Researching GJ Spruill has proved a bit of a challenge. There is a lot known about him, but almost all concerns his later life. The biggest question I currently have is what is his given name? G J is reported to be both "George" Jackson and "General" Jackson. I have yet to find a verifiable source that cites his given name. Although George seems to be a more accepted name, the fact that he never used George (preferring to be called Jack or GJ) leads me to believe that his name may have indeed been General. Can anyone help me locate a source for his name and his parentage? This I know to be true:
GJ Spruill cites Louisiana as his birthplace on the 1870 Census of Lampasas, Texas. He also cites Louisiana as his birth place in his application for Conferderate Pension filed with the state of Texas in 1913. (lists his age at 85 years, which makes his birth year Cir 1828). Two 'friends' gave statements in his pension application. Van Lane in Texas calls him "GJ" in all references. Green Joyce of Louisiana refers to him as "G. Jack". I can find no census records for GJ Spruill in Louisiana to date. Booth's book on Confederate soldiers in LA, names him as GJ Spruill. It shows his enlistment in Natchitoches, LA and cites his home in DeSoto Parish.
This is kind of a now you see him, now you don't era in GJ's life. His first wife was Mary Adeline McCormick (this is her second marriage) according to the Catahoula, LA parish marriage book. His first son, Thomas was born somewhere in LA cir 1851 (Lampasas, Texas Census 1860, Thos. J Sprewell, 9, M, LA). Mary McCormick died in childbirth in Texas(giving birth to Rueben and John) in 1854 and GJ sort of disappeared (back to Louisiana without his three sons) for a number of years. The three boys were left in the charge of Benjamin Means, no apparent relationship at the time (JM Spruill, GJ's son, would later marry Benjamin's granddaughter), and their uncle John Washington McCormick. I cannot find GJ Spruill by any spelling on an 1850 or 1860 Census in Louisiana or Texas. GJ Spruill enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 in Natchitoches Parish, LA and was paroled there in 1865. Sometime after 1854 GJ is thought to have married Anne Mahoney (listed on the 1850 Natchitoches, LA Census, age 15 living with a family that has no obvious relationship to her) and produced several children (probably Charles, Mary, Julia and Patterson)in Louisiana who accompanied him back to Texas prior to 1870. Anne Mahoney probably died in Louisiana but I can't verify that either. And in the spririt of getting on with life, GJ married and buried a third wife before 1870. "Rulina Sprewell, age 23 is shown on the 1870 Lampasas, Texas mortality schedule as having died 12-2-(1869). She was likely the mother of Edward and Friend Spruill. I'm not sure of her origins or last name. It's also likely her first name was misspelled by the Census taker. GJ's fourth wife, widow Issabella Eastman (age 28, VA), was already living in his home by the time the 1870 Census was taken, five months or less after his third wife died. (Maybe the women were related to one another?) He and Issabella (sic) married in 1873. I am currently trying to gain access to 1880, and 1900 Census records for Lampasas, Texas to follow GJ's movements. I have found an additional marriage record for him. In 1881 GJ Spruill married "Lou Fild" in Caldwell County, Texas. GJ died Cir 1920 in Lampasas, Texas. GJ is reported to have married at least seven times (this according to my mother, his ggranddaughter) before his death. Other people say eight wives. (Family gossip says that three of his wives died because their skirts caught fire while they were doing laundry. Now, call me a cynic, but don't you think after losing one wife to a laundry fire GJ might take a precaution or two before losing two more wives the same way?)
If anyone out there can help guide me to a source for information on GJ, his parents or wives, I'd certainly appreciate the help. I do know there is at least one online family chart out there that lists GJ (General Jackson) Spruill as a direct descendant of Dr. Godfrey Spruill. I've lost my url to that site (figures!) but I remember when I first reviewed the chart the dates were a bit off concerning GJ. If I read the chart correctly (which is not always the case), GJ's father would have been too young to have children. I think his birth year and GJ's were less than twelve years apart. While I know the Spruill's are over-achievers in many areas, I hope this wasn't one of them!
Note: DeSoto Parish, Louisiana which is listed as GJ's home in Booth's book on the Civil War, came into being in about 1843. It was formed from parts of Natchitoches, Caddo and Claiborne Parishes.
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