James Baker was my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather. He served in Co. F 74th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Up until receiving this pension packet (a number of years ago), I had no idea that James Baker had a half brother.  I thought it was interesting that he called himself “brother of the half blood” – kind of a strange way to word it.

I have been forever grateful that both my husband and I had a number of ancestors who served on both sides of the Civil War.  The pension records have given me so many details into their lives at this time.  You truly never know what you’re going to find in those affadavits!!

This affadavit was written by John S. Baker, (James’ brother), who also served in the war.  We have a number of ancestors who suffered from “chronic diarrhea”.  What a horrible things to suffer!!

State of Missouri, County of Jackson.
In the matter of James Baker on this 12th day of February A.D., 1890 personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, John S Baker aged 57 years, a resident of Kansas City in the County of Jackson and state of Missouri whose postoffice address is 1431 Campbell St, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who being duly sworn, declared in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:

I am the brother of the half blood of the above named James Baker, and have known him all my life;  When he enlisted in the army on or about March 1865 he was a sound man in bodily health and free from chronic diarrhea or any other disease or disability as far as I ever knew, and had he been a sufferer from said disease or any other disease or disability prior to and at the time of his enlistment I have every reason to believe and do believe that I should have known it.  I think it was the second day after his discharge from the Army that I saw him.  I know it was within two or three days, and I observed that he was then a sufferer from some disease which he then informed me was the chronic diarrhea, and that he had contracted the same in the Army.  I knew him each year for about four years after his said discharge from the Army when he moved to Tennessee.  He was ailing all the time from the chronic diarrhea each year, and was not able to do more than half the labor he would have done at manual labor had he been free from this disease.  I saw him again in Tennessee for four or five years from about 1871 to about 1876 or 1877 and he was sick the time each year more or less from the chronic diarrhea and he was disabled at least one half.  His disease went to his lungs.  He further declares that he has no interest in this case, and is not concerned with its prosecution.
John S. Baker

  • Heather Roelker - November 7, 2011 - 6:19 am

    How horrible for James, he must have been constantly dehydrated. I read that chronic diarrhea claimed more than 27,000 lives during the war, one of the largest killers. I have to wonder if it was an infectious disease or just poor diet. Anyway, on a bright spot, his brother John lived in the best city in the world! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 7, 2011 - 9:19 am

    I was surprised at the number of men I’ve seen who suffered from chronic diarrhea. What a horrible way to go!
    Ha! My husband’s parents live outside of Lawrence, KS – not too far from Kansas City, but I’ve never really done anything in KC before.ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - November 7, 2011 - 4:59 pm

    I received the pension file for my 3rd great grandfather and his ailment was “piles caused by eating green corn”. Hemorrhoids :-(ReplyCancel

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Whew, Halloween is over!  The kids had a great time trick-or-treating.  We got hit by tons of kids and ran out of candy within an hour.  Then we had to turn all of the lights off and pretend we weren’t home for the rest of the evening.  I contemplated giving out my kids’ candy, but they wouldn’t go for it.:)

And a few pics from this past week:

  • Linda McCauley - November 4, 2011 - 7:56 am

    Thanks for the mention. It’s much appreciated. (BTW, you have the most photogenic children. I always enjoy your pictures.)ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 4, 2011 - 8:59 pm

      Thanks Linda! They are getting pretty sick of me chasing them around with the camera. I have to start taking pictures of neighborhood kids soon! :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather Roelker - November 4, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    You are too kind, Jen! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Eliza - November 4, 2011 - 2:24 pm

    Hey Jen,

    Thanks for the mention! I love your other Follow Fridays!

    -Eliza (The New Genealogist)ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 4, 2011 - 8:58 pm

      Thanks Eliza :)ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - November 4, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    Thank you for linking to my post this week. I appreciate it. Thanks also for highlighting posts on other people’s blogs. Your “girl” whose photographs you have above has the most beautiful green eyes!ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 4, 2011 - 8:58 pm

      Thanks Nancy!ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl - November 4, 2011 - 7:36 pm

    Great photos! I’ve often tried to take photos of birds and other animals without much luck–your turtle and owl photos are awesome.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 4, 2011 - 8:57 pm

      Thanks Sheryl! There are two owls that live at the Sergeants Major Academy where my husband is attending. They are always in the trees in the courtyard and they don’t move around much, so they are pretty easy to capture. The turtle is our pet and we let him loose in the backyard for some exercise. :) I love photographing animals – keep at it and you’ll get some good shots!ReplyCancel

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Another plea for an increase in pension, this one written a few years later.

Lakewood, NJ, Nov 29th 1915

Hon Commissioner of Pensions

Washington DC    dear Sir

     I hereby make application for increase of Pension on age limit I was seventy five years old 18th of July last was born in 1840 my Pension certificate is 93-337

yours most respectfully

Ward Pierce

Receipt acknowledged by Mail & Supplies Division

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Ward Pierce (1840-1921) was my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather.  He served for the Union in the Civil War and was wounded in the left thigh at Cold Harbor.

This is a letter he wrote to the Commissioner of Pensions, asking for an increase of his pension.  It’s so sad to think that he couldn’t make ends meet.  I”m so thankful to have a copy of this letter, which he wrote in his own hand.

Lakewood, N.J.  Jan 16, 1912

Hon Commissioner of Pensions

Dear Sir,

        I am very sorry that you have rejected my claim for an increase as I believe that I’m justly entitled to it as I am not able to work and have only three and a half days to my credit for two years and $17 will not make ends meet as I have no income what ever Well I have done my duty as a soldier to help keep what all men now enjoy and wishing you and all mankind prosperous and happy new year is the sincere wish of yours most respectfully,

Ward Pierce

[stamped Jan 19 1912, U.S. Pension Office]

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