A to Z – C is for Captain Charles Windham

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A to Z

C is for Captain Charles Windham,

His Majesty’s Commander

 

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Seeman the younger, Enoch, c.1694-1745; Captain Charles Windham of Earsham (d.1747)Birth 1709 Virginia

Death 20 Aug 1771 South Carolina

My 6th great grandfather

Photo credit: National Trust

The Windham family is on my father’s side. A female Windham married a Mercer, and a granddaughter from that union married a Crane.

 

 

 

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wymondham signCharles’s Windham /Wymondham /Wyndham line is traced back to Sir John De Wymondham in 1320 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.

Three hundred years later, in the early 1600s, Charles’s great grandfather was also born in Norfolk. Apparently the family didn’t get around much. Grandpa  was a judge and military advisor. He migrated to America in 1634 on the ship “John and Dorothy.” After hundreds of years in the same town, I wonder what the family thought of him going to America. I would imagine they weren’t very pleased.

The family settled in Virginia for a couple generations, then Charles moved south to South Carolina. Charles married Mary around 1730 and had at least five children in South Carolina before her death around 1750, including my 5th great grandfather Major Amos Windham who served in the American Revolution in South Carolina.

From Virginia Colonial Records:

Public Record Office, London

Book of Letters Vol. 5

4 Feb 1737. Encloses report of threatened attack by Spanish on Georgia and South Carolina. Has asked Capt. Windham for help. Windham was send to Virginia.

29 Mar 1737. Capt. Windham has ordered Capt. Compton at Virginia to join him quickly.

In the early 1730s, King George II established Georgia as a colony. His main reasoning was to keep the Spanish who were occupying Florida and the Native Indians from attacking South Carolina. Georgia was nothing but a buffer, but King George dumped time, money, and settlers into the colony, helping it to grow and prosper. Wonder where he got the name from? 🙂

The best part of the story is while the King was sending over settlers to build up the colony and munitions to fight off invaders, the Princess of Wales gave birth to a son who would later become King George III. This is the same King the colonists would declare their independence from in 1776. They would never have been able to do so if George II hadn’t supplied them with weapons. Hmmm.

 

On This Day in 1861

On This Day, April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter, South Carolina was shelled by the Confederacy. This marked the start of the Civil War.

SumterPreviously, on February 4th, a convention of seceded states met in Montgomery, Alabama and formed the Confederate States of America.

On March 3rd, Confederate General Beauregard took command of the troops around Charleston Harbor, surrounding Fort Sumter.

By April, the fort was running low on rations. President Lincoln (only president for a month at this point) told them he would re-supply and instructed them to hold the fort.

On April 11th, General Beauregard demanded Union Major Robert Anderson evacuate the fort, but he refused. He was warned if he did not evacuate, the fort would be fired upon at 4:30 a.m. on April 12th.

When the evacuation did not happen, as promised, General Beauregard commanded the men to open fire on Fort Sumter. Fortunately, there were no casualties on either side, but the fort had no option but to surrender.

At 2:30 p.m. on April 13th, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort.

flying confederate flag on april 14The Confederate flag was raise over Fort Sumter and a 100-gun salute to the flag was planned, but a gun discharged prematurely, killing Union Private Daniel Hough. He was the first casualty of the war.

The war produced over one million casualties with between 650,000 and 850,000 Americans giving their lives. They died fighting their own countrymen and left behind as many grieving parents, widows, and children. These Americans gave their lives to save the United States they knew, whether it be Union or Confederate. As Americans, we have a duty to honor their memories and to get it right. God forbid, we ever divide and do it again.

 

(shameless plug: I wrote this post in honor of my new book On This Day. It’s a perpetual calendar/journal/record book. If you’re a genealogy buff, you HAVE to get this book to keep track of your ancestor’s special dates. Check it out here.)