Archive:Mexican War Pension File, Abraham Johnson Whitney
From the Mexican War Pension File of Abraham J. Whitney
Company K, 2nd U.S. Infantry, Mexican War; and Companies I and G, 3rd Michigan Infantry, Civil War
Widow: Francis Whitney
Mexican War Invalid's Application #6976, Certificate #9729
Civil War Invalid's Application #148825, Certificate #117086
Widow's Application #511567, Certificate #351977
National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.
On 2 Oct 1867 Abram J. Whitney signed an Application for an Invalid Pension from Kent County, MI. He is forty-nine years old and a resident of Grand Rapids, Kent Co., MI. He had enlisted as a Lieutenant in Company I, afterward transferred to Company G in the 3rd Regiment of Michigan Infantry in the War for the Suppression of the Rebellion in the Southern States. He was honorably discharged on or about 14 Sep 1862 (at Washington, DC). While acting as a Lieutenant in Co. G in the latter part of March or first part of April 1862, and at the siege of Yorktown, VA, he was attacked with a cold due to camping on cold, damp ground. It made him stiff and sick generally, and they camped with no tents. Sleeping without protection from the cold night air caused him to contract the disease from which he has ever since suffered. He was treated by the regimental physician and never did much active duty after the attack, but he remained in the regiment until discharged. He was remarkably well before he entered the service, but has not had a well day since. He has not been treated by a physician, but has doctored himself. He suffers from hip and back pain, especially after a hard day's work. He is a carpenter by trade and has trouble sleeping on his side at night.
He is disabled by rheumatism.
On 3 Feb 1887 Abraham J. Johnson signed a Declaration for Service Pension, War of 1846 with Mexico. He is sixty-seven years old and a resident of Grand Rapids, MI. He had served a private in Company K, commanded by Brevet Captain Alburtus in the 2nd Regiment of U.S. Infantry commanded by Lt. Col. B. F. Riley. He enlisted at Buffalo, NY, on 25 June 1844 for the term of five years, and was honorably discharged at Stockton, CA, on 25 Jun 1849. His regiment arrived at Camargo on the St. John River in N. Mex. on 21 August 1846; they then went to Montmorellis; then to Monterey; then to Tampico. They joined Gen. Scott at Vera Cruz. He was at the battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubusco, Molina Del Re, and in the City of Mexico on 14 Sep 1847. He and his regiment returned via New Orleans, Jefferson Barracks, Fort Hamilton, and then on to California. He was honorably discharged as a Sergeant at Stockton, CA, on 25 Jun 1849. He is now receiving an invalid pension of four dollars per month due to disabilities incurred in the War of the Rebellion. He resides at 420 Front Street, Grand Rapids, Kent Co., MI. He was born at Genoa, Cayuga Co., NY. He is 67 years of age; 5 feet 9 ½ inches in height; with a dark complexion, gray eyes, dark hair, and is by occupation a carpenter, when able to work. He had been the same occupation prior to his service. The declaration is witnessed by Reuben W. Smith and Eugene E. Morrison. On 15 Nov 1887 it was reported to the Commissioner of Pensions that Abraham J. Whitney was last paid at four dollars per month to 4 Sep 1887, and has been dropped from the roll because of transfer to the Mexican Roll.
On 22 April 1891 from Kent Co., MI, Francis Whitney of Grand Rapids, MI, signed a Declaration for Widow's Pension. She is fifty years old and the widow of Abraham J. Whitney, who has been commissioned as 2nd Lt., Co. I, 3rd Regiment of Michigan Infantry at Hastings, MI, on 13 May 1861. He was commissioned 1st Lt. on 1 August 1861. He was wounded at Fair Oaks, Virginia on 31 May 1862. He was commissioned Captain of the 3rd Michigan on 9 Jun 1862. was honorably discharged 26 Sep 1862 and died 12 Mar 1891. She was married to him under the name Francis Wright on 18 May 1870 at Grand Rapids, MI, by Rev. L. J. Fletcher. She has not remarried since his death. She has one child who is currently under the age of sixteen: Willard J. Whitney, born 12 Dec 1878. The declaration is witnessed by William E Pullen and Henry J. Baker.
Francis was required to submit much testimony in support of her claim. The pastor of the Universalist Church in Grand Rapids, Charles Fluher, supplied a copy of the marriage record for Abraham and Francis, which corroborated prior testimony. Susan Salton testified concerning the marital status and death of Abraham, and testified concerning the birth of their son Willard, who is their only issue. She nursed both Abraham at his death and Willard at his birth. John and Alta J. Mizner both testified concerning the death of Abraham's first wife, Jennie A. Whitney. She died at Muskegon, Michigan on 22 Mar 1868, at the age of 35 years. John's wife Alta was her nurse when she died. She was buried from the Universalist Church on 23 Mar. No record of her death exists because state laws at that time did not require a permit to bury the dead. The church death records were lost or destroyed, and the church has since then been sold. The minister who officiated at her funeral is dead.
Francis testified that she married George Wright at Chatham, ON, in the year 1853. In 1867 they resided in Grand Rapids, MI, where she applied for a divorce through Judge Slawson. The divorce was granted in 1867, and the judge failed to file the divorce decree with the County Clerk. Judge Slawson died that same year, and her first husband, George Wright, also died that year, soon after the granting of the divorce. There is no record on file of his death, as state laws did not require a burial permit until 1888. She is unable to furnish affidavits of the divorce due to these deaths.
George B. Wright, 35 years old and a resident of Grand Rapids, certifies that he was a resident of Chatham, ON, Canada in the year 1869. The St. Paul's Church on Gold Street was destroyed by fire, and for that reason Francis Whitney is unable to procure a record of the death of George Wright, his father, who died 1 April 1867. George also filed an affidavit in support of the scenario of the granting of the divorce of his parents, George and Francis Wright. George's sister, Lizzie Pennington Wright, also testified about the death of her father.
On 17 Dec 1909 the Commissioner of Pensions was informed that Francis Whitney was last paid at twelve dollars per month to 4 Sep 1909, and was dropped from the rolls due to her death on 2 Nov 1909.
Mrs. Carrie M. Whitney, daughter-in-law, of 476 Front St., Grand Rapids, MI, subsequently applied for reimbursement of medical and burial expenses. The claim was disallowed because the pensioner left assets sufficient to meet these expenses.