Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Andrew Jackson and Nathan Chavers

Andrew Jackson Chavers
Andrew Jackson and Nathan Chavers (or Shavers, Chavis or Chavious, depending on what record you are looking at) were two of the sons of Willis Chavis, born in Campbell, Tennessee in 1830 and 1839.  The family moved southwest to Bledsoe, then Franklin, Tennessee by 1860.  When the Civil War broke out, Andy and his brothers Nathan and Samuel enlisted in the 17th Tennessee Infantry (organized in Campbell), Co. I,  at Anderson Station, Tennessee in April of 1861.  Samuel died in camp at Knoxville of disease in December of that year, at the age of 20.  Andy and Nathan remained in the 17th, fighting in the Battle of Stone's River at Murfreesboro in December 1862 - January 1863, during which Nathan was wounded.

In July 1910, Nathan applied for and received a pension in Jackson, Alabama;  Andy applied for one two years later.  At that time, a controversy arose about the fact that records showed the brothers were deserters; company muster rolls show both as "absent without leave" after May 1863.  Nathan's pension was called for a review.  The brothers insisted that they had been sent home after their race and skin color was called into question.  They said they were "Black Dutch," white mixed with Indian and there was "no African blood" in them.  (The Chavers, along with their kin, the Evans and Shoemake families, had filed claims with the Eastern Cherokee in 1907; they are often listed as "mulatto" or "Indian" on census records.)  According to Andy, an officer sent them home and they left (probably gratefully) and remained there for the rest of the war.  Several members of their company gave affidavits that this was the story they had heard at the time; unfortunately, there didn't appear to be any official record to support the claim.

from Nathan Chaver's pension file

From what I can tell, neither brother was able to collect a pension after this.   They remained in Jackson County for the remainder of their lives.  Andy lived in a two story cedar house near the top of a mountain between Little Coon and Crow Creek in Jackson, Alabama, where he had an apple orchard.   He died there in 1917 at the age of 87.   Nathan died in 1927 at age 89. 

Information about the Battle of Stone's River can be found at

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