Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nelson Joseph Loucraft - Pvt 33rd Massachusetts Regiment Company D

Nelson Loucraft, Sr. is one of those ancestors that drives you crazy. You find tidbits of his life here and there. He was born in New York in the summer of 1841 to Joseph Lucraft and Zoe Charron.

I married a Loucraft and everyone asks how do you spell that? LOUCRAFT - "oh just like it sounds". But in research documents it is spelled so many different ways. Loncraft, Loncroff, Lewcraft, Leucraft, Loucraff...... So, imagine my surprise when I found that Nelson Loucraft Sr. had served over three years as a private in the Union Army with the iconic 33rd Massachusetts Regiment Company D.
Source:  Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War, Volume 3.
As part of the 33rd regiment he would have been in the presence of Abraham Lincoln in his review of the troops. He would have been at Chancellorsville, Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg, Atlanta and Sherman's March to the Sea. Amazing civil war scenes.

Here is the monument to the 33rd Massachusetts Regiment at Gettysburg.

Monument at Gettysburg National Park

From the tablet on the front of the monument:

The Thirty Third Massachusetts Infantry
Detached from the Second Brigade, Second Division, Eleventh Corps on July 2nd, 1863. After supporting the batteries in action on  Cemetery Hill, while in position in a line extending westward from near this spot, withstood and assisted in repulsing a charge of the enemy’s infantry in its front. Loss in the battle eight killed, thirty six wounded.

When Nelson returned from the Civil War he married a fellow soldier's sister from Billerica, Nancy Haulton (Houlton) on November 10, 1865. They show up in the 1870 census in Lowell with two children, the 1880 census in Lewiston Maine & Topsham Maine with six children. Shortly after that they return to the Lowell area but Nelson and Nancy appear to lead separate lives. Nancy dies in 1899 at the age of 53 and is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Lowell without Nelson.

Sadly, Nelson gets arrested several times for drunkenness and spends some time at the jail on Thorndike street. This jail with later become a Catholic high school - Keith Academy. Future generations of Loucrafts will spend a lot of time here.

Did the horrors of the Civil War break Nelson? When did he die? Where is he buried?

Nelson and Nancy had six children who were by all accounts successful and productive members of their communities.
  • Mary married Joseph McDermott and settled in Billerica with 7 children
  • Nelson married an Irish woman and had a farm in Chelmsford and had 5 babies all dying as infants and then his wife died so he moved to Cuba and became a sugar farmer there, remarried and had 7 healthy children
  • Frank married late in life and had a store on Gorham Street in Chelmsford
  • Charles married and died young but had 2 children in Chelmsford
  • Etta married Leslie Fralick and had 2 children in Billerica
  • George married and lived in Billerica and served in the U.S. Navy in the Spanish American War
 My next step is to try to find some pension records for Nelson. Fingers crossed!