Archive:Civil War Pension File, George F. Whitney
Civil War Pension File of George F. Whitney
Widow: Catherine Whitney
Mother: Adeline Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 236660 Cert. # unknown
Widow Applic. # 343725 Cert. # 343725
Mother Applic. # 317619 Cert. # none
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Private, Company F, 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry
On 21 May 1877 George F. Whitney signed an application for an Invalid Pension from Kennebec County, Maine. He is a resident of Bangor, Penobscot County, Maine. He testifies that on 25 April 1861 he enlisted in the service of the U.S. as a Private in Company F, 2nd Regiment of Maine Volunteers, and he was honorably discharged as a Private on 25 November 1862. While in the service and in the line of duty in September of 1861 at Fort Corcoran, Virginia, he contracted malarial fever and chronic diarrhea caused by exposures to climate and the hardships of service. He recovered and returned to duty, where he remained until about April 1862 when on McClellan's Campaign at Yorktown, Virginia, he was prostrated with Fistula and enlargement and swelling of the veins of the left leg. He was treated by the Regimental Surgeon, and continued with the regiment until it arrived at Harrison's Landing, where he remained about 2 weeks. He was then sent to the General Hospital at Newport News, Virginia. From there he was sent to the convalescent camps near Alexandria, Virginia where he remained two or three months before being discharged 28 November 1862. The Fistula has never healed, and the varicose veins have drawn the leg up so that it is much larger, stiff, painful, and disables him in the past from manual labor. Since leaving the service he has resided at Bangor, Maine. His occupation is shipping agent. He has had to abandon his trade as a caulker because of the disability. He is now ¾ disabled from earning his sustenance from manual labor. His post office address is The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Augusta, Maine. The testimony was witnessed by Theodore Weeks and Gershom C. Robbins, both residents of Augusta, Maine. They testify that George was a caulker before entering the service.
The Certificate of Disability for Discharge says that George F. Whitney of Captain A. P. Wilson's Company F, 2nd Maine Regiment was enlisted by D. C. Chaplin on 25 April 1861 to serve three years. He was born at Bangor, Maine, is 35 years old, 6 feet 2 ½ inches tall, dark of complexion, blue eyes and dark hair. He is a caulker by occupation. He was discharged at the convalescent camp near Alexandria, Virginia on 28 November 1862.
George was admitted to the Togus, Maine National Soldier's Home on 20 November 1875 suffering from malarial fever and kidney disease. He was transferred to the Southern Home (National Soldier's Home, Hampton, Elizabeth City County, Virginia) on 22 December 1876, and was readmitted to Togus on 29 August 1882 suffering from consumption. He died there of consumption on 7 February 1883.
On 2 July 1884 from Bangor, Penobscot Co., Maine, Adeline Whitney, age 77 and the mother of George F. Whitney signed a Declaration for a Mother's Pension. She testifies that her son died at the Soldier's Home at Togus, Maine on 7 February 1883, and he left neither a widow nor minor children surviving. She was dependent upon him for support. She was married to Daniel Whitney, father of said George F. Whitney, at Hampden, Maine in November 1825. Her husband died at Bangor, Maine 30 October 1883. The Declaration was witnessed by Rhoda Adams and Mrs. Helen Wheeler of Bangor.
A Proof of Dependence declaration was submitted on Adeline's behalf by John A. and William Hatch of Bangor, Maine, who have known Adeline for 30 years. They testify that Adeline owns no property and is incapable because of old age of earning her sustenance. Her husband Daniel Whitney died 30 October 1883 at the Bangor Alms House. From April 1861 until the time of his death, Daniel was an old man and possessed fair health for one of his age (being 57 years old in 1861). By reason of the infirmities of old age he could labor only about half the time. From 1861 until his death, he was able to make about $200.00, and his habits during that period were good. The soldier regularly contributed to his mother's support every year prior to his death, during which time she had no adequate means of support. George was a caulker by trade before enlistment in the service. He used to give a part of his wages to his mother toward her support from time to time. The amount of the contributions is unknown, but they were regular.
In October 1885 Helen Wheeler, Adeline's daughter, wrote the following letter addressed from Crosbyville Store, Olive St., Hampden, Maine:
- "Dear Sir,
- Was very much surprised at your letter calling for so much evidence, for I thought everything had been made satisfactory to you. Sent your letter to Lawyer Merrill to learn what it means, and get his advice what to do, but have not heard from him yet, so thought I would take the matter in my own hands and give you all you ask for. Can do that without the aid of a lawyer. We'll take each in their order- first he was her, or my (I will just here tell you so you can understand. Mother is old and it is a great task for her to write. I am her daughter. She is sitting near me so it is as if she were writing.) her whole support. Will tell you the truth. My or our father was a drinking man. The most of his wages went for drink. George always had a care for her, giving her all his money he could spare to make her comfortable. When he enlisted there was a store in Bangor where those who were dependent on soldiers could draw money or goods, and she used to get her share- that is on record, of course if you doubt my word. When he went in the army he was a well, strong man, able to work at his trade, which was a caulker, and that trade call for a well strong man. I know, for my husband is a caulker. After he came home he earned about ten dollars at his trade then said I shall never do any more caulking for my back is weak. When in the army (as he was a tall, large man) he used to help make roads and build bridges for the army to pass over, called soppers and miners, I think. Don't know if that is all he did, but he always complained of his back. After a while he had a fistula. Don't know how many years, but that through (sic) his system out of order, and ended in consumption. Could not give you his employer names, for his work was so mixed up. He was an ambitious man and hated to be idle, so did anything to earn a little. Would go to sea a trip then rest at home, then do some other thing, then go to sea. Sometimes in going to Boston or New York he would get a chance to keep ship for awhile. Once he worked on a canal boat in New York, but could not tell who owned the boat. So you see his work was so unsettled could keep no record. Only was sure of some of his wages. He was sick a good deal of the time. Have known him to faint dead away from pain in his back. A good deal of his time was spent in the soldier's home. His life was a miserable existence. His sufferings were intense sometimes. I got Colonel Roberts to write a letter to Togus to get the particulars of his sickness and death for Lawyer Merrill to send on to you. He (Merrill) said it was satisfactory, so I supposed that was all settled. Now about his being married. When he was quite a young man he went with a few others to New York to work. While there he fell in with one Mrs. Fosseth (sic), a rich widow of almost twice his age. As he only married for her money, and she knew it after awhile of course, there was trouble and they separated. That is more than 35 years ago. Don't think they ever took the trouble to get divorced. She had two little babies and she kept them. As she lived in New York, we have lost all connection. Don't know if any of them are living. Have talked with good authority that they had no claim on him. If the money does not honestly belong to me, I do not want it. Will give you the facts, then you can decide. He was never married again, but always made his home with me. When he got his bounty, I got the most of it. He ought to have had a pension, but would not do as some have done to get one. Now I believe this is all you want to know. This letter may be a little mixed, but you can understand, now as your conscience will allow you and that will be right I hope. My father has been dead two years. He never owned a cent of property in his life. George and I have always had the care of mother, he doing what he could, I taking care of her. She lives with me. The city fathers give me three dollars each month, as I am poor. My husband is a caulker and works hard. We have three children, and live in a small hired house. So you see, if mother could have something of her own, she could be made much more comfortable in her old age. She will live a great many more years at most. She is feeble and needs a good many comforts she does not get. If there is nothing for her, let her know at once, for she has been encouraged that she could get something, and it seems too bad to put her off so long. Better have it settled now.
- Helen Wheeler, daughter of Daniel and Adeline Whitney and sister of George F. Whitney. Crosbyville Store, Olive St., Bangor, Maine.
- Direct to Mrs. Adeline Whitney
- Now I hope the Good Lord will order all things right."
Adeline Whitney's application for pension benefits was rejected, because the soldier left a widow. On 23 December 1885 from Bangor, Maine Adeline provided the following testimony:
- "I have no proof that my son was ever married. Thirty-five years ago he went to New York and said that he had married a rich widow of twice his age. He lived with her a few years, then left her and has lived with me ever since. They had two children. They separated thirty years ago and it don't seem as she can have any claim on him. Three weeks ago I wrote to the place he had lived but could learn no trace of her whereabouts- do not know whether she is living or not. In September I wrote you a long letter giving you a full account of all the particulars of his sickness and death. Of course you have that for reference. It was all correct. My post office address always has been East Hampden, Maine, as it was nearer than the city office. Since the mail is now delivered, they are left at Crosbyville Store, as that is nearby. Everything that has been written you is correct. He was always a good son to me and always provided and looked out for my comfort, made his home with me, and has never been married since. As you have a full account of his being in the army, his sickness, and his death, how long he was in the soldier's home, I will not go over it again unless you wish me to."
This testimony was witnessed Helen and Thomas H. Wheeler. Helen is the daughter of Daniel and Adeline Whitney, and the sister of George F. Whitney.
Adeline Whitney died at Bangor, Maine 27 February 1889.
On 26 July 1886 from Sullivan County, New York, Catherine Whitney applied for pension benefits from her husband's pension. She is 65 years old, and a resident of Thompsonville, Sullivan County, New York. She testifies that George had left her some time before his death, and she believes he died about 3 years ago. She believes a sister of George has applied for pension benefits, but she believes that she as the widow is entitled to the pension. Her husband died of phthisis on 7 February 1883 at National Home, Togus, Maine, where he was first admitted 25 December 1875 with kidney disease and malaria. She was married under the name Catherine E. Fossett to George F. Whitney on 1 January 1853 by Reverend Henry Chase of New York City. Neither had been previously married. She has to the present time remained his widow. There were no children under the age of 16 at the time of his death. There are two children, and she is now living with them. One is twenty-nine and the other thirty-three years old. Her husband has left her a portion of the time and acted strangely, and never told her the particulars of his sickness in the service.
In a General Affidavit signed 9 September 1886, Catherine further testifies that she lived in New York City with her husband at the outbreak of the war. Her husband went to Maine to look for work and did not return. She heard that he had enlisted in the service, and about 1863 she moved to Thompsonville, Sullivan Co., New York. She had two children to raise, and she never heard from him until about 12 years ago when he visited the family at Thompsonville. He was badly broken down and unable to get along. She was too poor to take care of him, so he left, and she heard nothing more of him until she heard he was dead. She never filed for divorce, and as far as she knows, he had not filed for divorce either. She has never married or cohabited with another man since her husband left to find work and enlisted in the army.
There is a sworn statement in the file from Daniel H. Chase of Middletown, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. He is the son of the deceased Rev. Henry Chase, the former pastor of the Mariner's Church on Roosevelt St., New York City. Daniel has in custody the marriage records of his father. They show that on 1 January 1853 at his residence, 52 Market Street, New York City, he united together in Holy Matrimony at 6 PM George F. Whitney and Catherine E. Fossett. George was born in Bangor, Maine, was 29 years old, and resided at 196 South St., New York. He has not been previously married. Catherine was born in and then resided in New York City at 196 South Street. She was a widow.
On 10 September 1886, Mary R. Bennett, 74 years old and a resident of Brooklyn, Kings Co., New York testified in a General Affidavit. She recalls the time of the first marriage of Catherine E. Whitney in the spring of 1836 at Spruce St., New York City. He died in June of 1846 at 8th Avenue in New York City, and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery on Long Island.
A General Affidavit was signed by David N. McCoy, Chief Clerk of the Green-Wood Cemetery, on 21 December 1886. He certifies that his records show that James Fossett, a 41 year old married native of England, was buried 10 June 1850. He had lived at 292 Eighth Avenue, New York City. He died of consumption. He is buried in Lot 3330, Grave 149 of the Green-Wood Cemetery, New York.
Catherine E. Whitney received a pension for $8.00 per month from 8 February 1883, and $12.00 per month from 19 March 1886.