A Biographical Sketch of Godfrey Toler Rucker

Godfrey Toler Rucker was born 2/22/31 in Amherst County, Virginia, the third child of Alexander Marr and Mary Toler.  In 1850, the children included Margaret (21), Ann (20), Godfrey (18), Sarah, Isaac (13), William Richard (11) and Ellen (9).  Mary Toler had died by the time of the next census, and Alexander Marr had remarried to Elizabeth J. Camden.  Godfrey was the only son left at home, and Ellen, the only young girl.

Godfrey enlisted in the "Amherst Mounted Rangers" 6/12/61 at Lynchburg, 15 miles from home, bringing a $150 horse and $25 of equipment; brother William enlisted with him, both as privates, for one year.  Their company of roughly 100 men from Amherst joined other units to comprise Radford's Regiment, the 30th Regiment Virginia Volunteers.

The Amherst Rangers rode to northern Virginia, and fought at Manassas that summer, attached to Longstreet's brigade at Blackburn's Ford.  They picketed, scouted, and skirmished through the winter of 1861, and in April, 1862, the cavalry was reorganized, and they were designated company E, 2nd Virginia Cavalry.  As this was near the end of the one-year enlistments of many of the volunteers, the Confederacy instituted a draft to fill the ranks, and bind those already in service for three years.  Godfrey was conscripted, and fought with company E in all of its battles in the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign, and at 2nd Manassas was wounded during hand to hand combat with troops of the first Michigan and Fourth New York Cavalry regiments.  His wound must not have been grievous, for he was still on the company muster rolls through the following summer, participating in its many battles.  In August of 1863 he was on a 10 day detail to procure another horse, the campaign having worn both man and beast.  He reenlisted 3/1/64 for the war's duration, and after June the muster roll is silent on his subsequent service, but it presumably lasted to the war's end.

Back in Amherst after the war, Godfrey returned to farming and started a family.  He wed Mary Jane Old 11/28/66, daughter of George Old of Amherst.  In 1870 they had one year-old "Olivia W." (Allie V.  In later censuses).  Ten years later, all the children had been born: Allie (1/9/69);  Annie J. (10/26/70); Mary Ellen (7/14/72); George M. (10/2/73); William Godfrey (9/2/74).  They were living on an estate of 270 acres at Pleasant view.

Godfrey's will is dated 12/8/88 and was probated 12/16/89.  The Commonwealth of Virginia has no record of his death in Amherst, Campbell or Bedford Counties, or Lynchburg city.  The author has not located an obituary, but did uncover his government issue headstone hidden in a hilltop blackberry thicket in Pleasant View, Amherst County.  It is just outside a decrepit, wrought iron fence, and there appear to be other unmarked graves nearby.  More details of his death will hopefully be forthcoming from interested descendents.

Compiled by Christopher D. Rucker, M.D., August 24, 1998.
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