Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jumping through hoops to get what's earned - Clarence Perkins and his pension

So yesterday I wrote about Clarence Perkins – more specifically, what the census and vital records tell me about him and my hunt for his ancestry.  I wanted to include the information I found in his Civil War service record but it would have been a 10 page blog.  I still find this important as it adds to the mystery and gives me a few nuggets I didn’t have before.  I know it's a very long tedious blog but I want this documented and out there and perhaps someone will be able to put Clarence's saga together and help me, so I want everything I have out there. 

The monies listed for enlistment, discharge and pension figures out to be $1271.93 for his service in the war.  That's amazing to me given that many people earn that in a week or two now.  

One thing that struck me is how much the government hasn't changed in 100+ years.  This man ended up with 19 affidavits, 7 applications, 8 physical exams and 5 questionnaires.  When I finish Sarah's blog on her attempts to get her widow's pension you'll see that was even worse! 

Clarence shows on a draft registration in Kent County Michigan dated June 6-7, 1863.  He lists his name as Clarence L Perkins, age 24, born in Vermont and working as a lumberman.  I had other ancestors settle in the Newaygo County Michigan area due to the lumbering opportunities so I believe that’s what drew Clarence to settle in the Ashland area.  

He was drafted and mustered 11/2/1863 at Grand Rapids MI for a period of 3 years.  He was described as 5 foot, 5.5 inches tall, blue eyes, sandy hair, fair complexion and paid a bounty and advance of $38.

The muster rolls that I was sent for him are as follows:
·         Jan & Feb of 1864 - Absent with remarks “new recruit assigned 2/28/1864 Regt’l Order Detached at Nashville for equipment”
·         Mar & Apr 1864 – Present with remarks “drafted”
·         May & Jun 1864 – Absent with remarks “Hospital Big Shanty GA June 29/1864
·         July & Aug 1864 – Absent with same remarks
·         Sep & Oct 1864 – Absent with same remarks
·         Nov & Dec 1864 – Present with no remarks
·         Jan & Feb 1865 – Present with no remarks
·         Mar & Apr 1865 – Present with no remarks
·         Jul & Aug 1865 (May & Jun shows no muster roll) – “to be transferred to the 2 Mich Cavalry, which order has been revoked and ordered to be mustered out under S.O. No. 43 from Hd. Drs. Mil. Div. of the Tenn.”

Muster-out roll dated 7/1/1865 at Nashville Tenn lists him as follows:
Clarence L Perkins, Priv Co K 4th Reg’t Mich Cav, age 24 (does this man really not know his birthdate?)
Note on card – “Am’t for cloth’g in kind or money adv’d $71.93”
*In his Declaration of pension dated 2/26/1907 Clarence writes he was mustered out at Edgefield TN

The remainder of this packet is the story of his medical problems and his pension starting in 1891.  I was hoping to find more information about his service but with the hospital stay and with him being “absent” half of his service time I’m guessing there isn’t much to write about regarding actual battlefield experiences.  He and Sarah sure had to jump through hoops to get his pension though!

4/14/1891 – Declaration for Original Invalid Pension
Age 52, 5’5, light complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair

10/14/1891 Examination – Clarence claims he has head and neck pain, shoulder and breast pain, that his hands are stiff and sore, that his nose is sore and he blows “a great deal out of it” and makes an unreadable complaint about his eyes.  He guestimates that he’s ½ disabled for manual labor.  The doctor finds – no signs of neuralgia, no limitations of motion, a slight congestion of the nose/throat and that his general physical condition is good.  “No disability exists at this examination”.  I’m unable to ascertain who performed this examination.  

6/21/1893 Surgeon’s report
9/12/1893 affidavit of Clarence lists that at Big Shanty GA in June of 1864 he contacted chronic rheumatism, neuralgia and disease of respiratory organs, from exposure in line of duty.  Prior to the war he lists he was a sawyer and after the war he says he’s been a miller and a farmer. 

12/11/1893 his claim is denied

6/25/1895 Declaration for Original Invalid Pension – this time they find him entitled to disability based on his rheumatism (that was rated 10/18) and his chronic bronchitis (rated 6/18). 

7/1/1895 – awarded an invalid pension of $6.00/month based on rheumatism and bronchitis

2/27/1896 affidavit of Andrew Reed and J.F. Blood stating that they’d known Clarence 20 years/at least 10 years respectively and knew him to complain of his maladies during this time.

5/27/1897 affidavit of Frank W. Squier and Harley R. Derby stating they’d both known Clarence 10 years and knew him to complain of his maladies and at times he was unable to perform manual labor.

6/5/1897 affidavit of Dr. J.S. Ingram who declares Clarence’s condition to be worsening with age and that he’s “2/3 of the time disabled.”

8/30/1897 he’s awarded $6.00/month for rheumatism and bronchitis (not sure why he had to send in new affidavits and get awarded the same pension again - perhaps they revoked it?)

10/4/1897 Clarence filed a Declaration for increase of Invalid Pension

12/6/1897 Clarence filed another Declaration for Original Invalid Pension

2/11/1898 affidavit of Andrew Reed stating he’d known Clarence since 1865 with his maladies and knew him to see the doctor for them and that sometimes he was unable to work because of them.

2/16/1898 affidavit of Harley R. Derby stating he’d been an acquaintance of Clarence since 1877, living near him and working at the same place with him for the last 6 years, seeing him almost daily.  He stated that Clarence complained of his maladies, took medications, saw the doctor and sometimes quit work because of them.

6/4/1898 the Bureau of Pensions sent Clarence a questionnaire:
  •  First, Are you married?  If so, please state your wife's full name and her maiden name.  Clarence answered "Sarahetta Perkins"
  •   Second, When, where, and by whom where you married?  Clarence answered "S.M.  Woodworth."
  • Third, What record of marriage exists?  Clarence answered "Co. Record, Dec 1st 1872"
  • Fourth,  Were you previously married?  If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.  Clarence answered "Twice - former wives dead"
  • Fifth, Have you any children living?  If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth.  Clarence answered "Six living, youngest 3 months old"
 4/23/1898 the Bureau of Pensions sent Clarence the same questionnaire - I can't figure out why the dates are the way they are but this is the order of the file and it's clear they made Clarence redo the questions because of his lack of answers the 1st time.
  • Sarah Lambertson
  • At Ashland Mich Dec 1st, 1872 by S.M. Woodward, Justice of the Peace
  • Record in office of County Clerk of Newaygo Co Mich
  • First Nancy Kellum who died Nov 5th, 1869 at Ashland Mich (Sarah's affidavits and one of their neighbors contradict this, stating it was 1868.  No death record found - Nancy was wife #2 - unsure why Clarence mentioned  2 wives on one questionnaire and only 1 on this one)
  • Clarence answered the following children and dates - I have no idea who James Edwin is - he isn't in any of the census records and I find no record of him at all.  Clarence doesn't mention any of the children of his 2nd marriage (I know of 3) and doesn't mention my 2nd great grandfather, his son Charles Ellsworth Perkins born 9/15/1880.  Willis was born in 1884 and Nellie in 1889 but otherwise this is all accurate.  
o   James Edwin 2/21/1874
o   Delia May 5/31/1875
o   Eva 1/26/1877
o   Viola 8/15/1882
o   Willis 11/18/1885
o   Nellie 6/12/1888 -
o   Guy Herald 3/31/1893
                  o   Ralph C 3/18/1898
Seriously Clarence?  On the 1st questionnaire you say you’d been married twice but on this one you only list Nancy, incorrectly as your first wife?  And what about those 6 living children you mentioned last time?  It’s now 8 children (instead of the 12 that I know of written about in my previous blog)

6/15/1898 Surgeon Certificate listing same health issues

2/21/1899 Affidavit of an Officer or Comrade given by Enoch S. Rhoades, age 56.  He concurred that at Big Shanty GA in 1864 Clarence was hospitalized for rheumatism of the right knee/foot and was “quite lame”, that 7/1864 at Big Shanty he ruptured his left groin and added that at Huntsville AL in 8/1864 he contracted catarrh & bronchitis. 

3/4/1899 Declaration for Pension Increase filed, listing Clarence age 54.

8/2/1899 Surgeon Certificate lists Clarence age 54, 5 ft, 4.5 inches, 150lbs and stated “this man is weak & disabled”.  The ratings for his disabilities were as follows:  6/18 for catarrh & resulting bronchitis, 8/18 for rheumatism and 10/18 for his hernia.

8/2/1899 his pension is increased to $8.00/month due to added left inguinal hernia, memory issues and a “weak ankle as a result of dislocation”. 

3/26/1900 affidavit of Watson S. Williams, age 63 stated that he served in the same regiment as Clarence and knew he’d been treated.  He stated he’d worked with him from 1865-1877 and he was “not able to do half of able bodied man”.

6/19/1900 affidavit of J.S. Ingram, Dr. is unreadable

7/24/1900 affidavit of Andrew Steadman stating he’d known Clarence 25 years and that he'd worked with him and heard of his maladies.

This one was a key piece for me to link Cecelia/Celia as a definite child of Clarence as in 1900 census she’s living with Andrew and Sarah Steadman.  Further research revealed that Sarah’s maiden name was Kellum and that she was a sister to Clarence’s 2nd wife Nancy, therefore an aunt of Celia.

7/24/1900 affidavit of Frank W. Squier stating he’d known Clarence since 1865 and that he’d worked for Frank and his father for the last 20 years with his maladies.

7/26/1900 Physician’s Affidavit of J.S. Ingram stating Clarence is “nearly totally disabled”.

8/30/1900 affidavit of Watson S. Williams and Franklin R. Howes stating they’d known Clarence since 1862 and knew him to be a “good, moral and upright citizen, one respected by all his acquaintances and a man of no vicious habits”

The “no vicious habits” appears in several affidavits and physician’s statements”

9/14/1900 affidavit of Clarence to state he has no further medical proof of his problems

9/22/1900 affidavit of Clarence to again state he has no further medical proof of his problems as he’d been treated by Doctors Baker & Fish and that both had been dead for some years. 

3/2/1901 Application for Pension Increase requesting increase from $8.00 to $12.00/month

3/16/1901 Physician’s Affidavit by J.S. Ingram stating he’d known Clarence 20 years and that he was a “sober industrious and upright man” and that he’s a constant sufferer from piles, chronic rheumatism of shoulders and arms so severe at times he can hardly move his arms, chronic catarrh of throat and nose and a right inguinal hernia. 

8/7/1901 Surgeon’s Certificate stating he was born in Vermont, age 54, 5’4, 166lbs, works as an engineer.  This report confirmed the hernia, rheumatism and catarrh.

10/4/1901 handwritten letter from Enoch Rhoades – almost unreadable but lays out the medical issues again.

2/18/1902 the Bureau of Pensions sent questionnaires:
·         Andrew Reed – known Clarence and his medical issues since 1865
·         Harley Derby – unable to read
·         Andrew Steadman – known Clarence since 9/1865 and “unable to do ¼ of a man’s work”

3/3/1902 affidavit from Mary Clough and Smith Fulkertson stating the following:
“We have known Clarence L. Perkins the claimant for nearly 40 years and met him frequently and are well acquainted with his character.  We know him to be a moral, strictly temperate man, a good and respected citizen, and a man of no bad or vicious habits”. 

Clarence then signs the affidavit after it’s written (unknown by whom) – “that he is unable to say positively how he incurred a rupture of groins both right and left.  That he first noticed a small swelling in the left groin just before he was mustered out of service.  Thought it was caused by striking the pommel of his saddle when mounting his horse.  Had no treatment for it during service.  It became very bad about one year afterwards and has so continued up to the present time and now there is a rupture of both groins.  That they are not caused by vicious habits as he is a strictly moral man and a man of no bad habits. 

3/13/1902 affidavit signed by Clarence:
“that he is unable to give a reason for his eyes being diseased only that while near Big Shanty Georgia in 1864 he had a severe headache and his head and face became swollen so as to close his eyes for a week or more and his eyes have never been perfectly well since.  That he has not now or ever had any vicious habits and is a strictly temperate moral man and was at the time of the above mentioned trouble.  That he cannot furnish any witnesses as to the cause of his rupture as he did not know what it was at first and when he discovered it was a rupture he did not like to show it to anyone”. 

5/27/1902 – application for a pension increase filed due to “inability to earn a support at manual labor”.  He was earning $8.00/month at the time. 

Undated letter (kept in order so assume between May-October 1902) from J.S. Ingram stating he first treated Clarence 8/1/1880 and that he’s got chronic rheumatism of arms and shulders, chronic bronchitis and he’s unable to perform manual labor “six eighth of his time”. 

10/15/1902 Surgeon’s Certificate listing him at age 55, 5 ft, 3-3/4 inches, 160lbs and diagnosed with a double inguinal hernia.  The doctor wrote “we think the condition of this man will or should warrant a rating of at least $12.00”.

12/17/1903 – awarded an increase to $10.00/month

4/15/1905 Surgeon’s Certificate
·         Confirmed double inguinal hernia in 1864 with “right complete”
Rheumatism 1885 Bronchitis and catarrh 1885
·        Disease of eyes 1900
Doctors noted:
·        Rheumatism of shoulders/elbows/hips/knees/back
·        Cannot raise either arm to right angle to body
·        Function of shoulders just ¼
·        Muscles of back very painful on palpation and claimant cannot stoop to floor to pick up anything.  Function of back is just ¼
·        Claimant walks with a cane and slow
·        Catarrh
·        Bronchial cough from chronic bronchitis
·        Both eyes 12/20 but can read with glasses
This certificate ends with “a note of $12.00”

Application for admission to the Soldiers Home at Grand Rapids MI lists his admission 5/17/1906.  
He listed his discharge at Edgefield TN 8/12/1865 due to "close of war". 
He is listed as 70 years old with an occupation of sawyer and as a Protestant.  
Disabilities listed are double hernia and heart trouble.
Specifically they state he has a double inguinal hernia, has heart difficulty-valvular lesions, is subject to dizzy spells.  Very feeble being unable to work without (unreadable word).

2/26/1907 Declaration of Pension showed him a resident of the Soldier’s Home, age 70, 5’5, light complexion, blue eyes, light hair, born in the United States.  He made his mark instead of signing.

12/14/1907 Michigan Soldiers Home issues a certificate of death stating Clarence entered the home 5/17/1906 and died 8/15/1907 of septicaemia.  His nearest kin is son Charles E. Perkins of Bellevue MI (this is the only reference to my 2nd great grandfather in any of the papers).

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