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Widows Application 1898

Widows Application 1898 portion of…

On November 21, 1898 Amarilla tried again for George’s Civil War pension remember that George tried at least twice to get this money but failed.  She filed the Declaration for Widow’s Pension in the county of Crow Wing with the help of Henry D. Philips Law Offices of Washington D.C.

Something happened because the claim had the word ABANDONED stamped a on December 9, 1898 document and several others.

Apparently on 21 November 1900, J.G. Dawes appears on another Declaration of Widow’s Pension with Amarilla.   J.G. Dawes was the notary public at the bottom of the form.  So J.G. tried to help her out.

Several other documents followed from friends and a physician.  They are very interesting and I wonder what stories these people would have told about George and Amarilla.

General Affidavit of Bertha Mickelson, 25 February 1901.

That she was well acquainted with George Barclay deceased for a period of 4 years before his death.  That in the evening of October 29, 1898 about half pass seven o’clock said George Barclay was shot and killed by a person unknown at the time he was sitting in a chair in his own house.  I heard the report of the gun saw him fall and he expired on the floor where he fell.  The ball passed through his neck.  The shot was fired from outside of building and was fired through a window. 

The Physician’s Affidavit was signed by T. F. [Rodwell] M.D. on the 7th of August 1901.

That he is a practicing physician and that he has been acquainted with the said soldier two years, and that he was a man then whose general appearance would not admit I should judge of unusual labor.  I met George Barclay September 1896 and occasionally until his death Oct. 1898.  Where I was called to testify as to cause of death which was from a bullet fired by some unknown person while said Barclay was seated in his house at Pine River passing through his neck thereby causing instant death. 

General Affidavit of John Bubar, age 53 years  Henry Shalding, age 46 years citizens of Brainerd, 28 January 1902.

That they knew personally and were well acquainted with the soldier, George A. Barclay, for a period of 28 years commencing in the year 1867 and continuing up to the  time of his death in the year 1898; that they are acquainted with and have known personally Ammarilla Barclay, widow of George A. Barclay, soldier, for a period of 20 years commencing in the year 1882 and continuing up to the present time; that they personally know said George A. Barclay and Ammarilla Barclay were married and lived together as husband and wife; that they verily believe that said George A. Barclay and Ammarilla Barclay or either of them, was never married prior to their said marriage; that the contents of this affidavit are known to affiants by personal knowledge, observation and acquaintance for a time as aforesaid. 

Something happened and the lawyers were still trying to get a resolution in 1905 and 1906 but it doesn’t appear anything came of it.  You notice that the time frame it really stretched out which means that it was difficult to get resolution.  Every time the law was updated there would be a flood of these widows declarations. Every time Amarilla applied she would have to resubmit documentation.

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George tried again in April of 1897 for his Civil War Pension.  I refer you to the post I wrote on July 15, 2012 titled “George Barclay Seeks His Civil War Pension.”  In that post I did a list of the documents in the pension file that covered the time period of 1891 to 1895.  George’s first attempt at securing his Civil War pension.

1, On April 5, 1897 he again filled out the “Declaration for Invalid Pension” form

Soldier’s Application, George Barclay, I 9 Minn Inf. Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn.  Filed by H.D. Phillips Law Offices, (Stamped several times April 10, 1897, and April 20, 1897.)  Minnesota, Crow Wing, 5 April 1897 in the Dist. Court a record for George Barclay aged 52, resides at Pine River, County of Crow Wing, State of Minnesota, identical person who enrolled on the 15 Day of August 1862 in 1st Lt. M. Greenleaf’s Company I 9th Regiment, Minnesota, Infantry, as Wagoner in the war of the Rebellion and served at least ninety days and was honorably discharged at Fort Snelling Minn on the 24th of August 1865.  

That he is unable to earn a support by reason of Disease of Spine, partial Deafness, kidney trouble and weakness of lower limbs. Pension Application 1066560.  Signed in Pine River, Crow Wing Co., Minnesota by George Barclay and Attested by Louis [Zachering] and John F. [Frakes].  Louis [Doche] residing in Brainerd and John F. [Frater] also residing in Brainerd both knew claimant 14 years.  Signed by these men on 5th April 1897.  Prosecution of this claim by a Sam’l Parker, Clerk Dist. Crt, Crown Wing Co., Minn. 

2. On April 10, 1897 at the bottom another document has a big “ABANDONED” written across it.

NOTE:  Next in the file was the Timber Contract that I shared in the May 16, 2013 post, “Right of Way Brainerd & Northern RR October 1895 and the Timber Contract with NPRR in July 1897.” Why this Timber Contract was in the pension file I do not know.

3. A year later on April 28, 1898 a Department of Interior document was in the file.  Two of the same type of document.

1st form:  Western Div. Inv. Orig. No. 1066560 I 9 Reg’t Minn. Inf. April 28, 1898, Surgeons: 1st National Bank Block Sixth Str., Brainerd, Crow Wing Co., Minn. 10 o’clock am, every 1st and 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Signed by [H. Clay Evans] Commissioner.  Claimant:  George Barclay, Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn. Examined by [J.S. Camps], [Wemer Hemstead] and [A.F. Graves] 18 May 1898, signed by [Wemer Hemstead]. 

2nd form reads:  April 28, 1898 Mr. George Barclay, late a Wagoner Co. I, 9 Regt, Minn. Inf. Original #1066560, disease of spine, partial deafness, kidney troubles and weakness of lower limbs or any other disability.  Sign by W. Hemstead, Brainerd, Crown Wing Co. Minn. Claimant’s Post office:  Pine River, Crown Wing Co., Minn. 

George's Civil War Pension 2nd try 1897-98

George’s Civil War Pension 2nd try 1897-98

4. Followed by another larger document from the Department of the Interior asking questions of George.

Western Div. Inv Orig #1066560, George Barclay Co. I, 9th Reg’t. Minn Inf. Dated April 28, 1898. Mr. George Barclay, Pine River, MNN.  Signed by H. Clay Evans.  Are you a married man.  Answer: Amarilla Spracklen.  When, Where and by whom were you married:  Herbert Root. What record of marriage exists: married cerifect.  Were you previously married:  none.  Have you any children living:  Gracie A. Barclay Aprile 10, 1 o’clock 1882., Date of reply Af 6, 1898, signed by George Barclay.  

NOTE:  I featured this documents when I posted about Grace and her birth on May 23, 2011, “A daughter is born: Grace Amarilla 1882.” Since I do not have a birth record for Grace, my grandmother, this document serves as the acknowledgement that Amarilla was his wife and Grace (Gracie) was his daughter.  The document was in George’s handwriting  and signed by him.

5. The next month on May 18, 1898 he once again had a medical examination and the information was written on the Surgeon’s Certificate.

Surgeon’s Certificate, I, 9th Reg’t., Minn. Inf. Applicant for Original #1066560, Date of Examination May 18, 1898 Signed by J.S. Camp, Pres., Wemer Hemstead, Sec., A. G. Groves, Treas. (Board), PO:  Brainerd, County: Crow Wing, State Minnesota.

Original #1066560, George Barclay, Wagoner, Co. I, 9th Reg’t, Minn. Inf., Brainerd, Minn, Pine River, Minn. May 18th, 1898.  Disability:  Disease of Spine, Deafness, Kidney trouble, and weakness of lower limbs.  

Here is my partial summary of what was written on the Surgeon’s Certificate:  height 5 feet 4 1/2 inches; weight 130 pounds, age 54 years.  

a.  Disease of spine, no objective symptoms, no disability

b.  Deafness: can hear with both ears ordinary conversation at six feet, no disability

c.  Kidney trouble, no objective symptoms, no disability

d.  Weakness of lower limbs:  exaggerated knee reflex, no difference in measurement of legs, walks with difficulty and stiffness Rate 6/18.

f.  Disease of Urinary organs and other body parts:  he was given a rate of 4/18 and 6/18 respectively.  He had some problems that I am not going to share here.

g.  No evidence of vicious habits. 

Signatures of the 3 physicians at the bottom. 

There are no more documents regarding this attempt to obtain the pension by George himself  till November 21, 1898 and that one is under Amarilla’s name and called a Power of Attorney.

There will be more posts on this Civil War pension process from November 1898 to 1939.  All Amarilla’s attempt at securing her husband’s pension.

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Alexander Barclay, George’s brother, was awarded his civil war pension on the 20th of December 1890.  Alexander was living in Eureka Township, Dakota County, Minnesota at that time.

I sent for Alexander’s Civil War Pension file 18 April 2001 and it came 22 May 2001.  I filled out the National Archives Order for Copies of Federal Pensionor Bounty Land Warrant Applications which means I did very well and it came within a month.

NARA (The National Archives)  has an online order system now and it  works pretty well.   The other option is to hire a professional genealogist and have them go and obtain the documents for you.   There is a National Capital Area Chapter of APG  It is actually better to consider this option because they know what they are doing and will make sure you get all the correct documents.   The cost of ordering a Civil War pension went up a few years back and it is expensive to pay the fee.  I can recommend someone if you need help.  Just leave a comment. 

Alexander Barclay’s Civil War Pension contained the following documents:

1.  Soldier’s Certificate – Priv and Copr. Co. Ch. 4 Minn Vol. Inf. #14078, #31

The Cover Jacket to Alex’s Civil War Pension

2.  August 19th, 1890 – Invalid Pension – State of Minnesota, County of Dakota, 19th of August, appeared before a notary public Alexandria Barclay, 46 years, resident of Farminton, county of Dakota, State of Minnesota, …duly sworn and according to law is the Alexandria Barclay who enrolled on 1 January 1864 as Corp. in Co. C, 4 Reg. Minn Inf. Vol. and was honorably discharged at Louisville, Ky, on the 19th day of July, 1865…That he is unable to earn a support by reason of Rheumatism…That he has not yet applied for pension under application not yet given.  PO is Farmington, county of Dakota, Minnesota, Claimant’s signature – A.A. Barclay, Attest L.T. Fluke and G.S. Cable.  Also personally appeared L.F. Fluke residing in Farmington and G.S. Cable residing in Farmington.  …saw Alexandria Barclay the claimant sign…acquaintenance for 18 years – signed L.P. Fluke and G.S. Cable, Sworn to ….19th August 1890.  Leonard Aldrich notary public, Dakota County, Minn.   #38701 Soldier’s Application – Alex Barclay – filed by Travis and Brown.  Date of Execution Aug. 19, 1890.

3.  August 23, 1890 – Invalid Pension – Claimant Alexander Barclay, Farmington, Dakota County, Minnesota, Rank Priv and Corp. Co. C, Regiment 4, Minn Vol. Inf. Rate $12.00 commencing Aug. 23, 1890.  Disability Rheumatism and disease of heart and rectum.

4.  August 28, 1890 – Card – J.E. [Hust] Ex’r No. 944426, Alexandria A. Barclay P.O. Farmington, Dakota Co., Minn, C 4 Minn. Inf. Enlisted:  January 1, 1864, Discharged July 19, 1865, Application filed Aug. 23, 1890.  No other claims, Num. No. 380901, Attorney Travis & Brown, Crawfordville, Ind.

5.  December 16, 1890 – Soldier’s Application filed by John H. Mullen Adjutant General of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn.  Declaration for Invalid Pension – State of Minnesota, County of Dakota, 16 December…appeared before a Notary Public…the aforesaid Alexander A. Barclay who was enrolled on the Twenty fifth day of September A.D. 1861 in Co. C of the 4th Regiment Minn. Vol. Infy. …was honorably discharged at Louisville, KY. on the 19th of July 1865…and he is now unable to earn a support by reason of Rheumatism.  PO address is Farmington, County of Dakota, State of Minnesota.  Signed by A.A. Barclay and witnesses are H. H. Williamson and C.G. Thyle.   H.H. Williamson resident of South St. Paul and C.G. Thyle residing at Farmington. …say they were present and saw Alexander A. Barclay the claimant sign…acquaintance with him for 20 years and 4 years respectively.  Signed by H.H. Williamson and C.G. Thyle.  Sworn..16th December 1890.  Leonard Aldrich Nortary Public. 

6.  February 5, 1891 – Delaration for Invalid Army Pension – Minnesota, County of Dakota.  On this 5th day of February 1891 personally appeared before me a notary public, Alexander Barclay, aged 47 years, resident of Farmington, County of Dakota, State of Minnesota….declares he is the identical Alexander Barclay who enlisted in the service of the United States at Ft. Snelling, County of Hennepin, State of Minnesota on the 25th day of October 1861 as a Corporal in Company C of the 4th Regiment of Minnesota Infantry Vols and was honorably discharged at Louisville, State of Kentucky on the 19th day of July 1865. 

That his personal description is as follows:  Age 47 years, height 5 feet 3.5 inches, complexion light, hair light,  eyes hazel…in the service…near a place in the State of North Carolina in the Fall of 1864 While on Sherman’s March to the Sea he contracted the disease of Rheumatism which was caused by the long march and the severe explosure.  Ever since to the present he has been afflicted with said malady, and he based this claim for pension upon Rheumatism. 

Since leaving the service he has resided in Minnesota…his occupation has been that of a Laborer…That he is now So disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries…

He hereby appoints with full power …Travis and Brown of Crawfordsville, Indiana his ture and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim.  That he has not received nor applied for pension….Signed by Alexander Barclay.  Witnesses W. A. Gray and J.M. D. Craft…have known him for 15 years and his occupation has been that of a laborer.  Signed by Leonard Aldrich, Notary Public, Dakota County, Minnestoa. #944426 – Invalid Pension Original Claim of Alexander Barclay, of Capt. Rufus P. Wells, Company C, Reg’t 4, Minnesota Infty Enlisted October 25, 1861, discharged July 19, 1865. 

7.  Feb 9, 1891 – Card #944426, Alexander Barclay, Farmington, Minn, Service: Corp C, 4, Minnes. Inf., Enlisted:  October 25, 1861, Discharged: July 19, 1865.  Application filed:  Feb. 9, 1891, Attorney Travis & Brown, Crawfordsville, Ind.   Another card with not much on it.

8.  June 13, 1891 – Dept. of the Interior:  West Div., GEB Ex’r No. 944428, Washington D.C. June 13, 1891, It is alleged that Alexander Barclay enlisted Oct. 25, 1861 and served as Corporal in Co. C, 4 Reg’t Minn. Inf. and was discharged at Louisville, KY, July 19, 1865.  It is also alleged that while on duty during Sherman’s march to sea on or about Fall of 1864 he was disabled by Rheumatism.  Signed by [G...B. Raum] Commissioner.

9.  Jun 16, 1891 – #944426 War Department Record and Pension Division, Alexander Barkley, Co. C, Reg’t 4 Minn Inft. enrolled Sept 25, 1861 and d.c. July 19, 1865, From Aug. 31, 1864 to Feby 28, 1865 he held the rank of Corporal.  Other research furnish nothing additional bearing upon this case.  No medical records found.  H. Ainsworth, Captain and Ass’t. Suregon, U.S. Army.

10.  July 15, 1891 – Surgeon’s Certificate in the case of Alexander Barclay, Co. C, 4 Reg’t, Minn, Inf. Applicant for Original #944426.  Date of Examination July 15, 1891.  Signed by Board – H.O. Smith M.D. Pres., G.R. Moloney M.D., Sec’y, J.P. Caldwell M.D., Treas. P.O. Shakopee, County of Scott, State of Minn. 

Original Pension Claim No. 944426, Alexander Barclay, Rank Pvt & Corp. Company C, 4 Reg’t, Minn, Inf. shakopee, Minn. Claimant P.O. Farmington, Minn. July 15, 1891.  Cause of disability Rheumatism.  Says he has rheumatism in the past five years.  Upon examination:  Pulse rate 88, respiration 18, temperature 98 1/2, height 5 ft. 5 1/2 inches, weight 130 pounds, age 47 years. 

Body well nourished, skin healthy, tongue coated brown, gums healthy, conjunctiva congested, arcus senilis in both eyes, Pterygiun in both eyese, liver trudy on pressure, spleen tender on pressure, he has sciatica along the whole course of sciatica on left side, there is arthristic rheumatism of both shoulder & elbow joints with crepitation in all.  There is no enlargment of joints but much tenderness on pressure.  Motion of all said joints is limited about one half.  The rect muscle of back on right side are very much hardened and those on the left side are atrophied, motion of hip and knee joints on right side are limited about one half.  Motion of similar joints on left side is somewhat less, hearts action feeble with slightly stenosis of the Aortic valve apea beat about 1 1/2 inches below left nipple, pulse after coming up on flight of stairs registers 10 f. Rectum congested two pil tumors 1/2 an inche in diameter each.  No other disease found to exist. 

He is in our opinion entitled to a 12/18 rating for the disability caused by Rheumatism & 2/18 for the cause of Piles and 9/18 for the caused by other disabilities. Signed by Smith, Moloney and Caldwell – the Board.

11.  January 15, 1898 – #662988 Dept. of the Interior, Alexander Barclay.  Are you married? Answer:  I was never married and have no adopted children.  Date: July 4th, 1898, Signed Alexander Barclay. 

12.  June 9, 1906 – Pensioner Dropped, U.S. Pension Agency, Milwaukee, Wis. INVALID, Class June 27th, 1890, Soldier:  Alexander Barclay, Service Pri & Corp. Co. 4 Minn.  Paid at $12.00 to October 4, 1905.  Dropped:  Death 9 Dec. 1905, E.D. Coe US Pension Agent.

13.  Card June 9, 1906 – Cert No. 662988, Alexander Barclay, Issued Sept. 29, 1891, Mailed October 10, 1891.  Rate and Period:  $12, from Aug. 23, 1890.  Dropped Jun 9, 1906.  Dead.

In 26 November 1891 Alexander joined his local GAR Canby Post #47. This is the Grand Army of the Republic.  Wikipedia has an article with references about this organization which was very popular during the later part of the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The records are hit and miss but still worth trying to find.  You may find them in the state archives or check in the local area at a genealogical society or historical. 

The GAR has a museum in Philadelphia that might be worth checking out:  http://garmuslib.org/  This organization concentrates on PA and NY but they might be able to advise how to find the local GAR in a specific area?

The History of Dakota County, City of Hastings, 1891 by Rev. Edward D. Neill and J. Fletcher Williams, pg. 380-381, North Star Publishing 1881, talked a little about Alexander’s experiences. 

“Alexander A. Barclay was born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1843. Came to Minnesota with his brother at the age of twelve years and settled in Scott county. In 1861, he enlisted in Company C, First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and at the expiration of the ninety day’s term, re-enlisted in Company C, Fourth Minnesota, serving in the army of the Tennessee through the war; participated in the leading battles of that army, among which were the siege at Vicksburg, Atlanta, and on the “March to the Sea.” His command took part in the grand review at Washington in June 1865, and was finally mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, in July of that year. Mr. Barclay returned to Scott County, and in 1872, removed to his present home in Eureka township.”

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my great great Uncle and I tried to find something to represent his journey and participation in this review.

Wikipedia has an article about the Grand Review.  It was the parade that took place in Washington D.C. at the end of the Civil War.  This article suggests other sources that have more photographs of this event.  I was told that it would be very difficult to find photographs because they didn’t have the expertise at the time to take pictures of moving objects.  Perhaps I should have kept digging.  The Library of Congress might be another possibility.  There is a great photograph of the soldiers on their horses riding down the street at this article and other articles with photos: 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Review_of_the_Armies

 

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The 1890 Veterans schedule was helpful in locating my 2nd great-grandfather John Barclay’s Civil War Pension file. 

I obtained a “National Archives Order for Copies of Federal Pension or Bounty Land Warrant Applications” back in January 21, 2002.  I filled out the form as best I could, using the 1890 Veterans Schedule page for John Barclay, and mailed it to the National Archives in Washington D.C.  NARA completed the processing on February 22, 2002.  So I didn’t have to wait too long for the package arrived in a month.  NARA now has an online ordering service.  I caution you that Civil War pensions are expensive. 

The file was not very big and contained only a few pieces of paper.  There were about 8 items.  The file included the following:

1. Soldier’s Original Card – #1000697, John Barclay, Carpenter, Q.M. Dept., U.S. Vol., #1144, 25

2. Declaration for Invalid Pension, State of Minnesota, Scott Co., 22 September 1890.  This is a summary of the contents: 

John Barclay aged 75 years resident of town of Eagle Creek, County of Scott, State of Minnesota, testifies and sworn…is the identical John Barclay who was enrolled first day of December 1864 as a Civilian Carpenter in the service of the United States, in the War of the Rebellion, and served at least ninety days, and was Honorably Discharged at Nashville, Tenn. on the 6th day of June, 1865. That he is wholly unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of Rupture, Deafness and general debility. That he has not applied for pension ….paid fee of $10.00 Witnesses: Dennis Flaherty and Jno C. Lies. Signed: John Barclay

Dennis Flaherty and John C. Lies residing at Shakopee, Minn …they were present and saw John Barclay the claimant, sign his name….acquaintence with him for 20 years – Signed by Jno. C. Lies and Dennis Flaherty on 22 September 1890. Notary public: [J. W. Tencerbox]

3.  April 7, 1891 – Medical Affidavit – personally appeared before me Doctor H.O. Smith, resident of Shakopee, Scott Co., Minnesota.

I am a practicing physician in the City of Shakopee and have been for the past nine and one half years. That I have known said John Barclay for the past five years. That I have examined said John Barclay and find him to be suffering from the following disabilities which are permanent in and are not the result of his own vicious habits viz. nearly total diag.. in both ears – match with results. In to him you would be obliged to speak slowly and loud. Also hernia of right side size of tumor 3 1/2 by 4 inches. No is but it is easily have no interest in claim of applicant. H. O. Smith

4. Invalid Pension – Claimant John Barclay, Shakopee, Scott Co., Minn. Approvals: Rejected May 13, 1891 by Hayward, Examiner, Approved for rejection on the ground that clmt was a Civilian employee. No title under existing laws. H.W. Hall. May 23, 1891 – not pensioned under laws. Declaration filed Sept. 25, 1890, Rupture, Deafness, General Debility. Claimant was a Civilian employee and therefore not entitled under existing laws.

5. Card – Stamped REJECTED, Stamped ABANDONED, Hayward, Ex’r #1000697, John Barclay P.O. Shakopee, Scott Co., Minn. Service Carpenter, QM, Dept. U.S. Vols. Enlisted Dec. 11, 1864, Disch. June 6, 1865. Application filed Sept. 25, 1890. Any other Claim field No. #456202, Attorney Smith. Stamped May 15, 1891.

6. Back of card? April 2, 91, 1891 July 25 clmt. notified of rejection C.E.H.

7. Files Slip – No. 1000697, John Barclay, Carpenter, Q.M. Dept. U.S. Vols. Examiner Hayward

8. Letter: Shakopee, Minn Augt. 11, 1891

Letter of Appeal - John Barclay

Dear Sir: Your letter of 25th Ultimo advises that my claim #1000697 is rejected on the ground that I was a civilian employe and not entitled to a pension under existing laws. When I was sworn into the Service at St. Louis Mo. on or about Dec. 1, 1864. I was required to Swear to do and perform all the duties (if necessary) required of an enlisted man in the Military Service and while in the Service as a civilian under Capt. C. H. Irvin AQM was at all times in readiness to shoulder my gun if called upon in the defense of my Country. After taking such an Oath and being at all times in readiness to fulful my obligations why am I not entitled to the same benefit of an Enlisted man. While in the service I lost almost entirely the sense of hearing by reason of exposure in dragging wet lumber from the water and also became ruptured by reason of heavy lifting at Fort Morton, Tenn. rendering me in my old age wholly incapacitated for manual labor.

To The Commission of Pensions, Washington D.C. Respectfully: John Barclay.

Note:  Look closely at the different styles of handwriting.  I believe the signature is in John’s own handwriting. (Click on the photo and it will open to a larger window, remember to click the back button to return to this blog.)

Source:  John Barclay, Civil War Pension File, #1000697, Filed September 22, 1890, Rejected May 22, 1891, National Archives. 

In reviewing this pension file there are several items of interest to me:

  1. The dates of his service:  December 11, 1864 to June 6, 1865.  This is about 6 months of service.
  2. The process took from September 22, 1890 to August 11, 1891 which is almost a year.  They even tried after the official rejection of May 22, 1891 by writing a letter in August of 1891 but apparently nothing came of it.
  3. The pension claim was rejected because he was a “Civilian employee.”
  4. He had lost his hearing, had a hernia that was of considerable size and was not able to do manual labor. 
  5. That he is listed as 75 years old.  This is very interesting because I have his birth year as 1801 and here we have a year of birth of 1815. 
  6. It looks like he did sign several of these papers himself.  Most documents like the letter were written for him in a finer handwriting.

One of the witnesses:

Jno. C. Lies was b. 10 Jun 1854 in Buffalo, NY and died in Shakopee, Minnesota on 14 February 1907.  He was married to a Mary Flaherty b. 22 Mar 1864 in Marystown, MN d. 22 Jan 1914 in Shakopee, Minn.  This per the website at this link which might be him:  http://jstarks.qwestoffice.net/FamilyTree/n_4b.html  You will have to do a find using Shakopee to locate him. 

An an article at NARA in the Prologue Magazine for Spring 2010, Vol. 42, No. 1, “A Reasonable Degree of Promptitude,” Civil War Pension Application Processing, 1861 to 1885,” by Clair Prechtel-Kluskens.  This article discusses the laws up to 1885 regarding Civil War pensions.  It was not easy to obtain a pension.

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2010/spring/civilwarpension.html

Additional Information of interest: 

Capt. C.H. Irvin AQM was apparently quite the builder.  I could find no biography of him online but more like bits and pieces of his service just by Googling him.  In an article in the archives of the New York Times he is listed as being in charge of corrals, stables, public animals, etc.  There is a PDF that had many references to this man one involved building a hospital in July of 1864 before John arrived.  Use Find to search for his name:

  http://www.artcirclelibrary.info/Reference/civilwar/1864-07.pdf

Fort Morton, Tennessee is long gone and is now a play field in Nashville.  Here is a link to a map of this historical location: http://www.rare-maps.com/details.cfm?type=maps&rid=850026

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