Notes on William Zinn Norman

From the Booher Page at Don Norman's Family Files
William Zinn Norman, a son of James Nedley and Catherine (Summers) Norman (see note below), was born in VA about 1839 and died before 1870. He married Asenath Booher, a daughter of Jacob and Nancy (McCune) Booher, in Calhoun County VA (WV) September 22, 1860.
See also the Norman Page at Don Norman's Family Files.

Isaac Norman, a son of James and Mary (Nedley) Norman, was born in 1799 in Allegheny County MD. He married Susanna Jackson in Monongalia County VA (WV) October 12, 1818. Susannah was born in Fayette County PA about 1801.

Known children of Isaac and Susannah (Jackson) Norman.

38. (1). James J. b.Sep 13 1819
        m.Lucinda Marks Mar 21 1851

39. (2). Isaac Jr. b.c. 1830
        m.Barbara Conrad Oct 20 1855
        m.Mary Nichols Aug 19 1861

40. (3). Thomas S. b.c. 1832
        m.Mary Magdalene Barnhouse Oct 20 1855

41. (4). Mary b.c. 1838

42. (5). William B.Z. b.c. 1841

43. (6). Henry H. b.c. 1843

44. (7). Catherine b.c. 1846

The marriage record of Azenith Booher and William Zinn Norman, available AT THIS LINK indicates their marriage September 22,1860, William was 21, born in Randolph County, the son of Isaac and Susan Norman, Azenith age 19, the daughter of Jacob and Nancy Booher.

There is no doubt that William Zinn Norman was a soldier in the Union Army during the Civil War, a member of Company C, 11th West Virginia Volunteer infantry.

A website for The 11th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry is maintained by John C. Dawson. The Company C page at this site indicates service of:
Norman, William Private, age 24, mustered in 1861, deserted at At Spencer, 9/3/62.

This record is in error. William Zinn Norman did not desert, but was killed in the conflict. This is not the error of Mr. Dawson who maintains a fine record on the Internet, but rather an error which was made in the official documents, which was later corrected by an Act of Congress!

Rather than having deserted in September, 1862, the corrected military record indicates he was taken prisoner in 1862 and later killed in 1862. This writer has obtained the complete Civil War pension file from the National Archives for William Zinn Norman. It is known that his widow, Aseneth Booher Norman, finally was awarded a Civil War widow's pension.

There are many pages contained in this pension file. Included is an affidavit (reproduced here) dated February 2, 1892, which contains a sworn statement from one M.W. Heit (Hoit? Fleit?), which states:
I became acquainted with Asenath Norman widow of William Z. Norman when a small boy. First became acquainted with William Z. Norman about the year 1862 in the 11th West Virginia Infantry at Spencer in Roane County W. Va we were both captured by Jenkins Cavalry of Confederates paroled and turned loose a short time after we was paroled by the confederates. They retaken me and started off South with me. Another Squad came too us and had with them William Z. Norman a prisoner and took us together to Browns Gap on the Blue Ridge. William Z. Norman after he refused to take up arms for the Confederates was placed under what they called a rear guard the main squad marched on with me. A Short time after we left; the guard came up to the company and remarked that William Z. Norman would never be in our company again; that gave me to understand William Z. Norman was killed. I heard more than one fire arm discharged in the direction of the squad close behind us that was the last time that I ever seen or heard of William Z. Norman.
This account from 1892 matches historical records published elsewhere on the Internet.

An article archived on the West Virginia Department of Archives and History at this link, regarding the exploits of Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, C.S.A., documents...
...On September 2, at Spencer Court House he surprised and captured Colonel J. C. Rathbone and his entire command, the Eleventh West Virginia Regiment. Jenkins paroled his prisoners and rode on to Ripley. There he found a defenseless paymaster from whom he took funds to the amount of $5,525. Moving on to Ravenswood, he rested his men there, and on the evening of September 4 forded the Ohio and set up the flag of the Confederate government on Ohio soil. On a march of some distance in Ohio, Jenkins took pride in treating the citizens with consideration. He captured Racine and there recrossed the river.
Another account of the surrender at Spencer is found on John Dawson's page at this link:
...It was after Jenkins arrived in Glenville when Rathbone heard of his advance. Certainly Jenkins' previous accomplishments from Buckhannon to Glenville had to have been reported, yet nothing was done to confirm or deny this report. Rathbone did not order his pickets to move forward nor did he reinforce them. He did not order a detachment to meet any resistance or to at least confirm the advance of Jenkins into Spencer.

It was approximately 5: PM when the flag of truce entered the camp at Spencer, and Rathbone quickly responded to the imposing surrender by calling his officers into a council. Almost all wanted to fight; yet Rathbone decided to send Major Trimble back to the rebel lines and determine their strength.

Everything Rathbone did after this was an indicator that he would not fight nor retreat. He never saddled his horse, put on his side arms, or ordered anything that would appear a battle would ensue. The surgeons were told not to display the hospital flags and he ordered a company down from a strong defensive position. This was done with the majority of his officers wanting to fight. The men understood these signs as well since many left the camp evading capture.

This action along with his truce with Confederate Ranger Downs inflamed Brigadier General Benjamin Kelley and led to Rathbone's dismissal as Colonel of the regiment.

Of note, it was years after the Civil War that Aseneth Norman, widow of William Zinn Norman, was finally awarded a widow's pension. It literally took an Act of Congress to have the military record of William Zinn Norman corrected. Included in the pension file from the National Archives are copies of correspondence from Congressman John M. Hamilton to the Commissioner of Pensions, reproduced at this link.

Noted in passing, the following biography of Congressman John M. Hamilton is found at this link:

John M. HAMILTON (1855-1916)
HAMILTON, John M., a Representative from West Virginia; born in Weston, Lewis County, Va. (now West Virginia), March 16, 1855; attended the public schools; recorder of the town of Weston in 1876; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1877 and commenced practice in Grantsville, Calhoun County, W.Va.; committee clerk in the State senate 1881 and 1882; assistant clerk of the senate 1883-1887; resumed the practice of law in 1887; member of the State house of delegates 1887 and 1888; clerk of the house of delegates 1888-1890; also engaged in banking and served as president of the Calhoun County Bank 1901-1916; elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-second Congress (March 4, 1911-March 3, 1913); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1912 to the Sixty-third Congress and for election in 1914 to the Sixty-fourth Congress; resumed the practice of law; served as president of the Calhoun County High School Board; died in Grantsville, W.Va., on December 27, 1916; interment in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Old Bethlehem, W.Va.

Of note, Congressman Hamilton hailed from Grantsville, Calhoun County West Virginia, the county of residence of Aseneth Norman, widow of William Zinn Norman.

Included in the pension file is this congressional document:

An article available on-line at the HurHerald, edited by Bob Weaver, "Calhoun County in the Civil War from 1927 Part IV By Louis E. Ayers" indicates...
Norman, William, Private, 24, Killed by Guerillas, Sept. 1862, in Calhoun county, W. Va., while at home on furlough.
This writer is not not aware of what documentation accompanies this claim.

Puzzling to this writer is the fact that Aseneth Booher Norman, is listed in the 1890 Federal Census of Veterans and Widows. Yet the documentation cited above seems to indicate that her pension was not finalized until sometime afterward.


Calhoun County WVGenWeb, maintained by Linda Cunningham Fluharty
              1890 Calhoun County WV Census of Veterans and Widows
Peter Booher page at Don Norman's Family Files

West Virginia Division of Culture and History
       Vital Research Records

11th West Virginia Infantry Volunteers, maintained by John C. Dawson

HurHerald edited by Bob Weaver
        Calhoun County in the Civil War from 1927 Part IV By Louis E. Ayers

Work in progress

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