Thomas J Gorby, Union Casualty during Civil War Identified

Thomas J Gorby, Union Casualty during Civil War Identified

Ever since I first read the book on the Gorby Family written by Alva Gorby and published in 1936, there have been puzzles about the people contained within that tome I have been trying to solve.

One of those puzzles concerned the following individual who appeared only on page 63 under GORBY WAR RECORDS:

Thomas J. Gorby, Farrier and Private. Co. H., 19th Pa. Vol. Cav. Enrolled and mustered into U. S. service Aug. 24, 1863, at Philadelphia, PA. Died at Andersonville, GA, Sept. 21, 1864. Age 21 at enlistment. Not yet located but probably a descendant of Joseph.

For several years I had tried to determine who this mysterious Gorby was.  Since he mustered in at Philadelphia, it was indeed very likely that he was a descendant of Joseph rather than Thomas.

Alva got a lot of the information about Joseph’s line from Leon Gorby who lived in East Palestine, OH in the 1930s.  Leon had received a letter in 1909 from Isabelle (Belle) Gorby Collins who lived in Chester, Delaware Co, PA.  Of that letter Alva wrote:

In a letter written in 1909 to Leon A Gorby of E Palestine, OH, she [Belle] mentions Uncle Jonathon, Uncle Samuel and Uncle Jacob.   “Uncle Jacob” as being the only one of her father’s brothers whom she had ever seen.   She also mentions the old Joseph Gorby homestead as lying between Baltimore Pike and the Delaware River, and at that time a son of Julia Ann Pierce Perkins, daughter of Lena, daughter of Joseph, was living in the old home.

Much of this information was misinterpreted by Leon and Alva. They had already made one mistake by thinking that Joseph Generation II and Joseph Generation III were the same person, and that Joseph Generation II had married both Maria Littlejohn/Stedham/Loan and Hannah Stilley.  So they then skipped 2 generations, thinking that Belle’s uncles Jonathon, Samuel and Jacob were Hannah Stilley’s sons Jonathon, Samuel and Jacob.

We now know that Belle Gorby’s father was Richard Gorby Generation V, a grandson of Hannah Stilley through her son Joseph Generation IV.  Her uncle Jacob was already known to us, he was on the 1850 Census living in Lower Chinchester, Delaware Co, PA a few miles from Brandywine Hundred, DE and had been born about 1812.  The Samuel Gorby Belle mentioned is most likely the ancestor of Rosa Jane Gorby Cassiday who was born in DE or PA about 1817.

Also I need to note that the “Joseph Gorby homestead” in Belle’s letter was not where Julia Ann Pierce Perkins’s son lived.  That property shows up on the 1868 Beers map of New Castle County with the owner being “C. Perkins”.  This would be Christine Perkins who married Julia Ann Pierce. In 1909 their son Jonathon Perkins and daughter Margaret Perkins still lived on this property.  Today, it is at the NE corner of Philadelphia Pike and East Holly Oak Rd, on the north edge of Wilmington, DE.  We have tracked the ownership of that property back to the 1680s and it was always Perkins family land, never Gorby land.

Finally, this newspaper notice was located:

From the “Public Ledger”, Philadelphia, Philadephia Co, PA, September 10, 1872, page 2:
Mortuary Notice – GORBY – On the 7th instant, MARY GORBY, widow of Joseph Gorby, in her 92nd year.
The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral, this afternoon, at 2 o’clock, from her daughters residence, 1628 Becket Street. To proceed to Greenwood Cemetery (Aka Knights of Pythias Cemetery, Philadelphia Co, Philadelphia, PA).

So Mary was born about 1780.  Based on her age, the only Joseph Gorby this Mary fit was Hannah Stilley’s son Joseph who was born between 1780-1784.  This also meant we now had a solid lead on the first know daughter of Joseph Generation IV.

But who was she?

Going to the “McElroy’s Philadelphia city directory, 1867” we found that Sarah McNamee (widow of Samuel) lived at 1628 Becket.  With a name, we learned she also lived there on the 1870 Census and that she was born about 1806.  We then found on the “Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940” index that:

Sarah Ann Garby [sic] married Samuel Mcnamee Dec 31, 1829 at Philadelphia, PA.

Therefore she is definitely Joseph Generation IV’s daughter.

So this is all very well and good, but what does this have to do with the Thomas J Gorby who died at Camp Sumter, GA (aka Andersonville Prison)?

On the 1850 Census, Sarah Ann Gorby and Samuel McNamee had a son Thomas J McNamee who was born about 1842.  In 1870, after her husband had died, Sarah Ann McNamee applied to receive the war pension of one Thomas J Gorby (alias McNamee), Company H, 19th PA Cavalry.

So our Thomas J Gorby was actually Thomas J McNamee, who, for reasons no one now knows, had joined the Union Army under his mother’s maiden name.

But now, after 150 years, after having been captured by Confederate soldiers with 55 other members of the 19th PA Cavalry, and having had to spend the last six months of his short 22 year life in the infamous hellhole that is now known as Andersonville, we all know his real name and how he fits in with the rest of our Family.

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