john haskew reynolds

John Haskew Reynolds and Sarah Ann (Sally) Ferguson Reynolds


I hadn't thought that my children's children's children
would whimper at splinters, or wear "braces" on their teeth,
as I opened my journal and appended my latest account
to the others, relating my experiences in The War
as calmly as if the lost hand I wrote of was not mine.
Returning to the mountains I lifted up my eyes
to trace the chicken hawk's hanging, gilding, loops,
and gave thanks for my fortune to be returned alive.
I studied life's medicine and doctored many men
and women, and children—seven of my own—
and none complained my left hand was a hook.

from Oak and Mimosa by Alan Reynolds

Reynolds coat of arms

Born March 25, 1836 on South Turkey Creek, in Bent Creek, North Carolina, and settled on Big Sandy Mush Creek, "John joined the Confederate Army and was active in numerous battles in Mississippi and Alabama. He was a Lieutenant. He lost his right hand in the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia on 9-20-1863. After the war he farmed at Sandy Mush, North Carolina and practiced medicine."

The Genealogy of Abraham and Mary Leazer Reynolds, Sarah Reynolds Beatty, 1980

On February 13, 1861 when John was 24, he married Sally Ferguson. They had the following children:

i. Joanna (1861-1917)
ii. Alady Pumroy (Allie) (1864-1939)
iii. Eleura Idaly (1867-1956)
iv. Mary Cornelia (1869-1958)
v. Alonzo Carlton (1870-1953)
vi. Thomas Frazier (1872-1927)
vii. Joseph Letcher (1879-1941)

John died at age 82 and was buried June 18, 1918 in Sandy Mush, North Carolina.

John Haskew Reynolds

by Elizabeth Gray Parker

John Haskew Reynolds (1836-1918) was the fourth child of Joseph Page Reynolds and Cornelia Atkinson. Brought up on his father's farm on North Turkey Creek in Buncombe County, John lived his life in the rural tradition of his forebears. His grandfather Abraham Reynolds was as early settler of the Bent Creek section of Buncombe County, having received seven land grants from the state of North Carolina totaling 1,525 acres. Joseph Reynolds farmed his land in the Leicester area. When John Reynolds became of age, he married Sara Ann Ferguson on February 13, 1861 and settled in Sandy Mush with the intention of bringing up a family in this rural community. His marriage, however, coincided with the outbreak of the Civil War, and this made lasting changes in his life.

Soon after the war began, John enlisted as a private in the Confederate Army and served for three years under Colonel Ray of Asheville. He left behind his wife and infant daughter who stayed at the home of his father-in-law. During his service in the army, John rose to the rank of lieutenant. Pages of a diary he kept at this time give a terse account of his activities.

July 11 - The officers look like they were starved to death this
morning. I've written two letters today--one to Mrs. Reynolds
and the other to Mrs. H. Lowery and carried them to the office.

July 13 - By request of Lt. Jones I went out foraging and got
some milk and butter.

Sept. 6 - The orders for marching were received again. We left
camp at 11:00 a.m. and marched till dark, 12 miles. Stopped for
the night. Almost marched to death. ~

Sept. 19 - This morning the pickets commence firing 8 a.m. and
the cannonading commenced heavier till 10 a.m. Ordered to march,
forming the line, and then ordered to march again to the field w
where the parties were contending.

On September 20, 1863, John Reynolds went into battle in Georgia.

Sept. 20 - This morning ordered to march at daylight. Marched 2
miles, formed line and rested till 10 o'clock. And ordered for
ward, I got wounded and lost my right hand.

This was the battle of Chickamauga, and during the fighting, John's right hand was shot and had to be amputated. He continued to make entries in his diary every day of conditions in the hospital and made little mention of what must have been a very serious and painful wound. Because of the lack of antiseptic conditions at the time of his operation, he developed blood poisoning and almost died. He did recover, however, and he returned to Sandy Mush changed. He had lost his hand and had gained a lasting interest in medicine.

In the years following the war, John and Sara successfully ran their farm and raised seven children. They were Joanna (1861-1917), Alady Pumroy (1864-1939), Eleura Idaly (1867-1956), Mary Cornelia (1869-1958), Alonzo Carlton (1870-1953), Thomas Frazier (1872-1927), and Joseph Letcher (1879-1941). The whole family worked to make a living from the land. Besides teaching his children responsibility and self-discipline and how to farm the land, John passed on to them a respect for learning. He made sure that all his children attended Camp Academy in Sandy Mush, and he made it possible for his three sons to continue their educations past high school. In providing for his children, he decided to divide his land among his daughters and send his sons to college. One son became a college president, the second a doctor, and the third a minister.

John Reynolds spent his life learning also. Following the interest he developed during the war, he ordered medical books which he studied diligently at his home. Through his studies he became a country doctor and continued practicing until he retired.

In 1892 Sara Reynolds died. Her husband continued to live in their attractive two-story frame house in Sandy Mush until all their children had grown up and gone away. In 1909, after a long, active life, John Reynolds retired and went to live with his daughter Allie and her husband Nathan Worley in Canton. He died there on June 17, 1918.

§ § § § §