Thursday, April 28, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Bureau of Pensions Questionnaire

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time to share one of the documents or artifacts in my family history collection.  In many 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.  Some of them have little or no information on them. 

The compendium of previous posts for this Pension File is in Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Compendium of Posts.

This week I'm posting the questionnaire sent by the Bureau of Pensions, dated 15 January 1898 (page 48 in the file sent by NARA):

The transcription of the page shown above is (blanks filled in are italicized and underlined):
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions
Certificate No. 850736
Name, Isaac Seaver 3rd
Washington, D.C., January 15, 189 8.
In forwarding to the pension agent the executed voucher for your next
quarterly payment please favor me by returning this circular to him with
replies to the questions enumerated below.
Very respectfully,
Commissioner of Pensions
First, Are you married?  If so, please state your wife's full name and her maiden name.
?Answer. Yes. Mrs. Isaac Seaver Alvina Matilda Bradley
Second. When, where, and by whom were you married?
Answer. Sept. 15th 1888 Married St. Regis Falls N.Y. By J.P. Dunham
Third. What record of marriage exists?
Answer. Record on Town Books Leominster Mass.
Fourth. Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the
date and place of her death or divorce.
Answer. Yes. Lucretia Townsend Smith Married Sept. 4th 1851
She died March 25th 1884 Marriage record Medfield, Mass.
Fifth. Have you any children living? If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth.
Answer. Yes. Frank W. Seaver Born June 5th 1852
Elisebeth L. Seaver Born March 26th 1859
Ellen M. Seaver Born Oct. 16th 1862
Isaac Seaver 3d
Date of reply, June 20th, 189 8
B. Lovering
U.S. Pension Agent
One of the things that distinguishes this document from many of the others is that Isaac Seaver was the respondent - the answers are in his clear and meticulous hand. 
Isaac listed only three of his five children.  His first daughter, Juliet Glazier (Seaver) Bryant, by his first wife, is not listed.  His son, Benjamin Seaver, died in 1894, before this questionnaire was received.
This is the only questionnaire that I've seen in the pension file.  I wonder how often they sent them out to try to keep tabs on the pensioners? 
The introduction mentions a "quarterly payment voucher" - apparently this is how the pensioner received their money.  How and where did they cash it in?  Did they have to go to the Pension bureau office in Boston to do it?  I'm sure one of my readers will know!

1 comment:

Linda Gartz said...

Hi Randy,
I love finding treasures like this written in our ancestors' own handwriting. I have thousands of pages of such writing, and it is a treasure.
Because your ancestor's name is Isaac, I thought you might be interested in this wonderful story a friend of mine (a professional story-teller) and his wife wrote based on the diary of a union soldier named Isaac -- playing on the Biblical Story of Abraham and Isaac -- Sacrifice at Gettysburg. This April being the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, many are posting about Civil War ancestors (I have none), but think you'd like this poignant story based on another Isaac -- written for the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. Here's the link. Google Syd Lieberman if this doesn't work.