Francis Marion Rakestraw was born on December 22, 1847 in New Albany, Indiana to parents Milton and Mary Susan (Henderson) Rakestraw.1,2,3,4 He was the oldest of three children, all boys.4 When Francis was seven years old, his father died.5 Mary Susan married James Hand two years later.6,7
Francis enlisted in the army on December 28, 1863 in New Albany. He had just turned sixteen, but he told the recruiter that he was eighteen. He gave his occupation as fisherman. Francis entered as a Private and was assigned to Company B of the Thirteenth Cavalry, 131st Regiment of the Indiana Infantry.8,9,10,11
The Thirteenth Cavalry was the last cavalry organized in Indiana. Recruiting for the companies began in September of 1863 and ended in April of 1864. Colonel Gilbert Marquis Lafayette Johnson was the commanding officer. On April 30, 1864, the Cavalry left Indianapolis and boarded a train for Nashville, Tennessee. They trained in Nashville for a month and then departed, again by train, for Huntsville, Alabama to garrison the post there. They were engaged in several skirmishes while trying to keep the supply lines clear.8,10 In Nashville, Francis was thrown from his saddle mule, which caused a back injury. In Huntsville, he contracted malarial fever.12,13
On October 1, 1864, the Thirteenth Cavalry held the post against the command of the rebel General Buford. On October 16th, six of the companies went to Louisville, Kentucky for fresh horses. Company B remained at the post. The companies that had gone to Louisville did not come back to Huntsville, but were rerouted to fight in Nashville. Company B and the remaining five companies were sent to Nashville as well. The Thirteenth Cavalry fought in the Battle of Nashville, alongside several other regiments, against Hood’s troops and defeated them on December 16, 1864. After the battle, all of the companies were reunited and assigned to the Second Brigade, Seventh Division of the Cavalry Corps of the Military Division of Mississippi under Colonel Johnson.8,10
On February 11, 1865, the Thirteenth Cavalry boarded transports bound for New Orleans, but were rerouted to fight at Mobile Bay. Mobile fell in April of 1865. The Cavalry then participated in a number of raids in the area, until they were assigned to garrison at Macon.8,10
Francis mustered out with the rest of the regiment at Vicksburg, Mississippi on November 18, 1865. His discharge paper says that he was eighteen at this time, which is accurate.8,9,10,11
Having some disability after his accident, Francis took a job with J. Bragdon & Co., proprietors of New Albany Rolling Mills.14
On October 22, 1867, Francis married Mary Elizabeth (Gilliland) Brown.1,3,15 They had two children, Zerilda Eleanora “Ella,” born in 1868, and George William “Willie,” born in 1873.3,16,17
After Willie’s birth, Francis began working as a driver for Israel P. Park’s coal yard.18 In 1882, he began working for Ohio Falls Iron Works, as a laborer.19 In 1886, he took a job as a driver at E. W. Fawcett’s coal and ice company.20 Francis became a driver at John Newhouse & Bro. coal company in 1892.21
Francis’ daughter died in June of 1894 of consumption.22 George Shrader was the undertaker, and it was at about this time that Francis began working as a driver for Shrader, who also owned a livery.23,24 He worked for the Shraders until November of 1910, when he contracted Pulmonary Tuberculosis.1,25,26
Francis Marion Rakestraw died on January 27, 1911 and was buried at Soldier’s National Cemetery in New Albany, Indiana.1,2,3,11
1. Floyd County, Indiana Death Records, Book CH-22, p. 17, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
2. Obituary, New Albany Evening Tribune, Friday, 27 January 1911, p. 4, column 2, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
3. Transcription of the Rakestraw Family Bible.
4. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana, pp. 313-314, Ancestry.com.
5. Clipp, Mary Cuzzort, et al. Fairview Cemetery, Volume 1, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana. New Albany, IN: Southern Indiana Genealogical Society, 1991. 62. Print.
6. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages, Volume 4, p. 340, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
7. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, New Albany, Floyd, Indiana, p. 134, Ancestry.com.
8. Terrell, W.H.H. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana. Volume 3. Indianapolis: Samuel M Douglass, 1866. 290-296. Print.
9. Terrell, W.H.H. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana. Volume 7. Indianapolis: Samuel M Douglass, 1866. 306-308. Print.
10. Powell, John W. History of the Thirteenth Indiana Cavalry Regiment, 1863-1865. Utical, KY: McDowell Publishing, 1987. Print.
11. Discharge papers, Francis Marion Rakestraw, 18 November 1865.
12. Notice, New Albany Evening Tribune, 7 January 1888.
13. Letter, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions to Francis Marion Rakestraw, 14 September 1904.
14. Sholes, A.E., compiler. Sholes’ Directory of the City of New Albany, 1873-1874. New Albany, IN: John R. Nunemacher, 1873. 134. Print.
15. Floyd County, Indiana Marriages, Volume 6, p. 369, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room.
16. 1870 U.S. Federal Census, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana, p. 15, Ancestry.com.
17. 1880 U.S. Federal Census, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana, p. 4D, Ancestry.com.
18. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany for 1877-78. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1877. 166. Print.
19. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany for 1882-83. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1882. 218. Print.
20. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany and Jeffersonville for 1886-87. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1886. 237. Print.
21. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany and Jeffersonville for 1892-93. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1892. 310. Print.
22. Clipp, Mary Cuzzort, et al. Fairview Cemetery, Volume 4, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana. New Albany, IN: Southern Indiana Genealogical Society, 1991. 71. Print.
23. Shrader receipt written to Francis Rakestraw for burial preparations, 14 June 1894.
24. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany and Jeffersonville for 1895-96. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1895. 381. Print.
25. Caron, C.K. Caron’s Directory of the City of New Albany and Jeffersonville for 1909-10. New Albany, IN: C.K. Caron, 1909. 308. Print.
26. Letter, George William Rakestraw to Francis Marion Rakestraw, 15 December 1910.
The Charles Rakestraw in the picture was my grandfather.
I know these men had birthdays close to each other and the back of the photo has that written on it but I find it interesting that William Williams Rakestraw, Charles older brother is not in this photo. Also that he has a surname as a middle name. Bill also has no Rakestraw DNA showing up at this time.