I’ve often emphasized the singular importance of acquiring any Civil War Pension Records of your immediate ancestorswhen doing genealogical research. Well, while working on an article I’m writing—one requiring a careful look at the pension records of seven Croy brothers of Washington County, Ohio —I found one more reason those records are so important. By looking closely, you can track any moves they made over time.
If you look carefully at the address of the applicant on every application (and often there are many) and any doctor’s examination through the years, you can create a very detailed timeline of where your ancestor lived and moved. My great-grandfather, Calvin Croy, was the only brother who left Ohio. I’ve traced his movement through census records and the birthplaces of his children, but the information in his NARA pension records provides so much more detail—and raises a few questions as well.
The timeline below traces the movement of Calvin Croy from when he returns home from the Civil War until his death. Unless noted the information can be found in his pension papers housed at the National Archives.
- July 20, 1865-Discharged from Co. B 31st OVI at Louisville, Kentucky
- August 1865-1870: Dunbar/Veto, Fairfield Township, Washington County, Ohio
- 1872-1884: Coshocton, Coshocton County, Ohio Note: December 12, 1872, Calvin married Sarah Angeline Smith in Coshocton, Coshocton County, Ohio; in pension records Calvin gives, on to separate occasions, 1882 and 1884 as the date he headed west. Son William was born August 5, 1883 in Coshocton, Ohio, hence my estimate.
- June 10, 1885-August 1887: Humbolt, Speicer Precinct, Richardson County, Nebraska Note: 1885 Nebraska Census provides start of residency. #4 & 5 show a confusing discrepancy! Son Albert Lloyd born August 11 1887 in Nebraska on census records but Calvin applied for a pension in Taylor, Kansas May 1886 and is listed on the Kansas Grand Army of the Republic Report for January 1, 1887. The Nemaha County, Kansas is right below Richardson County, Nebraska so their home may have been on the border or…?
- May 1886-1889: Taylor, Seneca, Nemaha County, Kansas Note: Lists occupation as farmer. A further discrepancy lists Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas as an address in 1889 and son Lloyd’s WWI biography notes his education in Burlingame.
- 1890-1894: Pleasanton, Linn County, Ohio Note: 1892 in the Kansas Grand Army of the Republic Report is the first time he lists his occupation as miner and may account for the moves the family made #7-9.
- March 1895-September 1895: Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas
- June 1896: Taylor, Seneca, Nemaha County, Kansas
- 1897-December 1900: Pleasanton, Linn County, Ohio Note: son Justus married Mary Elizabeth Ison December 24, 1900 then moved with family to Oklahoma.
- 1901-1905: Buck/Carbon/Krebs, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) Note: these towns, all listed as post offices on pension records during this time period are within 5-10 miles of each other.
- 1907- death on June 12, 1922: Henrietta, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma
While imperfect, the information provides a clear picture of a family in motion after leaving Ohio. Only after setting foot in Henrietta did Calvin find roots.
Next week I explore the fabulous SEARCHABLE Missouri County Plat Books and where my grandmother’s mother Gillie Morris[s] was born. But if Missouri is in your blood, go there now!