Archive:Civil War Pension File, Orrin Whitney
Civil War Pension File of Orrin Whitney
Widow: Hannah Whitney
Widow Applic. # 85715 Cert. # 48919
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Orrin Whitney married Hannah E. Goss, both of Presque Isle, Maine, in Fort Fairfield, Maine on 9 May 1857. They were married by Bradford Cummins, J.P. Orin enlisted in Co. C, 15th Maine Regiment on 28 October 1861 in Presque Isle. Sergeant Orrin Whitney was furloughed from the army while his regiment was in New Orleans, Louisiana, and died in Presque Isle, Maine on 30 October 1864. He died of chronic diarrhea. He had no children alive at that time.
His widow Hannah applied for pension benefits 23 November 1864 from her residence in Presque Isle, Aroostook Co., Maine. At that time she was 29 years old. Witnesses for her application were Lydia A. Whitney and Fannie W. Hooper.
The solution to the identity started with the observation that there was a third Oren Whitney who also lived in Presque Isle, Maine. He was Oren Robbins Whitney, son of Phinehas and Mary Whitney of Phillips, Maine. Could our soldier be related to this Oren? I believe he was.
The family of Phinehas and Mary Whitney is registered in the Vital Records of Phillips, Maine twice. The second time was in 1840, at the request of Phinehas. The following copies that registration:
- Phinehas Whitney, born December 1, 1776
- Mary Whitney, born June 1, 1778
- Jeremiah C. Whitney, born February 28, 1804
- Jonathan Whitney, born March 11, 1805
- Nancy W. Whitney, born April 6, 1806
- Elizabeth H. Whitney, born May 29, 1807
- Sumner Whitney, born March 5, 1809
- James F. Whitney, born July 5, 1812
- Fanny S. Whitney, born April 10, 1815
- Oren Robbins Whitney, born October 24, 1819
- Joseph Warren Whitney, born October 27, 1821
You will notice that the place of their births is not mentioned. By 1850, Phinehas must have died, because he is not mentioned. All of his sons but one are accounted for in the 1850 census. Nowhere in the US can be found the oldest son Jeremiah. By 1860, Jeremiah and family appear in the census for Presque Isle, Maine. Also, our soldier Orrin Whitney, who was also not in the 1850 census, appears in the 1860 census for Presque Isle. He is married to Hannah, and has a 2 year old child Blanche. In the 1860 Census, all of Jeremiah's family is said to have been born in Maine.
The 1870 census for Presque Isle is most revealing. Jeremiah is said to be born in Waterville, Maine, his wife Susan in Ireland, and his two children still living at home, Lydia A. and George Whitney, were born in New Brunswick, Canada.
From all of the information presented, I draw the conclusion that in 1850, Jeremiah and family were in New Brunswick, Canada. Orrin was still living at home with them at the time. By 1860, Lydia A. Whitney was still at home, her brother Orrin had married Hannah Goss, and her sister Fannie W. Hooper, who was born in Bangor, Maine, was still living in Presque Isle. Lydia and Fannie witnessed to the pension application for their sister-in-law, Hannah Whitney in 1864.
I am unable to place Phinehas Whitney of Phillips, ME, grandfather of our soldier Orrin Whitney, in the Whitney genealogy. However, I will make a conjecture about him. Living just a small distance south of Phillips in the towns of Carthage and Weld was Jeremiah Whitney. We also do not know his heritage. We do know he was born about 1793. Phinehas was born in 1776. Jeremiah came to Weld from Leeds, Maine, and Phinehas lived in Waterville before coming to Phillips. It is interesting that Phinehas named his first-born Jeremiah. My conjecture is that the two men could have been brothers. Was the father of Phinehas and Jeremiah named Jeremiah? I don't know where that gets the Weld Whitney researchers, but it may be just another piece of the puzzle. Or, maybe not.
Thus the soldier is identified as Orrin Whitney, son of Jeremiah C. and Susan (-----) Whitney, and grandson of Phinehas and Mary (Crommett) Whitney.