Friday, January 26, 2024

2024 - Prompt – Witness to History - Asbury William Zickefoose

Asbury William Zickefoose 1840-1933

Nancy Simmons

- Paul Simmons - father

--Walter Simmons – grandfather 

---Andrew Simmons – great-grandfather

----Aaron Simmons – great-great-grandfather

----Mary M Simmons – Aaron’s sister, 3rd great-aunt

Asbury Zickafoose – Mary’s husband, my 3rd great-uncle   


Asbury William Zickefoose

According to a 1991 newspaper article in the Parkersburg News, Wilda Zickafoose Hobert, the daughter of Asbury William Zickafoose, states her father witnessed the capitulation of Robert E Lee at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865.

Asbury Zickafoose married my third-great aunt, Mary Magdalena Simmons, in July 1865 shortly after returning home from the war. Asbury served for thirty-nine months in the Union forces in Company K 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He enlisted on February 1, 1862, in Harrisville, West Virginia, and mustered out on May 2, 1865, in Richmond, Virginia. The 10th Regiment was in many battles and skirmishes in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Asbury Zickefoose                                                  A.W. Zickefoose
  Enlistment 1862                                                   Mustered Out 1865

Wilda still remembers many of her father’s firsthand accounts of his experiences in the Civil War and still has several of his original letters. She recalls his accounts of the battles of Shenandoah, Fisher Hill, Gettysburg, Droop Mountain, and Winchester.

A. W. Zickefoose
Wounded in Action near Winchester, VA
Sept 19, 1864

According to his military records, he was injured on September 19, 1864, near Winchester, Virginia. According to the National Park Service website, the 10th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry was at the Battle of Opequan on September 19, 1864, when Asbury was injured, was in the Appomattox Campaign March 28- April 9th, and at the Surrender of Lee and his army on April 9th. Asbury’s daughter states in the newspaper article that he was at Appomattox Courthouse when Lee surrendered to Grant. Asbury was one of the guards when the surrender took place and he saw both generals. He told her how soldiers cut down a large apple tree on the grounds at Appomattox Courthouse and cut it into small pieces to take home as souvenirs.

Surrender at Appomattox Court House

Asbury William Zickafoose was born in 1840 and died in 1933 at the age of ninety-three. Asbury was the great-grandson of German immigrant Johann Jacob Ziegenfuss. Zickefoose is the Americanized form of Ziegenfuss. His father was Sampson Zickefoose born in 1792 and died in 1885. His mother was Sarah Wade born in 1792. Asbury and his first wife, Mary Magdalene Simmons, sister to my great-great-grandfather, had nine children from 1867 to 1887. These children would be my first cousins three times removed. On April 14, 1899, at the age of fifty-five, Mary died from the measles. Mary’s younger sister, Sara Susan Simmons, came to live in the Zickafoose home to take care of the children. On April 13, 1901, Asbury married Sarah Susan Simmons. Six years later May 2, 1907, Sarah Susan died. There were no children born to this union.

Asbury W. Zickefoose & Maud William's marriage record

A year later, on March 14, 1908, Asbury at the age of 68 married Margaret Elizabeth “Maud” Williams who was twenty years old. Many fathers would marry off their young daughters to a widowed veteran to provide her with a pension for life. This worked out very well for Maud. She had four children with Asbury including Wilda the daughter interviewed with the Parkesburg News in 1991. Maud lived to 1979 pulling Asbury’s Civil War pension for 46 years after his death.

Below are records of Asbury’s pension payments and how they increased over the years. I would love to know what the amount was in 1979 when Maud was still pulling payments from his pension.

Asbury W. Zickefoose Pension Payment Cards -
 $10/monthly in 1887 to $72.00/ monthly in 1921
Maud continued to pull his pension payments until she died in 1979

Asbury farmed most of his life but in 1925 he was admitted to the US, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers possibly in Dayton, Ohio. According to the register he had a fractured skull and fractured left leg and was old. He was 85 years old in 1925, was 5 feet 8 inches, and had blue eyes and brown hair. He was discharged on November 12, 1931.

Asbury W. Zickefoose
Register for US, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers - Fold3

His death certificate states he died at home in Parkersburg on September 22, 1933, from kidney failure. His wife, Maud, is the informant and he is buried next to his first wife, Mary Margaret Simmons, in Moyers Cemetery in Ritchie County, West Virginia.

Asbury W. Zickafoose - West Virginia Death Certificate

Asbury W. Zickefoose and 1st wife Mary M (Simmons)
Peter Moyers Cemetery, Den Run, Ritchie County, WV

Asbury William Zickefoose was born in 1840 and died in 1933 and certainly witnessed a lot of history in his 92 years, 11 months, and 9 days of his life. He was born in the decade of the Mexican War and the discovery of gold in California. He was 16 years old when Abraham Lincoln was elected president and then witnessed our country divide and take up arms against each other. He enlisted for a three-year term of service in the West Virginia 10th Regiment and fought in many conflicts for the next three years. Amazingly he witnessed the surrender of Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865. 

He traveled home to West Virginia, a new state, to marry and have nine children. He outlived two wives and then married a very young woman and had four more children. He witnessed one of his sons enlisting in the Spanish-American War and WW I and died as the United States fell into the Great Depression. His legacy lived on for 46 more years as his third wife continued to collect his Civil War pension payments until 1979 and the last of his children died in the year 2000. What AMAZING history he witnessed!!

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