Submitted by Greg Curtis
16th Tennessee Infantry Co. H
Click photo for full image
John Hawk was
born in Coffee County TN. His mother was Margaret Hawk. John
stated that she was left alone to raise seven children. His
mother did all kinds of housework, spinning, and weaving. The
man that was said to be his father was Jim Coalston. John and his
mother didn't own any slaves but Jim did. His mother had about $300 in
property when the war broke out. Between six and twenty-one John
attended fourteen months of public free school in his lifetime. He had
to walk one mile to school each day that he was present.
In September of 1861, John joined the South in its war effort
against the North. His company first traveled to Bowling Green,
Kentucky before seeing action on the Tennessee River at Shiloh. There
was a boy in the battle with John that started crying out that they
would all be killed. His best
friends were falling all around as he fought on. During the
fighting his brother's clothes had four or five holes shot through
them, but he did not receive a scratch. He followed the army
into Kentucky and fought at Richmond. After falling back to
Tullahoma his brother caught the brain fever and died. John
was shot in the right arm and was sent to the hospital in Columbus,
Mississippi. While he spent time recovering he was exposed and caught a
disease. His friends managed to get him home safely so he
could continue to heal and shake off his illnesses.
For his sickness John made his way to the mountains. He was
not present when his unit surrendered.
After the war he moved to Burroughs Cove at the head of the Elk
River close to the Cumberland Mountain. He married twice in his life,
but both of his wives died. He took up farming his land for a living.
He and his five children were members of the Southern Methodist Church.
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