Enlistment records and muster rolls can yield a lot of information about our Civil War ancestors. But you often have to ask questions of a historical document as you would a person if he or she were in front of you. Take a look at the page on the left from the muster rolls of John F. Poore. Recruiters signed up the 19-year-old John and other young men for the Jasper Avengers infantry company at Garlandsville. The Jasper Avengers later became Company H of the 37th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Just the enlistment at Garlandsville raises a number of questions. Why did John sign up with a Jasper County company since he lived in Newton County? His older brother Francis Marion Poore had joined the Newton Rifles, later Company D of the 13th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Perhaps it was a matter of distance. The Poore family farm was just north of the line separating Jasper and Newton counties and Garlandsville just south of it. So it was a short trip to meet the recruiter.
Perhaps it was a matter of timing. There may have been no recruiter for Newton County outfits at the time John decided to enlist. Maybe John had a number of buddies who all wanted to enlist at the same time and they headed for Garlandsville. The muster rolls of the other members of the company might reveal a clue as to whether that speculation is true.
Garlandsville also was an important marketing town in the region. It had served as a major trading center for the Choctaw Nation and received its name from an inn operated in the house owned by John Garland, who was half Indian. A stagecoach relay station located at the inn in the early American period and the crossroads town grew to one of the largest north of Mobile. The Poore family no doubt traveled to Garlandsville many times on market Saturdays for some horse trading. John may have considered it the best place to go to enlist.
By the start of the start of the Civil War, Garlandsville was a town in decline. The Southern Railroad had extended its line from Vicksburg into the newly built town of Newton, eight miles to the north, and then into Meridian. This route bypassed Garlandsville. Businesses had started to move to either Newton or Meridian. At any rate, a simple entry on a muster roll gives us many avenues to research and write about.