Monday, November 4, 2019

Accrued Pension Form of 13 September 1909

This Accrued Pension Form is found in the Civil War Pension File of my paternal third great-grandfather.  My third great-grandmother filed this on 13 September, 1909, over five years after his death.  At this time, she was living at 1201 East Chelton Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, over 11 miles from the home she shared with her husband and different than the address at which she was living when the 1910 Census was taken.

According to this document, she was awarded her late husband's accrued pension.




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Declaration For Increase Of Pension Form of 19 July 1900

This Declaration For Increase of Pension form is from my paternal third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  At the time of the filing of this legal document, he was 66 years old and receiving a pension from the United States government of $6 a month for impaired vision in his right eye.  He was asking to have his this monthly pension doubled a month to $12, adding that he is now totally blind in his right eye, has rheumatism, and is suffering from senility.  He claimed that he was "wholly disabled for all kinds of work."

He had two witnesses to this claim, Willet and John O. Walton, both of 1940 East Somerset Street in Philadelphia.  Willet knew my third great-grandfather for 40 years and John for 20.  I'm guessing that John was Willet's son.  I wonder what their relationship was to my third great-grandfather.  This document does not state that.

Also listed on here is  the address for my third great-grandfather's lawyer, 2711 North 6th Street (6th and Lehigh Avenue).  The law office was just over five miles from his home.



Monday, October 21, 2019

Soldier's Application for Increase and New Disability Form of 26 June 1897

This disability application form is found in my paternal third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  It was filed on 26 June 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as he was asking for an increase in his pension from $8 to $12 a month.

He was receiving $8 a month from the United States Government for a right hernia and impaired vision.  He was asking for an increase to $12 a month citing that he also had rheumatism, varicose veins and senility, and these ailments were leaving him unable to perform manual labor.

Two of my third great-grandfather's acquaintances, William S. Wilkinson and William Whitelaw, were witnesses to him signing his mark.  I know from previous documents that my third great-grandfather was occasionally unable to sign his signature due to failing eyesight and shaking hands.  The day this document was signed must have been one of his bad days.  This form is also signed with a mark by a William White instead of his signature.

My third great-grandfather and both of his witnesses lived in the city of Philadelphia, where this document was filed.  There was no relationship given between any of the men, which leaves me with some questions.  Were they related somehow?  Were they friends or coworkers? The two men were close enough that they signed a legal document for him. Maybe some answers will come with a little more digging.



Sunday, October 20, 2019

Application For Accrued Pension (Widows) Form of 5 April 1904

This Widow's Application for Accrued Pension form that is found in my paternal third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File is one of the most exciting and confusion things I have ever found in my family tree research.

First, the confusing part...My third great-grandmother was filing to get the accrued pension that was due to my third great-grandfather from 4th of February 1904 until his death on 30 April 1904.  One question would be why wasn't he paid his pension between those dates.  I am guessing it is because my third great-grandmother had him committed to a state hospital. I have a legal document from this Civil War Pension file that says she was appointed as a committee on 9 February 1904.  So, it looks like those few months that he was in the state hospital leading up to his death he never received a pension check and my third great-grandmother was trying to get that money.  I'm sure as a widow, she would have needed that money.

Even more confusing to me is the question as to why my third great-grandmother is filing a legal document as a widow on 5 April 1904 when her husband died on 30 April 1904.  Was she expecting him to die?  I am thinking that maybe the Notary Public wrote the wrong date on the form.  All of the stamped dates say May, not April.

Now, the exciting parts.  My third great-grandmother's maiden name is listed.  I already had found that in my research, but here it is on a legal document and I can confirm it.  It also lists my third great-grandparents' wedding date as 31 December 1854.  In my research I had an estimated date of 1855, which was pretty close, but it is just amazing to have the actual date of their wedding.  And now I know that they were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

There were two witnesses for this legal document, a daughter to my third great-grandparents, my third great-aunt, and a family friend.  In the document, their daughter is listed as Lucy M. Henderson, but she signed her name Lovey M. Henderson.  Lovey is the name that I have listed in my family tree. At the time this document was signed, she was living at the same address  as her mother.  Was she there with her husband and family?  Did something happen to her husband and she had to go live with her parents?  Did she move in with her mother after her father was committed to the state hospital?  There are a lot of questions that I have.

The second witness signed her name Iva Shaffer, but in the document her last name is spelled Shaeffer and Shaaffer.  These oversights lead me to believe that there is a good chance that the 5 April date really should be the 5 of May.



Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Declaration For Invalid Pension 1 September 1890

This Declaration For Invalid Pension form is from my paternal third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  This was filed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of his residence, on 1 September 1890, when he was 53 years old.  There are a  lot of details on this form that will help in later research.

My third great-grandfather, James Odgers, enlisted on 8 April 1865 in Company I of the 215th Pennsylvania Volunteers and was honorably discharged on 31 July 1865 at Fort Delaware.  He had served for the Union Army for more than 90 days, which qualified him for a pension from the United States Government.  He was asking for a pension due to a right side rupture-disease of his eye.

At the time of this filing, his attorney was W.V. Sickel.  His office was located at 729 Walnut Street, less than two miles from my third great-grandfather's residence on South 15th Street.  According to an ad in The Times newspaper on 7 September 1890, Mr. Sickel specialized in Pensions.

There are a couple things that I find interesting about this legal document.  One is that it refers to what we now call the Civil War as the war of the rebellion.  The other is that it lists a soldier's requirements under the Act of June 27, 1890 to qualify for a pension.  This is the first time I have seen them listed anywhere in my third great-grandfather's pension file.

Also, it is pretty amazing to see an ancestor's signature from over 129 years ago.






Monday, October 14, 2019

Department of the Interior

This form is from my paternal third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  It is a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions in Washington, D.C. from a Mr. Mulholland in the U.S. Pension Department.  It reads:

I have the honor to report in the case of James Odgers, invalid, Act June 27, 1890, Certificate No. 700.375, that Mary Odgers, of 1416 S. 15th St, Philadelphia, Pa. was on Feb'ry 9, 1904, appointed as committee by the common please court, no 5, of Philadelphia County, State of Penna, pensioner having been adjudged a  lunatic.
So, my third great-grandmother had my third great-grandfather committed as a lunatic.  At first this sounds pretty harsh, but he was 69 years old and suffering from senility, decreasing eyesight, and rheumatism.  He may have gotten to the point where she was unable to care for him and she felt there was nothing else she could do.  He died in the state hospital less than three months later.


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

History of Claim

This History of Claim Form is from my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File and is filled with a lot of useful information.  His first and only service during the Civil War was with Company I of the 215 Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from 8 April 1865 to 31 July 1865, just shy of a total of four month of service.

He started with a pension of $6 a month on 2 September 1890 and was increased to $8 a month on 4 December 1891, due to a right hernia and impaired vision. Those eight dollars today would be worth about $225.55.  Also, an increase of pension was accepted on 7 February 1900.

He also asked for an increase in his pension on 30 June 1897 citing rheumatism, varicose veins and senility.  And there was a pending claim under general law that was filed 16 May 1893.

Monday, October 7, 2019

General Affidavit of 26 November 1901

This General Affidavit is found in the Civil War Pension File of my third great-grandfather.  Willet Walton is giving testimony as to my third great-grandfather's character.  At the time of this affidavit, the men had known each other for 50 years.

The Affidavit states:
Affiant states that he is personally acquainted with the claimant James Odgers and has known him for the last past 50 years and testifies that claimant has been during all the time he has know him a sober peaceable man of good habits, he further testifies that he has seen him on an average of once a week for years back and he knows his habits and that he is not addicted to vicious habits.
Affiant states that from his acquaintance with the claimant and his personal knowledge of the claimant he is positive that the left inguinal hernia from which claimant is suffering was not caused by an vicious habits on his own or on the part of any other person.
Both my third great-grandfather and Willet Walton lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  At the time of this Affidavit, Willet Walton was 62 and my third great-grandfather was 68 years old, which means that the two men had known each other since they were 12 and 18 years old respectively.  I wonder how they knew each other.  Were they related or just friends?  Maybe with a little more digging, I will find out.



Monday, September 23, 2019

General Affidavit of 25 November 1901

This General Affidavit is found in my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  This is testimony from a man, William White, who knew my third great-grandfather for 50 years.  He was testifying as to my third great-grandfather's character and that his inguinal hernia was from nothing that my third-great grandfather nor any other person did.

The Affidavit states:

Affiant states that he is personally acquainted with the claimant James Odgers and have known him for the last past 50 years and testifies that he has always been since he knew him a sober, peaceable man of good habits and in no way addicted to any vicious habits.
Affiant states that that from his acquaintance with the claimant and his knowledge of the cliamants character, he testifies that the left inguinal hernia from which he is suffering was not caused by any vicious habits on his own or on the part of any other person.
At the time this Affidavit was taken, William White was 72 years old and my third great-grandfather was 68.  I wonder how these two men knew each other.  They lived less than a five minute walk away from each other in the city of Philadelphia, so maybe they knew each other as neighbors.



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Physician's Affidavit of March 30, 1893

This Physician's Affidavit is part of my 3rd great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  It was filed on March 30, 1893.  It was 28 years after the end of the war and he was 59 years old.  His doctor was testifying in his case to get a Civil War Pension from the United States Government.

The Affidavit states:

That he is a practicing physician, and has been acquainted with the above-named soldier for about eleven years, and that for four years he lived next door to him, and for eleven years has been a near neighbor and on friendly terms with him and his family.
That after a careful examination as to his present condition, I certify as follows
He suffers from Right-Hernia, necessitating that wearing of a Tress constantly.
Total loss of sight of left eye and sight of right eye very imperfect, with continually increasing dimness of vision.
Varicose veins affecting entire inner portion of right leg from hip to ankle, and is compelled to wear a canvass jacket over same to enable him to walk.  A portion of left leg also affected with the same.
For over ten years past he has been a sufferer from swollen limbs and severe cramps caused by Rheumatism.
He was compelled to give up his business over four years ago on account of imperfect sight and being unable to walk caused by the said Varicose Veins and Rheumatism.  Has  been unable to perform any labor since.


Monday, August 26, 2019

General Affidavit of 15 January 1902

This General Affidavit is a part of my my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  This was filed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 15 January 1902, when he was 70 years old.  At this time, he was living at 1416 South 15th Street in the same city.  He had to explain under oath why he sometimes left his mark instead of signing his name.

The Affidavit states:
Affiant states that he is the identical person who is applying for an increase pension by ctf #700375 James Odgers and in answer to the Commissioner of Pensions letter hereto attached wherein he is required to state under oath as to why he sometimes signs his name and at other times makes his mark.
Affiant states that at times he is able to write his name and at other times through extreme nervousness and affection of the eyes he is unable to write his name and so has to make his mark.
 My third great-grandfather's response to this inquiry was that at times his eyesight was bad and his hands shook too much for him to be able to write his signature.  At 70 years old, he was elderly and these could have just been symptoms of his age.

His symptoms must have been present at the time this Affidavit was taken, because instead of his signature, he left his mark.



Friday, July 5, 2019

Inability Affidavit of 26 November 1901

This Inability Affidavit was found in my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  It was filed by him on November 26, 1901, as he was trying to get an increase in his Civil War Pension.  At the time of this filing, he was 68 years old and living at 1416 South 15th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Affidavit Sates:
...That he is unable to comply with the requirements of the Pension office as to furnishing affidavit of persons who knew when and how and where he received left inguinal hernia for reason that when he was hurt he did not say anything about it to anyone as he did not know he had received a hernia until some time after he was hurt.
He respectfully requests that the testimony of William White and Willet Walton will be accepted in lieu of other testimony which he cannot furnish for reasons as above set forth.
According to this Affidavit, my third-great grandfather had no one to support his claim that his injury, an inguinal hernia, actually occurred while he was serving in the Union Army.





Monday, June 17, 2019

General Affidavit of 25 November 1901

This General Affidavit is a part of my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension File.  It was filed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania so that he could get an increase in his pension.

The Affidavit States:

Affiant states that he is the identical person who is applying for increase pension by ctf * 700375 and in answer to the Commissioner of Pensions letter wherein he is required to state under oath as to when, where and under what circumstances he incurred left inguinal hernia
Affiant states that he received the left inguinal hernia in the spring of 1865.
Affiant states that he incurred left inguinal hernia at Fort Delaware
Affiant states that he incurred the left inguinal hernia under the following circumstances, while hauling powder at Fort Delaware, the cart was upset, and the shaft struck him in the groin causing left inguinal hernia
Affiant states that the above is a true statement of when where and how he incurred left inguinal hernia and that it was in no way due to ??? habits on his own part or on the part of any other person.
At the time of this filing, my third great-grandfather was 72 years old and living at 1415 South 15th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

General Affidavit of 29 May 1891

This General Affidavit, dated 29 May 1891, is one of the forms found in my third great-grandfather's Civil War Pension file.  He would have signed it under oath in the presence of a notary public.

The affidavit states:
"I am the above mentioned claimant and in answer to the Department call would state that I have not been in the Military or Naval service since July 31 - 1965."
This was filed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his hometown, when he was 60 years old - just over 13 years before his death.  At this time, he was living at 1416 South 15th Street.  His lawyer at the time of this affidavit filing was W. V. Sickel.


Monday, May 13, 2019

No. 806945

This Civil War Application was filed on 25 April 1908 by my third great-grandmother, who had been a widow for nearly four years.  She was now living at 1201 East Chelten Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It appears she had moved about 11 miles away from where she and my third great-grandfather had lived, 1416 South 15th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This document states the facts that my third great-grandfather was in Company I of the 215 Pennsylvania Infantry and he died at Norristown, Pennsylvania on 30 April 1904.  It also lists that there were two other previous claim numbers.

The note on here seems to state that the attorney representing my third great-grandmother, a Mr. W. V. Sickel, was contacted to find out if she agreed to abandon her former June Act Claim.  That would have been the Act of June 27, 1890.  It was an act that was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison.  At that time, she was entitled to $8 a month.  The Act of April 19, 1908 was also an act that increased the pension of widows and minor children of soldiers of the Civil War and other wars.  It looks like my third great-grandmother was filing for an increase in the monthly amount she received from the United States Government, being a widow of a Civil War veteran.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

No. 806945

This Civil War Pension Application was filed on 21 May 1904 by my third great-grandmother, three weeks after my third great-grandfather died.  My third great-grandmother was 71 years old at the time.  It was filed by her attorney, W. V. Sickel from Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

This lists my third great-grandmother's address as 1416 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  This is the same home she and my third great-grandfather lived in at the time the 1900 census took place.  She is identified as the widow of James Odgers, who served in Company I of the 215th Pennsylvania Infantry.  This lists his death as occurring in Norristown, Pennsylvania, approximately 20 miles away from his home.

On the right of this form there are some notes that were made over the next couple of years regarding legal transcripts that pertained to the Civil War pension my third great-grandmother would receive after the death of my third great-grandfather.


Monday, March 11, 2019

No. 700.375

This Civil War Pension application was filed 16 May 1893 by my paternal third great-grandfather.  He was 59 years old.  At the time of this filing, he was living at 1416 South 15th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The same home he was living in during the 1900 Census - the last census taken before his death in 1904.

This application lists him as being a sargent in Company I of the 215 Pennsylvania Infantry.  The 215 Regiment was organized in the city of Philadelphia in April 1865, at the end of the Civil War.  It also states that he is alleging that a ruptured cataract of his eye, rheumatism, and varicose veins were caused by his time serving in the Union Army, and that is why he deserved a pension from the United States Government.  I am very curious as to how these ailments can be linked to his time served during the Civil War.  As far as I know, these ailments tend to happen as one gets older and not necessarily from trauma.

This application was filed by my third great-grandfather's attorney, Samuel J. Brown.  I find it interesting that the attorney's name was crossed out and a continence is mentioned.  Does this mean that this decision was delayed because another attorney had to be found to represent my third great-grandfather?  And, if so, why?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Act of June 27, 1890

On June 27, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed into law The Dependent and Disability Pension Act.  According to this act, my paternal third great-grandmother, as a widow, was entitled to $8 a month ($220.86 today), because my third great-grandfather had served at least 90 days in the Union Army during the Civil War and was honorably discharged from service.

My third great-grandfather served in Company I of the 215 Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  The 215 Regiment was organized at Philadelphia in April 1865, the end of the Civil War.  They did their duty in Delaware and at Fort Delaware.  My three-times great-grandfather was discharged on 31 July 1865.  I am looking forward to learning more about his time at Fort Delaware, a place I have visited a few times.




Monday, January 28, 2019

Civil War Pension

My paternal third great-grandfather was one of the fortunate soldiers that survived his time in the Civil War, and he applied for a pension from the U.S. government for his service.  In general, a veteran filed an application due to loss of limb or eye, or disability from wounds or disease that occurred during his time of service.  The laws changed over time, and eventually a veteran could receive a pension based on old age, if he was lucky enough to live that long.

Even though this paper has very little written on it, it is filled with a lot of information, enough to start digging into the lives of my three times great-grandparents.  It looks like my third great-grandfather qualified for pension support from the United States Government and my third great-grandmother was filing for an increase in the monthly rate, citing an Act of April 19, 1908.  Each amendment after the original 1862 legislation extended the benefits by more liberal terms.  On 22 September 1909 she qualified to receive $12 a month, $331.30 today.  At the time of this filing, she was 74 years old and my three-times great-grandfather had been dead for over five years.

This form states that my third great-grandfather was a private during the Civil War and served in Company I of the 215 Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. According to papers I have, he was promoted to sergeant, and in doing a little online research I found more evidence that this was true.  The promotion occurred eight days before the end of the war.  This paper leaves me with some questions. Like, why was his promotion not recognized on this document?  Was it because for most of his time in the Union Army, he was a private?  Why exactly was he promoted to sergeant eight days before the end of the war?  I guess this is going to require a little more research.


Certificate of Death

This Death Certificate is found in the Civil War Pension file of my paternal third great-grandfather.  He died on April 30, 1904 at the age ...