After the Civil War, in a
in disarray, almost all Republicans being elected during Reconstruction, gardens for food, yes, but crops and any market for them tough to come by, great grandfather James A. Wilson tries to get work as a blacksmith. A letter of introduction from Joseph Carey attests to his skill and character. Mississippi
December the 31st, 1867
To the Public, Mr. Wilson is seeking a situation as Blacksmith. I will inform you that Mr. Wilson has lived in my neighbourhood a number of years and has worked in my shop most of the time he has been in this vicinity and that he is a good Smith and a man of good moral habbits. It you kneed a Smith I think you would do well to employ him as he is amongst the best welders which is an important item in that Branch of Business.
How long he works at forging horseshoes and repairing broken plows and wagons is unknown. What is known is that he lives only nine years after the war. His wife, great grandmother Jemima Byrd Wilson, lives five months shy of 90 years, applying for her first husband Lorenzo’s pension as an Indigent Widow of Soldier or Sailor of the Late Confederacy, under Chapter 102, Code of 1906. Since she doesn’t end up with any of the land James bought before the war, in 1892, pursuant to the Act of Congress approved 20th May, 1862, “To secure Homesteads to actual Settlers on the Public Domain,” Jemima claims 78 acres in Lawrence County, Mississippi, and with the help of Mr. Walt Lambert, who owns a store and grist mill, settles the old homestead, the site of Wilson reunions over the years, the present house built by my grandfather, Wiley, and occupied lately by a series of second cousins.