The Story of Samuel Slaven

Samuel Slaven lived in Pike Co., Ohio, at the beginning of the Civil War. He went immediately to camp and when he got there, Captain Andrews was enlisting men to go South through Kentucky and Tennessee to capture the train that was carrying the guys to the South. They thought they could help end the Civil War by capturing the train. My Grandmother Slaven never heard from him. They were told not to communicate with people at home as to what they were doing. My Grandmother Slaven never knew what became of him until after the war.

They got the train and started off with it, but it was by a restaurant where the conductor of another train was eating, and he heard the train start up. Someone told him someone was stealing his train, so he rushed out and ordered another train to follow them. He had to abandon that train, but he did find just a locomotive called the "Texas." (The "Texas" is now located at the Cyclorama in Atlanta, GA.)

The train that the Northen men were stealing was pulled by an engine called the "General." (The "General" is now at the Big Shanty Museum at Kennesaw, GA., near Atlanta.) It was run by wood and had to stop several times to cut wood in order to run it. So this man following them in just the locomotive finally overtook them and they abandoned the train and rushed into the woods. Most all of the men were captured but a few escaped and went home. The ones that were captured were put in prison at Atlanta, GA. Their leader was Captain Andrews, and he was one that was captured.

The authorities took these men in, one at a time to question them to find out who was Captain Andrews, but none of them would give him away until a man named Pittinger appeared. He (Pittinger) was finally exchanged and sent home, and at the same time, Captain Andrews was taken out and executed alone.

That left 14 men in prison. The authorities went in and made them all go along. Seven of them were taken out ot the woods and hung. My Grandfather, Samuel Slaven, was one of the seven. A log was put from one tree to another, and the seven men were hung from that log. My Grandfather Slaven was in the center. Being tall and rather heavy, the rope stretched and his feet touched the ground. Someone grabbed a spade and dug a hole under his feet in order that he might be hung along with the others. The seven bodies were just dumped into a single grave.

After the war, a brother of Grandpa Slaven located the grave and dug them up and they are now all buried in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga, TN. Captain Andrews is also buried there with them.

My Grandson has visited the cemetery several times and there has always been a single red rose on Samuel Slaven's grave, but we have no knowledge of who puts them there.

Grandma Slaven never knew what became of her husband until after the war. When the seven men were being taken out of the prison to be hung, Grandpa Slaven asked of the others who might be exchanged and going home if any of them were from Ohio and might be passing the area where he was from if they would stop and tell his wife, Racheal, what had happened.

One evening after the war was over, Grandma Slaven was sitting in her yard when a soldier came walking by and stopped and asked her if she was Racheal Slaven. She said yes and he told her the story.The soldier was walking home, as the government at that time did not furnish transportation, they had to get home as best they could.

Rachael received a pension of $8.00 per month and her husband "Medal of Honor."

Transcribed from a tape of the granddaughter of Samuel Slaven, Alice Slaven Gronemeyer, sister to Jennie Slaven Livezey. Written by great-granddaughter Gertrude Livezey Higdon.

Copyright © 2005 Larry Slavens. All rights reserved.