Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Search of ... James Kay, Civil War Veteran

James Kay is briefly mentioned as Lovecraft tells the story of how his "gang" created a clubhouse in Rehoboth, MA as kids. He laid the stones to their clubhouse as they rebuilt it from a woodsman's hut.

Dave Goudsward to the rescue, as he sends us this research note. There is a good chance THE REAL James Kay has been located. We still don't know his age, but we can make a better guess that in 1906 the fellow was in his near-mid-60's and more than capable of laying stones still. By 1921 (the date of Lovecraft's rvisit) Kay's age would have been upwards of 80, and HPL declares him deceased.

The Civil War Soldier/Sailor database lists 46 records of James Kays as having served in the war on both sides with 1 from RI and 3 from MA. (This doesn't specify enlist lengths, so the James Kays listed with two artillery units could be the same fellow renlisting. Someone would need access to the pension applications to be sure.)

Best guess? It's James W. Kay of 8th Regiment, Company D, Massachusetts Infantry which was organized and served for 9 months in 1862-63. That regimental history seems to be the only one that indicates the Regiment was in the Carolinas.


Don't forget to check out Dave's growing collection of books.

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