52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Far Away


The mist places a veil over my head, and I cannot see ahead. Am I lost or just seeking? Will I find my way, or will I try to turn back to return from where I came? I am searching but can find nothing. Is it hopeless?

The mental picture of lost in the mist is what clouds my brain when I am looking for the answers to a genealogical puzzle…and it is not even in my family tree…it is about my husband’s third great grandparents.

Benjamin and Julianna Beeson Haffner were married on 21 December 1825 in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia. They would have six children, but only four would reach adulthood. During the Civil War, this part of Virginia would become part of the new state of West Virginia. Little is known of them. Benjamin was listed in the 1850 and 1860 Census as a plowmaker. In the 1850 Census, he declared that he was a pauper.

During the Civil War, Martinsburg stood in the midst of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. General Thomas J. Jackson commandeered trains and tracks right in the city so Union forces could not ship soldiers and supplies. The trains were moved over land to Strasburg. There were turmoil and chaos surrounding the city and its citizens408_2.

But what of Benjamin and Julianna? Did they survive the war? They completely disappear after that 1860 Census…as if vanishing in the mist. They can be traced to no final resting places. Some day, I want to see them coming toward me as they break through the mist, and the veil of separation is no more.

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