Last month the 2014 president-elect of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society sent an email to all members saying that he was going to be at the National Archives in Washington DC and that he’d be glad to do some research for others. I thought how nice it was that he volunteered for this and then I thought how I really wanted to know which file I should order of a Civil War pension, as I have a name with two services. Maybe he could see which was the right one so that I wouldn’t waste money on the wrong one. But then I thought he’d be too bogged down with other people with more interesting items to find, so I threw away the email.
Then the next week, he sent another note that he was surprised no one had contacted him. I felt sad for him and didn’t want him to go to the National Archives with nothing to do (!), so I sent him my dreaded Smith request. Yes, the dreaded Smith. But the first name was unique so I’d hoped I wasn’t asking too much.
Well, my Genea-Hero not only found the right file, but copied it all for me! I now have a CD of the entire pension file! And it’s fascinating.
This is my husband’s second great grandfather on his father’s side. My husband never met his father, nor new anything of his father’s side. I found that his great grandmother was a Smith and her father was in the Civil War. Twice (which is why there were two that I found and wasn’t sure who to order—they were the same person!). He now knows that his 2nd great grandfather was 5’7” tall, had a dark complexion, gray eyes and brown hair.
He also knows that his grandfather contracted the measles in Kansas City, Missouri in 1861. As did my 3rd great grandfather. Both rode St. Joseph’s Railroad at the same time. Did they know each other? Pass each other? I’m still working a timeline for him, but he was captured by the Confederates in Little Blue, Missouri on 5 November 1861 and then discharged on 22 December that year and returned home (I assume as part of the release agreement). He reenlisted on 15 August 1864 and was a sergeant until his discharge on 26 June 1865.
His pension file mentions diseases of the heart, kidney and back as well as chronic diarrhea, all from the measles contracted in 1861. Since my own grandfather’s pension file reads nearly exactly the same, except chronic cough rather than diarrhea, I am guessing that everyone maybe exaggerated their symptoms just a bit?
I am sure that as I analyze his service timeline, I will be adding more writings about Kilbourn Smith (and we know know how HE spelled his first name, as his signature is nice and clear!).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my Genea-Hero, Patrick!