Digging deeper into the government archives for Pensions


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Joined
Oct 4, 2016
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253
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San Diego, Ca
#4
From the House Resolution 40th Congress

CHAP. CCXC.V. - An Act for the Relief of Mrs. Alice A. Dryer. July 27, 18e8. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Inte- Pension to rior be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to pay to Alice A. Alice A. Dryer. FORTIETH CONGRESS. SESS. II. CH. 295 -300. 1868. Dryer, widow of Hiram Dryer, late a major of the thirteenth regiment of United States infantry, whose name is now on the list of pensioners, the sum of twenty-five dollars per month during her widowhood, in lieu of the pension she is now receiving; this act to take effect from the fifth day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the day of the death of said Hiram Dryer. APPROVED, July 27, 1868
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
23
#5
Did you use the online application form to get the documents from NARA? I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. a few years back and was able to obtain my 2nd great grandfather's Mexican War pension application documents. Now I am researching my husband's 2nd great grandfather, Uriah McDonald, and would like to get the documents his widow filed for a pension in 1902. Apparently, he was married five times and the widow had to provide proof of death or divorce in each of the four previous marriages. Up until finding this snippet in a local newspaper I had no idea he was married that many times! t may also help me trace any of his descendants from those marriages.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
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6,493
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State of Jefferson
#7
Did you use the online application form to get the documents from NARA? I had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. a few years back and was able to obtain my 2nd great grandfather's Mexican War pension application documents. Now I am researching my husband's 2nd great grandfather, Uriah McDonald, and would like to get the documents his widow filed for a pension in 1902. Apparently, he was married five times and the widow had to provide proof of death or divorce in each of the four previous marriages. Up until finding this snippet in a local newspaper I had no idea he was married that many times! t may also help me trace any of his descendants from those marriages.
Regarding how to order from the Archives:

Last year I researched all the CW veterans buried in the historic cemetery where I'm a volunteer. There are thirty six and about a third of them had pension files. Initially I used the on-line system but had difficulties. Twice they somehow lost my order due to "system malfunctions" and I had to email them (the directions for that are not real easy to find) and ended up waiting several months. Two other times they sent me a form saying the records I ordered didn't exist. In those cases I then used the snail mail option because I could include a copy of the pension record application (you can't include attachments with the on-line system). In both cases I got the files about a month after I mailed in my order.

So, maybe you'll be lucky and the system will work for you but for the price of a stamp you can be sure of it. Ya know, sometimes you really do just need a horse.

Do get the file though. They contain a lot of interesting personal history. There are questions about marriages and children and if those got filled in completely you'll find the names of all the wives, the marriage dates, and the places where the marriages took place. If there were children there's a place to list their names, birth dates, and places of birth. There's other useful questions, too, such as what jobs the applicant did up to the time of application and that can reveal where they lived and how long. If the one for your guy is completely filled out it could be a gold mine. In your case, though, if it was the widow who initially filed she might have just said she didn't know to the personal history questions. Still, for $25 it's a must have.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
23
#8
Regarding how to order from the Archives:

Last year I researched all the CW veterans buried in the historic cemetery where I'm a volunteer. There are thirty six and about a third of them had pension files. Initially I used the on-line system but had difficulties. Twice they somehow lost my order due to "system malfunctions" and I had to email them (the directions for that are not real easy to find) and ended up waiting several months. Two other times they sent me a form saying the records I ordered didn't exist. In those cases I then used the snail mail option because I could include a copy of the pension record application (you can't include attachments with the on-line system). In both cases I got the files about a month after I mailed in my order.

So, maybe you'll be lucky and the system will work for you but for the price of a stamp you can be sure of it. Ya know, sometimes you really do just need a horse.

Do get the file though. They contain a lot of interesting personal history. There are questions about marriages and children and if those got filled in completely you'll find the names of all the wives, the marriage dates, and the places where the marriages took place. If there were children there's a place to list their names, birth dates, and places of birth. There's other useful questions, too, such as what jobs the applicant did up to the time of application and that can reveal where they lived and how long. If the one for your guy is completely filled out it could be a gold mine. In your case, though, if it was the widow who initially filed she might have just said she didn't know to the personal history questions. Still, for $25 it's a must have.
It looks like he originally applied for an Invalid pension in 1875 for which there is a certificate number. Then his widow applied in 1902. Thanks for the advice. I think I will mail in my request with the supporting documentation and see what happens.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
253
Location
San Diego, Ca
#10
During the first week of March 1876, Maj. Dryer caught a severe cold that later developed into pneumonia. He died suddenly at 7:00 pm on March 5, 1867. He was one month shy of 58 years old at the time of his death and was buried in Detroit. Fellow officer Lt. William S. McCaskey wrote to his brother a few days after Dryer’s death that he had met “but few men in my time to whom I have become so attached…The Col. (Bvt. Rank) was a dear good friend to me. Always kind and friendly, his family as well as the whole command are grief stricken.”

Major General William Spencer McCaskey named one of his sons; Hiram Dryer McCaskey after Major Hiram Dryer. He was the namesake of Major Hiram Dryer commanding officer at Fort Randall. Major Dryer was married to Alice Garrison of Detroit, MI. Alice was the sister of Nellie Garrison (Hiram's mother), who married General McCaskey (Hiram's father).

Here is a picture of Major General William S. McCaskey who is an interesting individual.

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