From the Poor House to the Soldiers’ Rest Home



Admission to the Greene County Poor House

My 3x-great-grandfather William Justice Warner had an interesting journey the last 15 years of his life. In 1870 he is living in Athens, Greene County, NY with his wife Mary and two sons, William and Walter.

According to William’s military pension records, Mary died in 1871 in Athens. In late May 1883 William is admitted to the Greene County poor house. The document includes some interesting info, including his place of birth and that of his mother and father.

In the remarks section it indicates:

He has no home, says he has come here for that reason to live and die here. He has no other other home, is a very nice old man deserving of a great amount of sympathy and care.

In 1887 William shows up in Bath, Steuben County, NY at the New York State Soldiers and Sailors Home. Oddly enough he is listed as married in the admission record, but widowed in the previous record. He lists his son, William, as next of kin and gives William’s address in Brooklyn, NY. That building looks like this now:

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 7.45.52 PM

In 1892, William Justice Warner moved to this address to live with his son William and his family – wife Minnie, daughters Alice and Florence, and son George.

Finally, in 1897, William Justice winds up at the Soldiers Home in Hampton, Virginia where he dies the following year.




3x Great-Grandfathers

It has taken years of research and collaborations with distant cousins, but I’m excited to present my 3x great-grandfathers on my mother’s side of the family. I’ve written about both here before, but Joseph C. Felver (NJ) and William J. Warner (NY) were both Civil War veterans. I’m so pleased just to know what they looked like and to be able to show their photographs side-by-side!

Found, then Lost

My aunt and uncle recently sent me a package of material related to my grand-parents and great-grandparents—birth and death certificates, marriage information, etc. It was such a pleasure to go through, especially discovering new information and reconfirming other details. There was even correspondence between my great-grandfather and a gentleman doing research about the Warner surname.

However, the most intriguing piece was a photocopy of an index card that indicated my great-grandfather had donated Civil War medals to…someplace. I knew that my great-grandfather had been very involved in his town’s historical society so I emailed them to see if these medals had ended up in their collection. I couldn’t wait to hear back, plan a trip, and go visit these medals that would have been given to my great-great-grandfather.

After waiting a few weeks, I heard back, but unfortunately found that the historical society had suffered hurricane damage in the 1970s and although they had written record of the donation of the medals, the actual items were long gone.

While it’s disappointing, I consider it just another avenue to explore. Did other family members donate items to historic societies in other towns? Did my great-grandfather donate other things to this same society that I’m not even aware of yet?

This experience reminds me to leave no stone unturned— that no lead is too small to follow up on.


A Breakthrough, Pending Proof

I had a bit of a breakthrough recently regarding Joseph C. Felver’s parents! Just last week I wrote about finding the 1850 census where Joseph and Margaret Felver have an unknown 9 year old living with them.

I’ve believed for awhile that Joseph’s parents could be Frederick and Catherine Felver, but I couldn’t prove it. Joseph C., Peter, and Clark Felver all served together in the NJ 31st regiment, company B in the civil war. Plenty of people have been researching Peter and Clark and other children of Frederick and Catherine, but there seemed to be no information on where Joseph might fit in—if at all.

I did a bit more digging and realized that Peter is most likely Joseph’s younger brother and that they took him in when father Frederick died in 1840. At least, 1840 is the date that trees on give, although no one seems to have proof. I think there’s an extremely good chance that Frederick and Catherine were Joseph’s parents and that Peter was a younger brother. If Frederick did die in 1840, the mother (Catherine) would have likely needed help from the older children to care for the younger children.

No all I need to do is prove my theory! Seems like a trip to New Jersey is starting to come together.

This post is for D’Anne, the only other descendent of Joseph C. Felver I’ve corresponded with!

Joseph C. Felver (1825-1909) – Civil War

Joseph C. Felver  was commissioned as an officer (First Lieutenant) in Company B, New Jersey 31st Infantry Regiment on September 17, 1862. He was promoted to full Captain on May 22, 1863. Felver mustered out on June 24, 1863 at Flemington, NJ.

According to all the records I’ve found, there were two other Felvers—Clark and Peter C.—in this regiment. I have not been able to figure out exactly what connects Joseph, Clark, and Peter, but they must be related in some fashion. Christopher and Seth Petty were also in Company B and since Joseph C. Felver married Margaret Petty I’ve often wondered if these are her brothers or other relatives.

Jacob’s Diary—entries written by Jacob Castner Wandling—mention Joseph C. Felver twice. My favorite of the two is this:

Excerpt from Jacob's Diary

Excerpt from Jacob’s Diary