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Archive for the ‘Occupations’ Category

This week’s theme is on “Military” so I am writing about the United States Air Force. Not only did my father and maternal grandfather serve but I was born at a USAF Base medical center. As Yoda would say: “The Force is strong with this one.”


Glen Johnson

My grandfather Glen Roy Johnson (whom I’ve written about several times before) entered the Army Signal Corps on February 5, 1918 during WWI. My grandparents had been married not quite 14 months and had a son who had been born in mid-December 1917. He went to basic training at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas before being assigned to the 14th Balloon company with training at Fort Omaha, Nebraska. During training, one of the balloons exploded killing two and injuring over 30. Either then or at another time during training, my grandfather’s hand became injured resulting in a permanent curve to two of his fingers.

Gen Pershing is 5th man from the right

My granddad left for France in July 1918. The day after they landed, General John Joseph Pershing insisted on inspecting the 14th and 15th Balloon companies. Years later in life he was quoted in a local newspaper as saying, “We were just off the transport after 11 days at sea and most of us hadn’t had a bath. He [Gen. Pershing] was quite impressed that we were enlisted men.” (The Fairborn Daily Herald. Lucille Rue. 8 Aug 1978.)


Photo taken of a display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio
Caption reads in part: Balloon of the 14th Balloon Company – following Armistice

After returning from France and being discharged as a private, Granddad won a reserve commission while he was a civilian worker. It was to the Quartermaster Corps. At the time he was living in Greene county, Ohio in a town called Fairfield which would eventually become Fairborn (along with the merge of neighboring town Osborn). In 1942 he re-entered active duty in the Army Air Corps which would become the United States Air Force. He retired on December 1, 1958 as a Colonel.


Gene Amore – 1950s – Japan

My father, Eugene (Gene) Amore enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on November 16, 1939. He went to Iceland in August 1942 where he was stationed for 15 months as an airplane mechanic with the air transport command. After he returned and following the marriage of my parents in December 1943, my Dad was stationed in Great Falls, Montana for awhile. In early 1953, he was sent to Tachikawa Air Base in Japan. My mom, brother and sister followed several months later. Most of the 1950s saw my family living in Japan through two tours of duty. He retired from the US Air Force in 1960. After returning to the Dayton area, my dad worked Transporation in Civil Service. During the Air Force museum’s move from a building off Broad Street in Fairborn, Ohio just inside the gates of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, my dad was responsible for the transportation of all of the aircraft, etc. to their new home located off of Springfield Street in Dayton – the present location.

I am very proud and thankful for my Granddad’s and my Dad’s service to the United States and the Air Force. The Air Force is in my blood. Each time I wander through the Museum filled with aircraft, artifacts, and history, I get goosebumps knowing that my family played a part in all of that.

(All pictures – original and digital in possession of Wendy LIttrell. US Air Force Logo – courtesy Wikimedia commons)

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31daystobettergenealogy

Amy Johnson Crow is hosting an online learning experience called “31 Days to Better Genealogy.” If you haven’t signed up for this, you can do so here. There is also a closed Facebook group that you can request to join after you sign up for the daily newsletter. You will receive a daily email and during the day, Amy posts a live video on the Facebook group. All members of the group are encouraged to work on the tip of the day, report their results, help and encourage each other.

Today’s tip was to explore the Digital Public Library of America website. Amy said that searches on it are a bit like Google. The DPLA has a bit of everything and some items do not even pop up from a regular search engine. So I thought I would give it a whirl to see what else I could find concerning my ancestors in Coshocton county, Ohio. Here is where Bright Shiny Objects happen so I knew I would need to be focused on what I was searching for (Day 1’s tip was to be more specific and asking the right questions).

As the search results for “Coshocton county Ohio” appeared, I noticed off to the side was “History of Muskingum County, Ohio.” Hmm, I thought. New focus and new question. Would that digital book have any new information concerning my 3rd great-grandfather, Abel Lewis? So I clicked on that topic, the digital book appeared, and in the “search this text” box I entered Lewis.

Sure enough, one of the first items that appeared concerned Abel Lewis and the Masons in Muskingum county. This was new information for me. The text mentioned that “On Saturday, the 25th day of May, 1805, William Raynolds, William Smyth, Levi Whipple, Daniel Converse, Abel Lewis and Lewis Cass, held a meeting in Zanesville, and, ‘after becoming known to each other as- Master Masons, in the manner prescribed by the rules of the craft, entered into conversation respecting the practicability and propriety of procuring a charter, authorizing them to hold a Lodge in this place…'” (Source: Everhart, J.F. 1794. History of Muskingum County, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers. F.J. Everhart and Company. 1882. Hathitrust. Electronic material. Digital image. p187. Digital Public Library of America. http://dp.la : accessed 4 October 2016.)

Another entry mentioned exactly where Abel Lewis lived after he had completed his term as Postmaster (he also had been an Ohio Supreme Court Clerk and surveyor) in 1812.

In the past, I have just glossed over items at the DPLA because I wasn’t thinking about searching for things. I was searching for names. The tip for today has really opened my eyes. I see many hours of more research in the DPLA ahead for me!

 

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31daystobettergenealogy

Amy Johnson Crow is hosting an online learning experience called “31 Days to Better Genealogy.” If you haven’t signed up for this, you can do so here. There is also a closed Facebook group that you can request to join after you sign up for the daily newsletter. You will receive a daily email and during the day, Amy posts a live video on the Facebook group. All members of the group are encouraged to work on the tip of the day, report their results, help and encourage each other.

Yesterday’s topic was “Explore Your Ancestor’s Occupation” and one of the items listed included looking at the Agriculture Census if your ancestor was a farmer. The ancestor I wanted to explore was my great-grandfather, James Emory House, born in May 1842 and died in October 1924. For most of his life he lived in Coshocton county, Ohio and indicated on the US Censuses that he was a farmer. His daughter – my grandmother’s sister – Julia Ann House had graduated high school (as did most of the eight children in the family), and when Julia married on Christmas Day in 1906, her dress was “white silk draped in chiffon.” Not only was it out of the ordinary for a family to afford to give their daughter a lavish wedding but to purchase a silk wedding dress for her. Those things indicated that James House had a substantial income.

I turned to the Non-Population Schedule in Agriculture for 1880. It showed that my great-grandfather owned 50 acres of improved land, 10 acres of woodlands with a total value of $2700. He owned two horses, 4 dairy cows, 5 other cattle, 8 swine, and 50 barnyard poultry. His chickens laid 200 dozen eggs in 1879. There were two acres in apple orchard with 50 fruit bearing trees and one acre in peach orchard with 40 fruit bearing trees. In 1879, five acres were grass mown and six acres of hay harvested. Crops included Indian corn – 4 acres/150 bushels; Oats – 2 acres/50 bushes; Wheat – 10 acres/170 bushels; and Irish potatoes – a quarter acre/20 bushels. Today, that $2700 would be close to $60,000.

This census provided me insight as to how well-to-do my great-grandfather and his family were back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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labor-day-parade

According to Wikipedia, Labor Day became an official holiday in 1887 to celebrate the “American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.”

As a child, Labor Day meant that school was right around the corner, as was Halloween, sweater weather, and hot chocolate. It was a day for one last cookout of the summer; one last day in the pool before the weather turned; one last bike ride in shorts and T-shirt; and one last night of children running through the backyards catching lightning bugs. As an adult, the holiday has meant a three day weekend and a day to sleep in.

Today, I am honoring the holiday with photos of ancestors at work or their places of business.

clawsonstore

This is the store my maternal grandmother’s stepfather ran in Anderson, Indiana.

grandadinuniform

My maternal grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, in uniform. One of the many pictures I have during his career in the U.S. Air Force.

dadwork1

My dad and two others in front of the place he worked when he was stationed in Japan (mid-1950s)

LMM146

My mom, Mary (Johnson) Amore, at her desk at the Greene County (Ohio) Senior Center – mid 1990s

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

(Labor Day image courtesty of Gifs.cc – Free Labor Day Clipart)

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 12 – Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

clawsonstore

W.F. Clawson store in Anderson, Indiana

My maternal grandmother, Vesta Wilt, helped out in the store owned by her step-father, William Frank Clawson, prior to her marriage.  The Clawson’s store was located in Anderson, Indiana. That is about the only job outside of the home she ever had. Vesta was better known for being an excellent homemaker and making so many of her family and friends feel welcome in the homes she shared with her husband, my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson. He always held a position of importance in the military so my grandmother was always prepared to entertain other officers.

My paternal grandmother, Ella (House) Amore, worked in the Coshocton Glove factory. I don’t know if it was before she was married or after she was married with children.

mom45

Mary Amore using her knitting machine

Mom spent more time working outside of the home than she did as a full time homemaker. She worked as a bookkeeper, a seamstress, a grant writer, a secretary, and in accounting.  She didn’t complete her working “life” until 2003 – at the age of 81. With only a high school education, Mom was very fortunate to obtain some of the positions that she had. As a small child, I was lucky that she was a stay at home mom for awhile. When she did re-enter the workforce, it was as a seamstress for a drapery manufacturer. Then a few years later, she went to work for Apple Manufacturing in downtown Dayton. They worked on contracts for the U.S. Army making cargo covers among other items. It was heavy, dirty work and she didn’t get much more than what the law allowed for minimum wage. Very rarely did she have to miss work due to illness because if she had, she would not have gotten paid. She didn’t have much in common with the people she worked with. Yet she was there for almost 10 years before the government contracts stopped and the plant closed its doors. She painstakingly sent out feelers and resumes and stayed employed. Not only was she a professional seamstress out in the workforce, but Mom was a professional home seamstress. She was very good and for awhile when I was in elementary and middle school, she had regular clients who came to our home. She mainly did alterations but ocassionally would sew clothes – even our neighbor’s wedding dress. She had a knitting machine (see picture above) and took classes on how to be an instructor. Dad and I would drive her to other lady’s homes so she could teach others how to use the machine. Now that knitting machine is mine.

LMM146

Mom as a Senior Aide & Grant Writer at the Fairborn Senior Center – mid 1990s

(All photos – original and digital owned by Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)

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Recently, I posted the article, Helping Hands, for the 88th Carnival of Genealogy’s theme on “Volunteerism”.  That post started the wheels in my brain turning, and I wondered, “Just what type of organizations did my family and ancestors join? What were their roles? How long did they continue their associations? What type of ‘rules’ were required or the type of paperwork submitted in order to become affiliated with those groups?”  So let’s dig in and find out! (Note: when I started writing this article several days ago, I didn’t realize just how many organizations and groups – civic, professional and fraternal – my family had joined.  I’ve realized that I need to break this post into sections.)

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

When I volunteered to be a leader for two of my daughters’ troops, all I had to do was fill out an application form and commit to attending the Service Unit meetings (once a month) and hold regularly scheduled Troop meetings.  In order to participate in field events, I needed to have one other adult (preferably a co-leader or a parent) with me and have completed a CPR/First Aid Course.  Toward the end of my “leader” days, Girl Scouts were also requiring background checks.  I was a Girl Scout Leader for my oldest daughter from her 3rd grade year until she was in high school.  I was a Leader for my youngest daughter through her Kindergarten year through her 4th grade year (the two overlapped!).   As a member of Girl Scouts, I only participated through two years of Brownies and six weeks of “Girl Scouts” (the term then for when a girl “flew up” to the real scouting program).

History of Girl Scouting: Organized on March 12, 1912 by Juliette Gordon Lowe.  She had met Lord Baden-Powell while in England and became interested in the “new movement” of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. 

Boy Scouts of America


My grandfather was a member of the Boy Scouts as a Scoutmaster and received the Silver Beaver Award.  Today, adult volunteers must submit an application, attend required Youth Protection training, and follow the Boy Scout Law and Oath.  Women were once only allowed to be “Den Mothers” but today can hold any Cub Scout Leadership position.  Girls are allowed to participate in the Venturing and Explorer programs however the Eagle Scout badge is only for males.

History of BSA: Founded in England in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell and incorporated in America by W.D. Boyce on February 8, 1910.  The Silver Beaver Award is an award for distinguished service that is given by the Council.

White Shrine of Jerusalem


My grandparents were members of the White Shrine of Jerusalem for several years.  This is not a “racial” organization – the “white” refers to the purity of Christ.  Membership is for women who have been active members of Rainbow Girls or Job’s Daughters for at least three years and have attained the age of 18.  Women who are related to a Master Mason are also eligible to join.  It’s purpose is Fraternal, Charitable, and Spiritual.  To join this organization obtain a petition from someone and complete the necessary information and submit with an initiation fee.  After confirming a Masonic affiliation, a vote is taken and a potential member will receive the results and a date for initiation.

Free & Accepted Masons

My grandfather was a member of Michael L. Finnell Lodge #711 located in the 8th District of Ohio of Free and Accepted Masons.  He reached the 33rd Degree many years before he passed away.  To become a member of the F&AM, one must contact the secretary for the nearest lodge and schedule a time to be visited by two members of the lodge who would recommend you for membership. Qualifications include: a resident of the state for specified period of time, be at least 19 years of age, believe in a Supreme Being, live a moral life, not an advocate of government overthrow, and read and write English.

History: Freemasonry was founded in 1717 in Londong, England and is a fraternal organization.  The traditions are founded in the building of the temple of King Solomon and the ceremonies use the tools of stonemasons that symbolize truth and moral lessons.

American Legion

My grandfather was a past commander of the Dignam-Whitmore American Legion post 526 which is located in Greene County, Ohio.  Anyone on active duty or has served in an eligible war era (WWI, WWII, Korean War, Viet Nam War, Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Gulf War – 1990 to present) is eligible to become a Legionaire.  The American Legion Auxilliary is for women who are related (spouse, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, etc.) of an American Legion member or deceased member.  Sons of the American Legion are for those male descendents of an American Legion member.

History: The American Legion was founded by WWI veterans in 1919 in order to assist disabled veterans and their families.   They also helped maintain a strong defense.  One achievement for the American Legion has been the GI Bill of 1944 that helped WWII veterans.  They have fought to increase health care for veterans and were instrumental in getting compensation for victims of Agent Orange, undiagnosed Gulf War illnesses and much more.

Order of the Eastern Star

My grandfather was Past Worthy Patron (1957) of Aero Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star and my grandmother was a charter member of the same chapter, No. 536.  My grandfather was honored upon his death by the Aero Chapter for his service of 30 years and 8 months.  Membership is for men who are Masons and women with specific Masonic affiliation.  Women are also eligible if they have been members in good standing for three years of Job’s Daughters or Rainbow Girls and have attained the age of 18.  To become a member one must talk to a current member of the local chapter and submit a petition.   It is not a secret society and members must believe in a Supreme Being.

History: click here to read about the three different time periods of Order of the Eastern Star history.

National Association of Balloon Corps Veterans (NABVC)

Since my grandfather served in the Balloon Corps during WWI, he was automatically a member of this group and in the mid-1950s, was elected as National Commander at one of the national conventions.  Although, not active in recent times, as all members have passed away, the NABVC was instrumental in 1975 who assisted the British WWI Balloon Veterans in locating one of the last Caquot Type R balloons from that era.  After restoration, the balloon can now be seen hanging in the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. (Picture is of the Caquot Balloon hanging in the US Air Force Museum; photographer – Wendy Littrell; digital image held in private)

National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE)

My grandfather, having been a federal employee for many years, was part of this organization and served two terms as regional Vice President.  To become a member one must be an active federal employee or a retired/former federal employee.  One of the perks my grandfather experienced happened on October 18, 1971 when he traveled with NARFE to the White House.  He enjoyed a meeting with President Nixon and received a photo of the group. 

History: Formed in 1921, this association helps improve and safeguard earning rights and benefits of active and retired federal workers, their families and survivors.

Antioch Shrine Temple 

My grandfather was also a member of the Antioch Shrine Temple in Dayton, Ohio.  One of the qualifications to becoming a Shriner was to be a Master Mason.  This is a fraternal organization based on Masonic principles.  The Shriners supports Shriners Hospitals for Children.

History: The Shriners were organized out of a meeting in New York of several Master Masons which included physicans and actors.  The first temple was organized in the New York City Masonic Hall on September 26, 1872.  In 1888 there were 48 temples and over 7,000 members in the United States and Canada.  The Shriners came to the aid of those victims of the 1889 Johnstown (Pennsylvania) flood. At the 1920 Imperial Session in Oregon, Freeland Kendrick of Philadelphia wanted to establish a Hospital for Crippled Children. The first hospital was in Louisiana. In 1996 the hospitals became the Shriners Hospitals for Children as they had updated their care to provide treatment for burns, spinal cords, neurological, cleft lip/palate and a multitude of others. The hospitals provide care at no cost to the patient or their families – only what is best for the child.   Today there are about 400,000 Shriners in 191 temples all across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central America.

High Twelve Club

As a Master Mason, my grandfather also belonged to the High Twelve Club, Chapter 69 of Dayton.  Members must be Master Masons however anyone can attend meetings.

History:  The first club was chartered by E.C. Wolcott on May 17, 1921.  It is a group of Master Masons who support those Masonic causes that emphasis patriotic events and youth support.  It is an association that is dedicated to the unity of Master Masons without the formal ritual of a lodge.  The name came from the term “high twelve” for noon which is the time many clubs met.

Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite

The Valley of Dayton is the chapter my grandfather had his membership. The Scottish Rite is open to all Master Masons in good standing.

History: the first Scottish Rite Supreme Council was founded in 1801 in Charleston, South Carolina.  The organization shares the same belief as other Masonic organizations that there is no degree higher than a Master Mason.  Even though there were members of Scottish ancestry, the organization originated in France in the early 18th century.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

My grandfather was a member of Post 6861 located in Fairborn, Ohio.  To be eligible one must have received a campaign medal for overseas service or served 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in Korea or received hostile fire or imminent danger pay.  Members must also be U.S. citizens, currently in the military or have an honorable discharge and have served overseas.  There is also an organization called VFW – She Serves that is exclusively for women who honors the sacrifce of female veterans who served overseas.

History: In 1899 veterans of the Phillipine insurrection and the Spanish-American war founded local organizations to get benefits and rights for their service.  When they arrived home, there weren’t any medical care or pensions for them and most were left to fend for themselves.  The VFW helped with the passing the GI Bill for the 21st Century in 2008 and fought for the improvement of VA medical facilities.  Today there are over 2 million members in 8100 posts worldwide.  Their mission is “honor the dead by helping the living.”

Voiture 40 and 8

As a WWI veteran, my grandfather was a member of this independent – by invitation only – organization with the long name of “La Societe des Quarante Hommes at Huit Chevaux” – but commonly referred to as “Forty and Eight”.  Invitation is extended to honorably discharged veterans and those who are honorably serving in the United States Armed Forces.

History: Founded in 1920 by American veterans returning from France, this organization’s aims are charitable and patriotic. The logo reflects the WWI origins as Americans were transported to the front lines by railroad cars that bore the stenciled numbers “40/8”.

Association of Old Crows

My grandfather was a member of Kittyhawk Chapter 70 in Ohio.  Members are people who are engaged in the development of related areas of electronic warfare (military employees, civil service employees, scientists, educators, etc.).

History: Organized in 1964 to exchange information on operational and technical parts of defense electronics and like fields. For more on the history please click here.

Reserve Officers Association of the United States 

Members are Reserve Officers in U.S. Armed Forces. 

History: General John Pershing formally established this association in 1922 after WWI.  The second session of the 81st Congress enacted Public Law 595 – “An Act to Incorporate the Reserve Officers Association of the United States.”  President Harry Truman signed the charter on June 30, 1950.

Retired Military Officers Association

This is open to all retired military officers, former military personnel, active duty professionals, business professionals, students, and business owners/managers.  Since my grandfather retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel, he was eligible for membership.

History: Information about the RMOA mission can be found here.

Aviation Hall of Fame

My grandfather was a charter member of the Aviation Hall of Fame.  Members need only to pick what level of membership and send in the appropriate monetary amount.  The National Aviation Hall of Fame is located at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.

History: Founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by Congress in 1964. It is dedicated to preserving as well as promoting the legacy of those in America who are outstanding air and space pioneers.  Past inductees have included: Jimmy Doolittle, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong, Howard Hughes, and James Stewart.

National Sojourners

This is another organization that requires Masonic membership as well as honorable service (currently or in the past) as an Officer or Senior Non-Commissioned officer in the uniformed services.

History of the sojourners can be found here.

 

 

 

Lions Club

My uncle was a member of the “Cereal City” Lions Club in Battle Creek, Michigan. Members are invited to join and are made up of men and women who are service and community minded.  In order to facilitate membership, one should locate the nearest club and contact that club to express interest in joining.  My uncle was a past president, and a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award.  He also held several other titles in his local Lions Club.

History: Began in 1917 by Melvin Jones, a Chicago businessman.  It is the world’s largest service organization with more than 1 million members in 45,000 clubs internationally.

Chamber of Commerce

My uncle was a member of Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

 

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

 My uncle was a member of this Society.  Those who seek to become members must fill out an application that requests professional information and pay the required dues.

History: Founded in 1880, the ASME is a not for profit professional organization. Collaboration and knowledge sharing is enabled across all engineering disciplines. The society helps the worldwide community of engineering to develop real world solutions for challenges faced.

 National Amputee Golf Association

As an avid golfer most of his life, when my uncle faced the challenge of being an amputee, he joined this association. Membership is open to anyone who has lost a hand or a foot at a major point (hip, wrist, elbow, knee, etc.). 

History: The NAGA was incorporated in 1954 and began with a small group of golfers who got together to play golf.  Soon, the games turned into regional tournaments.  Today there are over 2500 members globally.

National Security Industrial Association (presently: National Defense Industrial Association)

My uncle also enjoyed membership in this group.  Members could be corporate (companies and institutions) or individual (defense professionals).

History: In 1944 the NSIA was founded as the Navy Industrial Association as not-for-profit and non-political. It began as a way for government and industry (especially the defense industry) to have effective communication.  When the Department of Defense was formed, the name of the association became the National Security Industrial Association.  In 1997 the NSIA merged with the American Defense Preparedness Association to become the National Defense Industrial Association.

(Stay tuned for Part II!)

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This is the 4th and final article in this series on Military Records. You can read the first three in the series at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. These records can offer up quite a bit of information including your ancestors’ and collateral relatives’ vital statistics, birth date and location, residence at the time of registration, type of military service, campaigns they might have been involved in, next relative, occupation, address of their employer, identifying marks, their signature, and reason for infirmities if they applied for an Invalid Pension.

In Part 3 I used my great-grandfather’s (James Emory House) Application for Invalid Pension as an example. I will continue with his papers to show who he served under, campaigns he took part in, and the reason he applied for this.

james_house_pension91

My great-grandfather appeared before a clerk of the Common Pleas Court of Coshocton County, Ohio on September 6, 1887 to submit this Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension.  In it he stated the date and place he enrolled to serve the Union and the State of Ohio in the Civil War and also what company and regiment in which he served.  The document lists that James’ regiment was commanded by Col. E.R. (Ephraim) Eckley and mentions that my great-grandfather was honorably discharged at Washington D.C.

When he was discharged from the service he was 23 years old and stood 5 ft. 8.5 inches, had dark complexion and hair and grey eyes.  It goes on to read, “That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of duty at Near Corinth in the state of Missipi on or about the               day of April, 1862, he contracted a disease of his stomic which the doctors called catarrh of his stomic. That his disease of his stomic continued to afflict him untill he was discharged and has continued to afflict him more and more untill the present time.”

The continuation of the document tells the location of the hospitals where he was treated: one in Tennessee and also in St. Louis.  It also says that James did not have any other military service except serving for the Union.  His occupation prior to and following military service was Farmer and that he was considered one half disabled.

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In a General Affidavit dated June 21, 1888, 63 year old S.M. Baldwin of Butler County, Iowa stated that he was James Emory House’s sargent and later his First Lieutenant and knew James personally while in the service of Company “H”, 80th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers.

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(Further transcription) That while in line with his duty as a soldier near a place called “Corinth” in the State of Tennessee some time in the month of Apl 1862 he the claimant contracted a trouble in his stomach and was sent to Hospital at St. Louis and after his return to the company it appeared that he could bear but little fatigue and was constantly complaining of trouble in his stomach.

The above paragraph gives me an approximate time and place that my great-grandfather’s illness began and that it was so severe he actually had to be hospitalized.  I also learned who his immediate superior was by this General Affidavit.

In another affidavit, given by William Derr who personally knew James House, the affiant stated that my great-grandfather contracted the catarrh of the stomach about April 30, 1862 and was sent to a hospital in Tennessee for about 10 days and then to a St. Louis hospital.  He returned to duty in July 1862 which indicates that the hospitalization lasted about 3 months. 

james_house_pension8Above is the Declaration for Invalid Pension that my great-grandfather submitted.  This application states that on July 9, 1890 James, at age 48, residing in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County, Ohio, made a declaration that he was the same man who enrolled as a Private in Company H of the 80th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on December 26, 1861 to fight in the Civil War.  Furthermore, that he served at least 90 days and was honorably discharged on May 22, 1865 at Alexandria, Virginia.  He asked for Invalid Pension due to the fact that he could not earn a living because he suffered from “disease of stomach, piles and heart, Catarrh of head and throat, and total loss of sight of right eye.”

It is not clear if he lost his sight due to the infirmaties he suffered from military service or had contracted glaucoma or macular degeneration.  Catarrh of stomach/head/throat, etc. is categorized as “An inflammatory affection of any mucous membrane, in which there are congestion, swelling, and an alteration in the quantity and quality of mucous secreted. In America, especially, a chronic inflammation of, and hypersecretion from the membranes of nose or air passages. in England, an acute influenza, resulting from a cold and attended with cough, thirst, lassitude and watery eyes; also, the cold itself. ” (Causes of Death in the Late 19th Century)

In August 1912 the Adjutant General official document read:

james_house_pension10
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF PENSIONS
Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 1912,
Respectfully returned to the Adjutant General, War Department for a full military history and a personal description with age at enlistment.
2 Enclosures

james_house_pension11
THE ADJUTANT
GENERAL’S OFFICE
WASHINGTON, AUG 27, 1912
Respectfully returned to the
Commissioner of Pensions
with the information that in
the case of
James E. House Co. H, 80th Reg’t, Ohio Inf
the records show personal description
as follows:
age 19, height 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches,
complexion dark, eyes grey, hair black
place of birth Coshocton Co, O
occupation farmer
Age at reenlistment 21 years.
The revocation of the muster out to reenlist as veteran and muster in as veteran is canceled, he was a veteran volunteer from Feb. 21, 1864 when reenlisted as such.
The military records furnish nothing in addition to that shown in former statements.
Geo Andrews, Adjutant General

On April 30, 1923 when James was 81 years old a Declaration for Pension was applied for: james_house_pension12
This application stated that James required attendance by another person because of his disabilities that included: totally blind in right eye, bronchial asthma, chronic indigestion, prostatic trouble, kidney trouble, rheumatism, weak and emaciated.  Furthermore, it stated that since leaving the service he had lived in Coshocton County, Ohio and the State Soldiers Home of Ohio (Erie County), and he had been unable to work.

On the bottom of that declaration is a stamp that specifies that the “Declaration accepted as a claim under Sec. 2 Act of May 1, 1920.”

And the final page in the file is dated October 1924.

james_house_pension_13

Above is the drop report stating that James House, who had received $72 a month with the last payment sent in August 1924, had been dropped from the roll due to his death which ocurred on Oct. 1, 1924.

From all of the information contained in James House’s pension file, I can conclude that he never did return to full health after being afflicted with catarrh during his service in the Civil War and that even though he had been able to work as a farmer after he was discharged, he couldn’t work full time and earn enough to live on.  I believe that as he aged the disease and other disabilities weakened him.

The overall picture of my great-grandfather’s life became much clearer after reading through this file as I could put dates to events in his life. 

I urge you to see what kind of picture you can get of your ancestors and collateral relatives with the aid of their military files (if they have any) in order to “flesh” out the person or persons you are looking for.

I hope this four part series has given you more avenues to look when doing research and inspired you to see what other stones can be turned over in order to document events in your ancestors’ lives.

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