J.S. Thomason/Co. B 24th Texas Cavalry


© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014

The above article was published in the Madisonville Meteor in the late 1800s

Jabez Smyth Thomason, Sr., was born November 7, 1827, (or November 27) in Lawrence County, Alabama. He was the son of George and Matilda (Burke) Thomason and the brother of James B. Thomason and Francis M. Thomason. He immigrated with his family to Montgomery County, Texas, in 1841.

On October 31, 1848, he married Margaret Jane Cheshire. She died a few months later, on January 6, 1849, according to the Thomason Bible. Montgomery County records show that he married Sophia H. McCaleb on August 16, 1850. She was the daughter of Zill H. McCaleb and Mary Elizabeth Martin and was born June 26, 1832 in Tennessee.

Sophia's sister Amanda Eliza McCaleb married Company B soldier Charles Henry Thomas, and her sister Sarah F. McCaleb Chambers married Company B soldier James William Hulon.

In 1862, Jabe joined the Second Texas Lancers, Carter's Brigade, under Capt. S. D. Wooldridge. The Second Lancers was eventually to become Co. B 24th Texas Cavalry, F. C. Wilkes' Regiment.

For some reason that is not clear, there are muster rolls showing that both Capt. Wooldridge and Lt. Thomason were assigned to the 21st Cavalry for long enough to get their names on the rolls. The 21st was under Col. Carter and was assigned to Parsons. However, all other rolls show that Thomason and Wooldridge served under Wilkes in the 24th Regiment.

Also in Company B under Captain Wooldridge was James Marion McCan, who was also born in Lawrence County, Alabama and may have been a cousin of Jabez. James McCan's sister, Katherine, was the wife of Company B Captain Samuel Dunbar Wooldridge.

On April 24, 1862, Jabez was elected Second Lieutenant. In May, he rode with the other men to Arkansas, where they were dismounted at El Dorado on July 28, 1862, and the horses sent home. From there they were sent to Pine Bluff for infantry training, and then to Ft. Hindman at Arkansas Post, Arkansas. On December 1, 1862, he was promoted to First Lieutenant.

Jabez was captured at the Battle of Arkansas Post, where his brother James was killed in battle.

Camp Chase, Ohio, the Prison to which Confederate Officers were Sent
From the website of Ohio History Central

He was sent to Camp Chase, Ohio, to be imprisoned with the other commissioned officers.

Jabe was described on a roll of prisoners as being six feet one inch tall with blue eyes, with red hair, and a fair complexion. He was well over average height for those days. He was exchanged on April 29, 1863, at City Point, Virginia, with the other men of his regiment.

On April 30, after the prisoner exchange, Jabez signed the muster roll as commander of the company. The reason for this was that Captain Wooldridge was sent to the hospital upon reaching Virginia, leaving the company without a commander.

Jabe was sent with the other men of his regiment to General Bragg’s army in Tennessee. In May 1863, he received his back pay of $1223.00, Confederate currency.

After reporting to Bragg’s Army, it was determined that there were too many officers in the 24th and 25th Regiments, due to the numerous deaths of privates in Camp Butler, Illinois, and other northern prisons. Therefore, the companies were combined and the senior officers were sent back to the other side of the Mississippi. The muster roll for June 1863, notes that Jabez was ordered to report to "Lieut. Gen. commanding the Trans-Miss. Deptmt." Papers dated July 28, 1863, indicate orders for him to report to "Gen’l E. Kirby Smith."

On July 31, he received pay from the quartermaster’s office in Ringgold, Georgia. By this time, the soldiers of the 24th Regiment had participated in the Tullahoma Campaign. The remainder of the muster reports for his company show him to be "Absent in the Trans-Mississippi."

Jabez reported to General Kirby Smith in Shreveport, Louisiana, as ordered, according to his biographical sketch in the Madisonville Meteor. His biography also indicates that he was then ordered to report to Colonel Jno. S. Ford at Austin, Texas. This is confirmed by a note on a pay record: "Ordered to report to Col Jno S Ford by Special Order No 62 Hd Qrs Bureau, Conscript Service Trans Miss dated ...October 1st 1863. J S Thomason 1st Lt Co B, 24 Tex Cav." In December, 1863, for service from July to September, he received $300.00. A notation on the record states: " On duty as enrolling officer by order of Lieut. Genl E. K. Smith, J. S. Thomason Lt Co B 24th Texas Cavalry."

Jabez received pay through the Quarter Master’s Department in Houston, Texas. A card in his file shows that in October 1864, he was serving in Texas as captain of Company B of the Consolidated 24th and 25th regiments of Detached Texas Cavalry. The muster was held at the Post of Camp Groce near Hempstead on October 4, 1864. There was a notation to the effect that he was "Absent, on detached service in the Conscript Service." This indicates that he was assigned to chasing deserters and arranging for eligible men to be drafted into service.

The widow's pension application states that he was put on post duty at Centerville and served until the close of the War.

Jabez was a merchant at old Danville before and after the war. He moved his business to Willis in 1870, as did most of the merchants in the old town. Jabe lived in the vicinity of Danville and Willis for more than forty years and was a member and officer of San Jacinto Masonic Lodge 106 at Danville and later at Willis. He is listed as Master Mason in the records of 1870 and 1873.

In 1878 he advertised in the Willis Enterprise that he was selling 202 acres of land southwest of Willis and his “old homestead” with peach orchard, a half mile north of Willis.

He moved to Madisonville in 1885 and lived there to the end of his life on 13 June 1903 at age seventy-five.

Sophia applied for and received a widow's pension in 1916.

At the time, she was residing alternately with two of her children in two different counties, Hill and Anderson. She stated that she was age 84 and was born in Hickman County, Tennessee. A cross-interrogatory was filed by T. E. King of Madisonville. Sophia died on March 1, 1918 in the town of Coleman while living with her daughter, Jessie Thomason Martin. Her body was removed to Madisonville for burial.

Jabez and Sophia are buried in Madisonville City Cemetery, Section 1.

Sources include Montgomery and Madison County histories, San Jacinto Lodge records, quarterlies of the Montgomery County Genealogical Society, and Civil War biographies published by the Madison County Genealogical Society. Also examined were Jabe's Compiled Service Records and his death certificate.

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 protected]

Last updated 2013

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© Karen McCann Hett  All Rights Reserved 2003-2014
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