Editor's Note: Throughout February, The Southern will run a series of profiles of Civil War veterans on Sundays. The profiles are from a special exhibit at the John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro called "Forgotten Soldiers: Jackson County's African-American Civil War Veterans." The exhibit is part of A Celebration of Freedom, which commemorates Black History Month.
Stephen Bostick (1844-1928)
USS General Bragg, United States Navy
Stephen Bostick was born a slave in 1844, on the Plantation of John Bostick in Williamson County, Tennessee. Inherited by Mary Manoah Bostick McGavock and her husband, Dr. Felix Grundy McGavock, he, like his brothers, Hardin and Dudely, was taken to Arkansas in 1859 to open up their new plantation.
Just four days after the Emancipation Proclamation, he enlisted in the Union Navy. Bostick served on the USS General Bragg, a side wheel steamer built in 1851. After Bostick was wounded in his right arm in the Battle of Tunica Bend, Louisiana, on June 15, 1864, he was transferred to the hospital ship Pinckney. He was medically discharged from the Navy on Nov. 15, 1864.
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Bostick received his first pension payment in Hamilton County, Ohio, and then had his payment transferred to Murphysboro, where he had moved. He married Chaney Wood in Jackson County in January 1869. The 1880 census documents that his family lived in Pomona Township with seven children and that Bostick was a farmer with a mortgage.
In 1907, like many successful farmers, Bostick paid to have his photograph included in the Jackson County atlas. The Bostick Settlement shown in the atlas had farms, a school, a church and a cemetery. Only the cemetery is still standing. Because of his race, Bostick’s photograph was placed on a page by itself and not listed among the other illustrations in the table of contents. Bostick’s wife, Chaney, died in 1917, and he followed a decade later in 1928.
They are buried next to each other in Bostick Cemetery with a gravestone they had purchased before her death. Neither of their death dates are carved on the stone.
— Compiled by P. Michael Jones, director of the General John A. Logan Museum in Murphysboro.