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Heizer, James Francis, 1841-1930



  • Existence: 1841 - 1930

Biographical Note

James Francis "Frank" Heizer was born in 1841 in Churchville, Augusta County, Va. His parents were James and Sarah J. Heizer and he had at least three siblings. Prior to the Civil War, he lived on his family’s farm and worked as laborer. On April 19, 1861, Frank enlisted as a private in Company I, 14th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry and McClanahan's Battery. Alongside details of Frank's military service, this collection details the relationship between Frank and his longtime friend and love interest, Pheobe Ann McCormick (1845-1906). Pheobe Ann(e) McCormick (also known as Annie) was born in Augusta County, Va., in 1845.

The pair's first engagement took place on April 18, 1864, when Frank revealed his feelings to Pheobe in a letter. A year later, the pair broke their engagement on August 10, 1865, based on Frank's "wishes to be released" so that he could freely pursue a career as a student and later, a traveling artist. The pair kept in touch through the years and eventually reconciled on January 21, 1867, re-establishing their engagement.

In a letter dated January 22, 1867, Pheobe accepted Frank's second proposal by stating: "I feel that I can't trust myself to write you a long letter now but will give you the reply that Gen'l Jackson sent to Santa Anna. 'If he wants me, let him come and take me.'" The pair married on February 21, 1867.

By 1870, Frank and Pheobe were living in Augusta County and they had the first of their children. Records suggest they had at least eight children: William A. (1870-1932); Ida B. (later Ott) (abt. 1874-?); Mary R. (later McComb) (1874-1949?); Eveline Frances (or Frances E. or F. Evelyn) (1878-1960); Willie (abt. 1877-?); James W. (married Lillian Holt) (1880-1945); Robert E. (1882-?); Francis P. (1887-?).

In 1880, the family was still in Augusta County and Frank’s occupation on the census was listed as “farmer.” By 1900, they had relocated to Buena Vista and Frank was working as a carpenter. Pheobe died in 1906, at the age of 61. James lived another 24 years and his daughter Frances continued to live with him. By 1920, Frank was working as a commissioner of revenue at the court house in Buena Vista. He died in 1930, at the age of 88. Both he and Phoebe are buried in Buena Vista, along with two of their children.

Ancestry Library Edition

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

James Francis Heizer & Phoebe Anne McCormick Heizer Collection

Identifier: Ms-2016-013

This collection consists of 100+ letters written between the years of 1863–1868, accompanied by a book entitled, The Heizer Family: American Pioneers by James Marion Heizer c.1861-1868. The majority of the letters are authored by James Francis (Frank) Heizer, a private in the Confederate army, whose letters are mostly addressed to his love interest and eventual fiance, Pheobe Ann McCormick.

Dates: 1861 - 1868