Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Company G Pension Update #1

This is the first in a series of updates as I review the pension applications related to the men who served in Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers during the Mexican War.

To recap from previous posts, my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr and his son Robert Thomas Jr served in Company G, and pension applications filed by my 4th-great-grandmother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones were rejected. I've decided to look up all of the pensions filed by the survivors or their spouses from Company G.

I had a chance to look through six files at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and I was pleased to see that all six of the soldiers (or their surviving spouses) received a pension. The information below was obtained through reading the pension files at the Archives. I took quite a few photos, but am not posting them all here.

It is my hope that descendants of the men who served will find this information for their own family histories. It is fascinating reading. Several of the pensions were granted by Act of Congress.

2nd Lt. John Adams Miller
John Adams Miller was born on 31 October 1829 in Tennessee, and died on 25 March 1908 in Napa County, California. His wife Laura A. Wiley Miller was born on 9 April 1845 near Logansport, Indiana. She married John Miller in Salt Lake City, Utah on 6 October 1866, and died on 27 April 1919 in Mountain View, California.

The pension file listed the names and birth dates for their four children:
1. Orlando Wiley Miller - born 14 August 1867
2. Lillian D. Miller Hendricks - born 21 November 1868
3. Willard J. Miller - born 3 June 1871
4. Raymond P. Miller - born 25 September 1883

Lt. Miller received a survivor's pension until his death. His wife received a widow's pension until her death in 1919. The pension was granted per act of Congress.


The file notes that on 2 July 1848, Miller was on board the ship Maid of Orleans, returning from Mexico. Company G took casualties at National Bridge on 11 May 1848, 21 June 1848.

Sergeant Marcus LaFayette Allen (later promoted to 2nd Lt.)
Allen was born on 30 June 1816 in Franklin County, Tennessee. He joined the 5th Infantry in Knoxville, Tennessee. Allen died on 10 August 1894 in Blansett, Scott County, Arkansas.

Marcus LaFayette Allen married Leah Hickman in Pontotoc County, Mississippi on 28 October 1849, after returning from the Mexican War.

Leah Allen's pension references a Special Act of Congress approved 3 March 1891, which increased her pension to $20 per month. The pension was filed in Clark County, Arkansas. The photos below show HR 13526 from the 51st Congress, relating to Congressional approval for Leah Allen's pension.

Sergeant James Thomas
According to the pension file, James Thomas was originally married to Elizabeth A. Gray on 22 November 1840. She died on 18 January 1844. He enlisted in the 5th Infantry in Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee.

James Thomas married his second wife Elizabeth J. Routh after returning from the Mexican War. They were married on 25 October 1850 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He died on 28 November 1875. Elizabeth J. Routh Thomas was born on 21 June 1828. She died in Dallas, Texas on 12 January 1922, as reported by Mary Thomas.

Before her death, Elizabeth was receiving $30 per month for her widow's pension. 
Sergeant William F. Barr
William F. Barr served only 49 days in Company G and was discharged in New Orleans on 28 December 1847, before the Company went to Mexico. According to the pension file, Barr was born on 1 August 1828 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He married Mary E. P on 19 August 1852 in Abingdon, Virginia. Barr died on 3 July 1897.

Mary Barr filed her widow's pension in Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia. This application was interesting because it states that a Special Act of Congress was approved on 25 February 1907 which granted a pension to Mary Barr as "widow of William F. Barr, late of Company G, 5th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Mexican War."
Senator Thomas S. Martin (D-VA) wrote a letter on Mary's behalf to the Commissioner of Pensions, and asked the Commissioner to confirm that her pension would be increased to $20 per month (it was raised).
There was even a House Bill (HR 20605, 59th Congress) approving an increase in Mary's pension from $8 to $12 per month, as part of an act of Congress to grant a pension for William F. Barr because he was not pensionable under existing law because he did not serve for 60 days.

There was also a Confederate Pension file on Ancestry.com for William Franklin Barr, filed by Mary E.P. Barr. It appears William Franklin Barr served in the Confederate Army in Virginia.

Corporal James Lowe
James Lowe filed a survivor's pension application under the Act of 29 January 1887 from Burleson, Johnson County, Texas. He was born on 20 March 1820 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Lowe died on 1 July 1898. Lowe enlisted in the 5th Infantry in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Lowe's application is interesting because it includes dates when his part of the Company was stationed at National Bridge, Mexico. The application notes they reached Veracruz on 7 January 1848, and only went as far as National Bridge. They were at National Bridge on 29 February 1848 through 21 June 1848. They departed Mexico on 26 June 1848.
William G. Atkinson
William Atkinson served as a musician & drummer in Company G. He later served in the 2nd US Cavalry between 1855-1858 (his file states that he was committed to an asylum in 1858 but later released). He died in Russellville, Tennessee on 9 April 1919. He was born on 25 September 1830 in Lexington, Virginia.

Atkinson's pension file was very large (easily over a 100 pages). It looks like he lived a long, colorful life and was married 4 times. Atkinson filed a survivor's pension.
Atkinson's application states that he was in Quincy, Illinois in 1867, Omaha, Nebraska in 1868, Louisville, Kentucky in 1869, Russellville, Tennessee in 1877, Terrell, Texas in 1887, filed his pension in Baxter County, Arkansas in April 1897, and eventually returned to Russellville.

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