STAFFORD, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1847 ~ 1914). The following is a biography of Confederate veteran Benjamin Franklin Stafford. The biography was written by Stafford descendant Bill Stein.
"Benjamin Franklin Stafford, Confederate veteran, was born April 29, 1847, in Glynn County, Georgia, to Robert Earl and Martha (Ratcliff) Stafford. One of fourteen children, Ben, undoubtedly, grew up working on his father's plantation. Following his mother's death, his father remarried and had three more children with his second wife.
After the outbreak of the Civil War, Ben, at only fourteen years of age, was too young to serve. However, four days before his seventeenth birthday, April 25, 1864, he enlisted as a private in Company B, of the Fourth Regiment, Georgia Cavalry, which was also known as Clinch's Cavalry.
Shortly after Ben joined the regiment, it was assigned to Colonel Moses Wright Hannon's brigade, in Kelly's Division of General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry corps. Soon after, the men participated in skirmishes in Northern Georgia and Alabama, but, at this juncture, the 'whereabouts of Clinch's 4th Georgia Cavalry during the remainder of the war is subject to some difference of opinion. Some references have them accompanying Wheeler into the Carolinas, surrendering with Johnston's army in North Carolina. Others have them remaining in Georgia, operating to the west and south of Savannah where they resumed their previous mission of picketing and courier service along the coast.'
Apparently, the latter is more plausible, as Stafford's Compiled Military Service Record clearly shows that he was taken as a prisoner of war, following the 'surrender of Major General Sam Jones, commanding Confederate Forces in Florida . . . in compliance with the terms of a Military Convention made on April 26, 1865, at Bennett's House, near Durham's Station, N.C., between General J.E. Johnston . . . and Major General W.T. Sherman.'
After being paroled at Thomasville, Georgia, Ben, in 1867, along with several of his brothers and sisters, followed their older brother, Robert, to Texas, where they entered, and became quite successful, in the cattle business. Over the next several years, the Staffords and their hired hands defended their interests as vigilantes, acquiring reputations as violent men.
On September 6, 1871, Ben married Annie Walker and, less than a month later, bought a tract of land some ten miles southwest of Columbus. Establishing a home there, he and Annie were eventually joined by six sons and one daughter. However, in December 1871, the Stafford boys participated in a gun battle in downtown Columbus, where Ben was shot in the ankle, and thereafter walked with a limp. Indicted for attempted murder, Ben was brought to trial and assessed a small fine. In 1880, he was again indicted, this time for murder, but was acquitted.
In 1886, Ben moved his family to Columbus, but later, circa 1902, relocated to Beaumont, Jefferson County, where he successfully applied for a Confederate Pension in 1907. Prior to 1909, he and Annie moved back to Colorado County, where Annie died on August 31, 1909. Returning to his ranch, Ben remained there until April 17, 1911, when he was admitted to the Texas Confederate Home in Austin. After living in the Home for three years, Ben died May 12, 1914, and was buried that same day in the Texas State Cemetery."
Information provided by: descendant Bill Stein; Compiled Military Service Record, Civil War Soldiers & Sailor System website, www.itd.nps.gov/cwss; Confederate Pension Applications #s 11991 and 13594; Confederate Home Roster; Death Certificate #11140; and http://www.rootsweb.com/~gabrantl/4thview.html.