Archive:Civil War Pension File, Jefferson J. Adams
Civil War Pension File of Jefferson J. Adams
Widow: Jeanette Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 643662 Cert. # 802978
Widow Applic. # 1165250 Cert. # 896455
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Last week I posted an abstract of the Civil War pension file of Sumner Wallace Whitney. The file revealed the identity of Sumner's parents as Phineas and Amanda Whitney of Jay, Maine. Appended to the abstract was my proposal for the ancestry of Phineas Whitney. The proposal was based on revelations in the Sumner Whitney pension file, the Civil War pension file of David C. Whitney, and various findings in U.S. censuses. The proposal was the Phineas' ancestry was: Phineas7 Whitney (Reuben6, Phinehas5, Isaac4, Nathanial3, Benjamin2, John1). Since that posting, more evidence has come forth.
A book entitled History of Jay, Franklin County, Maine written by Benjamin F. Lawrence and published in 1912 has a genealogical entry for Bean, Melvina, born 1824, died 1881. Married Phineas Whitney. Married second Jefferson Adams. 6 children.
The vital records of Norridgewok, Somerset Co., Maine contain a record of the family of Reuben and Lucy Whitney. Listed among the three children is Phineas, born in Norridgewok, Maine on 8 September 1822.
There is still no "smoking gun" evidence that the Phineas Whitney born to Reuben and Lucy in Norridgewok is the Phineas who married Melvina Bean. However, I believe I will stand by my proposal. For those of you interested in learning how Melvina Bean became Amanda Whitney, keep reading, I believe that you will find things interesting and revealing.
Civil War Pension File of Jefferson J. Adams
Widow: Melvina A. Adams Whitney
Guardian of Minor Children: Lorin Adams
Widow Applic. # 49036 Cert. # 26509
Minors' Applic. # 13342 Cert. # 91228
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Private, Company E, 13th Maine Infantry
Melvina A. Adams signed a Widow's Claim for an Army Pension on 1 March 1864 from Franklin County, Maine. She is 39 years old and a resident of Jay, Franklin Co., Maine. She is the widow of Jefferson J. Adams, who was a private in Company E commanded by Captain Isaac F. Quimby in the 13th Regiment of Maine Volunteers commanded by Colonel Neal Dow. The soldier died at New Orleans, Louisiana on or about 8 January 1864 of chronic diarrhea, which he contracted in the line of his duty. She was married to Jefferson J. Adams on 14 December 1862 at Jay, Maine by Andrew Linscott, Esq. Her name before her marriage was Melvina A. Whitney. The soldier had two children by a former wife: Herbert D. Adams, born 25 April 1852; and Edward W. Adams, born 22 September 1856. The claim is witnessed by Levi H. Dakin and Martha A. Gould, both residents of Jay, Maine.
The Surgeon General's Office informed the Pension Bureau that Jefferson J. Adams of Company E, 13th Maine Regiment of Maine Volunteers died at Barracks General Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana of chronic diarrhea on 8 January 1864. The informing surgeon was J.B.G. Baxter.
The file contains a record of the family of Jefferson J. and Rosilla Adams from the Town of Wilton, Franklin Co., Maine. It records the births of their two children as reported above. The record is certified by Edward J. Clark, Town Clerk of Wilton, Maine.
The file also contains a copy of the marriage record of Jefferson J. Adams and Melvina A. Whitney. In the record, Andrew Linscott, J.P., certifies that he has joined them in marriage on 14 December 1861 (sic) at Jay, Maine. The copy is certified by Otis H. Johnson, Town Clerk of Jay, Maine. It also contains a copy of his first marriage to Rosilla Powers in Wilton, Maine on 29 November 1849 by John E. Baxter, Clergyman. The copy is certified by Edward J. Clark, Town Clerk of Wilton, Maine.
On the same day that Melvina A. Adams signed her pension claim, 1 March 1864, Benjamin F. Atkinson, Register of Franklin County, Maine certified that Lorin Adams of Wilton, Franklin Co., Maine had been appointed Guardian of Herbert D. and Edward W. Adams, the minor children and heirs of Jefferson J. Adams. Lorin Adams later proceeded to file a pension claim of behalf of these minor children.
In support of the claim on behalf of the minor Adams children, Loren Adams provided testimony on 11 August 1866 from Franklin County, Maine. He is 66 years of age and a resident of Wilton, Maine. He reviews the marriage of the parents and the births of the children. "The widow of the deceased is not the mother of said wards, they being the issue of a former marriage. She has already obtained a pension certificate and is now in receipt of a pension of eight dollars per month on account of the service and death of her husband. She takes no care of and makes no provision for the said wards, who are the minor children of the said Jefferson J. Adams, deceased. Epaphras Johnson and Hiram Belcher, residents of Farmington, Maine witness the declaration.
On 4 September 1866 the Probate Court of Franklin County, Maine received evidence from P. M. Stubbs. He testified that widow Melvina A. Adams has abandoned the care of Jefferson J. Adams' children, and does nothing for their support.
There is also testimony in the minors' claim from Andrew S. Butterfield of Jay, Maine and Sebastian S. Gould of Farmington, Maine on 18 February 1867. "They were acquainted with Jefferson J. Adams, late of said Jay, who was a private in Company E, 13 Regt., Maine Volunteers. And they were acquainted with him for ten years and more before his death. Said Jefferson J. Adams left two children by his first wife, which said wife died before said Jefferson went into the service of the United States. They further depose and say that they are acquainted with his widow, Melvina A. Adams, who was his second wife and not the mother of said children. They have been acquainted with her for ten years and more. She is a very unsuitable person to have the care and custody of said children, and has not for many years sustained a good character or reputation, but is reputed to be a woman of loose character and habits. She now resides in Lewiston, Maine according to their best knowledge and beliefs, but has been in the practice of frequently moving from place to place, having no fixed or permanent place of residence. They further state that their knowledge of the above facts is derived from a long personal acquaintance with the parties, and they have no interest in the claim of Lorin Adams, the guardian of said children for a pension, or in any claims in business connected therewith. Said Jefferson J. Adams married said Melvina A. about the time he entered the service. Said Melvina A. never after said marriage had the care of said children or looked after or did anything for them. They have been looked after and taken care of by their guardian and father's friends. They further depose and say that said widow is an unworthy and unsuitable person to have the care of said children. And according to their best knowledge and belief, she has utterly abandoned them, taking no interest in their welfare, and doing nothing and contributing nothing for their support."
Lorin Adams' claim on behalf of the minor children was upheld, and they were granted pension benefits. The pension benefits of Melvina A. Adams were revoked.
Melvina A. Adams signed a Declaration of Pensioner for Restoration to the Rolls on 27 March 1877 from Essex County, Massachusetts. She is about 52 years old. Her pension certificate number was 26509, and she was last paid on 6 June 1866. She has resided about one year in Lewiston, Maine immediately after, and then for the past twelve years in Lawrence, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Her pension payments were previously stopped because of the granting of a pension to the minor children of her former husband, the deceased soldier, by a previous marriage. She was recently instructed of her right to be restored to the roll when the children had reached the age of sixteen. She now asks to be allowed a pension from the date of the expiration of the pension allowed to said minor children. Her address is 86 Haverhill Street, City of Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts. She has not remarried since the death of her husband, Jefferson J. Adams. The declaration is witnessed by Warren E. Rice and Annie P. Newell of Lawrence, Mass.
On 20 February 1878 from Pittston, Kennebec County, Maine, Melvina A. Adams provided testimony in support of her pension application. She testifies that she has not remarried since the death of her husband Jefferson J. Adams. She has lived in Jay and Lewiston in Maine, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and in Pittston, Maine. In the fall of 1864 she went to Lewiston, and there became acquainted with one Benjamin Hatch. Sometime in the spring or early summer of 1865 she went with Benjamin Hatch from Lewiston directly to Lawrence, Mass. She lived with him from that time until the fall of 1874 as his wife, but was never married to him. After going to Lawrence, she was never known by any name other than Hatch, and she was always supported by said Hatch. Hatch always said that he would marry her, but sometime after she started living with him she learned that he had a living wife. While she was living with Hatch she always said that she was married to him, and he always recognized her as his wife, introducing her as his wife, and treated her in every respect as his wife. Since he left, she has not in any way been supported by him nor lived with him. She has been supported by her children.
George C. Whitney provided testimony on 10 February 1878 from Lawrence, Mass. He is 27 years old and the son of Melvina A. Adams. He and his mother were living in Lewiston in the spring of 1865. At that time she was a widow, and was known by the name Adams. In about June of 1865 she left Lewiston in the company of Benjamin Hatch and came to Lawrence, Mass., where they lived together as man and wife until June 1874. George came to Lawrence in November 1869, and Hatch and Melvina were then living together as man and wife, and she was known as Mrs. Hatch. George boarded with them when he first came to Lawrence. Since Hatch left Melvina they have not lived together, nor has he in any way supported her. George and his two sisters have supported her since Hatch left her. He is certain that they were never married.
Eliza Whitney provided testimony on 20 February 1878 from Pittston, Kennebec Co., Maine. She is 30 years old and a resident of Pittston. She has known Melvina as Melvina Hatch since 1867 when Eliza was living in Lawrence, Mass., and Melvina was living with Benjamin Hatch as his wife. Eliza never knew her as any name other than Hatch. Said Mrs. Hatch has lived with Eliza most of the time for the past eight years and knows the above facts from her own knowledge Melvina and Benjamin Hatch lived as man and wife until about four years ago when Hatch left. She has not lived with or been supported by him since then, but is supported by her children.
Note: It looks like Melvina ended up living with her son, Sumner Wallace Whitney, and his wife Eliza (Metcalf) Whitney in Pittson, Maine.
Copyright © 2006, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group