John (E.) Alexander McClure's Civil War Pension Files
John A. McClure's
Civil War Records
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McClure-Civil War'
A side view of his folder from the National Archives.
    As I mentioned on his Civil War Page, I often thought there should be documentation of the pension received by John Alexander McClure.  On a
    hunch, I searched Ancestry.com in their Civil War Pension Index, General Index to Pension files 1861-1934 and after a lot of scanning various
    spellings of John McClure, found one John E. McClure.  

    I was sure this was the right guy!  Enough things matched even though the middle name did not. It turned out I was right! However, I could not
    afford to pay the fee to get such a gold mine of information; but what follows is information I have gleaned from John Alexander McClure’s Civil
    War Pension File that was obtained through a random act of genealogical kindness by a person who works at the National Archives.

    I started out by going over every single image to see what I could learn as well as eliminating doubles.  Many of these files can be accessed from
    this website, and if a new book is printed, some will be included at that time. Some scanned documents are strictly handwritten, some are on
    forms, it was not until early in the 1900’s that the first typewritten form was included.

    (Note: If you are interested in having all 279 images, please email me as I will not be posting the entire file at this time.)

    This huge file consists of almost 300 images that documented John’s attempt to document, validate, claim and continue to receive a pension for
    his service in the Civil War. The earliest documents are from the about 1890 and continue until 1929 after his death. I believe he did not start the
    process until the first law/act was passed to allow such monies to be paid.

    His petition was rejected several times as not having a ‘ratable’ disability. This would be a missing limb, or some other obvious ailment. His primary
    complaint was basically a disease of the rectum. It seems like only later in life when he began to develop other issues such as heart disease and
    issues with a wound on his right leg, that they finally believed him.  He was unable to make it to one doctor’s appointment stating he was “not able
    to go on account of his disease and not able to hire any means of conveyance on account of his poverty.  June 1, 1893.

    He had to fight every step of the way and the sheer amount of work this had to take was pretty amazing.  It is fascinating to watch the progression
    of the legal and government system from the War Department, to the Commissioner of pensions, to the precursor of the modern Veterans
    Administration. The images below and a few after that are typewritten letters from 1906 and offer a good chronology of events as well as naming
    names of some of the various witnesses, attorneys, doctors along the way.

Service:
Union 5th Mounted
Infantry Regiment
Tennessee
Company C
Image 0374
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Image 0367
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Image 0373
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Image 0372
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Image 0370
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Image 0368
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    Some of the names that appear in these documents include comrades in arms Bruner R. White, Mangram H. Bryson, Samuel Erwin, Tilman
    served along side.

    The main physician was George C. Erwin, although others are brought in to offer testimony.  There are many Physicians Statements with graphic
    details of John’s issues resulting from the time he spent in service.

    An attorney named Cralle seemed to be the foremost lawyer who handled the case.  Names of various neighbors such as William A. Nichols and
    relatives also appear on these witness statements.  These are statements of how long and how well they knew John, and how much they knew
    about his health problems.  Then there are ‘official’ statements to say that these people were who they said they were and so was John. It was
    quite a complicated process.
                                                            Image 0403 verifies that it is indeed John’s ‘X’ mark and claiming that he (John) does not sign his name but
                                                            makes his mark to all his papers and that he has always directed his name to be written John E. McClure as
                                                            shown on his discharge and that the omission of the E. in writing his name has been an oversight of the
                                                            person signing, and not his fault at all.




                                                           SO WHERE DID THE ALEXANDER (Middle Name) COME FROM?
                                                           Does anyone know?  Looks like another item to research further.
    On images 0398-0401 it appears he is still having trouble with his middle initial and has asked a few comrades in arms to back him up. This
    document contains the names of Mangrum Bryson and Brunner White as well as witnessed by a JH Stephens and is dated in early 1901.  
    The only additional information here is “he was born in Towns County, GA and that he was by occupation a farmer and that he was 18 years
    of age when he enlisted.  It also gives one (of many) physical descriptions. He is 5’5”, and has dark hair, blue eyes and a dark complexion,
    no permanent marks or scars except right leg caused from …terminating in white swelling. Other descriptions have him as being 5’6”, 120-
    135 lbs, black hair, blue eyes and having a dark complexion.
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Image 0398
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    A record of Civil War battles or camps McClure, Bryson, and White
    were in:

    Sept 28, 1864 Cleveland TN
    February 28, 1865 Cleveland TN
    April 30, 1865 Gordon’s Mill, GA
    (on the W. bank of Chickamauga Creek)
    June 30, 1865 Chattanooga, TN
    July 16, 1865 (in, out) Nashville TN
    The law changed over the years and Image 0410 is a Claimants Affidavit to embrace additional disabilities under the new laws.  In part it
    says:  

    At Chickamauga Camp on or about May 1865 in the State of Georgia, I contracted pleurisy which continued for several days very badly and
    finally becoming chronic and gives me considerable pain upon taking cold up to present time resulting in the heart trouble which is
    permanent.  I contracted weakness of the back after returning home as…of piles, which has given me great inconvenience and pain for the
    past 25 years.
Image 0410
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    There are also numerous mentions of a right ankle injury that may have been a result of either a gunshot or a horse fall depending on
    where you are getting your information. Image 0419 is a handwritten statement dated May 45, 1900 that says (in part):  

    Georgia, Union County, Personally comes before me, McG. Caldwell, a Justice of the Peace in and for said county. John E. McClure
    who on oath says that he belonged to Co. C 5th Tenn. Mounted Infantry Volunteers and that his horse slipped up and fell over a small
    log with him that caused him to have something like white swelling and from which his ankle has been in such condition ever since that at
    times he is unable to walk on it that this happened at an engagement near Cleveland Tennessee in February or March in 1865.  Sworn
    before this 4th day May 1900.  
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    But then again, Image 0238, dated 2/22/1893, was the first mention of a gunshot wound on his right leg.
Image 0238
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    Several documents say he was married to Martha Ann Townsen(d) on October 11, 1866 at Gum Log, GA by Bennett R. Langham, JP.  
    Another document says they were married in Hiawassee, GA (is this the same place?) but says on October 5, 1866. Image 0422 shows that
    the only records of the marriage exist in the family bible and he was never previously married.
Image 0422
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    This guy had a lot of children for someone in such a mess. One document said he had 9 children in 1899, but I count 10. Someone must
    have passed away.

    The children listed on image 0422 (March 10, 1889) and one other image are:

  1. Henry Alexander McClure – b: 24 NOV 1867 –this series of documents he was born on Nov. 25th.
  2. Sarah Caroline McClure – b: 04 SEP 1870
  3. John Elisha McClure - b: 28 June 1877 – this series of documents say he was born in 1873
  4. Margaret Eliza Jane McClure – b: 12 MAY 1876
  5. George Washington McClure – b: 26 SEP 1881
  6. Mary Elizabeth McClure – b: 15 APR 1884
  7. Amanda Pelina McClure – b: 12 OCT 1888 – this series of documents say she was born in 1886
  8. Thomas Calvin McClure – b: 22 JUN 1889
  9. Alice Etta McClure – b: 28 DEC 1891
  10. James Taylor McClure – b: 28 MAR 1895
    A death certificate and subsequent bill for reimbursement of burial costs are included in his file.  The death certificate image is
    HERE.

    Image 0338 is a handwritten letter dated in May of 1924, by wife, Martha, asking for reimbursement for nursing expenses.  He had
    the flu in 1922 and was never really the same after that. From October 5, 1922 until January 8, 1923 he was confined to his bed
    but still of a good mind.  Martha passed away before his last confinement on April 11, 1927. He was again confined to bed in
    January 1928 until his death.  He lived the last 6 months of his life with his son Thomas and wife Leila and died at his house.  
    Also in the documents is a Confirmation of his War record issued by the War Department that validates: his date of birth as July 17,
    1948 in Georgia (All of the documents support his birth date.) and date of death as January 18, 1929 in Young Harris, Georgia.  His
    dates of service were August 5, 1864 to July 16, 1865.  He lived in Young Harris in 1899-1900, Track Rock in Union County GA and
    Gum Log in Towns County Ga.  

    The cause of death is listed as cystitis with brights disease. (See death certificate.)

    Burial expenses were $50 for the casket, $14 for a suit, $1.29 for a shirt for a total of $65.29 and were submitted for reimbursement.  
    There was an application for a headstone made on February 21, 1940.
    What I have presented here is just a small sampling of the entire file.  As I mentioned above there are 279 images associated with this
    file.  If you are interested in the whole file, perhaps I can use Dropbox or a similar service to upload the file for you. Send me an email
    at norma.stamp@ancestrysearcher.com  and we will see what can be done.
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