The Civil War Pension Record That Introduced Me To Pvt Jasper Killion

Updated: Jan 24

One of my most favorite finds in my journey of discovering my family history was when I had the opportunity to personally shift through and read my 3rd Great Grandfather, Wm. Jasper Killion's original Civil War Pension Record at the National Archives in Washington DC. The documents within the file taught me so much about my distant grandfather including things I thought I would never learn about him. Here are many things I learned from exploring the pension file.

Prior to going into the Union Army Jasper was a farmer, married to Frances (Muncy) Killion, and had three children named Perlina, Mary, and Sylvester. I had actually known this information prior to going through his pension file. Here is information I learned from "Additional Evidence" documents that were within the file. Birth records did not start in Indiana until 1882, therefore none of Jasper's three children had documented proof of births. The military required proof of the children's birth for the pension record. A woman named Mary Anderson provided testimony that she was present at the birth of Perlina and Sylvester. Rachel A. Jenkins however was present at the birth of Mary. Without this testimony, I do not know if I would have discovered this information about the children's birth. Several testimonies within the file explained by people within Jasper's community in Clay County, Indiana confirmed his occupation prior to his service was a farmer and that he was a hard and strong worker. They also expressed a view that he never appeared sick a day in his life prior to his military service. People within the community also explained that they witness a drastic change in his health upon arriving home from the military. Jasper appeared to the community to be very weak and continuously sick which cause him to struggle to work and support his family until his death.

From the Company Description Book within the file I learned that he was 28 years old; height 5 feet 4 inches, dark complexion, hazel eyes, and dark hair. He was born in Clay, Indiana, and his occupation was Farmer. From this description, I was able to gain an understanding of Jasper's personal features that I had not known before. Especially since I have not been able to locate a photograph of him as of yet. I was a little surprised to see that his complexion was listed as dark, but I have a feeling since he had been working in the fields all summer that he was probably pretty tan. I am sure the description was probably taken when he enlisted into the service in September.

A document showed he enlisted on September 21, 1864, in Terre Haute by Union Capt Thompson, for a term of 1 year of service within the Union Army. In the remarks, it is stated that he had been a drafted man.

Jasper is shown to have musted into the G Company of 57th Indiana Volunteer Regiment as a Private on September 21, 1864. A "Memorandum From Prisoner of War Records" within the file gave me more details into his capture by the Confederacy Army. He was captured in Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864. From an "Additional Evidence" document I learned that Arron L. Killion and Dale H. (the last name was difficult to read) both served in the same unit and were also captured alongside Jasper and others within their regiment. Dale H. (?) explained that those captured were marched on foot by Confederacy soldiers from Franklin, Tennesse to Andersonville, Georgia.

They arrived at Andersonville per Dale's testimony around the middle of December 1864. This tells me that they had been walking for about two weeks under the direction of the Confederacy soldiers before arriving at Andersonville. I believe Aaron may have been a cousin of Jasper because in his statement given for the "Additional Evidence" document Aaron stated that he knew Jasper since a boy. In Aaron Killion's statement, he explained that Jasper fell ill on January 1, 1865, while in prison. Aaron believes Jasper had contracted neuralgia and dropsy of the heart.

There were several Company Muster Rolls within his file. One of the things I learned from these muster rolls is that Jasper arrived from the Depot and reported to his unit on November 22, 1864. Another Company Muster Roll shows that on November 30, 1864, Jasper is listed as Missing In Action at Franklin, Tennesse. After the battle, the company must have done a roll call to see who was missing. This also told me that Jasper had only been serving about less than a month in a half before he was captured and would serve out his time in the Civil War at Andersonville.

Records in Jasper's pension file would show that he was paroled from the Confederacy Army at Jacksonville, Florida on April 28, 1865. Upon his parole, he reported to Camp Parole, Maryland on May 15, 1865. On May 17, 1865, he was sent to Camp Chase O where he arrived on May 20. Jasper would finally be noted as no longer Missing in Action on June 13, 1865. Private Jasper Killion was discharged from Parole camp on June 15, 1865, in Annapolis, Maryland by orders of the War Department. Private Jasper Killion's name finally appears on the Muster Roll on June 30, 1865. These are a lot of dates that I would have no idea about without his Civil War Pension Record and I am so thankful to be able to learn this information to give me insight into what happened when he left Andersonville.

Records stated that Jasper died on January 23, 1868, due to Neuralyia Dropsey of Chest in Delta, McLean County, Illinois. I also discovered that the military tried to reach out to Dr. John Hawkins who had treated Jasper after his return home but that the doctor had died. After Jasper's death, Hezekiah Wheeler became the guard of the minors and his wife Frances remarried a gentleman named Sims.

I have learned even more since having the opportunity to go through my 3rd great grandfather's pension records, but I wanted to share just how much I was able to learn from his pension file alone. This is the reason it is one of my favorite genealogy finds. Not all pension records will have the same information, But if I have learned one thing from this experience it is that don't forget to check military pension files. You never know what you might discover. For me, there was so much valuable information that I was able to take from the records to help me learn even more.

This blog post was written from a prompt “Favorite Find” which is part of a year-long challenge to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. For more information on this series please visit