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04 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday: William Townsend Pension Application

There are numerous pages in my ancestor William James Townsend (1842-1889) Civil War Pension Files. I'm hoping to find clues that might help me better understand his experience in the Civil War, his life after, and perhaps cracks in the brick wall of his family. I will be sharing these files once a week on Monday until April 2014. Instead of mentioning this with every entry, I'm going to simply share the pages I have and then the transcription. I will attempt to conclude each one with knowledge gain and questions generated from each file.

I could use some help knowing how to create a source citation for these records. I'm a little confused on that. Thanks in advance for anyone's help in that regard.

Civil War Pension Application William Townson
Civil War Pension Application William Townson


William J Townson Applicant
Co. K. 133 Reg't.
National Gards Vols
Enlisted May 6th, 1864
Discharged August 10th, 1864

Filed by
A.W. Shearer
Alton Franklin
County Ohio

This must be Execute before a Court of Record or some Officer thereof having Custody of the Seal

State of Ohio, County of Franklin } SS.

On this 1st day of September A.D. One thousand eight hundred and eighty three personally appeared before me a Deputy Clerk of the Common Pleas a Court of Record within and for the county and State aforesaid, William James Townson aged 22 years, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical William James Townson who was ENORLLED on the 6th day of May 1864, in company K of the 133, regiment of _________ commanded by ___________, and was honorably DISCHARED at Columbus Ohio on the 20 day of August, 1864; That his personal description is as follows: Age 22 years; height 5 feet 6 inches, complexion hair, dark; eyes Blue. That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in he service and in the line of his duty at New Creek in the State of West Virginia on or about the 1th (sic) day of June 1864, he I was taken sick with mumps and erysipelas and was Put in the Hospital at New Creek West Virginia and the diseas settled in mi right eye and (unreadable) eyes was swollen shut for some time and the docter lanced mi eyes and I lost the Sight of mi right eye and never could dezern light cince that time and mi left eye was so badly ingured from the affects of said mumps and erysipelas that I am almost totally blind and getting worse all the time and I am unable to suport miself by manual labor

That he was treated in hospital as follows: the Hospital at New Creek West Verginia was I was treated in the Hospital at New Creek West Virginia in May to June 1864

That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as state above National Gards (Here state what the service was, whether prior or subsequent to that stated above, and the dates at which it began and ended)

That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in 7 miles of Groveport Franklin Co in the Sate of Ohio, and his occupation has been that of a Farmer.

That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, being when enrolled a farmer. That he is now totally disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid pension roll of the United States. He hereby appoints with full power of substitution and revocation A W Shearer of Alton Franklin County Ohio his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That he has not received or applied for a pension; that his residence is seven miles from Groveport Franklin County Ohio and that his post office is Groveport Franklin County Ohio.

Two Witnesses: Kate Van Dine & Mary E Nagle

Signature of Claimant William James Townson (his mark)

Civil War Pension Application William Townson
Civil War Pension Application William Townson

Also appeared John F Kile, residing at Groveport Franklin County Ohio and George Worthington residing at Columbus in Ohio persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being by me duly sworn, say that they were present and saw ________________, the claimant sign his name (make his mark) to the foregoing declaration; that they every reason to believe, from the appearance of said claimant and their acquainted 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.

John F Kile
Geo W Weatherington

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1st day of September A.D. 1883 and I hereby certify that the contents of the above declarations, &c., were fully made known and explained to the applicant and witnesses before swearing; and that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim.

William H Simonton Deputy Clerk
Court of Common Plea
Franklin County Ohio

  1. William's last name is spelled Townson. Later records change the last name to Townsend. Does this provide clues as to how his name was pronounced, or perhaps an earlier version of the spelling? Or is this simply a mistake?
  2. Enrolled in Company K Regiment 133rd Ohio on 6 May 864
  3. Honorably discharged 20 August 1864 (3 months, 14 days of service)
  4. Age 22 at time of service
  5. Physical Description: height 5 feet 6 inches, complexion hair, dark; eyes Blue
  6.  1 June 1864, he became sick with mumps and erysipelas.
    - at New Creek in West Virginia
    - disease settled in his eyes and eyes were swollen shut
    - doctor lanced his eyes
    - lost sight in right eye
    - left eye so badly damaged, he was almost totally blind
  7. His 'active' service was less than 1 month. He spent the rest of his time in the field hospital.
  8. He lived within 7 miles of Groveport, Franklin, Ohio following his discharge
  9. He  attempts to provide for himself with manual labor as a farmer
  10. By 1 Sept 1883,  he is unable to provide for himself.
  11. He sought an invalid pension based on injuries sustained 
  12.  A W Shearer of Alton, Franklin County, Ohio was his attorney. (Question: how was Mr. Shearer obtained and paid? Was he a family friend or was he a known Civil War Pension attorney?)
  13. Two Witnesses: Kate Van Dine & Mary E Nagle (Question: who are these ladies and how do they know William Townson? Or did they work for Mr. Shearer and attest only to the fact that William made his mark?)
  14. John F Kile and Geo W Weatherington were two more witnesses to this pension (Question: how are they and how do they know William Townson?)
  15. William Townson did not sign his name, he only made his mark due to his blindness.

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