I located my two fellows easily enough, by putting their names into the search engine out at the West Virginia Division of History and Culture website. Then I decided to try my paternal great great grandfather, John Oliphant VanGilder again using "Van Gilder" rather than VanGilder or Vangilder. How often have we all located a surname simply by tweeking the spelling? What came up literally sent shivers down my arms.
There, staring back at me from the screen, were two letters actually written by my great great grandfather! Both deal with the commission of James A. Davis, who apparently was elected as a First Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant on the same day....September 22, 1862.
I notice that my great great grandfather also seems to have an issue with the spelling of his surname using both Vangilder and Van Gilder in the letters. No wonder I have trouble with it!
A little more investigating on the website and I came up with two service records for John. One listing his service as Captain with the 76th Monongalia County Militia in 1861 and the second as a Captain with the Company C Monongalia County Militia in 1864.
I do tend to recheck websites periodically to see if new information has been added. I had neglected the West Virginia site for some time.....that won't happen again ;-)
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