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Abraham Tower After the Civil War

Updated on April 24, 2015
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.

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 about his life.

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


Zazzle graphic: Windmill in Linn County, Missouri by SilverWerewolf

1870 federal census for Linn County, Missouri
1870 federal census for Linn County, Missouri

He is listed 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.


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)

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.


They Moved to Arkansas in May 1874

According to his pension applications

His great-grandson took this photo. 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

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 1888, they returned to Arkansas

This information was in Abraham's pension file.

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 bates tower with mcghee and vining families
abraham bates tower with mcghee and vining families

In 1900 the Family Moved to Coffeyville, Kansas

(photo by Virginia Allain of a small Kansas town)

Abraham Bates Tower in the 1920 Census

in Montgomery, Kansas

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

(Information courtesy of Family Search)

More about the Life of Abraham Bates Tower


Zazzle graphic showing Napoleon Cannon Vicksburg Postcards by Soulshine51

Resources to Help You Search Your Roots

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.

Sam McGhee Home in Tyro, Kansas

Gravestone for Abraham Bates Tower
Gravestone for Abraham Bates Tower

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.

Photo from Find-A-Grave.

My Google Maps - after the Civil War

Mapped by Google Maps

show route and directions
A markerLaClede, Missouri -
laclede, mo
get directions

B markerTyro, KS -
Tyro, KS
get directions

C markerLevenworth, Indiana -
levenworth Indiana
get directions

© 2011 Virginia Allain

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 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 5 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 5 years ago

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

    • Genjud profile image

      Genjud 6 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.