Monday, March 29, 2010

Jesse's Civil War Pension Claim

Family lore has it that after the Civil War, Jesse Clark Osgood was never the same physically. He was described by family members as being frail afterwards.

Jesse volunteered for service in Company A of the 26th Massachusetts volunteer infantry and was enrolled in the unit on September 30, 1861. He served throughout the war and was discharged in Savannah, Georgia on August 26, 1865. One of my research interests is what happened to my great-great grandfather in between.

I recently received from the National Archives Jesse's pension file. It is a treasure trove of facts and information about his service, as well as his wife's widow's pension. There is too much to put into one post. So I will start with a transcription of his original declaration for an invalid pension, signed in 1883 and filed on September 8, 1883:

State of Kansas, County of Marion. On this ___ day of ___, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three, [For some reason the exact dates are left blank in the document.], personally appeared before me, the clerk of the District Court, a court of record within and for the county and State aforesaid, Jesse C. Osgood, aged 46 years, a resident of the City of Florence, county of Marion, State of Kansas, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Jesse C. Osgood who was ENROLLED on the 30 day of September, 1861, in Company A of the 26 regiment of Mass, Inft. Vol. commanded by Col. Edward F. Jones, and was honorably DISCHARGED at Savannah GA on the 26 day of August, 1865; that his personal description is as follows: Age, 46 years; height, 5 feet 6 inches; complexion, Light; hair, light brown; eyes, hazel.

That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Forts Jackson & St. Philip in the State of Louisiana on or about the 19 day of April 1862, he took cold from wading in the swamps at the Quarantine station near Fort Jackson which brought on an attack of asthma of a severe and malignant character. That he was treated as follows: in camp; and at the regimental hospital at New Orleans by the Surgeon of the regiment Dr. JG. Bradt between the 25 of July and through the 30 of September 1862. That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as stated above.

That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in the town of Greenville in the State of Illinois, and at Florence, Marion County, Kansas, and his occupation has been that of a Dentist. That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, except slight asthmatical affection from youth, being when enrolled as a farmer. That he is now three fourths disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid pension roll of the United States.

He hereby appoints, will full power of of substitution and revocation, W.F. File of Florence, Marion County, State of Kansas, his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has not received nor applied for a pension. That his Post Office address is Florence, County of Marion, State of Kansas.

The document is signed by Jesse C. Osgood with two witnesses.

This first claim for a pension was rejected because he admitted to having some slight asthma from his youth. This is great for those of us who are interested in Jesse's service, because he then had to go get multiple declarations from individuals who would attest to his health problems being related to his service. The file contains declarations from fellow soldiers, doctors, and friends who knew him before and after the War. There is also a more detailed declaration from Jesse about the experience he had wading in the swamps that led to his physical disability. Stay tuned, readers!!

In the meantime, you can read up on the battle he was involved with. The battle of Fort Jackson & Fort St. Philip was fought officially from April 25 through May 1, 1862 in New Orleans. This link will take you to a description of the battle, along with a map of the Mississippi River where it was fought.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy birthday, Lucile Fox Osgood!

Today is my Grandma Osgood's birthday. She was born in 1921 in Saffordville, Kansas. She died a little over 5 years ago. I miss her!

Lucile was one of ten children born to William and Lillie Pearl Fox. Only seven daughters survived childhood. Grandma was the third oldest. After high school graduation i n1939, she spent 2 years at the State Teacher's college in Emporia, Kansas. She taught in a one room school house in Florence Kansas. That is where she met a handsome young farmer by the name of Everett Osgood. From what Grandma told my sister and I, Everett would go out of his way to go pick up the daily mail--a route that would take him right by the little schoolhouse. The kids would see him coming and singsong to their teacher, "Here comes Mr. Osgood!" Here is a photo of "Lucie and her kids" in front of the schoolhouse in the early 1940's,

Lucile and Everett were married on April 30, 1944 at the home of her sister in Elmdale, Kansas. They spent their young married life in Florence, but moved to Idaho in about 1953. (I'm sure my mom or uncle Milt can be more specific about this date).

Grandma gave birth to seven babies. Her second, Anita Rae, died at birth. If memory serves me correctly from conversations I had with her and my mom about the event, the baby was breech. The doctors told her that the baby was stillborn, but Grandma heard Anita cry. After that, Grandma had her next baby, my mom, at home.

Grandma was a beautiful, strong lady, yet very gentle at the same time. She had a great sense of humor and she loved the Lord. Even though I miss her, I know that one day we will see each other again.

Here Grandma meets her newest great grandson, Olivier. This was taken in about 2000.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A fallen hero

Lloyd Shelton was my great grand uncle. He was the younger brother to my great grandfather, Ira Shelton. During the past year when I started looking through the compiled histories that my Grandma Graham sent me, I took note that Lloyd was killed in France in 1918. But since he was not a direct ancestor, I put learning about his service in the back of mind--on my endless "to do someday" lists.

A new found cousin,who is also a niece of Lloyd's, sent me these photographs and it has me itching to learn more about what happened to Lloyd. Born on 29 October 1891, Lloyd was one of 8 children born to Nathaniel and Sarah Shelton in Memphis, Missouri. His younger brother, John Benjamin Shelton, also served during the Great War.

The Missouri State Archives reports that Lloyd was inducted into the Army on June 3, 1917 in Nebraska City, Nebraska. when he was 22 2/3 years old. He served with Company B of the 6th Nebraska Infantry, and then was in Company L of the 59th Infantry. The Nebraska connection was odd to me, but I learned from a very wise genealogist friend that this is probably where the military recruiter was from. All of his recruits he essentially had inducted in his home area.

Lloyd served overseas from June 29, 1918 until his death on December 4, 1918. The Missouri State Archives remarks that Lloyd "DIED 4 DEC 1918 OF WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION; MOTHER, MRS SARAH SHELTON, MEMPHIS, MO NOTIFIED." Another distant relative who has an excellent website here reports that Lloyd died in a military hospital in France.

Lloyd died just two weeks after peace was declared on November 11, 1918. How tragic. Imagine the relief Sarah must have felt when she heard about the Armistice. Then two weeks later to learn that one of her two boys would not be coming home in the way that she had hoped.

Although a student of history, I have never learned that much in particular about the American involvement in World War 1. This family connection makes me want to learn more. I've learned from a quick search that one of the greatest battles fought by Americans was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It went from September 26, 1918 until the end of the war on November 11th. I'm assuming (maybe not a wise thing to do), that Lloyd was wounded in this battle.

Lloyd's unit, the 59th infantry, was a part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, 4th "Ivy" Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. (Interesting note-my brother who is currently in the Army was part of the 4th infantry division!)

I think I need to see what the National Archives has about this battle, as well as Lloyd's military records. Anyone else interested?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Cool Guy

Today is my great-grandfather, Guy Graham's birthday. Guy was born Horace Guy Graham on February 3, 1877 in Centerview, Missouri. He was the seventh of eleven children born to Civil War veteran Robert Barnett Graham and Nancy King Graham.

Guy grew up on the family farm in Missouri. His childhood was described as, "a farm-bred boy who divided his time between the acquirement of an education and the work of the fields." (1) According to an Idaho historical book, after Guy attended the State Normal school as well as the Missouri State University at Columbia. (2) I did some research and contacted the archives at the University of Missouri-Columbia. According to their records, Guy was a student for a winter short course in agriculture for the school year 1900-1901. The archivist described the course to me as one that would be taken by farmers for training in a specific area without going for a four year degree-the precursor of today's extension programs.

Guy enlisted in Company L, fourth Missouri Regiment during the Spanish American war. I have not done much research on Guy's military record. I do have a copy of the muster roll that shows his service dates from April 27, 1898 to February 10, 1899. This is an area where I would like to do some research in the future.

Guy married fellow Centerview resident Jennie Olivia Shipp on February 25, 1904. The couple soon relocated to Fruitland, Idaho, where they purchased a fruit farm. There he became known as an expert on apple farming. He, "closely studied every question relating to fruit raising, the condition and needs of the soil, the best methods of protecting the trees and evertying that has to do with the propagation of fine fruit." (3) He testified before the United States Congress in 1936 on agricultural matters. (4)

Guy was active in politics as well. In 1915, he was appointed horticultural inspector for the state of Idaho. He later became the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Idaho. He also served terms in the state Legislature in both the house and Senate. This is another area I would like to learn more about and verify. I would welcome any comments from fellow grandchildren of Guy's who many know more about his political life than I do at the moment. In 1952 he was a delegate in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention.

Guy and Jennie had eight children. My grandfather, Don, was the second youngest. My grandpa followed in his father's agricultural footsteps and became a fruit farmer as well. My dad told me that the farm he grew up on in Fruitland was adjacent to Guy's place. On his last birthday, dad shared some of his memories of his Grandpa Graham. His first comment was that, "He was just a really cool guy!" I regret very much that I did not have a voice recorder at the table that night! (Lesson learned)

I would love to learn more about Guy's character and personality by hearing other descendant's memories and stories about him. I encourage anyone with anything to share to leave a comment in the box below so we can all learn about this really cool guy!

Below is a picture of three generations of Graham men: Guy, my dad Greg as a child, and Donald.

1. "History of Idaho. The Gem of the Mountains." Illustrated, Volume III, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920, page 761.
2. Ibid
3. Ibid, page 762
4. "Long and short haul charges: Hearings on H.R. 3263, May 11 to May 28, 1936 by Unite States Congress. Senate. Committee on Interstate Commerce.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Family History Blog Success!

One reason I started this blog was to connect with distant relatives who may also be researching our common family lines.

I'm happy to report that my first connection was made recently, thanks to this blog! I received a letter in the mail from my Grandmother last week. She forwarded me a letter written to her by her cousin. (I need to double check the relationships to be exactly sure). This lady's grandmother was the sister of my great-grandfather, Ira Shelton. She also is a granddaughter of the mysterious Nathaniel Shelton! She was doing some searches online and ran across one of my blog posts about Nathaniel Shelton. Like we are so apt to do while online, she navigated away from my blog and couldn't find it again. But she figured I belonged to my Grandmother, so she wrote her a letter asking to find me. Viola!

Like me, she is an amateur family history researcher. We've exchanged some of the information that we each have on Nathaniel. Some of it conflicts, and like my information much of it needs to be verified and sourced. So there is some work ahead of us. But I would like to share with you something she e-mailed me today--a photograph of Nathaniel and Sarah Deen grave site in Memphis, Missouri. I'm excited to get to know this new cousin and work together with her in discovering more about our common ancestor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A History of "Pioneer Sarah" - Part Two

The article continues:

"Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Henry Fordyce and Rachel/Sarah, along with the Thomas J. Sampson family, joined a wagon train going west for about two years. It is thought they had relatives there. (Note: Thomas J. Sampson was Henry and Rachel/Sarah's son in law. He married their daughter, Mahala Fordyce. TJ was the one who sacrificed his own health and life for his team of horses).

In Iowa, another tragedy struck the hearts of the two families - and that of Rachel/Sarah in particular. Her little namesake Rachel, daughter of Thomas and Mahala Sampson, came too close to the fire where trash was burning. She burned to death.

The lure of free homestead land drew them to Kansas, and the families once more packed their belongings. Two sons had been born to the Sampsons while in Iowa, and when they arrived in Marion County in October of 1869, John Wesley Sampson was only a few weeks old.

The two families chose adjoining land on section 14-18-5 in Clear Creek township. Eight months after their arrival, a federal census was taken on June 21, 1870. It listed Henry Fordyce as age 69, white, a farmer born in New Jersey, a citizen, with property of $1,717.00 in value. His wife is listed as Rachel, 71, female, white, b. West Virginia. They lived in Clear Creek township about five miles east of Lincolnville. Living with the Fordyces was an 18 year old youth named Frank Vanmeter.

In the months that followed, the aging couple met yet another young adventure, building a home, setting up their farming operations, coping with weather and soil vastly different than the lush green land of Indiana. But they were survivors who could meet a challenge. Stone houses were built, orchards planted, fences built, three new grandchildren arrived to be cuddled, and older children needed to be told tales of adventures. Their twilight years could not have been lonely nor empty. In the year of 1878, Rachel/Sarah died. In the months that followed, neighbors by the name of Howell were making a trip to Indiana and offered to take Henry with them. In his luggage Henry packed the Fordyce family Bible and went to Indiana to see his son and relatives. The Howells did not bring him back. According to information in the Marion County (Kansas) Court House, (Book P.P. 176, Register of Deeds), the Howells induced Henry to sign on March 4, 1879, a paper agreeing to give John Howell and wife 80 acres of land in Marion County, Kansas, in exchange for "clothes and board and necessary medical treatment during his life, and, at his death, the said John Howell to furnish the said Henry Fordyce with a respectable burial outfit." Henry, according to the date of death on his tombstone died the same day the agreement was signed, March 4, 1879. The Howells waited seven weeks and filed their claim on April 21, 1879, then waited until February of 1892 to file in Marion County an affidavit or claim to the land, SW quarter-section of 14-18-5 "containing 160 acres, more or less."

Henry died the same month as his son-in-law, Thomas Sampson, husband of the Fordyce's daughter Mahala. Thomas died 29 March 1879 of dust pneumonia, leaving his wife with 10
children, one an infant. Thomas must have been something of a powerhouse of a man to have accomplished all that he had in his less than 10 years on the prairie; he had bought expensive machinery, including a threshing machine and well pump. There were notes on the machinery and livestock. He had not expected to die at age 47. Mahala simply could not go to Indiana to see about her father's affairs. So the Howells were able to "absorb" the Fordyce land Mahala and her children sorely needed.

As to the real name of Rachel/Sarah, we would like to suggest that both Biblical names eminently suited her. She was strong, patient, loving, fruitful, faithful, courageous, and though uneducated because of frontier conditions, she was a splendid teacher by precept and example. She was proud of her heritage and the heritage of her children. She taught her daughter that her ancestry went back to the Mayflower and also the ancestors who arrived with William Penn. Lee Sampson has suggested that Sarah was probably Rachel/Sarah's middle name and that she may have become known as Sarah because she preferred that name. There was both a Sarah and a Rachel among the Thomas Sampson family children. Thomas' mother was named Sarah Grear.

Though there are more records to be searched, and more to be written, it seemed appropriate to write as much of the story of this ancestress as is now available for the reunion of the Sampson family on June 12, 1983, so that it can be distributed and hopefully preserved by someone who may be able to someday find all the remaining story of a gallant lady."

Monday, January 18, 2010

A History of "Pioneer Sarah" - Part One

For some time, I have wanted to share about Pioneer Sarah. She is an ancestor who has inspired me, even though I know very little about her. Over the next couple of blog posts, I'm going to transcribe an article written by my grandmother, Lucile Fox Osgood's, third cousin, Vida Soyez Vinduska. I hope other descendants of this great lady find the story interesting. This photo of Sarah's final resting place actually was something that inspired me while in labor with my daughter, Isabelle. Knowing I came from such strong stock helped me through the difficult times!

The beautiful tribute to "Pioneer Sarah" in the Marion County Record of May 25 is greatly appreciated by her family, and, though it is wished that her grave could have been surrounded by kinfolk, she has always been in their hearts as is exemplified by the stone erected to her memory by her great-grandchildren, among whom are the children of Miles Elsworth Sampson and John Wesley Sampson. The stone was especially the project of William Thomas Sampson who supervised its production and installation.

For more than twenty years I, Vida Soyez Vinduska, have periodically worked at learning the history of Rachel/Sarah, and about five years ago two cousins joined in the search. Beulah Fisher Boyer and retired Lt. Col. Edward E. Sampson, an excellent researcher, have helped to gather some interesting lore.

Over the years, we have puzzled over how she became known as "Sarah." Col. Sampson found her in an Indiana (1850) census as Rachel, 53, born in West Virginia. her husband, Henry Fordyce, was listed as aged 49, born in New Jersey. her children at that time were listed as Jane, 20; Mary, 18; Mahala, 14; and William H., 12; all born in Ohio. Also living in the household were a daughter, Ann, and grandchildren, Elvira Allen, 4; and Emore (Elmore?) Allen, 3.

A Kansas death record for her daugher, Mahala Fordyce Sampson, who died in 1931, gave her mother's maiden name as Clark. In the Kansas census of 1870, she is listed as Rachel, 71, born in West Virginia. On a recent (April 1983) visit to the Mormon Archives in Salt Lake City an 18 Jan. 1838 birth record for William Henry Fordyce gave his parents' names as Henry Fordyce/Rachel Stackhouse.

Family tradition has it that Rachel was married twice, but we have not been able to find her marriage records which would help sort out which name, Clark or Stackhouse, was her
maiden name. Mrs. Grace Soyez of Marion remembers her grandmother, Mahala Fordyce Sampson, telling her that her mother was married twice, having had 15 daughters during her first marriage, and that Mahala and William Henry were born to the second, or Fordyce, marriage.

A descendant of Rachel/Sarah Clark Stackhouse Fordyce, whose name was Rebecca Fordyce Deardorff of Ellendale, North Dakota, and who was a granddaughter of Rachel/Sarah wrote a Fordyce family history which gave the information that Henry Fordyce married Rachel Clark, of Dutch descent. She had no information on the possibility that Rachel/Sarah was married twice, but did relate that she had 17 children, 16 daughters and one son, William Henry Fordyce, born 1 Jan 1838 in Clinton Co., Ohio. The daughters she named were: Betsey, b. 15 March 1821; Jane, b. 5 Oct. 1829; Mary b. 1 June 1833; Mahala b. 18 Feb. 1836,and she gave Sarah, Ann, and Annie, whose birth dates she did not know. Rebecca related that the other nine girls died in childhood.

In 1847, Henry Fordyce and his brother James decided to move their families from Ohio to Indiana, and in oct. of that year the two families arrived in Wabash County, Indiana. The trip, made in oxen-drawn covered wagons, had been slow. There were no roads. Often they had to cut down trees to make a road so they could get through. At their destination in Wabash County, they had to cut down trees to build a small log cabin where both families lived until they could build a second cabin...

Life could not have been easy for Rachel/Sarah. Born on the frontier of West Virginia in 1799, she was to make homes in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, possibly Illinois, and Kansas before she died. She had buried nine little daughters by the time she was 32. In all she bore 17 children. The last was her only son, William Henry, born Jan 1. 1838, when she was 40. When she was 62, she saw both her handsome young son and her husband, aged 60, march off to fight in the Civil War. Henry was enrolled as a private in Company C, 40th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers at Peoria, Ill., on the 13th of Nov. 1861, by Capt. Leaming and was mustered into the military forces of the United States at Lafayette, Indiana in December 1861 for a period of three years. His physical description: eyes, grey; hair, grey; height, 5 foot 8 1/2 inches; complexion, light. His nativity, New Jersey, Essex County, occupation, farmer. He was discharged at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, March 17, 1863. Reason: disability.

The son, William Henry, told of a severe eye infection he himself contracted during the
war. The best the medics could do was to tie him hand and foot to railroad rails so they could pour a solution of lye into his eyes to fight the infection. There was some damage to his eyes. But, still sighted, he wrote a letter to his sister, Mahala Fordyce Sampson, in 1915.

The photo here is of Rachel/Sarah's son, William Henry in his military uniform. Much thanks to Loretta Klose (another descendant) for this picture.

Stay tuned to my next post for the continuation of the story!