Another IAGenWeb Project



Thomas The Blacksmith

What did we know of this man? From his obituary we learned that he was a Christian and had been converted 17 or 18 years before. He was associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church in Frederika, Iowa.

We learned from his military papers that he received a pension from the government for a disability that he received while in the military. There were various affidavits among Thomas Miner's military papers attesting to his only service during the Civil War, in Company B, 118th New York Infantry. There were also affidavits attesting to his disability. His disability was chronic rheumatism that he contracted while on picket duty at Suffolk or Dismal Swamp, Virginia. He was sent to the rear to a convalescent camp and then to Fortress Monroe, Virginia hospital. In a report from the Surgeon General's Office dated September 13, 1881, Private Thomas E. Miner, Co. B, 118th N.Y. Volunteers, was admitted to Hampton General Hospital, Ft. Monroe, VA, June 15,1865 from the field with dysentery and mustered out July 3,1865. Thomas Miner' s pension was $6.00 per month and it started on or about February 7,1890. He applied for a re-rating of his invalid pension stating that it was not commensurate to the disability he was claiming. Thomas was 58 years old. The pension was increased to $10.00 per month May 31, 1892.1

There is an affidavit signed by John Noble dated February 22,1894 for an increase in Thomas' pension. Mr. Noble had been asked to submit an affidavit as one of Thomas Miner's neighbors. This transcription of John Noble's affidavit is just as written, without spelling corrections. The following is what he submitted: "I am one of his neighbors. I have known Mr. Miner ever since he came out of the army. He has been troubled a great deal with rheumatics all the time this fall and winter has not been to get out of the house a good deal of the time. Mr. Miner cannot stand on his limbs without a cane or a crutch and is not able to do any manuel labor of any kind. I have been in his house every few days and think he suffers a great deal of pain. I am no relation of his and I have no interest in the persioution of this claim whatever and further state I rote this myself without anney dictation whatever."2

There is one more general affidavit that will be transcribed here to show the feeling and compassion that friends and neighbors had for Thomas Miner. This one is also dated February 22, 1894 and was submitted by Charles S. Parks. This transcription of Charles S. Parks' affidavit is just as written, without spelling or grammar corrections. This is Mr. Parks' statement: "I Charles S. Parks will testify that I am a resident of Nashua Township Chickasaw County Iowa am 62 years old and have bin personally acquainted with Thomas E Miner living about sixteen or eighteen rods from my house who claims to of bin a member of Co. B 118 NY Voluteer have known him for about five years and have met him often and talked with him heard him complain of rheumatism a grate deal he has done but little work as far as I know but for the last five months has not bin able to do aney time kind of manuel labor and has bin confined to the house the most of the time have bin in ta see him at difterant times one of his limbs is swollen and he says pains him so he cannot sleep nights but little. I Charles S Parks further say that that I have written this my self and have not bin dictated by aney other person neither written or verbal and have bin entirely alone when this was written further say that I am no relative of Thomas E. Miner." The claim for increase was dated May 31, 1892, even though there are only thirty days in May.

After Thomas died his widow, Emma Alice (Usher) Miner applied for his pension. It was through this application that many new facts were discovered about the Thomas Miner family.

A man that always signed his name: E. V. R. Hall, signed an affidavit for Thomas' military service but also the attesting to Thomas having married Emma Usher kept cropping up. He was a resident of Nashua and died September 1, 1908. He was buried in Oakhill Cemetery. Through research he was identified as Edward V. R. Hall. His connection became clear when he wrote the following: "I was acquainted with Thomas E. Miner for about forty years. His first wife whose maiden name was Phoebe A. Hall was my aunt." He then goes on to say that Thomas did marry Emma Usher. They lived together until Thomas died.

There were two other affidavits that should be noted. The first concerning Emma's right to the pension as the widow, signed by Frank Usher, brother of Emma Usher. The second affidavit was a claim for the pension. John W. Lewis and Andrew Ostrander, these two men were Thomas Miner's son-in-laws. John was married to Florence Miner and Andrew married Dora Miner.

The certificate for Thomas' pension had been lost, so Emma Miner now applied for a reissue of the lost certificate. This was done September 17, 1906.

The following is a transcript of a letter to the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions dated August 31,1915, signed by Emma Miner: "Gentlemen:
Emma Miner, formerly of Nashua, Iowa, now residing at Charles City, Iowa, states that she lost her Pension Certificate Number 615,251, and the requests that a duplicate Certificate be sent her. The pensioner also states that she has been confined since October, 1914 in the asylum for the insane at lndependance, Iowa; that she received no pension since the pension payable in October, 1914; and that the Postmaster at Nashua, Iowa, informs her that her pension checks have been returned to the pension department.
The pensioner also states that she is much in need of her pension money, and requests that a duplicate Certificate be sent her promptly, and that her pension checks be sent to her at Charles City, lowas, as soon as possible.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) Emma Miner

There were three different dates when the pension amount was increased. It was $12.00 a month from April 19, 1908. It was $25.00 a month from October 6,1917 and $30.00 from May 1, 1920.

The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, Washington, D C., in a letter dated December 22, 1919 to the Superintendent, Insane Hospital, Independence, Iowa asked:
This Bureau desires to secure the post-office address of Emma Miner, a pensioner by Certificate No. 615251, or if pensioner is dead, the date of death. Committed to asylum from Charles city, IA in 1916. Any guardian; Any information in regard to this pensioner which you may be able to furnish will be appreciated.

Please indorse your reply on this letter and return same in the enclosed envelope. Very respectfully,
(signed) E. C. Tier _ _ _ _ ?"
"Emma Miner is living and still a patient in the Independence State Hospital at Independence, Iowa. She was admitted Nov. 19,1914 and her age as then given was 59 years.
(signed) W. P. Crumbooker, Supt."

A copy of the following letter is in our file:
Bronson, Iowa
July 16,1923
Pension Dept.
Washington, D. C.
Dear Sirs:
I am writing you in regard to Mrs. Emma Miner's pension. She is the widow of Mr. Thos. E. Miner (deceased) of Nashua, Iowa. He died in June 19074 and Mrs. Miner received a pension until in 1914 or 1915, when she became feeble minded and was put in the state hospital at Independence, Iowa. From then on she has not received a pension. If she received her pension it would help her to have many little necessary things she has to do without.
I am her niece, but I have a large family and am unable to provide all clothes, etc. and was advised to write and find out why and when her widow's pension was discontinued.
(Actually this DOD was 7 June 1906.)
I have had Atty. E. M. Thompson of Independence, Iowa appointed as guardian for her and will appreciate any information as to having the pension reinstalled. Will you please let me know if anything can be done about it. And oblige Mrs. Arthur Strandburg, Bronson, Iowa, R.R.#2

A letter was written from the Commissioner to Mrs. Arthur Strandburg, R.R. #2, Bronson, Iowa, advising her that no payment had been made in this case since January 4,1916. There is more than $2000.00 due the widow. It further asked that if Mr. Thompson would forward to the Bureau on an enclosed certificate of the court evidencing his appointment a voucher will be at once mailed to him so that he could draw the pension now due.


Emma Alice (Usher) Miner died 16 June 1929, and was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery, Nashua, Iowa.

William B. Perrin, a notary public in Nashua, IA signed a document stated; "That I have before me a Bible bearing date of 1867 brought to me by Emma Miner, widow of Thomas E. Miner; and said widow stated to me that said Bible was the family Bible of Thomas E. Miner and he had the same in his possession at the time of his death.

Between the old and new testaments of said volume and bound into and a part thereof I find what is denominated a "FAMILY RECORD." In that record I find the following entries. Under BIRTHS, I find the following:

T. E. Miner born June 30,1834 Phoebe A. Miner, born Apr. 21, 1832


Under MARRIAGE, I find the following:

Thomas E. Miner married Phebe A. Hall July 9th 1853.

Under DEATHS, I find the following,

Phebe A. Miner died Jan 24th 1898.

I certify that the foregoing is a true and correct transcription from the volume produced by Emma Miner as the family bible of Thomas E. Miner." The document was signed by Win. B. Perrin

Contributed by Roland L. "Bud" Miner. This is as true a statement as I have been able to transcribe from all the various documents. Thomas E. Miner was my Great-Grandfather.