Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Civil War Carte de Visite id'd!

A Carte de Visite in a family photo album shows a man in Civil War uniform.The name on the back is W. Pyle, and the photograph was taken in Cincinnati, all good clues.

I was fortunate to find that a similar Carte de Visite of the same individual was for sale online, with the additional information that this was a Lieutenant General in the Union Army, and that the picture was taken in July of 1868, about six months before he died. I tried to find a Lieutenant General with a first name beginning with W, and last name of Pyle, who lived in Ohio. I was unsuccessful.

It is always good to let tough challenges in genealogy take a rest, and then go back to them with an open mind. Today I thought--his name might be George Washington Pyle, and he might have gone by Washington. George Washington was a very common first name.

Bingo! --George Washington Pyle, born in 1846, attended a military academy and was a second lieutenant in the Union Army of the Civil War. He died in December of 1868 of consumption, a common affliction. His service is documented in the National Parks Soldiers and Sailors System, and his biography appears online on other websites.

I don't yet know why my family would have had his picture, but biographies of his mother reveal that she was involved in the Underground Railroad, which was an important interest of my ancestors. The Pyle family appears to be of Quaker origins in Pennsylvania, and W. Pyle's mother's heritage is of New Hampshire.

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