Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher, son of John and Martha Gallagher, was the second husband of Cassie Ann Rosenberry, my great great grandmother.  Her first husband was Orson Patchen (Patchin) with whom she had two children, Edgar and Nettie.  Nettie (Annette MaryJane Patchen) was my great grandmother.  Orson Patchen died in the Civil War.  Cassie then married Michael Gallagher.  They had no children.  Michael also died in the war and Cassie applied for his widow’s pension.  These are some of the forms from that file.

Civil War pension files can have wonderful information in them.  In this one, it lists parents’ names, verifies the marriage, and indicates no children.  The best tip I learned about getting the file was to request the entire file to be copied.  Otherwise someone is going to choose which pages you get.  Disclaimer:  I got these files many years ago, so the procedure might have changed.

As Michael’s widow, she did get a pension of $8.00 per month.
These are the proofs offered in her claim.
This page has great information on it – parents, dates, marriage!
And more info here.
My favorite part is seeing her signature on the sheet above.


Civil War Calling Cards

I’m calling these Civil War calling cards.  They belonged to men who served in the war with Thomas Cation Duncan in the Wisconsin 1st Cavalry.  I’m not positive that’s the proper name for these, so if you know a better name, let me know.
One is for W. H. Tripp of Milan, Missouri and the other for S. W. Harrington of Hull, Iowa.
WI 1st Cav cards

William Duncan Part 2 (Pension Records)

2 wm duncan pensionPart 1 can be seen here.

After William’s death in the Civil War, his widow, Mary, applied for a widow’s pension and a minor’s pension on their son’s behalf.  Civil War pension records can hold a huge amount of information.  If you try to get those records, I recommend that you ask for the entire file, not just the selection they want to send you.  It will cost more and I don’t know the current rates.

2 inc in minors pension

In Mary Duncan’s case, the files contained proof of her marriage to William with the person who performed the ceremony verifying it (see Part 1).  The files also showed affidavits proving that young William was their son.  The woman who attended the birth gave a sworn statement.  This is a gold mine for these years when certification was rare or non-existent.  The muster rolls documenting his service were included with many other papers.
2 mary duncan pension

Mary remarried (and lost her widow’s pension), but her 2nd husband was also a veteran and had a pension file.  When he died, she applied for the widow’s pension.  Much of the documentation for this series of posts comes from those pension records.
2 c alderman

Consider ordering Civil War pension files on any of your family who served.  They are available from the National Archives in Washington, DC.  When I ordered mine, it all had to be done by mail, but perhaps now there are electronic means.

I tell you – it’s a gold mine!


William Duncan 1838-1863 Part 1

William Duncan was born in Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland on 29 September 1838 to Eliza Cation and Thomas Duncan (story here).  He was christened on 7 October 1838.

He emigrated with his mother and two younger brothers, Thomas Cation and John, to the US in 1843 (story here) settling in New York state where his father joined him.

About 1848, the family moved to the Ottawa-Eagle area of Waukesha county, Wisconsin, farming there for many years.  In 1850, the Federal Census Thomas is 34, his wife Eliza is 32.  The children are William, now 12 years old, Thomas, 10, John, 8, David, 5, and Francis, 2.  All the children are in school.  The value of their land is $600.

1 1860 census

Duncan family 1860 Federal Census, Ottawa, Wisconsin.

By 1860, the family had grown.  In the census that year, William is 21.  Other changes:  Francis is now called Frank.  James, born in 1851, is 9, George, 5, and Eliza, the lone daughter, is 1.  The value of their land is now $2100.

On 21 October 1861 William became the first of his siblings to wed.   At age 23 he married Mary O. Lurvey in Palmyra, Wisconsin.  Later statements said she lived in Leroy, Dodge county, Wisconsin, at the time of her marriage, but no Lurvey is found there in the 1860 census.  There were many Lurvey families in this area, but I have not found her in the 1850 or 1860 census.  When she married William, she was about 17.  The birthdate on her tombstone is 4 June 1843.   On her death certificate, it showed her parents as Elisie George and B. Lurvey and her birthplace as Pennsylvania.  The informant was her doctor.

When she later applied for a pension, she had to prove that she was married to William.  This is the deposition of the minister given in 1863.
1 proof of marriage

On 15 August 1862 William enlisted in Company B, 28th Regiment of the Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers to fight in the Civil War.  He was mustered into service 13 October 1862.  It was recorded that he was 24, had blue eyes, brown hair, fair complexion, was 5’ 8” tall and was a farmer.
1 muster roll 1

Between enlistment and muster, his son, William Duncan, was born 10 September 1862.  Caroline Schutte was present at his birth and provided proof in 1866 for young William’s minor’s pension.  It’s a little short on punctuation, but proved the connection.
1 caroline affid

State of Wisconsin
County of Jefferson
Caroline Schutte being duly sworn on oath says that she resides in Palmyra County of Jefferson State of Wisconsin that she is acquainted with Mrs. Mary O. Alderman mother and guardian of William Duncan an infant & minor child of William Duncan deceased who was a private in Co B. of the 28th Regiment of Wisconsin Vol Infantry that she has known the said is Mary O. Alderman for more than ten years…that she was present at the birth of the said William Duncan who was born at Ottawa in Waukesha County on the 10th day of September 1862  that there was no attending physician present and no other person except Mrs. Grace Grant and Eliza Duncan mother of said deceased soldier.  that she has been…acquainted with said infant William Duncan and knows it to be the same of which Mary O. Alderman is guardian and minor child of William Duncan deceased…

From the regimental history:  the regiment organized at Milwaukee and mustered in 14 October 1862.  They left 29 December for Columbus, Kentucky; then moved to Helena, Arkansas in June.  This regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 13th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of Tennessee.  They were part of the Yazoo Pass expedition and operations against Fort Pemberton and Greenwood, Mississippi.

1 muster roll 2

On 18 March 1863 William came down with typhoid fever.  On 30 March on the steamer St. Louis in front of Fort Pemberton, William Duncan died.  He was 24; he left a widow and young son.  Many accounts of his death were recorded in Mary’s pension application.
1 muster roll 3From his commanding officer:1 townsend formFrom the 28th Regiment’s physician:1 proof of death1 ag proof of death1 off cert death

Levi Howland

Among Thomas Cation Duncan’s papers, I found this card (calling card size).  It dates from the Civil War.
howlandThe writing:
1st [2nd crossed out] Lieut Howland
Co. E  1st Wis Cav
The photo has been cut out and pasted on this card.

And on the reverse:
howland dell card

Printed:  Mrs. Phoebe Dell. Hayburn.
Written:  L. Howland 2nd Lieut
Co E  1st Wis Cav  three months
since 1st Lieut – Co A  1st Wis
presented to Capt of Co C

T. C. Duncan was in the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry with Lt. Howland.  I do not know who Mrs. Hayburn is.
This is part of my “Lost & Found” series – things that belong to someone else’s family.

T. C. Duncan Letter to Emma Osborne 1860s



Thomas Cation Duncan was a private in Company A of the 1st Regiment of Wisconsin Cavalry Volunteers from September 1861 to October 1863 when he was discharged for a disability.  Sometime during that period he wrote this letter to Emma Osborne, his future wife.  The first page(s) is missing.  The best part for me is the artwork on the reverse, especially the one he titled “home.”

thomas to emma envthomas to emma p1

The [reg?] is not quite so badly used up as I at first supposed.  They are in the chase of those [?] who so wickedly attempted to destroy them but still we have nothing definite or reliable in this out of the way hermetical place with so irregular a mail we feel as if we were out of the world.  It is only by letters and old papers that we know that the world is going on as usual.  I tell you what it comes hard for a literary man who has been used to see a daily paper each day of publication.  This is my fix.  

Maybe we do not live well now if we don’t whose fault is it.  I will just describe some of our dinners.  Bread yes real bread, beef or mutton or if these are scarce we kill a pig.  Soups.  Genuine vegitable [sic] soup potatoes.  peaches with sugar, as the cows do not come up regular we have to go without cream.  apple sauce molasses.  Water and the rest of the fillings as salt pepper etc.  I think we do well.  On the other side of this sheet you observe scenes sketched by the special artist of Co A. Prof T. C. Duncan  this will afford some amusement to the hopeful.  More anon.  Thomas

PS.  I help cook my old [?] [?].  My respects to all [?] is M. L. teaching school in Boys district.  Mary Lyman.  T.
[on the left side] Excuse the short note if you call it short.
[on the right side] Keep your minds calm about my welfare.
thomas to emma p2
At the top of the drawing:  Conceal these as you would most anything using my old books for instance.

This was difficult for me to transcribe.   I kept the spelling, punctuation, and capitalizations as I saw them.
The PS is almost without meaning! The drawings on the reverse include Ripon College (which might explain the reference to teaching), home, and cavalry scenes.

thomas to emma env rev

Albert Washburn to Erista Osborne

From Camp Douglas near Chicago, Illinois, Albert Washburn wrote a letter to Emma Osborne, who must have been a friend because he addresses her as ‘Em’ – rather casual for the day.  And the letter was written sometime between October 1861 when he joined the 55th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company G, and 15 January 1862 when he died of diphtheria.  He was just shy of his 20th birthday.
washburn p1

I’ve built this story from clues in the letter.  Known:  It was written by A. Washburn to Em and mentions Erista (and kept with other letters to Emma and Erista Osborne).  Known:  he’s in a company with a Capt. J. Clay.  Known:  In the 55th Illinois Infantry, Co. G, there is an Albert Washburn and a Capt. Joseph Clay.
washburn p2
washburn p3
washburn p4

The Em he’s writing to is Emma Osborne, who in 1866 will marry Thomas C. Duncan of Chicago.  Erista is her younger sister.  I put Erista’s name in the title of this post erroneously – it should have been Emma.

Albert Washburn’s grave can be seen here.