Friday, July 19, 2013

War of 1812 Proof of Service Letter--A Windfall!

We Should All be So Lucky!

While I was working on my blog about the Jones family a couple days back,;postID=1196502699462170543 I pulled up a document that I got from the Mocavo web site.  It turn, they had retrieved it from a Family Tree Maker (FTM) record for "Descendants of Michael Jones, Sr.".  I tried to find the record on Ancestry; but could not find it.  I think someone must have submitted it as a FTM Descendant Report, because I use that program and recognized the format. In the "Generation No. 3" section of the report under notes was a letter from the Veterans Administration regarding Proof of Service of William Dibrell Jones in the War of 1812.  William is my 1st cousin five times removed on my maternal side.  The letter reads as follows:

Mr. Mahen Jones
1207 Taylor St.
Columbia, South Carolina

Dear Sir:

Reference is made to your letter of recent date, relative to William D. Jones, a soldier in the war of 1812.

The data which follow were obtained from the papers on file in pension claim, W.C. 14373, of William D. Jones, based upon his military service in the War of 1812.

He volunteered in Buckingham County, Virginia, and served from August 29, 1814 to September 13, or 18, 1814 as a vidette in Captain William Moseley's Company, in the First Regiment of Virginia Militia.

I was stated that after his discharge from the above noted enlistment, he was detailed by the Governor of Virginia as a courier and acted as such, also as paymaster.  After the was soldier lived in New Store, Buckingham County, Virginia, where he was still living in 1872.

He died June 30, 1874 in Buckingham County, Virginia, aged ninety-one years, ten months and twenty-eight days, placed of birth not stated.

William D. Jones married November 26, 1817, in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Judith B. LeGrand, daughter of Baker LeGrand and his wife, Mary.  Neither the soldier nor his wife had been previously married,  Their marriage license was witnessed by one W. P. LeGrand, relationship to Judith B. not stated.

Soldiers widow, Judith B. Jones, was allowed pension on her application executed April 24, 1878, at which time she was aged seventy-nine years and a resident of New Store, Buckingham County, Virginia.  She died June 15, 1884.

In 1858, Louis D. Jones, soldier's son, was living in New Store, Virginia, and in 1878 was a notary public in that place.

In 1885, one L. D. Jones, Jr. was postmaster at New Store, Virginia; relationship to soldier not stated.

There are no further family data on file.

                       Very truly yours, 

                             A. D. Hiller
                             Assistant to Administrator

By my count there are thirty facts about William D. Jones and his family contained in this letter.  Who would think that just asking to confirm his service in the War of 1812, one would receive such a detailed replay, including the maiden name of his wife, marriage date and location, her parents names, the name of a witness, when his wife died, her age (from which her birth date could be calculated) and information about a son!

My first reaction was to immediately send off for information about a couple of my other relatives who were in the War of 1812; but then I realized that today's bureaucrats would not likely send me a personal letter with all those details.  I would just get copies of any document they might have.  The date of the letter wasn't given; but I am guessing it was many years ago.  However, even if they just send documents, it is evident that all the information contained in the letter came from documents in William's file.  

I am thinking it would still be a good idea to send for the records of my other War of 1812 ancestors.  However, I wouldn't limit the request for military records to the War of 1812.  I have a packet of Civil War records that I obtained for my great grandfather and it was very extensive, including pension records.  

Another interesting observation is the fact that William only served in the war for about two weeks!  It appears that he was retained as a courier and paymaster for some unknown period of time.  It is surprising that he was entitled to a pension with such a short amount of service and accumulated so much information in his file.  

I think this is an excellent example of the fact you never know when requests for documents and information may reveal much more than you would have ever expected!