Amanuensis Monday: Questions to Answer from Townsend Pension File

Last week, I shared all the rich knowledge that I learned from the Civil War Pension file for William James Townsend and his wife Mary Clabaugh of Franklin County, Ohio. This week, I'll recap all the questions the file generated.

Marriage Certificate for William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh
Marriage Certificate for William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh

It seems that when one question is answered, more questions arise. Perhaps this makes me a sleuth. Perhaps this makes me a little too curious for my own good. Hopefully I can answer some of the questions on my list. Perhaps they'll forever remain unanswered. It's nice to know I have a To Do list that is never ending.


William Townsend Pension Application
  • William's last name is spelled Townson. Later records change the last name to Townsend. Does this provide clues as to how his name was pronounced, or perhaps an earlier version of the spelling? Or is this simply a mistake?
  • A W Shearer of Alton, Franklin County, Ohio was his attorney. (Question: how was Mr. Shearer obtained and paid? Was he a family friend or was he a known Civil War Pension attorney?)
  • Two Witnesses: Kate Van Dine & Mary E Nagle (Question: who are these ladies and how do they know William Townson? Or did they work for Mr. Shearer and attest only to the fact that William made his mark?)
  • John F Kile and Geo W Weatherington were two more witnesses to this pension (Question: how are they and how do they know William Townson?)
Civil War Pension Affidavit
  • Marie E Nagle was a witness on the previous file. Callie Orvinges is a second on this record. I do not know if either are related to William J Townsend or simply worked in the office of William's attorney. 
  • What were the steps for Pension application and acceptance?
Civil War Claimant Affidavit for William J Townson
  •  What records exist of William James Townson prior to his service in the civil war in Marion Township, Franklin County, Ohio?
  • Who were Drs. Craine, Chainney & Saylor?
  • Who was Tho H Beck?
  • Was MOB Letter, really mistranslated by me and someone else to pay attention to?
Witness Statement for William James Townson
  • Where is Edward's Station, Franklin County, Ohio?
  • The railroad town also known as Edwards Station which was located along what is now the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, just across the township line from the Columbus Motor Speedway. When it was built the line was the Hocking Valley Railroad. The P.O. operated from 1874 through 1898.
  • Who are Edward G Behm & John Rohn, more specifically? They knew William J Townson in the military service in 1863 and were willing to attest for William 1883. So, how close were the three?
Affidavits from William Gill & George Mansfield
  • Who else can I learn about William C Gill and George Mansfield of Franklin County, Ohio?
  • Why were they willing to sign an affidavit for William Townsend?
  • Besides serving in the same military unit, how else did they know my grandfather William Townson (or Townsend)?
Physician Affidavit for William Townsend
  • Can I learn more about the medical practice of C R Clement, MD? 
  • With William being so poor, how was he able to have Dr Clement treat him?
  • What do all of the medical conditions mean that Dr. Clement listed?
Affidavit by John Fearn, 2nd Lieut
  • Is it possible to learn more about John H Fearn, and the other officers of this military unit?
  • Why would Mr. Fearn be willing to attest to William's condition 23 years after event took place if they never saw each other again from the time of discharge? How would he have remembered William's state after 23 years? Was their a journal? Was it told to him so he could 'remember'?
  • How common was it for officers to serve as witnesses for various pension cases? If common, they why weren't other officers used for William? And, how many did John Fearn sign?
  • What was the nature of the forced march in May 1864 for Co K, 133rd? What was the weather and the terrain like? How many others were severely affected the way William was? How many moved on to City Point, Virginia?

Undertaker Affidavit for William Townsend
  •  What were the costs of the funeral, especially since William and Mary Townsend were so poor?
  • The Cemetery is listed as the Luthren Cemetery in Hamilton Township. That cemetery has become known as the Obetz Cemetery in Obetz, Ohio. Is this was all the same place and when the name was changed?
  • Was William and Mary Townsend Lutheran if they were buried in the Lutheran Cemetery?
Declaration for Widow's Pension
  • What was the actual process for a widow to obtain a Widow's Pension?
  • Who is James A Kile?
Declaration for Widow's Pension June 1890
  • Who is A.H. Addington?
  • Who is Mary E Kleinlin?
  • Who is Cal Townsend?
  • Why did the couple marry by the Justice of the Peace rather than a church?
  • Was anyone a witness to the marriage by the JP? 
Mary Townsend's Wife Affidavit
  • Are purchase/sale records available for William's family home and Mary's home in Edwards Station?
General Affidavits Jennie Tewell, Midwife
  • Does Jennie Tewell's midwife records still exist? Where are they? What can they tell me about the Townsend births, and Jennie's service as a midwife?
General Affidavit by Ida Sanborn
  • How close was Ida's home to her mother Mary's in 1890/1891?
  •  Ida had three small children of her home at this time. Did her children play with their young aunts & uncles when Mary took in odd jobs for her family's support?
Reca Yous - Midwife Affidavit
  • Who is Reca Yous and is this the correct spelling of her name?
  • What more can I learn about the 65-year old midwife?
General Affidavits Nancy Miller
  • Where is Reece's Station?
  • Did Nancy have formal education to make her handwriting so nice?
General Affidavit by Charles E Klineline
  • Who is Charles Kleinline? How close does he live to Mary Townsend in Edwards Station?
  • Why would someone so young be signing an affidavit for someone much older?
  • Is Mary Kleinlien the mother of Charles Kleinlien? 
  • When were the two Mary's neighbors... chilldhood, adulthood, or after Mary sold her married home to buy the $400 home in Edward's Station?
  • Did Mary Townsend choose a home close to Mary Kleinlien after her husband's death by the latter's instance?
  • Are the two Marys more closely related that best friends?
  • Can I find Mary Kleinlien in Census records where Mary Townsend grew up?
Application for Accrued Pension
  • Is it possible that the Townsend name could have more records under the spelling of Townson, or Townsen?
  • Jacob and Alvis Miller, of Edwards Station, have known the Townsends for 21 years. What was their relationship like?
Civil War Pension Payment
  • The attorney received $10 and how much my widowed grandmother would receive. At some point, I could do a comparison to today's dollars to interpret how much that is. However, I could also see the prices of items in the 1890s to see just how much Mary and her children would be able to buy.
Widow Pension Dropped
  • How often were the payments made?
  • The original amount was $16 because of Mary ($8) and four minor children ($8). If the pension never increased, then who were the additional children providing Mary with $4 per payment and what happened to them upon their mother's death? Or, did the Pension amount increase at some point?

 I will challenge you to look up your Civil War Ancestor's service and pension files. There is a lot of information available, even for someone who served for the briefest amount of time. I hear some files have a lot more invaluable information than I had. I look forward to finding more Civil War Ancestors on my tree, though the relationship will be more of a cousin and distant cousin nature. When I have a larger list, I will contact another professional genealogist and submit my request. Who knows, those files might contain some major clues, or just more deepth to the family member's stories.

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