1st Alabama Cavalry - Est. 1862
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It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Glenda McWhirter Todd. She passed away on September 3, 2017 surrounded by her family. She was a historian, genealogist, and author who prided herself on being a descendant of Andrew Ferrier McWhirter of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, USV. Her work over the past two decades and her dedication to the 1st Alabama Cavalry has created a legacy that will last for years to come.

Her life's work has touched thousands of people through the years, and I am glad that I had the pleasure to work with her as long as I did. My hope is that her work will live on for years to come to educate and inspire a new generation.

Stories about Troopers from the 1st Alabama

Picture Tombstone Combined Service Record

William B Stevenson
Submitted by Renee Kernan

William Bryant Stevenson was born on May 24, 1840 in Tishomingo County, MS. His parents were James and Obedience Stephenson. According to the 1850 Federal Census record for Bedford County, TN his mother, Obedience is listed as head of household which seems to indicate that Williams’s father, James has since passed. It is sometime prior to 1860 that Obedience and William moved to Lauderdale, Alabama along with his younger sister, Nancy settling here in Florence.

On August 23, 1860 William was married to Nancy Jane Terrill here in Florence by Judge Hawkins. This was just about 8 months before the start of the Civil War.

In the time period just prior to the Civil War, it was a particularly troubling time for those living in northwestern Alabama. While most in the south were joining the Confederacy, there were many who did not think this was right. Their loyalty was to the Union-the same Union that some of their grandfather’s had fought and struggled for in the Revolutionary War. This could be a possible explanation for William but we will probably never know what his true motivations were.

After the war began in April 1861, tensions grew more and more. And when the Confederacy passed the Conscription Act in April of 1862, it required all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 32 to fight. William was 22 years old. It was about this time that some residents took to hiding out in the hills when trying to stay neutral became increasingly difficult.

In late May of 1862, what is known as ‘Cornyn’s Raid’ took place where Federal troops occupied Florence and many mills and factories were burned including the Cypress Creek Mill owned by Martin Weakley where William worked. There’s an account which has been printed in several books which mentions how William (or Billie as he was known) was made to set fire to the mill by lighting fires with oil rags and that for weeks afterwards his hands were burned so badly he could hardly eat.

It was right after this incident took place that William, along with two of his brother’s-in-law, James Statom and John Eakins, made a very important decision. They traveled to Camp Glendale, in MS and on June 1, 1863 enlisted in the 1st Alabama Cavalry. All three were placed in Company D. This Camp served as a fortified outpost for the garrison at Corinth that protected the northeastern flank of Maj. General Ulysses S. Grant when he advanced toward Vicksburg in November 1862. William names his comrades as Robert F. Rikard, John H. Bird, and Andrew Carter. William is described as being 5’ 7" tall, dark complexion, black hair, and blue eyes. He weighed about 138 lbs.

We know that from Williams’s pension records that sometime in the Fall and Winter of 1863 while near Glendale, MS he became ill after about 14 days of either scouting or a raid. Eventually he spent so much time in the hospital that he was put on daily duty as a nurse for during the times he was feeling better. His term of service ended on June 16, 1864 at which time he and John Eakins were honorably discharged. Sadly, his brother-in-law James Statom had died from illness just one month prior.

We also know from the pension records that upon his release he did not return back here to Florence. Due to the volatile situation, he relocated to Johnson County, Illinois for a period of about two years before returning to the Florence area sometime in 1866.

One happy event that had taken place during Williams’s enlistment was that his first son, William Henry Stevenson, had been born on August 21, 1863. They had already been blessed with their daughter, Mary in 1862 and had another son, George in Dec. of 1865. Their other children that followed were Robert Franklin, born 1868, John C. born 1871 (and is buried right here with his wife Rosie), James Thomas, born 1872, Bryant Earnest, born 1874, Joseph Benjamin born 1875, Marion Levi, born 1877, Eddy Westly, born 1879, Ruthie born, 1881, Samuel Jackson, born 1883 and Ned Stewart, born 1888.

During those years following the war, William served as a minister at the Stony Point Church of Christ. We’ve also found evidence that he served as Chaplain for the Grand Army Post named the James S. Negley Post, 18.

William Bryant Stevenson died on April 22, 1916 at the age of 76. His wife, Nancy, died eighteen days later. As stated earlier, William was known to his friends and family as Billie, which notation was made in the Stony Point Church of Christ cemetery book.

Database created and maintained by Ryan Dupree.

Service records compiled by Glenda Todd and used with her permission. This and other information about the history of the First and the men who fought with the unit can be found in her book, First Alabama Cavalry, USA: Homage to Patriotism.

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