Calvin Champion

Born in South Carolina (likely York County) 23 August 1823, died in Williamson County Texas 22 October 1899, Calvin CHAMPION has been very difficult to research with certainty.

Per family researchers, his father was William Jacob “Buck” CHAMPION II (1785 NC-1851 GA), and his mother appears to have been Sarah (possibly GREEN).  Two of Calvin’s brothers and one sister moved to Texas (Joseph Joel [14 July 1824 SC-11 March 1896 Leander TX], John Thomas “Jack” [1817-1909 Leander TX], and Ann (CHAMPION) MABRY [1812-1847, likely Ellis County Texas])

Calvin married Mary Jane TOTTY 3 February 1848 Paulding Co GA.  I believe her to be the daughter of  Thomas TOTTY, as he was a few doors down from Calvin, Jane, and infant William CHAMPION in the 1850 Paulding County Georgia census.  Thomas TOTTY was born in South Carolina ca 1805; he was married to Lucy, born in North Carolina ca. 1813.

Calvin and Mary Jane were in the 1860 Calhoun County Alabama census.  During the Civil War, Calvin CHAMPION was at the Camp of Instruction Talladega Infantry Regiment in Talladega, Alabama.  I have yet to find in what unit he may have served.  The following is paraphrased from usgennet.org, which cites  Alan J. Pitts- Alabama CW message board:

“Talladega was one of two camps of instruction established in Alabama for collecting recruits. The Confederacy was faced with a serious manpower shortage in the winter of 1862, and Congress determined on a compulsory military service law which went into effect in April 1862. Most men between the ages of 18 and 35 would be obliged to enroll, with exceptions for certain professions and other situations. Talladega and Notasulga were selected as camp sites to collect recruits, which had been volunteers up to this time. Enrolling officers in each county collected men and took them to camp, where they were enrolled and eventually assigned to a front-line unit.

Camp Two [was] at Talladega. It was called Camp Buckner and commanded by Major W. J. Walthall. Camp One was at Notasulga, commanded by Major E. S. Ready, and called Camp Watts. There is a microfilm entry for Ready’s Battalion. Drill instructors had commissions from the Provisional Army (P.A.C.S.), usually as 2nd lieutenants. A few were 1st lieutenants; captains serving in this position were rare. Drill instructor service records are located in the microfilm for General & Staff Officers.

Col. Inzer mentions the arrival of a group of men from Camp of Instruction being sent to his brigade on Missionary Ridge. Men from Talladega were sometimes sent after deserters with varying degrees of success. A battalion from Notasula went to Mobile in December 1864. The camp at Talladega was mentioned by David Evans in “Sherman’s Horsemen: Union Cavalry Operations in the Atlanta Campaign” as part of his description of Rosseau’s Raid.

Microfilm doesn’t include all the men that passed through that camp. Enlistment data for other units which refer to Talladega or Notasulga — particularly when Camp Buckner or Camp Watts is listed as a place of enlistment — specify that the individual in question had been enrolled there and later assigned to a front-line unit. There are men who later belonged to the City Guards who were collected at Talladega and eventually assigned to various Alabama companies in the Army of Tennessee when that unit was broken up in early 1864.

General Bragg’s intentions with regard to Camp Buckner. He sent an officer to Talladega with orders to dismount Lewis’ Cavalry and return with every man that could be found in camp there, which would have effectively shut that place down. A directive from the War Department countermanded Bragg’s orders.
More men who were just passing through than those stationed there by far. For instance, all of the “City Guards” appear on Talladega records, even though they left the post in March 1863 and never returned.

Talladega was only a temporary site for recruits. Most men who were there should also have a record in an Alabama Confederate military unit. There are no photographs of the camp or the men there, collectively or individually. I’m sure there are descriptions of the camp and its operation in local histories of Talladega. But you should see other discussions as noted above.

There is a roll of microfilm listing those found on rolls and receipts at Talledega Camp of Instruction. There’s not too much more information, that I have found, than this. There is likely to be a little information in some of the books on Croxton’s/Wilson’s Raid through Alabama near the end of the war, as Croxton “captured” Talledega and the camp. There was a skirmish outside of Talledega that likely involved the men stationed at the camp. I do know that it involved the home guard, which I think was called the Talledega City Guard. I think that it is unlikely that the men from the Camp of Instruction would not have been involved.

The instructors were usually seasoned veterans who had been reassigned due to “infirmity”. This was either wounds or age.

From what I’ve been able to ascertain, the men who were trained here, at least later in the war, were those who came from home guard and reserve type units. The camp was also referred to as “conscript camp”, leading me to believe that most of the trainees were drafted into service.

Members of the Alabama Corps of Cadets from the University were used as instructors at Talladega from time to time as well.

During the war, a man could either join a unit directly, be conscripted, or volunteer for service with an enrolling officer. If he came into the service in the latter 2 methods, he was sent to a Camp of Instruction then assigned to a unit as needed or expedient. Also, sometimes newly formed companies were sent to these camps for instruction.”

I have not found Calvin or his family in the 1870 census, however his daughter Amanda CHAMPION was married in Choctaw County Alabama in 1874.

In the 1880 Williamson County census, Calvin CHAMPION, 56, born in South Carolina, as were his parents, was a laborer in household of William and Amy Adams.

Known children of Calvin and Mary Jane TOTTY CHAMPION:

i.  William CHAMPION, born in Georgia ca. March 1850.  No further info, appears to have died by 1860.

ii.  John B. CHAMPION, born in Georgia ca. 1852.  No further info.  This child might actually have been Calvin’s nephew, son of his brother John Thomas “Jack” who moved to Texas after his wife’s death.

iii.  Thomas CHAMPION, born in Georgia ca. 1855.  No further info.  This child might actually have been Calvin’s nephew, son of his brother John Thomas “Jack” who moved to Texas after his wife’s death.

iv.  Amanda Maggie CHAMPION, born in Alabama ca 1858.  Married George M/N WILKERSON in 1874.  1880 & 1900:  Choctaw Co ALA.  1910:  Covington ALA.  1930:  Choctaw ALA.  Children:  Mary Ada, Chester, Thomas.

Per family researchers, Calvin fathered a child with former sister-in-law, Nancy J. (McALPIN) CHAMPION (widow of his brother William Jacob):

i.  Henry Columbus Champion, born 8 December 1866 in either Rabbit, Calhoun County Alabama or in Kingston, Bartow County Georgia.  Died 10 March 1957 in Talladega County, Alabama.

Per family researchers, Calvin fathered another child with another former sister-in-law, Hepsey Caroline (WHITE) CHAMPION (widow of his brother Nicholas):

i.  Walter Daniel Champion, born likely in Jacksonville, Calhoun County Alabama 24 August 1871, died 6 January 1943 Calhoun County Alabama, buried Jacksonville City Cemetery.

Would love to know more about him.  If you have any information, please contact this blog.

– Suzanne

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Published in: on March 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm  Comments (5)  

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  1. Hi Suzanne,

    I am a descendant of William Champion, Calvin’s brother. I have found records where Hepsy’s child was actually fathered by a Peter Black. She successfully sued him for child support! The rest of your post is undoubtedly true about Calvin. Love the pictures of Calvin’s grave.

    • Thanks for the info; what type/source of records have you found?

  2. Do you know if Calvin Champion is related to the now superintendent of schools in Leander…Dr Champion?

    • I am not certain of course, but it would seem that odds are good, especially if Dr. Champion is a native of the area.

      • who can i contact to get permission to visit Pond Springs Cemetery after dark…doing paranormal research.


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