Genealogists Love New Civil War History! 4 Great Reasons!

Another Ghost from Richard Clow’s Past Reappears!  cropped-richard-headley-clow-about-18-yrs-civil-war-uniform-001.jpg

After my blog a week and half ago about the Prince of Serendip striking me, I was amazed to get this contact from Claudia Cannon. I quote a section of her note about her grandfather’s cousin, Mary Bingham, first wife of Richard Clow, adopted daughter of Charles Larpenteur, fur trader on the upper Missouri River in 1870.  See “Forty Years a Fur Trader” .

 ” I googled Richard Clow and came up with your wonderful information on Richard’s first wife Mary Bingham and her husband. Mary is my grandfather Abraham Earl White’s first cousin, as her mother, Rebecca White Bingham Larpenteur, was one of his father’s older sisters. I was so thrilled that you would share her story and photo online, as for years she has only been a story-less name on my family tree with a family-less husband. What a remarkable collection your family has preserved! If you have any other information on Mary Bingham and her family, I would be so interested as the Binghams remained in Little Sioux, Iowa, along with other White sisters and their husbands (Caroline White and Enos Fry, Abigail White and Isaac Ashton, Malinda White and Lorenzo Dow Driggs) while the rest of the family, including Mary’s widowed grandmother Rebecca Smith White, moved to Utah with the main group of Mormons.”

Now this is exactly what makes writing History so great! How else would I have ever been able to find out about these historical relations without someone chancing onto my blog posts in which I have photos and as much history as I can find on each person. This is what makes technology so powerful in tracing the past!

Why do genealogists love new Civil War History books such as “Rough Enough,” the story of Richard H, Clow in the Civil War and then on the frontier?

Here are 4 reasons!

Rough Enough Cover jpg 185       Check out the book online

1. The first reason is that new personalities from the Civil War are very often enlisted men who appear on the stage for the first time, thus giving us new information about themselves, their families and their activities during and after the war.

2. In addition to the information about themselves, new persons on the History stage generally bring along other characters with them and introduce us to a wide range of other persons. nI the case of Richard Clow, we meet his two wives, Mary Bingham Clow and Melinda Story Clow within the context of life on the frontier. We meet his father, John Stevenet Clow, his brother, John Sherwin Clow and one of his employers, Charles Larpenteur as well as a plethora of other enlisted men and minor officers, again persons we would never hear about, but who crop up in his letters and Diary.

Mary Bingham Clow enlarged about 1870 wedding 001                             John Stevenet Clow father of R H Clow - 1870 001

Mary Bingham Clow          John Stevenet Clow

3. We also get a fresh viewpoint straight from the trenches of the Civil War, or of the incidents on the Frontier, not muddled by the often self-serving promotion seen with officer’s reports. In this case we get original versions of songs transcribed directly into Clow’s diary.

Richard Clow's Diary showing songs . McBee Photo
Clow’s Diary

4. Lastly we hear stories of the dead. As this tombstone at Fort Buford attests, Richard Clow was in the party that collected the bodies after the massacre, and wrote about it in one of his letters to his sister. It’s transcribed in the book. See Fort Buford, North Dakota


So, What a great day for me. It makes all the work worth doing because the history is there and just waiting for the next person to see it and make a connection.


A big thanks to Claudia for making my day!>))


2 Comments on “Genealogists Love New Civil War History! 4 Great Reasons!

  1. Richard, I will get yo photos or copies of some of Richard Clows tithings I have inherited from Robert his son my step grandfather. I have a letter from Fort Hays 26 February 1865. A longer letter describing Richard Clows actions when the hay cutting party and the others were ambushed at apparently ft Bufford. I have his pension parts from 1912. Homesteading papers from Idaho in 1894. I have his 1865 dated cavalry saber. I have his Winchester model 1894 saddle carbine. Not from Buford. I have a confederate 5 dollar note from Petersburg and a few Union coins. I have fossil fish on a board he collected in Wyoming in the early 1880’s. I have a couple of powder horns I believe are his as well. Really enjoyed reading rough enough as it brought detail and real clarity to the stories of my grandfather and his dad I had been told as a young boy in Eugene. How should I best get you the info I have. It is relatively minor I comparison to what you have already researched. I live in Colorado Springs, I was an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon and retired from the Army as a Colonel. I was in private practice 15 years in the Springs and am currently semi retired. My fathers mother Eleanor Berwick married Robert Denton Clow in 1952 I was one. My father james Edward Berwick was born in Umatilla in 1924, his father died when he was about 6. My dad went to high school in the Dalles, played on the state champion football team in 1941-2. Went to the univ. of Washington 41-42 on a football scholarship. Was called into the army for duration of WW2 in both 3rd Army and finished war in Philipines and Japan. Came home went to U of O on Football scholarship. Lettered three years graduated. Meet my Mom Mary Keller, his mom also came to Eugene meeting Bob Clow when he lived on Mill street. You have done a phenomenal job relating what was always vague and half truths to me. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, Thanks for the absolutely great information furthering my own knowledge of Richard Clow. I will put it with into my own files so I have it. The best way to send me the pictures or scans of the letters would be to just attach them to one or two emails depending on the size of the file. My gmail account is

    I will send copies of what you send me to the Montana State University Library to place in the file for Richard Clow and will also send copies of photos of the rifle and powder horns to the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State which has all of the artifacts that I had from great grandpa Clow including another powder horn and his dagger which he carried through the Civil War and another dagger belonging to his second wife, Melinda Story Clow. If you decide you want to donate any of the actual physical items to the Museum of the Rockies or the originals of any letters to the Montana State Library, I can give you the names of the people to contact. I am sure they would be delighted to expand the collection of his things.

    I will send a copy of this plus about 20 pages of Clow Genealogy to you in case you have an interest in following up on that as well since it goes all the way back to the battle of Trafalgar with Lord Nelson and the sea battle of Copenhagen.

    I’ll keep your address and information in my files for later contact in the event that we reach your part of the country and could link up for a chat as I have cousins in upper NY state who I see rarely and plan to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia one of these years to see some of the Clow paintings in the museum there.

    I will have kindle versions of my seashell book and my African adventure novel on a free sale for a couple of days later on in the coming week so keep watch if you are interested as I will send out a note on this blog, LinkedIn, G+ and Facebook.
    All the best, Rick


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