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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.