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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'll Find You, McPheely.

The life of a reference librarian is never dull. Well, ok, sometimes it’s dull, but not usually. Monday mornings are particularly interesting around here, as requests have come in over the weekend. I find that the weekend requests tend to be a little quirkier than weekday requests. People are sitting at home, talkin’ with ma and pa, and things pop into their heads that they need evidence of/more explanation for.

For instance, yesterday morning I was looking to see whether or not a Civil War battle was fought on the land where my patron’s family would eventually, 100 years later, build their house. While searching, I found this great site with various Mississippi maps online.

My favorite so far is this one:

The text says:

Map of Jackson Miss and Surroundings
During the Siege July 10th-16th 1863
Location of the Cooper home whence
a Piano was carried by a Company of Pioneers
commanded by a Capt. McPheely, to the position
of 5th Company Washington (Louisiana) Battery, and
there remained during the siege, and played upon
while the Battle July 12th 1863 was in progress.

I tried to resist, but I did spend a little time trying to find out more about Captain McPheely and his piano-thieving Pioneers, but alas, I turned up empty handed. (I found Samuel McPheely, who joined up after this battle; Robert Macfeely, whose unit wasn’t involved in the siege; Lyman Mackfall, who wasn’t an officer; and a whole host of McFails, who apparently could’ve fought a war all by themselves.)

Granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time, as this wasn’t the real reference question I was working on, but one day when it gets quiet, I will turn my attention back to McPheely and friends. As for the original question, it doesn’t look like there was any major action on his family’s one-day-soon land, but I still have sources to check!

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