Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Skeleton in the Closet?

They say if you dig into your family tree long enough, you're bound to have a skeleton fall out of the closet. I may have found mine. I've poked around the various offerings at Georgia's Virtual Vault before, but for some reason had never looked at the Confederate Pension Applications for Clinch County, which is where part of my maternal line is from.

When I put in Clinch County, the first name that popped up was Mrs. Mary Clifton Register. The name sounded familiar so I opened it up and found that it was a widow's pension application, Mary being the widow of Oliver Perry Register. That name definitely rung a bell so I brought up my genealogy program to place the couple. As it turns out, the reason the names were so familiar is that they were my maternal 4th great grandparents.

Unlike most of the pension applications I have come across in my research, this one was marked disapproved. A handwritten note on the side of the application held the reason why the application wasn't approved. According to the note, he was listed on a register of Federal and Confederate soldiers and citizens dated March 12, 1865 as a "deserter from the enemy." The note goes on to say that his name also appears on a register of Confederate deserters dated March 16, 1865 as "Rebel deserter."

Mary's widow's pension application states that her husband served in D Company, 9th Florida Regiment. She also notes that her husband had not received a pension.

There are two typed notes at the end of the scanned application package. The first is dated October 31, 1932 and basically covers what the handwritten note on the application says.

The second is dated March 8, 1932 and states that the application was made on the wrong form. It also notes that the Soldiers Roster Commission does not have records for states other than Georgia and recommends contacting Adjutent-General of the US in Washington, D.C. as they may have records to prove his service.

I was curious about the fact that Oliver Perry Register had been called a deserter so I decided to do some digging. Even though Mary's application stated that he had never received a pension, I was hoping that he had at least applied for one. I set off to see if an application existed for him to see if I could get to the bottom of the deserter issue.

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