Saturday, December 24, 2016

John Elias Lundquist Gets a Pension

John E. Lundquist* enlisted as a private in Company C of the 4th Iowa Cavalry Regiment on 5 October 1861. He was thirty-six years old and was living at Lockridge township in Jefferson County, Iowa.[1] The companies of the regiment rendezvoused at Mount Pleasant, Iowa where they practiced until their assignment.[2] In February 1862, the regiment was transported by rail to St. Louis and then in March they traveled to Rolla, Missouri. Other movements occurred and they ended up on Arkansas. Company C had their first skirmish with the enemy on June 3.[3]

Sometime near August 1862, John was sent to the hospital for sore eyes and later discharged from the army at Memphis, Tennessee in November.[4] He returned home and was unable to work for many months. The discharge papers also stated he had upper right arm paralysis. That would certainly make it difficult to do farming work. However, he did not apply for a pension until 1871.


In his application letter, he stated he was 
“discharged on the 2 November 1863 at Memphis Tenn” and “while in said service and in the line of his duty he contracted sore eyes at Helena Arkansas on or about the 1st day of August 1862.” It went on to describe the “disease was caused by exposure incident to the duties of a soldier. The first time affiant was unfit for duty after his enlistment was at said time and he was first taken with pains in the back which after being blistered went to his head and settled in his eyes. And that soon after being taken affiant was sent to General Hospital in Memphis Tenn where his eyes continued to get worse and when he stayed till he was discharged having become totally blind in his left eye prior to the time he was discharged.”[5]
The application letter also described his problems at home with the disability. “Since his discharge he has been residing in Lockridge township Jefferson county Iowa on a farm and has remained total blind in his left eye ever since. He further says that during the hot weather in summer he is unable to labor on his farm as it inflames his right eye so that he is unable to endure the sunshine.”[6]

There were also an affidavit from W.B. Porter, who was the Captain of Co. C., attesting that John Lundquist received “sore eyes from the exposure incident to camp life and in line of his duty and that he was sent from said place to Gen Hospital at Memphis Tenn.” He also stated that he was “temperate and of good habits.[7] It was important to the pension board that the applicant did not cause his own disability through drinking or poor habits.

Because of the disability, John had to have regular physician examinations, the first on 14 Sep 1871. The physician stated the disability was 
“chronic ophthalmia of both eyes. The left eye is blind at present from photophobia. He does not claim paralysis of the right upper limb at present, but complains of a great deal of pain in it. Disability from disease of the eyes—total. Disability from disease of the limb—none as far as I can judge.”[8]  
Ophthalmia is the “inflammation of the eye, especially of its membranes or external structures.”[9] Photophobia is the “intolerance to light; especially painful sensitiveness to strong light.”[10]

Every year he was examined by the surgeon and this was reported to the pension department. He was paid at the rate of $6 from 24 Jan 1872, then increased to $8 from 4 Sep 1872, then to $14 from 13 Dec 1875, then on 13 Oct 1886 it was increased to $24 per month.  In 1879 he filed for Arrears of Invalid Pension, asking for past payment between Nov 2, 1862 and Jan 24, 1872 at the rate of $6 per month. The arrears was paid at the rate of $4 per month from Nov 3, 1862 and $6 per month from June 6, 1866, totaling $578.00.[11] This would have seen like a fortune to John.

John died 2 July 1909 in Cambridge, Henry County, Illinois of apoplexy, which is a stroke.[12]

John E. Lundquist’s pension file has 228 images. Sixty-five of the images pertained to his pension. The rest of the images pertained to his widow, Anna Lundquist’s request for a widow’s pension. It was first denied but she was persistent and was finally awarded a pension. But that is another story to be told at another time.



* Johann Elias Lundquist (1822-1909) was my husband's second great-granduncle. 

[1] Certificate of Disability for Discharge, 27 Oct 1862; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[2] Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion: Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organizations 1861-1866, Vol. IV,  published under the direction of Brig. Gen. Guy E. Logan, Adjutant General, Des Moines, 1910, p. 639.
[3] Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion: Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organizations 1861-1866, Vol. IV,  p. 640.
[4] Certificate of Disability for Discharge, 27 Oct 1862; John E. Lundquist,  Pension File 893059; Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[5] Affidavit of John E Lundquist, 22 Apr 1871; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Affidavit of W.B. Porter,” 31 Jul 1871; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[8] Examining Surgeon’s Certificate,” 14 Sep 1871; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[9] Definition of ophthalmia, Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ophthalmia : accessed 23 Dec 2016).
[10] Definition of photophobia, Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/photophobia : accessed 23 Dec 2016).
[11] Brief for Arrears of Invalid Pension, 31 July 1879; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[12] Death Certificate of John E. Lundquist, 2 July 1909, dated 4 Apr 1919; John E. Lundquist (Pvt., Co. C, 4th Iowa Cavalry, Civil War),  Pension File 893059; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Record Group 15; Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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