Monday, June 20, 2011

Military Monday-Gaskill Civil War Files

After a few speed bumps, and following some advice from Heather Rojo, I  received Everett Gaskill’s Compiled Military Service Record and his pension file from NARA.

The CMSR confirmed the basics of what I found online, but it did have more detail.  He received a bounty payment of $100 for a one-year enlistment.  He only served about 6 months because the War ended.  He mustered out at Fort Berry, VA, not even six miles from where I currently live.

His pension file had much more information.  Now I know why everyone gets so excited when they get these records. 

The first thing I noticed is that he had some difficulty getting his pension approved, but maybe every applicant had to go through the same thing.  He was rejected once after an application in August 1912, but then in January 1913, notarized paperwork was submitted and a tracing of his signature was furnished by the War Department.  He was approved for a pension of $15 per month.  Then again in July 1915, he resubmitted paperwork, perhaps to get an increase, because there followed an approval for an increase to $18 per month, effective July 1915. 

I’m sure it’s the applications that get everyone so excited.    It confirms his birth and marriage places and dates, the name of his wife, Mary E. Hinds, and indicated she died in 1897. It also had the names and birth dates of his children.  Additionally, it indicated there was no official or church record of his marriage--the certificate was lost in a fire.  No point in searching for that!  It confirmed Mary Etta had not been previously married.  It also gave the specific date, March 12, 1868, he moved from Owego, NY to Emporium, PA, meaning he was in Emporium for three years before his marriage back in New York.  I originally thought Everett followed the Hinds family to Emporium, but it seems to be the reverse—his in-laws followed them to Emporium. 

The final piece of information confirmed by the file was his death date of December 16, 1916.  He must have been paid quarterly as there was a notice of a returned check for $54 dated March 4, 1917.  The check was returned by the Postmaster with the information that he had died.

One thing I wasn’t able to confirm was whether or not he was a drummer boy.  The age of 19 seems old for that role, so I was hoping for a clue.  One clue that did come out of this led me to a peripheral story I’ll post on Thursday.

Seeing all this genealogical information made me sad that my great-great grandfather, Erastus Murray, was rejected after enlistment and never served in the Civil War.  When I think what I would have learned from pension papers to enable me to get past that brick wall in my research, well….

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