Oldest son lost

by | Apr 16, 2015 | Clay, Confederate affiliation

Clay County was established in February 1861, mostly taken from Cherokee County. Because of the war, it wasn’t fully organized until around 1868. But most of Company B, 7th Battalion, North Carolina Cavalry was made up of Clay County men and was commanded by Captain William Patton Moore. One of the enlistees was a half-first cousin of Capt. Moore. He was William Chamberlain Penland, age 18. William was the oldest of 13 children of Harvey and Patience Penland, and the brother of my great-grandfather. He wrote letters home (still in existence) from October 1862 until August 1863, in which he described the movements of his unit, mostly in Tennessee, including various skirmishes in which they were involved. William’s final letter was finished by a family friend who had taken him into his home when he became ill in camp. His father started on the journey to see his son, but on the road he met someone who informed him that William had died and was buried there in Tennessee. Full of sorrow, Harvey Penland returned home. Family lore has it that on the exact day William died, both his mother and his sweetheart, separately, saw him riding up the road, but then the rider disappeared.

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