Sample Pension File

Pension Files and Service Records

Military pensions dated to colonial times. The Civil War caused a broadening and standardization of the pension system.

Congress passed an act on July 14, 1862 for the granting of pensions to disabled men as well as to widows of men who had died in military service. For the first time, there was compensation for those suffering from diseases, such as tuberculosis, contracted while in service. The act also provided pensions for parents who had been dependent on their son's wages for support.

Acton soldiers and their families benefited from the pension system. Thomas Kinsley, Jr. was a fifteen year old farm laborer who turned over his wages to support his parents and his seven younger siblings. When he signed up for the army, he gave his enlistment bounty to his parents to pay off the mortgage on the family home, but died of disease before collecting any pay as a soldier. As his father was disabled and his older brother Francis also died in service, his parents received a pension.

Men who had been disabled by wounds, illness, or other accident, could apply for an invalid pension. The amount was determined by the extent of the injury. Acton veteran John F. Blood, Jr., was given a disability pension of $4 per month for being 50% disabled by a rupture he suffered while drilling with a heavy pack in the sands of Ship Island in Mississippi. The surgeon of the 26th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry also attested that Blood was suffering from malaria.

Not every man who was wounded or took sick was discharged. Most soldiered on. If their wounds were severe but not disabling, they were sometimes assigned to less rigorous posts. James Richardson, who lived in Acton after the war, was shot through the mouth. After hospitalization, he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps and assigned provost guard duty in Washington. Richardson was awarded an invalid pension when the war was over.

The G.A.R. lobbied Congress for improved pension benefits. Many veterans were suffering from ailments and injuries, the negative effects of which increased as the mean aged. In 1890 Congress amended the pension system to allow invalid pensions for veterans whose disability was not a direct result of their wartime service. Annual visits to an approved physician were required, and inspectors sometimes came to the home unannounced to check for fraud. One Acton veteran had his 100% disability pension reduced when an inspector found him working in his garden. By 1907 the rules allowed any veteran to apply for a pension based on age alone.

The pages presented here were were selected and copied from pension application files at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Service records were copied when pension files were not found.  Complete pension files may be ordered from the National Archives (for ordering information see:

Selected pages from individual pension files (PDF):*

* Note: PDF files can be rotated on screen by using the Adobe Reader "Rotate Clockwise" tool.  To add the tool to the Adobe Reader toolbar, right-click on the toolbar, click "More Tools" and check "Rotate Clockwise" to add the tool to the Adobe Reader toolbar.":

Adams, Daniel H.
Allen, Abraham
Allen, Nathaniel M.
Ames, Frank Waldo
Ames, George T.
Ball, Warren Bradford
Barber, Joseph
Barker, Cyrus E.
Barker, Eben (service record)
Barker, Frank J. (service record)
Barker, George E.
Barnard, Andrew J. Part 1 | Part 2
Battles, Edward D.
Battles, Edward L.
Baxter, Thatcher T.
Bean, Addison S.
Beckwith, Herbert E. Part 1 | Part 2
Beddoe, Thomas W.
Bennett, Samuel D. Part 1 | Part 2
Blodgett, Silas P.
Blood, Charles H.
Blood, George F.
Blood, John F., Jr.
Boss, William H.
Bowers, Luke (service record)
Brant, James
Bray, Henry L. pension | service record
Briggs, Daniel R.
Brooks, Charles A.
Brown, Allie B.
Brown, Emory Jack
Brown, Henry
Brown, Josiah G.
Brown, Samuel G.
Burroughs, Samuel R.
Byam, Chellis
Callahan, John Part 1 | Part 2
Callan, Patrick
Campbell, George Fay (service record)
Carney, James 
Carr, Edward J.
Carr, Joshua W.
Casey, Richard (service record)
Cass, John H.
Chaplin, Waldo
Chaplin, William, Jr.
Chapman, William H.
Charles, Asa G.
Chickering, Wellington
Clare, James P.
Clark, Charles D.
Clark, Charles H.
Clark, Herbert T.
Clark, John (a.k.a Henry Donaldson) Part 1 | Part 2
Clark, Martin L.
Clark, William D.
Clough, Lewis V.
Colburn, John Henry
Conant, Albert E.
Conant, Elbridge
Conant, J. Sherman
Conant, Robert C.
Conant, Simon T.
Connolly, James
Conway, John
Cowdrey, Arthur H.
Cram, George B.
Cram, John B.
Cunningham, Martin
Daley/Dailey, John
Dane, Richard D.
Davidson, Edward A.
Dow, Edmund, Jr.
Dunn, Waldo G.
Dupee, Horace E.
Dupee, Job W.
Dusseault, Adolphus
Dutton, Samuel L. 
Dwelley, Oscar
Dyer, Reuben F.
Edson, George W.
Edson, John M.
Elliot, Daniel H.
Emery, Franklin Part 1 | Part 2
Fairgrieves, Charles R.
Farrar, Abel, Jr.
Farrar, Daniel H.
Fasser, Joseph (service record)
Faulkner, Winthrop H.
Fink, John C.
Fisk[e], James W.
Fitzpatrick, John W.
Fletcher, Aaron J.: pension | service record
Fletcher, Aaron Swift:  pension  |  service record
Fletcher, Charles W.
Fletcher, Isaac W.
Flood, George
Folger, Allen
Forbush, Ephraim Buttrick
Ford, Isaac S.  pension | service record
Foye, John E.
Fuller, Chauncey U.
Gates, Franklin
Geers, Otto M.
George, Pliny M. (service record)
Gibbs, Lyman
Giles, Meldon S.
Gilson, Henry
Goss, Nathan (service record)
Grant, Charles W. (service record)
Gray, William B.
Gray, William H. (service record)
Griffin, John
Guilford, Samuel A.
Hale, Abraham G. R.
Hale, William F.
Hall, Delette H.
Hall, Eugene L. (service record)
Hammer, Emmett J.
Handley, Aaron Chaffin
Handley, Abram
Handley, Charles H. (service record)
Handley, Frank
Handley, George
Handley, William [E./S.]
Hanscom, Charles A.
Hanscom, James P. (service record)
Hanscom, Samuel C.
Hapgood, Henry pension | service record
Hapgood, Marshall
Harris, Francis E.
Harris, John S., Lt. (service record)
Hart, Arthur Alonzo
Hastings, Francis J.
Haynes, Elias E.
Hayward, Franklin
Hess, Richard C. (service record)
Hesselton, Lucius A. pension | service record
Hoar, Forestus D. K.
Hoar, Sherman J.
Holbrook, Calvin N.
Holden, Walter O.
Hollowell, William T.
Holmes, True E.
Holt, Abner D.
Holton, Charles H.
Hosmer, Augustus W.
Hosmer, Elbridge E.
Hosmer, Gilman S.
Hosmer, Joel K.
Hosmer, Lucius S.
Houston, J. Augustine
Howard, John A.
Huggins, Eri
Huggins, John C.
Huggins, Adonirum Judson (service record)
Hunt, Sylvanus (service record)
Hutchins, Freeman
Hutchins, Isaiah
Ingram, John H.
Jackson, Loring M.
Johnson, Mortimer (service record)
Jones, Charles
Jones, Edwin A.
Jones, George
Jones, George A. pension | service record
Jones, Hiram W.
Jones, Theodoric A.
Joy, Alonzo
Kinsley, Frank (service record)
Kinsley, Thomas, Jr.:  pension | service record
Kirk, David
Knapp, Francis W.
Knapp, George W.
Knights, George W. (service record)
Knowlton, Amasa M.
Knowlton, Franklin R. (service record)
Knowlton, George W.
Lamphere, Albion J. Part 1 | Part 2
Lawrence, James R.
Lawrence, Samuel A.

Lazell, Henry W.

Leach, Isaiah S.
Lentell, James R.
Lincoln, Amasa E.
Littlefield, Waldo
Loker, Jonathan W.
Loker, William H. (service record)
Lord, James Butterfield
Lothrop, Emery D.
Lovering, Daniel A.
Manley, John S.
Mansur, Elijah H.
Marsters, Lewis J. pension | service record
McDonald, Albert S.
McGuire, Charles
McKinney, Mathew (service record)
McMullen, Terry
Mead, John A.
Mears, James F.
Miner, Marvin
Morrill, William
Morse, Charles
Moulton, Albert
Moulton, Charles H.
Moulton, James, Lt.
Munroe, James
Muzzey, David P.
Myers, Christopher
Nelson, Darius H.C.
Newcomb, Joseph H. Part 1 | Part 2
Newton, Augustus P.
Nickerson, Hiram
O’Brien, James A.
Parker, Charles W(esley)
Parker, George B.
Parks, George W.
Parlin, Henry Davis
Peck, George E. pension | service record
Phelps, Oscar B.
Pickard, Cyrus P.
Pierce, George N.
Pike, George M.
Pike, William E. (alias George Jackson)
Pollard, John H.  pension | service record
Pond, William H.
Potter, Leonard L.
Powers, Michael
Preston, Herbert Edgar (service record)
Preston, Oscar E.
Priest, John T.
Putnam, John
Rand, George W.
Reed, Charles W.
Reed, George A.
Reed, William
Reed, William B. (service record)
Reiser, George W. Part 1 | Part 2
Rice, Francis
Richardson, Austin A.
Richardson, James E.
Ricker, James A.
Robbins, Albert W.
Robbins, Elbridge, Jr.
Robbins, Joseph Noyes
Robbins, Levi H.
Robbins, Luke Jones
Robbins, Varnum F.
Robinson, George S.
Rouillard, Albert
Rouillard, George
Salisbury, Bowman G.
Sanders, Charles B.
Sawyer, Andrew J. (service record)
Sawyer, George W.
Sawyer, Thomas J.
Sawyer, William H.
Schafer, George A. (service record)
Sears, Eliphalet S.
Severance, Augustus
Shattuck, Joseph C.
Shaw, George L.
Sheehan, Dennis
Sheehan, Timothy
Simpson, George H.
Skinner, Benjamin (service record)
Smith, Allen G.
Smith, Chester
Smith, Ephraim A.
Smith, George D. pension | service record
Smith, John:  pension | service record
Smith, Joseph B.
Smith, Luke
Stagg, Charles
Stetson, Silas M. (service record)
Stevens, Francis H.
Stockwell, Cyrus H.
Sumner, Alsen R.
Symonds, Emery A. (service record)
Taft, Edwin B.
Tarbell, Edwin G.
Taylor, Daniel G.
Taylor, Simeon O.
Teele, Warren L.
Thomas, Edwin G.
Thomas, James S.
Towns, George L.
Truette, Joseph pension Part 1 | pension Part 2 | service record
Tuttle, Daniel
Veazey, Daniel L.
Wall, John
Wayne, James
Wayne, John  pension | service record
Wayne, Robert  pension | service record
Webber, Lincoln E.
Wellington, Leonard P.
Wetherbee, Augustus W.
Wetherbee, Hiram W.
Wheeler, Addison B.
Wheeler, Everett
Wheeler, Hiram (service record)
Wheeler, Lincoln E.
Wheeler, Mason
Wheeler, Warren R. (service record)
Whitcomb, Allen P.
Whitcomb, Frank Henry
Whitcomb, Nahum H.
White, John H. Pound
Whitney, J. Francis
Whitney, John  (service record)
Whitney, William F. Brown
Wilder, Granville G.
Wilder, Henry W.
Willard, Henry
Willis, Edward H.
Willis, William
Wilson, Lucius D.
Wilson, Samuel E. (service record)
Wood, Eben F.
Wood, James Henry
Wood, William F.
Wright, James D.
Wright, James M.
Wright, Thomas (service record)