Thursday, September 5, 2013

Personal Servants in the Army

Records of reimbursement for payment of travel and subsistence of officers prior to the Civil War are found in Record Group 217, Entry 516, Settled Accounts of Army Paymasters. The documents contain information relating to reimbursement for the travel and subsistence of valets and personal servants. Officers would file with the appropriate paymaster quarterly. In order to efficiently access these records in the National Archives, the time period and the name of the paymaster have to be known. This makes them difficult to use. One work around is to located the officer seeking reimbursement on a muster roll of a fort or post and from that roll determine the name of the paymaster of that fort and post.

As a side note, Revolutionary War and War of 1812 (prior to 1871) survivor, invalid, widow, widow half-pay pensioner payment vouchers, not found in pension agencies? This may be because the pensioner lived on the frontier and obtained their payments from the local post or fort paymaster.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Father and a Son, Two of the Same Name

I wondered if you could solve a puzzle for me if you have time.   I'm working on a supplemental DAR app and I'm finding the records confusing for a Samuel Peck, Milford, CT.  There are two Samuel Pecks, father and son:

Samuel Peck b. 22 Aug 1736 Milford, New Haven, CT
m. 7 Jul 1762 Mehitable Smith, d. of Ephraim Smith and Sarah Newton, all of Milford.
d. 18 Jun 1822 Orange, New Haven, CT

This is the Captain in the 1st CT Continental Line who does not get a pension, probably because he did not have sufficient qualifying service for the 1818 pension; although he probably would have qualified if he had lived to time of the 1832 act. He also serves at a later date in CT State Troops. 

and son,
Samuel Peck b. 19 Oct 1764 Milford
m. 13 Jan 1796 Mehitable Ingersoll, d. of David Ingersoll and Clemence Treat, all of Milford
d. 21 Aug 1842 Milford

This is the 16 year old who does get a pension under the 1832 act, having served for the required six months. 

Fold 3 has two files on "Samuel Peck of Milford".  One is the son, Samuel Peck, b. 1764 and he was a guard at the fort at Milford for one year 1780-81 and received a pension (He would have been 16 yr. old - is this too young?)

It is not.
In the pension letter from the government they state he is S#17012 or 13 on an earlier page.  (  In the same file the government is talking about the Samuel Peck b. 1736 (the father)...confusing.

17012 it is. 

This is the 16 year old pension file. The only thing that I find in the file is descendants telling the government that this is Samuel Peck the Capt. At no time, that I can see is the government telling anyone that this person is the Captain. The fill in the blank form may be confusing, but it is the government asking the person to fill in the blanks and they do and send it back. They, the descendants got it wrong, not the government.

The other file on "Samuel Peck" does not give a soldier # or town but he has been acknowleged by DAR as Samuel Peck of Milford (DAR  Ancestor #: A087701 ) b, 1736 and married to Mehitable Smith. (

This is the compiled military service record for Samuel, the father who was in Captain Donaldson's State troops. He served previously in the 1st CT Continental Line.

 I believe this is the Samuel Peck mentioned as Captain in Col Douglas's unit in Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the I. War of the Revolution II. War of 1812 III. Mexican War, comp. by Authority of the General Assembly, under directionof the office of the Adjutants-General, The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company:Hartford, 1889, pp. 406, 408 (  

This is the father.

On p. 660 of the same source it shows a pension for a Samuel Peck in Milford, age 75 (which would mean it was the Samuel Peck b. 1764).

Although I agree that this might seem to be Samuel Peck, the father it can not be. The listing is from the List of Pensioners on the 1840 census and the father is dead in 1822. So he can't be on the 1840 census based on the given date of death. So it is clearly what it says it is, Samuel Peck, pensioner, 75 in 1840 and it has to be the son.

The father would have been at least 40 yr. old at the start of the Revolution and the son would have been been 16 yrs. in 1780 as a Fort guard.


So, do you think the files all relate to Samuel Peck b. 1736 and that he was mixed up in the files with his son?  If so, how do I correct the file?

There is nothing to correct. The files, with the exception of the compiled service record relate to the son, not the father.

It all looks right to me, if you take into account the voice  that is speaking in the records. Only the descendants have it wrong. 

We always have to look for and identify the voice in a record. In some records there is more than one and we have to understand the role of each in the record. In this case the government was asking clarifying questions of the person who was making the query. The person responded, unfortunately with wrong information. By not understanding the voice, one can be led to believe that the government is making the statement, and that therefore it is true (lol), but is really is just a questionnaire full of a few incorrect answers.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ellsworth as a middle name

Today I was talking with someone who loves to research in Loudoun County, Virginia. A place that I love also. She asked me about the surname Ellsworth. Evidently she has several folk in and from that area that have the middle name of Ellsworth. Only problem is that Ellsworth is not a Loudoun County surname, at least not about 1860, which is just before these kids are being born.

And could I explain it? She has surnames like Frye in her family. And that is generally a northern Loudoun, Lovettsville kind of surname. German Settlement, Union sympathizer kind of surname, usually. So I asked and her people were those type of Loudoun folk. The kind that spent as much time in Ohio as they did Loudoun during the war (a trait of Germans and Quakers of the area).

I knew why immediately.

The answer: Elmer Ephriam Ellsworth.

Is that your answer?

If you wiki him you will see why I think this is the answer.