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Private Noah May
45th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Rifles,
24 Jun 1864

      Private Noah May -- the son of James May and Mary Adams. He was born in Morgan County (now part of Magoffin County) Kentucky in 1831. The military records say that he stood 5' 4", had blue eyes, dark hair, and a light complexion. He was a farmer and appears on the 1860 Magoffin County Census with his wife, Elizabeth Caudill, and his children (Jane, Campbell J., James Benjamin, Wallace Bailey, Rhoda, and John C. Mason May). He and Elizabeth had two more children after the Census ( Lydia Margaret and an infant son).

The area around Magoffin County and the May home located on Long Branch was rich in produce. It became the target of raids by Confederate bands in the area. Most of the men of Magoffin County who fought, fought with the Union. They were loyalist who had little affinity with the southern sympathizers around them. Counties to the south were predominately sympathetic with the Southern cause. In the winter of 1864 John Hunt Morgan's men moved through Magoffin County and raided the homes there for provisions. His band visited the May home and took from it hams and other necessities.

On February 14, 1864 Noah enrolled in Company D of the 45th Kentucky Mounted Rifles (Volunteer). He mustered with his unit a month later, on March 14, in Flemingsburg. for a one-year term. He served with his company in the spring of '64 patrolling the Big Sandy Valley and mountain passes. On watch for Rebel cavalry and irregulars, among them men of the Caudill's 13th Cavalry CSA commanded by his wife's first cousin.

In the late spring his regiment moved to Lexington. While there, Noah became ill. Word was sent home and his wife, Elizabeth, mounted a horse with her youngest son and rode to Lexington. The dates of his death are different on three separate documents. An entry dated June 23 reads, "he was taken ill which he died on the 26th day of June, 1864 by reason Bronchitis." The muster for May and June says, "died in quarters at Lexington, Kentucky June 24, 1864."

One story is told that he had a camp fever (perhaps measles) and that Elizabeth went to care for him. She washed his clothing, and someone stole them from where they hung drying. He subsequently caught pneumonia and died. The records show that Noah received an amount in kind or advance of $30.85.

Noah lies buried in the Lexington Cemetery in the Civil War section. Elizabeth returned home and raised her family as a widow in Salyersville. She is listed on the 1890 Veterans Schedule.

Noah had several cousins who fought for the Union to include the Patrick brothers: Captain Wiley C. Patrick, Captain Ruben Patrick, and Scout Jerimiah Patrick.

There is a hollow nearly at the end of the Long Branch that is called "Noah May Hollow" by the local residents. The land rises to the north-south ridge that separates May Branch and Long Branch, and at the Northeast corner of the holler is a large rock that marks the highest point in the area, from which one can see for miles. The hollow remains in the possession of Noah's descendants through Campbell May and his son A. Noah May, and it shall for all time.

Mark's 2nd Great Grandfather

Source: Microfilm 397, Roll 437 of the Consolidated Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers.

Updated 8:43 PM 1/27/2013
Mark S. Carroll