John Elijah James Winchester

January 7, 1847 - October 5, 1903

Private, Company I

13th North Carolina Infantry

By Richard L. Reed

Civil War Roundtable of Lakewood, Colorado

40 South Cody Street

Lakewood, Colorado 80226-1243

John Elijah James Winchester, my great-grandfather, was the son of John Winchester and Rhoda Williams Winchester. He was born January 7, 1847 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He died October 5, 1903, and is buried in Windom Community Cemetery, Windom, Fannin County, Texas.

Private John E. Winchester initially served in Company L, 21st Regiment, North Carolina Troops from June 21, 1861 to March 3, 1863. On March 4, 1863, he was transferred to Company I, 13thNorth Carolina Regiment. Company I, 13th NC was, at that time, commanded by his brother, First Lieutenant William H. Winchester, who was mortally wounded on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg.

As a soldier in the 21st and 13th North Carolina Regiments, Private John E. Winchester participated in the following major battles of the Civil War:

Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Front Royal

First Winchester

Cross Keys

Seven Days

Gaines' Mill

White Oak Swamp

Malvern Hill


Harpers Ferry

Antietam (Sharpsburg)

Shepherdstown Ford




Falling Waters

Barnett's Ford

Bristoe Campaign

Mine Run Campaign

The Wilderness

Fort Harrison

Jones' Farm

and Hatcher's Run

According to the Oath of Allegiance he signed on June 18, 1865 as a prisoner-of-war at Hart's Island, New York, Private John E. Winchester had a "light complexion, light hair, and blue eyes; and was 5 feet 10 inches."

John E. Winchester was wounded on July 22, 1862, at Farmville, VA and again on May 5, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness, VA. He was captured by Union troops at Sutherland's Station, Virginia on April 2, 1965, only one week before his unit was surrendered by General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.

John E. Winchester married Jennie McDonald December 18, 1866, in Rockingham Co., NC. She was born October 15, 1854, in Rockingham County, NC and died June 28, 1910 in Fannin County, TX and is also buried at the Windom Community Cemetery, Windom, Fannin County, Texas.

Children of John and Jennie McDonald Winchester were:

1. Mary Rhoda Winchester, born September 22, 1868; married A. P. Hill

2. Charles W. Winchester, born January 15, 1871

3. Jennie Belle Winchester, born July 31, 1872; married Walter A. Martin

4. Robert Lee Winchester, born August 11, 1874; married Mary DeSpain

5. John Arch Winchester, born December 7, 1877; married Alice McCulley

6. Lou Winchester, born March 2, 1882; married a McCulley

7. Florence Winchester, born May 7, 1886; married Jesse R. Martin

8. William Pinkney Winchester, born October 10, 1893

John Elijah James Winchester lived in the Monroeton and Leaksville Townships of Rockingham County, North Carolina before and after the Civil War. He moved with his family from Rockingham County, North Carolina to Fannin County Texas in 1884. He lived and farmed in the Windom and Honey Grove areas of Fannin County, Texas; and in Petty, Lamar County, Texas until his death in 1903.

He was Protestant and probably a Baptist.

His long and arduous service as a teen-aged soldier during the Civil War exacted a heavy toll from John Elijah James Winchester during his post-war life. He occasionally suffered from debilitating bouts with what is known today as "post-traumatic stress syndrome." He was only 56 years of age when he died of unknown causes in 1903. John never applied for a Confederate service pension in either North Carolina or Texas.

Information from Mary Bryant

More information on the children of John Elijah and Jennie:

1. Mary Rhoda (Mollie) Winchester, b. 22 Sept 1868, Rockingham County, NC. d. Jan 1907, Miltown, AR, m. A. P. Hill.

2. Charles W. Winchester, b. 15 Jan 1871, Rockingham Co., d. infant

3. Jennie Belle Winchester, b. 31 July 1872, Leaksville, NC, d. 1955, Petty, TX, m. Walter A. Martin. (See their children below)

4. Robert Lee Winchester, b. 11 August 1874, d. 21 Feb 1955 Windom, TX, m. (1) Cora McElwee, 21 Dec 1893, Fannin County, TX, m. (2) Mary DeSpain, b. 30 Jun 1882, d. 4 Sept 1978, Fannin County, TX. (Note on Robert Lee Winchester. He is buried in Windom Community Cemetery with his wife Mary and his parents J. E. J. and Jennie McDonald Winchester. Robert Lee also had a couple of sons living around Bonham, TX as late as the 1980's)

5. John Arch Winchester, b. 7 Dec 1877, Rockingham County, NC, d. 1948, Prague, Oklahoma, m. Alice McCulley

6. Lou Winchester, b. 2 March 1882, m. (?) McClulley

7. Florence Winchester, b. 7 May 1886, Fannin County, TX, m. 18 Aug 1901, Lamar County, Jesse R. Martin (s/o John Henry Martin) I believe they moved to Dallas.

8. William Pinkney Winchester, b. 10 Oct 1893, Fannin County, TX, d. Dec 1978, Paramount, Los Angeles County, CA, m. Hulda (?) b. Dec 1892 (?) d. Mar 1979

Walter Allen (Dock) Martin, b. 2 Feb 1860, Rockingham County, NC; d. 1938, Petty, Lamar County, TX. In 1887 Dock married Jennie Belle Winchester, b. 31 July 1872, Rockingham County, NC; d. 1955, Petty, TX. (Note on marriage. They were married in Windom, Fannin County TX.) Children of Dock and Jennie:

1. Lillie Belle Martin, b. Dec 1888, d. 1901

2. Loula May Martin, b. 21 July 1889, no further information

3. Emma Gertrude Martin, b. 17 September 1893, no further information

4. Herbert Lee Martin, b. 9 January 1896, d. 1973, Lamar County, TX, m. Minnie Sims (?), b. 5 Dec 1902, d. 24 Feb 1955.

5. Walter Burnett Martin, b. 16 August 1898, d. August 1955, m. Cora Lee Jones

6. Lucy Lena Martin, b. 25 May 1901, no further information

7. Allen Reed Martin, b. 20 May 1904, d. 1950, Lamar County, TX, m. Ruby (?), b. 1911, d. 1933. Their son: a. Gene Martin, b. 1931, d. 1970, no further information

8. Susie Aubrey Martin, b. 4 July 1907, married someone name (?) Taylor

9. Vera Glenten Martin, b. 18 Nov 1909, no further information

10. Lila Ray Martin, b. 12 April 1912, living, m. (?) Brown

11. William Neal Martin, b. 17 Jan 1916, d. (?) m. Eleanor McClenaghan, b 2 July 1915 d. 25 Nov 1951

The 1900 census of Fannin County Texas lists Jennie Winchester as head of household. Jennie was living in Honey Grove at the time. With this information, it seems possible that John was separated from his wife, living with his daughter, Jennie Martin and son-in-law Walter (Dock) Martin.

Another daughter of J. E. J. Winchester is on the Marriage Records of Lamar County; Florence Winchester, b. 2 May, 1886, Rockingham County, NC, m. Jesse R. Martin, 18 Aug 1901, Lamar County. Jesse R. Martin is the son of John Henry Martin who is the brother of Walter (Dock) Martin. Walter is the husband of Jennie Bell who is the daughter of J. E. J. Winchester.

Also buried at Windom Cemetery there is Robert Lee Winchester 8 Nov 1874 - 21 Feb 1955 (J. E. J.'s son); Mary E. Winchester 1882, no death date (Robert's second wife, her maiden name being DeSpain).

©Ron Brothers, Richard L. Reed and Mary Bryant, All Rights Reserved, 1999.

December 28, 1999

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