About the Author

Benjamin T. Humphrey

Benjamin T. Humphrey

The Journal was written by Captain Benjamin Tolbert Humphrey during the time he served in the Civil War. Though other individuals were involved in editing, researching and publishing the journal into the printed format, Captain Humphrey is appropriately, credited as the author. The Journal is his words . . . here is his background.

 Benjamin T Humphrey, 1826-1895

Benjamin Tolbert Humphrey was born Jan. 24, 1826 near Crawfordsville, Indiana, to William James Humphrey and Catharine Williams Humphrey. According to family records and U.S. Census documents, he was one of seven children: James Russell Humphrey, Rachel Ann Humphrey, Polly Humphrey, Sarah Humphrey, Catharine Humphrey, and a half-brother Alfred Williams.

Census records show that about 1846, Benjamin married a woman named Mary who was born about 1828. Their union produced 4 children: Elizabeth Humphrey (born about 1847), John Humphrey (born about 1848), Mary Humphrey (born about 1854), and Arminda Humphrey (1858-1934). John appears as a 2 year old on the 1850 U.S. Census, but is no longer listed on the 1860 U.S.. Census.

In 1861, when the civil war began, Benjamin Humphrey was farming near York, in Putnam County, Mis-souri. On July 11, 1861, he joined the union army and en-rolled with the U.S. Army Missouri Volunteers for a period of 3 years. This organization, from Laclede, Missouri, sub-sequently became the 7th Cavalry Company M on Nov. 14, 1861. Records show Benjamin’s horse was valued at $100 and his horse equipment was also worth $100.

On March 22, 1864, Captain Humphrey requested a leave of service to go home. His request states that three-quarters of his company had re-enlisted and that he had been in the U.S. service since July 1861, without a prior leave of absence.

During his furlough in July 1864, Benjamin stated in his journal that things had changed at his home though he did not elaborate about what was different. We can pre-sume Benjamin’s marriage was a casualty of the war be-cause in 1866 he marries again.

Benjamin’s second marriage was to Sarah Jane Mil-lis, who was born Oct. 10, 1848 in Knoxville, TN. Their marriage was performed by Parson Cope in Cassville, Barry County, MO on Nov. 27, 1866. Together they had 3 children; James Douglas Humphrey (1869-1887), George Pepper Humphrey (1871-1935), and Dora Della Humphrey (1874-1946).

After he remarried, Benjamin left Missouri and moved to southeastern Kansas. According to U.S. and Kansas census records from 1870-1885 he was living in Fall River and Salt Springs, in Greenwood County, Kansas. Benjamin was active in the Grand Army of the Republic, Fall River Post Number 112 until 1886, serving as Post Captain.

Benjamin Tolbert Humphrey died December 14, 1895.

The following description of Benjamin Humphrey was written by his daughter, Dora Della Humphrey Lamoreaux, in a letter dated November 27, 1928, to her cousin A. W. Harris.

My father had a wonderful memory, he was a great reader, and remembered what he read. Although he was self-educated, having gone to school only three months, he could converse with anyone, on any subject. That is lots more than I can do. He had a great many good traits of which I am proud, oh how I wish we could see each other and talk over those old family traits. I want to know all about my father’s family. I don’t remember what I wrote you before I am writing to so many. But we were father’s second family just three of us children, James Douglas, George P, and myself.

Father was living in northern Missouri when civil war broke out, and he had a farm, well-stocked. He and his first wife drifted apart and finally he turned everything over to her and three little girls. The older one died quite young but the last we heard one of them was in California, the other lived in northern Missouri it has been long years since I have heard from them. I have four children living oldest girl Mildred Drake is 29 years old, Clarence oldest boy is 26 years old, Agnes is 22, and Lawrence the baby is 16. All are married but the youngest boy.