Rev. John H. Mashburn - Chaplain

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John Harvey Mashburn

The first chaplain of the 38th GA was Rev. John Harvey Mashburn (1803-1879) of the Methodist Church South who was assigned to Decatur in 1860 by the Conference. His previous circuits crisscrossed the same places in North Georgia where A.R. Wright practiced law. No doubt, they were acquainted with each other and this led to Mashburn's appointment as regimental chaplain when the 38th appeared in Decatur for training.

Mary Gay in her book "Life in Dixie" (a major source for Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind") speaks of Rev. Mashburn on the Dekalb County courthouse steps, accepting a flag sewn by her sister on behalf of the soldiers. (She also gives the name of Aaron Mashburn, a nephew of John Harvey Mashburn, who was enrolled in a different regiment.)

Chaplains were given the rank and pay of a Lt. (50 dollars a month); however, the Confederate congress reduced their pay about the same time that the 38th was transferred to Virginia. Since men who were over fifty were allowed to resign, John Harvey Mashburn decided to stay in Georgia. His place was taken by his son John Wesley Mashburn who served as a 1st Sgt in the Dawson Farmers (Co. N, renamed Co. I).

Rev. John Harvey Mashburn spent the rest of the war at home in Forsyth County as a Supernummary in the Dahlongea Distict of the Methodist Church South. After the war, he moved to Gainesville and became an active minister again. He died from a cold he caught riding his horse in the rain to preach at Gillsville.

Rev. John Harvey Mashburn was born and raised in Burke County, North Carolina and came to north Georgia abt. 1827 with his wife, Catherine Twiggs, the daughter of Timothy Twinggs and Joice Willis. (Joice was a direct descendant of the well-known Willis-Watkins-Farrar family of Malvern Hill, Virgina.)

Most interestingly, John's father Elisha Mashburn married Catherine's mother in Burke Cunty and they later moved to Forsyth County, Georgia, next to John and Caty along with two other sons, James and Elisha J. Mashburn. Many of the Twiggs step-children moved to Union County where William Twiggs was a leader in the anti-Confederate cause and a captain in the 5th TN Mounted Infantry, a federal unit.

John Harvey Mashburn had two brothers and each one named a son John Harvey Mashburn. One became a local Methodist preacher and one became an ordained minister of the conference (circuit rider). Some researchers have confused the three.

Sources - Federal Censuses 1810-1870, Marriage records of North Carolina, Methodist Church records, Mary Gay's "Life in Dixie", George Smith's "History of the Methodist Church in Georgia", "The Christian Advocate."

Photo and bio courtesy of Mr. Steve Mashburn, descendant of John H. Mashburn.

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