Archive:Civil War Pension File, Sumner Wallace Whitney

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Archives > Archive:Military Records > Archive:Civil War, Pension Files > Civil War Pension File, Sumner Wallace Whitney

Civil War Pension File of Sumner Wallace Whitney
Widow: Eliza S. Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 88078 Cert. # 72410
Widow Applic. # 858966 Cert. # 622784
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

Private, Company E, 31st & 32nd Maine Infantry

On 2 September 1865 from Androscoggin Co., Maine, Sumner W. Whitney, 20 years old and a resident of Lewiston, Androscoggin Co., Maine signed an Invalid Soldier's Application for Army Pension. He had enlisted as a Private in Company E commanded by Captain E.S. Keyes in the 31st Regiment of Maine Volunteers commanded by Colonel White for a term of three years. He had enlisted at Jay, Maine on 22 February 1864, and was honorably discharged on 22 June 1865 at Sickle U.S. General Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. While in the service and in his line of duty, he was taken sick with measles at Augusta on about 20 June 1864. He was carried home and was very sick for three weeks. He went back to Augusta, and from there started for his regiment. He got as far as Fredericksburg when he was taken with chronic diarrhea. From there he went to Washington about the first day of June 1864, and remained there in hospital and in other hospitals until about 20 August 1864. He then joined his regiment and was with his regiment most of the time until May 1865. He states that he is now troubled with diarrhea, and has never been entirely free from it since he was first taken with it in the army. Since his discharge he has lived in Lewiston, Maine, and has not been employed at all because he has not been able to labor. John Clarity of Lewiston and Oscar F. Gammon of Auburn witness the application.

Sumner W. Whitney was pensioned at $4.00 per month from 22 June 1865 for sequelae of measles. In a deposition of 20 August 1866, he recounts his medical treatment while in the army. He was sent to a hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia the last of May 1864, but does not remember the name. He remained there about one week, and then went to a hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained about three weeks. He then went to Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he remained some over one month. From there he was transferred to Montpelier, Vermont, for ten days. Then he went to Augusta, Maine and was treated at Camp Keyes Hospital and at Augusta. In the middle of August 1864 he was sent to Beddow's Island in New York Harbor. After some weeks, he returned to his regiment, where he remained until 30 September 1864. After that he was in Division at two different times, and lastly was treated at Sickles Barracks U.S. Hospital, from which he was discharged on 22 June 1865. He cannot now tell neither the names of every hospital at which he was treated, nor the date of entering or leaving each. He was treated at six or seven different hospitals.

On 4 June 1898 Sumner replied to an inquiry from the Bureau of Pensions. He is married to Eliza Stone Metcalf Whitney. They were married at Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1 January 1870 by George R. Rowe, J.P., and he is in possession of the marriage certificate. It was the first and only marriage for each party. They have two living children: Lillian E. Whitney, born 4 December 1870 and Lester A. Whitney, born 14 January 1881.

Eliza S. Whitney signed a Declaration for Widow's Pension on 31 October 1906 from Kennebec County, Maine. She is 65 years old and the widow of Sumner W. Whitney, who died 16 October 1906 at Randolph, Kennebec Co., Maine. She was married under the name Eliza S. Metcalf on 1 January 1870 at Lawrence, Massachusetts by George R. Rowe. Neither had been previously married. The soldier left no child under the age if sixteen. Her residence is 3 Windsor Court, Randolph, Maine. The deposition is attested by Maria L. Cummings and H. Mabel Cobb. Eliza was pensioned at $8.00 per month from 23 November 1906.

Eliza Whitney submitted with her application a certified copy of the marriage record from Lawrence, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Both parties are residents of Lawrence, and it is the first marriage for each. He is a 24 year old farmer, and she is 24 years old and lists no occupation. He was born in Jay, Maine, the son of Phineas and Amanda Whitney. She was born in Nova Scotia, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Metcalf. They were married 1 January 1870 at Lawrence by George R. Rowe, J.P.

Eliza also submitted a copy of the death record of Sumner W. Whitney from the records of Randolph, Kennebec Co., Maine. The copy is certified by A. C. Clark, Town Clerk of Randolph. The record states that Sumner W. Whitney died 16 October 1906, age 63 years, 2 months. Cause of death was Bright's Disease, chronic diarrhea. The attending physician was R. D. Simons, M.D.

The following facts were taken from various other documents in the file. Eliza S. Metcalf was born 25 May 1843, and she lived in Bathurst, New Brunswick before her marriage. Her sister is Emily Buchanan of Bathurst, Gloucester Co., New Brunswick, Canada. They resided in Pittston, Maine in 1877. On 26 September 1871, Sumner's physical description was 5 feet 10 ½ inches tall, weighed 145 pounds, light complexion, age 25.

Eliza Whitney was last paid $25.00 per month to 4 March 1919, and died 14 April 1919 at her Randolph, Maine address, 24 Windsor Court.

A Proposal for the Ancestry of Sumner W. Whitney


1850 Census for New Vineyard, Franklin Co., Maine

Phineas Whitney, age 27 (b. ca 1823)
Amanda age 25 (b. ca 1825)
Wallace age 4 (b. ca 1846)
Permelia age 2 (c. ca 1848)
George age 1/12 (b. July 1850)
David age 14 (b. ca 1836) Who is David?

1850 Census for New Sharon, Franklin Co., Maine (16 August 1850)

Luther Bailey, age 65
Lucy Bailey, age 50
Mary Whitney, age 19 (b. ca 1831)
Charles Whitney, age 16 (b. ca 1834)

Cemetery Records, Weeks Mills Cemetery, New Sharon, Maine:

Reuben and Lucy Whitney, their daughters
Mary died 7-7-1850 age 19 y, 7 mos.
Pamelia died 9-7-1842 age 19 y, 1 mo.

1860 Census for Jay, Franklin Co., Maine

Wallace Whitney, age 14

In the family of:

Warren Bean, age 55
Lovina Bean, age 56
Lucinda M. Bean, age 21

Note: Phineas and Amanda Whitney have disappeared entirely from the 1860 Census, as has their daughter Permelia.

1860 Census for Industry, Franklin Co., Maine

George C. Whitney, age 10 (b. ca 1850) in the family of:
Luther Bailey, age 75
Lucy Bailey, age 61

1870 Census of Lewiston, Androscoggin Co., Maine

George Whitney, age 19, painter, in the home of:
N. N. Richardson, age 41, also a painter

1870 Census for Lawrence, Essex Co., Massachusetts

Sumner Whitney, age 24, painter, b. Maine
Eliza Whitney, age 24, keeping house, b. Nova Scotia

From: A history of the town of Industry, Franklin County, Maine : from the earliest settlement in 1787 down to the present time, embracing the cessions of New Sharon, New Vineyard, Anson, and Stark : in two parts, including the history and genealogy of many of the leading families of the town. Hatch, William Collins. Farmington, Me. Press of Knowlton, McLeary & Co. 1893.

David Chandler Whitney, son of Reuben and Lucy (Sawyer) Whitney, was born in Norridgewock, Me., Dec. 24, 1834.
Just prior to the breaking out of the war, he came with his widowed mother from Lewiston to the town of Industry and settled on a small farm near Goodridge's Corner.


United in this proposal are facts from two Civil War pension files: the pension applications of Sumner W. Whitney and David C. Whitney. An abstract of the pension file of David C. Whitney has been previously submitted. To review, David C. Whitney was the son of Lucy Bailey, the remarried widow of Reuben Whitney and the wife of Luther Bailey of Industry, Franklin Co., Maine. Reuben's ancestry is: Reuben6 Whitney (Phinehas5, Isaac4, Nathanial3, Benjamin2, John1).

It is proposed that David C. Whitney and Phineas Whitney, father of Sumner Wallace Whitney, were brothers, and the sons of Reuben6 and Lucy (Sawyer) Whitney, then Bailey. The proposal is argued from circumstance, and cannot be taken as truth because it lacks fundamental primary evidence. This evidence may someday become elucidated if the probate records of Franklin County, Maine are explored. The proposal is only made as a working hypothesis of the structure of the family, especially in light of what is known from pension file, census, and local history evidence. There are admittedly two unexplained dates that complicate the proposal.

Sumner W. Whitney's pension file reveals that his parents were Phineas and Amanda Whitney, and that he was born in Jay, Franklin Co., Maine. The census for 1850 shows the family, with Sumner then called "Wallace" living in New Sharon, Franklin Co., Maine (see above). Also in the family are a sister Permelia and a brother George. A fourth child, 14 year old David is also present, but his identity at this time is not revealed. He is too old to be a child of Phineas and Amanda. Identifying a person by his middle name is quite common among the Whitney families of the State of Maine. Thus, the name "Wallace" for Sumner W. Whitney can be explained.

The 1860 census for Jay, Maine shows "Wallace" now living in the family of Warren and Lovina Bean. No longer in the census records are his parents or his sister Permelia. Living in the family of Luther and Lucy Bailey in Industry, Maine is 10 year old brother George. Complicating the proposal is the appearance of Mary Whitney in the family of Lucy Bailey in 1850. However, this only brings into doubt the identity of Mary. The records of Weeks Mills Cemetery in New Sharon reveal that Mary died 7 July 1850. Yet, in the New Sharon census taken on 16 August 1850, there she seems to be. A resurrection?

Between the years 1851 and 1870 there seems to be a reunion of the family in Lewiston, Androscoggin Co., Maine. Sumner applied for his pension in 1865 from Lewiston. The 1870 census shows his brother George living in Lewiston and working as a painter. At that same time his brother Sumner is newly married and living in Lawrence, Essex Co., Massachusetts, where he is also a painter. And, the Industry, Franklin Co., Maine history tells us that Lucy Bailey had come to Industry from Lewiston with her son David C. Whitney just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. The Baileys and Lucy's Whitney children must have moved from New Sharon after 1850 to Lewiston, and then to Industry in time for the 1860 census. George must have moved back to Lewiston before 1870.

Complicating the proposal is the age of David in the 1850 family of Phineas and Amanda Whitney. I believe that this is David, son of Lucy, and brother of Phineas. However, he is listed as 14 years old, born ca. 1836. The Industry, Maine history tells us that David was born 24 December 1834, making him 15 ½ years old in 1850, not 14. There are three explanations for the variation that I can think of: the family provided a wrong age to the census taker; the Industry history has an incorrect birth date; or, I am wrong in the identity of the David Whitney in the 1850 census. Good luck trying to find him elsewhere.

To summarize the proposal, Reuben6 and Lucy (Sawyer) Whitney are the parents of Phineas7 and David C.7 Whitney, and Sumner Wallace8 Whitney is the son of Phineas7 and the grandson of Reuben6 and Lucy. Their ancestral lineage is as previously stated. Reuben naming his son Phineas7 after his father Phinehas5 adds some onomastic evidence.

Commentary and criticism are encouraged, and will be gratefully received.

Copyright © 2006, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group

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