Henderson Clifton


My grandmother was Bertha  Gregory Clifton. She was a very young child when her father, 
Edward Lewis Clifton, died. She never knew anything about the Clifton family and was never 
able to tell me anything. I was able to find out that the father of my great grandfather Edward 
Lewis Clifton was Henderson Clifton. It was there that my search through the Washington 
County Courthouse records and State and National Archives began. As a result, Henderson 
Clifton has become one of my heroes. Unfortunately, my grandmother had passed away before 
I was able to construct a Clifton family tree. 

Henderson Clifton was born in 1839 in Washington County, NC. He was the son of James W. 
Clifton and Sarah Ann Collins. Henderson grew up on his father's  farm but apparently went to 
school enough to have at least a basic education as the 1860 census of Washington County 
shows that he was employed as a clerk for a Washington County merchant named D. G. 
Cowand. Cowand later served as a Colonel in the 32nd Regiment NC Troops, CSA.  Henderson 
was the eldest of  seven children. The others were Nancy, Elizabeth, Amanda Caroline, Mary 
E., James M., and Marcus D. Clifton.

At the outbreak of the War Between the States Henderson enlisted on July 27, 1861 in what 
became Company G, 19th Regiment NC Troops (2nd NC Cavalry Regiment), CSA. At the age 
of 22 he was mustered in as  Private. The January-February 1862 muster roll shows that he had 
been promoted to 4th Corporal but by March-April, 1862 he had been reduced in ranks to 
Private. the reason is not given. He must have redeemed himself for by July-August, 1862 he 
had again been promoted, this time to 3d Corporal. The muster roll for January-February shows 
that he had been promoted to 2nd Sergeant of Company G, 2nd NC Cavalry Regiment which 
would lead one to believe that he was taking his duties seriously. This regiment for the most 
part saw service in Eastern North Carolina until October, 1863 at which time it was transferred 
to Brigadier General W.H.F. (Rooney) Lee's Brigade,  Major General J.E.B. Stuart's Calvary 
Division, Army of Northern Virginia. This unit fought in numerous engagements, in some of 
them suffering heavy losses. After the return from the Gettysburg Campaign, Sgt. Clifton had 
to procure another horse.(It was the practice of the time that cavalry soldiers had to provide 
their own mounts. If a cavalryman was without a horse and had no prospects of getting one, 
he was more than likely transferred to the infantry or artillery.) In late August, Henderson 
received a twelve day furlough to return home to Washington County to procure a horse. This 
was not a really safe thing to do as most of,  if not all of Washington County was occupied 
by Federal forces. He was captured on September 7, 1863 near Plymouth, NC. He was 
eventually sent to Point Lookout, Maryland where he sat out the rest of the war as a Prisoner 
of War. His name appears on a roll of Prisoners of War released at Point Lookout, Maryland 
from May 12 to 14, 1865.

The War being over, Henderson returned home to Washington County. On March 21, 1866 he 
married Casandra Swain, the daughter of Charles and Alvania Swain. They had four children: 
Sarah Lafayette who married William Elisha Norman, Robert L. Clifton who married Penny 
Woodley, Thomas D. who married Alice  Tarkington, and Edward Lewis who married Emma 
Gregory, whose father, Thomas Gregory, was also a Confederate veteran having also been a 
Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, Maryland. It would be interesting to know if Thomas and 
Henderson ever met while they were at Point Lookout.

Henderson farmed in the Pea Ridge section of Washington County. His farm was but a few 
miles from the Scuppernong Church of Christ. On May 1, 1907, Henderson deeded his farm 
to his son Thomas D. Clifton  with the provision that he and his wife, Casandra,  would be 
provided for as long as they lived. Apparently this provision was carried out.  However, 
Casandra did survive her son Thomas by about nine years. Casandra applied for and received 
approval  for on 5 July 1909 a  Confederate widow's pension based on Henderson's Confederate 

Henderson Clifton died in 1908. He is buried in the Scuppernong Church of Christ Cemetery 
with his wife Casandra, son Thomas D., Thomas's wife Alice Ann, and his daughter Sarah 
Lafayette Clifton Norman and her husband William Elisha Norman.

Unfortunately I don't know enough of the details of the life of Henderson Clifton but with what I 
have been able to learn, he is someone I would have liked to have known.        

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