Friday, August 23, 2013

Riley Medlin - Confederate Veteran & Fisherman

Riley Medlin was the brother of our great-grandma, Bettie Medlin Stewart.

William Riley Medlin, the son of Samuel Medlin and Rebecca Morgan, was born on March 14, 1843 in Wilson county, Tennessee.  In 1850, Riley was living with his parents and siblings in Wilson County, Tennessee.  

1850 Federal Census, Wilson County, TN, family #207

In the summer of 1854, an outbreak of cholera hit the area around Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee where the Medlin family was living.  Many people around Lebanon left their homes temporarily when they heard of cholera in the area, but the Medlin family remained.  Riley's mother, Rebecca, came down with cholera and died in July 1854.  After Rebecca's death, some of the Medlin children were sent to live with extended relatives and others were old enough to be on their own.  Riley would have been about eleven years old at the time his mother died.  Riley's father remarried in 1855, but it appears none of the children stayed with him.  Riley has not been found in the 1860 census.  But, he was probably living in the Nashville area, because a year later while living in Nashville, he enlisted in the Confederate Army.

In 1861, Riley enlisted in the Confederate Army - 20th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.  Company I, of the Twentieth Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A., was raised at and near the Hermitage, in the Fourth Civil District of Davidson County and was called the Hermitage Guards. Company I was mustered into State service for one year from June1,1861, on Front Street, near Broad, in the city of Nashville, and was put on the cars of the L&N Railroad and carried to Camp Trousdale, and there was incorporate in the Twentieth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment as Company 1, and known as the boys from the home of Old Hickory.  William Riley Medlin is not listed in the roster of this Company.  But, his pension application is witnessed and signed by John Hays & R.T. Moore, who were included on the roster.(http://www.tngenweb.org/civilwar/crosters/inf/inf20/coi.html)  
While serving in the Confederate army, Riley engaged in the Wildcat and Fishing Creek battles.  In April of 1863, Riley was captured by Union forces while on retreat from the Fishing Creek battle.   He gave his Oath of Allegiance to the United State Government to keep out of prison.





On 17 Jan 1865, Riley married Kate Reed, sister of his brother-in-law, John Reed.  Catherine Reed (called Kate) was born on March 9th, 1843 in Tennessee.  Her parents were Joel and Elizabeth Reed.

After their marriage, Riley and Kate continued to live in Nashville.  Riley made a living by fishing.  In most census records and on the pension application, Riley's occupation is listed as a fisherman.   He stated in his pension application that he was a fisherman and made a scant living.  Below is an 1880 map of Davidson County, Tennessee.  The Cumberland River is where Riley would have spent his time fishing for a living.




In the 1880 Federal Census, Riley is enumerated on the same page as brother, Pink Medlin, and his sister, Mandy (Amanda) Reed and several other extended relatives.  Riley stated his occupation was a fisherman. 

1880 Federal Census, Dist 19, Davidson, TN, pg 305

Riley and Kate never had their own children, but  raised their niece's son, Bealey Samuel Cowley.  In the 1900 Federal Census, Bealey is listed as their adopted son.  In 1900, both Riley and Bealey list their occupations as Teamsters.
1900 Federal Census, Nashville Ward 14, Davidson, TN
Riley died 5 Jul 1923 at the age of  80 years.  He is buried in the Donelson Church of Christ Cemetery in Davidson County, Tennessee.


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