Archive:Civil War Pension File, William F. Merrill

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Archives > Archive:Military Records > Archive:Civil War, Pension Files > Civil War Pension File, William F. Merrill

Civil War Pension File of William F. Merrill
Mother: Emaline L. Merrill
Father: William Merrill
Mother's Applic. # 269109
Father's Applic. # 317846
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

William F. Merrill was the son of William and Emeline L. (Whitney) Merrill of Freeport, Cumberland Co., ME. I do not know Emeline's ancestry, but I can make a wild conjecture based on census evidence and this pension file abstract. Elias5 Whitney (Amos4, Nathaniel3, Benjamin2, John1) married Polly Fowler in Gorham, ME, on 14 Dec 1788. They appear in the 1790 census in Freeport, ME, and in the 1810 census in Portland, ME. In 1810 they had three daughters under the age of 10. Emeline was born about 1809. If anyone has evidence supporting Emeline belonging to this family, I would appreciate hearing from you.

Company K, 20th Maine Infantry

On 25 May 1880 from Cumberland Co., ME, Emaline L. Merrill signed an Application for Mother's Army Pension. She is seventy-one years old and a resident of Freeport, Cumberland Co., ME. She is the wife of William Merrill and the mother of William F. Merrill, who was a private in Company K in the 20th Regiment of Maine Volunteers. He was killed in battle at Gettysburg, PA, on 2 Jul 1863, as will appear by the records. Seth Bailey and Enoch C. Soule, both residents of Freeport, witnessed the application.

Emaline's claim was not acted upon for a number of years, and was suspended upon her death on 27 Jan 1884.

On 15 July 1884 from Androscoggin Co., ME, William Merrill signed a Declaration for an Original Pension of a Father. He is seventy-six years old and the father of William F. Merrill, whose service is reported consistent with previous the description. He was in part dependent of his son for support. William F. Merrill left neither widow nor child under the age of sixteen years. William was married to the soldier's mother by Rev. Tyler on 7 Dec 1830 at Portland, ME. The mother of the soldier died at Freeport on 26 Jan 1884. His address is 6 Maine Street, Auburn, Androscoggin Co., ME.

The Adjutant General's Office reported that William F. Merrill was enrolled on 2 Aug 1862 at Freeport for three years. He was reported killed in action at Gettysburg, PA, on 2 Jul 1863.

William provided an affidavit in support of his declaration. William F. Merrill was his only son. His age was 21 years and 10 months, and he was a minor when he enlisted in Aug 1862. He always turned in all of his earnings for the family, except what he needed for clothing. While in the service he sent home what money he could spare, directing them to use the money if it was needed. In 1835 the father bought a farm of sixty acres in Freeport, upon which they lived in 1862. They had a small house and barn on the farm, and he paid five hundred seventy-five dollars for it. In 1869 the barn and all of the outbuildings were burned, but he saved the house, although it was somewhat damaged. With the assistance of his friends and neighbors he was able to rebuild the barn and porch, but he was left in debt. They did the best they could, but in 1876 they sold the farm to Silas Kirk for one thousand dollars. He then paid the debts and moved to Auburn, Androscoggin Co., ME. There he did what he could to make a living while residing with one of his married daughters. After two years, when his health failed and he was unable to work, he moved back to Freeport. There he bought ½ of a house with ½ acre of land for two hundred seventy-five dollars where they now reside.

In another deposition in 1885 William testifies about the makeup of his family at home in 1863. He lists his children as:

  1. Emeline, born 24 Jul 1839
  2. William F., born 14 Sep 1841
  3. Eliza, born 8 Sep 1845
  4. Ida M., born 15 Aug 1848

William A. Mitchell, Town Clerk of Freeport provided a certified copy of the death record of Emeline L. Merrill. She died at Freeport on 27 Jan 1884. He also provided a certified record that William F. Merrill was born in Freeport on 14 Sep. A. A. Dennett, Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court of Cumberland Co., ME, provided a certified copy of their marriage record. William Merrill of Pownall and Emeline L. Whitney of Portland were married by Bennett Tyler in Portland on 7 Dec 1830.

The file contains an undated affidavit by Emma L. Wyman, age 47, and Ida M. Clark, age 38 years. They are residents of Auburn, Androscoggin Co., ME, and the daughters of William Merrill. They were living at home at the time their brother William F. enlisted, and lived at home until 1865. Most of their testimony was a description of the production of the family farm in the year 1863. They raised corn, beans, hay, potatoes and oats. They had two cows, six sheep, a hog, some dozen chickens, and a colt their brother William F. bought. Most of the produce was consumed on the farm, except part of the potatoes, which were exchanged for groceries. They believe about one hundred dollars in money was realized, which went to pay taxes and buy necessities.

The claim was rated by the Pension Bureau at eight dollars per month, but there is no evidence that the claim was ever certified. No reason for that is clearly stated, but the argument that William F. contributed substantially to the economic health of the family probably could not be sustained.

Copyright © 2009, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group

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