Saturday, July 14, 2012

“Spirit of the Rebellion” takes a page from my personal family history...

          As many of you know, I am a family history buff and genealogy enthusiast. Digging into my family roots borders on obsession. I love it when I find bits and pieces about my ancestors that bring them to life—a notation, here or a story there, that make them more than a name with just places, and dates attached. And so it was with William Confer, my great, great, granduncle. The man first piqued my interest, then tugged at my heart, and, after a fashion, finally found his way into to my novel, “Spirit of the Rebellion.”

William’s Background

          In the year 1842, surrounded by the abundant, lush, fertile farmlands found in Falls Township, Hocking county, Ohio, John Confer and Eliza Poling welcomed William, the third of fourteen children, into their home. William’s father worked hard all the days of his life, as both a farmer and a shoemaker, to provide for his very large family. History records that John made his shoes by hand, and nailed the soles to the upper leathers with wooden pegs. Over the years, I have often imagined such a scene. I can see his little children--eyes filled with curiosity-- standing on tiptoes, as they peek over the wooden table while John works his craft. I’m sure they offered to assist as John cut the leather, and assembled his shoes. Perhaps father John even guided little hands as they hammered the pegs into the soles.
          In 1850, John sold his farm in Ohio, and purchased farmland in Jefferson Township, Wells County, Indiana. In stories passed down through the generations, we learn that whenever one of his kids would spy a wild turkey or deer, they would run and tell their father. John would yank off his leather apron; take hold of his gun, and collect a bit more meat for the table. A simple life...a good and happy life.

          But then, in the year 1861, our young nation, still in its infancy, took a war of words and ideologies onto the battlefield. A divided nation gathered its able-bodied men, and those men willingly soaked the earth with their precious blood, for what they believed. The Confer family was no exception. All of John and Eliza’s surviving sons, four in number, fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War. Daniel, the eldest son, enlisted in the year 1861, William, in 1862, Peter in 1864 and Samuel in 1865.

          On the 20th day of August, in the year 1862, William enlisted with the 101st Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Company G. The "Biographical and Historical Record of Adams and Wells Counties," published in 1887, states that this “Regiment of Indiana Infantry took more of Wells County's sons than did any other...” and it took William Confer.
          During the final thirteen months of William’s short life, he performed an assortment of duties with his regiment. He marched in pursuit of Braxton Bragg’s army, escorted division trains, and participated in various reconnaissance missions. In September of 1862, he took part in the defense of Cincinnati. He was present during the battle of Hoover’s Gap, in Bedford County Tennessee in June of 1863—and finally, he stepped out onto the battlefield at Chickamauga. On the first day of that battle, September 19, 1863, William Confer gave his life and a promising future, for his beloved country. He had just celebrated his twentieth birthday.

          “Spirit of the Rebellion,” is a paranormal romance about a Norse historian, who travels to a haunted mansion in Tennessee to translate some Civil War records concerning the Wisconsin 15th Regiment. A regiment that also participated in the battle of Chickamauga. One of the ghosts haunting Starling Plantation is a confederate solider, named Beauregard Thomson. Another is a union soldier, named Chauncey Dillon, from Indiana. These two soldiers are my personal tribute to William Confer (my apologies Uncle William, for incorporating a soldier that fights on the side of the south). Although we found it necessary to leave the ghosts' back story on the cutting room floor--with stories very similar to William Confer’s--you will find that Beau and William share the same date of birth as well as the same date and place of death, while Chauncey and William are from the same place and served in the same regiment. Perhaps they even share the same temperament. At least, I’d like to think so.

          So, Dear Uncle William, I salute you, and give you my humble gratitude for the service you rendered your country... I won’t forget. 

I won't forget.

If you’d like to read the blurb and sample the beginning pages of “Spirit of Rebellion,” Click the link below:


  1. This is so much fun..It inspires ya to dig into your roots and see who you are and what ya came from...Just love this...

  2. Your a cousin to my wife Mary confer. Mary Confer is the great grand daughter of Peter Confer.

    1. I am so happy to meet the husband of Mary Confer! I love connecting with my cousins. Tell her hello for me and thank you for taking the time to make my day!