Monday, August 26, 2013

Military Monday - 1883 List of Pensioners

The US 1883 List of Pensioners listed soldiers or their dependents that were on the pension roll as of January 1, 1883. It gives the name of each pensioner or dependent, the cause for which pensioned, the post-office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance.  The list covers pensioners from all wars.

The list is available on, but the searching seems to be hit or miss. I found two of my Matson ancestors by paging through the Mercer County, Ohio sections in the database. I knew John Matson lived in Mercer County, but didn't know about Eliza Matson. I also didn't know that any of the Matsons were in Mercer County this early. I always wondered why my Creeden family chose to relocate from Clinton County to Mercer, so the fact that there was already family there helps to explain the move.

I've been a member of The Ohio Genealogical Society for a little over a year now and was pleased to see them merge their regular and Civil War memberships. Since I was a regular member, this gave me access to years of Civil War newsletters that I hadn't seen before. One of their newsletters had the 1883 List of Pensioners for Mercer County and I was surprised to find an additional Matson listing.

The newsletter article explained that Michael Elliott is creating an updated database which adds the name of the soldier (in cases where a widow or dependent parents were listed), the unit in which the soldier served, years of birth and death, and cemetery. Michael's updated databases are available for sale through the Summit County Genealogy Society. The databases for Northeast and Northwest Ohio are available now. Additional sections of Ohio including coverage of Mercer and Clinton counties will follow.

Michael's database added that Eliza was the widow of Jarez L. Matson, who served in Company G of the 79th OVI, and died in 1863. John Matson also served in the 79th OVI and is buried in Buck Cemetery.

The third Matson in Michael's database didn't show up on Ancestry since it was listed under Mary A. Watson!

Michael's database corrected this to Mary A. Matson and added that she was the widow of Thomas J. Matson who served in Company F of the 60th OVI. Thomas died in 1864 and is buried in Salisbury National Cemetery.

Despite some of the errors, this is a nice resource if you have ancestors who served in the Civil War or earlier wars. If your ancestors were from Ohio, you might also want to check out the additional information compiled by Michael Elliott.

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