Archive:Civil War Pension File, Jonathan S. Whitney
Civil War Pension File of Jonathan S. (or John) Whitney
Widow: Mary E. Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 791642 Cert. # 606585
Widow Applic. # 866627 Cert. # 636064
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Private, Company C, 1st Minnesota Cavalry; Company M, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery
John Whitney signed a Declaration for an Original Disability Pension from Anoka County, Minnesota on 30 June 1890. He had enrolled as a private on 23 September 1862 in Company C of the 1st Regiment of Minnesota Mounted Rangers (Cavalry) commanded by Captain T. P. Henderson. He was honorably discharged at Fort Snelling, Minnesota on 31 October 1863. His personal description is: 60 years old; 5 feet 10 inches tall; dark complexion; black hair; and dark eyes. His disability, which is of a permanent character, is lameness of the left side and consequent disability, and rheumatism. He had also served in Company M of the 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery from 1864 to 27 September 1865. His occupation has been as a laborer.
In a subsequent General Affidavit, John Whitney clarifies his army service. He first enlisted 23 September 1862 in Company C, 1st Regiment, Minnesota Mounted Rangers Volunteers, and was discharged there from on 31 October 1863 by reason of expiration of the term of service. He again enlisted 20 February 1865 in Company M, 1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery, and was discharged there from 27 September 1865 by reason of close of the war.
John Whitney applied for pension increase in 1903, and received an increase to twelve dollars per month on 13 June 1903. As part of the application process he underwent a physical examination. The following information is found in the Surgeon's Certificate from that examination. John Whitney still lives in Anoka, Anoka Co., Minnesota. The causes of his disability are: senile debility; varicose veins, which have grown worse since his discharge from the army; rheumatism since 1864, caused by exposure; disease of the kidney since June, 1901; and has had catarrh for 2 years. He also has suffered the loss of the index finger of his left hand in 1880, when it was crushed in a mill. He receives a pension of eight dollars per month. His birthplace is Corinth, Maine. He is 73 years old, is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds, and has a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His occupation is laborer.
John Whitney answered two inquiries in 1898 concerning his wife and family. He testifies that he is married to Mary Elsie Whitney, and her maiden name was Mary Elsie Cates. They were married 12 September 1876 in Hudson, Wisconsin by Rev. Nelson. The marriage certificate has been lost. He had not been previously married. He has one living child, Grace Myrtle Whitney, born 17 March 1878.
John Whitney was last paid twelve dollars per month to January, 1907. He was then dropped from the rolls because of his death on 23 February 1907.
Mary E. Whitney filed a Declaration for Widow's Pension on 23 March 1907 from Anoka, Minnesota. She testified that she and John Whitney were married in Hudson, Wisconsin on 13 September 1876 (sic), but she has no record of the marriage. She was first married to a man named Samuel Smith on 4 October 1863, and he died on or about 17 May 1871. She had no other marriages but those, and John Whitney had never been previously married. Since their marriage in 1876, she and John Whitney had lived as man and wife in Anoka, Minnesota until he died. He died of Bright's Disease, with rheumatism as a complication on 23 February 1907 at Anoka, Minnesota. There are no children under the age of sixteen, and their only living child is Grace M. McKinney, now living at Portland, Oregon. At the time of his death, John Whitney left no real or personal property of any description other than a few household goods. She has no property in her name of any kind or description except her clothes and the few household goods left to her by her husband. Their value does not exceed one hundred dollars. She has no income of any kind, and has had none since the death of her husband. She has no means of earning a livelihood other than by labor as a domestic, and she is wholly unable to do physical labor. She is dependent upon her children for her support. Her husband, at the time of his death, was receiving a pension of twelve dollars per month.
Julius B. Langum provided a deposition in support of Mary's application for pension benefits. He is a legally and duly licensed undertaker residing in Anoka, Minnesota. He took care of the body of John Whitney. On 23 February 1907 he laid out the body, and on 26 February 1907 he officiated at the funeral and interment of John Whitney.
Mary E. Whitney supplied a Certificate of Marriage from the State of New Hampshire. It certifies that Samuel Smith and Mary E. Cates were married at Berlin, New Hampshire on 4 October 1863. She also provided testimony by F. S. Stewart, a notary public residing in Anoka, Minnesota. He testifies that he has seen the family Bible record of the death of the late Samuel Smith. The record says: "Samuel Smith died May the 17, 1871, West Stewarttown, New Hampshire." The record appears to have been made on that same day.
There is also testimony from Fanny Cates, the mother of Mary E. Whitney, and from Sarah Foster, who is Mary's only sister. Both of them testify that they reside on a ranch about seven miles outside of Williston, North Dakota. Fanny Cates, Sarah Foster, and Mary E. Whitney are the only living members of their family. Both of them testify that Mary was never married before her marriage to Samuel Smith.
In an application for increased benefits in 1916 Mary E. Whitney answered an inquiry from the Pension Bureau. She is the widow of John Whitney of Company C, 1st Minnesota cavalry. But, she was not married to him while he served in the Civil War. She is 78 years old, and was born 14 March 1838 at Springfield, Maine.
Mary Whitney was last paid at forty dollars per month to 4 August 1929, and was then dropped from the roll because of her death on 19 August 1929. Her address at that time was 1606 Emerson Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Note: They identity of John Whitney as Jonathan S.8 Whitney, son of Sewell7 Whitney of Kirkland, M is made by John's testimony in the Civil War pension file of his cousin Charles H.8 Whitney, the son of Sewell7's brother Humphrey7 of Kirkland, Maine.
Copyright © 2006, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group