David E. Leary
- Born: 5 Aug 1843, Hinton, Rockingham County, Virginia 117
- Marriage (1): Lucinda Jane (Jennie) McCray on 23 Aug 1866 in Allen, Ohio
- Died: 1 Oct 1895, Henry County, Ohio at age 52
- Buried: Belmore Cemetery, Van Buren Township, Putnam County, Ohio
To begin with, I have seen David E. Leary replaced with David Edward Leary. I have not found any information that supports the middle name of Edward. It shall remain the mysterious E.
The 1860 Census lists David Leary as 17 and a farm laborer. The location was Rockingham County, Virginia, and the post office was Harrisonburg.
David Leary had cousins around Cairo, Ohio. One by the name of Grady and one by the name of Alice Miller who married a Miller. Alice and Lucinda visited her before Alice was married about 1890. Think she was one of David Leary's mother's brother's children.
Sources state that David Leary served as a private in the 17th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry, Company C. I have also found David Leary listed as a soldier in the Rockingham County Virginia Guards and Scouts. In an attempt to fit the timeline outlined below, I put David in the Guards and Scouts when he was wounded. After recovering, he was reporting for duty in the 17th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry when he was captured by the Union forces. This unit was organized in January, 1863, the same month and year he was captured. Whether or not he actually saw action with the 17th is doubtful.
The following is from a letter written to one of David Leary's children in 1923 by "Uncle Jim" who was living in the National Military Home located in Dayton, Ohio.
"Your father was raised in Virginia and drafted in the rebel army where he served 18 months. He was wounded in Winchester, Virginia. He went home until he got well and was ordered back to his command. He started back and went the wrong way ending up in the Union line where he gave himself up. Afterward he joined the Union army where he lost his health and drew a pension. He was not at the battle of Gettysburg."
Below you will see that he was received as a Confederate prisoner of war at Camp Chase, Ohio and was mustered out of the Union army at Camp Chase, Ohio. This is how he ended up in that part of the country. It has been said that his first encounter with the McCray family was when James McCray found David in one of the farm buildings. He later married Lucinda McCray.
When David "went the wrong way" he was captured at Hampshire, Virginia on January 10, 1863. He was taken to Wheeling, Virginia and then on to Camp Chase, Ohio where he was received as a prisoner of war on January 13, 1863. In a Union document he was described as a "horse thief and bushwhacker". As a confederate cavalry soldier, this might mean he ambushed people and took their horses. He was released on March 5, 1863 after taking an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Living conditions at Camp Chase prison camp were harsh. While Union authorities never intentionally starved the prisoners, the primary goal of Northern officials was to feed and equip the men serving in their own army. This commonly resulted in shortages for the prisoners. The large number of men in close quarters also led to outbreaks of disease. During the winter of 1863-1864, while David was a prisoner, hundreds died in a smallpox epidemic. In November 1864, Union and Confederate authorities agreed upon a prisoner exchange hoping to alleviate the suffering of sick prisoners held by both sides. A total of ten thousand prisoners were exchanged.
On May 2, 1864, David E. Leary enrolled as Private in Regiment 151, Company C, of the Ohio National Guard. He was honorably discharged at Columbus, Ohio (Camp Chase), on August 27, 1864. According to his Declaration for Invalid Pension he was, to a material extent, disqualified from earning a support by manual labor, by reason of disease of lungs and throat. This was his second pension application, submitted in 1890 when he was 47 years old. His wife, Lucinda J. McCray, was granted his pension to begin on October 2, 1895. This was the day after David E. Leary died. She drew 12 dollars a month for herself, and 2 additional dollars for her son, William H. Leary, until he became 16 years old.
The 151st Regiment Infantry was an Ohio National Guard unit organized at Camp Dennison, Ohio on May 13, 1864. The regiment left Ohio by railroad for Washington, D.C. on May 14 and reached Washington on May 21. During active operations of the Confederates under General Early in July against Washington, D.C, Company C was stationed as garrison at Fort Stevens. It was frequently under fire on picket duty and in manning the fort. After the repulse of Early's attack on Washington, D.C. the regiment concentrated at Fort Simmons on August 17. It then moved to Camp Chase, Ohio on August 23 and mustered out on August 27, 1864. Lost during service were 10 Enlisted men by disease.
While in the army, David talked about putting a kernel of corn on a fish hook and dragging it behind him on a string when they passed a farm. This was done in the hope of catching a chicken along the way.
David E. Leary Obituary
Died at his home in Henry county, Oct. 1st, 1895, Mr. D. E. Leary. The deceased was born in Virginia, Aug. 5th, 1843. While yet a young man he was drafted into the Confederate service and served a short time under Gen. Stonewall Jackson, but being a Federal at heart and loyal to the stars and stripes he deserted the Confederate standard and enlisted in the federal service. Shortly after the close of the war he was united in marriage to Miss L. J. McCrea. To this union there were born seven children, 4 boys and 3 girls, 6 of whom, together with his wife, survive him. The deceased leaves a large circle of relatives and friends to mourn his departure. He was a sincere worker in the service of his Master, a kind husband and father, and will be missed by all who knew him.
David E. Leary Death Announcement
It is with regret that we are called on to announce the death of Mr. David E. Leary, who died at his home in Henry Co. last week. The deceased was a former resident of this place and had many friends here. He was a veteran of the late war, having served in a Ohio regiment.
Family notes state that David died in Belmore, Ohio which is in Putnam County. His death announcement says he died in Henry County. Belmore is very close to the Henry County border.
David E. Leary's grave is located in Belmore Cemetery which is less than a mile west of Belmore on the south side of Road Y. A visit in 2003 showed the town of Belmore to be just a few houses at the intersection of 65 and Road Y. The intersection has a blinking stop light. Any business that might have been located there no longer exists. It appears that it has always been a very small community.
The grave has a G.A.R. marker next to it in the shape of a star. G.A.R. stands for the "Grand Army of the Republic". This was an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War. The G.A.R. held it's last encampment (meeting) in 1949.
Noted events in his life were:
1. Residence, 1880, Sugar Creek Township, Putnam County, Ohio. 65 David and Lucinda had 40 acres southwest of the intersection of Township Road S and Road 14S. The 1880 plat map shows L. J. Leary as the owner. 15 acres just south of the Leary farm was owned by E. McCray.
2. Occupation: Farmer, 1880, Sugar Creek Township, Putnam County, Ohio. 65
3. Cemetery: Belmore Cemetery, Van Buren Township, Putnam County, Ohio. The map shows the location of Belmore Cemetery where David E. Leary is buried.
4. Cemetery: Belmore Cemetery, Van Buren Township, Putnam County, Ohio. This is a picture of David E. Leary's grave stone. You cannot read the inscription in the picture, but it simply says:
David E. Leary
Aug. 5, 1843
Oct. 1, 1895
Notice the star shaped G.A.R (Grand Army of the Republic). This was an organization of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
5. Occupation: Farm Laborer, 1860, Rockingham County, Virginia. 118 The farm belonged to John H. Miller and was located in District 1. The Post Office was Harrisonburg.
6. Residence, 1890, Miller City, Palmer Township, Putnam County, Ohio. This is the address on his Declaration for Invalid Pension submitted in 1890.
7. Residence, 1870, German Township, Allen County, Ohio. 119 The Post Office was Lima. The 1870 census lists his occupation as farmer.
8. Alt. Death, 3 Oct 1895. This date comes from Henry County death records. The death date on his grave stone is 1 Oct 1895.
David married Lucinda Jane (Jennie) McCray, daughter of James Baker McCray and Nancy Ann Ward, on 23 Aug 1866 in Allen, Ohio. (Lucinda Jane (Jennie) McCray was born on 11 Jan 1845 in Lima, Ohio,65 died on 21 Jul 1918 in Leipsic, Van Buren Township, Putnam County, Ohio and was buried on 23 Jul 1918 in Belmore Cemetery, Van Buren Township, Putnam County, Ohio.)