I recently decided to re-examine a military pension file that I have for Andrew J. Stephens. His pension packet is relatively small – only 8 pages. When I ordered it, I was hoping to find that this was my GGG-grandfather, but instead found that this was another Andrew who had married my GG-Grandmother, Victoria Coffey. I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out who the parents of this “other” Andrew Stephens were, but I can find no family with an Andrew Stephens of the correct age.
When I read the file, I was disappointed to see that “other” Andrew had deserted from one regiment to join another. His file indicated that he was home on a 48 hour furlough and his regiment received orders to move on before his furlough was over, therefore, he joined another regiment.
I noticed that in my file, I had 2 versions of the Index Card for Andrew – one from Ancestry and one from Footnote. The cards were different and the Footnote card had a note on the bottom to see the file for Elias Smith – who was the first husband of Victoria Coffey. The 2 different cards made me wonder if there was information on Footnote that wasn’t on Ancestry. When I was comparing the available files on each site, I discovered that there were 2 listings on Ancestry for Andrew J. Stephens. At first, I attributed this to Andrew being in 2 different regiments, but then I realized that the enlistment dates were so close together – one in July and one in August – and that pushed me to look a little further.
The first thing I realized was that both listings were for the 13th Kentucky Cav, but one was Company C and the other was Company G. This caught my attention because in the pension file, Andrew had deserted from Co. G of the 19th Kentucky Infantry. What?? Infantry? More confusion! Could I find records for THIS information? One man was 24 years old and joined in Pulaski Co and the other was 19 years old and joined in Adair Co. Footnote has SOME pension files scanned and put on their site, but no records for either Andrew yet. So what could I find? What I found was another index card for Andrew J. Stephens that shows he was in Co. G of the 19th Kentucky Infantry AND Co. G of the 13th Kentucky Cav. And the certificate number on this card was different from the pension file that I have.
While I couldn’t find the pension file online, I COULD find the service records, so I spent alot of time downloading every card for Andrew Stephens from all 3 units. As I read the cards, I noticed that there was a card for the Co. C 13th KY Cav Andrew that stated that “The notations of February 28, 1887 and March 2, 1894, are canceled for the reason that this man is not identical with the Andrew J. Stephens who deserted from Company G, 19 Kentucky Infantry.” INTERESTING! This is the man who I DO have the pension file for. Why wouldn’t that be included in his file? And who is the other man? In my mind, I’ve been thinking that these might end up being the same way after all, but when I line up the dates on the cards, the men would have had to have been in 2 places at once, so they are definitely 2 different men.
What else can I glean from these card?. I’m hopeful, but not very confident that “Co G” Andrew is “my” Andrew. But his cards have a date of death at the bottom that says June 27, 1928. My Andrew died in 1920, but his wife Lucy died 14 June, 1928. Could the given date of death be the date of HER death? There is no indication that a Widow’s pension was requested, only an invalid pension, so would there be a reason to have HER date of death? I wish I knew more about these records! If this isn’t “my” Andrew, who is it? ANOTHER Andrew???
Here’s a brief summary of what I know from the cards (I can’t get this to line up on the page like I want…)
………………………………….Co. C 13th Cav …………………………………..Co. G 13th Cav
Enlisted 8 July 1863 13 Aug 1863
Location Adair Co Pulaski Co
Age 19 24
Approx. DOB 1844 1839
Final Rank Pvt Corp
DOD Unknown 27 June 1928
My first inclination is to ORDER THE FILE NOW! But I can’t afford that right now. So come on Footnote! Scan those files! I have found the pension file for Welcome Stephens who had “my” Andrew J. Stephens (Welcome’s uncle) and his wife, Lucy, as the witnesses to prove the birth dates for Welcome’s children, so I feel like the records for my area of Kentucky are just sitting on a desk waiting to be scanned any day now! It can’t be soon enough!