Biography Corner, p. 4

Union County, Georgia                                                                      The GAGenWeb Project

A Series of Union County Biographies
written by our Visitors

We'd like to encourage all of our visitors to contribute biographies of their ancestors--we'll gladly edit all submissions, so you don't have to worry about grammar and spelling. All articles should be no more than 600 words in length, and only deceased individuals should be profiled.

Written by Roy V. Fair


" Service as Private in Co A, 29th NC Inf Reg, CSA " Enlisted June 17, 1861 " Captured Battle of Chicamauga Sep 20, 1863 " Incarcerated Camp Douglas, IL (Union Prison); released June 16, 1865 " Applied for pension June 17, 1905 (S.Y. Jarrett, Union County, GA Ordinary) " Requested Indigent Soldier's pension in 1906 (No. 6001) " Warrant No. 3061 issued Feb 1, 1906


" Born January 1842 in Cherokee County, NC to Archibald Fair and Hollie Mason (Children: Elijah, Matilda, James M., Adeline, Clearcy Elizabeth (Raper), Charles, George W. and Austin); Burke County, NC family " Married Sarah White in February 1866; resided in Lower Young Cane District " Sarah born abt. 1846 in Union County, GA; Parents:William White & Rachel Brackett " Died August 28, 1915; witnesses: John D. Young, Dr. (DDS) Van D. Casteel " Sarah White Fair applied for Widows Pension October 12, 1915 (Age 69) " Sarah White Fair died in 1917 in Union County, GA " Charles & Sarah buried at Providence Church (marked gravesite) " 12 Children: William Archibald Fair, Mary Louisa Fair (Odom), George Lee Fair, Martha Ann Fair (Young), John David Fair, Elvira Rachel Fair (Davenport), Rebecca M. Fair (Casteel), Thomas Charles Fair, James Elijah Fair, Daniel Asbury Fair, Dock Smith Fair, Elisha Thurman Fair

Charles Fair's Statue was short--5'4'' tall; grey eyes, dark complexion, dark hair. From Georgia, enlisted in Co. A, 29th NC Inf Reg on June 17, 1861at age 19; Served in grade of Private throughout the war. He was captured at the bloody Battle of Chicamauga (GA) on Sept 19, 1863; incarcerated as POW at Camp Douglas, IL. He was released on June 16, 1865 and returned to Georgia where he subsequently married Sarah White, daughter of William White and Rachel Brackett, and settled on what eventually became a 285 acre farm in the Lower Young Cane District near Blairsville in Union County. They raised 12 children, all of whom lived well into older age. The family attended Providence Church on Pat Colwell Road, where their bodies are interred in marked graves, and are mentioned prominently in the church's history, "A Mountain Legacy," as penned by Joyce Moesker.

Charles died in 1915, Sarah in 1917 but, even with 12 children, the graves remained unmarked up until 1988 when Great Grandson, Roy V. Fair, and Grandson, Winford Fair, led a family effort to place a granite stone on the site. In 1998, Roy Fair coordinated a second fund raising effort to further commemorate the site by placing polished bronze markers at the foot of each grave depicting his Confederate service (Father) and the full names of their children, to include female married names (Mother). The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) conducted a 3-gun (muskets) salute during the ceremony. Francis Fair Partin (Grandaughter of George Fair) played a key role in site preparation; Tom Fair (Grandson of William Fair), Cecil Fair (Grandson of George Fair) and Bill Cuthbertson (Grandson of Rebecca Fair Casteel) assisted in the program. The ceremony was conducted on July 26, 1998 in concert with the annual Family Reunion at Vogel State Park; there were approximately 100 family and SCV members in attendance. David Friedly coordinated the SCV ceremony by the David Payne Chapter of the SCV.

The Civil War had to have had a profound effect on his life. Twenty-seven months of charging into the face of Union musket balls and cannon fire came to an abrupt and bloody ending for him on September 20, 1863, when the 29th NC Regiment, forming part of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's 55,000 troops, engaged the 64,000 Union Army troops of General William Rosecrans in the Battle of Chicamauga (GA), just south of Lookout Mountain (TN). It was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the WORLD--when it was over, 34,000 Confederate and Union soldiers lay killed or wounded on the battlefield. Bragg lost 27 percent of his forces; Rosecrans lost almost 30 percent in the withering crossfire of these opposing forces. Charles Fair's life was spared--he was one of 1,468 Confederate soldiers missing in action and presumed captured, which of course, he was.

Charles arrived at Camp Douglas Military Prison near Chicago on October 4, 1863, where he remained incarcerated for the duration of the war. Illinois prison conditions were particularly tough on southern soldiers who were more accustomed to moderate winter temperatures relative to the Chicago area. The harsh winter months, limited rations and terribly unsanitary conditions took their toll in human life as it did at our own Andersonville (GA) infamous prison. For example, in February 1863 (before his arrival), 10 percent of the prisoners died from the above combined conditions. It was so bad that even Union prison officials had recommended its closure (it obviously did not happen). In the end, Charles Fair was a survivor of both war and prison hardship, a testimony to the elasticity of the human spirit.

When Charles was released from Camp Douglas Prison after the Civil War ended, he was reportedly given a red horse to ride back to Georgia/North Carolina. A disgruntled Union soldier shot the horse so he had to make his way back south as best he could. Records show that his destination was Cleveland, TN, which means he probably took the rail line down there and walked home.

In the year 2000, an unannotated photograph of Charles, Sarah and 10 of their 12 children emerged from antiquity upon the death of Jessie Mae Fair of Blairsville (Charles' spinster grand daughter by son, John Fair). When her old country shack was cleaned out after her death numerous unannotated pictures removed from Charles' home in the 1915 time frame were found and secured. While there were other pictures, the family picture was easily identifiable by family elders. In fact, the presence of George Fair's picture therein (Charles' son) was the first to surface as no member of his own very large family could come up with one. The presence of Martha Ann Fair (Young) in the picture was a major improvement over the only one currently available. William and Mary Louisa (oldest children) were the missing ones from the picture. Other pictures found in the home include a picture of John Fair as a middle aged man; a picture of Charles' father and mother, Archibald and Holly Fair; a picture Charles' son, Elijah and wife, Minnie Atkins; and a picture of Van and Becky Casteel.

Land and will documents have emerged since the death of Jessie Mae Fair and her brother Clifford Fair. We have in our possession the document wherein Charles Fair purchased 140 acres of property in the Lower Young Cane District of Union County from one E.B. Grier on March 31, 1870. In addition we have the document signed by several of Charles and Sarah Fair's children that turned over that acreage to their son, John David Fair, and wife, Claudia Hood Fair, in return for taking care of Charles and Sarah in their declining years, death and burial. John's son, Winford, told me (Roy Fair) that the total acreage was 285 and that John sold 270 acres in one chunk to Charles Kiker for $3,600 and later sold the remaining 15 acres.

Family notes indicate the date of his death to be August 28, 1915. Witnesses were John D. Young and Dr Van Dan Casteel (dentist), both son-in-laws of Charles Fair. At the time of his death he was receiving a Civil War Veteran's Pension. The basis for that pension is recorded as follows: "He is dispeptic--has chronic cystitis and rheumatism affecting his shoulders, back and legs and is thereby totally disabled for manual labor." The application was signed by Dr. F.J. Irwin and Dr. A.D. McLeravey. M.B. Hill of the village of Napolean in Union County, GA was indicated as a witness.

Click here to see a photo of Charles Fair

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This page was last updated on Jan. 17, 2005