#52Ancestors: At the Cemetery – Charles Schwenk

 

This is the tombstone for my 2nd great grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk, at Braddock Cemetery in North Braddock, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The cemetery is also known as Old Braddock Cemetery and Russell Cemetery. Charles died on 12 November 1893 and was buried in the G.A.R. Plot.

Charles was born in or near Norristown, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1861.[1] He served in the 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry in both Company A and Company C, and mustered out in July of 1865.[2] But this tombstone doesn’t seem to be him, right? “Schwek” and “Co. D” don’t seem to match my Charles.

After looking at many records, I do believe that this is my ancestor. First, the stone is newer, definitely not from 1893, as are many of the stones in the G.A.R. Plot. Below is Charles’ Pennsylvania Veteran Burial Card, which was dated 1935.[3]

The information found in this record confirms what I learned from Charles’ Civil War muster rolls and pension records. He mustered out of Company C on 13 July 1865 as a First Sergeant and died on 12 November 1893.

I have been unable to find Charles’ death recorded in a Pittsburgh death register nor an obituary in the newspaper.[4] All of his military pension records, as well as his wife’s widow’s pensions, report the same death date. In the 1890 Pittsburgh City Directory, Charles is living in Swissvale, right next to Braddock.[5] In the 1895 Pittsburgh City Directory, his wife Mary Ann is listed as the widow of Charles G.[6]

In addition, Charles’ wife Mary Ann was also buried at Braddock Cemetery (according to her obituary as there is no tombstone).[7] Many of Mary Ann’s family are also buried at Braddock, including her daughters, grandchildren and nephew.[8]

Lastly, I checked the roster of Company D of the PA 82nd Infantry, just in case there happened to be a “Schwek” veteran who died on the same date and was buried at Braddock. There is no Schwek on the roster.[9]

So with the information that I have compiled from his military records, as well as census records and city directories, I do believe that this is the tombstone for my ancestor and that a mistake was made on the stone a long time after his death. Sometimes when researching our family, we find errors or mistakes and conflicting information. Comparing all records and details can help us come to a conclusion about what is most likely correct.

There is much to write about Charles’s time in the Civil War. I wrote about his marriage to Mary Ann Burd, but there is even more about his life and family when he lived in the Braddock area. Stay tuned for more about Charles.

Have you found any tombstones with incorrect information?


SOURCES:

[1] Muster-in roll dated 27 July 1861, Compiled Service Record, Charles G. Schwenk, Pvt. Co. A, and 1st Sgt. Co. C, 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[2] Ibid., Muster-out roll, Charles Schwenk, dated 13 July 1865.

[3] “Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-2012,” digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 March 2019), card for Charles Schwenk, date of death 12 November 1893; citing Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1929-1990, Series 1, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bureau of Archives and History, Harrisburg.

[4] “Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City deaths, 1870-1905,” digital images, FamilySearch (www.https://familysearch.org : accessed 14 March 2019); citing Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh. No entries found for Charles Schwenk, including variant surname spellings.

[5] R.L. Polk, compiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory (Pittsburgh: R.L. Polk and Co., 1890), 779; DonsList.net (www.donslist.net : accessed 29 March 2018), entry for Chas. G. Swank; citing University of Pittsburgh Digital Research Library.

[6] R.L. Polk, compiler, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory (Pittsburgh: R.L. Polk and Co., 1895), 892; DonsList.net (www.donslist.net : accessed 29 March 2018), entry for Mary, widow Chas. G.; citing University of Pittsburgh Digital Research Library.

[7] “Mother Dead,” The Monessen Daily Independent (Monessen, PA), 20 September 1927, p. 1, col 1; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 February 2015).

[8] Find A Grave, database and images (https://findagrave.com : accessed 15 May 2019), memorial page for Maine Swank Cubbage (1874-1938), Find A Grave Memorial no. 78041680, citing Braddock Cemetery, Braddock, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Also, Leah F. Cubbage (no. 78041679), George S. Cubbage (no. 78041678) and William H. Burd (no. 78041444).

[9]  “Pennsylvania in the Civil War, Infantry Regiments,” PA-Roots (https://www.pa-roots.com/pacw/infantry/82nd/82dcod.html : accessed 15 May 019).

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Wedding Wednesday – Piecing Together Details About a Marriage

On Saturday, January 12th, it will be the wedding anniversary of my second great-grandparents, Charles Schwenk and Marian “Mary Ann” Burd. They were married in 1871 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

de93e-18712bswank2bburd2bmarriage2bcertificate

This photocopy of the marriage certificate is from a file of family records and images that my grandfather had with his pictures.[1]  I do not know who has the original image, but my father believes that several family heirlooms and records were photocopied in the 1970s and given to my grandfather by one of his sisters.

This certificate confirms the marriage that I found in a complied book of marriage returns from the City of Pittsburgh: Charles Schwenk, age 24, married Mary Ann “Bird,” age 21, on 12 January 1871 in a Civil Ceremony by Samuel McMasters, Ald.[2]  Both Charles and Mary Ann were from Saltsburgh, Allegheny County (a village in North Versailles Township).

While it’s fantastic to find documents and abstracts about our ancestors, there is so much more that I would love to know about Charles and Mary Ann.  I don’t have any pictures of them, or diaries or letters …  but what if I could know a little more about their wedding?

2b788-006

Charles was a Civil War Veteran who applied for an invalid pension. In the many, many incredible documents that were included in his Compiled Service and Pension records, there is an affidavit that Mary Ann submitted for her widow’s pension. She needed to prove that she was married to Charles. The affidavit was from Isaac and Martha Mason and dated 3 March 1899.[3]

That the soldier Charles G. Schwenk and Mary A Schwenk now a Widow were married on January the 12″ 1871 at Pittsburgh Pa. That said Mary A Schwenk was living with them at Saltsburg Pa at the time of her marriage to the soldier Charles G. Schwenk.
That after the return of the couple from Pittsburgh were the marriage took place, they had the wedding supper at their (Deponents House) and that they the Deponents participated at the wedding festivities held in honor of the said marriage.
That the said Mary A. Schwenk lived with them (Deponents) for about 2 years before her marriage to the soldier and know that she was not married prior to the marriage to the soldier above named.
That they know the facts testified to in this affidavit of their own Personal knowledge, having had an intimate aquaintence with Mary A Schwenk before and after her marriage to the soldier.

Wow! So now I know a little more about Charles and Mary Ann’s wedding. The wedding “supper” was held at the home of Isaac and Martha Mason in Saltsburgh, after they were married in the City of Pittsburgh. In the 1870 census, just a year before the wedding, Mary Ann was living with the Masons in North Versailles Township, and working as a domestic servant.[4]  Charles was also living in North Versailles in 1870 and was enumerated on the same day and only a few pages apart in the census book.[5]  Both were no longer living with their parents, and it appears that they met in Saltsburgh.

There is another interesting item in this affidavit that needs further research. One of the witnesses to this affidavit was Margaret Orris, who was Mary Ann’s sister. When Margaret Orris died in 1922, her obituary listed eight children including Mrs. Harry Mason.[6]  Harry Mason was the son of Isaac and Martha Mason, whom Mary Ann worked for and lived with in 1870. There seem to be some connections between the Burd, Orris and Mason families that need to be explored. Maybe that’s how Mary Ann found work with the Masons and ended up in Saltsburgh? Or maybe Mary Ann introduced Harry to her niece?

In the meantime, I’m happy to know a little more about the wedding of my second great-grandparents and how they celebrated this important event!

Have you found details about a wedding outside of a marriage record?


SOURCES:

1] Marriage Certificate, Charles Schwenk-Mary Ann Burd, 12 January 1871; photocopy privately held by the author’s father, ca. 1975.

[2] Western Pennsylvania Genealogy Society, compiler, Marriage Returns City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA, 1870-1875. Pittsburgh: Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, 1999.

[3] Affidavit of Isaac and Martha Mason, 3 March 1899, Mary Ann Schwenk, widow’s pension application no. 586124, certificate no. 475533, service of Charles G. Schwenk (1st Sgt., Co. C, 82nd reg., Pennsylvania Infantry, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[4] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 137, family 137, Isaac Mason; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[5] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 23 (penned), dwelling 156, family 156, John Rogers; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[6] “Former Creighton Woman Summoned by Death,” The Valley Daily News (Tarentum, PA), 17 February 1922; photocopy, Community Library of Allegheny, copied by library staff, 12 October 2012.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Amanuesis Monday – Affidavit from Amos Conner

Amanuesis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from geneabloggerstribe.com which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvania Dutch.

2015-03-10 11-32

General Affidavit 
State of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
In the matter of claim for Orig. ? of Chas. Schwank #694362

Personally came before me Clerk of Court in and for aforesaid County and State, Amos Conner of McKeesport Allegheny County Pennsylvania. a person of lawful age, who, being duly sworn, declare in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:

Mr lemon sir is appears that you and the government wishes to know a bout mr swenks condishion. i will tell you what i know – i have noing him for sixteen years. We are brotherinlaws By maring sisters in the first place he is a badley used up man with rheumatism he has been botherd with rheumatism ever since i know him in his back he hesent been able to do a hard days work for sixteen years  that is as far back as i know if he dos work hard or run or lift he is of [?] for days with the panes in his back the first hard work i ever new him to do was last winter and he had to give up his job on acount of his back  he wood set up for nights and bath and saltes then he wood go to [?] this wood releave him for a time but that\ cant cure him  he is that bad be times that he cant tie his own shoes and when down he has hard work rising to a strate position  it wood be imposibel for me to give date or year for he has been that way every year and the older he gets the wors he is  i have lived too hundreds from him and have worked with him and for him  he dos contract work i am working for mr swenk now and that gives me all the better chance to no his case thorley with out eney dout.

Further declare that i havnt no interest in said case, and am not concerned for its protection.

                                                                                          [Amos Conner]

Sworn and subscribed 17 September 1889.

                                                                                          [DK. McGunnegle]
                                                                                          [Clerk of Courts]

This record is from the Civil War pension file of my second great-grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk.[1] Charles lived in Braddock, a steel town east of Pittsburgh, and filed a Declaration for Original Invalid Pension on 1 March 1889. His application stated that he had contracted rheumatism in his back from exposure, and that he incurred a “rupture” on his right site from wearing a cartridge box. This affidavit was submitted a few months later to support his case.

Charles was suffering from two chronic conditions. Rheumatism, inflammation and pain in the joints, was common in Civil War soldier, possibly caused by acute rheumatic fever.[2] His “rupture” was a hernia caused by wearing a cartridge box on his right side.

Amos Conner was Charles’ brother-in-law – his  wife Jane “Jennie” Burd was the sister of Charles’ wife Marian Burd. This particular affidavit was to be a statement of Charles’ current health struggles, as a result of his war injuries (there are other affidavits were about the injury itself).

“he is a badley used up man”

“hesent been able to do a hard days work for sixteen years”

“had to give up his job on acount of his back”

“times that he cant tie his own shoes”

Amos’ statement gave a clear picture of how much the rheumatism had affected Charles’ life and ability to work. Charles was recorded as a “laborer” after the war, and Amos stated that Charles did “contract work” indicating that he did not have a steady job. It’s hard to imagine Charles, and the vast number of veterans, trying to work manual labor with the injuries sustained in battle.

Charles’s pension packet had similar affidavits from friends and neighbors. He received an “Invalid Pension” of $8 a month for his hernia, and nothing for the rheumatism.[3] A year later he requested an increase to $16 for the continued back pain—his rate was increased to $10 a month.[4] Charles had a wife and four children under 16.

Charles’ pension file, over 85 pages, contains valuable information about his service, his life and physical struggles after the war, and his family. I will post more of my finds from Charles’ pension records … records that tell about the life of Charles Schwenk, as well as the new information that I found in the packet.

Do you have any Union Civil War ancestors? Have you looked for any pension files to see what you might find?


SOURCES:

[1] Affidavit of Amos Conner, 17 September 1889, Charles G. Schwenk (Pvt. Co. A and 1st Sgt. Co. C, 82nd Pennsylvania Inf., Civil War), pension application no. 694362, certificate no. 454879, Case Files of Approved Pension Applications … 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[2] Bollet, Alfred Jay. “Rheumatic Diseases Among Civil War Troops.” Arthritis & Rheumatism 34.9 (1991): 1197–1203, (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/art.1780340919 : accessed 24 October 2018).

[3] Ibid., Surgeon’s Certificate for Charles G. “Swank,” 26 June 1889.

[4] Ibid., Declaration for Increase of Invalid Pension, Charles G. “Swank,” 15 September 1890.

© 2018 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.