Levi Motts (1845-1864)

Levi Motts (1845-1864).  Young confederate soldier in love with Ruby Robison.  He fights and dies in Battle of Mansfield, April 8, 1964.

Ancestors:  Randall Motts (1752- 1821); Lucas Motts (1797-1875 ); Luther Motts (1820-1871).

Randall Motts was an Englishman who came to the Colonies in 1782, entering first at Pennsylvania and then making his way across the mountains into Alabama.  He amassed twelve sections of land planted for cotton and became quite wealthy.  His son Lucas headed west and settled in North Louisiana where he found land ideal for growing cotton and created his own large plantation.  Lucas was Levi’s grandfather.

Lucas’s son, Luther Motts, Levi’s father, was something of a ne’er-do-well.  Happy to live off his father’s largesse and not one to get his hands dirty, much less calloused, Luther spent his time playing cards, drinking and visiting the growing number of brothels in the new town of Shreveport.

Levi was nothing like his father and spent most of his time growing up at the knee of his grandfather who made sure Levi was wise in ways of the world and how to conduct himself in business.  However, when the canons fired upon Fort Sumter, Levi volunteered in 1862 to fight in the Rebel cause.

Mustering out of Monroe, Louisiana in Colonel Henry Gray’s brigade, the Louisiana Gray’s, Levi eventually found his way, ironically, like his father, to the now quite busy red light district of Shreveport. There he met and took up with one of the young sporting girls there, Ruby Robison.

Ruby and Levi defied the conventions of the time and begin a serious relationship with plans of marrying.  However, Levi’s company was called up to fight in the Trans-Mississippi campaign waged by the Union troops who are marching into Louisiana.  Gray’s brigade is one of the units in Gen. Robert Taylor’s army confronting Nathaniel Bank’s invading force at Mansfield.

While the Battle of Mansfield is a Confederate victory, Levi Motts is one of only about a hundred men who died there on April 8, 1864.  As he goes into battle, Levi knows that Ruby is pregnant with their child. This child, a girl Ruby named Pearl, is born in late December of 1864. Because of her illegitimate status Pearl chose to use the name Robison for most of her life (see songs “Levi Motts is My Name” and “Fannin Street“).

Lucas Motts lived to bury both his son and grandson and watching as the Mott family fortunes are destroyed by the war and Reconstruction.

Published by

f. d. leone

Songwriter who likes to write about music of many styles.

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