Ludlow, Hampden County, Massachusetts, November 18, 1895. We are in the office of P. R. Hilliard, Special Examiner of the Pension Office. Listen to Adelia and hear her story:
“My age is 57 last month; occupation dressmaker; residence and P.O. address, Ludlow, Mass.
I claim pension as the widow of Adolphus Tourville, who served during the late war as private in Company F 96th NY Volunteers. He enlisted November 4, 1861 and was discharged March 18, 1863. This was his only service. He never served in the U.S. military or naval service prior to November 4, 1861 or subsequent to March 18, 1863.
I was married to Adolphus Tourville August 10 when I was 15 years of age . I have not my marriage certificate, it was burned.
I was not married prior to my marriage to Mr. Tourville. He was not married prior to our marriage to each other. Knew him six months before our marriage. I had a letter from his father and the priest of his parish setting forth that he was a single man before our marriage. I have not these letters now. I never knew or heard that he was married before our marriage to each other. I remarried Andrew Pelky September 22, 1878. Andrew Pelky died July 4, 1895.
I was married to my first husband by Father Sassville at Coopersville, NY. I was married to Andrew Pelky by Father Shyo the present priest at Champlain, NY.
Five children were born for Mr. Tourville. There were seven children in all born as a result of my marriage to Adolphus Tourville:
The oldest was born dead.
Joseph Napoleon, born September 3, 1861
Francis or Frank, born July 31, 1864
The next was born dead.
Telesphore, born August 8, 1868
John Henry, born May 21, 1871 [s/b May 3, 1871]
Bertie, born November 4, 1875 [s/b 1873], died May 4, 1876
The youngest child, Bertie, died in May and my husband died the following January. My husband died January 4 [no record found]. I can’t tell the year. I think it is 19 years ago next January.
There were four children living at the time of my husband’s death, i.e. Joseph Napoleon, Frank, Telephose and John Henry and these four are still living.
I was not divorced from my first husband, I lived continuously with him from our marriage up to his death except while he was in the army. I was his widow from the time of my husband’s death until I remarried Andrew Pelky. I was remarried September 22, 1878 and if the record says that I was remarried on September 23, 1878, it is a mistake. I always called my second boy Frank. He was baptized under the name of Francis. The record of all my children’s birth and baptism is in St. Mary’s Church at Champlain, Clinton Co. NY.
My oldest son is commonly called Adolphus but his right name is Joseph Napoleon. My youngest son’s full name is John Henry but we commonly call him Henry. Telesphore we usually call Tallas.
I always considered September 3 my oldest son’s birthday. He is 34 years old last September.
My husband died of lung disease which he contracted in the army. He had no lung disease to my knowledge before he enlisted. I never knew him to be sick at all before he enlisted. He had no cough nor any indications of lung disease before he enlisted. He was sound and healthy before he enlisted. My husband was born in Canada. He was 17 years of age when he came to the U.S. He was a carriage and house painter by trade. He said he worked in Massachusetts and New Hampshire before our marriage.
We lived in Champlain, Beekmantown and West Chazy from the time of our marriage up to his enlistment. When my husband returned from the army, we were living in Champlain where we lived until 1866. We then moved to Napierville, Canada, about 18 miles from Champlain. We remained there 2 years. We returned to Champlain and remained there till June ’71. Then we moved to Isle of Mott, VT and remained there 2 years. Then back to Champlain for three years and then we moved to Keeseville, Clinton Co. NY where my husband died. My husband always followed painting.
When he returned from the army he was sickly and for over a year he wasn’t able to do any work. He was confined to his bed most of the time. Every winter he was sick and unable to work.
I do not know why my husband didn’t apply for a pension before his death. He did apply about a year before he died but he never heard anything from it. Mr. Bordmont of Keeseville was his attorney.
He had a cough from his return from the army until he died. He raised phlegm all the time. The doctor told me that he died of the same disease that he had in the army, Dr. Toby of Keeseville, NY. The first doctor that treated my husband after his discharge was Dr. Daggett of Champlain, NY now dead. He was next treated by Dr. Churchhill of Champlain, NY. also dead.
Then he was treated by Dr. Toby of Keeseville, NY. Dr. Toby attended my husband in his last illness. He resides now in Keeseville, NY. These three doctors are all that my husband ever had. I never knew my husband to be sick or have any medical treatment before he enlisted.
My husband drank before and after his army service. He drank to excess some before he enlisted but not so much after his return.
Q: By whom can you prove that your husband was a sound man and free from lung disease before he enlisted in the army?
A: Ransom Graves, Champlain, Clinton County, NY
Wm Gettys, Champlain, Clinton County, NY
Gilbert Roberts, Champlain, Clinton County, NY
I don’t know who examined my husband at the time of his enlistment.
My husband took cold and had the lung fever while at Plattsburgh, NY before going South. I went to see him there and found him in hospital. I don’t know who treated him in hospital. It was in the winter time that I saw him at Plattsburgh and the following March he went South. He was sick and in hospital all winter at Plattsburgh. He was home 3 weeks recruiting up before going South. He wasn’t well but he gained enough to go with his Regiment. The doctors in the hospital told me what to do for him. I put poultices on his side and gave him the medicine which the doctors in the hospital ordered for him.
Q: By whom can you prove that your husband contracted his fatal disability in the U.S. service?
A: Nathaniel H. Gale, Central City, Nebraska
James Armstrong, Glover, Orleans Co., VT
Andrew P. Blackman, 194 University Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota
William J. M. Blackman, 20 Summer St., Nashua, NH
I think these four were well acquainted with my husband in service and would know of how he contracted his lung disease. He told me he contracted it by standing on picket while at Plattsburgh, NY.
Q: By whom can you prove that your husband suffered from his lung disease from his discharge until his death?
A: Ransom Graves, Champlain, NY
Wm Gettys, Champlain, NY
Gilbert Roberts, Champlain, NY
Drs. Toby and Farlay of Keeseville, NY, were in partnership and both attended my husband, principally Dr. Toby.
Of my declaration for pension, filed February 7, 1890 says that I was then 56 years old it is a mistake, I was 57 years of age last October.
I was married under the name of Adelia Centerber.
I do not wish to the present or be represented by an attorney during any further examination of my claim.
Since my husband’s death I have resided in Champlain up to last August when I moved here.
I have heard you read the foregoing: I have understood your questions and my answers are correctly recorded herein.”
Wasn’t I lucky to find such a testimony years ago?
Story to be continued in an upcoming post on Adolphus Tourville.
Source: Pension file claim filed by Adelia Pelky on February 7, 1890, Application No. 414408, National Archives, Washington, DC.