Actually, I had no one to ask William about. No one else in my dad’s family seemed very interested in my family search. No one else seemed to have the desire to know where dad’s side of the family came from. My mom’s side of the family was easy. The Ehlmann (or Eilmann) family came to the St. Charles area between 1840-1850 and by and large, most of us are still here. They settled two of the local Lutheran Churches and those church records exist at our local library. I can even tell you what my grandfather’s confirmation verse was. But the Shoults side was something else entirely.
In my post, I Asked About…John C. I noted that John C. was first enumerated in 1860 with his father, Willliam and mother Tarsy and sister Martha in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. On the eve of the civil war, twenty-eight year old William lived in the old stage coach route of Burnsville, Mississippi. William was a teamster or wagon driver by trade and probably earned in the neighborhood of $1.00-2.00 per day. As did most of his neighbors, he rented his pitch pine home and claimed only $100 in personal property, which probably included his horse, wagon and whatever crude furnishing in his home. The country was alternate swamp and high pine with occasional clumps of chestnut trees.
After Lincoln was elected President in 1860, the secession of the Southern States was almost assured. Mississippi Governor Pettus ordered elections to be held in each county and to send representatives to the Legislature to vote on the question of succession. When the vote was taken at the Jackson convention, Tishomingo Country voted against secession, but as the majority of those represented voted to secede. Tishomingo signed the Articles of Secession.
On May 27, 1861, in Corinth, Mississippi, W. E. Shults enlisted for one year in the Confederate Army as a wagon driver with the 17th Mississippi Regiment, Co. E., known as the “Burnsville Blues”. According to his military records, the 17th Mississippi Infantry was organized in June 1861 of companies which had previously been in the State service and was mustered into confederate service for twelve months. Charles C. Bolton writes in his book “Poor Whites of the Antebellum South”:
Those poor whites who joined the Confederate army during 1861 did so for a variety of reasons: patriotism, adventure, intimidation and economic necessity. One unionist from Chickasaw County Mississippi recalled that ‘I opposed the war all I could but when it forced itself on us I with several others volunteered in the Southern army as we thought we would be forced to join if we did not go.’ Other tenants and laborers in the state joined Confederate companies when they discovered that the coming war narrowed their employment options to a position in the Confederate army. For example, most of the men who joined the Burnsville volunteers in Tishomingo County had reportedly worked at area sawmills until the concerns closed their doors following secession.
The 17th Mississippi Regiment, Company E was later designated as Captain Moreland’s Company. Micajah D. Moreland, age 34 at the time of mustering in 1861 was probably one of the wealthier citizens of Tishomingo at the time. In the 1860 census he lists real property worth $6,000 and personal property in the amount of $3,630.