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Abraham Tower After the Civil War

Updated on March 13, 2019
Virginia Allain profile image

In researching my Civil War ancestor, I became fascinated by all aspects of that war. If you're a Civil War buff, check out my topics.

Abraham Tower, his son, grandson and great-grandson.
Abraham Tower, his son, grandson and great-grandson. | Source

Covering the Years 1865 to 1930 of Abe Tower's Life

I'm researching my great-great grandfather's life and documenting what I find here. Abraham Bates Tower survived the notorious Civil War prison, Andersonville, and returned to Indiana. He lived a long life despite the damage to his health from starvation and disease in Andersonville.

In various places, I see his name shortened to Abe or Abram, but don't know if those were just for purposes of easy recording or if he actually was known as Abe. In the newspapers, he generally was referred to as A.B. Tower.

To complicate my searching, he had an uncle who was also named Abraham Bates Tower.

Eventually, I hope to write a book about the life of this remarkable, yet very ordinary man. For the moment, I want to share what I'm finding of his life.



Poor Health Plagued Abraham after the War

August 1, 1868 - He Filed for an Invalid Pension

The claim says that he is unable to work in warm weather. "He contracted a disease while in Andersonville Prison in Georgia. It causes blotches on his chest and his bowels are inflamed and itching. This reappears whenever he is the least heated, so can only work when the weather is very cold.

He experiences a choking sensation in the throat and loss of voice, followed by being sick at the stomach. Long under a surgeons care but gets no better." (C.D. Price and W.D. Crandall, Jr. res. of Brookfield, MO)

I wonder if the bowel problem would be what is now diagnosed as colitis. It's doubtful that they had much that could be done in that time to treat it.

I Found Abraham Tower in the 1870 Census - They were in Jefferson Township (Linn County, near or in LaClede, Missouri)

Source

1870 federal census for Linn County, Missouri

He is listed in 1870 as age 32 with the occupation of farmer and his wife Nancy, age 30, listed her occupation as "Keeping House." The value of their personal estate was estimated at $1,100. There was no value in the column of Value of Real Estate, so I assume they did not own land.

Abe and Nancy are listed as born in Indiana, as are the two older children, Laura - age 10 and Erastus - age 8. They are marked as attending school within the year. The two younger children, Mary - age 4 and Sarah - age 2, were born in Missouri and were not attending school.

This is three years before the birth of my great-grandmother, Viola Matilda Tower (later McGhee).

It gives Laclede as the nearest post office.

He Doesn't Look Well in This Photo

Abraham and Nancy Angeline Tower with their granddaughter, Helen Newton. If that identification of the infant is correct, the photo would be from 1897 (30 years after the war ended).
Abraham and Nancy Angeline Tower with their granddaughter, Helen Newton. If that identification of the infant is correct, the photo would be from 1897 (30 years after the war ended). | Source

Nancy Angeline Long - Abraham Tower's Wife

Her background

Abraham Bates, son of Jonathan Warren and Sarah V. (Monroe) Tower,

married Nancy Angeline Long Oct. 28, 1858.

She was born in Harrison Co., Ind., May 2, 1840, and was the daughter of Thomas and Nancy Ana (Daggs) Long.

(from Tower Genealogy book)

When Abraham was missing and presumed dead during the Civil War, she took their two young children and moved from Indiana to Missouri where her sister lived. Abraham arrived in LaClede, Linn County, Missouri in September 1865 after being mustered out of the infantry.

Their Cabin in Harrison, Arkansas

Source

They Moved to Arkansas in May 1874

According to his pension applications

His great-grandson took the above photo years later. It shows the place that Abraham's son, Reuben Tower, called the homeplace. It was located on Gaither Mountain in Harrison, Arkansas.

He said Abraham had liked the land in Arkansas when he was there during the war. The state offered land to veterans.

The cabin has since fallen down.

log cabin in Indiana
log cabin in Indiana

In 1888, they returned to Arkansas

This information was in Abraham's pension file.

They Moved Back to Indiana

Where Abraham grew up

According to his pension paperwork, the family moved from Arkansas to Leavenworth, Dubios County, Indiana. That puzzles me a little, because Leavenworth was in Crawford County.

(photo of a historic cabin in Southern Indiana, taken by my husband - this is not Abraham's home, but may be similar)

In 1900 the Family Lived in Taney County, Missouri, in Big Creek Township

The census shows 68-year-old Abraham and wife Nancy. Also listed nearby was his son William Tower and family. A little further down the list is daughter Malissie and her husband Henry Fiscus and children.

Tyro Main Street Looking East

The way Tyro looked when my great-great grandfather llved there.
The way Tyro looked when my great-great grandfather llved there. | Source
Tyro is almost a ghost town today.
Tyro is almost a ghost town today. | Source
Abraham stands in the center (back row). He's wearing suspenders and has his hands touching the shoulder of one of his grandsons (Austin McGhee).
Abraham stands in the center (back row). He's wearing suspenders and has his hands touching the shoulder of one of his grandsons (Austin McGhee). | Source

Abraham Bates Tower in the 1920 Census

In Montgomery County, Kansas (at this point, he's living with his daughter Matilda and her husband, Samuel McGhee) Abraham's wife, Nancy died after a stroke.

Name: Abraham Tower

Residence: Montgomery, Kansas

Estimated Birth Year: 1838 (family records give 1837 as the birth year)

Age: 82

Birthplace: Indiana

Relationship to Head of Household: Father-in-law

Gender: Male

Race: White

Other Members of the Household

Household - Gender - Age

Samuel N Mcghee M 44y

Matilda Mcghee F 46y (A.B. Tower's daughter)

Roy B Mcghee M 19y

Bertha Mcghee F 16 y

Lelan Mcghee M 15 y

Loren Mcghee M 12 y

Elmer Mcghee M 9 y10m

Austin Mcghee M 7 y6m

Ethel Mcghee F 4 y11m

Abraham Tower M 82y

Leland Henderson M 18 y

Marital Status: Widowed

Father's Birthplace: New York

Mother's Birthplace: Virginia


More about the Life of Abraham Bates Tower

A view of Vicksburg during the war.
A view of Vicksburg during the war. | Source

Abraham's Old Age

He went to live with his daughter, Viola Matilda, called Tildy. She was married to Samuel Newton McGhee and they added two rooms to their house in Tyro, Kansas to hold their many children and have space too for Abraham.

Abraham would spend part of each year with his children in Oklahoma and Texas also.

The photo below shows the McGhee home in Tyro, Kansas where Abraham Tower lived in his old age. Son-in-law Sam McGhee stands in front with his son.

You can read more about this time in From Melbourn, Arkansas to Tyro, Kansas

written by my mother, Gail Lee Martin, from stories told to her by Bertha McGhee.

Sam McGhee Home in Tyro, Kansas

It seems that his health improved in his later years. In one newspaper clipping, it commented on his gardening. His grandchildren told of him traveling from Tyro, Kansas to Prague, Oklahoma, and down to Texas to spend time with his children and grandchildren.

He preferred that they come to get him in their car rather than have to travel by himself on the train. It was a long trip in those days with no superhighways.

Abraham Bates Tower (seated on the running board) and three of his adult children.
Abraham Bates Tower (seated on the running board) and three of his adult children. | Source
I visited the cemetery to see if I could get a better picture than the one on Find-A-Grave. Unfortunately, the shade and the algae on the stone makes it hard to read.
I visited the cemetery to see if I could get a better picture than the one on Find-A-Grave. Unfortunately, the shade and the algae on the stone makes it hard to read. | Source

Abraham Bates Tower's Grave

in Robbins Cemetery, Montgomery County, Kansas

The stone shows 1831 as his date of birth, but my mother's genealogy research shows 1837.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Virginia Allain

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    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: In some of the Civil War records he is called Abram but not sure if that just an abbreviation used in recording names. Did they actually call people Abram? I'll have to check if I saw Abe somewhere in family papers.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 

      7 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Yes, I am. Same research that you're doing, Sis. ;-) I noticed you referred to Abraham Bates Tower as "Abe Tower" in one of your lens modules--is there any record that people called him that rather than Abraham? (Seems likely--Abraham's a mouthful.)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      To read about my ancestor, captured at Gettysburg, survived Andersonville, google the book Hiram's Honor.

    • Genjud profile image

      Genjud 

      8 years ago

      I too have civil war ancestors that I am researching for more info. In the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Family Chronicle there is an article on finding your Civil War Ancestor's Photo Online. You might want to check it out. Nice lens.

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