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David See


Have fallen behind in blogging, especially my 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. Let me fill you in on what has been happening--I finally have found when David See died and where.

It all started in my search to find information on when my great-grandmother, Hattie Jane See, died. My grandmother, Anna Mae Rouse, was her oldest daughter and was under seven years old when her mother died. I have not been able to find this information in my 25+ years of searching. Hattie's father was David See. Recently I came across pension files for David See online and contacted a private researcher in Washington, D.C., who, for $43.75, copied his entire pension file and sent it to me. From this file, I was able to find the missing information and more on his story. Today I will try and tell his story.

David See was born in 1836 in Macon, Illinois to John See and Nancy Morris. He was the sixth born of eleven known children. The 1850 census finds the John See household in Piatt,Piatt County, Illinois. The family moved east when David was young, showing up on the 1856 state census in Nevada, Story County, Iowa. On 9 Nov 1865, David was joined in marriage to Anna Marilda Lowell in Story County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Barnabas Lowell and Joanna Titcomb. David and Anna had 10 known children: John (abt 1866-1954), William Earl (Abt 1869-), David  Byron (1870-), Charles (Abt 1872-), Silas Nugan (Abt 1872-), Hattie Jane (Abt 1873-), Bert (1880-1955), Annie Marilda (1883-), Thomas Frank (1886-1974), and Archilles M. (1888-).

Hostilities began on 12 April 1861 when Confederate forces filed upon Fort Sumter. This was the beginning of the Civil War. David enlisted on 11 July 1862 at Eldora in Hardin County, Iowa as a Private in the 18 Iowa Voluntary Infantry.

In reviewing his Civil War Pension file, I was able to learn that by the fall of 1861 David was in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri with typhoid after drinking creek water. He spent over a month in the hospital before being released to return to his unit. In an Affidavit to Origin of Disability, filed in Story County, Iowa in the matter of the Pension Claim of David See, Private,K Co. 18th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, a John Fry stated he served with David and knows that David "on or about the 20th of September, 1862, while in the line of duty, and without fault or improper conduct on his part, at or near Gad Fly (Gadfly), State of Missouri, said soldier incurred disability.That while on the line of march with his company to Springfield, Mo, drank freely of water having been without food or drink for some time and became suddenly sick and complained of great pain in his breast and side. I was with him at the time and during all his sickness, except-about two weeks while in the hospital at Springfield Mo. until his discharge, and he was so ailing, I was personally and well acquainted with the above-named David See." The affidavit goes on to say that he was an able-bodied man prior to his enlistment but afterwards continually had pain in his chest and stomach area and could no longer do a full days worth of work. He did not last long with his unit after becoming ill and ended his military career on 24 Feb. 1863 in Springfield, Greene County, Missouri.

David was successful in obtaining a pension for himself, his wife, and three children under the age of 16.  In a document dated 29 November 1893 and titled Widow's Declaration for Pension, Anna M. See personally appeared before a notary public in Polk County, Iowa and stated that David See died at Kirksville, Missouri on the 24th day of April, 1893. In addition, a General Affidavit was also filed in Polk County, Iowa on the same date stating "There is no public records of Deaths kept in Adair County, State Missouri. There was no attending physician on David See during his last sickness and death. I therefore request that the affidavit of Aaron Burges and John W. Wirick be accepted in lieu of Public record. I cannot write good and this affidavit is written in my presence by [notary] at my dictation."

This is why no record has been found regarding David's death. Some researchers have listed Texas, Missouri, and Iowa as his place of death. The family had resided in Iowa until shortly before his death when they relocated to Kirksville, Missouri. It is clear from the pension files that he was not of clear mind, going as far as saying he was insane, in his later years, and the family barely survived on the pension they received for his service in the Civil War.

As to why birth information has been impossible to find on their children, an Affidavit was filed in Polk County, Iowa on 5 Sept. 1899 by the legally appointed and acting guardian of the minor children of "David See deceased, and since children are still living and under the care of Anna M. Roush Mother. I am informed that there is no family bible or other record of said births and am unable to furnish additional proof of birth of said minors."

As to where in Kirksville, Missouri he is buried, a clue can be found in a letter dated 27 Jan 1940 from the Department of Iowa Grand Army of the Republic to the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C. The letter is asking to secure the dates of birth and death of two Civil War veterans, one of them being David See. The letter provided the following information, "Enlisted a Private in Company K, 18th Iowa Infantry Age 25 at date of entry into service July 11, 1862. Died at Kirksville, Mo, in the 90s after 1891 and before 1899. Buried in the G. A. R plot at Kirksville, Mo." It is unclear what cemetery in Kirksville this is, and I am assuming there is no headstone. This needs further research.

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