Sergeant on May 17, 1861; paid by J.P. Nowel for work done on uniforms for the Cleveland Guards on August 20, 1861. A.W. was promoted to First Sergeant August 22, 1861. He was listed as Private from December 31, 1862 until the end of the war.
A.W. was paid $22 at Richmond, VA, on July 12, 1862, for the period from May 1, 1862 to June 30, 1862. He was listed as a patient in Chimborazo Hospital No. 4, Richmond, VA, from July 2 to July 23, 1862; as on Ambulance Corps duty in October 1862 and again in July and August 1863. A.W. was listed as Private, Co. E, 12th NC, on Company Muster Roll for Sept & October 1863, and paid $71.88 for clothing on Nov 12, 1863. He was on sick furlough in January and February 1864 and on duty at Receiving and Wayside Hospital, General Hospital No. 9, Richmond, VA, on February 6 and 7, 1864.
A very frail copy of his furlough shows what must have been a frustrating experience trying to get to Richmond:
“To all whom it may concern. The bearer hereof A.W. Quinn a private of Company E 12th Regt N.C. Troops Age 34 years 5 feet 7 inches high, dark complexion, black eyes, black hair, and by occupation a tailor born in the County of Cleveland North Carolina and enlisted at Shelby NC in the county of Cleaveland (sic) the 22nd day of April 1861 to serve for the period of one year is hereby permitted to visit Richmond Va. to procure clothing for the brigade he having received a furlough from the —- day of May to the —- day of —- at which period he will rejoin his company or Regiment at Camp near Fredericksburg Va. or wherever it then may be or be considered a deserter Subsistence has been furnished to said AW Quinn to the — day of May 1863 and pay to the 30th day of April 1863 both inclusive. Said Soldier has not been absent from the Company at any time without proper leave nor has he ever skulked from the battlefield nor has he ever received transportation when on furlough.
Given under my hand at Camp near Fredericksburg, Va. this the (26th marked through) 12th day of (May marked through) June 1863
(signed) J.W. Gidney, Capt.
Co. E, 12th NC Troops
“A.W. Quinn Private Co E 12th NC camped near Fredericksburg (May 26th marked through) June 1st 1863 applies for leave of absence of then (10) days to visit Richmond for [ ? ] for the officers of the regiment.
Head qtrs 12th NCT (May 30th marked through) June 1st 1863
Respectfully forwarded Affw
(signed) William L. Davis
Lieut Col Comd”
“Hd Qrs [–rsan’s] Brig. May 30th 1863 Resp forw[arde]d & app[rove]d for five (5) days Private Q. will attend to commissary for the whole brigade
(signed) Brig [Gal?] Comdr
“Hd Qrs 12th NCT Augt. 18th 1863
The within named applicant A.W. Quinn private Co. “E” of this command not having had the benefit of this forlough permission is hereby granted him to visit Richmond for five days being the time attached therin By order of H E Coleman Col Comdg
(signed) F. Gregory Adjutant”
A.W. was present and accounted for until he was captured near Rockville, Maryland, July 13, 1864. He was confined at Old Capitol Prison, Washington, D.C. on July 14th, then transferred to the prison camp at Elmira, New York. He was received at Elmira on July 25, 1864. Family tradition states that he practiced his occupation of tailor while there, making uniforms for the Union officers. He was paroled from Elmira on February 20, 1865 and exchanged at James River, Virginia a day later.
Anonymous and his family were listed in the July 21, 1870, NC Census in Shelby, Cleveland County, as A. W. Quinn, 42, Tailor; Ellen S.E, 38; Henry B., 15; Wm. C., 11; Lawson E., 9; Benjamin, 14; Mary M., 2; along with Easter Young, 17, Black, and M. A. Lee, 4, Black.
The Quinn family was listed in the 1880 NC Census in Shelby, Cleveland County, as Anonymous W. Quinn, 52, Tailor; E. S. Ellen, wife, 48, Keeping House; H. Beckham, 26; Lawson E., 18, Student; Maggie M., 12, Goes to School; and Eliza Miller, 24, Black, Domestic Servant.
Anonymous and Ellen had six children:
(1) Martin Clifton Quinn b. 1851, d. 1934
(2) Henry Beckham Quinn b. 1854, d. 1924
(3) John Benjamin Quinn b. 1855/56, d. 1924
(4) William Corbet Quinn b. 1859;
(5) Lawson Erwin Quinn b. 1861; d. 1939
(6) Maggie Mary Quinn b. 1868; d. 1950
The “New Era” Shelby newspaper of February 23, 1887, states under “Personal Pencillings” that “Mr. A.W. Quinn was suddenly taken ill while at work in his shop last Saturday and for a while his life was despaired of. He is now in a very much improved condition. Mr. M.C. Quinn, of Salisbury, was in town on last Sunday, having been called home by the serious illness of his father.”