63rd US Colored Infantry
Only two Williamson County men have been identified so far who served in the 63rd US Colored Infantry.
Pvt. Larkin Powell enlisted on November 26, 1863 in Vicksburg (see more below).
Pvt. Samuel Parks Based upon entry in his Freedman bank record Parks was born in Franklin. He enlisted in Vicksburg on November 15th. According to his bank record by 1868 he was living in Davis Bend, Mississippi – a former plantation turned into a Black community.
History of the Regiment.
The 63rd USCI had its roots in the 9th Louisiana Infantry (African Descent). That regiment was later reorganized as the 63rd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment on March 11, 1864. The Regiment was commanded by Colonel (later General) John Eaton. He was a Methodist Minister by training and following the War moved to Nashville to work with the Freedmen's Bureau and was instrumental in establishing free schools for Black students.
The 63rd provided garrison duty at Natchez, Mississippi until February 1865. They were then involved in a skirmish at Waterproof, Louisiana on, April 20, 1864. They fought several times again at various locations: Ashwood, Mississippi on June 25., Camp Marengo on September 4, and Bullitt's Bayou on September 14 (Cos. "B" and "G"). Then they were the Post and garrison at Vidalia and Bullitt's Bayou through January 1866. (A Detachment at Helena, Ark., District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of Arkansas, to February 1865.) The 63rd mustered out on January 9, 1866, at DeValles Point, Arkansas.
Pvt. Larkin Powell
Pvt. Larkin Powell was 22 years old when he enlisted in Company H of the 63rd USCI on November 26, 1863, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. He had been born in Williamson County around 1841 and was likely sold south to work as a field hand. His enlistment papers described that he was“born a slave." Following the War, he moved back to Vicksburg, married, and raised a family. They lived near the National Cemetery. In 1868, Powell received nearly $100 in payments due to him during the War. Throughout the 1870s he was active in helping his comrades from the 63rd obtain pensions; he gave testimony in numerous pension cases on their behalf.
In 1880, Powell moved his family to Burlington, Kansas to farm By 1885 they had relocated about 100 miles south to Montgomery County, Kansas. In 1890, 49-year-old Powell applied for a pension for himself from the US Government. Around that time, his wife Millie appears to have died and in 1891 Powell married a Cherokee Freedwoman named Emma Alberty. Emma's parents were of African descent. They had been born in South Carolina and were enslaved by a Cherokee man named John Alberty. During the Trail of Tears forced relocation of Cherokee from the Southeastern United States, John Alberty along with Emma's parents were moved to Indian Territory (today known as Oklahoma). Following the Civil War, those enslaved by the Cherokee were granted rights as Cherokee Freedmen. Larkin Powell's marriage to Emma Alberty qualified him as a Freedman. In the 1900 Census, Powell was living in the Cherokee Nation with his sons James and Charles who were born in Mississippi, his son William (born in Kansas), his wife and her five children from a previous marriage, and three children they had together. He owned his own farm.
On March 11, 1907, Larkin Powell was murdered at his farm on Cedar Creek in Kansas. His obituary described him as "a man much respected by those who knew him." The man who killed him had evidently gone to Powell's home knowing that he received a pension and might have cash on hand. He killed Larkin Powell and robbed him. Powell was 66-years-old. No headstone has been located for him.