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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Win a Bundle of Fun Before Summer is Gone

Click on  the link above and join in the fun.  Genealogy Bargains is giving away a package valued at over $2,000.  Time is running out.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Neatest Information Found Only in Old Newspapers

I have spread the word about checking with the information in old newspapers to find the missing tales of your family.  Checking periodically to see what new stuff has been digitized, I am never disappointed with my findings.  Of course, I don't believe everything that I read, but it sure does give me more data to prove or disprove within my family history research.

I have been very jealous of my husband's family.  They have been in the USA since....well, before it became the USA!  Consequently, there is always someplace that I have to scour for new, potential, data for his family tree.  He doesn't really care, unless I come up with a tidbit that may mean he may come into some money (which doesn't happen, but he can always wish) with  his relationships to early citizens of this nation.  These people in his ancestry seemed to get involved with some things that deemed important enough to write about, and it ended up in the newspapers.

For instance: I had heard that his great grandfather was a baker.  OK, well I knew that he was born in northern Illinois, and found him in the usual census data.  But, recently, I was informed of a website that lists libraries that have old newspapers, and some have been digitized and available online...FREE.

Here's what I found in an old 1885 edition of the Sterling Standard.

Seems that Henry Reif, my husband's great grandfather used to live in Sterling, but was operating a bakery and confectionery shop in Lena, Illinois.  What makes this even neater.....there is no 1890 census to refer to (it burned, you know), so now I know where he was after his previous location in Sterling in 1880.  The next step would be to look for advertisements and city directories for Lena, Illinois for that time period.  Hopefully, I will have luck with that.

Of course, not everything is online.  That is when you start to make contact with local libraries and organizations (historical and genealogical).  They may have records and indexes that are only available at their locations.

I will tell you more about what I find in newspapers regarding land records and ownership later. Such cool stuff.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Using Civil War Pension Records, Part VI, The Case of Ernst C. Reif Final

On our last posting, we revealed the second marriage of Catherine (Foy) REIF, to Samuel NEITZ in 1869.  The pension detectives found the paperwork to prove this marriage, and no paperwork that Catherine had reported the marriage.  That would have suspended her pension support from the government.  She continued to receive support during this second marriage. Catharine's pension support ended June 6, 1875, upon her marriage to Simon Geeting, who passed away in 1905.

page 178-179/220 of the Reif Civil War Pension files

The Declaration for Widow's Pension, Act of September 8, 1916. Notice: this can be executed before a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, or a Court of Record, or any officer duly qualified to administer oaths.

This form is typed, with a notation that the official is a Justice of the Peace.  Catherine Geeting is now aged 73, still living in Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois.  Furthermore, it repeats all of the facts regarding Ernst Reif and his service in the U.S. Army, Company H of the 34th Illinois Infantry.  It confirms that she was married to Ernst (the second time, because the first could not be proven from 1861) on October 4, 1863, officiated by Rev. J.K. Bloom. Catherine Geeting has signed her name to this document. Also signing as witnesses to the document: Jacob F. SWANK and High S. STANLEY, both of Forreston, Illinois.  Cyrus BILLIG has signed as the Justice of the Peace, dated October 14, 1916.

Page 180/220 The official record of the second marriage of Catherine

The affidavit from the county clerk of Ogle County, in the town of Oregon:
I, Robert F. Adams, clerk of the county court in and for said county, hereby certify that Samuel L. Neitz and Mrs. Catherine Rife (sp) were joined in Matrimony on the 20th day of May, 1869 by J. N. MOHR, Minister of the Gospel in the said county, as appears on the records in my office.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the official seal of said county, at Oregon, Illinois this the 24th day of February, 1917. signed Robert F. ADAMS, clerk of the county court, Lillie SHELLEY, Dep. Clerk

Page 181-186/220  The Divorce Decree: Catherine vs Samuel

handwritten document, dated January 31, 1873, State of Illinois, County of Ogle, Circuit Court

Catherine NEITZ appears with her attorney, Thomas J. HEWITT, with summons issued against Samuel L. Neitz.  The county Sheriff has returned the summons to the court, without being able to find Samuel in this county, and inability to locate him elsewhere. Proof of the publication of this summons was shown to the court, and approved. It was considered that Samuel NEITZ has willfully deserted Catherine for over two years without just cause, since the ninth day of September, AD 1869.  Catherine has received no word or support from Samuel during this time. It has been decreed that the bonds of matrimony between both parties are hereby dissolved. Both parties are at liberty to marry again in like manner as if they had never been married.  Catherine was ordered to pay the costs and charges of the court of this suit.  Signed by W. W. HEATON, Judge.

Clerk of the Circuit Court notes that he certified the foregoing decree is a true, full and perfect copy of the decree in the said case as appears in the records of his office, Record E Chancery, page 210
signed H.P. LASON, clerk. The gold seal of the county is affixed to this document

Page 187/220  General Affidavit, Henrietta Swank
Sister of Catherine, Henrietta Swank, age 63, appears in the matter of Catherine Geeting, formerly widow of Ernst C. Reif, deceased veteran. She testifies her statement to the Notary Public, William H. HETRICK, age 69, both being residents of the town of Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois. The statement reads that Catharine is will known to the Swanks, and know from personal knowledge that she has never married since the death of her late husband, Simon Geeting, and that they are of such close acquaintance with her, as that they would have known if she had re-married, and that at this date she is still unmarried. Both Henrietta Swank and William H. HETRICK sign the document. Notary Public, Joseph M Myers, certifies this document.

Page 188-191/220   Rejection of the Widow's Request

  Rejection on the grounds of no title under the Act of March 3, 1901, Catherine was not proven to be the wife of the soldier during the period of his military service, even though cohabitation and the birth of a son, soon deceased, occurred prior to his return from service.  Only the marriage decree of 1863 was recognized. signed by the legal examiner, R. L. FORD.  This document goes further to say the claimant, Catherine Geeting, does not write.

Page 192-195/220  Index, Tally sheet for the claim of Catherine Geeting, remarried widow of Ernst Reif

The page mentions 19 records of proof of marriages, co-habitation, soldier's disability, dependency and general assessment of the case using the testimony of the listed persons who have been previously mentioned. Following are copies of claims submitted by Catherine, supposedly signed by Catherine (remember that the rejection notice stated that Catherine did not write)
 So, dated Dec 13, 1905, Edward Haller, Notary Public, swears that Jacob F. PYFER and Minnie H. GEETING, both of Forreston, Illinois, witnessed Catherine Geeting sign her name to the documents, and that they have both known her for thirty years and twenty-five years, respectively.  Signatures of both appear on this witness document. The signatures look eerily like that of the script used for the signature of Catherine Geeting, known to not be able to write.

Pages 196-203/220   Letters from Congress and the Pension Bureau, 1917

Apparently, someone (Mr. Edward HALLER???) had been inquiring about the status of Catherine's widow's claim for support. There are a series of letters written to Mrs. Catherine GEETING, from the Pension Commissioner, G.M. SALTAGABER,regarding her widow's claim.  A February letter asks her to send some proof of her marriage to Knight (meaning NEITZ) and a death of him or divorce decree.  Also, they ask her to send testimonies of persons having knowledge of her and her marriages.  Haven't we been down this road previously?

Also, letters to and from the State Representative, John C. McKENZIE, House of Representatives, stating that this claim of Catherine's has been rejected because of her multiple marriages. They mention the Widow's claim filed in October of 1916, being the last one filed and rejected, along with all documentation attached.....the ones with Catherine's signature......and she could not write.????

There is a letter from acting commissioner, E.C. TIEMAN, to Rep. John McKENZIE, House of Representatives, Wash. DC, stating that the claim of Catherine's is now being considered! What?  This letter is dated July 6, 1917.  They previously said it had been rejected.

Pages 204-215/220    Repeated records of files previously in this claim packet

Pages 216-218/220     Folded forms filed for the support of the minor child of Ernst Reif

Ludwig FOY, father of Catherine, was named the legal guardian the child of Ernst REIF, Mary REIF.   The support payments were given to Ludwig Foy, until the 16th birthday of Mary REIF.

Page 219/220  A letter to Representative Frank O. LOWDEN, June 1, 1907

From the office of the Acting Commissioner of the Pension Bureau, stating that Catherine's pension claim as a remarried, but now widow, dated 1906, filed by herself without representation had been rejected because it could not be proven that she was the lawful wife of Ernst REIF on the day of his enlistment into military service, as required by the provisions of the pension act.  This, indeed was the last claim that Catherine, herself, had filed.

The claims submitted after this were inducted by Edward HALLER, himself, as was his practice until he was finally caught.  He insisted that widows asked him to file for pensions, and if so awarded, they would give him part of the support payments.

Page 220/220 the ending cover of this lengthy soap opera.

Edward HALLER did not have a good future.  In 1919, he was accused of having a cache of alcohol in the attic of his drug store in Forreston, Illinois.  His store was raided and he was arrested.  Federal officers took the 1200 whisky bottles stash.  Apparently, Mr. HALLER had the alcohol shipped into the county under the label, "Malted Milk".  The federal agents followed the purchase of the booze in Chicago, which had been shipped in barrels to Harper, Illinois. It was then transported by team and wagon to Forreston, Illinois under cover of night. The final delivery was made at midnight at Haller's Drugstore.  He was prosecuted under the Illinois search and seizure act, and under the Federal war-time prohibition act. He claimed that he had no intention of breaking the laws, and had the right to store the wet goods for legitimate purposes.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Using Civil War Pension Records, Part V, The Case of Ernst C. Reif

Affidavit of Edward E. Haller in Regard to a Pension for Catharine Geeting the Widow of Simon Geeting, continued:
     PAGES 14 and 15

Hugh S. Stanley, gives his testimony on this page,  stating that he is over 62 years, and has lived his entire life in Forreston, Illinois.  He says that he is personally acquainted with Catherine Geeting (nee Foy), widow of Simon Geeting and Ernest C. Reif, Civil War Veteran.  She is described as being about 72 years, and has been trying to be awarded a Widow's Pension for many years, but unsuccessful.  Hugh S. Stanley says that he tried to enlist in the US Army before he was of legal age, twice, but his guardian would not approve, but finally was accepted and served his full term.  He noted that Catherine Geeting  currently owns a small house worth about $750, and she has not means of support except for her daily labor. She holds no allegiance to foreign royalty, and holds true allegiance to the United States of America.  He says that he is acquainted with all persons interviewed in this matter, such as Mrs. Henrietta Swank, wife of Jacob F. Swank, deputy Factory Inspector, Township Supervisor and School President of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Stanley admits that he did not know of the marriage of Catherine Foy and Ernst Reif in 1861.  However, he did remember that her parents encouraged them to remarry, and that he knew the Rev. N. W. Lilly, late, of Kansas City, Missouri who officiated the first marriage, and Rev. J. K. Bloom, who performed the second marriage.  He helped to haul the bricks for the building of the Lutheran Church.  Rev. N. W. Lilly spoke to Mr. Stanley in 1892 about the loss of the marriage license from 1861, and no records could be found in Ogle County, Illinois. Witnessed and signed on  5 March 1913, by Hugh S. Stanley, Witnesses W. F. Gerwig and Geo. J. Gersbaugh.  Edward Haller signed as Notary Public, 10 March 1913.

PAGE 16 

Robert F. Adams, County Clerk, testifies that he is in custody of all files and records for the county of Ogle, which include assessments of property for taxation.  He states that in 1904, Simon Geeting was assessed with real estate as follows : North 1/2 of Lots 14 & 15 Block 3 of Neal addition to the Village of Forreston, assessed value of $150,  No personal property was assessed in the name of Simon Geeting.  Personal property was assess in the name of Catharine Geeting to the amount of $230..  He certifies that the assessed values represents twenty percent of the true value thereof.  Robert F. Adams signed his statement 11 Dec, 1905.


Edward Haller makes his statement the on 10 December 1912 Catherine Geeting appeared before him.  She revealed that she was born 31 August 1841, currently 71 years, living in Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, and wishes to place her name on the Pension roll under the acts of March 3 1901 and February 28th 1903, amending Section 4708 Revised Statuary.  She was the former widow of Ernst Reif, who died 19 October 1867 from wounds received while serving as a soldier.  She was his lawful wife during the time he was in service.  She had been married clandestine to Ernest Reif in 1861 and no record was ever found of this marriage.  She maintained their home until he come out of the army as wounded, and was advised to remarry 4 October 1863.  They had a daughter about two years of age in 1863.  She remained his wife until his death.  The soldier was not in the military before 1861.  She and a child were formerly pensioned on account of the death of her husband, paid by the pension agent at Chicago, her certificate number being 184488,  and she never applied for a pension again until the death of her husband Simon Geeting in 1905. Her pension had been terminated because of her marriage to Simon Geeting.  Simon Geeting died 1 March 1905, and she was never divorced, and Simon Geeting did not serve in the Army or Navy.  She has no means of support other than her daily labor, and an actual net income not exceeding $250 per year.  It shows a signature of Catharine Geeting, and signatures of witnesses as Minnie Geeting and Hugh S. Stanley.  Edward Haller signs as the Notary Public on 10 December 1912.


Dated 4 March 1913, Catherine Geeting, age 73, appears to make her sworn statement for the purpose of putting her name on the Pension Roll, under the Act of March 3. 1901 and February 28, 1903 amending Section 4708 Revised Statutes. It repeats the facts that she was the former widow of Ernest C. Reif, deceased veteran and she was his lawful wife through marriages preformed by Rev. Lilly in 1861 and Rev. J.K. Bloom in 1863, to satisfy the advise of her parents when no marriage license could be found from the first wedding.  She admits that one child was born to her and Ernst Reif in 1862, and she took care of the home and child, until the death of the infant at about 10 months of age.  The Child was laid to west in White Oak Cemetery, just west of the town of Forreston.  She and her second child Mayme LaShelle (nee Reif) were formerly pensioned from the death of Ernst Reif. Ernst Reif was laid to rest beside their first child, in White Oak Cemetery.  Her pension was terminated due to her marriage to Simon Geeting, in1875.  When Simon passed away, he was also buried in White Oak Cemetery.  She was never divorced from either husband.  Her sole means of support does not exceed $250 annually. She has been without pension support since her marriage to Mr. Geeting, and she now files for her claims because of her advanced and age and humble circumstances. There is a signature of Catharine Geeting, her mark, dated 4 March 1913. Charles W. Price and Justus DeGraff was signed witnesses.  Edward Haller signed as Notary Public.

PAGE 21-22

In the City of Freeport, County of Stephenson, Illinois, Louisa Lawver makes her sworn statement. She states that when she was 8 years, she came west with her people to Illinois, and lived near Forreston for 21 years.  She was personally acquainted with Ernst Reif, deceased.  She knew that he had mustered into the Army at the first call for soldiers, and he had a gun shot wound to this left leg while in the line of duty, and knew that he had died from his wound in 1867.  She had been a friend of the Reif family, and she sat at his side several days before he passed. Louisa Lawver was a nurse.  She saw his wound and knew that he had infection and was in great pain.  The wound was repulsive to the eye.  She attended the funeral performed by Rev. N.W. Lilly at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Forreston and officiated at the last sad rite of the veteran.  She knew Ernst Reif as a strong healthy man, and it was hard to see him become lame.  She stated that Ernst Reif had been a cabinet maker and very good carpenter.  He was also the janitor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Forreston.  She felt that he received a small compensation from his pension and had a hard time supporting himself, his wife and little daughter.  This statement is signed by Louisa Lawver on  May 1908, City of Freeport.  Witness signatures were Gertrude Blunt and Henry W. Foy. Notary Public, Wilber Goddard, signed and dated the  document  May 1908.

PAGE 23-24

In the City of Freeport, County of Stephenson, Illinois, Henry W. Foy makes his sworn statement.
He states that he was born in the state of Pennsylvania in 1847.  When he was 17, his parents moved the family west and they settled in Ogle County, Illinois.  He now lives in Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois, and has lived there for the past 24 years.  Henry Foy says that he was very well acquainted with Ernest C. Reif, deceased, and that he was in 1861 engaged to marry his sister, Catherine Foy.  But, at the first call for soldiers to put down the Rebellion, Ernst Reif was one of the first men to respond to the call.  He knew of the wound in the left leg that was received on the field of battle.  From the story told him by Ernst Reif, he laid without medical aid, being hemmed in by the rebels.  Ernest Reif was discharged  in 1863 on account of the injury.  He came home lame and the wound would break open at times and caused soreness at the hip joint.  His sister, Catherine Foy, married Ernst Reif in 1863 and he had become the sexton of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Forreston.  He worked at his trade as a cabinet maker until he could no longer do that on account of his limb.  Ernst Reif often showed Henry Foy his wound, and was not surprised that he had passed from the complications of this injury.  Henry Foy attended the funeral to White Oak Cemetery in Forreston, and the brothers and sisters and parents followed the remains to the burial.  He knew Catherine had received a pension from the US Government Pension Office until her marriage to Simon Geeting.  He knew that his sister had reapplied for support in 1905, but was denied because she had no proof of being married to Ernst Reif before the war of 1861-1865.  Henry W. Foy signs his statement on 8 May, 1908.  Witnesses signed include W. Goddard and Bertha Sheffner (?).  Wilbur Goddard signs as Notary Public on 8 May, 1908

PAGES 25-26

In Kansas City, the County of Jackson, Missouri, N. W. Lilly makes his sworn statement that he is over 7 years, and that in 1867 he was the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Forreston, Illinois.  He was personally acquainted with Ernest C. Reif, during his stay in Forreston, and admitted that Mr. Reif had been the sexton for a number of years of this church.  He showed that on page 64 of his records,  Ernest Reif and Catherine Foy were married by J. K. Bloom, former pastor of this church, on 4 October 1863.  He supports the story of Ernst Reif being a soldier and that he was wounded during battle, and returned home because of the wound.  Ernst Reif died in his home across the street from the church.  Rev. Lilly states that he lived less than 2 blocks from the Reif Family.  The Reverend also stated that he was at the bedside of Ernst Reif at his death, and officiated the funeral at the church and to the burial at White Oak Cemetery.  He stated that Catherine Reif, widow, her parents and brothers and sisters followed the procession to the grave site. He states that he makes this statement in support of the case of Catherine Geeting, for her future support.  N.W.Lilly signs this document on 30 April 1908, Witnesses signed are W. Lake Henry and G. W. Lilly.  Notary Public M. J. Oslergard (?) signs on  May 1908.

PAGE 27, plus notes

Act of September 8, 1916, Remarried Widow's Pension, OTF. no. 184.188

Claimant "Catharine Geeting, former widow of Soldier : Ernst C. Reif
P.O. Forreston                                                         Rank : Private; Co. H
County: Ogle; State, Illinois                                Regiment, 34th Illinois Inf.

Payments on all former certificates covering any portion of same time to be deducted,



Submitted for Rejection, July 5, 1917;
Approved for: Rejection: the claimant has no title to renewal of pension as the former widow of the soldier, Ernest C. Reif, having contracted more than one marriage since his death.
Widow was pensioned at 8 dollars per month under general law
Soldier was pensioned at 4 dollars per month under general law
Enlisted September 7 1861,     Claimant's application under other laws, October 28, 1876 and
                                                                                                                           December 1, 1905
Honorably discharged June 4, 1863                             Former Marriages, NONE
Reenlisted, No other service                                      Divorce of former  NONE
Died October 19, 1867                                                  Claimant's marriage to soldier, Oct 4, 1863
Declaration Filed Oct 6, 1916                                     Claimant's marriages : May 20, 1869
                                                                                               Divorce : January 21 1870
                                                                                                Remarried; June 6, 1875
Claimant alleged 73 years                                          Death of last husband; March 7, 1905
Claimant DOES write

Signed by the Honorable John C McKenzie, MC

notes: This claim REJECTED on the grounds that there has been more than one marriage.

Note 2: Claimant's 1st remarriage was to Samuel Neitz, May 20, 1869, yet she continued to draw pension as the widow of the soldier, Reif, until June 6, 1875, when she married for the 3rd time to Geeting.

NEXT UP: A Forgotten Marriage and Divorce, Oh, My, " I forgot to stop taking pension payments through it all",  claims Catherine (Foy) Reif, remarried to Samual L Neitz.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Using Civil War Pension Files, Part IV : the Case of Ernst C. Reif

Author's own photo, Fullersburg Cemetery salute, 2016

We begin with the Widow's Brief No. 2, claim #228.542  The soldier : Ernest Reif  The examiner : Geo. W. Taylor
Sub. for final review June 12, 1879

Rejected - Widow with Children
228.542 cert. no. for original and increase. Brief app'd Nov 22 1878
Title : Catherine Reif now Geeting, widow of Ernest Reif who was a private and pensionable rank of private in Company H 34th Regiment Illinois Infantry
Residence of the claimant, Forreston in the county of Ogle, state of Illinois Post office : same location
Attorney : JP Jones, of Rockford, Winnebago County Illinois having been filed Feb 19, 1877

Incidental Matters : Soldier had invalid claim, which was paid up to Sept. 4, 1867.
This widow is rejected on the grounds that she has no title.  She did not apply within 5 years after the death of this soldier, and she had remarried.
Minors claim this day briefed for admission
The Summary of Material Facts :
Widow remarried June 6, 1875 to Simon Geeting.
The particulars of the injury suffered by Ernest Reif are repeated, having been wounded at the Battle of Stone River, non functioning leg and use of a crutch until his death.

Skip to Page 113/220
A Declaration for Original Pension of a Widow, Child or Children under Sixteen years of age surviving.
This page further describes the relationship of Catharine Geeting, formerly Catherine Reif, widow of Ernst,  his wound listed at Murfreesboro, Tenn. on the 31st of December 1862. His death recorded October of 1867
After his death, the widow married Simon Geeting on the 6th day of June, 1875
A child was born unto Ernest and Catharine , a female, on August 2, 1867
Records show that Ernest had never been married before he and Catherine were wed.

Page 115/220 Statements from the Attending Physician of Ernest C. Reif
A statement in the state of Illinois in the County of Carroll, John W. Frazy, MD, of Lanark,Carroll County, Illinois.
He certifies his statement that he was well aquainted with Ernest Reif before he enlisted into the army, and was described as sound.  The Dr. was the physician of Ernst Reif after his return from the Army and treated him up to the date of his death, on the 19th of October 1867, and his death was the result of the gunshot wound received by Ernest while in the army.
Officially sealed, State of Illinois Notary Public, Alvaro Shumway, dated 10th of Oct 1876
Title page mentions the name of Ludwig Foy, father of Catherine Foy Reif Geeting. as he is the legal guardian of Mary, minor child.

Page 117-118/220
An additional statement from Dr. Frazy, now living in Woodbury County, Iowa,  and this statement continues to repeat as in the aforementioned document that Ernst was sound when entering the army, and left an invalid upon his return.  He was a constant infirm from that leg wound which rendered him unfit for business labor for the rest of his life. dated January 22, 1877

Page 119-120/220
Another statement from Dr. Frazy, of Woodbury County, Iowa, now living in Sioux City.
This statement a bit shorter about the death of Ernest on Oct 19, 1867 of the extended infection from the same wound, problems commencing in the hands and extending to the body, the result of long continued suffering and low vitality, from the time he returned from the army until his death, entirely incapacitated for manual labor and a continual sufferer. This dated May 13, 1878, officially sealed by State of Iowa, Notary Public, Madison B. Davis

Page 122/220
A handwritten letter, dated Dec 17, 1877, Sioux City, Iowa
To J. Jones, Rockford, ILL
Dr. Frazy states that he was not issued a copy of his former statements so he is trying to make this statement to the best of his memory, which is of no help because his memory is not refreshed from the records or conversations, and that he cannot recall with certainty any statement, now, from him that might in some points be a contradiciton....signed JW Frazer.  clearly this man is elderly.

Page 123/220 The Birth of Child, Mary Reif
A statement from Dr. Frazy that clearly states that he was the attending physician at the birth of Mary Reif, at 8 oclock a.m. August second 1867, and that he was the attending physician with the said Catherine Reif at the birth of said child.  Clearly signed by John W Frazey, MD. officially sealed
State of Illinois, Carroll County, dated the 10th of October 1876. signed notary Alvero Shumway

Page 125/220 The Marriage of Ernst and Catherine Reif
An official certificate of Record of Marriage, State of Illinois County of Ogle, filled out by Albert Woodcock clerk of the county , certifies that Ernest Reif was married to Catharine Foy on the 4th day of October 1863 officiated by Rev J. K. Bloom, Minister of the Gospel.  This office was located in Oregon, Illinois and dated 17 Oct 1876

Page 127/220 Yet Another Written Statement from Dr. Frazy 
The letter dated Oct 22, 1878, Sioux City, Iowa.
Basically it states that in his opinion the the infection that killed Ernst was caused by the wound in his leg and hip, and which his suffering had been great that the pain in the hip and leg caused the loss of sleep, loss of appetite, general debility, nervous demeanor, bad blood and a condition of low vitality.  He treated him during this sickness until the time of his death, signed JW Frazey MD

Page 130/220  Another Rejected Claim
Claim 184488 claimant Catherine Geeting, date of filing May 18, 1908, declaration
Catherine tried to apply for pension help again, giving the same information as before, and asking for $12/month
It was REJECTED..July 3, 1908, rejection on the grounds of no title under the Act of April 19, 1908, claimant having remarried (ceased to be a widow) prior to the date of filing for claim. This now gives the date of death of her husband, Simon Geeting, March 7, 1905.
An addition document once again repeats the information about Ernst, only this one typed, not handwritten, in red ink.  certified by State of  Illinois Notary Public, Edward Haller...REMEMBER THAT NAME

Pages 132-146/220  Letters of Guardianship and Childs Pension Approval
pages contain all proofs of letters of guardianship by Ludwig Foy for the care of his grandchild, Mary Reif, until her 16th birthday in 1883. Two men, George Balsbaugh and Philip Smith sworn statements that Mary Reif was the legal child of deceased Ernst Reif, and that they personally knew this family very well.

Page 148/220  Certification of Remarriage of Catherine Reif to Simon Geeting
Simon and Catherine married on 6th June, 1875, by H D Healey, Minister of the Gospel, Certified by the county court record in Oregon, Ilinois on 18 Feb, 1913

U.S. Flag of 1861,


pages 149-176/220 A typed file entitled : Affidavit of Edward E. Haller in Regard to a Pension for Catharine Geeting the Widow of Simon Geeting.
These pages contain records of duly sworn statements of witnesses by Edward Haller, Notary Public
of Ogle County, Illinois. In various areas of this file Mr. Haller states that he is filing this case under the direction and request of Catharine Geeting.  Various persons who knew the families of both Ernst Reif and Catharine Foy made statements, under the thought that this was for the well being and support of the widow Geeting, after all, she had been a widow for the past 15 years, and probably needed some support. In various cases, a "signature" of Catherine is recorded, and in some cases, her name printed with her "mark", an X, indicating that she could not write.

PAGE ONE : Haller gives his own bio briefly, and then tells the story of how he knew the Foy family very well, having lived in the same town, Forreston.  Haller's parents knew the parents of Catherine Foy (Ludwig and Magdalina).  They all belonged to the same church. Furthermore, at this date, his parents and the Foys were deceased.  Haller knew the siblings of Catherine, and mentions their names, Lewis, Edward, Louisa, Henry and Maggie Foy. Henry Foy was the Sunday School teacher for Haller.  Catherine Foy worked for Haller's parents as a domestic, and witnessed the birth of Haller. Haller remembers visiting Catherine at her home and playing with her little child.  He affirmed that he knew Catherine and Ernst Reif were legally married.  Upon returned from the War, Catherine's parents found out that the Marriage License was never place on record in the County of Ogle,  They were wanting Catherine to leave Ernst and not live with him anymore.  Their strong German Lutheran beliefs did not support the idea of unmarried men and women living together. Catharine remarried Ernst in the laws of the Lutheran church, Rev. JK Bloom, officiated the ceremony,  Haller said he knew the minister very well.   Regarding Ernst Reif, he stated that he was the janitor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Forreston, up until the date of his death, and lived a few doors from the Church.  Haller stated that all the old folks cried over the disasters of the War.  Haller said he knew of Catherine and Ernst being married in 1861. He knew Catherine to be a good woman.

PAGE TWO:  Edward Haller, notary, said that he had a hard time explaining the importance of all the questions being asked to Catherine.  It was only by chance that Haller discovered someone who had been at her first marriage in 1861, before Ernst enlisted in the Army.  Henrietta Swank (nee Foy), sister of Catherine, and Jacob Swank, her husband and President of the Trustees of Schools, previously the Supervisor of Forreston Township and Deputy Factory Inspector, and Treasurer of the Trustees of Schools, would never say or do anything to discredit her husband.  Haller also mentions Hugh S. Stanley of Forreston, the Round House Foreman. Haller states in the last paragraph that his has no interest in being paid  for this writing filing, and believes that Catherine should receive the pension that she applied on 15 Dec 1905 .
Witnesses Signatures : Riley M Garman and C A Walters
Notary Signature and stamp by Martin H. Earle
seals stamped March 8, 1913 by Law Division and Pension Office.  Civil War Division stamp Mar 20 1913.

PAGE THREE: title page

PAGE FOUR:  Jacob F. Swank, swore under oath that he is over 54, and has lived in the area for over 40 years.  He states that he knows Catherine Geeting, formerly Foy and Reif, and knew her as the widow of Ernst Reif and Simon Geeting. He states that he know Catherine has never married since the death of Mr. Geeting, and trusts that Haller would have found evidence of such.  He signs his name as Jacob F. Swank on May 9, 1908.  This document seals and stamps : May 18 1908 by both the Pension Office and the Congressional US Bureau of Pensions. May 19 for the Law Division. Edward Haller, signed and sealed as Notary.

PAGE FIVE AND SIX:  William Sloggett, swore under oasth the his is over 62, and he has lived in this area since 1855, except for the time in the war.  He enlisted as a soldier during the War on February 24, 1964 in the 34th Infantry company H of the Illinois Infantry.  He was discharged on July 12 if 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.  He states that he knew Ernst Reif very well, as he saw him enlist into the Army in 1861, and he returned with an honorable discharge and a wound of his left leg.  He knew that Ernst passed away as a direct cause of his wound. His father ran a hotel, now owned by FJ Acker, and Ernst lived on the same block as the hotel.  He knew  that Ernst had married Catherine upon his return from the War, remembered attending the party at their home, which was across the street from the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  He knew that Ernst was a cabinet maker before the War, but upon his return, he could no longer work at his carpentry bench.  He had become janitor of the Church.  William Sloggett states that he was the Librarian there, and that Ernst was a teacher of the sunday school.  Rev. N W Lilly was the pastor, who had officiated at the funeral of Ernst Reif.  Sloggett said he had visited Ernst during his sickness and was shown his wound, which was very repulsive and sore to the touch.  William Sloggett said he followed the remains after the funeral along with the family members to the White Oak Cemetery, and remembered the gallant boys of the 34th, who must go  from this life, one by one. He further states that he knew Catherine has not remarried since the death of her late husband, Simon Geeting, and that if she had, he would have heard about it because things like that are not kept quiet. signed by William Sloggett, sealed and signed by Pension office and Congressional US Pension Office on May 18, 1908, likewise signed by Edward E Haller, notary.

PAGE SEVEN: Robert F. Adams, Ogle County Clerk, states that he has custody and control of the tax rolls.  Simon Geeting was assessed with real estate value at $300, located at the N1/2 Lot 14 and 15 Block 3 of Neals Add. Mrs, Geeting was assessed with personal property amounting to $50.  These amounts represent 1/3 of the true value of the same. He signs on 18 Feb 1913, Robert F. Adams. Stamped and dated Mar 8 1913 at the Pension Office and Law Division, Mar 20 1913 at the Civil War Division.

PAGE EIGHT - TEN: Henrietta Swank (nee Foy), testifies that she is over 60, and has lived in this county all her life.  Her sister is Catherine Geeting (nee Foy), and was married in 1861 to Ernst C. Reif before Rev. N W Lilly, a minister, now deceased, of Kansas City, MO, formerly of Forreston in Ogle County.  She said that the marriage license was never returned to the county seat on account of the Civil War.  Ernst was a soldier in that war and was married before he enlisted as a soldier.  There was one child born to them while he was in the war. Catherine kept house and maintained their child, and that child passed at about the age of 10 months,  The child was buried in White Oak Cemetery.  Catherine kept up the house until the return of her husband, Ernst. Ernst had been wounded in the leg and hip.  It was thought best by her parents that since the marriage license was lost and never recorded, they should remarry.  Her parents were very strict Lutheran. Rev. JK Bloom, minister of the Lutheran Church of Forreston married them. After that Catherine and Ernst were blessed with another child.  Ernst died from the gun shot wound and was buried beside his little daughter. She said she was present when Catherine married Ernst in 1861, and can fully remember that it was before the War.  She knew that Ernst came from Germany before the war and boarded and worked for Catherine's father on their farm.  Catherine was courted by him and married before Rev Lilly, and they took up a little home and lived there until the war broke out and Ernst enlisted.  Catherine lived in their home until he returned. When Ernst come home being wounded, it was found that the marriage license was never recorded in Oregon, the county seat.  Ludwig and Magdelena Foy wish no fault with Catherine and wanted to cause no trouble and annoyance to her since she now had a wounded husband.  They suggested another marriage before Rev. J K Bloom, which was recorded.  Henrietta Swank testified that her husband, Jacob F. Swank was from Forreston Township and was past the age of 60.  He is gone from home all the time, that he is the Supervisor of  the Forreston Township for the past 25 years, and was the township School President.  She said she would never make any statement that would reflect on her husband's good name. Her sister, Catherine,is now 75 years and she is dependant on her daily for support.  signed and dated 19 Feb 1913 Henrietta Swank.  witnesses : Anna Haller, Virginia Haller, signed Edward E Haller, Notary, 21 Oct 1913 expiration of notary, stamped and sealed Mar 8 1913 Pension Office and Law Division, Mar 20 1913 Civil War Division

PAGE ELEVEN-THIRTEEN  Robert F. Adams, County Clerk, has filed transcriptions of the records of marriage between Ernst C. Reif and Catherine Foy, 1963, and Simon Geeting and Catherine Reif, 1875, All received in the Law Division and Pension Office, 8 Mar 1913.

Next Up...sworn statements of Hugh S. Stanley and Robert F. Adams, and Edward Haller files two papers, forging Catherine's signature to each.

The SAGA Continues.....

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Using Civil War Pension Files, Part III - The case of Ernst Reif

Our last post about Ernst, we reviewed the letters of the Adjutant General, and assistants, regarding the death of Ernst, and the extent of his wound.  He was injured by gunshot wound of the thigh, while engaged in combat at the Battle of Stone River, which developed into Erysipelas :

an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by large, raised red patches on the skin, especially that of the face and legs, with fever and severe general illness.


We continue with the War of the Rebellion Widow's Pension (Original With Increase)  page 103/220

Chicago Pension Office, case 184.488

Catherine Reif now Geeting, widow of Ernst Reif, Priv., Company H, 34 IL Vol.

Resident of Ogle County, State of Illinois, Post Office of Forreston,
Attorney, JP Jones, Rockford, Winnebago County, Fee of $ Twenty-five. having been filed Feb. 19, 1872

Rate of pension $ Eight per month, commencing October 20, 1867, day after soldier's death, (ending June 6, 1875 the date of widow's remarriage) and two dollars per month additional for each child as follows:

Child : Mary   Born August 2, 1867                                 Commencing October 20, 1867
                        Sixteen on August 1, 1883

Admitted and approved by Examiner, June 5, 1879 and Reviewer June 12, 1879

Dates Shown by Papers :

Enlistment Sept , 1861
Muster into pensionable rank Sept 7, 1861
Discharge June 4, 1863
Death Oct 19, 1867
Invalid app. filed  Oct 13, 1863
Invalid last paid to Sept 4, 1867
Widow's app. filed  Oct 28, 1878
Right accrued Oct 19, 1867
Claim completed Oct 28, 1876
Former marriage of soldier  NONE
Death of former wife  NONE
Claimant's marriage to soldier Oct 4, 1863
Claimant's remarriage June 6, 1875

Handwritten comment : Minor's claim heretofore allowed
Cause of death Erysipelas result of GSW (gunshot wound) Place of Death  House - after discharge

Page 104/220  Incidental Matters

Handwritten :

Minor in receipt of pension from the date of widow's re-marriage.

Widow's claim formerly rejected, on the grounds that it was barred by limitation.

Atty. JP Jones made inquiry Dec 19, 1878, relative to the date of commencement of pension which is regarded equivalent to re-opening the claim.

Page 105/220 Summary of Proof, No Former Marriage of Soldier

as shown by declaration of widow

Marriage of Soldier to Claimant

The marriage of Ernest Reif to Catharine Foy
is shown by certified copy of Public Records
Re-Marriage to Simon Geeting, June 6, 1875,
    by certified copy of Public Record

Dates of Birth of Children

By the affidavit of attending physician

Dates of Deaths of Children


Page 106/220     Proof As To Death (of Soldier)
Reports and Testimonies of Adjutant General, Surgeon General Officer, Fellow Soldiers Army Surgeon, Attending Physician, Certificate of Disability, Other Testimony

Soldier was pensioned at rate of $4 - contraction of left leg

Surg. Gen. USA March '78 : Reports soldier admitted to Hospital with GSW of the thigh and discharged  from service on June 4,  or 6, 1863 by reason of GSW

Certificate of Disability, July 2 '63 shows the same as above as  to cause of disability

Lieunt. Hanselods (sp?) Nov. '63  shows that wound was received in line of duty while advancing under the fire of the enemy

Dr. Frazey, Oct 28, 1876  Soldier was sound at enlistment, was his physician after his return home to date of 
death - Oct 19, 1867, cause of death was the result of GSW

Same Physician, Feb 19 '77 and May 23 '78  Soldier a constant sufferer from said wound prior to his death, died Oct 19, 1867 of phlegmonous erysipelas, the result of long continued suffering and low vitality which continued from the time of his return from the army until his death, entirely incapacitated for labor.

Same Physician  Oct 26, 1878 writes direct to this office that in his opinion the erysipelas was caused by the wound in the leg or hip, - Am positive that the erysipelas was developed by the condition produced by the wound, (For full particulars see Minor's Brief)

To Be Cont.

UP NEXT : It is revealed that Catherine Foy and Ernst Reif married before the War in 1861, but the license was never filed


Catherine remarried to Samuel Nietz, who deserted her and her child, and she filed for divorce, two years later.....

A Soap Opera Indeed

Friday, December 2, 2016

Using Civl War Pension Files, Part II : The Case of Ernst C. Reif

Continued....The Pension File of Ernst C. Reif, US Civil War Veteran, 34th Illinois Reg. Vols.


Question: What were the requirements for an injured, invalid person who served the nation, to be able to obtain a government pension for support, in the event he could not support himself because of that injury?

Answer:  The War of 1861. Act of July 14, 1862

Under the act of Congress approved July 14, 1862, pensions are granted to the following classes of persons.
I. Invalids, disabled since March 4, 1861, in the military or naval service of the United States, in the line of duty.
II. Widows of officers, soldiers, or seamen dying of wounds received or of disease contracted in the military or naval service, as above.
III. Children, under sixteen years of age, of such deceased persons, if there is no widow surviving, or from the time of the widow's remarriage.
IV. Mothers (who have no husband living) of officers, soldiers or seamen, deceased as aforesaid, provided the latter have left neither widow nor children under sixteen years of age; and provided, also, that the mother was dependent, wholly or in part, upon the deceased for support.
V. Sisters, under sixteen years of age, of such deceased persons, dependent on the latter, wholly or in part, for support, provided there are no rightful claimants of either of the [???] last preceding classes.
Ernst C. Reif applied for his invalid pension on the 12th day of September 1863 in Ogle County, Illinois. The County Clerk, Albert Woodcock, filed the paperwork, with witnesses, Cyrus Billig and Robert Crunkleton, both residets of the county.  Ernst was 24 years old, sworn to testify the true answers to each question.  He confirmed that he was a volunteer of the 34th Regmt. of Illinois, and entered service at Mount Morris.  His company H was commanded by Capt. Miller, and the 34th Infantry was commanded by Col. Kirk, Bristol(?), etc.  He confided that he was discharged while in Louisville, Ky on the 4th of June in 1863.  Further, Ernst told his story of being engaged at the Battle of Stone River in Tennessee on the 31st of Dec in 1862.  He was shot in the front side of the left thigh, with the ball going through and seriously injured the bone so as to produce lameness, which still existed, and no prospects of improvement.  He refers to the Surg. Certificate that shows he was discharged and the certificate of Doctor Colescott of Louisville, the resident surgeon. He returned to Forreston, Illinois, and has been resting himself, not being able to labor on account of his disability.
Prior to his injuries, he was of good health and had good tempermant.  Now he is considered three fourths disabled and not earning wages.  He wishes to be placed on the Invald Pension Roll.  His represented attorney, C C Tucker, of Washington DC, said he will issue his pension certificate.  He agreed to have his pension mailed to the Post Office at Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, because his place of abode is in this town, and it is a small place without numbers on the houses. He signed his name as the applicant, (and quite nicely, I might add)  
The two witnesses and the Clerk of Ogle County signed the form, and it was notarized.
On February 8, 1864, Ernst Reif was allowed a pension of $4 per month, commencing June 4, 1863.
A brief was written in the case of Ernest C. Reif, Priv, Co H 34th Ref. Ill Vols.
He reported that his post office address was Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, along with his dates of enlistment and discharge.  
The brief asked for proof exhibited for Ernst to claim for an invalid pension.  The points written were as follows:
1  Discharge for gun shot wound of  left thigh rec'd at Battle of Stone River.
2. Adjutant General reports him wounded at the Battle of Stone River
3.  1st Lt. certified claimant became disabled Dec 31/62, that his Co. was ordered to advance under fire of the Enemy, and in so doing claimant rec'd a gun shot wound in the front side of left thigh, ball going through and injuring the bone so as to produce lameness & unable to walk without crutches. 
4.  Attndg Surg. certifies June 12/63 to gun shot wound of left thigh, Some contraction & adhesion of parts injured, cannot straighten limb at knee, walks on toes of injured limb, Disability one half and permanent.  Exm. not ordered.
Disabled by Contraction of left leg 
His Cert. No. 34.340, was paid to him, through the Chicago Illinois pension office from 1863 ending 1867.
The Report of the Death of a Pensioned Veteran :

A very yellowed form from the Department of the Interior, Pension Office, dated Nov. 29th, 1876

"Sir : Your respectfully requested to furnish official evidence of the enrollment, must, service duty, and discharge of death of Ernest Reif, who was a private in Company H, 34th Regiment of Illinois Vols. reported died October 19th 1867.

If the above name is not found on the rolls of said Company, will you so state, and report as to enrollment, in the case of any man bearing a similar name, whom you have good reason for believing to  the soldier inquired for.

Please, also, to furnish any evidence on file that may enable this Office to decide whether the soldier's death resulted from injuries received or disease contracted in the service and line of duty."

Please return this circular with your report. Claim No. 228.542
Very respectfully, signed JA Bentley, commissioner pensions
Adjutant General, U.S.A.

The reply is as follows:

The Adjutant General's Office has an acknowledgement of the receipt for the Pension Application
No. 228.542, (widow and child pension application)  dated Dec. 18, 1876, Washington, D.C.

They are repeating what had appeared in the Rolls on file in the Adjutant General Office :

"Ernest C. Reif, was enrolled on the 7 day of Sept, 1861, at Mt. Morris, in Co. H,
34th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, to serve 3 years or during the war, and mustered into service as
a Priv. on the 7 day of Sept., 1861, at Camp Butler, in Co. H, 34 Regiment of Illinois Volunteers
to serve 3 years, or during the war.  On the Master Roll of Co. H, of that Regiment, for the period
from muster in to Feb. 28, 1862, he is reported present.  So reported until roll for Nov. & Dec 1862,
reports him.  Taken prisoner at Murfreesboro.  Subsequently reported wounded in Battle of Stone
River Dec 31/62.  In hospital at Nashville, until roll for May and June, 1863 reports him Discharged
June 3 1863, for disability.  Regt. was in action at Murfreesboro, Tenn. Dec 31/62.
Prisoner of war records furnish no information.
Certificate of disability reports him dischd. at Louisville, Ky.
June 4th 1863, which date is accepted as correct."

I am, sir very respectfully,
your obedient servant,

S N Benjamin, Assistant Adjutant General


Additionally, this letter...

On 4 Jan 1877, a form letter sent by the Department of the Interior, Pension Office, requested the full medical history as possible on the soldier, Ernest Reif, Co. H,34th Regt. Ill. Vols.
     Enlisted  Sept 7 1861
     Discharged June 4/63

Allegations of Claimant in regard to Fatal Disease or Injury,
     Wounded at battle of Stone River Dec. 31st 1862

Report of the Adjutant General U.S. Army
     Enlist.d Sept. 7/61 Pm. Co. H. 34th Ill Vols
     Wounded in battle of Stone River Dec 31/62
     In hospital at Nashville until June 1863
     Roll for June reports him dischgd. June 3 1863
          for disability

     Cert. of disability reports him dischgd. at Louisville Ky
     June 4, 1863

No comments on Death
No comments on Miscellaneous Statements

Please return this circular with your report.

Signed : J A Bentley, commissioner, pensions

The Surgeon General, U. S. Army
Claim No. 228.543

To be continued...Catherine Reif and her daughter, Mary, file for support as a widow and child of the deceased Ernst C. Reif