Karen McCann Hett All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
Israel Hewitt was born in North Carolina in about 1809. At an unknown date, he migrated to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, and was first married to Mary Rhine.
Israel migrated with his family from Alabama to Louisiana, and after the death of his first wife he married Selena Forshee (born in 1832 in Louisiana). The couple immigrated to Texas with their children in about 1855. Israel and Selena and family were enumerated on the 1860 census of Montgomery County. Selena’s father was George Forshee, and her first husband was said to be a Mr. Wallace.
In the vertical files of the Montgomery County genealogical library, there is a letter which was written to Israel from his sister, Sarah Prewitt in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in June, 1861. It was placed by a descendant, Ernestine Pitts. She writes that the letter was sent to Rose Hill, Texas.
Sarah makes an interesting comment: The war fever runs high in this state. I expect it's the same where you are.
Of course, she was right.
Israel did not join the Danville Mounted Riflemen, nor did he join the Second Texas Lancers when most of the men were enrolled at Danville in March of 1862. Israel was already fifty-three by this time, and probably would not have had to go to war due to his advanced age. It is possible that he agreed to serve as a "substitute" for a soldier of draft age, for a fee. This was allowable at the beginning of the war and was common practice.
In any case, he left home, probably on his own horse, in the late fall of 1862 and arrived at Arkansas Post in December. There he was mustered in by Regimental Commander F. C. Wilkes on December 11, and became a private in Capt. Wooldridge’s Company B, 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry (Dismounted.)
An alternate name found on one muster roll in Israel's Compiled Service Records was J. Hewell.
It is probable that Israel was ill at the time of the Battle of Arkansas Post and did not actually fight in the battle. But he was captured there by Union troops on January 11, 1863. He was transported up the Mississippi with the other prisoners. When the prisoners reached St. Louis, Missouri, he and several other members of the company were taken by their captors to City General Hospital at St. Louis, Missouri.
Israel was admitted on January 26, 1863 suffering from “chronic diarrhea.”
Sadly, he died February 2, 1863.
A Certificate for Government Undertaker is included in Israel’s file in the Compiled Service Records in the National Archives.
On his stone in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is inscribed the date of February 3, 1863. He is buried in Plot 20-0-4802.
A special thank you to Scott McKay for sharing this photo of the marker of Israel Hewitt. Scott researches the Tenth Texas Infantry, which was brigaded with the 24th Cavalry through most of the War.
You may view Scott McKay's other photos of Jefferson Barracks markers for men of the 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry.
You may view photos of the cemetery.
Selena is listed as head of family in the 1870 census of Montgomery County, but she later married Samuel Clark. She is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Conroe, in the north end of the cemetery. Her stone is broken and the dates are unreadable. (Thanks to Karen Lawless for doing the cemetery lookup.)
The family information for Israel and Selena was taken from vertical files in the local history department of the library in Conroe, Texas, and was submitted by Mrs. Christine Hewitt Duncan and Ernestine Pitts. Included is a copy of a letter written by Israel’s sister in Alabama and dated June, 1861. Information on Israel’s service was taken from the Compiled Service Records housed in the National Archives.
For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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