Posts Tagged ‘GAR’

Photograph by Harry C. Mann circa 1910

“Black veterans of the Civil War gather for a reunion in Norfolk circa 1910. The forty-one men in the photograph were likely recruited in the area during the Civil War, served in black Union regiments, and then became members of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). Most of the men recruited in the area had been formerly enslaved.”
Click here to see the complete entry at the Encyclopedia Virginia.

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The soldier joined the Grand Army of the Republic, Ellsworth Post in Baltimore. Two members of his post described him as “a man of good habits, stood well in his community and everybody spoke well of him” and said that his ailments were the result of “exposure, hardships and lying upon the damp battlefield during his service in US Army during the Civil War.” After the war he and his wife had several children including some whose births were not entered into a public record. These claims included statements from a doctor, midwives, neighbors, and fellow soldiers.

Invalid — 860,966 / 929,774
Widow — 576,605 / 400, 207, Sarah Wilson

Declaration for Invalid Pension, Eleck Wilson, 30 August 1890
51 years old; residence, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD; post-office address, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD
“He hereby appoints, with full power of substitution and revocation Geo. W.F. Vernon, 108 St. Paul St., of Baltimore, state of Maryland”
“Also personally appeared Edward Wilson, residing at 206 Cross St., Balto., Md. and Robert Thomas, residing at 206 W. Hamburg St., Balto., Md. … acquaintance with [Eleck Wilson] for 23 years and 25 years, respectively”

Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Alexander Wilson, 5 July 1892
52 years old; residence, residence, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland; post-office address, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD
“in the service and in the line of his duty, at turnpike between Petersburg & Richmond in the State of Va., on or about the 10th to 15th day of May 1864 … my horse fell down and I fell on my sword which struck me on the small in my back, causing pain in the same which has troubled me ever since…. did not go to the hospital but was treated by Dr. Warner [?] … since leaving the service … resided in Norfolk, Va. since Sept 10, 1869, then moved to Baltimore, Md. where I have since resided … when enrolled, a farmer”

“Also personally appeared George Palmer, residing at Balto City, Md., and E.L. Holmes, residing at Balto City,

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Sarah Frances A. Wilson, 6 May 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York St., Baltimore, Md.
“That she was married under the name of Frances Ann Harris to said Alexander Wilson on the 16th day of July 1868, by Rev. E.G. Corprew, at Portsmouth, Va.”
“Names and dates of birth of all the children now living under sixteen years of age of the soldier are as follows:

Frances born ….. June 26, 1878 Florence born ….. Sept 15, 1883
John born ….. Feby 8, 1880 Maggie born ….. March 27, 1886
Addie born ….. Feby 17, 1882 Joshua born ….. Feby 4, 1889
 Joseph born ….. Sept 5, 1891

“[her attorney] Geo. W.F. Vernon, 225 Courtland St., of Baltimore, State of Maryland”
“Also personally appeared Sarah Wilson, residing at Balto, Md, and Sharon Reed, residing at Balto, Md. … acquaintance with her of 15 years and 18 years, respectively …. Although I was not personally present at the birth, I was sent for.”

General Affidavit, Mary E. Coates, 8 May 1893
66 years old; residence, 6 E. Church St., Baltimore, Md.
“That I am a midwife … I delivered the claimant Frances Wilson wife of Alexander Wilson of a female child subsequently called Maggie Wilson… I was also God Mother to the said child and by reference to my bible I find the date to be 27 March 1886.”

General Affidavit, Rachael Miles, 8 May 1893
44 years old; residence, 229 W. Hill Street, Baltimore, Md.
“That I was a nurse to Mrs. Frances Wilson when she gave birth to a male child on the 4th February 1889, owing to a delay in the arrival of the midwife who had been engaged…. I personally delivered on the 4th Feby 1889 child subsequently called Joshua known and recognized as a legitimate child of Frances and Alexander Wilson. I remember the date as it was just a month before President Harrison was inaugurated. … I was an intimate friend and associate of the claimant and her deceased husband prior to the marriage … she has no property whatever, possesses only a few chairs, table, beds etc of no value, she is entirely dependent upon those not legally bound for her support and her own daily labor such as washing etc. for her support and that of her minor children all of whom are now living and have not been abandoned.”

General Affidavit, Nellie Gross, 10 May 1893
83 years old; residence 17 Winder St. Baltimore, Maryland
“That I am by occupation a midwife to Mrs. Frances Harris ... and delivered said wife of a female child, 15 Sept 1883 subsequently known and called Frances Wilson, the legitimate child of Frances and Alexander Wilson”

General Affidavit, Charles H. Fowler, MD, 10 May 1893
30 years old; residence, 712 S. Sharp Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“That he well knew Alexander Wilson … that he well knows Frances Nelson … That there was born to the said Alexander Wilson and Frances Wilson on the 5th day of September 1891 a male child … named Joseph Wilson. That the said affiant was the attending physician during the illness of the aforesaid Frances Wilson while pregnant with the aforesaid child though he did not deliver the same.”

General Affidavit, Rachael Mills, 12 May 1893
44 years old; residence, 229. W. Hill St., Baltimore, Maryland
“That I was a neighbor and intimate friend of the claimant Frances Wilson. That I Iived in the same neighborhood with the claimant for more than four years, that is from 1877 to 1891, I was sent for and saw the mother and child shortly after the Birth.”

General Affidavit, Sarah Frances Ann Wilson, 16 May 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“prior to the Rebellion I was a slave, that at the time of my birth my mother was owned by Rueben Culpeper of Virginia, now dead, whose wife was named Ann Culpeper. My mother gave me the name of Sarah Frances Harris but my mistress desiring me to have a portion of her name called me Sarah Frances Ann Harris. In 1868 I was married under the name of Frances Ann Harris, but since my marriage I have dropped the Ann almost entirely, sometimes giving my name as Sarah Frances, then again simply as Frances; that I am called by most of my friends simply Frances Wilson.”

General Affidavit, Sarah Frances A. Wilson, 13 October 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“I cannot furnish the dates of birth of our children viz. Addie born Feby 17, 1882; Maggie born March 27, 1886; Joshua born Feby 4, 1889; and Joseph born Sept 5, 1891; by the public record by the fact that the midwife (Millie Gross) who delivered one of the children Addie failed to report the birth of said child, therefore, no record of said child’s Birth; that owing to a delay in the arrival of my midwife at the birth of my child Joshua, I was delivered of said child by my nurse (Rachel Miles) who made no report to the Health Dept. … that my last child Joseph was born before the arrival of my doctor (Chas. H. Fowler) who attended me at the time, but I find also he has failed to report Birth to the Public Record. I have filed the affidavits of the midwife, nurse, and doctor as to the dates of Births of children herein mentioned … and through no fault or carelessness on my part.
“I hereby swear that the following named children are still living and have not been abandoned; viz. Frances; John; Addie; Florence; Maggie; Joshua; and Joseph.”

General Affidavit, Benjamin Green, 2 March 1897
51 years old; residence, 811 S. Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD
“That I was personally well acquainted with the deceased soldier Alexander Wilson for two years prior to his death in April 1893, we were members of the same Grand Army Post, and was well associated … said soldier was a man of good habits, stood well in his community and everybody spoke well of him”

General Affidavit, Alfred Fields, 16 March 1897
51 years old; residence, 1010 S. Fremont, Baltimore, Md
“That I was personally well acquainted with the deceased soldier Alexander Wilson for 20 years prior to his death, that we were members of the same Grand Army Post (Elsworth Post No. 19) and that we lived neighbors for several years … he contracted [his ailments] from exposure, hardships and lying upon the damp battlefield during his service in US Army during the Civil War … Alexander Wilson was a man possessed of no vicious habits, and well respected”

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Lewis Dawley, Company B, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry wrote a letter to the Pension Bureau on letterhead belonging to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Click on the image to view the entire letter.

Shaw Post was among 59 GAR Posts in Virginia and North Carolina as of July 27, 1871.


See also Peter C. Adams, Company C [ceremonial swords] (posted November 26, 2018) and Grand Army of the Republic Hall, Lynn, Massachusetts (posted September 16, 2019).



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Lewis Dawley, Company B

A veteran wrote a letter on stationery from the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which suggests he was a member of the organization, possibly an officer. One of his eight brothers Joseph Dawley served in Company G, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry as a bugler. His brother Charles Dawley served in Company F, 23rd U.S. Colored Troops. Their pension application folders are currently unavailable.

Invalid — 659,142 / 810,199

Memo from Lewis Dawley to John Blackwell, Pension Office, Washington, DC, 6 August 1888
“My residence is 379 Church St., Norfolk, Va. where I have been living ever since 1869, post office Norfolk, Va. Have been a truckman ever since I came out of the war. The heat of the sun affected my eyes while in Texas so that I had to be sent to the hospital in New Orleans and the dr. that attended me there. I know not where he is. Again in 1874 I was attended by Dr. Townsend then of Norfolk but removed from here some years ago and I know not where he is. In 1878 I was attended by Dr. Wisener of this city. He has deceased.”
[Note: The memo’s written on stationery of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Virginia, Headquarters, Shaw Post, Number 5. The last four letters of “Blackwell” are struck through. — Leslie]

Memo, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, DC, 16 January 1889
Joseph Dawley, a Bugler of Company G, 1st Regiment U.S.C. Cavy Volunteers was enrolled on the 25th day Nov 1863, at Norfolk, Va. for 3 yrs. and is reported: Rolls to Feby 29 64 present: March & April present as private; May & June absent on det[ailed] service; July & Aug 64 and to Dec 31 65 present: mustered out with Co. Feby 4 1866 at Brazos Santiago, Tex.
“His personal description is as follows: Born in Princess Anne Co. Va.: age at enrollment, 31 yrs: occupation, fisherman: eyes, hair and complexion black: height, 5 ft. 5 in.”

Sworn Statement, Major Chaplin and Isaac Kellum, 13 January 1889
[Chaplin] 63 years old; post-office address, 87 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
[Kellum] 63 years old; post-office address, 65 Queen St., Norfolk, Va.
“That they have been well and personally acquainted with the said Lewis Dawley many years previous to the ‘War of the Rebellion’ …”

Sworn Statement, John Linear and Abram Carter, 3 July 1889
[Linear] 43 years old; post-office address, 23 Newton St., Norfolk, Va.
[Carter] 38 years old; post-office address, 22 Newton St., Norfolk, Va.
“intimately acquainted with the claimant ever since his discharge. Have lived in close proximity to him from the service. Have worked at the same place and under the same employer…. We have lived as neighbors for many years and seen and conversed with him as often as times unknown.”

Memo, Lewis Dawley, 8 February 1889
“Sir, I was born April 11, 1836. My father died long before the war when I was a small child. I hardly can remember him. My mother died in the year of January 17, 1880.”
[Note: I wonder if she’s including in the 1880 Mortality Schedule? Leslie]

Memo, Lewis Dawley to Mr. Wm. E. McLean, Commissioner, 25 February 1889
“Sir, your correspondence was received and in reply to it I was born the eleventh of April 1836. My mother died Jan. 17th 1880. My father died long before the war. Please let me hear from you.
“Lewis Dawley, 325 Church St., Norfolk, Va.”

General Affidavit, Edward Bray and William F. Warden, 4 April 1890
[Bray] 42 years old; Plank Road, Norfolk Co., Va.
[Warden] 41 years old; 72 Scott St., Norfolk, Va.
“That they knew Lewis Dawley from time of his return from army to present time … living close to him and seeing him every day and or two and being intimate with him to present time.”

Deposition, Abel C. Carter, 4 March 1891
about 46 years old; occupation, janitor; residence and post-office address, 22 Newton St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the clt Lewis Dawley for the past twenty years and perhaps a little longer and I have lived a neighbor to him for the past 15 years during which time I have seen him almost every day…”

Deposition, Wm. T. Warden, 4 March 1891
42 years old; “by profession a minister of the gospel;” residence and post-office address, 72 Scott St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the claimant Lewis Dawley for the past thirty years …. I was living in this city when he came home after discharge in the Fall of 1865 … I have seen him almost daily since his return home from the army. … He bears the reputation and worthily of being a first class citizen and honorable upright man. … I have never visited him at his house when he has been laid up with sore eyes. I gain my knowledge of his condition from associating with him on the streets.”

Deposition, Isaac Kellum, 4 March 1891
64 years old; occupation, laborer; residence and post-office address, 14 Hull Street, Norfolk, Va.
“I have known Lewis Dawley continuously for more than thrity years …. I served with him … He was Commissary Sergeant of the Company and I was the Companies’ [sic] cook so that I was thrown up with him all the time.
“I visited him several times [at Post Hospital Brazos Santiago, Texas]. From said hospital he was sent to New Orleans to hospital… I found him in Norfolk on my return from the army and we have been neighbors continuously ever since and I have seen him almost daily during that time …”

Deposition, Major Chappman, 5 March 1891
64 years old; occupation, huckster; residence and post-office address, 87 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the claimant Lewis Dawley from his childhood to the present. He was born and reared in the neighborhood where I lived and he and I enlisted in Co. B 1st USCC at the same time. … We were camped on the white sand of Brazos and most of our men took sore eyes …”

Deposition, John Lyunier, 5 March 1891
about 44 years old; occupation, shoemaker; residence and post-office address, 23 Newton St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the claimant … intimately, continuously since the first of the year 1869. I have lived just in the immediate rear of his residence and property since that time. His property fronts on Church St and my property fronts on Newton St and our properties abut. …He and I were officers at the same church about sixteen years ago. He was our secretary and I then noticed that he had to wear glasses whenever he went to read the minutes for our meetings.”

Questionnaire (Form 3-402), Lewis Dawley, 17 March 1898
[married?] “I am. Amy Jane Dawley. Her maiden name. Amy Jane Dawley.”
[Note: His answers are confusing but I copied his statement exactly. Was Amy Jane enslaved by a person with surname Dawley? — Leslie]
[where, when, by whom] July 9, 1874, Norfolk, Va.; W.D. W. Schuremann, minister of the AME Church
[marriage record] “The record Amy Jane Dawley is the present wife.”
[previously married] Yes. Amy Dawley. Died Nov 27, 1872, on about June 1859. Princess Anne Co
[living children] “One. His name George Dawley, 12th of March 1860, Norfolk, Virginia”
post-office address, 599 Church St., Norfolk, Va.”

Deposition, Louis Dawley, 16 April 1901
66 years old; occupation, janitor or sweeper, Navy Yard; post-office address, 599 Church Street, Norfolk, Va.
“My father’s name was Joshua Dudley. He belonged to a man by the name of Robert Dudley. My mother’s name was Fannie Dawley. My mother and I belonged to Gideon Dawley. I was born in Princess Anne Co., Va. and I have resided in Princess Anne and Norfolk Cos. all my life with the exception of the period I was in the army … was discharged as a Sgt at New Orleans, La. from hospital on Oct 23, 1865.”
“The discharge [illegible] is that of Louis Dailey and the name ‘Louis’ has been altered; the spelling changed since the discharge was issued.”
“In 1866 I gave my discharge to a man by the name of Brown, a claim agent, and I never saw that discharge again until in 1896 when it came to me in an official envelope from some Department in Washington. I don’t know who altered it. My name is not Dailey. I enlisted a Dawley and answered to that name at roll call. I never heard of the name Dailey until about 16 [?] years after discharge when an officer from Washington was disbursing bounty money here in this building and he could not pay me because I did not answer to the name on his records. The bounty was afterward paid to me, however by mail, sent in care of Postmaster Long. I lost hope of receiving my discharge and secured the certificate of service which I show to you.
“I hand to you also the discharge of my brother Joseph Dawley who served in Co G, 1st USC Cavalry and who died 20 years ago, leaving no widow or minor child. He was never married.
“I had 8 brothers. Two were in the army. Joseph and Charles Dawley. Charles served in the 23rd USC Inf. and died 16 or 17 years ago. He left no widow but did leave three children. I never had any sisters. My brothers were Singer, Joshua, Sambo, Owen, Joe, Charles, Louis and Daniel. All are dead but me.

“Garrard was my Col.
Brown was Major.
McIntyre was my Capt.
[illegible] was a Lt.
Spencer was a Lt.
Alfred Lawton was Ord Sgt.
Shields, Tucker and I were sgts. James Langley, Norfolk, Va. tented with me. I was not detailed at any time. I was not in any battle. We were in a skirmish on the peninsula between here and Petersburg, when we attempted to take a provision train.
“I do not remember that my regt was at any such places such as Bermuda Hundred, Smithfield, Wilson Landing, Powhatan or Cabin Point. I never heard of these places.

“We took the boat to Fort Monroe and went to Texas. We were 21 days en route. We landed at Brazos Texas where I was taken sick and sent to Hospital at New Orleans, La. where I remained between two and three months when I was dischared for disease of eyes and head contracted in Texas. The only other injury I sustanined was back at Camp Hampton shortly after enlisted while practicing. My horse sprained my back while jumping.”

Dr. Lee, dead, has been my physician since the war. John Linyer, Abel C. Carter, were witnesses in my pension claim. … Amy J. Dawley is the name of my present wife. We were married in Norfolk, Va. in 1874 by Rev. W.D. Schumann. I had a former wife, Amy Harris, who died in 1873. My present wife never had a former husband.”

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Even an application for pension benefits as an Invalid can be a source of useful genealogical and community information.


Invalid — 729,437 / 531,419


General Affidavit, Thomas Riddick, 17 March 1890
50 years old; post-office address, Portsmouth …”That is well acquainted with Cyrus Washington being a member of the same company with him and while in the line of his duty at Texas he became effected [sic] with deafness and partial loss of sight which disability has continued to the present time and I believe him to incapacitated to perform hard manual labor to the extent of at least one half.”


General Affidavit, John Betsy, 3 January 1891
78 years old; post-office address, 709 County St., Portsmouth, Va….”I know Cyrus Washington well. We live near neighbors and see him every day. We know that he is a great suffering with his eyes and is also deaf.”


General Affidavit, Benjamin Jenkins, 3 January 1896
51 years old, post-office address, 709 County St., Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia …. “I was in company & Regiment with Cyrus Washington. He was a sound man when he went into the army. I live near neighbor to him now and see him every few days. He suffers much. His eyes and is partially blind and almost deaf. At times he is unable to see or hear without using the voice very loud. His general health is fast going away and he is not able to work one half the time or to earn the half that a well man can earn.”


Statement, Thomas Riddick, 14 May 1899
“Shortly after we arrived at Brazos Santiago, Texas, Comrade Cyrus Washington was taken sick and sent to General Hospital at New Orleans, La. and did not return to his company till it was ready to be mustered out. We arrived in Texas in the summer of 1865, but I cannot tell the date that Washington became sick, or when he was sent to hospital. I know that he did not stay in Texas long.”


Deposition, Cyrus Washington, 19 June 1902
“I am about 70 years old; occupation, laborer; residence, cor of Godwin & Columbus Street, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia … “I was born in Sussex County as a slave to Spencer Pleagand [?] (dec’d). My father’s name was Cyrus Washington and he was a slave to a man name Wm. Harvey (dec’d). My mother’s name was Sylvia – but I can’t tell you her last name. I was called after my father. My full and correct name is Cyrus Washington and I have never been known under any other name.

“I was about grown but I can’t give you an idea how old I was when I enlisted. I enlisted at Fortress Monroe, Va. I can’t tell you the year or what time of year. I was stripped and given a thorough physical examination at enlistment and was sworn in at the Fort. I don’t remember the name of the recruiting officer for I volunteered.

“I was discharged at City Point, Va. after we came back from Texas, after the fall of Richmond along towards the Spring. I was mustered out at Brazos Santiago, Texas. I can’t give dates nor tell you how long I was in the service but I enlisted for three years. Don‘t think I was in the service quite three years.

“Immediately after discharge I went on the Bayes farm near Hampton, Va. and remained there a year, then I went to Bowers Hill for a year and have lived in this locality ever since.

“I have my original discharge certificate which should show you (Exhibited but ink on certificate is so faded as to render the writing thereon illegible.)”

“Q.  What was the title of the commanding officer of the regiment?
A. Colonel Cole. Major Seipp was next.

Q. Didn’t you have a Lt. Co.?
A. Yes, I think so but I forget.

Q. Who ranked next below Major?
A. Captain Whiteman
1st Lt. ranked next … Hart
2nd Lt. ranked next …. Ricker
Orderly Sgt was Thomas Pitt. I tented with Fielding Washington and another comrade whose name I forgot.

Q. Name some other comrades
A.  Squire Bright (Navy Yard), James Smith and Alfred Jones (decd), a sergeant and Beverley Whiting.

I was never in a battle but we went up in front of Petersburg but not get in any battle.

“My witnesses were Alfred Jones and Nelson Elliott. I gave each 50c. I didn’t testify for either of them.”

[At this point, he goes into great detail about impaired vision and impaired hearing, being hospitalized at Corps d’Afrique Hospital, New Orleans, and the attorney who executed his voucher … extremely difficult to read. – Leslie]

“I have been married twice. My first wife Easter Newsom died at Hampton, Va. about two or three years after my discharge. I was next married to Susan Martin at Portsmouth about two years I guess before I got my pension. She was married before to Reuben Martin who died at Hampton before I married her but I don’t know anything more about it. I have no child under 16.”


Letter from Cyrus Washington to Commissioner of Pensions, 15 August 1910
“… I have a claim for pension pending before you. Mr. Wills represented me but I can hear nothing from him now. Being an inmate of National Soldier’s Home, Virginia, my original pension papers are there and I cannot at this writing furnish the number of the claim.”


General Affidavit, Cyrus Washington, 1 July 1990
70 years old; residence, National Soldier’s Home, Elizabeth City County, Virginia; post-office address is Hospital Ward 7, National Soldiers Home … “I will state that I was a slave and had no means of knowing my age. The enlisting officer put down 27 as my age when enrolled which I think was in March 1864. I cannot procure any public, church, baptismal, bible or family record or record of any kind to prove date of my birth there being none in existence as that I know.”


Death Certificate [copy], Cyrus Washington, 13 October 1911
[age] 70 years
[birthplace] Virginia
[occupation] laborer
[death date] October 13, 1911
[cause of death] acute nephritis
[burial place] Mt. Cavalry Cemetery
[undertaker] Jno. T. Fisher & Bro., Portsmouth, Va.


General Affidavit, Hester Washington, 8 July 1912
post-office address, 1115 Richmond Ave….”That there were no cemetery expenses in connection with the burial of Cyrus Washington other than the bill of the undertaker, John T. Fisher & Co.; that the cemetery in which the soldier was buried belonged to the said John T. Fisher & Co. and is known as Fisher’s Cemetery; that any expenses which there might be for burial in said cemetery are included in the bill of said john T. Fisher & Co. already on file, and said bill shows all amounts due the said John T. Fisher & Co. for such burial: that she has applied to the Commander of the G.A. R. Post of which soldier was a member for a certificate that the Post waive claim for any expenses incurred on account of burial of soldier, but the Commander is a ignorant person and while he states that there is no claim on the part of the Post he refuses to sign any statement unless the Commissioner of Pensions writes him to do so, which renders it impossible to obtain any statement.”


Letter from U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, 9 July 1912
[Includes a written note at the bottom that Silas Fellowes Post No. 7, G.A.R. have no interest in the claim – Dred Smith, Commander”]

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