Archive:Civil War Pension File, Stephen Henry Whitney
Civil War Pension File of Stephen H. Whitney
Widow: Emma Whitney
Invalid Application #641282, Certificate #494742
Widow's Application #688444, Certificate #484492
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Private, Company A, 15th Michigan Infantry
On 18 February 1888 from Branch County, Michigan Stephen H. Whitney signed a Declaration for Original Invalid Pension. He is forty-four years old and a resident of the City of Coldwater, Branch Co., Michigan. On about 20 March 1862 he had enrolled in Company A, 15th Regiment of Michigan Infantry commanded by Captain John A. Waterman. He was honorably discharged at Detroit, Michigan on 1 September 1865. While in the service and in his line of duty near Corinth, Mississippi on or about 25 October 1862 he by reason of exposure incident to camp life and by reason of the inclemency of the weather contracted the disease of rheumatism, a result of catching cold from getting wet and being exposed. He was not treated in hospital, but in the camp doctor's tent. Prior to entry into the service he was a farmer of sound physical health. He is now partially disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor.
On 20 April 1888, the Adjutant General's Office reported to the Commissioner of Pensions that Stephen H. Whitney, private in Co. A, 15th Regiment of Michigan Volunteers was enrolled at Burr Oak for 3 years. He re-enlisted as a Veteran Volunteer on 22 February 1864. He was mustered out with Company at Little Rock, Arkansas on 18 August 1865. Regimental Hospital Records show him admitted 18 April 1863 with syphilis and phimosis, returning to duty 10 May 1863. 24 August 1864 he was admitted with burns, and returned to duty 28 August 1864. Records show no further evidence of disability.
The surgeon's certificate resulting from the application shows Stephen to be 5 feet 9 ½ inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, age 45 years. He claims that at Corinth, Tennessee (sic) in the fall of 1862 he incurred rheumatism, remained on duty, was very lame and his joints ached. While in the service he would occasionally have palpitations of the heart. Ever since discharge he has been disabled by stiffness of the joints, lameness, and pain. It is recommended that he is entitled to ¼ total disability rating caused by rheumatism and ½ total for disease of the heart. He received a pension of ten dollars per month commencing 21 February 1888.
Many claims were made over the years for increase in pension benefits. Some were allowed, and some were rejected. On 18 January 1898 the U.S. Pension Agency reported to the Commissioner of Pensions that the name of Stephen H. Whitney, who was last paid at sixteen dollars per month to 4 September 1898, was dropped from the rolls because of his death on 3 December 1898.
Included in his widow's pension application was a Transcript of Certificate of Death from the Michigan Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics, for Stephen Henry Whitney, who died 3 December 1898. He died in Ward 3, 324 West Chicago Street, Coldwater, Branch Co., Michigan. His age at death was 55 years, 4 months, and 28 days. He had been born in Michigan. He had married at age 23, and was the parent of two children, one of whom is living. His occupation was butcher. His father's name was Henry Whitney, born in New York. His mother's name was Julia Ann Rumzey, born in New York. His proposed burial place and date is Oak Grove Cemetery, Coldwater on 4 December 1898. The informant for these personal and family particulars is Emma I. Whitney of Coldwater, Michigan. D. B. Vincent, MD, certified that Stephen died at 8:50 AM on 3 December 1898 of cancer and heart disease. The immediate cause of death was a cold, and was contributed to by the bleeding of cancer.
Emma Whitney signed a Widow's Application for Accrued Pension on 15 December 1898 from Branch Co., Michigan. She was married to Stephen H. Whitney on 26 September 1866 at Union City, Branch Co., Michigan. Her name before marriage was Emma Negus. Neither had been previously married. She now resides in Coldwater, Branch Co., Michigan. Witnessing the application were John O'Mara, a resident of Coldwater, and Julia E. Shaw, a resident of Battle Creek, Michigan. Both were in attendance at the death of Stephen H. Whitney. Julia Shaw knew the soldier and his widow from before their marriage, and testifies that they lived together as man and wife.
The application was rejected, probably because she also applied for a Widow's Pension. Emma signed a Declaration for Widow's Pension on 15 December 1898 from Branch Co., Michigan. In this application, she is 58 years old, and was married to the soldier as previously described by Edwin Perry, J. P. She has no living children who were under 16 years old at the time of the soldier's death. The application was again witnessed by John O'Mara and Julia E. Shaw.
Edwin Perry, Justice of the Peace of Branch Co., Michigan certified that on 26 September 1866 at Union City, Branch Co., Michigan, he married Stephen H. Whitney and Emma Negus. Stephen Whitney of Burr Oak, Michigan was 23 years old, and Emma Negus of Burr Oak, Michigan was 25 years old. Present as witnesses were M. D. Wolf and C. C. Whitney of Burr Oak.
There were two general affidavits in the file attesting to the marital status of the soldier and widow at the time of his death. They were signed by A. Emma Dolph and Julia E. Shaw, both of Coldwater, Michigan.
In 1916, Emma applied for an increase in pension benefits. In an addendum to that application, Emma states that she was not the wife of the soldier during his military service. She is 75 years old, having been born 6 August 1841 at Burr Oak, St. Joseph Co., Michigan. Her address at the time is 315 S. Detroit Ave., Sta. E, Toledo, Ohio.
Copyright © 2007, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group