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Throwback Thursday: Emily Gassage Croy, wife of Robert Croy

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Emily Croy 2Most lives aren’t fairy tales; some less than others. Emily Gassage Croy was born in Jefferson County either in 1835 (death record)[i] or January 1838 (gravestone)[ii]. She married Robert Croy in Coshocton County, Ohio on the same day as her brother Samuel married Mary Croy, Robert’s sister, 27 March 1854. [iii]

Robert bought property in Coshocton County in 1853[iv] but by 1860[v] they moved to where his brother William lived near Cutler, Ohio in Washington County. Robert, a carpenter by trade, joined Union Army in 1862. Here is the information from the “Rolls” interview soon after the war.[vi]

“Robert Croy, son of Jacob & Margaret Croy was born in Carrol [sic] Co O March 25th 1832. Sent from Fairfield in Co “G” 92nd O.V.I. Aug. 5th 1862 Was never sick to be in Hosp. or wounded or prisoner–Took part in all the regimental actions. Was discharged with his Co near Washington D.C. June 10th 1865. Married & has four children. Stanton b. ca. 1856, Joanna b. ca 1858, Rhoda b. ca 1860 and ?”

More on his war history here.

Tragedy struck soon after the war. Robert, Emily’s husband, came home with severe hearing loss. Coping with his frustrations, while caring for four children, Stanton, Joanna, Rhoda, and Lorrain (born just before he left for duty), Emily took ill in 1870 as did her youngest daughter. Lorrain died 19 February 1870 at 7 years 7 months. Emily died 14 April 1870.[vii]

Robert’s life maintained its tragic trajectory. Robert married Mary Aikens Nelson on 23 March 1871[viii] less than a year after his wife’s death. They had a son, Arthur. It was a troubled, contentious marriage. Out of his deafness and obstinacy (as his wife reported), or because of her daughter’s loose behavior and dislike of him (as he reported), no one can know.[ix] But we do know his son Stanton drowned, likely in the Ohio River, in Belfre, Ohio on 16 July 1874. The boy was 18 years 5 months 12 days old.[x] Facing the death of three loved ones within four years (not including his father and brother), as well as living in a world of limited communication, might sour a man. He lived, moving through the years from his daughter’s home to his sister’s home, until he died 23 March 1908.[xi]

robert obit

[i] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 22 July 2015), Washington County, Death Records, 1867-1908, image 62 of 492; county courthouse, Ohio. [calculated]
[ii] Emily Croy, Decatur Presbyterian Cemetery, Veto Road, Washington County, Ohio [calculated]
[iii] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” Database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-85444-76?cc=1614804 : accessed 24 June 2015), Coshocton > Marriage licenses 1837-1854 > image 17 of 71; county courthouses, Ohio.
[iv] Coshocton County Court House, 4 Oct 1853, Grantee: Jacob & Robert Croy; Grantor Andrew G. Woods Vol 30, pg 298
[v] 1860 US Census; Census Place: Rose, Washington County, Ohio;
[vi] Handwritten Roll of Honor document, compiled by Charles Strong Perry, 1865, Washington County Public Library, History and Genealogical Archive, 418 Washington St., Marietta, OH. Fairfield Township, pg 7.
[vii] See “i” above
[viii] “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” Database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-22512-85444-76?cc=1614804 : accessed 24 June 2015), Coshocton > Marriage licenses 1837-1854 > image 17 of 71; county courthouses, Ohio.
[ix] Soldier’s Certificate No. 679496, Robert Croy, Corporal, Company G, 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Case Files of Approved Pension applications of Veternans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (Civil War and Later Survivors’ Certificates), 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, DC
[x] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” Washington County, Death Records, 1867-1908, pg 104 #2266
[xi] Robert Croy Obituary; March 23, 1908 , Marietta Daily Times ,page 1, column 5; Washington Co. Public Library, Local History and Genealogy Dept, 418 Washington St., Marietta, OH.

 

Civil War Pension Files: A Priceless Significance

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With so much else, come those wonderful signatures!

With so much else, come those wonderful signatures!

I retreated like a green recruit from the prospect of spending $80 on the Civil War Pension files of my ancestors. It seemed an exorbitant cost, particularly since I faced a line of seven brothers, the sons of my great, great, great-grandparents, all members of two Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiments. But I charged ahead. Well, I didn’t charge but rather crawled forward, ordering four records. And, in the end, I found the sacrifice small. Through them I discovered far more than the surface reward of some genealogical win. I found humanity, and a cost paid out that far exceeded any charge to my account.

Their words, and those of friends, relatives, comrades, and doctors, revealed a landscape strewn with individual fortitude, pain, and heartbreak, one laid bare in the aftermath of war. Like an armchair traveler, I slipped each CD into my computer and travelled back, beyond birth and death dates, into the lives of Robert, David, Greer, and Calvin Croy.

Robert served with Company G of the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) beginning on the 5th of August 1862, but it was in Georgia at the Battle of Chickamauga that he encountered his life long disability, as he stated in his own hand in the Claimant’s Affidavit (transcribed in own words with punctuation added for clarity).Robert's signature

“…on or about the 20th of September 1863 at the Battle of Chicamanga [Tennessee] I had my hearing of Both Ears affected which at the time was alright[.] Was not treated for it at the time … or Since By a Physician[.] the only treatment I have had was self treatment[.] I had not the means to Enploy Physicians. at the Present time my Right Ear is total deaf and the left Partial.”

A comrade, George L Camp of Seattle, Washington, provided the most vivid account of how Robert lost his hearing.

“At Chickamauga we lay about 50 feet to the right of our Brig[ade] Battery-which were 12 pound pieces[,] and they were double charged most of the time for the entire day of Sunday the 20th of Sept. 1863-and the concussion would nearly raise us from the ground…”

As for his feelings when he filed in August of 1897, he ended one of his affidavits this way.

“the Evidence Called fer July 16, 1891 I cannot furnish for while in Service I never Complained as Some did to get Excused But always tried to do my duty. It would have been Better for me if I had[,] for then I Could of furnished the testimony Called fer”

Arthritis and deterioration of knees, feet, and back were common pension complaints for those of the 92nd who marched on foot from Chickamauga to Atlanta and then up through the Carolinas to Washington DC. The regiment, with the rest of Sherman’s troops, marched approximately 1,500 miles and averaged 15 miles a day through swamps and rough terrain, performing heavy manual labor along the way. Often, even with evidence of hospital stays, the Bureau of Pensions deemed many of these applications invalid. The toll of these decisions impacted whole families.

Calvin joined the 92nd late, at Savannah, to march through the Carolinas at the beginning of 1865.  Still, he entered the field hospital for rheumatism from April 17th to April 30th of 1865. Standing tall at six feet one inch and 156 pounds, he filed for a pension in 1880 and finally earned it commencing in 1890 , not for rheumatism but for a ruptured hernia. This comment by J.B. Sands provides insight into the family’s burden.calvin sig

“He is a coal miner and incapacitated for that kind of work. I know personally that he keeps his boys out of school to help earn a support for his family.”

Tuberculosis, or consumption as people called it at the time, percolated freely in the confined environments where soldiers shared all. The lethal bacteria could lie hidden for years and early symptoms often mimicked other diseases. The close quarters, so new to young men use to open country, provided a perfect incubator.

David, also a part of Company G of the 92nd OVI, filed for a pension on June 27, 1877. The six-foot tall, light-haired, blue-eyed 36 year-old declared that he:david mark

“took cold from exposure on the Steamer being transported with the Reg[iment] from Nashville to Carthage, Tenn. Which settled in his throat and lungs giving him Consumption of the lungs and totally disabling him at the time.”

This statement by N.B. Sisson (?) of Porter, Ohio pleads for understanding of the conditions when determining eligibility.

“At Carthage Tenn, winter 62 & 63, Spring 63. The 92 Ohio Vols passed through a severe crisis of grave diseases-Measles, Scurvy, Typhoid fever, and dysentery and diarrhea; at which time for several months the sen[ior] & jun[ior] Surgeons were absent. The jun[ior surgeon] resigning, and so severe were the duties in caring for the sick of the Reg[iment] I am not certain I kept a record of every case of Even severe disease…Defective supplies of vegetables on that frontier caused much disease…These remarks are to enable the department to some Extent understand & appreciate the difficulty; Now of doing (?) justice to the suffering & their widows & orphans.”

Again falling ill and possibly missing action at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, David moved in and out of the field hospital from May of 1863 through January of 1864 with “catarrh, diarrhea, sore feet, typhoid fever, debility, and dysentery.”

David died March 10, 1878, aged 34, never receiving the pension for which he applied. His wife Mary received a Widow’s Pension instead.

David’s brother Greer also suffered from consumption but his story was more complicated and brief. Blue-eyed and brown-haired, at just under 5’8” and four inches shorter than David or Calvin, he volunteered for duty first of the seven brothers, joining F Company of the 36th OVI and serving until:greer sign

“On the 19th day of October 1864 at [the] Battle of Cedar Creek he was shot through the right hip with a minnie ball, from this point was taken to Camden hospital Baltimore & from there discharged.” Writing in strict medical terms, at the time of his discharge, George O. Heldreth, Examining Surgeon, noted[:] The ball entered the right groin and passed out immediately behind the neck of the femur fracturing the margin of the acetabulum, anchylosis of the hip has resulted. The leg is shortened, and in walking the heel does not touch the ground.”

But his brother William tells the larger tale, one infused with a level distress and awe.

“Said Greer Croy was wounded three times. I have seen all of the wounds. It is stated that he was wounded in [the] foot at south mountain which rendered him unable for Duty at the time of the wound. 2nd wounded in the Head at Chicamuga which I understood caused partial Insanity. 3rd Place at Cedar Creek by Gun Shot wounded in hip which made him a cripple for life[.] said Claimant frequently complained of suffering from cough which I fully believe originated in the United States service as I never knew him to be sick or cough Prior to his enlistment. I am an elder Brother of Deceased and know the facts as set forth above. Said Greer Croy was very ambitious & I suppose he thought circumstances compelled him to work[,] & frequently did work more or less at some kinds of Labor[,] when I am satisfied he ought not to have worked.”

Greer died October 28, 1872 of consumption, aged 34, a little over eight years after his injury at Cedar Creek.

Eighty dollars for some pension files? A small price to pay by comparison and invaluable for their insights into human cost of war, of far greater worth than an accounting of dates. I will update you when I receive the last three records of the seven brothers. I anticipate being richer still when I receive them.

My Seven Part Civil War Blog and National Archive Citations

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+one

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+two

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+three

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+four

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+five

https://croywright.wordpress.com/?s=part+six

https://croywright.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/the-aftermath-of-researching-the-civil-war/

Soldier’s Certificate No. 679496, Robert Croy, Corporal, Company G, 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Case Files of Approved Pension applications of Veternans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (Civil War and Later Survivors’ Certificates), 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, DC
Soldier’s Certificate No. 928135, Calvin Croy, Private, Company G, 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Case Files of Approved Pension applications of Veterans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (Civil War and Later Survivors’ Certificates), 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, DC
Soldier’s Certificate No. 679496, David Croy, Corporal, Company G, 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Case Files of Approved Pension applications of Veterans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (Civil War and Later Survivors’ Certificates), 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, DC
Soldier’s Certificate No. 237291, Greer Croy, Corporal, Company F, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Case Files of Approved Pension applications of Veterans Who Served in the Army and Navy Mainly in the Civil War and the War with Spain (Civil War and Later Survivors’ Certificates), 1861-1934; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, DC

Seven Brothers and the War of Rebellion: Part Three

Transport on the Tennessee River Taylor & Huntington

Transport on the Tennessee River
Taylor & Huntington

Imagine your 16-year-old son telling you that he is going to war. He can stand aside no longer, not while his brother fights in a war consuming the Nation. What do you say or do? If you are Jacob and Margaret Croy, it seems, you send your eldest son along to protect him. You are family. Duncan Croy, age 16, signed up for the war on the same day as his brother Robert, age 28. They volunteered for a three-year term in the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company G, on August 5, 1862. Greer gave his age as 18. All death, census, and supporting data show his age to be sixteen at the time.[i] Robert, who would muster out as corporal, now had three children between the ages of six and two.

Now imagine these two are your brothers who are joining with another brother already serving in this historic conflict. Do you stay behind? You are young, idealistic, and you are family. William Croy, aged 25, enlisted with the same company in the 92nd only four days later, August 9, 1862. Like brothers Robert and Greer, he would muster out as a corporal. David Croy joined, at 20 years of age, on August 15, 1862. Within a ten-day period, they had all joined the war. Now only Calvin and Nathan stayed home to help their parents and watch after the families of William and Robert. [ii]

The 92nd proceeded to Gallipolis, Ohio for training with Austrian rifled muskets. By October they moved into the Kanawha Valley and into the brigade of General George Crook. With him was Greer Croy, serving in the 36th OVI.

Now the story of five brothers joins, briefly and dramatically. All five brothers now were serving in the war under the same General but in different regiments. They were dispatched by Ohio River transport to Nashville, Tennessee and then on to Carthage. In the two months spent in Carthage, they buried more than 90 men to disease.

In June they headed through endless rain to Big Springs, Tennessee. Here General John Turchin took command. A colorful and portly immigrant from Hungary, he would lead the brothers successfully through the next infamous campaign. First, though he would secure “green corn, blackberries, and fresh vegetables, speedily [eradicate] all traces of scurvy and disease contracted at Carthage…” [iii] His wife, Nadine, who followed him in battle, supported his efforts.

by Alfred Edwards Mathews

by Alfred Edwards Mathews

By September of 1863 the Army of the Cumberland had arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The battles along the Georgia/Tennessee line loomed before them, ones that would tip the scale of the war.

Note: Copyright free photos from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs www.loc.gov/pictures

Next: the 36th OVI and the 92nd OVI in the Battle of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.

[i] 1860 U.S. census, Fairfield, Washington, Ohio; Roll: M653_1048; Page: 124 Image: 251; Family History Library Film: 805048 from NARA microfilm publication accessed through ancestry.com also 1850, 1870, 1880, 1900. 1910, and death cert.
[ii] Roster Commission by authority of General Assembly, Official roster of the soldiers of the state of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Volume 9 (Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Pub. & Mfg. Co., 141 and 143 Race St., 1886) Books. Google.com
[iii] Martin R. Andrews, edited and compiled, History of Marietta and Washington county, Ohio and representative citizens, Vol. 1 (Biographical Pub. Co., Chicago, 1902) pg 692 https://openlibrary.org/books/OL6573096M
Includes interesting accounts of each Ohio regiments service from the perspective of the late 1800’s.