|John Stephen and Mary Garmon Cain of Forsyth and Gwinnett
Counties, Georgia and Denton and Dallas Counties, Texas
John Steven and Mary GARMON CAIN were my paternal grandmother's parents. John was an Irishman and the
thing my grandmother remembered most about him was his love of music. He carried a fiddle with him through
the Civil War, until he was captured during the siege of Atlanta.
John was born on August 23, 1832, in Sheltonville, Georgia, but I'm unsure of the county. Sheltonville sits
astride a county line, and I haven't learned on which side he was born. The town is in both Forsyth and Fulton
Counties....and to make matters more interesting, John's Confederate enlistment records (the Gwinnett
County, GA Independent Rebels, Co. B, 42nd Infantry Regiment) show his place of residence as Gwinnett
I had a difficult time finding Sheltonville, until I realized the name of the town had been changed twice since my
g-grandfather's day. It's now known as Shake Rag. (I'm told that Shake Rag was once famous for dog
races....and "Shake Rag" comes from the signal given to start the races.)
I still don't know who John's parents were. I've seen the census records for all the possible counties and there
are many Cains in the area, but I have yet to establish a link to anyone I can identify with certainty. My
grandmother said that John Cain's parents were from County Clare in Ireland and were the original immigrants
of this family. There's a chance the name may have been changed from "McCain."
John enlisted in the Confederate Army on March 4, 1862, in Gwinnett County.
[Source: Roster of Confederate Soldiers of GA]
By combining Mr. Hobgood's information with information from a database of American Civil War Regiments,
I've not only been able to determine in which battles my g-grandfather participated, but also in which battle he
was captured. The siege of Atlanta lasted from July 20 to September 2, 1864 and it was during this siege that
John Cain was captured by federal forces. He was sent to Camp Chase Federal Prison in Columbus, Ohio, where
he remained until the war's end. (See Camp Chase Federal Prison Page.)
I am so fortunate to have my g-grandfather's original travel pass, issued when he was released from Camp
Chase. It reads, in part: "Headquarters of U. S. Forces; Camp Chase, Ohio, May 13, 1865; Special Order No.__;
By direction of the Secretary of War, the Quartermaster's Department will furnish transportation to J. S. Cain,
Released Prisoner of War, from Columbus, Ohio to Atlanta, Georgia. By order of Brigadier General W. P.
Richardson." There's a stamp specifying the first leg of his trip from Columbus to Louisville, Kentucky. (A
photo of it is on the 42nd GA page,)
John CAIN married Mary GARMON, of Forsyth County, Georgia, in about 1870. On May 3, 1878, their only child,
Louvenia Elizabeth CAIN, was born in Sheltonville, Georgia. My grandmother, Louvenia, known as Lou,
contracted polio as a very young child and the crippling effects of the disease remained with her. Most
children with polio in those days did not survive, but my frail and tiny grandmother (she was only 4'11" in
adulthood) did survive and lived a long life. She often remembered the trip they made to a large city (probably
Atlanta) to see a "special" doctor. She was only about 4 at the time and both the city and the doctor's visit
frightened her badly. But, as she lay on the examining table, the doctor soothed her fears and turned himself
into an instant friend by a skill that had nothing to do with medicine. It seems he had the ability to "throw his
voice." And this exhibition so fascinated my grandmother, she quickly forgot her fears. But she recalled, as
long as she lived, the doctor's talent for ventriloquisim.
Nothing could be done to reverse the effects of the disease, but he was able to give the encouraging news my
g-grandparents had hoped to hear. In time....perhaps....their little girl might yet be able to walk. He was
right. My grandmother took her first steps at the age of 9 years old.
And I can tell you from my own experience, that what she lacked in physical strength and ability, she more
than made up for in faith and perseverance. And, so it was, that my grandmother walked, grew to adulthood,
married and bore four children, and lived into her eighties. Despite her handicap, I can never recall hearing a
complaint of any kind from my grandmother. She was a woman of strength and great faith and her children
loved and revered her greatly, especially my father, the baby of the family.
GONE TO TEXAS:
At some time during the 1880's, John and Mary Cain, with their daughter, Louvenia, moved from Georgia to
Denton County, Texas, where several of John's brothers had already settled. I've been told that they had first
gone to Alabama, where some of Mary's family lived, and then moved on to Texas from there. I haven't been
able to find evidence of this, but Mary's family did move back and forth, at least twice, from Forsyth County to
Alabama, so it may be true. One of my cousins has said that the Cain family lived in the village of Aubry,
Denton County, Texas. And that some members of John's family were very early pioneers of that region.
John Steven Cain died on February 20, 1896, in Dallas, Texas. He is buried in Belew Cemetery, city of Denton,
Denton County, TX. (Records indicate Hunt County, however, Denton--the city--is in Denton County, so that
must be an error? According to Belew Records, he is buried in Block West End, Lot 07, Grave 37. (With
grateful thanks to Rosemary for discovering his place of burial and to Vicki for sharing it with me!)
My grandmother's second cousin, Robert Cain, was a chaplain at The Alamo and my grandmother said he'd been
out foraging for food at the time of Santa Ana's attack, so his life was spared. However, he was on a list of
those who remained at The Alamo, so his name was reported as a casualty. It can still be found today on the
memorial list at The Alamo. Family history says that Robert was able to rejoin Gen. Houston's forces at the
Battle of San Jacinto, which he also survived. Another cousin remembers my grandmother saying that Martha
YANCEY GARMON (Mary Garmon's mother) was related to Sam Houston.
After my g-grandfather's death, my g-grandmother married John FRANCIS. He was killed in a streetcar
accident. Mary died on August 9, 1911 in Dallas, TX.
Mary Francis GARMON was born on December 3, 1852, in Forsyth County, Georgia. She was the daughter of
Matthew and Martha YANCEY GARMON.
Her father, Matthew GARMON was born about 1812 in South Carolina and died June, 1865, in Chesterfield
County, Virginia. (My grandmother related that Matthew died in battle, while in the service of the Confederate
Army, and is buried in the military cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.)
Mary's mother, Martha YANCEY, was born about 1820 in Georgia and died in Alabama. She was the daughter of
Wesley and Mary ___ YANCEY.
Children of Matthew and Martha GARMON:
Elizabeth, born about 1844, Georgia
M. A., born about 1845, Georgia
Young, born about 1846, Georgia
Matthew, born about 1849, Georgia
Rachel, born October, 1851, Forsyth County, Georgia
Mary F., born December 3, 1852, Forsyth County, Georgia; married 1) John S. Cain;
2) John Riley Francis; she died August 9, 1911; buried in Parkland Cemetery, Dallas, TX
Cynthia A., born December 10, 1855, Forsyth County, Georgia
Rebecca, born March 6, 1858, Milton County, Georgia
Amanda, born about 1863, Alabama
Mary's maternal grandparents were Wesley YANCEY, born about 1785, South Carolina; died after 1870; and Mary
___, born about 1790, South Carolina.
Children of Wesley and Mary YANCEY:
Caroline, born about 1811, Georgia
Mahala, born about 1815, Georgia (m. Michael GARMON in Georgia)
Sarah, born 1817, South Carolina
Lucinda, born about 1818, South Carolina
Hansford Robert, born about 1819, South Carolina
Martha, born about 1820, Georgia; died in Alabama........my g-g-grandmother
Susan, born about 1823, Georgia
James, born about 1825, South Carolina (married Barbara GARMON in Forsyth
William, born about 1825, Georgia
Thomas, born about 1825, South Carolina
Nancy, born about 1826, Georgia
Francis, born about 1829, Georgia
|G-grandfather, John Cain's tombstone, Denton County, TX
|My G-Grandmother, Mary Garmon Cain