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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.....