Yates and Others

Benjamin H. May

Benjamin H. May

Male 1844 - 1862  (18 years)

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  • Name Benjamin H. May 
    Birth 1844  Crawford, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death 1 Dec 1862  Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Cause: Rubeola-Measles while on active duty with 81 Indiana Infantry 
    Burial Nashville National Cemetery, Davidson, Tennessee Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3665  Yatesville History & Genealogy
    Last Modified 3 Feb 2011 

    Father John Wesley May,   b. Abt 1817, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Lavina Roberson,   b. Abt 1818, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Marriage 2 Apr 1843  Crawford, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F595  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Headstones

  • Notes 
    • Some stories on how this affected the Roberson and Yates Families……….

      On January 8, 1867 Mahala May Yates traveled to Leavenworth, Indiana with her 1st cousin Elizabeth Roberson Yates to complete an affidavit which would be filed relative to the widow's pension for Elizabeth. Like many other pioneer women of the time they did so with heavy hearts and fortitude which kept both of them going. To do otherwise would give into the personal losses that must be borne by many families both Federal and C.S.A. In this affidavit Mahala swore to her personal presence during the births of John and Elizabeth's children.

      Like her brother Benjamin, Mahala was a child of John Wesley May and Lavina Roberson. John and Lavina were married in 1843 in Crawford County. Lavina is the 4th child of George Roberson, Jr. and Francis Westfall. Mahala May born in 1843 is the 1st child and Benjamin H. May born in 1844 was the 2nd child of John and Lavina Wesley. Both the 1850 and 1860 census show John and Lavina developing their own family living in Union Township near neighbors with names familiar to us.

      On May 9, 1861 Mahala May married John Winfield Yates, born July 31, 1835 as the 4th child of Tolbert Thompson Yates and Jane McCraney. Tolbert is the oldest child of Robert Yates who had previously migrated from Kentucky. Soon thereafter Mahala and John Yates produced their only child Lavina Yates born before the fall of 1862. At some point during the summer of 1862, 24 year old John Winfield Yates determined it was time for him to volunteer for Federal service. You can almost imagine the times where they sat around and discussed this whole serious matter and how it would impact their lives. You can also imagine what impact his sister's husband might have had on an 18 year old Benjamin May. We now know they decided to go together.

      With the decision made it doesn't take much imagination to think of how the scene played out with Mahala saying goodbye to her husband and brother as they embarked on their adventure. They left the Grantsburg area in time to make it to Camp Noble in New Albany, Indiana on August 29, 1862. They were enlisted in Company H, 81st Indiana Volunteers Infantry, by Captain Alexander C. Scott with each man signing for a term of three years. John W. Yates is described as 24 years old, 5 feet 10 inches, light complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. His brother-in-law Benjamin H. May is described as 18 years old 5 feet 11 inches, light complexion, blue eyes and light hair.

      In 1859 the Indiana State Fair was brought to New Albany. During the Civil War the grounds were converted into Camp Noble where regiments were mustered. During the Civil War, New Albany became a strategic supply center for the Union Armies fighting in the South and a hospital center for the wounded being sent North as well as a part of an "underground railroad' for slaves escaping from the South. President Abraham Lincoln established one of the first seven National Cemeteries in the United States in New Albany in 1862.

      While not unique, the 81st Indiana Volunteers was an authentic family and community affair. The men serving were doing so with family members and neighbors. The roster of Company H could almost be a family reunion as follows: John M. B. Scott, Second Lieutenant (Benjamin's Uncle); Joseph Landiss, Musician (Husband of Benjamin's 2nd cousin); Joseph G. Benham, Musician (Brother-in-law of John W. Yates); Daniel D. Grant, (Husband of Benjamin's 2nd cousin); Harvey Roberson, Private (Benjamin's Great 1st Cousin); Henry C. Roberson, Private (Benjamin's 2nd cousin).

      In regards to current life descendants: Benjamin H. May and Ronald E. Yates are 2nd cousins 3 times removed. Daniel Robert Roberson and Esther Ada Yates are the grand-uncle and aunt of Benjamin H. May. Benjamin H. May and Nidrah, Jack and Dale Roberson are 2nd cousins 3 times removed. And, John Winfield Yates and Ronald E. Yates are 2nd cousins 3 times removed. Esther Ada Yates and Daniel Robert Roberson are the grand-aunt and uncle of John Winfield Yates. John Winfield Yates and Nidrah, Jack and Dale Roberson are 2nd cousins 3 times removed.

      Company H, 81st Indiana Volunteers Infantry with Mahala's two men got off to a fast start once ready. They started with a pursuit of General Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15, 1862 engaging in the Battle of Perryville, KY, on October 8, 1862. The Company thereafter marched to Nashville, TN., from October 16th to November 7th, and thereafter stood active duty until December 26, 1862.

      The first of the two men to have trouble was John Winfield Yates. After the Battle of Perryville while the Company was on the march to Nashville he was taken sick on October 20th with dysentery in Lebanon, KY. Dysentery is an infection of the digestive system that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and blood in the feces. Dysentery is typically the result of unsanitary water containing micro-organisms which damage the intestinal lining.

      Amoebic dysentery is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Amoebic dysentery is well known as a "traveler's dysentery" because of its prevalence in developing nations, or "Montezuma's Revenge". John became so ill he was taken to the General US Hospital located in New Albany. Benjamin May must have been heartsick when he heard his brother-in-law died on November 14, 1862 of "Acute Dysentery".

      While on the march to Nashville Benjamin's trouble had already begun but he just didn't know it as a result of an 8-12 day symptom free disease incubation period. After arriving in Nashville, only 10 days after his brother-in-law John W. Yates had died, Benjamin was taken sick with Rubeola Measles on November 24, 1862 and was hospitalized.

      Rubeola is the ordinary measles, an acute highly contagious viral disease with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and a spreading skin rash. Rubeola (measles) is a potentially disastrous disease. It can be complicated by ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis and/or the sudden onset of low blood platelet levels with severe bleeding. Rubeola (measles) now can be prevented through vaccination. You can imagine Mahala's heartache when she heard her brother Benjamin died at age 18 on December 1, 1862.

      John Winfield Yates is buried at Union Chapel-Yates Cemetery outside Grantsburg, Indiana near his parents and Benjamin is buried in Nashville National Cemetery, South Madison, TN 37115, Section B, site #6419. The manner of their deaths is consistent with fully 60% of how all Civil War deaths occurred. In fact, consistent with death patterns of all wars up to and including the horrendous disease source deaths of World War I. World War II would be the first time these percentages were modified as a result of scientific advancement and organization.

      Hospital records at the time all say he died 1 Dec 1862 but official records for some reson specify 18 Dec 1862.

      age based on census of 1850 with John W. May.

      Eighty-First Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry 1861-1865

      Benjamin H. May (First_Last)
      Regiment Name 81 Indiana Infantry
      Side Union
      Company H
      Soldier's Rank_In Priv.
      Soldier's Rank_Out Priv.
      Alternate Name
      Film Number M540 roll 47

      May, Benjamin H. August 29, 1862 Died at Nashville, Tennessee, December 18, 1862

      U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006
      about Benjamin H May
      Name: Benjamin H May
      Service Info.: PRIVATE US ARMY CIVIL WAR
      Death Date: 18 Dec 1862
      Cemetery: Nashville National Cemetery
      Cemetery Address: 1420 Gallatin Road, South Madison, TN 37115
      Buried At: Section B Site 6419

      Nashville National Cemetery is located in Madison, Tenn., in Davidson County approximately six miles northeast of Nashville’s city center. The tracks of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad bisect the cemetery. An easement for the right of way was granted to the railroad in perpetuity in 1912.

      Most of the land for Nashville National Cemetery was acquired shortly after the Civil War. In July 1866, 45 acres were transferred to the United States from Morton B. Howell, master of the Chancery Court of Nashville, in accordance with the decree of the court. During the first few months of 1867, another 17 acres were conveyed in the same manner. The final portion, about 1-1/2 acres, was purchased by the United States in 1879 from J. Watts Judson.

      The original interments were the remains of soldiers removed from temporary burial grounds around Nashville’s general hospitals, as well as the Civil War battlefields at Franklin and Gallatin, Tenn., and Bowling Green and Cave City, Ky. There are 4,141 unknowns interred at Nashville National Cemetery.

      U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles Name: Benjamin H May
      Enlistment Date: 29 Aug 1862 Rank at enlistment: Private
      State Served: Indiana Survived the War?: No
      Service Record: Enlisted in Company H, Indiana 81st Infantry Regiment on 29 Aug 1862. Mustered out on 18 Dec 1862 at Nashville, TN.
      Sources: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana