Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Elias B Church, Civil War Pension Record

So I received my legal sized package in the mail last week!  What a treat to read through this packet.  It has taken me a week to actually fully digest everything that was sent to me.

The package came from my third cousin who is a descendant from Angeline Church Cahill.  Angeline and Elias are siblings from Stephen and Jerusha Church.  He sent me a copy of a marriage certificate for Elias B Church  and Mary Ann Doyle, a pension application for the Civil War,  census records and lots of research that I’m sure took hours to compile. 

The one thing that I found to be the most valuable was the pension application for Elias Church.  Apparently, he served in the Civil War from November 26, 1861 to November 25, 1864 and incurred injuries for the rest of his life because of his service.  I was not aware of this prior to getting these documents.  Included in his application are many affidavits from members of the family who knew him prior to his service and after his service.  Wm R Cahill, C. J. Cahill, Edwin B. Doyle, C. H. Martin, Frank Ells, John S. Doyle, Joshua Hollands and Elias Church in his own handwriting all have sworn affidavits in his behalf.

Basically, the affidavits testify that prior to being in the service Elias B Church was healthy strong young man who could put in a good days work.  After he returned home he was unable to perform such labor due to being short of breath.  Most of the affidavits testified that he was unable to perform ¼ days worth of work.

The following statement came from a document titled

            DECLARATION FOR ORIGINAL INVALID PENSION. 
State of Kansas
County of Atchison
“On this 8th day of May, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty personally appeared before me, Judge and Clerk of the Probate Court, a court record within and for the county and State aforesaid, Elias Church, aged 47 years, a resident of the township of Lancaster, county of Atchison State of Kansas, who, being duly sworn according to the law, declares that he is the identical Elias Church who was ENROLLED on the 26th day of November 1861, in Company B of the 4th regiment of Kans Infty Vos commanded by Cap Rose, and was honorably DISCHARGED at St. Louis Mo. On the 25th day of November, 1864; that his personal description is as follows: Age, 47 years; height, 5 feet 8 inches; complexion, light; hari, grey; eyes, blue. 
That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in line of his duty at or near Fort Union, in the state of New Mexico on or abu the tenth day of November, 1863, he was taken sick from the effects of a violent cold received whilst on guard duty caused by a violent North West storm coming on whilst on said duty from the effect of which he was prostrated with a hard spell of lung fever, was unable to go on the march that day, was carried along in the ambulance for two days and then left at Gray’s Ranch extremely sick with an attendant to look after and nurse him and without any medical aid-Remained there under charge of attendant until on or about January 1st 1864 when he was sent to the Invalid Hospital at Leavenworth City Kansas” this document is stamped by the Office of the Interior Pension Office May 22, 1880

On November 8, 1905 notice is given that the pension of $12 was dropped due to the fact that Elias B Church had died on April 10, 1904.

Elias testified that his disease was inflammation of the right lung and that he “was unable to do much work or exercise being greatly distressed for the want of breath.”  He also stated that when he would catch a cold he would “throw bloody matter and white froth streaked with blood from my lung and would be confined to the house for weeks at a time.” 

In honor and memory of the service of those like Elias who served in the Civil War 150 years ago, I’d grateful to have an ancestor like him.  He paid a price that lasted his whole life and didn’t come from the battlefield, but from an unusual and unfortunate circumstance.  It sheds a little more light on the love his wife had for him as she cared and took care of him.  This information also helps me understand maybe the burden of work placed on his sons, John, Ellis and Ard so that the family could survive. 

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