John R. O’Banion was born in about 1831 in Georgia, the son of Green H. O’Banion and Hulda Teer, who had immigrated to Georgia from South Carolina. He was the brother of William Hamilton (Ham) O'Banion.
The family moved to Montgomery County, Texas, in the late 1840s. They were enumerated there in the census of 1850, where they were living next door to Peter Pincham.
By 1860, they had moved to Walker County. John was age thirty, living with his parents, and was a laborer.
John joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen, a Texas Militia unit under Capt. Sam Wooldridge, and his name appears on the muster roll of February 14, 1861. John’s brother, Hamilton O’Banion
was also a member of the Riflemen. In addition, his sister, Frances O'Banion, was married to William Harrison, another Cavalryman.
On March 28, 1862, John enlisted in the service of the CSA, S. D. Wooldridge’s Company Second Texas Lancers, which later became Company B, 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry. He was enrolled by John E. George at Danville. John was mustered in at Camp Carter near Hempstead in May of 1862 and trained with the other men of the regiment.
He was on the muster rolls for the months of April through October, by which time the men had arrived in Arkansas and had been dismounted, converted to infantry, and sent to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post. At Arkansas Post, they spent the fall overseeing construction of the fort and building winter cabins.
John survived the Battle of Arkansas Post and was captured by Union forces on January 11, 1863. He was sent up the Mississippi River to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois. He is listed on a roll of Prisoners of War at Camp Butler. He was sent to City Point, Virginia, for exchange in April, but by the time he arrived, he was ill. He was admitted to the hospital in Richmond, Virginia, on April 3rd. His name was on the list of those paroled at City Point.
The muster roll for May and June records him as absent, sick in hospital. In June, he was in St. Mary’s Hospital in Dalton, Georgia, and his illness was listed as debilitis, which meant that he was too ill too leave his bed and was wasting away. On the muster roll for July and August, there is a notation that pay was due John for the use of his horse one month, use of his gun for six months, and mileage from his home to place of rendezvous at 10 cents per mile.
From St. Mary’s Hospital, John was sent to a convalescent camp near Dalton, August 3, 1863. Presumably he got well, because in the muster rolls through April, 1864, he is counted as present. After this, there are no rolls to show what might have happened to John, and he was not present at the surrender in North Carolina the following year. It is thought that he may have died at one of the battles in Georgia in the spring of 1864.
Family background, along with other information, was provided by Joan O’Banion, whose husband’s ancestor was a brother of John. Note also the article on this O'Banion family printed in the Walker County Texas History and available online on Texas Tides.
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 email@example.com.
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