I recently wrote about the Royce family from Franklin, who returned home after the Civil War to find their home had been destroyed by the Federals in the spring of 1863. Moses S. Royce was a member of Forrest’s cavalry which I’m sure did not score him points with the Federals in terms of whether or not to destroy his home. Read more.
Another Franklin family faced a similar threat but had a more fortunate fate than the Royce’s.
Dr. J.S. Park and his wife called Franklin home as well during the Civil War. Just a few weeks after Mrs. Royce had to evacuate her home near the McNutt residence on Lewisburg Pike, the Park’s family was served with an order by Lieut. T.G. Beaham, on General Gordon Granger’s staff, on Sunday, May 10th, 1863.
Dr. Park’s set his pen to paper on Monday, May 11th and inscribed a letter to Major General Gordon Granger to plead for a rescinding of the order based on the argument that he – Dr. Parks – had taken the oath of allegiance on August 20th, 1862. His plea in his letter is interesting:
“I offer that at no time during the occupation of this place by the Federal forces, have I performed any act inconsistent with the duty of the noncombatant; and that my native citizen rights of protection been forfeited by any act . . . I was induced to take the oath of allegiance to the United States under the protection of its authorities, that I should become entitled to and receive the full protection of an American citizen under the Constitution. I have ever kept it in as good faith as those who have ever styled themselves and been considered good Union men.”
After appealing to a statement from Union General Henry Halleck regarding the treatment of noncombatants in war, Parks – who says he owned four slaves – continued his argument in his letter to Gen Granger:
” . . if notwithstanding this protest I shall be driven into exile by the acts of the United States authorities, I shall hold the United States and its officers by whom I am exiled, responsible for any and all damages that may accrue by reason thereof, to person, profession, family, and property.”
Several factors must have worked in Dr. Park’s favor regarding his petition compared with the fate of Mrs Royce, who was forced to leave, and lost her home.
First, Dr. Park’s was able to make the plea personally, in his stead for his then sickly wife. In the Royce situation, Mr Royce (Moses) was serving in the Confederate army under Forrest. Dr. Park’s did have a son in the Confederate Army but the Federals may not have known of such. Secondly, Dr. Park’s made a bold case for having taken the oath of allegiance. Mrs Royce did not take the oath, though Moses says his wife was not asked to. Third, the Park-evacuation order came one month after Van Dorn’s attack in Franklin and in the late stages of Fort Granger being completed. There was not such an urgent need for materials for the fort in mid May as early April.
Timing is everything.
The Park’s family escaped the fate of losing their home to the Federals, but Dr. Park’s lost his wife in death several months later on August 21, 1863.
Sources for story:
Rick Warwick, The Williamson County Historical Society, personal email
The Civil War Years Revealed Through Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs. Rick Warwick. 2006: 301.
Image of Dr. Parks courtesy, The Williamson County Historical Society.