Archive:Civil War Pension File, William Hutchings Whitney
Civil War Pension File of William H. Whitney
Widow: Jeanette Whitney
Invalid Applic. # 1133875 Cert. # 952955
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
Sergeant, Company B, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery
William H. Whitney signed a Declaration for Original Invalid Pension from Sagadahoc County, Maine on 19 September 1892. He would eventually apply four more times for increases in the pension which he was granted. Most material in those applications is repetitive, but some is new. I have distilled the information from all of the applications into one statement.
In 1892, William is 54 years old and a resident of Richmond, Sagadahoc Co., Maine. He had enrolled at Lewiston, Maine on 31 December 1863 as a private in Company B of the 1st Regiment of Maine Heavy Artillery, commanded by Captain Isaac Faunce. He was honorably discharged at Fort Baker, District of Columbia, on 11 September 1865. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a light complexion, hazel colored eyes, and black hair. He was born 11 April 1838 at Bowdoinham, Maine. Prior to enlistment, he had been a seaman.
In all applications, he has always resided at Richmond, Maine. He was encamped at Fort Baker opposite Washington, and near at hand was a bay of stagnant water. The wind from that quarter was charged with malarial germs, and he contracted malaria. He has suffered from that time with fever and ague.
In an 1898 application, William provides a more comprehensive declaration. He remained in Richmond, Maine for about a year after his discharge because he was in ill health. He resided with his father on Front Street. For the next seven years he followed the sea as a First Officer in the Merchant Service. In 1873 he returned to Richmond and was engaged in the furniture and cabinet business until 1898. He had resided for several months on Lincoln Street, then on Front Street for three years, then on Main Street for two years, and then on Gardiner Street, his present home, the balance of the time.
Since 1888 he has worked at carpentry as much as his disability would allow. He was sick at the time of his discharge with fever and ague, and was attended by Dr. Colby on the day he arrived home. He was sick almost all the time for a year while partially regaining his health. He then resumed his occupation as a seaman as an officer in the Merchant Service, shipping on a long voyage. During the voyage he was disabled from performing his duties a larger part of the time by chills, fever, and rheumatism. During the next six or seven years he continued at sea, but was layed up frequently with illness.
In 1873, due to his disability, he decided to find an occupation less exposed. He settled in Richmond, Maine, engaging in cabinet work for a few years and the opening of a furniture store, in which he remained until 1888. During all this time he suffered at frequent intervals from chills and fever and rheumatism, but he called in a physician infrequently, as he had grown accustomed at sea to treat himself. When a doctor was needed, he called upon Dr. Libby. During these years he had not applied for a pension because he was able to support himself. But, within the last ten years his disabilities have increased. Having met with financial losses, and disabled as he is, he believes that he is entitled to a pension for disabilities incurred in the service.
He contracted his disability, fever, chills, and rheumatism, at Fort Baker, D.C. after Lee's surrender because of the unhealthy situation at the fort. At the time there were 1500 in the hospital with chills and fever. He did not enter the hospital because he expected to be sent home at any time, which he soon was. His sight has been gradually failing for quite a number of years.
On 13 November 1897, William answered an inquiry from the Bureau of Pensions. He is married to Laura Emily Whitney, nee Laura Emily Small. They were married 21 January 1864 at Lewiston, Maine by Rev. William Wood, Baptist Clergyman. The marriage should be recorded in the church records and in the Town of Richmond records. His living children are: Walter E. Whitney, born 26 January 1865; Laura May Whitney, born 2 May 1875; and William F. Whitney, born 21 April 1883.
On 19 March 1932, Laura M. Whitney, William's daughter, of 5 Concord Street, Malden, Massachusetts wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions. She informed him of her father's death on 13 March 1932 at Gardiner (sic), Maine of chronic bronchitis.
On 11 April 1932, William H. Whitney, who was last paid one hundred dollars per month to 3 March 1932 has been dropped from the pension rolls due to his death on 13 March 1932. Subsequent to William's death, Harold N. Libby, Commander of the American Legion Post #132, submitted an application for a burial flag with which to drape the casket. The application states that William died at Gardiner Street, Richmond, Maine. He will be buried at 2 PM on 16 March 1932. Mr. Libby acknowledged the receipt of the flag.
Note: William's daughter Laura probably erred in her note to the Commissioner of pensions when she said her father died at Gardiner. As the flag application states, he most probably died at Gardiner Street, Richmond, Maine. Also, it seems that William must have been at home on furlough when he was married in 1864. KLW
Copyright © 2006, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group