Francis M. Abrams

Co. F, 96th O.V.I

by John Quist

      Francis Marion Abrams (who went by the name Marion) was born in Delaware County, OH in about 1845. (1

      His farmer father, James Miller Abrams, was born on March 17, 1821 (2) in Licking County, OH. (3)  His father, James, went by the older family name, Abrahams. (4)  No information was found regarding young James changing the name to Abrams, but it was sometime before his marriage.  In Delaware County on February 25, 1844, he married Nancy L. Longwell, (5) who was born in Brown Township, Delaware County on September 27, 1823.  They had four children:  Francis Marion (born c.1845), Arvilla (1847), Flora (1855), and Frank (1860). (6)  James and Nancy (Longwell) Abrams died in Brown Township, he on May 25, 1869 (7) and she on May 14, 1877, (8) and were buried at Old Eden/Old Kilbourne Cemetery.

      On August 19, 1862, Marion Abrams enlisted as a Private for three years’ service in Delaware County’s Co. F, 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment (96th O.V.I.). (9)

      The regiment was organized at Camp Delaware and mustered in on August 29, 1862.  It was ordered to Cincinnati, OH (September 1) and then to Covington, KY and Newport, KY (September 3) to defend Cincinnati against a threatened attack by Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith.  It then moved to Falmouth, KY (October 8), to Nicholasville, KY (October 23), Louisville, KY, and Memphis, TN (November 13-22)  It participated in General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Yazoo River Expedition in MS (December 20-January 3, 1863), including the destruction of railroad and stores, and the first attack on Vicksburg, MS at Chickasaw Bayou, MS (also known as Chickasaw Bluffs and Walnut Hills) (December 26-29), which was a Union defeat with heavy casualties. (10)  On an unspecified date, Marion was hospitalized.  He was transferred to the hospital boat Nashville, which travelled on the Mississippi River. (11)  Mary A. Livermore, a nurse in the Union Army, gave this description of the Nashville:  “This was a hospital boat, built on a barge, three stories high, fitted up with cooking apparatus, bathrooms, laundry, cots, and whatever else was necessary.  It was towed from landing to landing, receiving the sick temporarily, until they could be taken off by the hospital steamers, and carried farther North.” (12)  Marion Abrams died on the Nashville on May 1, 1863. (13)  No information was found regarding the place of his burial.  One reference for the 96th O.V.I. stated that those who died on board boats on the Mississippi River “were likely buried at random places along the shore.” (14)

      Marion’s sister’s future husband, Homer Barnes, was a member of “The Union Light Guard of Ohio,” which was “Lincoln’s Body Guard.” (15)  While living in Delaware County, the family’s surname was spelled Barnes, and it was pronounced “Barns.”  This is seen in the U.S. census records and Homer’s Army records.  However, the original spelling was Bearnes, and it was pronounced “BER-nes.”  When Homer’s father died, his name was spelled Bearnes in the obituary written by the Delaware Methodist pastor, S.R. Squires.  The names of Homer’s parents in the Norton Cemetery of Marlborough Township were spelled Bearnes.  The names of Homer and his family were consistently spelled Bearnes when they moved to Kansas. 



Compiled by John W. Quist

Delaware, Ohio

December 7, 2011



1  “James Miller Abrams.” Carpenters of Central Ohio, RootsWeb’s
     WorldConnect Project, wc.roots-web. (online)

 2  Ibid

 3  “James M. Abrams.” Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997,

4  “James Abrahams.” Carpenters of Central Ohio 

5  “James M. Abram.” Ohio Marriages, 1800.1958, 

6  “Nancy L. Longwell.” Carpenters of Central Ohio 

7  May 25 – Footnote 3 and “Abrahams, J.M.” Old Eden/Kilbourne Cemetery
, Brown Township, Delaware County, (online)  March 25 – Footnote 1 and
    other family records

8  “Abrahams, Nancy L.” Old Eden/Kilbourne Cemetery records 

9  “Marion Abrams.” U.S. Civil War Soldiers Records and Profiles,

10  “96th O.V.I.” (online)

 11  Bartlett, Robert F. “Abrams, Marion,” Roster of the Ninety-Sixth Regiment,
      Ohio Volunteer Infantry,
1862 to 1865. Press of Hann & Adair, Columbus,
      OH, 1895, page 99

12  Livermore, Mary A. My Story of the War, A.D. Worthington and Company,

      Hartford, CT., 1889, page 303

 13  Footnote 11

 14  “Roll of Honor.” 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, (online)

15  McBride, Robert. Lincoln’s Body Guard; The Union Light Guard of Ohio,
      Edward J. Hecker, Publisher; Indianapolis, IN 1922, pages 5-7

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