Remembering Isaac Seabrook, Company C 21st USCT
Isaac Seabrook, born on Edisto Island about 1840, enlisted in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in Hilton Head, SC on May 11, 1863 . Isaac was one of six young men born on Edisto who enlisted that day. The others were Prince Seabrook, Peter Seabrook, James Seabrook, Ishmael Seabrook and Edward Seabrook, all born on Edisto.
Isaac Seabrook was 16 years old when he enlisted to serve a three-year term in the military. He was placed in Company C, 21st USCT. He was mustered out in Charleston, SC on April 25, 1866.
History of the 21st USCT
The 21st USCT was organized from 3rd and 4th Regiments, South Carolina Colored Infantry, March 14, 1864. The 3rd Regiment was organized at Hilton Head, SC in June of 1863. The 4th Regiment was organized at Fernandina, FL in July of 1863. Both units were re-designated 21st Regiment USCT March 14, 1864.
The 3rd Regiment, organized in Hilton Head, saw duty at Jacksonville, Fla., till April, 1864. They were moved to Hilton Head, SC, thence to Folly Island, SC, April 18. They served on Folly Island, Morris Island and Coles Island operating against Charleston, S. C., till February, 1865.
From June 30 to July 10, they served in an expedition to James Island, SC. They saw combat action on James Island July 2. The Regiment served garrison duty at Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, S. C., till August, 1865, and at various points in SC and GA till October, 1866. They were mustered out October 7, 1866 .
Freedmen's Bank Record, Isaac Seabrook
Sometime in 1868, Isaac Seabrook opened an account at the Freedmen's Savings and Trust (Freedmen's Bank). The account register contains many biographical details as well as the names of Isaac's family members .
The information Isaac supplied for the account register was:
No. 2756 Isaac Seabrook, "C," 21
Where Brought Up: Same Place
Where Born: Edisto Island
Residence: Seabrook Landing, SC
Works For: Himself
Wife: Lizzie Williams
Children: Richard Ford
Brothers: Simon & George Ford
Sisters: Margaret & Nanny Ford and Nanny Jones
Signature: Isaac Seabrook X His Mark
Life After the USCT
Isaac may have changed his name to Ford (the surname of his immediate family members) sometime between 1868 and 1870, or may have had the surname Ford before Emancipation. Many USCT troops in South Carolina were enlisted with the last name of the final slaveholder and later changed their names . In his Freedmen's Bank application, Isaac Seabrook listed his parents as Alfred and Katie, his wife as Lizzie, his son Richard Ford and brothers Simon Ford and George Ford.
The 1870 Census finds the following household in Beaufort, SC in 1870 :
Ford, Isaac, Age 24, Male, Black, Farmer, Born SC
Ford, Jane, Age 21, Female, Black, Keeping House, Born SC
Ford, Richard, Age [illegible, very faint], Male, Black, Born SC
Ford, Rose, Age 2, Female, Black, Born SC
Ford, Albert, Age 50, Male, Black, Farmer, Born SC
Ford, Katie, Age 50, Female, Black, Keeping House, Born SC
Ford, Simon, Age 22, Male, Black, Farm Labor, Born SC
Ford, George, Age [illegible, very faint], Male, Black, Farm Labor, Born SC
1880 Federal Census, Hilton Head, Beaufort, SC
In the 1880 Census, Beaufort, SC, we see :
Ford, Isaac, Black, Male, Age 37, Farm Laborer
Ford, Lizzie, Black, Female, 28, Farm Laborer
Ford, Richard, Black, Male, 13, Son, Farm Laborer
Ford, Rose, Black, Female, 11, Daughter, Keeping House
Ford, Romeo, Black, Male, 8, Son
Ford, James, Black, Male, 5, Son
Ford, Mary, Black, Female, 1, Daughter
Also in Beaufort in 1880 we find:
Ford, Alfred, Black, Male, 70, Farm Laborer
Ford, Katie, Black, Female, 69, Keeping House
Military Pension Index
That Isaac may have changed his name to Ford is further supported by a pension index record in the name of Isaac Seabrook alias Isaac Ford, for service in Company C, 21st USCT :
Death Certificate, Hilton Head, Beaufort, SC
A death certificate for Isaac Ford may also support that hypothesis the Isaac changed his name to Ford after serving in the USCT. The certificate, below, states that Isaac Ford, Black, Male, Farmer died May 4, 1920. His parents are listed as Alfred Ford and Katie Ford, both born in SC .
We recall that Isaac Seabrook who served in C Company, 21st USCT, listed Alfred and Katie as his parents. His siblings were listed with the surname Ford, as was his son. If this is your family, the possibility of a name change is certainly worth looking into further.
We remember Isaac Seabrook and honor his service in the 21st USCT.
 National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With the United States Colored Troops: Infantry Organizations, 20th through 25th; Microfilm Serial: M1823; Microfilm Roll: 32
 Gourdin, John Raymond. 2009 Borrowed identity : 128th United States Colored Troops : multiple-name usage by Black Civil War veterans who served with Union regiments organized in South Carolina. Westminster, MD : Heritage Books
 U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System; database online, http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/index.html, accessed 31 May, 2011.
 Ancestry.com. Freedman's Bank Records, 1865-1871 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.Original data: Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Micropublication M816, 27 rolls.
 Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Year: 1870; Census Place: Hilton Head Island, Beaufort, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1485; Page: 171A; Image: 345
 Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Year: 1880; Census Place: Hilton Head, Beaufort, South Carolina; Roll: 1221; Family History Film: 1255221; Page: 142A; Enumeration District: 46
 National Archives and Records Administration. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.
 Ancestry.com. South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: South Carolina. South Carolina death records. Columbia, SC, USA: South Carolina Department of Archives and History.