Monday, November 22, 2010
Page 43-44: Document covers with no informational value.
Page 45: Cover for a General Affidavit for the Mexican War
Page 46: Mexican War General Affidavit for Max Baerecke
Text is as follows (handwritten parts in italics):
In the claim of Max Baerecke, late a private of the 15th regiment U.S. Inf.
Personally before me, a notary public in and for aforesaid County and State, Max Baerecke, said claimant, aged 59 years a citizen of the town of Milwaukee, County of Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin, well known to me to be repatable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case, as follows:
While _____ [line] in the service of the U.S. and in the fall of 1847 while at New Orleans, La., I was attacked by and suffered with yellow fever. I entered the general hospital at that place and was there confined with such disease for about six months and was honorably discharged while at said hospital on account of disability on or about April 15th 1848. Ever p_ _ _e and in consequence of was as a re_ _ _ _(?) of such disease, I have been afflicted with almost total deafness in both ears and my eyesight has been partially destroyed and greatly impaired, so much so that by reason thereof I was and am disabled from pursueing or attending to any vocation or business and cannot earn a subsistence. My said _ _ _ of pension is based upon such injury and disease as aforesaid.
Signed, Max Baerecke
Page 47: more signatures and text related to page 46.
My Max Baerecke is a veteran of two wars, which sometimes complicates things when you're going over a pension file. Page 46 of this particular file is an affidavit regarding Max's service in the Mexican War. Based on his sworn testimony, it looks like he fought his biggest battle against yellow fever.
The description of near complete deafness and blindness sounds very sad indeed. But is it entirely true? I wonder if the description was made to sound a little more horrific than needed for the sake of the pension application.
Either way, this is a nifty little document that I can add to the timeline in the life of my third-great grandfather.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Page 42: Notification to Pension Commissioner of Amalia Baerecke's death
This is a copy of the letter sent to the Commissioner of Pensions notifying him of the death of Amalia Baerecke. It says the following:
Tuesday, Jan. 16th 1912.
Hon. Commissioner of Pensions.
I herewith inform you of the death of Mrs. Amalie Baerecke, widow of Max Baerecke Priv. & Sgt I 26 Wis. under certificate No. 615496.
She died on the 4th day of Jan. 1912.
Kindly send me necessary blanks & information.
Mrs. C. J. Smith
670 33st Mil. Wis.
After studying the copy of the document, I think it was written on a folded notecard with good penmanship. The writer, Mrs. C. J. Smith, is Lena Baerecke Smith, daughter of Max and Amalia Baerecke. The "necessary blanks" she is asking for are the forms necessary to ensure the widow's pension pays for Amalia's funeral services. Perhaps there were forms that needed to be filled out in order to discontinue the pension process as well.
Stamps on the document confirm that is was received by the finance division of the Bureau of Pensions on 20 January 1912.
I tried to look up the address of Mrs. C. J. Smith on Google maps, but there are north and south versions of 33rd street. Based in the 1910 census, I think they lived on what is now North 33rd. In the future, when I go more into depth with the Baerecke siblings, I will determine exactly where she lived.
On to part 26.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Page 41: Mortuary Bill for Amalia Baerecke
Monday, June 28, 2010
Page 40: Letter from Mrs. Lena Smith
Back in part 18 of this series, there was a letter from the government asking Lena Smith to furnish a bill for nursing (of her dying mother), and for Lena's husband to sign the statement. Below is Lena's reply to that request:
What I learned from this record:
I learned that Lena is a lot more polite than I would be. If the government was harassing me for a receipt just hours after a family member died--and after I've provided all the other receipts showing my mother's medical needs and steady decline--I'd probably write something like "HERE IS YOUR RECEIPT!" and...well....there are just so many pictures I could include with that letter. I'd probably get in trouble and not get reimbursed for the widow's medical and burial costs. Gold star to my third-great aunt Lena for exercising restraint.
On to part 24 here.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Page 39: Response from Charles Smith
Enclosed please find the letter, and as there was no other statement enclosed, I sign this, and acknowledge all payments made by Mrs. Lena Smith, my wife, in all former documents as being paid by her.
Charles J. Smith.
What I learned from this document: not much. Lena Smith had to jump many hoops to get reimbursement and close out her father's (then mother's) pension file. She filled out all those forms only to get another letter asking her husband to sign off on her efforts. Your tax dollars at work.
On to part 23
Monday, April 26, 2010
Page 35: Bill from the druggist re: items pertaining to the care of Amelia Baerecke
Monday, April 19, 2010
Page 34: A Note from the Commissioner
Monday, April 12, 2010
Page 33 - Letter regarding the death of Amalie Baerecke (Max's widow)
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Page 31: Surgeon's Certificate of Ordinary Disability
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Page 30: Statement of the Surgeon of the U.S. Army
Monday, March 22, 2010
Page 29: Statement of the Assistant Surgeon of the U.S. Army
To the Adjutant General, U.S. Army.
Sir: I have the honor to return herewith the papers received from your office in pension claim No. "O.W. [Old War?], with such information as is furnished by records filed in this Office, viz: that "Max Baerecke Pr. Co. I. 26 Wis. Vols. was admitted to Genl. Field Hospital 11. (?) A.C. Brooks Station Va. April 27, 1863 with Chronic Rheumatism and returned to duty May 28, '63; that he was admitted to Finley G H Washington D.C. June 14, '63 with debility and transferred to Convalescent Camp June 16, 1863.
Records of Convalescent Camp Alexandria Va. June 16 to 30, 1863 afford no evidence in this case."
By order of the Surgeon General:
F C Ainsworth [I think], Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army
What did I learn from this page in the file?
It gives some of the military medical history of Max during the Civil War. Between the mentions of asthma and yellow fever in previous documents, as well as rheumatism and "debility" in this page, it appears that Max was sickly. Or was he? Is this long list of medical problems common in pension files? Are dramatic descriptions part of the application process when money is on the line? These are the questions I ask myself as I try to form a mental image of my great-great-great grandfather.
On to part 15.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Page 28: Page two of Max Baerecke's Disability Affidavit
On to part 14.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
On to part 11.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Previously, I reported on the acquisition of my great-great-great grandfather's military pension file. The documents contained within pant a picture of a man and his family about which I knew very little. I've decided to share this 103-page treasure chest of information with you a few pages at a time.
Page 15: Examination Report
Page 16: Cover of Examination Report titled "Examination by Civil Surgeon"
Page 15 of the file appears to be a report of a medical examination for Max Baerecke. It says that he "was late a Private in Company 15th Reg't U.S. Vols." This means that this document pertains to Max's application for a Mexican War pension.
At the time of the examination (the doctor signed the document 9 March 1888), Max was afflicted as follows:
His eyesight is impaired. (myopia) V. - 15/200. Has staphyl__ p_____ of both eyes (tear in document and condition of the copy make the medical terms difficult to read).
Hearing is impaired by the presence of hardened ears' wax in both ears, especially in the left. The left ear passage, after the removal of the wax, exhibits an inflamed ___ with a chronically inflamed membrane of the tympanum, thickened + not any more transparent.
Suffers from Pharyngeal + Laryngeal ___ of long ___.
The report concludes with the statement that Max Baerecke "is incapacitated for the performance of manual labor by reason of aforesaid disabilities in about the following degree: 3/4 according to the usual rating of Pension __?___ ." I can't read the last word, but the diagnosis is understood.
The document is signed by the doctor (signature looks like it might say "E. Kramer"), and dated 9 March 1888. There is also an official notary public signature.
What did I learn from this document? Well, it describes the aged condition of my third-great grandfather. He apparently has a problem with his eyes, which is mentioned several times throughout the pension file. The ear wax, and subsequent remedy by the pension doctor, suggests that Max did not have regular access to medical attention. I suspect the family was quite poor.
Page 16 of the pension file is the cover page of this document. It confirms that the purpose of the examination is for a Mexican War pension.
Coming up, more details on the medical history of Max Baerecke. Stay tuned...
Monday, December 21, 2009
Page 14: Certification of Marriage
The top left corner of this document says it's from the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, which is where Max Baerecke lived most of his American life.
The text of the document says:
I, Otto Seidel, Jr., Register if Deeds in and for said County, hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct transcript from the records in my office as recorded in volume B of Marriages page 480; that I have carefully compared the same with said Records, and that it is the whole thereof.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my official seal this 29th day of March A.D. 1905.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Page 13: Mexican War Pension Survivor's Brief