CSA Veterans at Cedar Hill
Vicksburg, Mississippi

Not Forgotten

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Phots by Bryan Skipworth

Thomas J. Catching
May 11, 1829
Mar. 16, 1879


This guild symbol is near the top of the monument.
The engraved words are
faith, hope, and charity.


In response to a query, C. H. Bridges, Maj., Gen., The Adjutant General's office, sent a letter saying thus:

The official records show that Thomas J. Catchings (name also borne as T. J. Catchings) Captain, Co. H, 1st Texas Heavy Artillery formerly known as 3[d] (also called the 1st and Cook's Battalion Texas Heavy Artillery, C.S.A., enlisted April 3, 1862, at Gonzales. The company muster roll for January and February, 1864, the last roll on file, shows him present at Battery Jackson [Galveston].  No later record of him has been found.



Thomas Jefferson Catching was born in Copiah Co., Miss., and died in Vicksburg. He was a captain of the 1 Texas Heavy Artillery, Co. H (from records at the cemetery). He is sometimes seen as Catchings, but the name on his cemetery marker is Catching. There is not believed to be any connection between this man and the Catchings families in this cemetery.

He entered the service as a captain and left as a captain. See his military record beginning at

He married 27 Oct 1851 Elvira (Elle) Josephine Fly in Madison Co., Miss., and had several children. She was born 7 Dec 1831 in Maury Co., Tenn., and died 12 Apr 1896 in Vicksburg, Warren Co., Miss. She does not appear to have a grave marker but is believed to be buried with him at Cedar Hill. (Daughter Luella J. Catching married Charles James Searles and is also interred at Cedar Hill.)


On ancestry.com is an application for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution. It was submitted by a Catchings living on Long Island, who indicates he is a great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson Catchings and a descendant of Col. Elijah Clark, a Revolutionary War soldier.

Photo of Thomas J. Catching on the internet
as supplied by his family.

The cover card for his service record.
See his record starting at


T. J. Catching, Captain, age 34, enrolled 3 Apr 1862.
Here he is shown in Capt. T. J. Catching's Co., Cook's Battalion Artillery, which was organized in Sep 1861.
In Apr 1863, it was reorganized and named the 1 Texas Heavy Artillery, also known as Cook's Reg. Hvy Arty.


On the muster roll card for Nov and Dec of 1862,
he is detailed to serve as a member of a court martial
in Houston.

By Nov of 1863, T. J Catching was assigned to the South Battery in Galveston, Texas, where he is still found in Jan 1864. In Jun of 1864, he was assigned to Fort Jackson, Galveston.

Throughout 1863 and 1864, he was assigned to several stations around Galveston -- South Battery, Fort Jackson, Pelican Spit, and Galveston Harbor.


Late in 1864 he took time to visit Gonzales County, Texas,
probably to visit family.

1850 Federal census, Mississippi, Copiah, Gallatin

(Click on image to view)


At left, Mother Letitia Higginbotham Catchings died 26 Jan 1860. She was the wife of Benjamin Holliday Catchings (1804-1848), grandson of Benjamin Catching (no s) (b. 1748, Virginia), a surgeon and judge, and a member of the Constitutional Convention. He died in Georgia. (From Lineage book for NSDAR, Vol. 092:1912, pg. 263

On this census, Letitia is shown as having been born in Georgia. Her son Thomas J. Catchings and all his siblings are noted as being born in Mississippi.

On the last line, Ellison Norman, 24, is their overseer.


1860 Federal census, Texas, Gonzales, Not Stated

(Click on image to view)


At left, Thomas and Elle were married 27 Oct 1851.

Note that Sally Catchings, age 7, was born in Mississippi The younger children are shown as having been born in Texas. Perhaps we could say that between the births of Sally (abt 1853) and Mary (abt 1855) Thomas had moved his family to Gonzales, Texas, where, according to the census, he became a planter.

Thomas' brother William, 18, moved with them.


1870 Federal census, Mississippi, Copiah, Hazlehurst

(Click on image to view)


At left, this census, made after the war, shows Thomas has returned to his home state of Mississippi and is a hotel keeper. What happened during the war to his $9,000 worth of real estate in Texas?

His wife Elle (name given as Elvira here) is still living.

Luella H., 6, is a new addition to the family since the last census, as is Sarah 3, both born in Texas.

Elle is on the 1880 census for St. Louis, Mo., where she is shown as living with her son Silas and his family. She died in 1896 in Vicksburg.


On 14 Sep 1863, this "standing list" appeared in the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph. Capt. T. J. Catching of Gonzales County, along with other planters, has agreed to sell his corn to families of soldiers for a reduced price of fifty cents a bushel.



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