September 26, 2011

Newel King's testimony for Civil War pension: Amanuensis Monday

An amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a genealogy blogging theme used for the transcription of family letters and documents.

Back in April, I wrote about my ggg-grandfather’s Civil War experience in Newel King, 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. That post, based on Newel’s compiled service record, pension file, published regimental histories, and family records, has consistently been my most popular post ever since. I’d like to share one of the original documents that I used in writing Newel’s story.

Newel King’s pension file (which includes his wife’s application for a widow’s pension) is over 180 pages long. I’m in the process of transcribing some of the key pieces. This is Newel’s own testimony regarding his disability. It provides primary information not only of his war experience, but also his whereabouts following the war.

The State of Ohio Gallia County ss:
On this 12th day of July AD 1876. Before me Henry A. Kent Judge of the Probate Court a court of record in and for the county and state aforesaid personally came Newel King who on being duly sworn according to law declared that he is aged 38 years and that he is the identical Newel King who enlisted under the name of Newel King in the military service of the United States at Cheshire Gallia County Ohio on the 6th day of August in the year 1862 as a private of Company “B” 91st Regt. Of Ohio Infantry Volunteers in the war of 1861 and was honorably discharged on the 24th day of June AD 1865 that his personal description is as follows: Age 38 yrs[,] height 5 feet 8 inches[,] complexion light [,] hair light[,] eyes blue. 

That while in the service aforesaid and in the line of his duty he received the following disability to wit, in the month of March A.D. 1864 he was attacked with measles and was sent to a hospital at Fayetteville in the state of West Virginia where he remained about one month when he was sent to a hospital at Charleston West Virginia where he remained about two weeks when he was sent to a general hospital at Gallipolis Ohio where he remained about five months[;] that while he was in said hospital at Gallipolis his back and limbs were swollen and much afflicted, and while in said Hospital at Gallipolis he obtained a furlough to go home for 15 days about the last of October 1864 and while at home on said furlough he was attacked by epileptic fits, and that ever since leaving the service aforesaid he has been afflicted with disease of his back or spine and epileptic fits following said disease of measles. 

That on account of said disease of his spine and said fits he has been and now is greatly disabled from performing manual labor. That from the time of leaving the service aforesaid until 1868 he resided in Cheshire Township Gallia County Ohio. That from 1868 until 1871 he lived in Cass County in the state of Missouri. That from 1871 to the present time he has resided in Cheshire Township Gallia County Ohio and his present Post office address is Cheshire Gallia County in the state of Ohio, and his occupation has been and now is that of a farmer. That he has not been in the military or naval service of the United States since his discharge therefrom on the 24th day of June A.D. 1865. That he hereby appoints Eben N. Harper of Gallipolis Ohio his attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has never received or applied for a pension. That his Post office address and residence is Cheshire Gallia County in the state of Ohio. 
                                                                        [signature]   Newel King
Also personally appeared Gideon Roush and John S. Guy both residing in Gallia County and State of Ohio persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being by me duly sworn, say: they were present and saw Newel King the claimant sign his name to the foregoing declaration and that they have every reason to believe from the appearance of said claimant and their acquaintance with him that he is the identical person he represents himself to be and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.
                                                                        [signature]   Gideon Roush
                                                                        [signature]   John S. Guy

Some thoughts: Gideon Roush, one of the witnesses, was Newel’s father-in-law. I’ve located Newel with his wife, Electa, and infant son in Cass County, Missouri in the 1870 U.S. census. But this testimony tells me more specifically when they arrived and when they returned to Ohio. I still wonder why Newel left Missouri, especially since his brother Wesley, who served with him in the 91st Ohio, remained there until his death in 1924. Perhaps Newel’s epilepsy was so disabling that he was unable to carve out a life for himself on the Missouri frontier.

Citation: Testimony of Newel King, 12 July 1876, invalid pension application no. 223,493, certificate no. 186,803 (Pvt. Co B, 91st Ohio Infantry, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, 1961-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C. Transcribed February 2011 by Shelley Bishop.

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  1. 180 pages? I didn't count the pages in the files I examined this summer, but I can't imagine they were as large as that.

  2. Yep, 184 pages. Had to really convince the powers that be, I guess!

  3. The following may be of interest.

  4. I've met a few people who share relatives/ancestors... but they are usually Roushes.. But never have I encountered another King relative.
    I am through Newell and Clarissa Darst King's daughter Lucina who married George N Swisher who is the son of Solomon Swisher the son of George Swisher and Dolly/Dorothea Roush , daughter of Jacob and Catherine Fox... Hello cousin..

  5. Hi Trayne1837, I'm glad you found me! Yes, it sounds like we are most definitely cousins. I've done some more research on the King family, which I would be glad to share with you. if you'd like to email me at, we can talk about our family connections. I hope to hear from you soon!


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