SUBMITTED BY: Hinson Peed (edited and vetted by Cheri Todd Molter)
About 1783, John Langford Laughter was born to John Laughter and Mary Langford Laughter of Warren County. John Laughter was among the first generation of that English family born in the colonies, and being about thirty years old at the time of the Revolutionary War, he served under Brigadier General Jethro Sumner at Eutaw Springs and is said to have been friends with Nathaniel Macon. During the war, John Laughter made hats, fulfilling a contract to supply the much-needed items for his fellow soldiers.
John Langford Laughter married Ann Hunt on August 8, 1809. He served as Captain in the 1st Regiment of the North Carolina Militia during the War of 1812. Later, John Langford served as an officer of the district militia near Warren County, North Carolina. According to his daughter, Ann Mary Laughter Pegram (She married George Pegram), in 1831, her father led his command to Southampton County, Virginia, the scene of one of the most remembered rebellions in history. After traveling over fifty miles northeast, John Langford was supposedly present at the capture of Nat Turner. He returned home with stories about his experiences that entertained the then 12-year-old Mary and her siblings, one of whom was my great-great-great-grandfather, Robert W. Laughter.
Robert W. Laughter was the third of the ten children born to John Langford and Ann Hunt Laughter. Already a husband and father himself, on March 24, 1862, Robert enlisted in the Confederate Army, serving in Company K of the 12th North Carolina Infantry. He most likely participated in the Battle of Hanover Court House, a Union victory in late May of 1862, and fought during the Seven Days’ Battles and at Gaines’ Mill, Virginia, on July 27, 1862. However, about fourteen months into his service, R. W. Laughter was sent to the Wayside Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Robert had developed typhoid pneumonia and died on May 15, 1863. His effects were nothing more than one bundle of clothing, valued at $31.75. Robert was survived by his ten children, the oldest being only a teenager at that time.
Henry Mitchell Laughter was the oldest child of John Langford and Ann Hunt Laughter. Mitchell, as he was referred to in his military records, had already reached adulthood, too, by the time the Civil War broke out. On May 4, 1861, the fifty-year-old Warren County farmer joined the Confederate Army, serving in Company C of the 12th North Carolina Infantry, which assembled around thirty miles east of Warren County, at Garysburg, North Carolina. Mitchell remained with the regiment until Jan. 30, 1862. At that time, Mitchell was discharged from the 12th North Carolina, although it is unclear why he was discharged from service less than a year after he joined. A possible answer may lie in the 1880 Federal Census, which listed Henry M. Laughter as paralyzed, perhaps from an injury sustained while serving, and living with his sister, Ann Mary Laughter Pegram, at Hawtree, Warren County, North Carolina.
The youngest son and the ninth child born to John Langford and Ann Hunt Laughter was William Hunt Laughter. On June 1, 1861, at around the age of twenty-seven, William enlisted in Virginia’s 18th Battalion Heavy Artillery at Petersburg, Virginia. In in military records, he was described at enlistment as being 5′ 10.5″ tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and auburn hair. On May 10, 1862, William was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. On Sept. 26, 1862, William was “Acting Adjutant” and “detailed Battalion Headquarters,” according to his compiled military record. In October 1863, William was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and selected to serve as adjutant. On April 6, 1865, William Hunt Laughter was captured at Sailor’s Creek, Virginia, which was part of the Appomattox Campaign. William was confined at Old Capitol Prison at Washington, D.C. briefly, then was transferred to Johnson’s Island, Ohio, on April 24, 1865, where he remained imprisoned until he pledged the Oath of Allegiance on June 20th.