By: Jonesborough Genealogical Society
Editor’s Note: This concludes the sketch begun last week.
During the Civil War, although his sympathies were with the Confederate side, he was unable to go into active service. He only owned one slave, and this one he said he sold back to its former master for almost nothing because the slave wanted to go back to a brother. His home lay in the path of many lawless bands of stragglers and bushwhackers so numerous in those days. One day, upon being visited by a band of these outlaws, he was robbed and the house and barn pilfered of its contents. They insisted he tell where his money was hidden. When he said he had none, he was made to walk on his crutches – his every constant companions – to the wooded hill top above the house where they hanged him to a tree, kicked his crutches from beneath him and left to finish their robbing. Betsy Jenkins, a neighbor, discovered him, cut him down, and going to the spring, carried water in a coffee pot hidden under her apron, to cool his parched throat. The thieves even cut the cords from beneath the beds. In later life, Micajah boasted that the only lie he ever knowingly uttered was when he told the bushwhackers he had no money, and he said he was hanged for it.
Micajah Hodges was very tell and erect, although he went on crutches, had broad shoulders and a very large frame. He had blue eyes and light brown hair which he wore in the prevailing style of his day, as sideburns cut low on his cheeks. He was rather lively and enjoyed a good joke, was kind to everyone, yet was a very methodical and systematic person in all his habits. He had a certain time for all the farm chores and insisted that everyone do likewise. He never allowed his affliction to prevent his management of his farm. He was a member of the Christian Church and was baptized in the Holston River while seated in a chair on account of his lameness.
All of his children married and left home, except Nancy, William and George Washington, who were with him in 1876 when Mary Elizabeth Jenkins came into the family as the bride of George Washington. Nancy married and died and on the death of Micajah, June 30, 1881, his plantation was willed to George Washington and William, who never married. William died in 1885 and today, Mrs. George Washington Hodges and her two youngest children, Charlotte and Nell, live on the place.
Micajah lies buried on the hillside above the spring and just across from the house. This site he had selected for his 18 year old daughter Mary, who was buried there in 1849. Elizabeth, his wife died in 1852 and lies there. His porch is in the spot where he loved to bask in the sunshine. He used a bearskin rug to line the seat of his old hickory rocker. Although many things were carried away when the house was robbed during the Civil War, there is still some of his furniture there. A Seth Thomas clock, the candle molds, his Bible, a large spinning wheel used for spinning flax, a small walnut table, and an old walnut highboy, a walnut corner cupboard containing one only, old luster plate of the dishes stolen during the raid, and Indian tomahawk and the quaintest black, hand wrought iron fire shovel and tongs, all bear mute witness of the life of other days. In the attic was an old honey extractor used to obtain honey from the comb, Bee raising was a great industry
in the pioneer days and Micajah owned some thirty hives of bees, which yielded sometimes as much as forty gallons at a time.
During his later years, he got a pension from the U.S. Government for his war services. It is to be hoped that in the near future, the official marker of the N.S.U.S.D. of 1812 will proclaim his valor to generations yet to come.
(The facts for this sketch were related to me by Mrs. George Washington Hodges on Feb. 25, 1928 – Mary Hardin McCown (Mrs. L.W.), Colonel David Hensley Chapter, Tennessee U.S.D. of 1812, Johnson City).