I pulled the thick packet out of the mailbox – return address National Archives, Washington D.C. The Civil War military and pension records for my great grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had arrived. I crossed my fingers and opened it hoping the information my Dad wanted was within.
Growing up both my Dad and I had listened to stories about how his grandfather, Samuel Hugh Caple, had survived being a prisoner in the notorious southerns Civil War prison – Andersonville. My Dad had even spent a day spent a day touring the former prison site. There he learned if he could show documentation of Samuel’s being a prisoner his name would be added to the the list of survivors.
Unfortunately the papers from the National Archives did not have the record he desired but it did contain other valuable family information.
Other than the civil war stories I never heard tales about my Caple ancestors, except one. My grandfather said the family had once been plantation owners somewhere in the south and had moved north because they didn’t believe in slavery. He didn’t know which state nor had any idea what country they may have come from from originally. Someone said the name sounded German so he thought maybe they had come from Germany.
Among the many papers in the packet were affidavits from several people who said they had known Samuel while living in Caple, Oklahoma.
I recalled my grandfather mentioning he had lived in Oklahoma for a time while a boy. But he had also said his father was a wanderer and they never lived anywhere long. So where exactly was Caple, Oklahoma? How come I had never heard of it? If my great grandfather had lived there, once upon a time, was this the southern state the family had come from? Wy was it called Caple? Outside of my family I had never even met another Caple.
I set out to find the answer. I told myself I’d just find out where Caple was and how it got it’s name. I had no intention of doing more.
The archive’s papers showed Caple as being in Beaver county, Oklahoma. I looked for it in a current atlas. It wasn’t there but an 1899 Atlas, I had purchased at a yard sale, did have a Caple, Oklahoma. It was in the southern portion off Beaver county (now Texas county), south of Hardesty, near the Texas border.
But I still didn’t know why it was named Caple? And what had happened to it?
Today a search on the internet would give me the answer but in 1993 other avenues had to be pursued. I needed to learn how to trace my family history and thus began my affliction with the genealogy bug.