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Joseph Reynolds and Amanda Gatrill-Reynolds

by Tommy Joe Reynolds

Biographical Sketch of Joseph Reynolds and Amanda Gatrill 10 October 2017

Joseph Reynolds and Amanda Gatrill-Reynolds were part of the great migration of the 19th century from the mid-Atlantic and across the American midwest. I’ve not been able to confirm the parents of Joseph Reynolds1, but his parents probably moved from south central Virginia into southern Kentucky between 1790 and 1810. Kentucky was the western frontier at that time. Travelers from Virginia reached Kentucky through the Cumberland Pass, which, at the time, was the only major passage westward across the Appalachian Mountains. The Kentucky lands were newly opened for development and land parcels in Kentucky were given as bounty in lieu of pay to veterans of the Revolution.

The first record I’ve found of Joseph Reynolds (who was born approximately 1819) was for his marriage to Amanda Gatrill in 1841 in Russell County, Kentucky. Amanda’s maternal grandfather, Philemon Payne, was a veteran of the Revolution and moved from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to land that became Wayne Co., Kentucky, after receiving a land patent in 1797. In the years shortly after Joseph and Amanda's marriage, it appears that they didn’t own any land as he is listed in the Russell County tax rolls as only paying personal property tax and appears to have paid no tax on real estate.

In 1848 or 1849, Joseph and Amanda Reynolds moved with 4 children (James Tipton, Sabra Ann, Sarah Ann, and Martin Taylor—all under the age of 6) by wagon train from southern Kentucky to southwest Missouri and settled about 10 miles east of Bolivar in Polk County. According to contemporary accounts of their cousins, this journey from took about 6 or 8 weeks. It’s not clear exactly why they moved to Missouri, but between 1840 and 1850 roughly 1/3 of their extended family had moved from southern Kentucky westward: to Ohio, Illinois, and southwest Missouri. Other families that relocated at that time with Joseph and Amanda from Wayne County, KY, to Polk County, MO, included Amanda’s parents (Dennis Gatrill and Agnes Payne-Gatrill) and the maternal aunts of Amanda and their husbands and children: Avington & Lucinda Simpson, George & Artimesa Dowell, Charles & Leah Higginbotham, and James & Elizabeth McKinney.

On 1 December 1853 Joseph received a homestead land patent from the federal government for 40 acres in Polk County. But even land ownership didn’t tie the family down for long. By 1860 they had relocated again--this time to northwest Arkansas, near present-day Bentonville. The family is listed there in the 1860 census. By that time, they had four additional children: Artemisa Elizabeth, Lucinda A, and Joseph O.

On 15 November 1861, Joseph enlisted with 6 other men from nearby farms at Camp McCulloch to join Company A of Arkansas's 15th Northwest Infantry Regiment (CSA). At the time, his wife Amanda was six months pregnant with their ninth and final child, my great-great grandfather, Franklin Davenport Reynolds. By that time, Joseph’s oldest son, James Tipton Reynolds (age 19), had also enlisted in Company E of the 16th Arkansas Infantry Regiment (CSA).

According to civil war records, Joseph fought in the Battles of Pea Ridge (Arkansas), Corinth (Mississippi), and Port Gibson (Mississippi). He was wounded in the Battle of Corinth but continued to fight with his regiment. He was captured in the Battle of Port Gibson on 1 May 1863. As a Confederate POW, Joseph was transferred to the Union Military Prison in Alton, Illinois, where he was paroled (meaning he signed a document swearing that he would not take up arms against the US Government until he was exchanged) on 18 May 1863 and exchanged on 12 June 1863. It doesn’t appear that he fought any more after his parole and exchange but he did remain on the Confederate Muster rolls through March 1864. Between June and August 1863 he was a patient in Howard’s Grove (Confederate) Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. He was discharged as healthy—or at least better off than the other patients—in September 1863. It's not clear what happened to Joseph after leaving the hospital, although he signed vouchers indicating that he received clothing from the Confederate Army through March 1864.

Joseph’s wife Amanda remarried another native Kentuckian (Henry Holt) in Arkansas in about 1869. Henry was a widower with two teenagers. Amanda appears with little Franklin Davenport (Joseph’s youngest son) and their new Holt “step” family in the 1870 census in Boone County, Arkansas. Two of Amanda's sons (James Tipton and Martin Taylor) moved to northeast Texas in the 1870s and Franklin followed in the 1880s. They settled in Montague County, Texas. Franklin and Martin married two Collins sisters there (Rebecca and Margaret, daughters of Isaiah and Martha Collins). Both Frank and Martin named their first sons Joseph Isaiah Reynolds--presumably taking the given names of their paternal and maternal grandfathers, Joseph and Isaiah. Amanda was buried in Perryman Cemetery in Montague County in 1904, along with her sons James Tipton and Martin Taylor, who passed away in the preceeding years. Amanda's second husband appears to have remained in Arkansas as he was buried there a year later.

1 Many internet resources suggest that Joseph is the son of Isaac Reynolds and Christina Heck of Mason Co., KY, but paper or DNA evidence to support this suggestion has yet to be uncovered.

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