Sunday, May 19, 2013

18. Loose Ends: Land and Pension Files

Dennis Buggy’s homestead and Civil War pension application files have come in.  Both offer invaluable information for family history, and the pension application states County Kilenny as Dennis Buggy’s birthplace.

Homestead File  Dennis Buggy’s file for his 1871 land purchase in Minnesota does not reveal his place of birth.  No mention is made of his having been foreign-born or naturalized. It does describe his house and farm and the improvements he made in order to get his land patent (handwritten text in italics):

[Dennis Buggy] has built a house thereon of Logs 14x18 feet—shingle roof—1 Door & 1 Window & upper & Lower floor and has lived in the said house and made it his exclusive home from the 26” day of December, 1865, to the present time, and that he has since said settlement ploughed, fenced, and cultivated about 30 acres of said land, and has made the following improvements thereon, to wit: Fenced 120 acres—Built a stable & Granary & Dug 2 Wells—Planted a few hundred forest trees[1]

Civil War Pension Application  Dennis Buggy applied for a Civil War pension, but was rejected.  On 31 January 1907 he made several statements that bear on his personal and family history:

            “My wife is ded  I am a wido[we]r”
            When, where, and by whom were you married?  Answer: “in 1856”
                        “in Naugatuc Conn Jan 17= 1856”
            What record of marriage exists?  Answer: [blank]
            Were you previously married?  “none”
            Have you any children living?
                        “Richard  Born  oct 27=   1856
                        “John          “         oct 15=   1858
                        “Nellie       “          aprl 10   1860
                        “Kattie       “          aug 10    1867”[2]

            When [sic] were you born?  “Co Kilkiney  Ireland”
            Where [sic] were you born?  “June 11=  1832”[3]

Dennis Buggy pension application questionnaire

 The pension application provides yet another date of birth, but it is consistent with the obituary that gives County Kilkenny as his place of birth.  Clearly the man did not know what year he was born or how old he really was.  He claimed June 11 as his birthday, and his heirs consistently reported that date for his obituaries, death certificate, and gravestone.  This date cannot be accurate, as it is after the 6 June date of his baptism.

He said, she said  Dennis Buggy reported his (second) marriage on 17 January 1856 in Naugatuck, Connecticut.  This conflicts with the marriage recorded in the parish register of St. Mary, Derby.  The date was 20 January and the copy annotated “1857” in 2013.[4]  This date is after the birth of first child Richard (27 October 1856).[5] 

Update 24 June 2013: Closer examination of the marriage records
Another photocopy of the full parish register page bears a year at the top.  It appears to be 1856, suggesting that the first few entries took place in 1856, and the January one, farther down the page, in 1857.  On close inspection, the 6 of 1856 appears to be written over a 5.

Examination of all the parish's marriages from 1855 through 1858, ten unnumbered pages, reveals inconsistency in the entries.  The few indications of years suggest that the order of pages, following the chronology of the marriages, should be 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 [including the Buggy marriage], 8, 4, 5, 10.

The key to the reordering is an agreement on 27 November 1856 that appears at the bottom of page 9.  James C. Kirby agrees to allow  Winifred McIntyre, “whom I am now going [to] marry,” to attend the catholic church and to raise any children they have as members of the Roman Catholic Church.  The record of the Kirby-McIntyre marriage, also dated 27 November 1856, appears at the top of page 4, identifying the correct chronology of pages 4 and 5.  Marriages entered on unnumbered pages 1-3 and 6-7 took place in 1855, with the transition to January 1856 (and the Buggy-Phelan marriage) on page 7.  The early entries on page 7 were from late 1855 and the January one in 1856.

This Buggy-Phelan marriage in 1856 is supported by Dennis Buggy’s own recollection, as reported in his pension application: 17 January 1856.[6]
St. Mary marriage register page heading, detail

The month and year, January 1856, are probably correct.  I cannot explain the discrepancy between the priest’s record and the groom’s memory of the day.  Perhaps the couple married first in a civil ceremony in Naugatuck on 17 January, then, since there was not yet a Catholic church in Naugatuck, again in Derby on 20 January, a reasonable time before son Richard’s October birth.

Next Time: Dennis Buggy's Home on Antique Maps

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, CG,

[1] Michael Dullard and William Hunter, “Proof Required Under Homestead Acts May 20, 1862, and June 21, 1866,” Dennis Buggy (Faribault County), homestead file bearing final certificate no. 1794, 9 May 1871, Jackson, Minnesota, Land Office; Land Entry Papers, 1800-1908; Records of the Bureau of Land Management, Record Group 49; National Archives, Washington, DC.
[2] Questionnaire 3—389, Dennis Buggy (Pvt., Co. K, 20th Conn. Vols., Civil War), pension claim no. 1355777 (Rejected); Case Files of Rejected Pension Applications, Civil War; Records of the Bureau of Pensions and Its Predecessors; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[3] Questionnaire 3—447, Dennis Buggy pension claim no. 1355777 (Rejected), Civil War, RG 15, NA-Washington.
[4] St. Mary Church (Derby, Connecticut), marriage book, arranged chronologically, Dennis Buggy and Catherine Phelin (1856); Archdiocese of Hartford Archives, Hartford.  The photocopies, provided by Archivist Maria Medina Paxi, bear no identification of the book and no page numbers.
[5] Naugatuck, Connecticut, Births, Marriages, Deaths, 1852-1856, C:48, unnamed child born to Dennis Buggy and Catharine Buggy (1856); Town Hall, Naugatuck; Family History Library microfilm 1,412,958, item 3.
[6] Questionnaire 3—389, Dennis Buggy pension claim no. 1355777 (Rejected), Civil War, RG 15, NA-Washington.

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