Archive:Civil War Pension File, William G. Whitney

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Archives > Archive:Military Records > Archive:Civil War, Pension Files > Civil War Pension File, William G. Whitney

Although it is not mentioned in his file, William G. Whitney was the recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Civil War Pension File of William G. Whitney
Widow: Elizabeth M. Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 478769 Cert. # 333184
Widow Applic. # 1048920 Cert. # 803208
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

He is identified as William Garrett8 Whitney (Jonathan7, Ami6, Jonathan5, Jonathan4, Jonathan3, Benjamin2, John1)

1st Lieutenant, Co. B., 11th Michigan Infantry

In 1884, William G. Whitney signed a Declaration for Original Pension. He is a resident of Allen, Hillsdale Co., Michigan. He had enrolled on 24 August 1861, and served in Company B of the 11th Regiment of Michigan Infantry. He was discharged at Jackson, Michigan on 16 September 1865. He is 42 years old; 5 feet seven inches tall; light complexion; gray eyes; and gray hair. He contracted rheumatism from an exposure incident while in his line of duty at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

William was pensioned as a result of rheumatism of the hips and shoulders. The pain was described as constant, but worse in the winter and in damp weather. The rheumatism began when William was detailed as a conductor on the Knoxville & Chatanooga Railroad during the war. He testifies that the exposure to the elements was great and the labor was arduous. He first suffered the rheumatism in the late fall in the shoulders and left hip. He resided in Tennessee and Michigan after discharge.

On December 13, 1884, he supplied an affidavit in support of his declaration. Prior to his enlistment he resided in Allen, MI, where his occupation was farming and attending school. After his discharge he returned to Allen, at home with his father for 5 months. During October he was treated for rheumatism by Dr. Asa Clemmens, who died shortly thereafter. On 1 February 1866 he went to Nashville, TN, where he worked for the N&C Railroad for a year. He had to stop that work because of the rheumatism. He then returned home to Allen, where he has ever since resided. Between 1867 and 1880 he was treated for rheumatism and resulting heart disease at different times each year by Dr. L. R. Watkins of Allen. After the death of Dr. Watkins, he was treated by Dr. Richard Wood of Quincy, MI. He died 4 years ago, and he is now under the care of Dr. David Wood of Quincy, MI. Since he came home to Allen in 1867, he has worked on his own farm, at times being quite well. Each year during the winter and spring he is confined to the house by the rheumatism. He is unable to perform manual labor for a great deal of the summer, and is never able to perform a full days work. William was granted a pension.

William answered two inquiries from the Bureau of Pensions. The first was in 1898. He is married to Elizabeth Whitney (Elizabeth Kay). Their living children are: Anna L. Maud and Hannah J. May Whitney, born 10 January 1875 and Frederic William Whitney, born 23 May 1877. The second inquiry was answered 23 March 1915. William was born 13 December 1840 in Allen, MI. His wife’s full name is Elizabeth (Marshall) Kay (same marriage information supplied as above.) His wife had previously married Thomas Kay on 1 October 1864 at New Market, Ontario, Canada. He died in London, England on 7 July 1870, and was buried there. He has 3 living children: Anna L. Maud Fowler, born 10 January 1875; Hannah J. May Whitney Parrish, born 10 January 1875, died 17 January 1912; and Frederic William Whitney, born 23 May 1877.

In her pension application, Elizabeth supplied a certified copy of William’s death record. He died 7 May 1915 in Allen Township, Hillsdale Co., MI at age 74 years, 5 months, 25 days of valvular heart disease. He was born in Michigan, the son of Johnathan and Ann Jane Garrett Whitney, who resided in New York. His pension paid him $20.00 per month at that time.

On 8 January 1916 from Branch Co., MI Elizabeth M. Whitney signed a Declaration of a Widow for Original Pension. She is 72 years old and a resident of Allen, Hillsdale Co., MI. She is the widow of William G. Whitney, who served as described above, and died 7 May 1915 of valvular heart disease due to rheumatism. The soldier was born 13 December 1840 at Allen, MI, and at the time of his enlistment is described as 5 foot 7 inches tall; dark complexion; gray eyes; dark hair; occupation farmer. She was married to him under the name Elizabeth M. Kay at Allen, MI on 23 April 1874 by Rev. John Clubine. She had been previously married, and William had not. Her former husband’s name was Thomas Kay, and he died at London, England on 7 July 1870. Her post office is RFD #6, Bronson, Branch Co., MI.

In testimony on 24 November 1916, Elizabeth says she is 73 years old. She was born on 7 March 1843 at Kent, England. The file also contains testimony from Jonathan C. Whitney, brother of William G. Whitney. He testifies that he attended the marriage of his brother and Elizabeth M. Kay. There is testimony of people who knew the married couple, and also those who knew of his disability.

Elizabeth supplied a certified copy of her marriage record to William. William, age 33, married Elizabeth Kay, age 31, both of Allen, MI, 23 April 1874 at Allen, MI. It is recorded in the county Clerk’s Office, Hillsdale, MI. William was a farmer, born Allen, MI. Elizabeth was born in Kent, England. They were married by John Clubine, Minister. Witnesses to the marriage were J. C. and Jennie Whitney. William had not been previously married, but Elizabeth had. Elizabeth Marshall married Thomas Kay 10 October 1864 in New Market, Ontario, Canada. They removed to England after the marriage, where Thomas took up farming. Thomas Kay died at the age of 30 years on 7 July 1870 at 2 Margaret St., London, District of Marylebone, Sub-District of All Souls, Middlesex County, England. He died of inflammation of the spinal cord with paralysis. She also supplied a certified copy of the death record of her previous husband. The record is from the General Register Office, Somerset House, London. The record is from Marylebone District, All Souls Subdistrict, Middlesex County.

Elizabeth M. Whitney was last paid at $20.00 per month, and died 14 December 1916 at Bronson, MI. Her address was listed as RD6, Bronson, Branch Co., Michigan. The file contained the following record of her children:

Anna L. Maud Whitney Fowler, born 10 January 1875
Hannah May Whitney Parrish, born 10 January 1875, died 17 January 1912
Frederick William Whitney, born 23 May 1877

Also resident at Hillsdale, Hillsdale Co., Michigan 2 August 1915 was William's brother Jonathan C. Whitney.

Below is a transcript of a report ordered published by the 59th Congress in 1907:

Calendar No. 5642


59th Congress, 2nd Session, Report No. 5714


January 30, 1907 - Ordered to be printed.

Mr. Smoot, from the Committee on Pensions, submitted the following


(To accompany H.R. 20737)

The Committee on Pensions, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 20737) granting an increase of pension to William G. Whitney, have examined the same and report:

The report of the Committee on Invalid Pensions of the House of Representatives, hereto appended, is adopted and the passage of the bill is recommended.

The House report is as follows:

The officer named in the bill, now 66 years of age, served as first sergeant, first lieutenant, and captain of Company B, Eleventh Michigan Infantry, from August 24, 1861, to September 16, 1865, when honorably discharged, and while holding the rank of first lieutenant incurred rheumatism and resulting disease of the heart, for which disabilities he is now pensioned under the general law at $17 per month (total of rank).

He sought increase of pension in July, 1898 and October, 1901. The Pension Bureau, however, rejected the claims upon the ground that a rating in excess $17 per month was not warranted.

The Hillsdale, Mich. Board of surgeons, which last examined him on April 9, 1902, found both shoulder joints and left kneejoint rough as a result of rheumatism, and organic disease of the heart, with pronounced dyspnea upon exercise. The board then rated him $17 for disease of heart and one-fourth of total for rheumatism.

The affidavit of Dr. E. Blackman, of Quincy, Mich., filed with the committee, shows that he had been the officer's family physician since 1884, and that he is now wholly incapacitated for performing manual labor by reason of rheumatism affecting the hips and back, and an enlarged heart, the result of the same, and that frequently since he commenced treatment the officer had been obliged to remain in the house by reason of these disabilities.

That the officer is a severe sufferer from rheumatism is not only shown by the testimony of Doctor Blackman, but also by the certificate of examination of the Coldwater, Mich. Board of surgeons, which in January, 1899, found rheumatism affecting both shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles, with kneejoints slightly swollen.

The officer rendered faithful service for over four years, and by reason of his incurable disabilities contracted in the service, especially the serious affection of his heart, must at his age be totally disabled for the performance of manual labor; hence relief to the extent of granting him an increase of his pension to the rate provided by the general law for that degree of disability, namely, $30 per month, is believed to be warranted.

The passage of the bill is therefore recommended.

(Private No. 1813)

An Act Granting and increase of pension to William G. Whitney

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to place on the pension roll, subject to the provisions and limitations of the pension laws, the name of William G. Whitney, late first lieutenant Company B, Eleventh Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and pay him a pension at the rate of thirty dollars per month in lieu of that he is now receiving.

Approved, February 26, 1907

Copyright © 2006, 2013, Kenneth L. Whitney, Robert L. Ward, and the Whitney Research Group.

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