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Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Civil War Pension Papers of Owen Young of Schuyler County

Several months ago, I wrote about Gilmer Young, who died in the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri during the Civil War.  Recently, I stumbled upon the pension papers of his brother, Owen Young, who also served his country during the Civil War.  Unfortunately, Owen, like his brother Gilmer, did not return home alive.  He passed away in a military hospital camp in Brownsville, Texas.

Owen's  pension packet consists of about 34 pages. There are some very good pieces of information about Owen and his family in this packet. has many pension packets digitized on their website.

What can you find in a pension packet?  Well, for one thing, if a soldier was married, there would be some proof of that marriage in the packet contents.  Here's the certificate of marriage for Owen and his wife, Mandana Blodget, along with a certification from the Clerk of the County, which was officiated by Peter Vance, J.P. of Schuyler County :

certification of  marriage for Owen Young WC122477 Page 11 Civil War Widows Pensions at
State of Illinois Marriage Certificate included in the pension packet for Owen Young,

There is a statement from the commanding officer of Owen Young's unit, Company K, 28th Illinois Volunteers.  It was written at the Army offices in St. Louis, Missouri, stating the circumstances of Private Young's illness and death.  Apparently he suffered from Flux and Typhoid, which was hindered by his home sickness.....being hospitalized in the military hospital in Texas where he eventually passed away....

Page 21 Owen Young, Civil War Widows Pension File,

There is also a short note from the Surgeon General that testifies that Owen Young, of the Illinois Volunteers,  passed away on the 29th of August, 1865 in Brownsville, Texas, of Flux and Typhoid.

War Department, Surgeon General, Owen Young Civil War Pension File, page 8,

additional note from the Adjutant General's Office, Washington, D.C., 1866, states that Owen died on Sept. 1.

Paging further into the packet contents, I find notes about the only surviving heirs to Owen Young...two children.  What happened to his wife, Mandana?  She passed away in1866, less than a year after her husband, Owen, left this earth.  So sad.  So, what happens to the children?  Well, apparently their grandfather, Harvey Blodget (father of Mandana) assumed responsibility for the tots.  He was appointed the guardian for the children.  Read on to see what papers had to be filed for these children to receive some monetary assistance from their father's military pension....

Declaration of Minor Children for Pension, filed by Harvey Blodget, Owen Young Civil War Pension file, page 5

Now this is even more interesting....note that Harvey states that Owen died in August of 1865, which has already been established, and further states that his wife is no longer living....but added in the lines "again married George Whitehead in March 1866" and she died on the 17th of June, 1866.  She probably never received a widow's pension....maybe she applied, but instead was remarried.  How sad that she died only months after being married to Mr. Whitehead.  

A statement from Dr. Benjamin Walton accounts  for his assistance with the birth of her children, Lovina and Thomas B. Young, and that he is aware of the death of Owen, and the appointment of Harvey Blodget as the guardian of the children.

The children are identified as being the only legitimate offspring of Owen, and their vital information is stated as follows : Lovina Young,  born on the 13th day of March 1858, and Thomas B. Young, born on the 24th day of October 1860, Harvey also concurs that the parents of these children were married on the 3rd of April 1857 in Schuyler County, by Peter Vance, JP.  He also replied that he did not aid or abet the rebellion of the United States.  Two witnesses, John Phelps and Hiram Geer, signed off on the document as being "intimate acquaintances for the last ten years"  of Owen Young, the deceased soldier, and know of no other children belonging to him.

Claim for Minor Pension, Owen Young Civil War Pension File, page 3,

I am not sure why Quincy is hand written at the top of the page, but perhaps that was the closest Army Pension office at the time.  Nevertheless, the children were approved for support from their father's pension.  Lovina Young and Thomas B. Young were to receive Two Dollars per month, until they each reach the age of 16 years.  Lovina's benefit will last her until March 12 of 1874.  Thomas B. will collect his benefit until October 23 of 1876.  The above document restates all of the evidence previously submitted to support the claim for pension assistance.  Harvey Blodget will be issued the usual Eight Dollars per month, covering Sept. 2, 1865 until October 23, 1876, as was the common widow's claim amount, and the children's pension would also be paid out to Harvey, commencing July 23, 1866,  so that he may look after his grandchildren until their 16th birthdays.  

Well, there you  have it.  Quite a story, sad as it is.  A father goes to war, gets ill while in  the service of his country, and dies.  His widow, left with two children ages 7 years and 5 years, remarries just 6 months later, and then she dies three months after that.  Her two school-aged children are taken in by their grandfather.  He applies for the pension benefits of his son-in-law to support the children.  Pension benefits only last until the 16th birthday of each child.  Hopefully they lived happily with their grandfather.  And, hopefully, they heard of their father's bravery and sacrifice during the Civil War, which took the lives of so many husbands and fathers.  

I think I will do a bit more research, and find out what Lovina and Thomas did with their lives.  

Meanwhile, if you have any family members that were participants in the Civil War, I hope that I have inspired you to look into their service and pension files.  Discover the family stories that aren't told in vital records alone. 

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