Monday, December 19, 2011

Mary Ellen Leonard Turpin's Father

Mary Ellen Leonard Turpin's father was Michael Leonard.

From Dennis Bell -- I've been checking Civil War records lately.  I wondered how Michael Leonard avoided being drafted. 

On March 3, 1863 the U.S. Government passed the Enrollment Act, the national conscription law.  The law called for drafts in July 1863 and in Mar., July, and Dec. 1864 on a state and county basis when there were insufficient volunteers.  The draft law applied to men aged 20 to 45; no married man could be drafted until all the unmarried had been taken.

On July 1, 1863 Michael Leonard registered for the draft, listing his residence in Cedar, Johnson, Iowa.  He said his age was 44.  He was actually 39, having been born June 8, 1824.

On May 1864 the neighboring Cedar county lists its first required draft of 100 men.  It's not clear whether Michael was still living in Johnson County on this date, or if he'd already moved to Cedar County, his residence in the 1870 census.

It may be that Michael was considered too old to serve, especially since he'd added 5 years to his age!  More likely his county was able to meet most of its obligation with volunteers, with perhaps drafting a few single men.  For instance, in Greene Co. Iowa, I found a reference that said NO draftees were required. 

So, unless you have other information, it appears that by judiciously raising his age and/or by being married, he avoided the draft.

This is great information! 

I had not followed up on Michael Leonard in the Civil War registrations.  I would say it's very likely that Michael fudged on his age because he had a family and he'd probably seen enough hardship in life.  I've also seen that some ancestors just don't seem to take an interest in accuracy when it comes to age (especially in the census).

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