Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chapter 10: The Rest of James' Story

James C. Fawkner left his second wife, Elizabeth, behind in Iowa, where she remarried to Oliver Dresser. As the story unfolds, it seems unlikely he never saw Elizabeth again.

James' whereabouts in 1860 remain uncertain.  He might have been the 31 year-old James Faulkner working as a farmhand in the Pendleton County, Kentucky, household of John R. Hand. (If so, I want to know if he was related to the adopted Mary Faulkner in the next-door household of Alexander Henson).

In any event, James was soon back north of the Ohio River in Hendricks County, Indiana, where he enlisted in the Indiana 7th Regiment at Danville 20 April 1861.  As a genealogist, I am grateful that he served in the Civil War, because most of what is known about the rest of his life comes from his pension file and his consolidated military service record (CMSR).

We first picked up James's trail in the 1880 U.S. Census in Coles County, Illinois, where he farmed with his third wife, Julia, and seven children aged 3 to 16: Grant, Julia, Cyrus, Elizabeth, Mattie, Attie, and Henry (see Chapter 1). Working back, we traced him to Missouri and Indiana, before tracking him forward to Iowa. 

The military records  are especially important in this case because most of the 1890 U.S. Census was lost in a fire and by the next census in 1900, none of the Fawkner family remained in east-central Illinois in 1900. Various declarations, affidavits, and correspondence in the pension file give an outline of the last 30 years of James' life.
  •  After his three-month stint in the Indiana 7th, James went to Missouri, where he enlisted 14 September 1861 in Company A of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry. There remains the question: why Missouri? (The Sears family might be the answer).
  • Before his 14 June 1865 discharge, James was treated at Burton Barracks (St. Louis) for rheumatism he blamed on 10 months as a prisoner of war at Camp Ford, Texas, after being taken captive near Camden, Arkansas.
  • James' affidavits recount a short visit home in Indiana after the war, followed by a few years in Missouri (see 1870 census), before moving to Coles County, Illinois (see 1880 census).
  • James apparently gave up farming soon after 1880 and moved just a few miles north to the town of Arcola in Douglas County. In his pension application, James stated that he was unable to do farmwork due to war-related disability.
  • Various pension documents document that James C. Fawkner died 29 November 1889 in Arcola, Douglas County; his widow, Julia, died 14 May 1894.
  • At least one additional child was born after the 1880 census. The very first page in the pension file is an 1896 affidavit from guardian George Klink stating that he had lost the pension certificate (no. 411873) for Fred P. Fawkner, described as deaf and mute. In her December 1889 application for a widow's pension, Julia said she had two children still under age 16 -- James Henry, born 28 May 1877, and Freddie P., born 14 November 1880. This suggests that Hattie and Attie, who were 6 in 1880, might have died before their father died in 1889.
  • In an 1891 letter to President Benjamin Harrison asking for her widow's pension, Julia mentioned that, shortly before his death, James contracted pneumonia while the couple was living in Indianapolis. This mention of time in Indianapolis will become important as we trace their children forward.
James contested the Pension Office's rejection of his application for a pension increase; the dispute generated affidavits and physician's reports that give a picture of his condition. Among the more poignant is a statement from William McClung stating that, upon parole from Camp Ford, James could hardly walk. "I think nothing but the thought of home would have induced him to try. the Reble [sic] guards allowed him to ride their horses occasionally or I think he would have failed." By summer of 1889, James claimed that his rheumatism had progressed "to such an extant that I have partial paralysis of lower limbs, and heart trouble."

Oh yes, the pension file also contains one more hint regarding "girl at the top of the stairs" story (Chapter 2). A Hendricks County friend service colleague, William B. McClung, gave an affidavit that "sometime in the winter of 1862 and 1863, while the Regiment was in camp in the state of Mo -- James C. Fawkner formed the acquaintance of one Miss Julia A. Angel and they were married some time during that winter by our Regimental Chaplain." This is probably the closest we can ever get to be to backing up the story of James promising to come back and marry that beautiful girl at the top of the stairs.

The pension file holds one more provocative piece of information about James' marriage history.  I will hold this surprise back until next week, because it was help bring the story back to Indiana and James C. Fawkner's siblings.

LESSON: Be grateful if your ancestor was the right age to serve in a military conflict. Get the service and pension records.  Get the complete pension record! It will fill gaps unfilled by other records.

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