Thursday, January 13, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Physical Examination for Civil War Pension

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time to share one of the documents or artifacts in my family history collection.  In previous posts, I have displayed documents from the Civil War Pension File of Isaac Seaver, my second great-grandfather. 

I received the complete Civil War Pension File for Isaac Seaver on 3 January - see my post My Christmas Present Came Today - Oh Boy! - and it has 81 pages in the file.  Many of them have little or no information on them.  I'm going to cherry-pick some pages for this and later Treasure Chest Thursday posts.

The "treasure" this week is the "Surgeon's Examination" of Isaac Seaver when he applied for a Pension in 1892.  There are two sides to this piece of paper:

This side of the Surgeon's Certificate is the form used to catalog and file the record.  There are skeleton outlines on this side to help define any injuries or deformities found in the examination.  The information on this side includes:

Surgeon's Certificate
in case of

Name:  Isaac Seaver
Co. H, 4 Reg't Mass. H.A.

Applicant for Original
No. 1,117,272

Date of Examination:
Aug 10 1892, 189

?????????? Pres., Board
Henry S. Knight, Sec'y, Board
Albert ?????, Treas., Board

Post office, Worcester
County, Worcester
State, Mass.

The side of the paper with the Surgeon's examination details is:

The form has this information on it (information entered  on the form is typed, and underlined in the transcription below):

Attention is invited to the outlines of the human skeleton and figure upon the back of
this certificate, and they should be used whenever it is possible to indicate precisely the location
of a disease or injury, the entrance and exit of a missile, an amputation, etc.

The absence of a member from a session of a board and the reason therefor, if known, and
the name of the absentee, must be indorsed upon each certificate.

Insert character and number of claim: Original  Pension claim No. 1,117,272
Name and rank of claimant:  Isaac Seaver, Rank, Private.
Company H, 4 Reg't Mass. H.AWorcester, Mass. State,
Claimant's post-office address:  Leominster, Mass. (Date of examination) Aug 10 1892

We hereby certify that in compliance with the requirements of the law we have carefully
examined this applicant, who states that he is suffering from the following disability, incurred
in the service, viz:  Varicose veins of both legs, rheumatism, resulting
heart disease, disease of urinary organs, enlarged prostate and
result of carbuncle on back of neck.

He makes the following statement upon which he bases his claim for Original
He has varicose veins on both legs from ankle up, grown worse
during past few years.  Left leg is worse than right.  He
never had much rheumatism, has it in knees and back.  He is
short breathed on exertion.  He has to pass his water fre-
quently at night and it pains him in its passage.  He had car-
buncle on back of neck 5 years ago and back of head is numb.

Upon examination we find the following objective conditions: Pulse rate, 90, 96, 108;
respiration: 18, 24; temperature, 98.6; height, 5 feet 10 inches; weight, 163
pounds; age, 69 years.  His muscles are rather small and soft,
eyes, skin and tongue normal.  Find varicose veins of both
ankles over tops of feet, and up the legs, quite extensive but
not large, four eighteenths.  He has no rheumatism now, noth-
ing. Cardiac area is enlarged, apex 5 and 6 nipple line, im-
pulse diffused, action excitable, very irregular, three eight-
eenths. Find scar, 3 1/2" inch, much contracted, puckered
and hard, four eighteenths.  Examination of urine is negative,
kidneys, nothing.  Prostate is normal.  No other disability
is found to exist.

Rate for each cause of disability:  He is, in our opinion, entitled to a 4/18
rating for the disability caused by varicose veins, 0 for that caused
by rheumatism, and 3/18 for that caused by heart, 0 urinary organs & 4/18 scar.

J. ?????????, Pres.   H.A. Knight, Sec'y   Albert ????? Treas.

The findings are interesting.  I can't read two of the Board members signatures (they're probably physicians!).  It appears that Isaac qualified for 11/18 of a full pension as a result of his disabilities in 1892.  There appears to be a line on the skeleton on the back of the head that indicates where the carbuncle was.

From this document, I know that, at age 69, Isaac was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed 163 pounds, had small and soft muscles, and no prostate problems.  His death certificate in 1901 says he died of prostate cancer.


Linda Gartz said...

This is a fascinating document to have acquired -- and to have the details of Isaac Seavers physical exam must be exciting. I am posting a treasure trove of original letters and documents dating back 100 years at my relatively new blog, Family Archaeologist, so I can readily identify with the sense of discovery you must feel. I don't see an obvious way to "follow" your blog (I get in in an RSS feed) but it there a "follow" section?
Hope to visit often.

Bill West said...

Randy, I am waiting for my own after Christmas gift to arrive here, the Civil War file of my great great grandfather Asa Ellingwood. Reading this post is making it even harder to wait! Fascinating post!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I have a similar document on my ancestor, Abijah Franklin Hitchings of Salem, Mass., who was shot in the leg at the 1st Battle of Fredricksburg. He wouldn't let them take his leg, so he suffered necrosis for the rest of his life and had many trips to Boston for treatment. There are many marks and remarks pointing to the leg on the diagram similar to your document. He walked with a cane for the rest of his life, but he lived to be 68 1/2 years old. I thought this was fascinating, and I'm sure that you do, too!

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I recently received Civil War Pension papers on my 2nd Great-Grandfather, served in Civil War as Farrier, Michael Smith, with physical exam form, same format as yours. Interesting to see. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

Inventory Management Software said...

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Billy said...
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