Elias VanGorder (Civil War Veteran) Pension File

Elias VanGorder, father of Lafayette VanGorder,  applied for “Declaration for an Original Invalid Pension” on December 20, 1889.  He enrolled on the 8th day of February 1863 in Company M of the 5th Regiment of the New York Calvary and is discharged in Winchester, Virginia on the 19th day of July 1865.

The document then states while Elias was on duty at Berryville, Virginia on or about August of 1863 he was disabled by rheumatism and in the summer or fall of 1864 incurred rupture of the right side. He swore to in the Declaration even though he was disabled with rheumatism he stayed with the Regiment.

Then in the summer or fall of 1864 he was in a skirmish with Early’s men near Cedar Creek. Jubal Early, a Commander of the Confederate Army, was head of the Confederate Infantry.  Early served under Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. He led the battles being fought in the Shenandoah Valley from May to October, 1864. During the skirmish at Cedar Creek Elias’ horse was shot by a Confederate soldier. The horse fell and pinned Elias on his right side.  After the horse was removed from him, he was unable to walk and carried back to camp. Testimonies from Kelsey Wiltse and Lancelot B. Ferbush support his account of the horse being shot, falling on Elias and he being unable to walk after the horse was removed.

After affidavits from neighbors, doctors and the post master declaring he was a good man and unable to work, his claim was accepted and he was given $8.00 per month beginning January 6, 1890.  He then refiled for an increase and received $10.00 beginning on August 20, 1891.

The jackpot of this packet is Elias’ wife Margaret filed for a Widows Pension after his death, October 16, 1891.

“On November 17, 1891 she applied for a pension as widow of Elias Vangorder who served during the late War of the Rebellion.  Elias died October 16, 1891 of cancer of the stomach and she has no other means of support than her daily labor.  Margaret Newgent and Elias Vangorder on the lst day of August 1853 were married by Esquire Smith at Oswego, New York. There are no children under the age of 16 and all his eight children, living, are over the age of 16 by this woman.”

Margaret was unable to provide a marriage certificate.  Affidavits were submitted by neighbors stating Elias and Margaret were living as man and wife for many years.  There is one affidavit by Orlando Winans of Owego, New York stated Elias was working for him.  Mr. Williams attested on August 1, 1853 Elias hired a harness and horse to use to go and get married.  Elias returned that evening with Margaret as his wife.  They slept in the house of Orlando Winans that night.  They remained at the Winan home for many days.  Orlando has know Margaret for many years and she did not remarry after Elias’ death.

Margaret was given a $8.00 pension commencing November 23, 1891.  June 25, 1892 she received an increase of $10.00 per month.  At her death March 10, 1910 she was receiving $12.00 per month.

Also included in the packet was Application for Reimbursement filed by Lillian Japhet on April 10, 1912.  She is applying for reimbursement from the accrued pension for expenses paid (or obligation incurred) by Lillian Japhet for the last sickness and for the burial of Margaret VanGorder.

Charles H. VanGorder was the Administrator of Margaret VanGorder’s estate.  The lawyer for the estate J.S. Gross sent an affidavit along with the Reimbursement application.  Attorney Gross sold the lot in Owego, New York with a dilapidated shanty at public auction for $240.00.  After expenses paid only $20.00 was realized from the sale.  The attorney was unable to find any other assets and could not pay Lillian Japhet her expenses incurred from the estate.

Margaret was cared for by her daughters Lillian M. Japhet, Lulu Heath, and Frances Davis. During her last illness she lived with her daughter Frances Davis in Lestershire, NY.

Expenses incurred:  Paid $3.00 to Dr. L.A. Walker, the Undertaker King Spencer was paid $50.00 by County of Broome with a balance upaid of $30.00 and the casket and burial were $96.00.

On July 12, 1924 a letter was sent to Lillian disallowing the claim. “The pensioner left assets consisting of real estate upon which was realized $240.00 which with the $50.00 paid by the State are sufficient to meet the expenses of her last sickness and burial.”

What I did note in this packet: Elias and Margaret could not write.  Barzillia (Barzilla) Howard was a witness to many of the papers filed by Elias and Margaret.  At one point Elias appointed Mr. Howard to act as his attorney. Barzillia may have been the owner of a rake factory in Union, New York.  He must have thought well of Elias and Margaret and they of him – a true friendship.

Ancestors not to be forgotten.