Transcribed and submitted by John Austin
There are approximately 2700 men listed in this list, most of whom were from Frankilin Co. NY, and most of whom saw military service during the Civil War.
This list was compiled from several sources, but the principal source was the Town Clerk records of 1865. New York State required all Town Clerks in the state to compile a list of men from their respective towns who had comprised the quota of men furnished to the service of the US. Although there are 19 towns in modern day Franklin Co., there were only 16 towns in 1860 and of those, town clerk records survive for only 12. The other four towns either never compiled the list (the state provided no funding other than mailing costs) or the records were made and subsequently lost through fire or whatever. When properly filled out, these town clerk records provide a wealth of information about the men from a certain town: birthdate, birthplace, mother�s maiden name and other bits of information make some of these records a goldmine for historians and genealogists. Unfortunately, not all the Town Clerks were as diligent as they should have been, and the records from some towns are not very useful. A summary of the Franklin Co. Town Clerk records follows:
The chapters for the twelve towns with existing Town Clerk�s records (i. e. Bellmont, Brandon, Brighton, Burke, Constable, Dickinson, Duane, Fort Covington, Franklin, Harrietstown, Malone, and Moira) contain only those men originally listed in the town records. Any man who served in the Civil War who was from one of these towns but not listed in the original records, was put in a separate chapter labeled "Combined Sources". This was done so that the original twelve chapters could serve as annotated summaries of those official documents. Since no Town Clerk records exist for Bangor, Bombay, Chateaugay and Westville, the men listed in these chapters and in the Combined Sources chapter come from several documents. These sources are referenced in the following manner:
Although there are over 2600 names, they probably represent no more than 2400 actual soldiers. The reason for this is that the Town Clerk records often record the names of men who were drafted, but then paid to commute their draft or hired substitutes. There were also a substantial number of "bounty jumpers", that is, men who joined for a bounty, then deserted and re-enlisted in another unit under a different name. A certain number of the names listed are probably the same man listed twice, but using initials, or in some cases, the name is so garbled that it isn�t possible to determine exactly who he was.
Hurd�s lists had been the standard reference for nearly 120 years, but the information in them was often innaccurate, incomplete or entirely wrong. For example, while transcribing the Bangor records, he (or his typesetter) mis-read every small "d" as an "a". This led to names like "Lora" instead of "Lord" and "Elevea� instead of "Eldred". Nelson Patnot�s name was rendered "Nelson Patriot" and appears that way in all subsequent lists for Chateaugay. For all the mistakes, Hurd does supply the only contemporaneous listing of soldiers for Franklin Co. and does help to partially reconstruct certain Town lists.
This list is by no means comprehensive, and it is intended only to provide a basis for future research. It is hoped that other researchers will help to fill in missing information and correct mistakes as they add more names to the roster of veterans. Many men were left off this list because there was no proof available when this book was being researched that they were actual residents of Franklin County during the war. For example, almost half of the men on the 1890 veterans census do not appear here because their residency in 1860 was unknown. Likewise, many men buried in Franklin Co. or who had enlisted in Franklin Co. do not appear here for the same reason. So although by no means complete, this register does provide a quick guide to the men listed in the Town Clrerks� records, the 1865 military census and certain other verifiable resources. The Federal census of 1860 was consulted whenever possible to help provide more information about a soldier�s family and birthplace. A researcher with access to the index for the 1860 census could probably add 200 names or more to this list. However, no index was available at the time the list was compiled, so it will be left to future researchers to complete the work.
Every effort was made to spell the names of soldiers as close to the original as possible. However, many of the men of the 1860�s were uneducated, and many were not very particular about the way their names were spelled. This is compounded by the fact that many of the names were of French origin, and tended to be spelled phonetically, according to the whim of the writer. For instance, surname "Rabideau" appears at least 11 different ways, in 2 and 3 syllable variations. Researchers should be aware of these spelling variations and realize that one spelling or another had to be chosen to make the index workable, and the chosen spelling may not be correct, but is probably phonetically close to the original.
It should also be remembered that the originals of all of these records are handwritten, and most of the research was done from photocopies of microfilm. Therefore, a certain amount of error was undoubtedly introduced in the transcription, and researchers are invited to look at the originals in case they suspect a mistake has been made.
Although it appears that about 16% of the Franklin County men died in the service, the percentage is actually much higher than this because so many of the men listed here were drafted and were never in the service, were discharged before the unit left for the South, or were assigned to units guarding the Canadian border and therefore were never really in harm�s way. When the figure of roughly 450 men is compared to the number of men actually seeing combat, the mortality rate is very high and amounts to 3% of all males living in the county in 1860. This mortality figure includes 32 of the 44 men captured and sent to Andersonville prison in Georgia.