|Minor Lankford Braden|
Minor was just a young boy when he was forced to learn the hard facts of life. Tragedy stuck the Braden family in 1827 when his father died on January 24 in McMinn County, Tennessee, leaving his mother alone to care for three small children. Later that year, Rhoda moved her family to Gwinnett County, Georgia where her widowed mother Marion (or Meron) Caldwell Lankford and many other Lankford family members lived. Census records from 1830 show Rhoda and her mother living next door to each other so I’m sure they were supporting one another.
In 1840, Minor was employed by the principal keeper of the penitentiary where he gathered convicts on horseback and in stage coaches. Finding this job monotonous, Minor “concluded to follow the fortunes of war” and enlisted in Company F of the Palmetto Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers at Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama on January 10, 1847 to fight in the Mexican-American War. Company F, commanded by Colonel Butler, sailed from Mobile on a merchant vessel on January 15, 1847 bound for Vera Cruz. Eighteen days later they landed on the island of Lobos, 60 miles off Vera Cruz and joined General Winfield Scott on the land and water attack of Vera Cruz until the city surrendered. After the surrender, General Scott’s army moved to the city of Mexico where they fought in the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec and Garita de Belen. In a June 1, 1901 interview with the Sunny South, Minor stated “At Churubusco, Colonel Butler, Lieutenant Colonel Dickinson and a great many of the Palmetto regiment were killed, but we won the battle and captured a great many prisoners, among whom were 30 deserters from the American army, all of whom I saw hung at one time.” Minor was selected to be part of the storming party at Chapultepec. The company fought until they were able to plant ‘Old Glory’ on the ramparts. He was present when the American army took possession of Mexico. Minor stayed with his regiment from the time he enlisted until he mustered out of service in 1848, returning home ill from the tolls of the war. Years later, The Atlanta Constitution reported in the obituary they ran for Minor on February 2, 1913 that he was “Worn out with the long fights and marches, he fell ill and had to be brought back to his native country in a wagon.” He received a silver medal for honorable service in the war and drew a government pension of $20 per month until his death.
On August 2, 1850, Minor lived with his mother and brothers in Berkshire, Gwinnett County, Georgia. The boys, now men, were all farmers. Minor would celebrate Christmas that year with his new bride, Mary Jane Milligan, whom he married in DeKalb County, Georgia on December 19, 1850. Mary’s parents are unknown to me. Minor and Mary never had children.
On July 31, 1860, Minor and Mary lived in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County, Georgia. Minor was a farmer with real estate valued at $1,200 and a personal estate valued at $1,480.
In 1862 with America at war again, on April 9 Minor enlisted with Company C, Twelfth Georgia Battalion-Light Artillery in Stone Mountain. First Lieutenant Braden served until July 18, 1862 when he resigned his command on wounded/sick furlough under the authority of General J.P. McConn in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee. Minor wasn’t home long when his older brother Rufus, an M.D., died in DeKalb County on May 7, 1862. Rufus was buried in what would become the Braden Family Cemetery, a small cemetery in DeKalb County, four miles from Stone Mountain off Tucker Road. Only four known graves can be found in this cemetery.
Minor and Mary lived in Stone Mountain on August 3, 1870. His mother Rhoda lived with them. The census taker enumerated her as 84 years old although she was actually 74 having been born in 1795. The census taker also enumerated as her as “Infirm.” Minor’s real and personal estates were both valued at $800. Minor continued to earn a living by farming.
The following news item ran in The Atlanta Constitution on October 9, 1876—“Sheriff’s Sale. Will be sold before the Court House door in the town of Decatur, in DeKalb county, on the first Tuesday in November next, one hundred and thirty acres of land, parts of lots of land number two hundred and eighteen (218) and fractional lot number two hundred and nineteen (219), in this eighteenth district of originally Henry, now DeKalb county, Said lands being the lands and plantation upon which Miner L. Braden now resides. Said lands levied on as the property of said Miner L. Braden, by virtue of an execution from the Superior Court of DeKalb county, in favor of William Leltch against James Millican and Miner L. Braden. October 9, 1876. James Hunter, Sherif DeKalb county.”
Minor’s younger brother, Robert, died in DeKalb County on November 14, 1878. He was buried at the Braden-Hudgins Cemetery in Lilburn, Gwinnett County, Georgia.
On June 4, 1880, Minor and Mary lived in Stone Mountain. His mother lived with them and for the second time, was enumerated as 84 years old—this time though it was true. Rhoda died in DeKalb County on October 31, 1881. She was buried in the Braden Family Cemetery with her son Rufus.
On June 7, 1900, Minor and Mary still lived in Stone Mountain. They had been married for 49 years. This census record confirms that Mary never had children stating that she was the mother of zero children.
In a June 1, 1901 interview with the Sunny South, Minor stated “I am nearing the eightieth mile post having come on the stage of action in 1822. I have been variously employed during this long period. I have spent the greater part of my life in DeKalb County, Georgia and have resided on my present farm near Stone Mountain, for forty-eight years. I have been in every county in the state.” He further stated “Let me say in conclusion that I have been greatly blessed in life, whether at home or abroad, on the land or on the sea. I have always had genial friends and kind neighbors to associate with, and a good wife who has shared the joys and troubles of life with me for fifty years. I think we have the best government the sun shines on, and that the late civil war was brought about by misguided minds.” I wonder what Minor would think of our government today!
On November 4, 1908, Minor owned 100 acres of land valued at $1,000. His personal property was valued at $300. Sometime after that, he sold the 100 acres to Mr. F. M. Mansfield for $1,200 to pay his debts.
Minor’s wife Mary died in DeKalb County on June 15, 1909. She was buried at the Braden Family Cemetery with Minor’s mother and brother.
Minor apparently liked to keep up with the news and on July 15, 1909, published the following in the Atlanta Georgian and News: To the Georgian: I am in my eighty-eighth year and I have discontinued all of the newspapers but the Georgian, and I can not possibly do without it. I close, wishing you great success. Yours very truly. M. L. Braden. R.F.D., Tucker, Ga., July 10, 1909.
Minor, now a widower, was a boarder in the home of John D. Kimbrell on May 7, 1910. The home was located at Lawrenceville and Decatur Roads in the Berkshire District of Gwinnett County.
Minor filed an Application for Soldier’s Pension in Gwinnett County on August 29, 1910. He lived in Tucker, Gwinnett County, Georgia. His personal property was valued at $25. At this stage in his life, he had no income other than a pension of $20 per month that he drew from the government for his service during the Mexican War. His application was disapproved on November 25, 1910.
Minor died on January 31, 1913 at the home of Mrs. F. M. Mansfield, a cousin, in Gwinnett County at the age of 92. He was buried in the Braden Family Cemetery. It’s believed he was the last survivor of his Palmetto Regiment.
I note a couple of discrepancies that appear in Minor’s obituary published in The Atlanta Constitution on February 2, 1913. The obituary states “He was born on May 16, 1822, in North Carolina, and moved to Georgia with his father when he was 6 years of age.” As far as his birthplace, all census enumerators recorded Minor’s birthplace as Tennessee, not North Carolina so I’ve chosen to go with Tennessee until I find another record that convinces me otherwise. As far as the death of his father goes, I found a War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index card on ancestry.com that records the death of Mansfield Braden on January 24, 1827 in McMinn County, Tennessee. In Minor’s Confederate Pension application he stated that he had been a resident of Georgia since 1827. Minor was born in May 1822 so he would have only been 4 years old in January 1827, not 6. Based on this fact, and the fact the Mansfield died in January, I’ve concluded that his mother moved the family after the death of her husband. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.
I've blogged about Minor before but this time have told everything I know about him.
- Georgia Marriages to 1850.
- Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960.
- U.S. census records—1830, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910.
- War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812–1815.
- Sheriff’s Sale, Atlanta, Georgia, The Atlanta Constitution, October 9, 1876.
- Miner L. Braden, Mexican Veteran, The Sunny South, June 2, 1901.
- Atlanta Georgian and News, July 15, 1909.
- Mexican Veteran Died on Thursday—Miner L. Braden Was With Army That Captured City of Mexico, The Atlanta Constitution, February 2, 1913.