The Gene Pool: JTR's Colorful Family History


Survivor of the Civil War, Cahaba Prison
and the Sultana Disaster


(by Timothy T. Isbell)


(typed exactly as written by Emanuel himself)

Born in Amsterdam, Licking Co., Ohio lived there untill I was two years old then Father & mother mooved to Ashland Co. Ohio lived there three years then mooved to Deleware Co. Ohio from thence to Van Wert Co. Ohio I was 11 years old then there I lived untill the war of the Rebellion broke out. I enlisted in Co. G 76 O.V.I. for three years on or about 20th of Nov 1861 in Jackson Town Licking Co. Ohio one mile from where I was born. I served my country as a Soldier 3 years & 7 months. I was a Prisoner of War 6 months in Cahoba prison Alabama paroled March 1865 was on the Vesal Sultana that blu up Aprile 27 1865 was bad scalded discharged at Camp Chase Ohio went home was married Oct. 1 1865 was converted in Feb 1866 at Suga Ridge united with the Church of God preache for that body for about 15 years then united with the Church of Christ ben there untill the present time am living in Mo for 25 years am in Douglas Co. Mo have had many bright times many dark times am going down toward the setting of the sun. made many crooked steps but I trust in Christ my savior.

Note from JTR: According to Ira Yeisley's family history, Emanuel Yeisley's grandparents, Valentine & Martha (BLACKBURN) HUSH, were "Sueedenborrgen." I believe that Emanuel was probably named for Emanuel Swedenborg, the leader of the Swedenborgian church.

from Ava, Missouri newspaper article

EMANUEL H. YEISLEY, b. 12 Nov 1840, d. 24 Aug 1931, was one of the survivors of the SULTANA, a steamboat that blew up in 1865 with many soldiers aboard.

He was onboard, almost directly under the boiler that blew up. He was thrown into the Mississippi waters and managed to grab ahold of two boards to keep him afloat. These boards are what saved his life since he could not swim. He spent all night in the water and had to fight for one of his boards. He won the fight and the other guy went under.He suffered burns from the boiler that stayed with him the rest of his life. The lining of his nose was scalded and was so irritated that he could not tolerate strong odors or cigarette smoke. He was also burned on his chest.

Yeisley served with Company G of the 76th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry from Nov. 25, 1861 until May 22, 1865. He was appointed Corporal and was captured Oct. 27, 1864 near Little River, Alabama according to Civil War records. He was a Prisoner of War at Cahaba, Alabama.


The 76th Ohio Volunteers in October 1864 was part of the Army of the Tennessee and they were chasing Hood's army which had broken loose from Atlanta. He was followed into Alabama and then Sherman recalled his troops for preparation for the march to the sea. Thomas was at Nashville to stop Hood's northward thrust. The following is from Capt. Richard W Burt's diary of that time period. I'm going to transcribe this to the Burt Pages "someday". This is found in the Narrative of Services of Charles Dana Miller 76th OVI. The cite for this is found on the 76th page in Ohio in the Civil War. Miller left the regiment in Oct. and he borrowed Burt's diary and published it for the rest of the war.

  • Oct 18 1864 Marched at 9 AM through a beautiful valley pretty thickly settled. Halted at 5 PM at forks of Rome and Summerville roads. Foraging plentiful, but out of "tack". Captain Blackburn's resignation accepted. Marched 13 miles.
  • Oct 19 Marched at 9 AM and took Lebanon road. Marched 10 miles and bivouacked near Alpine Creek. Colonel Willard Warner of the 180th Ohio brings us news of his promotion and glorious election news from Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
  • Oct 20 Marched at 7:30 AM and halted at 9 PM near Gayesville, distance 22 miles. Got mail. Foraging for our living.
  • Oct 21 Heavy fog. Marched 7 miles to Little River. Crossed river and camped. Detailed with 60 men to throw up earthworks.
  • Oct 22 Captain Wherle and Phillip Evans started for home.
  • Oct 23 Feasting on chickens and corn bread. Read General Logan's speech in Illinois.
  • Oct 24 All the Corps but the First Brigade moving and two from it gone.
  • Oct 25 Making out pay rolls.
  • Oct 26 Forage party of 16 men under Lieut. Williamson went out 6 or 7 miles and got stampeded by the Rebels. Our Corps returned.
  • Oct 27 Rebels drove our men from the mill. I was sent out beyound the picket line with Companies H, K and I and remained all night.
  • Oct 28 Relieved and returned to camp." Burt's diary continues but the army returns to Atlanta and prepares for the march to the sea.

Bet Emanuel was on Picket at the mill and was snatched by the Rebels. Or... he was part of the 16 man foraging party that was stampeded the day before and the record is wrong by a day. I think I would lean towards the capture at the mill. Joanne, I hope this helps you out. Other stuff later. --Larry


Note from JTR: I wonder how my Great-Great Grandfather, Emanuel Hush Yeisley, celebrated the Christmas he spent at Cahaba Prisoner of War Camp near Selma, Alabama at the end of the Civil War. "The Sultana Disaster" by Jerry O. Potter gives an account of Cahaba that chilled me when I first read it, even though at that time I didn't realize the personal connection:

"Cahaba prison was named for the small Alabama town that lay nearby on the Alabama River, not far from Selma. Built as a cotton and corn shed measuring roughly 193 feet by 116 feet, Cahaba's walls were 8 to 10 feet high and only partially roofed over. The entire center area was left open.... Into this small stockade the Confederates crowded over 3,000 men. Estimates suggest that each man in the prison had only six square feet of living space (U.S. Army regulations at the time required that military posts allow at least 42 square feet of living space per soldier.) The daily rations for the prisoners consisted of 10 to 12 ounces of corn meal (including ground cobs and husks), and five to seven ounces of bacon or beef. But in the warm months, the meat rations often gave off such a nauseating smell that only a few of the men could force themselves to eat it. In late February 1865, heavy rains caused the Alabama River to flood the prison grounds at Cahaba. The water was so deep that on the morning after the high water reached the stockade, the Confederates in charge floated through the prison gate in boats. For four days and nights, prisoners were left to stand in freezing water which reached as far as the waist on some. Guards finally allowed the prisoners to leave the compound to gather driftwood, which was stacked to form platforms for the men. John Walker, a private with the 50th Ohio Infantry, was one prisoner lucky enough to find a few pieces of heavy timber and cordwood, which he and seven comrades stacked high enough to clear the water. There they sat, back to back, for two days. Finally, 700 prisoners were taken to nearby Selma, while 2,300 waited in the flooded prison."

Also visit N. Dale Talkington's Sultana & Cahaba Web Page

Note from JTR: I recently got a big surprise in the mail from N. Dale Talkington! He sent me a small piece of Cahaba masonry that had somehow found its way into his pocket during a visit to Cahaba a few years back! I wonder what else he's got in those pockets!

(Note: this obituary was probably published in the
LaCygne, Kansas newspaper - August 27, 1931 )

E.H. Yeisley, father of Mrs. A.D. Wier and Mrs. Eva Reed, died at his home in Ava, Missouri Monday, Aug. 23 at the age of 90 years. A funeral service was conducted by the American Legion and burial was in the Burdett cemetery, west of Ava. The Douglas County Herald published at Ava, has this to say concerning the life of Mr. Yeisley: Mr. Yeisley was the last commander of Andy Martin G.A.R. Post, the local organization of Civil War veterans. The post was disbanded at impressive services held in the high school building here in the fall of 1929. Mr. Yeisley presided at this meeting and delivered the address entrusting the records and files of the G.A.R. Post to the local Legion post. Sixteen veterans of the Civil War were in attendance at that meeting, many of them having departed this life since that time. In his address before this last gathering of members of the G.A.R. Post, members of the American Legion, businessmen and citizens of Ava, Mr. Yeisley in a broken manner, due to his advanced age, reviewed many experiences of the Civil War and of the early days of Andy Martin Post to the delight of his audience.

Mr. Yeisley was born at Amsterdam, Ohio, November 12, 1840, being 90 years, 9 months and 19 days of age. He enlisted in the Civil War at the beginning and served until its close. He was one of the few survivors of the Sultana disaster on the Mississippi River at the close of the war. The Sultana, a river ship, was carrying Union soldiers northward on the Mississippi following the close of the war, when an explosion destroyed the ship and killed most of those on board.

Mr. Yeisley was converted to the Christian faith in 1866, and became a Minister of the Gospel with the Church of God. In later life he devoted much time to the study of works of various Bible students. In 1865 he was united in marriage to Hettie Henny at Convoy, Ohio. To this union eleven children were born, seven boys and four girls, eight of whom survive. He is also survived by his wife, forty grandchildren and forty-five great-grandchildren.


  • 12 Nov 1840 - born in Amsterdam, Licking Co., Ohio
  • 1842 - in Ashland Co., Ohio
  • 1845 - in Delaware Co., Ohio
  • 1850 Federal Census Genoa Twp., Delaware Co., OH pg 257 503/504 (household of Jacob YIESLEY, shown as Emeline H. YIESLEY)
  • 1851 - in Van Wert Co., Ohio
  • 1860 Federal Census Union Twp., Van Wert Co., OH pg 16 129/129 (household of Jacob YEARLING)
  • 25 Nov 1861 - enlists in Co. G 76th Reg. Ohio Vol. Infantry (served 6 mos. for unauthorized absence)
  • 9 Aug 1862 - 14 Aug 1862 - unauthorized absence (why?!)
  • 28 Sep 1862 - general court martial
  • Nov? 1862 through 23 Mar 1863 - served sentence at Helena, Arkansas
  • 26 Jun 1863 - rejoined regiment from Benton Barracks hospital
  • 4 Jan 1864 - reinlisted in the field near Woodville, Alabama
  • Aug 1864 - slightly wounded near Atlanta
  • 26/27/29 Oct 1864 - captured near Little River, Alabama and imprisoned at Cahaba, Alabama
  • Feb 1865 - survived the Cahaba Flood
  • 27 Apr 1865 - survived the Sultana disaster on the Mississippi River, 9 miles north of Memphis, TN about 2:00 AM (1,547 die out of over 2,200 loaded on a steamship with listed capacity of 376 passengers)
  • 22 May 1865 - mustered out in Columbus, Ohio
  • 1 Oct 1865 - marriage to Hettie Henney in Convoy, Van Wert Co., Ohio (marr. cert. says Hetty Haney)
  • Feb 1866 - in Sugar Ridge, Ohio
  • 1866-1875 - children born in Convoy, Van Wert Co., Ohio
  • 1870 Federal Census Union Twp., Van Wert Co., OH pg 10 80/81 - Jacob YEISLEY 29 OH (abt 1841) farmer, $400 real estate, $300 personal property; Hattie YEISLEY 23F OH (abt 1847); Vinton J. YEISLEY 4M OH (abt 1866); William S. YEISLEY 3M OH (abt 1867); Jacob C. YEISLEY 9mos. OH (b. Sep 1869). NOTE: This is the family of Emanuel Hush and Hettie (HENNEY) YEISLEY.
  • 1878-1881 - children born Wood Co., Ohio
  • 1880 Federal Census Union Twp., Van Wert Co., OH pg 15 97/98 - Emanuel YEISLEY 39M OH (abt 1841) farmer, father b. PA, mother b. PA; Hettie YEISLEY 33F OH (abt 1847) keeps house, father b. PA, mother b. MD; Ira V. YEISLEY 13M OH (abt 1867) son; William S. YEISLEY 12M OH (abt 1868) son; Jacob K. YEISLEY 10M OH (abt 1870) son; Julia A. YEISLEY 9F OH (abt 1871) daughter; Mary E. YEISLEY 6F OH (abt 1874) daughter; David A. YEISLEY 4M OH (abt 1876) son; Sarah E.J. YEISLEY 1F OH (abt 1879) daughter.
  • 1884-1886 - children born Cass Co., Missouri
  • 1889 - child born in LaCygne, Kansas?
  • 9 Sep 1891 - Emanuel attended an Annual Reunion of the 76th Ohio Volunteers at Massillon, Ohio -- Roster shows him as a resident of Wadesburg (Sherman Twp.), Cass Co., Missouri
  • 1 Jun 1900 Federal Census Finley Twp., Douglas Co., Missouri Enum Dist 163 pg 1A 7/7 - Emanuel H. YEISLEY 59M OH, b. Nov 1840, parents b. PA, married 34 yrs., can read/write, speaks English, farmer, owned farm (mortgaged), farm sched #7; Hettie YEISLEY 53F OH, b. Jan 1847, father b. PA, mother b. MD, 11 children born, 11 children living; Ira V. YEISLEY 33M OH, b. Aug 1866, single, parents b. OH, house carpentry; Dora I. YEISLEY daughter 18F OH, b. Nov 1881, single, parents b. OH, at school; Henry A. YEISLEY son 16 MO, b. Apr 1884, farm laborer, parents b. OH; John A. YEISLEY 14M MO, b. May 1886, farm laborer, parents b. OH; Theodore E. YEISLEY 11M KS, b. Feb 1889, farm laborer, parents b. OH
  • 4 May 1910 Federal Census Benton Twp., Douglas Co., MO pg 19B 341/345 - Emanuel H. YEISLEY 69M OH (abt 1841) married 44 years, father b. PA, mother b. PA, farmer, can read/write, speaks English; Hettie YEISLEY wife 63F OH (abt 1847) 11 children born, 9 living, father b. PA, mother b. MD, can read/write, speaks English; Theodore E. YEISLEY son 21M KS (abt 1889) single, father b. OH, mother b. OH, speaks English, can read/write.
  • 1919-1920 Missouri State Offices Political and Military Records: E.H. YEISLEY, justice of the peace, Ava, Douglas Co., MO Page 327
  • 24 Aug 1931 - died in Ava, Douglas Co., Missouri (buried Burdett Cemetery)
The Gene Pool
You are the [an error occurred while processing this directive] visitor to this page since 3/17/00

This site was created by Joanne Todd

The Gene Pool | Quaker Corner | Oregon Genealogy | NJ Founders | Ball Room
AmeriSlang | Ye Olde English Sayings | What's the Meaning of This? | Surnames
Research Aids | Gifts from Forefathers | Favorite Websites | What's New | Guide