I received the pension file for David Loran a week ago and I am happy to report that I have been able to identified 2 of Alburgh’s “Four Indians” and I have good evidence concerning the identity of the other two soldiers.
After my original blog posting about Alburgh’s Civil War mystery, I went on to post the info on a number of Civil War forums, a couple of genealogy forums, and sent e-mail to a number of sites in Vermont. I was hoping to raise some money to help with the research. I did receive a few tips but not a single penny, which was very disappointing. But I just could not bring myself to drop it, so I spent money out of my own pocket to get the widow’s pension file for the soldier named David Loran. I just had a hunch that I could not walk away from.
When I got home from camp on Tuesday, May 31st which was the day after Memorial Day, I checked the mail to find the pension file had arrived after only 4 weeks (fastest turn around ever!). Well, I am pleased to say it was worth every penny of the $75.00 it cost me!
I missed honoring these men on Memorial Day by just one day. Perhaps the town of Alburgh will do something to honor them on Veteran’s Day – at least I can hope they will do something sometime. One of these men died so one from their own community didn’t have to! Another had serious health issues for the rest of his shortened life. Alburgh – these men deserve your gratitude and respect, but most of all they deserve to be recognized by name and heritage.
David Loran is clearly identified as a Mohawk from the St. Regis Reservation. The documents in the file provided me with some wonderful details including
- his and his spouses Mohawk name
- his and his spouses birth dates and marriage date
- his spouses death date
- the names and dates of birth of his children
- a statement from the Doctor who attended him at his death
- statements from his “tent mate”, George Squires
- statements from another Mohawk soldier, Joesph Bero
The entire pension file along with my transcripts and extracts can be downloaded from this address in pdf format if readers are interested in reviewing it.
David & his family and Joseph Bero are clearly identified as Indian associated with the St. Regis Reservation. Even though George Squire is not specifically identified as Native, his association with David and the reservation suggests he was also Mohawk. George was the “tent mate” of David during the war, tells us he has known David since childhood, and in one of the documents he is acting as clerk at the reservation. I also located some cemetery information from St. Regis that shows George Squire is buried there with his military service documented on his stone.
Joseph Bero was not a man I originally had on my list of potential candidates. A friend alerted me to the fact this name appears on the Vermont in the Civil War website as serving for Alburgh but with no enlistment dates or other information and that it was a family name found at St. Regis. Joseph did serve in the NY 98th Regiment early in the war along with a number of other Mohawk. After 6 months of service, the Sec. of War issued a legal document that dismissed all of the Mohawk from further service. (It might be interesting to learn more about that situation. Why didn’t they want Indians to serve?) Joseph enlisted a 2nd time but deserted (according to records at Ancestry.com) after 4 days. It would appear he then enlisted for Alburgh, Vermont but never mustered in. Perhaps he did not pass the physical, took the bounty money and ran, or was caught as a deserter when he reported. I may never learn the details, but he is very likely another of Alburgh’s “Four Indians”.
The 4th man is most likely Peter Laflin, who died in service. Peter served for Alburgh and enlisted on the same day as David Loran and George Squires and into the same company and regiment. The 3 men appear to be buddies, joining up together.
To summarize – Alburgh’s “Four Indians” appear to be a group of four Mohawk hired by the town to fill their quota.
- David Loran – documented as Native from St. Regis and serving for the town of Alburgh
- George Squire – documented in association with the St. Regis community, as a tent mate of David Loran, and serving for the town of Alburgh
- Peter Laflin – died in service, associated with David Loran at the time of enlistment, and serving for the town of Alburgh
- Joseph Bero – documented as Native from St. Regis, associated with David Loran, and documented as serving for Alburgh but without enlistment dates or unit identification
My good friend has been in contact with folks at St. Regis. They are working to find additional documentation and are very excited about the project. They were pleased to learn strangers had taken the time to do this research and honor their men.
I hope to learn more about these 4 men and tie up some loose ends, but all in all, I am very pleased with what I have accomplished.
This project serves as a reminder of just how important military pension files can be when researching people. If you have a soldier in your tree, make an effort to acquire any pension file. It may be the best genealogy investment you ever make.
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