A Civil War Soldier: Pvt. Jacob F. TOLIVER (1831 – 1898)

Source: Signature of Jacob F. Toliver from Compiled Service Record of Jacob F. Toliver. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication M270. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].


How Related:
My husband’s 3rd-great-grandfather

Born: 17 February 1831 in Alleghany Co., North Carolina

Parents: Starling TOLIVER (1806 – aft 1870) and Mildred Ann SPURLIN (c. 1812 – aft 1870)

Siblings: Jacob was the eldest of nine children:

  • Calvin (1832 – 1931)
  • Frances (b. 1834)
  • Andrew (b. 1840)
  • Solomon (b. 1842)
  • Mary (1846 – 1914)
  • John (1848 – 1941)
  • Margaret (1851 – 1909)
  • and Rosa Ann TOLIVER (1853 – 1938)


Married: first to Matilda HIGGINS (1829 – 1906)–my husband’s ancestor–on 1 October 1851 in Ashe Co., North Carolina; divorced. Married second to Caroline CHEEK (1849 – 1927) on 4 April 1882, probably in Allegheny Co., North Carolina.

Children: with wife Matilda, Jacob had five children: Amanda Phidella (1853 – 1918); Rose Phidella (1857 – 1919); Clark Pleasant R. (1861 – 1918) – my husband’s ancestor; Solomon (1864 – 1950); and John Huston TOLLIVER (1867 – 1949). With wife Caroline, he had one son, Clayton TOLLIVER (1884 – 1952). During his children’s generation, another “L” was added to the surname, originally spelled TALIAFERRO.

Compiled Service Record Jacket of Jacob F. Toliver. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication M270. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 15 September 1861 in Co. K (“Alleghany Tigers”), 37th North Carolina Infantry at Alleghany Co., North Carolina; private. Promoted to Full Private (Reduced to rank; Estimated day) on 30 March 1863.

Side Served: Confederacy

Discharged: Absent without leave on 28 January 1865.

Biography or Information of Interest: Jacob’s compiled service record consisted of 23 images at Footnote, plus a couple of cross-reference cards. The reason it is so long was his “interesting” career in the military, which began15 September 1861, when he first enlisted as a private in Company K (also known as the “Alleghany Tigers”) of the 137th North Carolina Infantry in the Confederate Army. His compiled service record contained a brief description (five foot, six inches tall; 30 years old) and his signature. On November 20th of that year, he mustered in at Camp Fisher, promising to serve for one year. On the January/February 1862 Muster Roll, he was listed as a drummer, although his record states he was not promoted to Full Musician until March 1st, and then promoted again to Full Musician on March 30th. On April 3rd, he re-enlisted for the duration of the war, at Kinston, Lenoir Co., North Carolina. Less than a month later, he was listed as a deserter, having taken off from Kinston on May 2nd. For eight long months, he remained away from his company. On 9 January 1864 at Liberty Mills (Virginia?) he returned to his unit. I don’t have his full military record, so I don’t know if he received a court martial for his offense, but I can’t imagine that he got away without some sort of consequence!

He served with his unit until he was captured by the Union Army on May 6, 1864 during the Battle of the Wilderness in Spotsylvania Co., Virginia. He ended up a prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Saint Mary’s Co., Maryland, arriving there May 17th from Belle Plains, Virginia. On July 23rd, he was transferred to Elmira Prison in Elmira, Chemung Co., New York, where he remained a prisoner until he was transferred for exchange on October 11th. On 15 November 1864, Jacob and 3,022 other Confederate POWs, including four citizens, four surgeons, and 74 officers, were exchanged at the Federal battery at Venus Point along the Savannah River in Georgia.

Apparently, all that was not adventure enough for Jacob, or perhaps he thought he had had enough of war. On 28 January 1865, he was reported as absent without leave from his company, and evidently never returned before the war ended on April 9th.

Died: 22 July 1898, probably in Allegheny Co., North Carolina, although it is possible that he removed to Battle Creek, Madison Co., Nebraska in the mid-1880s with some of his adult children.

Buried: unknown

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