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William Alexander McCain (1817 - 1863)

William Alexander McCain
Born in Rockingham, North Carolinamap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married about 1840 in Lawrence County, Alabamamap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 46 in Carrollton, Carroll, Mississippimap
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Profile last modified | Created 19 Mar 2009
This page has been accessed 4,418 times.
William McCain has featured in a media genealogy show.
Pvt William McCain served in the United States Civil War.
Enlisted: September 1863
Side: CSA
Regiment(s): 5th Regiment, Mississippi Cavalry


William Alexander McCain lived in Carroll County, Mississippi before the war. William McCain purchased Teoc Plantation in 1851 and owned at least 52 slaves before the war. The Civil War service records of Private William Alexander McCane (aka McCane) shows he enlisted in Company I of the 5th Mississippi Cavalry in September of 1863. Several cavalry regiments were formed after the fall of Vicksburg and placed under the cavalry command of General James R. Chalmers, who reported to the departmental commander General Stephen D. Lee.

His Service records indicates he enlisted at "Kosco Miss". This is acutally Kosciusko which is further south from Carroll County. Several of the men who joined this regiment had this town recorded as their place of enlistment. The 5th Mississippi Cavalry regiment began recruiting in the summer and was officially formed on September 1, 1863. Their commander was Col. James Z. George. I believe they trained in Grenada, Miss.

Private McCain's service records reported listed him as ‘Absent” in February, 1864 and then as a Deserter. The next record in his file lists him as a Prisoner and was detained by the Provost guard in Memphis. His last NARA card stated he died in a hospital on 26 April, 1864, which seems to indicate that he surrendered due to injury or sickness.

After the war, his widow and young son remained on their estate that was once the "Teoc" plantation (pronounced 'tee-auck'). Today, Teoc is an unincorporated community in Carroll County, Mississippi and is part of the Greenwood, Mississippi micropolitan area approximately 7 miles northeast of Greenwood on Teoc Road along Teoc Creek. Bill McCain, a descendant and cousin of Senator McCain, still owns 1500 of the plantation's former 2,000 acres. Since 2003, black and white descendants of the community at Teoc have attended family reunions organized by the black McCains, descended from two of the plantation's slaves, Isom and Lettie, and Henderson McCain.


  • SAR Membership Number: 50226
  • "United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 03 Dec 2014), William A Mc Cain in household of Thomas Peete, Tallahatchie county, Tallahatchie, Mississippi, United States; citing family 361, NARA microfilm publication M432, NARA microfilm publication M432, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
  • Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898", with supplement by H. Grady Howell.
  • Civil War Service Records, National Archives. (Obtained from Fold3).
  • Wikipedia article, "Teoc, Mississippi".
  • "5th Mississippi Cavalry" webpage by Steve Cole (date Feb 19, 2015). Link: [[1]]

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Comments: 2

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I may be the originator of the post that Wm McCain is the soldier who served in the 5th Mississippi Cavalry. This story also appeared in the PBS TV episode of "Finding Your Roots" hosted by Dr. L. Gates.

But this is NOT TRUE. The soldier in the 5th Mississippi Cavalry was another Wm McCain who lived in Panola County. Senator McCain's ancestor was a wealthy plantation owner and listed as a "Physician" in 1860 Census. I doubt he would have enlisted as a private. Also one website lists his date of date as different from the date in this soldier's records. Conclusion: The ancestor of Senator John McCain is not the soldier who was died while serving in the 5th MIssissippi Cavalry.

posted by Steve Cole
William A. McCain (or McCane in his service records) enlisted in the 5th Mississippi Cavalry, CSA, which was formed in the summer of 1863. His service records reported him as deserted from his unit but he was captured in put in Libby Prison in Memphis where he died in April 1864.

After the war, his widow and young son remained on their estate.

An interesting start for a man whose descendants would include two(2) Navy Admirals and a naval aviation Colonel who was a POW in Viet Nam---and would eventually run for President.

$$$ The above info is NOT CORRECT. I was wrong. The soldier in the 5th MIssissippi Cavalry is NOT the ancestor of Senator John McCain even though this was told on the PBS TV show "Findind Your Roots". $$$

[You should add Categories: US Civil War | 5th Mississippi Cavalry, US Civil War | American Civil War, KIA. ]

posted by Steve Cole

Rejected matches › Alexander McBain (1817-)