Civil War Pension File of Irvin Ellison --Part five

Image downloaded from Microsoft Office Images

Here are the links to the first parts of this series:

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Pension File of Irvin Ellison --Part one

Civil War Pension File of Irvin Ellison --Part two

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Pension File of Irvin Ellison --Part three

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Pension File of Irvin Ellison --Part four

We left off with Irvin Ellison being miraculously cured of all ailments he incurred while serving in Co. H. of the 36th regiment of the United States Colored Troops.  It's a miracle, he's all better. In fact, he was never ill to begin with. That's the lie Dr. J. H. Baker portrayed of my 3rd great grand uncle.  Irvin was trying to apply for an increase in his pension. The doctor probably thought how dare this uppity negro. He saw Irvin as nothing and that's what he would get...nothing. Not a dime. Oooh...if only I could go back in time and lay a smackdown on somebody!

This page documents the period of time that Irvin Ellison went without a pension.

History of Claim.

Pensioner, Irvin Ellerson, Certificate No. 597504
1st service, Co. H. 36 USC Inf ; enlisted June 5 , 1863; discharged, June 5 , 1866
2nd service, ___;  enlisted, ___, 18___; discharged,  ___, 18___

Pensioned from July 28, 1890, at  $8 per month for frost bitten feet, and myalgia, Act of June 27, 1890  Dropped from the rolls from May 4, 1893 -disability having ceased. Restored to rolls from Nov 20, 1893 for rheumatism Act of June 27, 1890. No other rateable disability. Restoration at $6 per month.

Original declaration, Act of June 27, 1890, filed July 28, 1890, alleged frost bitten feet and chronic rheumatism.
     Declaration, same law filed June 18, 1892 alleged neuralgia and rheumatism. Approved for dropping Sept 20, 1893 for frost-bitten feet and myalgia disability having ceased in a ratable degree under Act of June 27, 1890. 
     Declaration same law filed Nov 20, 1893, alleged neuralgia in head rheumatism impaired eyesight result of small pox. Allowed for rheumatism. No other ratable disability. Action of June 11, 1894.
Here's the Physicians Affidavit that allowed for the reinstatement of his pension but at the decreased rate of $6 per month.

Act of June 27, 1890.
Physician's Affidavit
Proof of Physical Disability

State of North Carolina, County of Beaufort, ss:
     In Pension Claim No. 597504 of Irvin Ellerson late of Co. H 36 Reg U.S. Col Inff Vol
     Personally came before me a Notary public in and for aforesaid County and State, P. A. Nicholson MD a citizen of Washington N.C. whose post-office address is Washington, Beaufort County, No.Ca. well-known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:
     That he is a Practicing Physician, and that he has been acquainted with said soldier for about 5 years and that I find on carefully examining Irving Ellerson I find that he is now suffering with myalgia & neuralgia of the left side of the face. He states that he was frost bitten in his feet while in active service in 1864 and I find now marks of and old inflammation I have known this man for 5 or 6 years and know him to be a very reliable & trustworthy old colored man there are well marked cicatriss and indentures in his face being the results of small pox of which he states broke out on him a few weeks after he was discharged Now I am certain this man is suffering a good deal now at times from the effects of the frost bite his Heels are now very tender & and he states at times that it is almost impossible for him to get along. I think his disability is almost 5/8th and are not the results of viscious habits so far as I am able of ascertaining
     He further declares that he has been a practitioner of medicine for 4 years, and that he has no interest, either direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim. 

                                                             P. A. Nicholson MD

     Sworn to and subscribed before me this 8 day of August, A.D. 1893. 
     and I hereby certify that the affiant is a practicing physician in good professional standing; that the contents of the above declaration , &c, were fully made known to him before swearing, including the words                      erased, and the words________added; and that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim. 

                                                              T. F. Brown 
                                                              Notary Public

     I                     , Clerk of the County Court in and for aforesaid County and State, do certify that                    , Esq., who has signed his name to the foregoing declaration and affidavit, was, at the time of so doing a                          in and for said County and State duly commissioned and sworn; that all his official acts are entitled to full faith and credit, and that his signature thereunto is genuine. 
     Witness my hand and seal of office, this         day of           189 .
                                            Clerk of the                         

I noticed after transcribing this last page, that doctor P. A. Nicholson and the doctor who examined my ancestor for his original application for a pension, S. T. Nicholson, shared the same last name. Were they related? It turns out, they were brothers. Perhaps a bit of compassion ran in the family. In any event, $6 per month was not a large sum of money. I wish "the good doctor" would have seen it fit to award Irvin more.


  1. I don't know if you've ever read the pension act, but here is a link to a scanned copy I found online.

    There were problems, also, in Isaac Carter's claim. He claimed to have piles and chronic don't find out until several years after he filed his initial claim that he had had dysentery due to drinking bad water...and later on it comes out that he had suffered from Typhoid Fever during the epidemic.

    It seems that the doctors bore the burden of finding current physical symptoms, which in some cases, were prolonged, yet sporadic. Isaac had bouts of coughing and wheezing, and he had witnesses tell of him passing out, collapsing during heavy labor. But on the day of examination, little was found.

    One think that I found interesting was that it did not matter what rank a soldier was. The rate was $6-$12/month regardless, based on the %age of disability.

    When you consider that in the modern military, it took over 30 years for the VA to recognize affects of Agent Orange exposure as a disability, you can see how with antiquated science there may have been more difficulties in assessing patients accurately.

    Just a thought...

    1. Thanks for the link and your comment. Yes it is food for thought but I am still pissed about this. I find it extremely hard to believe that from January to August that all visible indications that this man had at one time suffered from frost bite of the feet disappeared. He was 10/18 disabled prior to January 1893, and then better and then 5/8 disabled come August 1893. I just have a hard time believing that this was due to a lack of conformity in standards. This is just my opinion but I think that Dr. Baker was just a jerk.

    2. In terms of the amount of the pension, just like our modern day service men and women, we don't do enough to take care of veterans. Again, just my opinion.


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