#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #20 Adolphus Tourville (1836-1877)

You may remember having read on this blog a few months ago about Adelia Tourville Pelky Ouimette claiming a pension for her late husband, Adolphus Tourville, who was a soldier in the New York 96th Infantry Regiment, Company F.

I considered very interesting the fact that the witness in the following testimony is Prisk Pelky, brother of Adelia’s second husband, Andrew. Here how it goes :

Deposition G

Case of Adelia Pelky, No. 414408

On this 10 day of Aug, 1896 at Champlain, County of Clinton, State of NY, before me, R. B. Lash, Special Examiner of the Pension Office, personally appeared Prisk Pelky, who, being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this Special Examination of aforesaid pension claim, deposes and says:

Pelky finI am 63 years of age, am a truckman & my residence & P.O. address is Champlain NY.

I was born & brought up in this township & have resided in this village 42 years.

I knew Adolphus Tourville here before the war and afterwards. I knew him during all the time he lived here and saw him practically every day. He was a painter, a wheel wright painter & worked for Nodi Moore. Afterwards kept shop for himself and for Wm Gettys some years after the war. I have no means of fixing the date he removed from here to Keeseville NY & soon afterwards died.

Q: What was his physical condition while you knew him?

A: He never was a very strong able bodied man but after he came from the war from the time he came back until he died he was very sickly.

Q: What seemed to ail him?

A: He coughed mostly all the time. Kind of consumption I should call it, I think that was what ailed him more than anything else when he died. He coughed most all the time, was then nothing but skin & bones & kept going down hill until he died.

Q: You say he never was a very strong robust fellow. Did he have cough or any disease before the war?

A: He was a kind of a slim delicate looking man but I cannot say that I ever knew him to be laid up sick or that I ever noticed him coughing before the war or before his enlistment. I meant to convey the idea that he never was a robust healthy looking fellow. But from the time he came back from the army he ran down hill. He kept to work most of the time but was sick a great deal. No Sir, I knew of nothing ailing him other than this cough of consumption trouble. My opinion is that this cough started on him while he was in the army. I have heard him say that at some time while he was in the army he & the others got in the water at some place they were encamped & were like drowned rats & ever afterwards he had that cough, any little cold would start his cough & he complained much of soreness through his stomach & lungs.

I know he took some medicine & at times wasn’t able to work for a week or ten days but I couldn’t say definitely just who doctored him.

He married Adelia St Aubin & after his death she married my brother Andrew Pelky. My brother died about a year ago.

I am not related to claimant & have no interest in her claim. Yes sir I was here all during the war and I saw Tourville up until the time he went into the army & as soon as he was discharged & came home I do not remember what year he enlisted or when he came home or when he removed from here but I know him well all the time he was here. No I do not know where any of his people are. Neither Adolphus Tourville nor his wife Adelia St Aubin were previously married. She was my wife’s 2nd cousin & I have known her since she was a young girl.

I do not remember having before testified in this claim.

No I do not write my name.

I have no recollection of signing the papers before you show me.

Your questions have been understood & my answers are properly recorded.

Prisk Pelky (his mark).

Very informative, isn’t it? We learn that Adelia and Andrew Pelky knew each other for a long time before they got married in 1878 and also that Adelia’s second cousin was married to Prisk Pelky.

Adolphus enlisted on November 6, 1861, just two months after the birth of his first-born son. Maybe he was out of work and needed a regular pay?

As you have read, Adolphus has had health problems when he returned from the war. In fact, he enlisted originally for three years but was discharged 18 months later in New Berne, NC for disability.

The surgeon who discharged him:

” […] find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of difficulty of the lungs. Sometime after his enlistment, the new mode of work made him sick. Afterwards, he was occasionally sick with pleuritic pains. On the peninsula, especially at Harrison’s Landing, he had asthmatic paroxysms — palpitation of the heart at the least exercise. He is weak. Has been for the most part of the time on the sick list. He is predisposed to consumption. He is not fit for military duty.”

In the muster roll, it was indicated that Adolphus has been sick in Harrison’s Landing most of the month of August 1862.

Berkeley Plantation etc.

Picture of Berkeley Plantation. During the Civil War, it was occupied by General George McClellan’s Union troops. In July and August of 1862, during the time Adolphus Tourville was at Harrison’s Landing, 140,000 soldiers camped in the surrounding fields.  [from http://www.civilwar.org/civil-war-discovery-trail/sites/berkeley-plantation-at-harrison-s-landing.html] ~~~ Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, VA,19-CHARC.V,4-36

Adolphus died at age 41 in Keeseville, NY, on January 4, 1877, the date having been determined by the doctor who treated him until his death. The Pension Office asked the town clerk to validate these date and place but it was told no records were kept at that time. The clerk furthermore confirmed he inquired with the local church and no record was found (neither did I get any trace of him in cemetery listings for Keeseville).

To learn more about Harrison’s Landing, VA, during the Civil War, click here.

To learn more about the service of the NY 96th Infantry Regiment when Adolphus served in the Civil War, click here.