1850, 1860 censuses both imply birth date c.1839. Also, the 1866 state census shows him as being 20-30, which he would not be if he were really born in 1834 (as his gravestone says). 50
contains a number of documents which consistently point to a 1838 birth date. In an “Application of Soldier or Sailor, over 80 years of age, to be advanced from the Second to the First Class” (p. 5), dated 16 May 1918, John states that he was born at Tallapoosa, AL, 9 Feb 1838. In this same document, Richard L. McGough [his brother] attests to John’s veracity and states that he has known him for 71 years [implying a birth date c. 1847;5
has his birth date as 1849]. On “Soldier’s or Sailor’s Application for Confederate Pension” (p. 6), dated 9 May 1916, John gives his exact age as 78 years and 3 months and no days, which also yields a birth date of 9 Feb 1838. An “Application for the Relief of Confederate Soldiers and Sailors” (p. 12) dated 6 July 1906, John states his age as 68, also yielding a 1838 birth date. 5
shows him born 9 Feb 1839.
He could not write; all documents in50
are signed with his mark, and the 1860 census indicates he couldn’t read or write.
for his description of his Civil War service.
Claud Davis tells the following story about him:
My Grandfather McGough, he was an old veteran a way back yonder in the war when the North and the South fought. And he was in the Southern Army, and he got wounded. Some kind of a shell burst— fell on him and burst— and tore one of his feet up. And they gave him a furlough home and he had to walk to get home. And he met a bunch of, well, they called the other side Yankees; he met a bunch of them on the road and they talked about shooting him. He told them that he had been crippled and hadn’t done nothing to get shot for, and they gave him so many minutes to get out of sight. And he said he was waiting for a bullet to hit him in the back every minute, but he made it on home. And he said he stopped at this lady’s house to get him something to eat—he was hungry—and he asked her for something to eat. He said he had a walking stick so he could walk on his crippled foot, and that she had this big bulldog that ran up and met him at the gate. And the lady hollered at him, “Don’t hit him, mister. It makes him worse.” Granddad said he hit him one right there in the burr of the ear with the butt end of that old walking stick, and that bulldog went back, run under the floor, and he says, “Well, lady, it didn’t make him worse that time!”10
The 1866 state census shows them (surname spelled McGue) without any children: one male and and one female both aged 20-30. It also showed them living five dwellings away from John’s brother William’s widow Ann.
He said that he was “a bootlegger, Democrat, Methodist and Rebel” while his brothers were “Republican, Hardshell Baptists, preachers and Yankees.” (unnamed source cited by5
A “Schedule of Property with Application for Pension” (50
, p. 10), dated 6 Jul 1906, shows John holding $235 worth of property: 55 acres of land in Walker Co. ($135), 1 Horse or Mule ($75), and Household and Kitchen Furniture ($25).50
shows him living with Joe Herron as of 9 May 1916; this is his granddaughter Lillie Mae Davis’s husband.
“They lived just across the branch from us. We spent as much time with them as we did at home. After Grandma died, Grandpa stayed with us at night and went back home during the day. Well, William McGough and his wife moved in with him to help him out. He started dating Annie, and said they were getting married. Momma [Amanda] didn’t want him to marry, but he said he was going to marry anyway. She didn’t have much to say about it.”10
At the time of his second marriage, he was 5’4” and weighed 140 pounds.5
, p. 90
4 Ala C[av]
Feb 9 1834
Aug 1 1919