During an interview late in life, Mary Etta’s youngest sister, Grace Hazlewood Gipson related the vague family history of their Grandfather Daniel. She used the word “wanderer”. All Grace knew was that her grandfather had left his family behind and moved to Menard County, Illinois to work on a farm. And that much was true.
But there was more to the story than Grace or Mary Etta ever knew.
OLD KENTUCKY HOME
Parthenia Mears lived with her elderly parents James and Rutha Mears in Green County, KY. In 1851 she became Mrs. Daniel Hazlewood. Then came the children, seven in all: Martha, Emily, Mary, Nancy, Jerome, William, and Rose Etta. The Civil War disrupted their marriage in 1864, when Daniel enlisted in the Union Army as a private in the Kentucky Infantry.
The 30th Regiment fought against Confederate guerrillas operating in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Daniel’s company served as mounted infantry, traveling on horseback to an engagement, then dismounting to fight on foot. The 30th operated for less than two years. Daniel mustered out of uniform in Munfordville, KY in the spring of 1865, four days after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Back home in Hart County, Daniel and Martha (Parthenia’s nickname) tried to return to a normal life on their farm near Frenchman’s Knob. In 1866, a son William was born. Then death visited when four-year-old Jerome tragically died from choking on a bean. Their older daughters married and moved on. One day in 1872, Daniel did the same.
He packed his bags and headed north to Illinois. Parthenia raised the remaining children alone, including a new baby named Rosie. (Mary Etta’s father, William was about six years old when Daniel deserted the family.) Parthenia declared herself “widowed, head of household” on the next census in 1880.
FROM THE SANGAMON RIVER TO THE CHISHOLM TRAIL
Daniel trekked to Petersburg, IL to live with his daughter Martha and son-in-law Amos Wallace. He found work as a farm hand. Eventually he also found himself another wife. On March 25, 1878, Daniel married the widow Elizabeth Cardiff from Pennsylvania.
Postwar times brought many changes. Rails soon connected the states and territories from coast to coast. Raw materials, goods, livestock, and people traveled both east and west. Daniel and Elizabeth migrated westward like so many others following the promise of a better life.
The Hazlewoods likely rode the train south through Springfield IL, west to Saint Louis, and straight across Missouri into Kansas. Ottawa County just north of Salina became their new home. In the 1880s the county population exploded. It was a boom time of cowboys driving herds of Texas cattle up to Salina on the Chisholm Trail. But it didn’t last. Barbed wire fencing brought an end to the open range of livestock as farmers moved into ranch lands.
Daniel returned to Illinois a broken man. His daughter Martha took him in again. She and Amos had relocated from Petersburg to the town of Waverly about ten miles south of Springfield. The year was 1893. Daniel’s rheumatic heart condition worsened: “He is not able to perform … manual labor… When he would do anything that exerted him very much… (he would) have to lie down… Any unusual excitement would cause him to complain of smothering and he is not a man of vicious habits but a sober, civil man …”
Amos successfully helped his father-in-law apply for a disability pension in 1896. Daniel’s next stop was Dayton, Ohio. He gained admittance into The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, a retirement home of sorts for Civil War veterans. It was a home unlike any he had known before.
BACK IN THE ARMY
All soldiers at the National Home wore regulation army uniforms. Their lives followed the same structure as if on duty: Each man belonged to a company. Slept in company barracks. Awoke to reveille at 5 am. Listened for taps every night at 9:30. By imitating army life, the home provided structure and social support to the men.
At age sixty-seven, Daniel stood 5’10” with gray blue eyes. He retained a slim build, but his wavy hair was no longer dark. A fashionably big moustache covered his upper lip. It must have felt strange seeing himself in the mirror dressed in a uniform he hadn’t worn in 30 years.
The enormous Dining Hall served three meals daily to over 5,000 men. Church services were held Sunday morning and evening. (Daniel was a Protestant.) There were occupational therapy opportunities such as cigar-making and stocking-weaving. The jobs paid $5-$25 per month. Daniel earned spending money, while being productive in spite of his heart ailment. Yet it wasn’t all work and no play.
The soldiers home offered a library, a theater for live performances, bowling alleys, and a billiards room. The Dayton campus also boasted a 25 acre park. Its manicured gardens and its lakes dotted with swans attracted thousands of local citizens as visitors each year. There was even a small zoo on the grounds with an aviary, an alligator pond, a bear, a buffalo, and a monkey exhibit.
TIME MARCHED ON
As the century came to a close, Daniel moved one final time- back to Kentucky. He stayed with family residing in downtown Louisville. Grayson Street (present day Cedar Street) lay between Walnut (Muhammad Ali Blvd) and the banks of the Ohio. It would be his last residence.
A wave of malaria hit the river city between 1901-1905. Daniel succumbed on May 1, 1901. The Saturday morning edition of the Louisville Courier Journal ran his obituary: “Daniel Hazlewood died of Malarial Fever at 70 years old.” Schoppenhorst Funeral Home (pictured at left) handled the funeral. Daniel was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in the Soldiers Section, a parcel of land purchased by the U.S. government during the Civil War for soldiers who died in action.
Ancestry.com. U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
“Interior of Neurath-Schoppenhorst Funeral Home in Louisville, KY.” Neurath-Schoppenhorst Funeral Home, American Marketing and Publishing, May 2017
Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1885 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: KS1885_105; Line: 5
National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Young, Betty. Hazlewood Family History.