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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

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