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Civil War and Reconstruction
The North During the Civil War
Union Sentiment in Kentucky

Dan J. Wilson's family lived in Kentucky when the Civil War broke out. The excerpt below is from an interview conducted in the 1930s, from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Why did his mother decide to move to Tennessee? Do you think such movement was common during the Civil War?

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"My father, George Wilson, was a farmer and farmed a tract of land located in [Wayne?] co., Ky., and there is where I was born, Jan. 21, 1858.

"Father joined the Confederate Army when the Civil War started. Because the sentiment in the particular section where we lived ran strongly in favor of the Union cause, my folks were subjected to some ridicule. The situation caused mother to become very dissatisfied with that section of Ky. as a home. Therefore, she decided to move and chose Tenn. [as?] the place to live.

"Mother sold everything we owned, except our personal effects, which she loaded into a covered wagon, with a good team of mules hitched to the wagon, we started for Tenn. Mother hired a man to go with us and help make the trip.

"What was called a road in those days was anything with wheel tracks. Just a few streams contained a bridge over which to cross on. Fording streams was the method of crossing at most of the streams. When a heavy rain had taken place, we were compelled to wait till the water receded, and at times several days of waiting was necessary. A few of the larger stream's crossings had ferries operating to transport travelers from bank to bank. [We?] traveled over hills, through river [bottoms?] over rocks and in ruts.

"It was a slow, tedious trip but we finally arrived in [Fenchess?] co., Tenn., and there located. When the war ended, father came to us. He negotiated for a tract of land, which he farmed."
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View the entire interview with Dan J. Wilson from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.