The family mansion

I’m visiting the family mansion tomorrow.

We didn’t know there was a family mansion. I heard about a Civil War re-enactment (I forgot to warn you about the huge nerdiness that this post will include — sorry about that) and looked it up online. Lo and behold, the re-enactment takes place at Hazel Dell in Jerseyville, Ill. Home to the Fulkerson mansion.

My grandmother’s maiden name was Fulkerson. Lt. Col. William Fulkerson is my first cousin, four times removed, built a mansion. (The “four times removed” things indicates how many generations separate us. Fulkerson died Dec. 3, 1919.)

William Fulkerson started out at West Point; Gen. Robert E. Lee was one of his instructors. He joined the “regular” Army and headed west for the “Mormon Rebellion.” He took a job with a freight company, which brought him back to Missouri. He was a Pony Express rider. He stayed West — what’s now Montana and Wyoming — to survey land. When the Civil War started, he returned home to Tennessee, helped build a militia unit and was appointed captain. The unit became part of the 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Confederate Army, and Fulkerson was promoted to major. (Fulkerson had brothers, nephews and cousins who fought on both sides of the war.) Fulkerson’s company joined with Lee in 1864, and Fulkerson was promoted to lieutenant colonel. His unit also was with Lee when they surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in 1865.

After the war, Fulkerson and his wife, Cornelia, moved to Jerseyville — to 320 acres that was owned by Cornelia’s father and deeded to the Fulkersons. They built a farm (and brick 14-room house) and named it Hazel Dell.

And that’s where I’m going tomorrow.