Private Theophilus W. Pinion


We honor you Private Theophilus W. Pinion of Co I 29th Regiment Conn. Infantry (Colored), who at age 18 enlisted with his 43-year-old father James Pinion in January 1864 in Connecticut. Father and son were honorably discharged in October 1865 in Texas. Both had lived in Timbuctoo for 12 years prior to the war. James was a minister and one of the founders of the Wesleyan AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church of Timbuctoo. 29

Theophilus was free born in New Hope, Pennsylvania in February, 1847, and his father was slave born in Maryland. He was a farmer and his father was a laborer before the war. During the war James, his father, was often sick and hospitalized.

In the war Private Theophilus Pinion served in the infantry. At Kell House, Virginia, he received a serious battle wound to the hip. A destructive musket or most probably Minie ball bullet ripped its way into his front hip bone, travelled down to the top of his leg bone, shattered it and then travelled behind and lodged in his gluteus or butt muscle. Surgeons had to remove a lot of the shattered bone at the head of the leg bone or femur. Most certainly, the radical removal of surrounding mangled tissue would have contributed to a very serious situation. Wounds in the hip and pelvis area were notoriously fatal because you would die from the infection. 30 It took around 6 months for Theophilus to recover in the hospital where he convalesced until the threat of serious infection abated and the gaping hole in his hip bone- upper leg filled in with scar tissue. When he left the hospital, his left leg was 2 inches shorter and with almost no range of motion, he hobbled with a prominent limp. Theophilus had just turned 20 years old and when he came home, he was a very young invalid.

The Civil War also shattered families. When Theophilus arrived home, he found his mother living with another man. She cried and perhaps pleaded that things would be like before the war if she made the man leave. The man left but, when his father, James Pinion, discovered the affair, he could never forgive his wife. After all, James had been a pillar of the community, a founder of the church. His mother shamed and his father devastated, the family split up. James Pinion became a travelling minister in the AME Zion faith. It was not until several years later that he remarried and settled in Monmouth County.

Theophilus was left on his own. He married three times, but, perhaps because of his horrific war injury, appeared to never have any children. He survived his first two wives (Abigail Brown and Annie Caesar and/or Washington) and after his demise, provided a pension for the third (Margaret C. Jones). Theophilus and Margaret were married in 1903 by Rev. F. W. Thompson of A.M.E. Church of Mount Holly. His real mother was Sarah/ Francis Wilson. There were 7 siblings, 3 boys and 2 girls. In later life his father married Elizabeth (?).

Theophilus Pinion died on December 14, 1904 at 57 years old of paralysis.

Footnote #29

Footnote #30