Mathias Judd: “Lincoln-man” Ancestor
Second Great-Grandfather of B. Nash
The Judd family moved to Putnam County, Tennessee about 1825 from Kentucky. Mathias Judd was born in Cookeville, Tennessee in 1844. His father was the Rev. Nathan Jackson Judd, Sr. who was a farmer and tanner by trade and an ordained circuit riding Baptist preacher. The Judd homestead was located three miles Southwest of Cookeville. The infamous “Trail of Tears” literally ran through the Judd family “backyard.” “Matt” Judd’s’ grandfather John Judd and great- grandfather Rowland Judd had both served in the Revolutionary War and fought at the battle of King’s Mountain. Rowland Judd was a neighbor to Daniel Boone when they lived in North Carolina. He had married a Cherokee. One of Boone’s nieces married one of Rowland’s sons (Robert). Daniel Boone had also left Kentucky, but resettled in Missouri.
The sons of Nathan Jackson Judd Sr. were known loyal Union men. The War of the Rebellion was in its infancy when it is said that notorious Confederate guerilla Champ Ferguson and his band paid a “visit” to the Judd farm and killed Matt Judd’s eleven year old brother Siles (or Silas) in 1861. According to family history this deed so incensed Matt Judd that he swore when he would enlist in the Union Army and get revenge for the death of his brother. Champ Ferguson did “get his” so to speak. He was hung as a war criminal in Nashville in 1865 and buried near Sparta, Tennessee.
Matt Judd kept his word and joined the Union Army as part of the 1st Tennessee Mounted Infantry. He was 21 years old at time of enlistment in 1864. One wonders why he waited three years after the death of his brother to enlist. It may have been that the farm needed him to stay that long. Matt had also learned the art of tanning, like his father. Or, it may have been because he met a young lady named Mary Bullington and married her in January 1864 in Nashville. Love conquers all! In the U.S. Army he eventually earned the rank of Corporal. He saw action fighting against Confederate guerilla activities in Middle Tennessee, including the areas of Carthage, Livingston, Salma, and Butler’s Landing. If he ever saw Champ Ferguson after the day of his brother’s killing, it is not known.
Matt was discharged honorably from the military July 1865. He eventually would obtain medical disability from his war service due to exposure to inclement weather. He received a pension.
He, like his father, became a circuit riding Baptist minister. He started many of the early churches in the Cookeville area. He also preached many revivals in Middle Tennessee. Family tradition has it that his wife Mary had extraordinary spiritual powers and could heal the sick simply by breathing on the afflicted. Matt faithfully served his local GAR post. He died in 1925 at the age of 82. The Judd property eventually became the Judd Cemetery. Matt Judd and other Judd family members are laid to rest there (as well as many other local folks). Matt has a GAR grave marker. One quiet days, one can almost hear the noises of the farm, the tanning business, and the busy family life that once dominated the landscape. Some Judd family members still live in the Cookeville area today.
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
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