Levant historian seeks information on Civil War veterans

By Brian Swartz, Of The Weekly Staff
Posted June 21, 2012, at 9:31 a.m.

LEVANT — If you know a Civil War veteran from Levant, Lynn Rogers would like to hear from you.

Involved in local historical organizations for some 30 years, Rogers became Levant’s de facto “military history researcher” when she, Audrey Mason, and Patricia Pickard helped publish “Levant Maine: A History” in 1995. While researching Levant veterans of all wars, Rogers “got an awful lot of information on the Civil War.” Some material appeared in the 1995 book, which has been reprinted three times.

More material “was left out,” however, and now Rogers plans to publish a detailed book about Levant’s Civil War veterans, she said. “My goal is for the book to be out in time” for the Levant bicentennial celebration in summer 2013.

For years Rogers has conducted research at the Bangor Public Library, the Maine State Archives, and elsewhere. She has combed regimental records, obituaries, marriage announcements, and other pertinent sources to glean information about Civil War veterans “connected with Levant in some way,” she said.

There are more than Rogers expected.

During the town’s centennial celebrations in 1913, former Maine State College (later University of Maine at Orono) president and Levant native Merritt Fernald delivered a rousing speech about the town and provided a list of 154 Civil War veterans who had affiliations with Levant. Based on her painstaking research, Rogers has added another 78 veterans, including “people who were born there or moved to Levant after the war or were buried there.”

The Civil War economically and socially impacted Levant. The 1850 federal census identified 2,000 Levant residents. Kenduskeag split from Levant in 1852, and the 1860 federal census listed Levant’s population as 1,305 people.

“There were over 40 men from Levant that died in the Civil War,” Rogers said. “The deaths alone affected those families. Every family had a son or a father or knew someone who served in the military. They went to the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard.

“It was very personal,” she said.

Levant veterans “came from all over,” Rogers said. “We have men from France and Germany who were substitutes for men from Levant and never lived there.”

According to Rogers, “Levant had a quota of men to send to the war. Levant never paid any bounties to drafted personnel; the town wanted only volunteers.”

Rogers categorized her research by “combining men by units,” such as the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment, and the 22nd Maine Infantry, and by listing veterans alphabetically in a loose-leaf notebook. Each listing contains various information, such as a veteran’s:

• Age upon joining the military, plus his rank, the units in which he served, and the date he mustered into military service;

• Civilian occupation;

• Parents;

• Municipality in which he resided;

• Spouse and wedding date;

• Military service, including a death date or discharge date;

• Burial place.

For many veterans, Rogers also listed her information sources so that the descendants of individual veterans can track valuable genealogical data.

Rogers’ research has revealed many interesting — and sometimes sad — stories about Levant veterans. For example, Preserved Brighton was born in Levant on July 9, 1842. He initially joined the 22nd Maine Infantry, but disease sent him home from New Orleans in August 1863.

His brother, Charles, fought in Virginia and vanished “since being wounded in battle before Richmond” in late 1864, Rogers’ research indicates. No word reached the family about Charles’ fate, so in February 1865, the newly married Preserved left behind his bride, Abbie, and joined the 9th Maine Infantry “to find” Charles.

“He did find him well & back in service,” Rogers noted on Preserved’s biographical data. Preserved was “mustered out & honorably discharged” in mid-July 1865.

Local farmers David and Abigail Brann sent at least three sons to save the Union, but none came home. Abner died of disease in Baton Rouge, La., David died of disease in Portsmouth, Va., and smallpox claimed the youngest brother, William Lewis, in New Orleans less than two months before the war ended.

Levant women also served the Union during the Civil War. The Plummer sisters, Judith and Susan, worked as nurses supervised by Dorothea Dix. Their brother, Spaulding, joined the 29th Maine Infantry in November 1863; he was assigned to guard the incarcerated Lincoln assassins in Washington, D.C. in April 1865.

Although she has identified 232 Civil War veterans with Levant ties, Rogers believes that more exist. She wants to learn about them and also obtain additional information — including photos — of the veterans whom she already lists. The goal is to place every known Levant veteran in her book and to provide as much information about each veteran as possible.

“If I can get help from the public with family stories that have come down through the years, it would mean so much,” Rogers said. “Material like that would make it more of a personal account.”

Anyone with information about Civil War veterans with Levant ties can contact Rogers at (207) 884-7733.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/06/21/the-weekly/levant-historian-seeks-information-on-civil-war-veterans/ printed on September 16, 2014