Death of Patrick Marion Churchman
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Some Incidents of His Civil War Life

Published in Sheridan Sun, December 5, 1918
Sheridan, Oregon

Announcement of the death of P.M. Churchman was received here Saturday by relatives from Knoxville, Tennessee, but no particulars of his demise was given. On the 18th of last month he left Sheridan on a visit to his old home in East Tennessee and upon reaching Knoxville was stricken and died suddenly on Saturday morning, November 30, just a day or two after his arrival there and had he lived until Christmas Day he would have reached his 82nd birthday. In his death .....(blotted out by crease in newspaper)....helped make history in Oregon for more than 46 years, and whose experiences in the Civil War would read almost like fiction.

Patrick M. Churchman was born December 25, 1836, in Grainger County, Tennessee. In 1864 he was united in marriage to Christina E. Metzger at Mossy Creek (now Jefferson City), Tennessee. To this union was born eight children, six of whom are now living; Joseph having died in 1906 and Lida in 1891. Those surviving are: Mrs. Alice Branson, of Salem; Frederick B., of Willamina; Mrs. Harriet Ralston, of Terrebone, Ore.; Mrs. Lulu E. Campbell and Mrs. Ruth Graves of Dallas; (William) Richard of Portland. Besides his wife and six children he leaves a number of grandchildren.

On May 1st., 1872 Patrick M. Churchman, wife and four children, Mary Alice, Frederick B., Joseph M. and Harriet E., emigrated to Oregon and settled in Linn County. From there they moved to Umatilla County and for a while he was engaged in farming. In 1878 he moved to a farm in Polk County of Mill Creek, near Sheridan, and in 1891 moved to Sheridan, where he has since resided. Here he engaged in the butcher and mercantile business and later was interested in the Yamhill Milling Co's mill for some years. In 1901 his wife died. In 1902 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Lucy C. Fletcher of Plainview, Oregon, who survives him. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for several years, and held membership in the Sheridan lodge at the time of his death. The body will be brought back to Sheridan for burial, but owing to the uncertainty of connections no arrangements have yet been made for the funeral.

It was known to many of his intimate friends that he had seen service in the Confederate army but on this subject he seldom spoke, and only last year in a confidential conversation with the writer did he mention it. At that time, using his own words as closely as remembered, he said: "I was sitting on my horse in New Orleans herding a bunch of 100 negroes, when a couple of men rode up from the river and told me to get off my horse. They said I was drafted and had to go into the Confederate Army. There was no questionnaires like they have now; there was no selection about it. If they saw you and wanted you, why, away you went without getting ready. As far as I know my horse is still standing where I got off him. They put me in the 13th Louisiana Regiment with the ambulance corps and gave me a uniform. Uniform! O yes, it was a pair of shoes. I kept on the suit I wore...a suit of butternut brown woven by my sister. My first big battle was at Corinth. The corps followed up the front line picking up the bodies. That was the battle, you know, where the Union troops were first surprised and we were caring for their wounded when the rebel lines began to be pushed back. Talk about dead bodies! Why, we could walk 200 yards on them without touching the ground. Seen whole battalions of Confederates were rushing back and I asked .... (blotted out by crease in newsprint) .... that was the first we knew the Yanks were rallying and winning. A little later I was taken sick, but sick or well it made no difference to the officers."

"Once when going into action I was so sick and weak I could not keep up with the men and one brutal officer kept jabbing me with his sword in spite of my protest; Telling him I was sick did no good and I swore then and there, and so told him, that if God let me live I would kill him. Afterward I was sent to the hospital at Meridian, Tennessee. I was getting better and the doctor was pretty busy and knowing I was handy with a pen, he came to me and said there was a bunch of Gen. Bragg's men from Port Hudson wanted furloughs and ask if I would write them out for him. 'Sure,' I told him and took the list. My luck had turned, I thought, I slipped in my own name in the list and left out one of the other fellows. Then made up the furloughs and sent them in for approval. My heart stuck in my craw while I waited, but back they came, regularly signed, and I had a passport to the north and friends. They had forced me into the army, but here, by George, they had given me a loophole to crawl out, I thought, and I thought correctly, for the ruse worked and a few days later I got to Knoxville where I was taken prisoner by the Union soldiers and hustled to the guard house. I telegraphed my father at Mossy Creek that I was under arrest and the next morning he came to the guard house and handed me a five dollar bill through the bars and told me to take the oath of allegiance and get to Kentucky. I did. I got work under a captain in the Federal Army and worked for the government until 1872."

What became of the officer with the sword, he was ask. "Oh I went after him alright after the war was over," he answered, "but he must have been killed for I never found him." "While on this search," he continued, "I was riding a good horse well saddled. One day in a lonely place a man approached me and drawing a gun ordered me to give up my horse. Of course, I did so, and he got on and started off. He did not take into consideration that I might also have a gun, but I did have. When a short distance away I told him I would take the horse, and looking back and finding himself covered with the best revolver I could find, he complied as quietly as I had done and I got on my horse back, but I took no chance in the tables again turning."


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