68th US Colored Infantry
To date, two men from Williamson County have been identified as serving in the 68th US Colored Infantry: Sgt. Abram Boyd and Pvt. King McClurg.
Organized March 11, 1864, from 4th Missouri Colored Infantry. Attached to District of Memphis, Tenn., 16th Corps, Dept. of the Tennessee, to June, 1864. 1st Colored Brigade, Memphis, Tenn., District of West Tennessee, to December, 1864. Fort Pickering, Defences of Memphis, Tenn., District of West Tennessee, to February, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, Military Division West Mississippi, to May, 1865. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, United States Colored Troops, District of West Florida, to June, 1865. Dept. of Texas to February, 1866.
At St. Louis, Mo., till April 27, 1864. Ordered to Memphis, Tenn., and duty in the Defences of that city till February, 1865. Smith's Expedition to Tupelo, Miss., July 5-21, 1864. Camargo's Cross Roads, near Harrisburg, July 13. Tupelo July 14-15. Old Town Creek July 15. At Fort Pickering, Defences of Memphis, Tenn., till February, 1865. Ordered to New Orleans, La., thence to Barrancas, Fla. March from Pensacola, Fla., to Blakely, Ala., March 20-April 1. Siege of Fort Blakely April 1-9. Assault and capture of Fort Blakely April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. March to Montgomery April 13-25. Duty there and at Mobile till June. Moved to New Orleans, La., thence to Texas. Duty on the Rio Grande and at various points in Texas till February, 1866. Mustered out February 5, 1866.
Predecessor unit: MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS. 4th REGIMENT COLORED INFANTRY.
Organized at Benton Barracks, Mo. Designation changed to 68th United States Colored Troops March 11, 1864.
Sgt. Abram Boyd
Sgt. Abram Boyd was born in Williamson County around 1840. According to his enlistment papers the 24year- old mulatto man was enslaved by Marcus Boyd Sr. On February 7, 1864, Marcus Boyd presented Abram to be enlisted in Company B of the 68th USCI in Springfield, MO. Sgt. Boyd mustered in at the Benton Barracks. From Sept 1864-Sept 1865 he was on duty as a regimental teamster. Then from Oct to Dec 1865he was on duty in the Regimental Quartermaster department. He mustered out Feb 6, 1866 at Camp Parapet, Louisiana. Following the war, he was a successful teamster, husband and father. Boyd was part of a mass migration of African Americans to Kansas as part of the Exoduster movement, and worked with Native Americans during a difficult chapter in America’s history. He has left a family that has continued his legacy of service - a son followed in his footsteps and served in the US Army during the Spanish American War, two grandsons served in World War II, a great-grandson served in the US Army, and a 2x-great grandson served as his town's chief of police. In Baxter Springs, Kansas Sgt. Boyd was involved in the local Grand Army of the Republic post. Sgt. Boyd died in 1918 and is buried in the Soldiers' Lot in the Baxter Springs cemetery with a USCT headstone. For a longer version of Pvt. Boyd's history and legacy please click here.
Baxter Springs News
August 30, 1918, page 8
Pvt. Abram Boyd's paver at Veterans Park in Franklin, TN was sponsored by Peggy Kingsbury.
Pvt. King McClurg
Pvt. King McClurg was born in Williamson County around 1834. He was likewise probably sold or taken to Missouri. According to his enlistment papers he was owned by Col. J. McClurg - this was Joseph Washington McClurg. J. W. McClurg served in Congress for three terms where he voted for the abolition of slavery despite enslaving people, including King McClurg, and was the 19th Governor of Missouri. J. W. McClurg's wife had inherited several enslaved people upon her father's death in 1828.
When King McClurg completed his service in the 68th USCI, J. W. McClurg filed a claim for compensation for King McClurg's service. He did the same for three other men - William McClurg, Benjamin McClurg and Caswell McClurg. All four men served in the 68th USCI. King McClurg served in Company H. He enlisted in Jefferson City, MO on March 3, 1864. In July 1864 he was on duty as the brigade teamster. In Nov 1864 he was on duty as quartermaster teamster. Pvt. McCurg mustered out with his regiment at the Benton Barracks on April 6, 1864. He settled in Camden, Missouri, married, had a daughter Sally and worked as a blacksmith. He was killed in what was called an "Election Riot" in Linn Creek, Missouri in November 1874. No grave has been located for him. You can sponsor a paver in his honor here.