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
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:
- The dates of his service: December 11, 1864 to June 6, 1865. This is about 6 months of service.
- 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.
- The pension claim was rejected because he was a “Civilian employee.”
- He had lost his hearing, had a hernia that was of considerable size and was not able to do manual labor.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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