Military Monday Mystery – Civil War Veteran Patrick Fraher
My ancestor Patrick Fraher has always intrigued me. There are many brick walls in my genealogy which surround him. He was born, married and had two children in Ireland. He then went to England where he had two more children. Finally he moved to the United States in about 1860 where he had five more children. I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any records about him outside of the United States. I’ve been unsuccessful in finding any exact date of birth, marriage or death. There’s also a black sheep part of him which I find fascinating. There are reports in newspapers about him being arrested for being drunk. There’s also a report in a newspaper about him escaping from an insane asylum. However, that story is for another time.
This blog post mystery is about his time during the civil war. Patrick apparently served during the civil war. The photo below is him in his civil war uniform.
There is no doubt that the photo above is Patrick Fraher. I have in my possession a 19th century photo album known to belong to one of Patrick’s daughters (Mary). Pictured below is Patrick, with presumably his wife Sarah. The head shots of both photos were super imposed on top of one another with different intensities and the facial features are identical. The two photos are of the same man.
With no doubt left that Patrick served in the civil war, there are a number of questions to be answered. When did he serve? What unit did he serve with? The cap in the civil war photo seems to suggest an artillery unit, due to the insignia. I went to the civil war soldiers and sailors system to see if I could find Patrick. There were two Patrick Frahers. One served for a Massachusetts Volunteer Artillery Unit and another which served in the 12th US Regulars. The Massachusetts volunteer was known to have died in Andersonville Prison, so this could not be my Patrick. The other served in an infantry unit, which was not what I expected from the insignia.
A professional genealogist I had contacted about getting some civil war pension and service records was able to find some information about the Patrick Fraher who served in the 12th US Regulars. This Patrick Fraher served for a very short period of time. He enlisted in the upper part of New York State. He was also born in County Waterford, Ireland. This record seems very promising that it could be my Patrick, even though the unit may not be an artillery unit. My Patrick was enumerated in the 1865 New York Census in Essex County New York, which was fairly close to the place where the Patrick Fraher from the 12th US Regular enlisted.
For those professional genealogist veterans would this satisfy the Genealogical Proof Standard? Would this be enough proof to say that the Patrick Fraher who served in the 12th US Regular Army is my Patrick Fraher? I’ve tried finding other Patrick Fraher civil war veterans. Fraher can and has been misspelled many different ways (Fryher, Friher, Friar, and Frier). No other Patrick seems to fit with the known facts. I believe my Patrick was the one who served in the 12th US Regular and it seems more likely than not. I would love to hear feedback regarding this finding and conclusion.
A family group sheet with Patrick, his wife and children can be found in this earlier post for those who are interested.