One of my favorite sources of genealogy information is a military pension file. Sometimes it's a gold mine of information; sometimes it's a bust. However, you can always be sure it will contain affidavits from the pensioner, family members, neighbors, or military comrades.
Henry Reynolds was my 4th great grandfather. He was born 5 April 1815 in Anderson County, TN, and died 26 Nov 1884 in Harrison County, MO. He is buried in the Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Coffey, MO. Henry served in the Union Army during the Civil War, and was discharged in 1863 at Brownsville, AR, due to a lingering illness. At the time of his discharge, he was 48 years old.
From his Certificate of Disability For Discharge:
Pvt Henry Reynolds of Captain Elijah Hubbard's Company F of the Merrills Horse Regiment* of the United States, was enlisted by Capt Eli Hannah of the Regiment of Merrill's Horse on the third day of August 1861 at Bethany, MO, to serve three years; he was born in Anderson Co in the State of Tennessee, is forty-six years of age, five feet eleven inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, black hair, and by occupation when enlisted a framer. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty sixty days.
[*Merrill's Horse was the nickname of the 2 Missouri Cavalry.]
As was typical for the time, his wife's [Elizabeth Oaks Reynolds] application for a pension after his death was a slow, painful process. She had no proof of her marriage to Henry, and relied on affidavits from neighbors and Henry's brother as proof of marriage. Below are excerpts from several of the affidavits in Elizabeth's pension application file:
Officers and Comrades Certificate
[Affidavit of Amos Foster, who served with Henry]
...well known to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who being duly sworn, declare that the above named soldier [Henry Reynolds] while in the line of his duty, as a soldier, and without any fault or neglect on his part, on or about August 1863, at or near a place called Clarendon in the State of Arkansas received or contracted Enysipilas [sic] and disease of the heart and was so poorly that he was halled [sic] in ambulance to Brownsville was left there in hospital and never was able to do deuty [sic] after he took sick - was discharged December 1863 sean [sic] him often after he come home and know that he almost invariably complained of being weak and not able to work. I sean [sic] him some times once a weak [sic] and some times once a month from the time he came home till he died. My knowledge of the above facts is from being present with the company at the time and being with him every night that I could get to the sick tent.
Another affidavit, from Thomas Taylor:
Officers and Comrades Certificate
[Affidavit of Thomas Taylor]:
...received or contract Enysifelas [sic] and disease of the heart that after his discharge I traveled from Brownsville Ark to St. Louis Mo. with him. He was so sick weak and imitiated [sic] that I had to assist him on and off the boats and cars and carry his luggage.
Below is an excerpt from the General Affidavit of Howard Reynolds, Henry's brother, offered as proof of marriage:
I was personally acquainted with Elizabeth Oaks and Henry Reynolds. Henry Reynolds' married Elizabeth Oaks in Anderson County Tennessee. I saw them the next day after their marriage. I attended their [unknown word that looks like insfarr]. The [insfarr] was at my father's. Henry Reynolds was my brother and he and his wife lived together until a few years since when he died. I can't recollect the date of marriage, my brother's marriage, I was only a boy. I recollect very distinctly of attending the [insfarr] and of little incidents that transpired.
I'm really curious about the "insfair" or "insfarr" which appears to be some sort of reception or after-marriage party. If anyone has information on this tradition, I would love to have it.
Henry and his wife Elizabeth had six children: Mary Jane (my 3rd great grandmother), Paulina, James, Catherine, Nancy, and Hossuth (I am not sure about this last name). After Mary Jane died in childbirth, they raised her two daughters as their own.