Friday’s From the History Files – Death by Deserter

Today I get to talk about an ancestor on my father’s side of the family. My mom is visiting and brought me three huge books that have been compiled by various family members. In REBELS, Lou knows almost nothing about her family history. I am so luck that my family has cared enough to research and document letters, conversation, etc.

John Smith Lewis is my great, great grandfather. One of his daughters, Nancy Jane, married a fellow named Jim High. Our story begins with Jim High’s father – William.

William High served in the Confederate Army and was tasked with bringing in a deserter. He went to the deserter’s last known address and was shot before he got to the porch! Good news, he found his deserter. Bad news, he died. According to family members, Jim High never got over his father’s murder. Years later, the deserters name was revealed to him, and Jim ALLEGEDLY confronted him. One Sunday night soon after, the deserter disappeared and was never found again. When friends and family asked Jim if he was involved, he answered, “A place was prepared for him and he is there – and that’s all I will ever say.”

The book has one more note about Nancy Jane and Jim. It says that ALLEGEDLY, Jim and a friend named Leander were caught and arrested for making illegal moonshine whiskey. Jim escaped jail, loaded his family and their belongings into a wagon and took off to Kentucky. Leander wasn’t so lucky and spent 3 years in prison.

Reading these books has been so interesting to me. What do you think our great, great, grandchildren will be reading about us? Is anyone else worried that we’re going to seem really boring after people like Jim High?




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