Thomas Jefferson Sowards

Private, Company H, 14th Kentucky Infantry

Captain, Company C, 39th Kentucky Infantry

As Researched by Stephen D. Bowling

Born– About 1836 in Pike County, Kentucky

Son of- Lewis W. and Olivia “Olla” (Morgan) Sowards

1850 Pike County, Kentucky Census
House 122-122            
Lewis Sowards              37            
Olla Sowards               37                        
     Morgan Sowards        16                        
     Thomas J. Sowards     14                        
     James M. Sowards      13                        
     America Sowards       11                  
     Kentucky Sowards      6                        
     Henry C. Sowards      5                        
     William H. Sowards    3                        
     Merrida Phillips      20     Laborer
     William Head          21     Laborer 
     Edward W. Justice     25     Laborer   
     Letitia Ramsey        67

Married– to Virginia “Jane” Ratliff (1843 – after 1910) on October 25, 1858, in Pike County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of William H. and Margaret (Hatcher) Ratliff.

1860 Pike County, Kentucky Census
District 1, house #27-27
Thomas J. Sowards           24
Virginia Sowards            17
     Mary E. Sowards        7 months
     James Sowards          23
     Dicy Slone             14
     James Haley            23
Military Service
Company H, 14th Kentucky Infantry, United States Army
Enlisted- October 25, 1861 at Cattletsburg, Boyd County, Kentucky for a period of 3 years
Absent- without leave on October 26, 1861
Returned to duty- date unknown
Deserted- March 11, 1862 at Piketon, Pike County, Kentucky
Reported as a Deserter- May 4, 1862
Note- "Since his desertion enlisted in the 39th Ky. Mounted Inft.- Rank of Captain." 
Highest Rank- 

Company C, 39th Kentucky Infantry, United States Army
Enlisted- September 10, 1862 at Peach Orchard for a period of 3 years
Absent- on detached service at Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky in November 1963
Absent- absent on detached duty at Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky in May and June 1864 
Arrested- in custody in November 1864 on charge of drunkenness
Returned to duty- December 1864 "by limitation"
Present- present but sick in March 1865 
Resigned- April 8, 1865 due to disability
Highest Rank- Captain
Captain T. J. Sowards submitted his resignation due to reported deafness and debility. Charges of drunkenness rose during his exit from service, but his resignation was granted “for the good of the service” in 1865.
1870 Pike County, Kentucky Census
District 1, house #188-188
Thomas J. Sowords           34
Virginia Sowords            27
     Mary E. Sowords        10
     Paulina M. Sowords     8
     James G. Sowords       6
     Madora I. Sowords      1
1880 Pike County, Kentucky Census
Pikeville Precinct, house #17-17           
Thomas Sowards              45
Virginia Sowards            37
     Paulina Sowards        18
     James Sowards          14
     Ada Sowards            9
     Myrtie Sowards         3
     Harrison Sowards       2 months
Captain Thomas J. Sowards received a Federal Invalid Pension on October 9, 1882, for his service during the Civil War.
1890 Pike County, Kentucky Veterans Census
Precinct 1, page 4  
Line 42          
     Thomas J. Sowards
     House #75, Family #75
     Private, Company H, 14th Kentucky Infantry
     Date of Enlistment: April 10, 1861
     Post Office Address: Pikeville
Line 43
     Thomas J. Sowards
     Captain, Company C, 39th Kentucky Infantry
     Date of Enlistment: November 18, 1862
     Date of Discharge: April 15, 1865
     Length of Service: 4 years, 5 days    
     Post Office Address: Pikeville 

Died– January 25, 1892, in Pike County, Kentucky

Buried– Sowards Cemetery, East Shelbyiana, Pike County, Kentucky

Thomas Jefferson Sowards’ grave in Pike County, Kentucky
Several sources list Captain Sowards’ death date as June 19, 1900, but his widow was awarded a Federal Widow’s Pension on February 10, 1892.

© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling


About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Civil War, Military, Union Army and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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