Civil War Challenge – Mohawk Serve for Alburgh!

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 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.

edited 3-Dec-2011
See the following post for the latest update for this project
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Categories: Alburg's Indians, Civil War, Documentation, History-Regional, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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4 thoughts on “Civil War Challenge – Mohawk Serve for Alburgh!

  1. I found this interesting, and probably more so because I just went through the Reservation last month. I've as yet to order any military pension file, but am now prompted to. Nice article.

  2. Janeth Murphy

    What terrific work you've done on this. I have been researching these men of the 98th regiment who were all discharged on the same day. Discovered it quite by accident while researching my own discharged relatives. Your man David Loran WAS in fact on the regimental rosters for the 98th, contrary to what the War Department reported to the Pension Bureau; they misidentify his as “David Roran” (See the Adjutant General Report of the State of New York for the Year 1902, 98th Infantry, page 1161). Thanks for caring enough to have done this – it is about time these men got the recognition they deserve.

  3. Thanks for you kind words and for confirmation of Loran's involvement in the 98th.

    I would be very interested to hear what you have learned about the reason this group of men were dismissed from service by the Secretary of War after only 6 months of service.

  4. Janeth Murphy

    I'm working to locate the actual special order that was issued. It is conspicuously absent from the standard regimental reference books on the 98th, although I do know from my relative's file that it was “Special Order #88 Par 4, Hdgns. 4A dated July 22, 1862,issued in compliance with instructions from the War Dept., A.G.O., dated July 15, 1862”. It appears to have been aimed directly only at those Indians from what was then called St. Regis, and I have a few theories as to why. It was relatively easy to locate all of the men because I am an enrolled member of the tribe, lived there, and am familiar with the names, and of course, the identical discharge dates. I've believe I've identified 31 men from the regiment so far. Sadly, two of them died just before the discharge order came. I've got some documents coming that I hope can shed some light on what happened. But I plan to keep searching until I do! Please feel free to contact me at: anytime (so I don't burn up your blog space!).

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