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  paternal 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.

Bills of Repairs September 24,1904

 This cover sheet is found in the Civil War Pension File of my paternal third great-grandfather.  The bills were submitted by a pension atto...