Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Also known as “The-Civil-War-Union-Pension-File-of-Isaac-Turner-Just-Arrived-


-To-Get-Here” Dance!

I’m so excited, and so proud of myself, too! Why excited? I’ll get to that in just a sec…

Why so proud of myself? Because I was cutting the grass in my front yard when the very nice UPS man arrived with said Pension File…and I finished cutting the grass before I opened the envelope!!!

Ok, enough silliness…What about the file?

Well, to start out, it was a $75 gamble just to request the file, because I had no clue that any of my direct ancestors fought on the Union Side in the Civil War. My ancestors are from Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas- all essentially Confederate states. The Civil War Pension file index listed Isaac Turner’s widow as Sarah S Turner of Texas, which were all the correct names, but still, I wasn’t 100% sure it was my Sarah S Turner.

When the file arrived this morning, the first thing I did (after cutting the grass!) was fish through the papers to find an address or location in Texas for this Sarah S Turner. There it was: Abbott, Texas! A bit more fishing and I found her three minor children named, as well as 2 older sons and a son-in-law.


(dancing, dancing, dancing…)

The file contains 55, mostly hand-written pages of documents, so it’s gonna take a spell to get through it all. But a quick jog through the pages has yielded some interesting finds:

  1. I have the wrong date of death for Isaac Turner in my database- there are several documents, including one hand-written by Sarah herself, and other by the doctor who attended Isaac Turner when he died from “Typhoid Malarial Fever” on 20 Sep 1888, not 21 May 1887, as I previously believed!
  2. There is a “notarized” copy of Isaac & Sarah’s marriage license from Cannon County, Tennessee!
  3. There are several statements from friends and neighbors of the Turners testifying to Sarah’s financial situation.
  4. There are 2 statements, one from Sarah, about one of her daughters who went insane and was committed to the “lunatic asylum”! I’m pretty sure this was Edna Lenora Turner, who died at age 33 after being “an invalid for several years”. This is one item that would probably not be well-known, as things like that weren’t talked about.

I haven’t decided if Sarah actually got the pension, yet, as it was first rejected because she owned too much property, apparently. That’s where all the testimonials from the neighbors came in.

Here’s Sarah’s 3-page, hand-written deposition:

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 1

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 2

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 3

Fascinating stuff! I know these images aren’t the best. The pages are too big for my scanner, so I snapped these pix with my digital camera, and it needs a bit of adjustment for this task. I’ll redo them later, I promise!

My next task is to transcribe this entire file…if I can stop dancing long enough to type!


One thought on “It’s Happy Dance Time again!

  1. onepointintime says:

    Hi there,

    I found your blog through the possibly related posts feature, on my own historical research blog last night. Your posts are a fascinating read! I’m researching the history of local families in Pennsylvania, and I’m quite surprised to find that a pension file would contain so much information. My research involves a few Civil War veterans as well, so I may want to look into that myself.

    Just wanted to say that I love hearing the story of a fellow researcher; keep up the good work!



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