William Cary (48th USCT)

William Cary was born around 1830 in Albemarle County, Virginia. His birth name was William Perkins, and he was a slave of Virginian Colonel Jesse Perkins, who was born in Goochland County. At some point, Jesse Perkins moved Cary to Jackson, Mississippi, where he owned 54 slaves by the eve of the war. Cary married Nancy Cary in Jackson around 1858 or 1859. Shortly before the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Cary and his wife fled to Union army lines. 

Cary enlisted and mustered in as a private at the age of 33 on August 8, 1863, in Goodrich Landing, Louisiana. His service record describes him as 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and brown complexion. He served in Company K of the 48th USCT Infantry Regiment, which served throughout Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Texas. Cary took part in the Battle of Blakeley, Alabama, on April 2, 1865. In December 1865, Cary injured his hand while loading a safe onto a steamer on the Red River in Louisiana. Cary mustered out on January 4, 1866, in Baton Rogue.

There are conflicting testimonies about where he and his wife, who had traveled with him during the war, migrated. It is most likely that Cary and Nancy first moved to Vicksburg shortly before moving to Louisiana to work as sharecroppers. They then briefly returned to Jackson before stopping shortly in Memphis on their way to the Oklahoma Territory. They continued to live in Arapho Township until Cary's death. Together, Cary and his wife had four children, Mary O. L., Annie B., Dolly Ann, and Ida. Cary suffered from several ailments after the war, including rheumatism, disease of the rectum, senile debility, muscular contractions, disease of the lungs, and disease of the spine. Cary first filed for a pension in 1890 and began receiving $10 a month in 1900. He died of unknown causes in Arapaho Township on March 8, 1902. His wife Nancy was able to receive a widow's pension after his death, receiving $50 a month by the time of her death. She died of senility and cerebral thrombosis, caused by diabetes, on February 25, 1939, in Watonga, Oklahoma.

Name:Cary, William
Alternative names:
  • Perkins, William (alternative name)
  • Soldier
48th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored TroopsK
10th Regiment Infantry Louisiana, African DescentK
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1863-08-08Goodrich Landing, LAaccepted33Slave
Muster In1863-08-08Goodrich Landing, LA
Muster Out1866-01-04Baton Rouge, LAMustered Out
Residence at enlistment:Jackson, MS
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Cary, WilliamCary, William911242application-invalid
Cary, WilliamCary, Nancy759944application-widow
Cary, WilliamCary, William964787certificate-invalid
Cary, WilliamCary, Nancy567709certificate-widow
Birth date:1830
Birth date certainty:About
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:1902-03-08
Death place:Arapahoe Township, OK
Causes of death:
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Cary, Williamparent ofCary, Annie B.
Cary, Williamparent ofCary, Mary O. L.
Cary, Williamparent ofCary, Ida L.
Cary, Williamparent ofCary, Dolly Ann
Cary, Nancywife ofCary, William
Perkins, Jesseowner ofCary, William

Compiled Service Records for William Cary, RG94, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Pension Records for William Cary, RG15, NARA, Washington, D.C.