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John Mann Midyett Bible

In January 2011 I was contacted by Skip Riddle about a Bible that was the property of the GAR Memorial Board of Trustees which is a citizens board of the city of Worcester, Mass. The Bible was housed in the Worcester Historical Museum at that time.  Dan McAuliffe, Chairperson of the Board, planned to display the Bible as a sidebar to his presentation on the 25th Massachusetts Regiment during the upcoming 150th Civil War Anniversary and he asked Skip to look into the history of this Bible.  The Bible is currently displayed under a glass case in the Worcester Public Library.  See the display photos by Dan McAuliffe here and here.

It appears that this Bible was owned by John Mann "Jacky" Midyett because there was a list of his 21 slaves in the back of the Bible.  On the inside cover is a notation which says "I found this Bible in a log cabin only a few hours after the battle at Roanoke Island, N.C., February 8, 1862.  /s/ George Sumner Battelle, Company H, 25th Regiment, M.V.I." [Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry].  The last entry in the Bible was that of John M. Midyett's granddaughter, Sallie B., who was born in 1860. He had other grandchildren that were born later but they are not listed in this Bible.  I certainly believe that George S. Battelle took this "souvenir of war" almost 150 years ago, and thankfully so, since it has been preserved for us to enjoy now.

George Sumner Battelle, age 29 and a farmer from Worcester, MA, enlisted as a private in Co. H. on Sept. 21, 1861.  The 25th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was a Worcester County unit, organized at Camp Lincoln, Worcester, Mass., in the early fall of 1861. It was formed largely under the supervision of A.B.R. Sprague, an officer of the old 3d Battalion Rifles, who became its lieutenant colonel. The men were mustered in on various dates between Sept. and Oct., with Edwin M. Upton of Fitchburg as colonel of the regiment. On Oct. 31 it received its colors from the ladies of the city of Worcester, and left for the seat of war. On Nov. 3rd it reached Annapolis, Md., where it was attached to Foster's Brigade, Burnside's Coast Division. It sailed Jan. 9, 1862, as a part of the Burnside expedition to the coast of North Carolina. Landing on Feb. 7, the following day it was engaged in the battle of Roanoke Island, losing 48 men, 8 of whom were killed or mortally wounded.  It is evident that George Battelle survived the war since this Bible was found in the very city that he hailed from.  He was counted in the 1890 Worcester Co., MA Veterans Census as well as the 1900 census where he was listed as a mason, and the 1910 census where he was a gardener for a private family at the age of 78.  His military marker is located in the Worcester Rural Cemetery.

As the Bible states, John M. Midyett was born in 1792.  He was probably born in Tyrrell County because his parents, John Spencer Midyett & Morning (Mann) Midyett were living there in 1792 as is evidenced by several deeds from that time period.  "Jacky" died of consumption in Sept. 1870 in the newly formed county of Dare.  The 1830 Tyrrell Co. census shows that he owned 14 slaves; in 1840 Tyrrell Co. he owned 11 slaves.  In 1850 John M. Midyett was counted twice--once in Tyrrell County with 15 slaves and once in Currituck County with 16 slaves.  He was still living on Roanoke Island, Currituck County in 1860 and was apparently widowed but still owned 12 slaves.  [He was erroneously listed as John A. in this census.]  One of the slaves listed in the back of the Bible was "Feeles" who was born in April 1841.  "Fields Midgett" was living on Roanoke Island when the 1900 census was taken.  He was 59 years of age with a birth date of April 1841.  Fields' pension record shows that he was a Corporal in Co. F, 36th Colored Infantry.  It also states that he was owned by "Jackey" Midyett.  Fields died on June 28, 1912 and is buried in Manteo, NC in his family cemetery.

I'd like to thank Skip Riddle, Roy Archbell, and Alan C. Leonard for their authoritative input and most especially to Dan McAuliffe for taking the photographs of this Bible which has been missing from Roanoke Island since 1862.  This Bible has led a very interesting life!


Front Cover - click here for larger image


Inside Front Cover - Click here for larger image

MARRIAGES

Maurice M. Midyett, son of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born May 7, 1832, and Mary T. Baum, daughter of Joseph and Sally Baum, born December 11th, 1837, were married January 8th, 1857.
Nancy Midyett, daughter of Maurice M. and Mary T. Midyett, born March 4th, 1858.
Sallie B. Midyett daughter of Maurice M. and Nancy [sic] T. Midgett was born the 24th of February A.D. 1860

BIRTHS

John M. Midyett was born April 11th, 1792.
Nancy Baum, wife of John M. Midyett, was born October 11th, 1801.
Colinda Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born May 15, 1818.
Benjamin F. Midyett, son of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born November 17, 1819.
Edward Midyett, son of John M. and Nancy Midyett, October 16, 1821.
Penelope Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born September 7, 1823.
Morning Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born March 16, 1828.
Morning Midgett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midgett, born June 11, 1830.

BIRTHS

Maurice M. Midyett, son of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born May 7th, 1832.
Jehu Midyett, son of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born September 10th, 1834.
Leah Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born July 31, 1836.
Winna B. Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born August 23, 1839.
Anna B. Midyett, daughter of John M. and Nancy Midyett, born August 24, 1842

DEATHS

John S. Midyett died May 16th, 1837.
Morning Midyett, wife of John S. Midyett, died May 28, 1837.

Names and ages of the slaves of John M. Midyett

Clarissa was born March, 1815
Fanny " February, 1816
Rachel " April, 1824
Samuel " 1826
Ben " 1827
Love " 1830
Criss " April, 1837
Chana " May, 1838
Lawrence " February, 1840
Feeles " April, 1841
Frederich " December, 1843
William " September, 1846
Harriet " May, 1848
Isabell " April, 1848
Nicey " February, 1850
Violet " October, 1851
Jane " May 6, 1854
Amanda " Sept. 8, 1853
Genett " March 14, 1854
Nancy " October 15, 1855
Sally " February, 1856

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2009  Kay Midgett Sheppard & Marla Beasley