Dock Twine of Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida & Wayne County, Georgia

Dock Twine
34th U.S.C.T Co. E

of Jacksonville, Duval, Florida
& Wayne County, Georgia

Notes and biographical information about Union Civil War Veteran, Dock Twine, gathered by using his pension application and other public records.

Dock Twine enlisted in the 34th U.S.C.T. Company E on 25 March 1864 for three years at Camp Carver in Jacksonville, Duval, Florida and was honorably discharged on 28 February 1866, possibly in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Two other enlistment and discharged dates were found in his pension, one was that he enlisted 20 January 1864 and discharged 20 December 1865 and the other he enlisted on 1 April 1864. He was present for most of his service until 15 October 1865 when he was absent due to being sick in hospital in Jacksonville until December of that year then returning to duty on 24 January 1866. He was also listed on one muster card as Dock Gurner or Gunner; the writing is hard to decipher.

When Dock was interviewed for his pension on 21 June 1917 he stated that he was born in August but didn’t know the exact date; however, his birthday seems to be taken from his enlistment date of 25 March 1864 by transposing the last two numbers in 1864 to 1846. But elsewhere in the file a birth date of 12 April 1846 was written but crossed out with the March date written above.

The “official” record was that he was born 25 March 1846 in Belvidere, Perquimans County, North Carolina to Luke Feather and Cindy Twine who were enslaved by a man named Dempsey Twine. Dock was born at the Twine farm and lived there his entire life until the second year of the Civil War when they were evacuated to Suffolk, Virginia and then to Portsmouth where he joined a white regiment under Lt. Col. Wilson. Dock said he was about 18 or 19 years old when he enlisted and he thought that this was the 13th Indiana which stayed a while in Virginia and was then removed to Jacksonville, Duval, Florida where Dock enlisted in the 34th U.S.C.T. E company.

Dock stated that he was the seventh child born to his parents but when he lists his siblings he is the sixth child born which means one either died or he miscounted. The children born to Luke and Cindy were: Annie, Gilly, Charles, Anderson, Dock, Caroline, Rosa, Spencer, and Alice. After his discharge, Dock made his home in Jacksonville and from there to Wayne County, Georgia. One of the papers in his pension file states that he landed in Jacksonville on 18 August 1881, however, he was presumably married for the first time in 1867 in Jacksonville. His second marriage presumably occurred there too in 1871 and the 1880 census place him in Wayne County, Georgia.

His first wife was Bertha Chapel but no marriage record has been found for this union which bore one child, Luzene Twine, sometime in 1867. A marriage record was found for Dock dated 14 November 1871 in Jacksonville to Abitha Chapman and it’s possible that this is Bertha and his pension file or the marriage license, recorded her name incorrectly. He was next married to a woman named Martha sometime around 1878 and three children were born to this union: Annie, Charley William, and Mary Twine. Sometime prior to 1900 he was married to Lucy Pinkney and then on 22 November 1903 in Wayne County, Georgia, he was married to Mrs. Nancy Easton.

As is the case with pension files, form letters are repeatedly filled and filed and each time the same forms have different information.  From one dated 1 May 1916, Dock didn’t know his birth date, yet we have his birth date listed on a document dated only the month prior to this one.  At the time of his enlistment he was living in Jacksonville, Florida and his current wife’s name was Nancy Easton (we know that this was not her maiden name).  He again states he was married previously, to Martha, who was deceased and the date of marriage was unknown.  The question asking about his children and their birth dates was answered with the children’s names but that the birth dates were not known by Dock at that time.

Another document, dated 27 January 1901, Dock states that he is not currently married but he was married in Atkinson on 25 August 1886 by Daniel Gipson.  However, his wife’s name was not written down and that no record exists as of that date.  He was previously married to Martha Twine who died 18 July 1890.  He then goes on to list his children:  Charley Twine born 22 May 1887 and Mary Twine born 15 January 1889.  Yet, as mentioned above, in 1916, he couldn’t give his children’s birth dates.

Dock goes on to state that he was married 4 times, no more, and that the first marriage took place in Jacksonville soon after the war to Bertha Chapel.  She lived for only two years after the marriage and that George Johnson, Ed Hoyt, Lewis Chapel, and Mitchell Chapel can attest to her passing, but, that he doesn’t know where these men are today.

He next married a woman named Martha whose maiden name was unknown to him.  She lived 12 years after their marriage and died in Brunswick, Glynn, Georgia.  We know from elsewhere in his application packet that she died 18 July 1890; Dock buried her in Waynesville which is now Brantley County.

His next wife was Lucy Pinckney, and again, like with Martha, he states that he married her “here” which I presume is Atkinson, Wayne County, Georgia.  Lucy died in 1916 and was buried in Brunswick, then Dock married Nancy, whose maiden name is unknown, but who was previously married to a man named George Easton (Dock gives the name as Easter); George was deceased for about 6 or 7 years at the time of this interview and Nancy was Dock’s fourth and last wife.  However, Dock and Nancy were married in 1903, so, it’s possible he married Lucy last, or, they divorced.  Not only that, but, if George Easton was deceased for several years, that would make his death year about 1909 or 1910.

Dock’s first muster card for the 34th states he was 18 years old, 5’6½” tall, dark complexion, black hair and eyes, a servant by occupation, and that he was born in Cummings, North Carolina.  Within his pension file, Dock states that he did not know of any place named Cummings in North Carolina; that he was born near Belvidere in Perquimans County, North Carolina.

Apparently, Dock had a hard time getting a pension issued to him as he at one time had no “ratable” degree of illness and it was suggested he file for indigent instead of disabled.  Not only that, but he could not obtain witness testimony from others to prove that he was the same Dock Twine that served in the 34th U.S.C.T.

Finally, on 2 March 1906, Dock was examined by a doctor in Brunswick, Glynn, Georgia, Dr. J.A. Butts, who attested that Dock was disabled with rheumatism and general debility.  On 7 November 1900, Dock was listed as being 5’10”, 165 pounds and 56 years of age.  He was suffering from rheumatism that had taken over his whole body and Dr. Butts deemed him disabled and to receive a pension of $6 per month.

On a document dated 1 September 1900 witnesses Benjamin B. Ellis and Alex duBignon attested that they knew Dock for 20 and 10 years respectively but their testimony was rejected because they were not taken under oath and they did not mention having known Dock prior to or during the war.  Finally, Dock found the required two witnesses who could pass the requirements, Benjamin Hurdle and John MiddletonBenjamin was living in Perquimans County, North Carolina when he wrote his testimony on 14 November 1916 which was short and to the point, basically stating he knows Dock and that they stood side by side through many battles.

He goes on to list men who served in the same regiment and officers, whose names have no direct connection to Dock, however, he states that Ben Hurdle grew up with him during “slave days” and that they served together but had not seen each other since being discharged.  John Middleton was also in the same regiment and from Jacksonville, but, after being discharged, the men did not keep in contact.

After his service, Dock applied for land bounty but never received it; instead he received $300 cash money.  Also, before and shortly after the war, Dock was deemed illiterate, however, he took it upon himself to learn how to read and write, as is evident by him using his mark in early documents and actually signing his name in later documents.  He went to school in Jacksonville, Florida and some “white ladies from the North learned me to write.”

The interviewer asked some questions, things that would be exciting, like if they ever tore up a railroad or was anyone in the regiment killed; but, according to Dock, his term of service wasn’t very exciting.  He described general duties, rituals, what they did on a daily basis as a regiment and the few places they saw battle. It sounds as if the interviewer was trying to hold some action against Dock, maybe the interviewer suffered some hardship at the hands of the Union forces.

At the end of this interview is Benjamin O. Middleton’s testimony that he has known Dock for many years, wording the sentence thusly:  “I know a colored man named Dock…” suggesting that Middleton was a white man.  Middleton states he had known Dock for 30 years more or less and that he was under Middleton’s employ for a while too.  I’m not sure who Benjamin was, since the man with this surname mentioned before was John Middleton.

Finally, the review board believed that Dock was the same Dock that served in the 34th U.S.C.T.; only still holding out on the discrepancy of his height, which he gave different answers to each time. 





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