Treasures in a Random War of 1812 Pension File recently released the first 1,400 images of the War of 1812 pension files, as part of its partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Archives. (You can read the full announcement here.) As promised, these images are free — no subscription required!

What’s so great about War of 1812 pension files? They can contain details not only of the veteran’s service, but his marriages, children, residences, and more. I decided to pick a random War of 1812 pension file and see what all I could glean from it.

Veteran: James Abbott of Ohio. You’ll notice on this page that many of the details contained in the file have been summarized. (No, I didn’t read this page and then choose him for my subject!) Even if the pension file you’re interested in has a summary page like this, read the entire file. You never know what else is in there (or what mistakes might have been made when that summary sheet was created).

Service: Captain Patrick Shaw’s Company, Ohio Militia. Enlisted 6 February 1813; discharged 6 August 1813. (page 6 and page 47). Drafted at Lebanon, Ohio (page 14)

Pension: Granted a pension of $8/month, 18 November 1871 (page 6), certificate number 8404 (page 2)

Bounty Land Warrant: 10713-160-55 (page 8 )


  • Warren County, Ohio (page 21)
  • Miami County, Ohio (page 21)
  • Niles Township, Delaware County, Indiana “for 24 years” (stated 21 March 1871) (page 14); Moved to Delaware County, Indiana in 1846 (page 21)
  • Delaware County, Indiana (Granville post office), 25 March 1871 (page 6)

Born: circa 1794 (was 77 in 1781) (page 14) in Clermont County, Ohio (page 21)

Died: 14 October 1874 (page 8) at Delaware County, Indiana (page 21). See also page 52.

Physical Description (age 18): 5′ 9″, dark hair, blue eyes, light complexion (page 21)

Occupation: “Carpenter, and farming until within the last fifteen years he could not farm on account of age,” 21 March 1871 (page 14)

Widow: Rosa, received $8/month pension, certificate 13344 dated 19 December 1878 (page 5)


  • Rosa Keenan, near Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, 19 June 1824, by Mahlon Roach, JP (page 21 and page 33)
  • According to Rosa, neither she nor James had been married previously (page 21)


  • Son William, age 44 (stated 27 March 1878) residing in Muncie, Indiana; his wife is F. Martha Abbott (page 22)


  • John C. Matthews and William H. Stewart, both of Delaware County, who had known James for 20 years, 21 March 1871 (page 14 and page 15)
  • William and F. Martha Abbott (page 17)
  • Thomas J. Sample and William Abbott (page 21)
  • William H. Stewart and Amos L. Wilson, stating that James Abbott never aided in the rebellion (Civil War) (page 23)
  • Jacob F. Peterson and Henry Shaw, testified to death of James Abbott and that Rosa Abbott had not remarried (page 52)

Preserve the PensionsSee what a great resource War of 1812 pension files are?! These pension files, which had never even been microfilmed before, are being digitized thanks to the Preserve the Pensions project. This project seeks to raise $3.7 million to digitize and post online the 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 pension files.

You can help! Each dollar donated will digitize two images. Please visit the Preserve the Pensions page for more information. Preserve the Pensions is also on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tombstone Tuesday: Indianapolis Typographical Union

Julie Cahill Tarr, the Chicagoland Graveyard Rabbit, posted a photo of  the Chicago Typographical Union Memorial in Elmwood Park Cemetery, River Grove Illinois. It reminded that I found a similar monument a few years ago in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana (one of my favorite cemeteries).

Indianapolis Typographical Union monument, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 27 September 2004, all rights reserved.

Indianapolis Typographical Union monument, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 27 September 2004, all rights reserved.

 According to The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, the National Typographical Union was formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1852. Journeymen printers from fourteen cities were represented; the group from Indianapolis was selected as Union No. 1 “through a random drawing.” The Union later became the International Typographical Union following the admission of Canadian unions in 1869.(1)

J. . E. Puhl marker, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana; photo taken by Amy Crow, 27 Sept 2004, all rights reserved.

J. E. Puhl marker, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana; photo taken by Amy Crow, 27 Sept 2004, all rights reserved.

Surrounding the monument are 13 smaller markers: (2)

  • S. H. Hill, 1874
  • W. Spooner, 1875
  • Unknown, 1876
  • ___ Lee, 1876
  • C. Gildricht, 1881
  • J. B. Smith, 1880
  • J. Sexton, 1905
  • J. E. Puhl, 1881
  • W. B. Montgomery, 1890
  • J. Wilson, 1885
  • B. E. Dolbear, 1887
  • Mrs. B. E. Dolbear, 1887
  • D. Mitten, 1887


(1) Cunningham, Joan. “International Typographical Union.” In The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Robert Graham Barrows, 823-824. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1994. 

(2) Crow, Amy. Photographs taken at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana, 27 September 2004.

Tombstone Tuesday: An Impressive Monument

Every once in awhile, you come across a tombstone that makes you stop in your tracks. One such tombstone (or, rather, a monument) that did that to me was this impressive one in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis:

Akins monument, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

Akins monument, Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

This monument stands approximately 7 feet tall and is near the top of Crown Hill, where the poet James Whitcomb Riley is buried. The inscription on the left pillar reads:

Masters at the art of living
draw no sharp distinction
between work and play,
labor and leisure,
mind and body,
education and recreation,
hardly knowing which is which.

They simply pursue their vision
of excellence through whatever
they are doing and leave
others to determine whether
they are working or playing.
To themselves, they always seem
to be doing both.

The right-hand column has not only their names and dates, but also maps of Virginia and Ohio showing where each was born, and a map of Indiana showing where their sons were born. Their descendants are going to love them for this stone!

Crown Hill Cemetery is one of my favorites and I will write about it in a later post.