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James Womack and Frances Collier Womack “Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again”

James Womack and Frances Collier Womack “Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again”

By Sue Hunter Weir Those of us who grew in the late 1940s and 1950s, in the age of black and white movies and television, are all familiar with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, King and Queen of the West. At the end of their weekly television show, they signed off by singing “Happy Trails to You,” a song written by Dale. Even now, most of us can still sing the song by heart. Believe it or not, that song has an interesting connection (albeit a somewhat remote one) to Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. James Tignal Womack was born in Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky in 1835. During the Civil War, on October 15, 1861, he enlisted in the 14th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. He was forced to resign his commission as a 1st Lieutenant a year later due to poor health. In a letter written to his colonel, Womack wrote that he had “been labouring under a disease of the Breast for the last six months, and which has been so severe of late as to Render Me totally unfit for duty”¦” He was given an honorable discharge for disability on October 10, 1862. It is not clear exactly when Womack moved to Minnesota, but by 1870, he was living and farming in Hennepin County. He married Frances Elizabeth Collier, and they had at least seven children, one of whom died at the age of two and is buried next to his parents in the cemetery. Womack was only one of at least eight men from the 14th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry to settle in Minnesota, although he was the only one to settle in Hennepin County. Marlitta Perkins, Regimental Historian of the 14th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, speculated that, because Womack arrived in Minnesota either during, or soon after the end of, the Civil War, it is likely that he had “Union sympathies in a family who had also Confederate leanings.” Two of James Womack”'s cousins, who were brothers, fought on opposite sides during the war, something that was not all that uncommon for families living in [...]

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