Archibald Rose Civil War Pension

Grinolds Family

From the MeasuringWorth Website the Buying Power of the pension amounts can be extrapolated to the buying power in 2016 Dollars.

  • 1884   $4 = 2016  $100
  • 1886   $6 = 2016  $156
  • 1887 $12 = 2016  $308
  • 1889 $14 = 2016  $372
  • 1907 $15 = 2016  $390
  • 1913 $20 = 2016  $494
  • 1913 $30 = 2016  $741
  • 1926 $50 = 2016  $670

Archibald Rose enlisted in the Army on 1 Sep 1864 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota at age 32.  At that time he was widowed from his first wife, Esther Stevens, and had remarried on 8 Sep 1863.   He left his 20 year old second wife, Ellen Suiter Rose, with the care of the farm and two young sons from his first marriage. He served as a private in the 3rd Minnesota Infantry, Company C until 28 Jul 1865.
Archibald saw action at De Valls Bluff, Arkansas in January 1865. During that engagement Archibald said that he suffered from scurvy as well as rheumatism. He said that he was taken to the regimental hospital in Feb 1865 where he remained until March 1865. After that time he "was cooking for the officers of the regiment and remained as such until I was discharged."   

Although Archibald Rose served only briefly in the Civil War, his Civil War Pension File in the National Archives is extensive. Congress modified the rules on eligibility and pension levels many time in the post-Civil War period. This required Archibald and Ellen to provide different information at different time to press their claims. Extensive correspondence, legal affidavits and medical examinations detail the efforts required to secure an Invalid Pension.  All of this documention has been retained in the National Archives and many of the documents have been scanned and attached to this report.

Archibald first filed for an Invalid Pension in March of 1884 [Letter, Claim Form] claiming that the rheumatism and scurvy that he suffered at DeValls Bluff had caused him to be disabled.  He stated that "prior to his entry into the service, he was a man of good sound physical health, being when enrolled a farmer" but "since my discharge I have been suffering with rheumatism to such an extent as to be unable to do hard manual labor." A report on his physical condition was completed in April 1884.  According to that report, Archibald, then aged 51, showed some heart problems.

In May 1884, the Pension Office requested further proof from Archibald. (1,2,3)  They wanted an affidavit from his family physician showing that he was free from rheumatism prior to the war.  They also wanted testimony from doctors who had seen him right after the war. They requested testimony from employers, fellow workers or neighbors who knew of his health before and after the war. Finally they requested information from officers and surgeons who treated him during the war. They provided some names and locations of these individuals to aid in this. In addition, the Surgeon General gave information that the 3rd Minnesota Volunteers hospital records were at the Adjutant General's Office.  

The Adjutant General's office provided the following information:
"[Archibald Rose] was [enlisted] at Minn. [Infantry Rendezvous] Sept 3rd 1864 and deserted Sept 25 [1864].  (No record of retention or arrest.)  He was sent to the 3rd Minn. Vols January 29 [1865].  Remarks on forwarding roll, "is lame from the loss of a toe cut off while he was absent from this Post on a pass four months ago." Delivered to Lt. Col. Samuel Hamblin, Commanding Officer ... Cairo, Ill., Feb 4 [1865].  No evidence of alleged disabilities.  Regimental Hospital records covering dates from Oct 25 [1864] to May 28 [1965]."

Officially then, Archibald was enlisted for 6 months and 24 days and absent for 4 months and 4 days.   This absence was initially listed as a desertion but was later changed to absent without leave. 

From July through October 1884, numerous affidavits were filed to support Archibald's requests.   These included affidavits from Charles E Bolander, MD and Orlin[?} Allen, MD , Archibald's physicans and his neighbors Herman ScherfJoseph Church, Ferdinand SchufWilliam Hahn and Christ Hemmings.  Archibald also submitted an affidavit that the physicians he had seen immediately after the war were deceased.  

James M. Moran, who had been Captain of Company C and George W. Knight who had been Captain of Company E provided affidavits supporting Archibald's claim that his rheumatism came on during his service. Ale Wedge, MD who had been Surgeon of the 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry responded that he had treated Archibald Rose and knew that he was only fit for light duty during the remainder of his term of service.   

In October 1884, the Adjutant General's office confirmed the service records of Wedge and Moran. They were not able to find Herman Scherf on the Company C rolls. Herman Scherf (who had said he was in Company E and returned from the war with Archibald Rose) responded with a second affidavit again stating that Archibald came home sick from the war and continued to become more and more disabled. Archibald filed another affidavit saying that he could not provide a physicians report from before the war as he had "never had or employed a family physician" prior to the war.

At the end of October 1884, Archibald's Invalid Pension was approved.  Archibald was apparently required to swear that he was not paying anyone to pursue his pension claim and to submit a Surgeon's Certificate to begin payments.  His initial pension was $4/month.   At some time prior to March 1886, his pension was increased to $6/month.

In February 1886, Archibald submitted a request for an increase in his pension due to an increase in his disabilities.  This was accompanied by a Surgeon's Certificate of his health.   After review his pension was increased to $12/month commencing March 17, 1886.

In April 1886, in what appears to be a separate matter, the Adjutant General's office was reviewing removing the charge of desertion from Archibald's service record.

In November 1887, Archibald requested another increase in his invalid pension as he is totally unable to perform manual labor. This time his request was rejected. In February 1889, Archibald again requested an increase in his invalid pension. With a follow-on Surgeon's Certificate, a rate increase to $14/month was approved. A February 1891 pension increase request with a September 1891 surgeon's certificate was denied in June 1892.

In January 1898, Archibald Rose completed a form detailing his marriage history and his living children.

On February 6, 1907 an act passed the U.S. Congress which granted pensions to individuals who had served in the Civil War. This was not an Invalid pension but rather a pension for Service of at least 90 days. The amount of money given as a pension depended on the age of the veteran.  This was something of a problem for Archibald who was not sure of his birthdate (or location) and who had used different dates at different times. In fact, his enlistment papers gave his age as 29 when he was actually 31.  Archibald was 74 in 1907 and therefore entitled to $15/month pension. (The pension for those 75 years of age was $20/month.)  On March 5, 1907, Archibald sent a letter requesting the new pension at $15/month.   In the letter he stated that he was born 1 Jan 1833 in Chatham (now Chatham-Kent, Ontario) in East Canada.

Archibald's pension of $15/month was approved on 30 Oct 1907. In Jan 1908 Archibald filed a Declaration for Pension Increase 
based on his turning 75 years old.  In March 1908 the Adjutant's office confirmed Archibald's personal description.  More importantly, in March 1908, Archibald sent a letter stating that he knew of "no public records or record of his birth and that he knows of no family record showing the date of his birth."  He further said that "when [he] was six days of age ... upon the death of his mother ... [he] was taken care of by his grand-mother, and that she died when [he] was about 15 years of age, that at this time his father was again married, and at that time [he] left his grand-mother's home and the vicinity in which his father lived, and that he did not thereafter reside with his father or any other relative." Based on this lack of proof of age and the contradictory enlistment age, his pension increase was denied in April 1908.


Archibald discovered that his birth had been recorded in the Family Bible which his wife Ellen had kept.  He sent a letter to this affect in March 1909.  The copied images of the Bible (possibly from a photo sent to the National Archive) are almost unreadable, but appear to show the births of Archibald and Ellen and their parents and children. An affidavit was also submitted which stated that the bible showed his birth as Jan 1st 1833.  In April 1909, the case was re-opened and he was granted the increase to $20/month to which he was entitled.

In the summer of 1911, Archibald and Ellen moved from their farm in Minnesota to their son George's home in Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado.

On May 11, 1912, Congress again changed the Civil War Pension Rules.  This new law took into account the veteran's length of service as well as his age and included a provision that provided the maximum payout of $30/month to "any person who served in the military or naval service of the United States during the Civil War and received an honorable discharge, and who was wounded in battle or in the line of duty and is now unfit for manual labor by reason thereof, or who from disease or other causes incurred in the line of duty resulting in his disability is now unable to perform manual labor ... without regard to length of service or age." 

In May 1912, Archibald, who was then living in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife at the home of their son George W. Rose, filed an application for pension under the 1912 law. At this time both his term of service (clouded by his desertion/absence without leave) came under review as well as his claim to a service-caused disability. He sent a letter restating his service and birth information. One new piece of information in this letter was that he claimed his health problems began when he "fell into water... near Duval's Bluffs [sic], Arkansas.  Dr. W.N. De Armond, a Fort Collins doctor, provided his assessment of Archibald's health.  In Feb 1913, Archibald's pension was $20/year which means his claim of disability was again being challenged.

In March 1913, the Pension law was again revised.  This time widows were included.  "The widow of any person who served in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps during the Civil War for ninety days or more, and was honorably discharged, regardless of the length of service was discharged for or died in service of a disability incurred in the service in the line of duty, may be entitled to pension, without regard to her financial condition, provided she was married to him prior to Jun 27, 1905. The rate of pension is $30 per month." Thus under this law, Ellen would be eligible to receive this pension once Archibald had died.

In August 1913, the Pension bureau arranged for Archibald to be seen by the Board of U.S. Examining Surgeons and letters were sent to him and the Board directing that he be examined as to the causes of his disabilities and for "evidences of the results of vicious habits", which would prevent his receiving a pension.  The completed Surgeon's Certificate upholds his complete disability due to rheumatism.  It also reports that for the 81 year old Archibald  "Senility [is] very marked, [he] needs constant attendance."  In Oct 1913, Archibald was granted a pension of $30/month backdated to Jun 1, 1912.

In early 1915, Archibald was admitted to the Pacific Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.  It is not clear why he went to that facility as there were other closer DVS homes.  This Pacific Branch, also called the Sawtelle Veterans Home, was located in current day Los Angeles, California near Santa Monica.  It appears that payment of his pension was than transferred to that facility and $90 was paid to the Home for the three-month period ending April 1915.

In late 1915, multiple affidavits were filed testifying to the marriage of Archibald and Ellen by  Charles Boatman,  Mary & Henry LidgerdingMary StraubMelvina Hanson and William Hayman.  These affidavits established that Archibald and Ellen had married after the death of his first wife Esther Stevens, that they had had no other spouses, that they were still married and that they had not separated or divorced. It is not clear from the file, what prompted this testimony at that time. Perhaps it was just to establish Ellen as eligible for a Widows pension or perhaps it was to lay the ground for Ellen's filing for half of Archibald's pension the following year.

With Archibald in California, Ellen was without any support from his pension. In July 1916 she requested that half of his pension be provided for her support.  In August she received a letter from the Bureau of Pensions detailing the information that she would need to supply to support her request.  These included proof of marriage, of desertion by her husband or proof that he was an inmate of a Soldiers home and testimony as to her moral character and circumstance.  

In August 1816, a record of Ellen's marriage to Archibald was provided by the District Court of Goodhue County, Minnesota showing that Archibald Rose and Ellen Suiter were married in Red Wing on September 9, 1863.  Ellen provided a completed form for her half-pension request.  In it she states that Archibald has deserted her and that and that he was now at the National Soldiers Home at Sawtell[e], California.  The Pension Department confirmed that checks through September 1916 were paid to Archibald at the Pacific Home at Sawtelle, California.  The Bureau of Pension then wrote to Archibald and to the Pacific Home informing them that Ellen was requesting half of his pension based on his having deserted her in Feb 1915 and that he was an inmate of the National Home. A letter was sent to Ellen telling her to file sworn statements from two or more credible witnesses to support her claim. Affidavits were provided in September 1916 by her adopted son Simon Peter Suiter (who states that Archibald had "left his home in the city of Fort Collins on the 27th date of February 1915 for California on account of his health, and while there became an inmate of the National Soldiers Home" ) and by Dr. William De Armond, Ellen's doctor who confirmed Archibald's desertion and that Ellen "by reason of her age and infirmities [was] totally unable to support herself".   While Ellen's claim was being reviewed, payment of half of Archibald's pension was suspended.

Archibald responded on the 22nd of September 1916 that he had not deserted Ellen, but rather had left her with $3,700 when he left Fort Collins and that  he had sent money to pay for some of Ellen's medical expenses. He also said that he had a "kind letter" from her "this week, in which not a word was said about her needing funds ... or that she contemplated making this claim on my pension." He did not "care to resist her claim [for part of his pension], but [he] utterly refuse[d] to be called a deserter."  Ellen was then sent a letter by the Pension Commissioner wanting to know if she still wanted to prosecute her claim. Ellen instead withdrew her claim on Oct. 16, 1916.

Just two months later, on Dec 11, 1916, Archibald Rose died at the Pacific Branch home.   

On the 18th of December 1916, Ellen filed for a widows pension.  The pension was initially denied but finally approved in May 1917.

On July 3, 1926, the US Congress increased the widows pension rate to $50/month.   Ellen requested this increase in a particularly poignant note.   It states, "I am a helpless invalid for 2 years, have not walked a step was carried in strong men's arms when I am moved.  If my right arm gives out then I can't write.  am 82 years old my Husband was a volunteer.  My Ancestors came here before the revolution war and have taken part in every war.  the states participated in.   I had 3 children to care for while he Huby was gone, He came back broken in health to me."

The Commissioner of Pensions sent a response saying that Ellen must tell them if she was married to Archibald during the Civil War and Ellen sent that information in August 1926. Based on this Ellen was approved for the $50/month pension effective Aug. 4, 1926.

Ellen Suiter Rose died in Fort Collins, Colorado on May 14, 1928.  Following her death, her son George requested and received reimbursement for her final expenses and burial which included $9 for her physician and  $194 for her burial. The Pension paid out $18.33, the remaining accrued balance of her pension, in November 1928.