Boswell Family Gateway

information shared by George L. Holder

Biography of John H. Boswell (see also Goodspeed Biographies A &B)

John Hiram Boswell was born 11 Sept 1840, in Stewart County, Tennessee, the son of John William Boswell and Matilda Boyd. His paternal grandparents, Walter Boswell and Susannah Gardner, both believed to have been born in North Carolina, first bought land in Stewart County, Tennessee, on 29 Aug 1810. His maternal grandparents were George Boyd and Mary (Polly) James born in Virginia and North Carolina respectively, who arrived in Stewart County in 1795 or shortly thereafter. Hiram volunteered for Company B, Heavy Artillery, and was in the battle at Ft. Henry, Stewart County, Tennessee, on 6 Feb 1862, when he and fifty-three other men from his unit volunteered to remain and defend Fort Henry to allow 3,000 other Confederate troops to withdraw to prepare for the defense of nearby Fort Donelson. In that battle he helped man the gun which struck the boiler room of the Union gunboat Essex causing 38 dead, wounded and missing (reports differ on casualties). Local tradition says the Essex sunk and is still there but one historian said it floated downstream. Fort Henry’s commander surrendered and Hiram was a prisoner of war from 6 Feb 1862 - 26 Mar 1862 at the Military Prison at Alton, Illinois, being one of the first Confederate prisoners incarcerated there. He returned home in 1862 and resumed farming. John Hiram Boswell married Mary Ann Newberry (6 Jun 1838 - 26 April 1903) in 1863. They had two daughters, Alice and Anna. After the death of his first wife, he married Sarah (Sallie) H. Stone Smith (31 Jan 1859 - 30 Jan 1943). They had no children. John Hiram Boswell was a successful farmer, teacher, mason, road constable, and school and road commissioner. He died 7 January 1911 and is buried next to his first wife in a Boswell Cemetery near the site where his former house was located near Fort Henry, Stewart County, Tennessee, in what is now land owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) called “Land Between The Lakes.”


(Anonymous), “The Goodspeed Histories of Montgomery, Robertson, Humphreys, Stewart, Dickson, Cheatham, Houston Counties of Tennessee” (Columbia, Tennessee: Woodward and Stinson Printing Company, 1972; originally published as “Goodspeeds History of Tennessee,” 1886), 1293.

Boswell, Helen. “The Life and Times of Daniel C. Boswell” (Kissimmee, Florida: Cody Publications, Inc., 1976), 11, 13, 22 and 23.

Cox, Jann, "St. Louis District Historic Properties Management Report No. 36: Alton Military Penitentiary in the Civil War: Smallpox and burial on the Alton Harbor Islands," (St. Louis District: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, November 1988), 74.

Family Data, John William Boswell Family Bible, photocopied in Boswell, Helen. “The Life and Times of Daniel C. Boswell” (Kissimmee, Florida: Cody Publications, Inc., 1976), 272.

J. H. Boswell household, 1880 U. S. Census, Stewart County, Tennessee, population schedule, page 312, National Archives microcopy T9, roll 1281.

McClain, Iris Hopkins. “History of Stewart County, Tennessee” (No place, no publisher, 1965) pages 48, 53 and 99.

Photographs of gravestones of John Hiram Boswell, and Mary Ann Newberry in Stewart County, Tennessee, taken by and in the possession of George L. Holder, Long Beach, MS. Graves are located in section 8P on map “Land Between The Lakes, Tennessee Valley Authority, Office of Natural and Economic Development, ” sheet 2 (G MS 460 K 614-2 R10), May 1985, limited revision August 1988.

"Roll of Prisoners of War at Military Prison, Alton Illinois," page 18, #88, copied on Microcopy 598, "Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861-65," Roll 14, volumes 27-28, Alton, Illinois, Military Prison.

Stewart County Historical Society. “Cemetery Records of Stewart County, Tennessee” (Dover, Tennessee: No publisher, 1983) 36, 213.

Stewart County Historical Society. “Stewart County Heritage, Dover, Tennessee, Volume I” (Dallas, Texas: Taylor Printing Company, 1980), 47 and 402

Wallace, Betty Joe. “Between The Rivers” (Clarksville, Tennessee: Austin Peay State University, 1992), p. 118.