Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miles Jones of Jefferson County, Tennessee

In February I wrote about the rejected Mexican War widow's pension application submitted by Elizabeth Thornhill Jones for her husband, Robert Thomas Jones Sr. The application contained an affidavit written on behalf of Miles Jones, fellow soldier in Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers in December 1852. Miles Jones submitted his own invalid's pension application on 20 April 1853. Like the pension applications submitted by Elizabeth, this application was also rejected. The file below was copied at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
At this time I am unsure of how Miles Jones may be related to Robert Thomas Jones Sr. It is possible that Miles was his older brother, but the affidavit submitted in Elizabeth's widow's pension does not mention this. He clearly knew Robert, Elizabeth and family. [Other researchers on Ancestry show Miles to be a son of Thomas Jones and Nancy Tucker. I haven't confirmed this yet.]

Miles was born about 1799 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He married Mary Ann Quarles in Jefferson County on 23 December 1820.
Miles appears in the 1830 & 1840 US Census in Jefferson County, but not the 1850. He's there in 1860 Census in Jefferson County with wife Mary Ann and son Miles Jones Jr. (living next door to Dr. W. P. Massengill).

In the 1830 US Census, Miles is listed as between 30 and under 40, with one male child under 5, 1 female child under 5, and one female child between 5 and under 10. Mary appears between the ages of 20 & 30. Miles is a few houses away from Duke Kimbrough.

In the 1840 US Census, Miles is living next door to Andrew Jones, and a few houses away from Joseph Thornhill and also not far from a Nancy Jones. Miles is shown with one male child between 5 and under 10 years old, one between 10 and under 15 years old, one female child under 5 years old, one between 5 and 10 years old, one between 10 and 15 years old, one between 15 and 20 years old, and wife Mary between 30 and under 40 years old.

Miles and Mary Ann had at least the following children:
1. Daughter born around 1821-1825
2. Daughter born between 1825-1830
3. Son born between 1825-1830
4. Daughter born between 1830-1835
5. Adam Jones born between 1830-1835
6. Daughter born between 1835-1840
7. Miles Jones Jr., born about 1844

Miles Jones Sr does not appear in the 1870 US Census, so it is likely that he died sometime between in 1860-1870. I assume this to be in Jefferson County.

The Claim
 "The statement of the undersigned, a citizen of Jefferson County, Ten. would respectfully represent that he volunteered during the later part of the year 1847, for during the late war with Mexico and served as a private under Capt. Reese, Co. G. 5 Tenn. Vols, the full term of this enrollment, and at the conclusion thereof he was honorably discharged at Memphis, 21st July 1848.

He states further that when he entered the said service he was in good health and free from any constitutional malady or complaint, and he [unclear] said condition until he reached the National Bridge, Mexico, where about the later part of April 1848, he was violently attacked with the Diarrhea, diseases present among the soldiers in the service, in a malignant form, which diseases continued to operate upon his health, and constitution until he was discharged, and which have contrived upon him up to the present time, impairing the general strength of his system and undermining the force and vigor of his constitution, so that he is much debilitated and greatly reduced in strength and health.

He states that he still has the chills and fever and diarrhea, periodically so that he is much afflicted and wasted away, and having a large family to support, nearly all of when are helpless, he has hard times to get along, and being of about 50 years old age, he feels his strength gradually decaying and therefore asks the relief of the Pension laws. Dr. Satterfield, being near Mossy Creek in said County has been his duly physician since his discharge, and he expects to secure his evidence, as well as that of service of his [unclear] and officers, all of the later having removed or died, except Lt. Porter, who it is said resides at Greeneville, Tennessee.

Know to and subscribed before me this 15th of April 1852, a credible witness interviewed above in 3 places before me. A. Bethel, Justice of the Peace

his mark [X] Miles Jones

The application also contained:
1. Affidavits of James Thomas and John W. Thornburgh (sergeants in Company G), 15 April 1852
2. Affidavit of surgeon R. Humphrey
3. Affidavit of Dr. Levi Satterfield, 25 December 1852
4. Affidavit of 2nd Lt. Proctor R. Porter of Company G, 2 March 1853
5. Cover letter prepared by A.G. Graham to the pension office
6. Letter dated 11 July 1854 asking the pension office for a status update on Miles' claim
7. Response from the pension office dated 12 July 1854

Pension Office Response of 12 July 1854

The papers of Miles Jones, a private of Company G, 5th Regt Tennessee Volunteers to which you allude in your letter of this date, have been examined and filed. He claims a pension for chills and fevers contracted at the National Bridge in about 1848 and diarrhea incurred while crossing the Gulf in July following. He has produced the form affidavits of the sergeants of his Company who corroborate his statement, and his affidavit of Lt. Porter, of said Company. The latter only can be received, as he was present with it on his return to this state and when it was discharged. He states that he has no recollection of June, being attacked with any diseases while in the service, but it is possible he says that he may have had them, as he (Porter) was for a month or more absent from the Company while it was stationed at the National Bridge. If he was absent during that time, it is inferred that he would have made acquainted with the soldier's sickness and if he contracted the diarrhea in crossing the Gulf, he must have seen him at that time, and when he was discharged.

We are not authorized to take the testimony of uncommissioned officers or privates in a case when commissioned officers were with the company and unless the claimant can show by such evidence that he suffered from chills and fever and diarrhea at the date of his discharge from the Army as well as the time when and the place where said diseases were incurred, he cannot obtain a pension.

Dr. Satterfield states in his affidavit that he was called in occasionally for medical relief by Jones, and that he gave him the usual remedies. It is [unclear] that he state at what date he first saw him, in what manner he was when affected, how often he had been subject to attacks of chills and fever as well as diarrhea, having the attacks contained (?) whether the claimant has been [unclear] in his habits and what has been his occupation.

Dr. Humphreys, who lives in a distant county, has set forth the operation of the diseases in no such particularity as to make the impression that he has had a personal knowledge of the case, and it is presumed that he did not see him with the medical survey; and if so, his testimony cannot have much weight.

We have heretofore stated that we cannot permit applicants to go out of their neighborhood to obtain a medical survey. They must be examined by at least two competent and skillful physicians residing near them, who will state in a joint affidavit professionally the manner in which they are affected by diseases and the degree of disability resulting therefrom. Such an affidavit is wanted in this case, and the professional standing of the physicians must be certified by a member of Congress or some prominent person known at this office. Dr. Satterfield must also be certified.

Hon. N. C. Taylor

Like the other rejected pension applications submitted by Elizabeth Jones, this is incredibly frustrating to read. It is clear that Miles Jones served in Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers and the pension office recognizes this. It is also clear that Miles, like Robert Thomas Jones Sr., was at National Bridge, Mexico, and returned to Memphis, Tennessee in July 1848. He very likely contracted yellow fever in Mexico or on the voyage back to Tennessee. Yellow fever and other diseases were rampant among the men who served in Mexico at this time. This is confirmed in R.M. Edwards' Down the Tennessee and other writings of the time.

It would be interesting to see how many of the men of Company G who survived the war and returned home (or their wives) actually received the pension they deserved.

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