Submitted by Melessia Croker; edited and vetted by Cheri Todd Molter
I have written everything I know about my ancestors on a webpage on my family site. These stories are pretty well known locally, so someone else may have already sent in the story about David Ledford Jr., but I thought I would share in case not. Here’s his story:
David Ledford Jr. and Nancy Dulcena Hix Ledford
David (Dave) Ledford, Jr., was born in 1833 in Macon County, North Carolina. On March 28, 1851, Dave married Nancy Dulcena Hix [her name was also spelled “Dulcina,” “Hycks,” and “Hicks” in some records], who was born in 1835, according to her grave marker. Their wedding was held at the home of her parents, Stephen and Mary (Maria) Ledford Hix, at Cherokee County, North Carolina. Dulcena’s mother was purported to be the daughter of Eli Ledford, and the granddaughter of Peter G. Ledford, Sr., a man who fought during the Revolutionary War.
David and Dulcena settled in an area of Cherokee County, North Carolina, that later became Clay County. Their children were: Eliza Ledford, born Jan. 29, 1852; William Thomas C. Ledford, born May 30, 1853; David Loranza “Ranz” Ledford, born Dec. 25, 1855; Mary Ledford, born May 3, 1857; Harriett A. Ledford, born Jan. 18, 1859; Julia Ann Ledford, born Feb. 19, 1861; Robert S. Ledford, born Nov. 19, 1862; and Luole Sweet Union Ledford (also called Lulvina, Luola, Lou Ola, and Lula S.U. in records), born May 23rd of 1864 or 1865 (records state one or the other, but most state 1865, which is also engraved in her grave’s headstone).
On July 5, 1862, twenty-nine-year-old Dave, along with Center Ledford, his twenty-four-year-old brother, and Jason Ledford, who also might have been his brother, enlisted in the Confederate Army. All three men served in Company B of the North Carolina 7th Battalion Cavalry. They skirmished in Tennessee and Kentucky until the N.C. 7th Battalion Cavalry merged into the 65th North Carolina Regiment-6th Cavalry in August 1863 (National Park Service). Sometime in September 1863, Dave, Center, and Jason all deserted the Confederate Army. On October 1, 1863, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the three men enlisted in the Union Army as Privates. They served in Company D, North Carolina 2nd Mounted Infantry.
There are also records of Dave and Center having served in Company E of Walker’s Battalion, Thomas’ North Carolina Legion, but no dates were provided. Thomas’ Legion helped to protect the mountain passes from Federal Troops along the North Carolina and Tennessee state line.
In her Widow’s Pension Application, Dulcena states that Dave was killed in December 1864 while “engaged in piloting Capt. Welch and Lieut. Brady, escaped prisoners from Columbia South Carolina.”
Although the attached photograph includes a man who was identified as Dave Ledford, the photograph was probably mislabeled: Since it was taken in January 1865 and Dave died in Dec. 1864, the man in the image was most likely *not* Dave. After careful research, it was determined that the man listed as Dave Ledford was actually Julius Ketron “Kit” Ledford (1842-1905). Kit Ledford lived in the same area of Western North Carolina as David, Center and, Jason Ledford, and they were cousins.
There are several family stories regarding events that occurred during the Civil War:
One tale claims that, after Dave deserted the Confederate Army, the Rebels came to the house looking for him. When they didn’t find him, they strung up Ranz, one of Dave and Dulcina’s sons, up by either his thumbs or toes, trying to get him to tell where his father was.
Records seem to be unclear on whether Dave was hung or shot, but according to his granddaughters, he was shot.
Dulcena was said to have said something to the effect of, “Not all the Rebels were the same. Some were good people; others weren’t.”
Another story that was passed down claims that Dulcina was a Union spy after her husband was killed by Rebels. She was said to have carried messages, which were sewn into the linings of her dresses, to the Union camps. If Dulcena was stopped and questioned by the Confederates, she was to say she was looking for a stray cow. She was eventually suspected, and every so often, Confederate soldiers stopped by her place to try to get a confession out of her stating that she was spying for the Union army. During those “visits,” they sometimes poured all her family’s food on the floor or on the ground, mixing it with dirt to ruin it.
It was said that their youngest daughter was born after Dave was killed, but that may not be true since, according to Dulcena’s widow’s pension claim, she was born May 23, 1864. [However, it should be noted that the 1900 U.S. Census and her grave marker both record May 1865 as her time of birth, so the oral tradition may be correct.] This daughter was supposedly named Luole “Sweet Union Forever” Ledford. (In Dulcena’s Widow’s pension claim, Luole was included as Lula J.S.U. Ledford, so the tale about “Sweet Union” might be true.) [Luole’s name was spelled many ways in records: “Lula,” “Lou Ola,” “Lou,” “Luola,” and others.]
Another story claims that Dulcena and her son, Ranz, took a wagon to Tennessee to retrieve Dave’s body and bring him home. This is one oral tradition that all family members seem to agree on and state as a fact.
They say Dulcena died after 1880. Dave and Dulcena are buried at the Old Ledford’s Chapel cemetery.