Hendricks Co., IN Civil War pension--Sellers/Bowman
Great effort was required to win a pension based on injuries suffered
the Civil War. The case of Abijah Sellars is an example:
Pvt. Abijah Sellars of Plainfield, IN, enlisted at age 29. He said
in Guilford Co., NC. Description: 5 ft, 9 in., hazel eyes, black hair,
complexion. Assigned to Co. K, 1st Regiment, Indiana Heavy Artillery.
Enlisted Feb. 27, 1864 at Indianapolis, IN and mustered in Mar. 8, 1864 at
Indianapolis for 3 years. Mustered out Jan. 19, 1866, at Baton Rouge, LA.
On the rolls of Co. K from April 1864 to October 1865.
First wife's name unknown. She is reported to have died 1-29-1858.
Wife: (2) Mary Bowman
Married: 10-29-1866 in Morgan Co., IN by John Sheets, J.P.
One Child: Cora, b. 10-27-1888
Abijah Sellars, on enlistment papers written Feb. 27, 1864 in
and signed by him, said he was a 29 year old farmer, born in Gilford (cq)
Co., NC. At muster, he received one month's pay, a bounty payment of $60,
with $240 due, and drew $25.92 in clothing. At the end of his service,
January 10, 1866, he drew $180 more of the bounty money still due him. His
records said he was still owed $120 in bounty money, as if he hadn't
the $60 at muster in Indianapolis in March 1864.
A Wartime Disability Certificate given to him in Mooresville, IN after
war by Lieutenant Garrett Wall of Co. K, First Heavy Artillery, said that
had been injured on the 19th of August 1864, at Mobile Point during the
investment of Fort Morgan. Lt. Wall said he suffered a "rupture" while
lifting 10 inch mortars and placing them into position, thus becoming
partially disabled and prevented from performing manual labor. Wall
that "whenever he would undergo any exercise whatever, such as drilling,
marching, lifting and c. his abdomen would be terribly swollen and
very painful and causing a deathly sickness."
John Hardwick of Marion Co., IN, in an affidavit dated November 27, 1866,
said that Sellars now was unable to do anything, and that Sellars had been
a farmer he knew for 10 years prior to Sellars leaving for military service.
In July 1884 the Pension Office of the Department of the Interior
information from the Army. The request said that Sellars claimed he was
injured on August 19, 1864, at the Siege of Mobile, suffering an umbilical
hernia and fracture of two ribs on his right side. The Army response was a
casualty sheet created from records of Co. K showing he returned from St.
Louis Hospital on July 29, 1864, and that his company was at Mobile Point,
AL on Aug 18, 1864. But the Army reported there was no evidence of his
alleged injuries in their records.
Nevertheless, the pension was granted (pension certificate No. 113184).
In 1891, at the age of 59, he filed to increase his pension. In an
13th application he said he was totally disabled. He told authorities in a
written application that in June 1864 near Baton Rouge, LA, he "contracted
exposure to changes of weather and use of impure water and improper food
incident to army life, Camp Diarrhea and yellow jaundice, from (which) he
became wholly disabled for duty and was sent to hospital. He has suffered
more or less from diarrhea and resulting piles ever since his discharge and
still suffers very severely from said diseases. He shows them when he
applied for pension for his injuries and for which pensioned. He thought
that he would recover from the diarrhea, and so did not claim pension for this
and subsequently when applying for increase he supposed that all his disability
would be considered but now finding that application must be made for
diarrhea and its results to secure rating (word unreadable) he now files
this claim." He reported he had been treated in hospitals in Baton Rouge in the
later part of 1864 and in St. Louis Hospital in New Orleans in the summer
In March 1901 he again was pursuing a pension claim, using attorneys
Fitzgerald and Delp of Indianapolis. In a supporting affidavit written in
Morgan Co., IN on February 23, 1901, 70-year-old Jacob H. Rusie said Abijah
Sellars was able bodied when he entered military service, but suffered from
diarrhea and piles "which disabled him from the performance of manual
for a period of more than a year when he returned form the service in 1866.
Rusie said that he considered Sellars unfit for the performance of manual
In a second supporting affidavit, written February 13, 1901, 60-year-old
George W. Crayton of Mooresville, IN said Abijah Sellars was totally
from 1866 to 1871 due to diarrhea and piles. Crayton said a doctor treated
Sellars for piles, and that Sellars was unfit for manual labor.
Abijah's first marriage is revealed in the pension papers. In a
application for a widow's pension, dated March 4, 1903 and signed (her
by Mary A. Sellars, the date of death for Abijah's first wife is given as
January 27, 1858. The application says daughter Cora was born 10-27-1889
written). Witnesses were Araminta J. Morgan and William Wilkin, friends of
20 and 30 years respectively.
Two doctors swore to Abijah's death. Dr. F. Hunt of Plainfield,
Co. stated in an affidavit of March 17, 1903 that he was the family
and had attended Abijah Sellars during his last illness, and that Abijah
Sellars died Feb. 19, 1903 of "chronic Bright's disease." Dr. Amos Carter
Plainfield, Hendricks Co. stated in an affidavit of May 18, 1903 that
Sellars died Feb. 19, 1903. Dr. Carter said there was one child, Cora, b.
10-27-1888 (as written).
Araminta J. Morgan, 62, said in affidavit of March 12, 1903 that she was
present at the birth of Cora Sellars on October 27, 1889 (as written).
Mary A. Sellars, in an affidavit of March 13, 1903, when applying for her
husband's pension (Claim No. 780368) after his death, said she was 66 years
old, and resided in Brooklyn, Morgan Co., IN. She said Abijah's first wife
died January 19, 1858.
Mary was paid a pension of $30 per month at her death in 1922.