Minerva

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Minerva Abrams Bennett (1842-1922)

The loss of loved ones is difficult for anyone, even in the later years of life. But Minerva Abrams seems to have had more than her share of grief from an early age.

The oldest child of Samuel Abrams and Nancy Bridgeman, Minerva was born in Ohio on 23 April 1842[1] but moved with her family to Kentucky for a few years before she was eight years old.[2]  While they were in Kentucky, a baby brother, Isaac, was born[3] and died at eighteen months from flux (probably diarrhea).[4] Because she had younger siblings (Polly and Joseph) and because she was old enough to understand what was happening, Minerva probably shared the grief for the loss of this little one along with her parents. Because of the time gap between the birth of Joseph and Isaac (5 years), it is possible that the family had already experienced the loss of a child. After they returned to Ohio by 1855,[5] perhaps prospects of a happier life renewed them. Four more children would be born to this family within the next nine years.

Had the Civil War ended sooner, the story of Minerva’s life may have been a happier but, surely, different one. Ohio was a state with many eager volunteers early in the war, so she probably was among the young ladies who watched the young men her age and older march out of town to engage in the conflict that no one expected to last as long as it would. When her younger brother Joseph turned eighteen, he also took up the cause of the Union and marched off to war.[6] Exactly one year later, in February 1865, her father signed up for a year of service.[7] Joseph never returned home. He contracted typhoid fever and was hospitalized in Newberne [sic], North Carolina. Joseph succumbed to the disease on 6 May 1865,[8] and his body was buried at the New Berne National Cemetery.[9]

When word reached home of her brother’s death, Minerva, now 23 years old, had to be strong to console her mother and siblings. Thankfully, her father returned home from the war, but his health, as that of many veterans, was no longer as good as it had been when he left. The chronic diarrhea and lung disease[10] only lasted five months after he was mustered out of service on 27 August 1865.[11] Grief once more overtook the family with the death of their husband and father on 28 January 1866.[12]

I can only hope that Minerva experienced more joy than sorrow in her marriage and later life.

___________

[1] 1900 U.S. census, Jackson  County, Ohio, population schedule, Coal Township, Coalton Village, p.59 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 45, sheet 4-B, dwelling 63, family 65, Philander Bennett; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 22 April 2014); citing National Archives microfilm T623, roll 1289. This is the only census in which the month and year of birthdates were given. In sequential censuses, Minerva’s age (starting in 1850 through 1920, and skipping 1890) appears as 6, 18, 27, 36, 58, 68, 76.

[2] 1850 U.S. census, Greenup County, Kentucky, population schedule, District No. 2, p. 168 (stamped), dwelling 167, family 167, Samuel Abrams; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 22 April 2014); citing National Archives microfilm M432, roll 202.

[3] Greenup County, Kentucky, “Births, marriages, deaths, 1852-1859,” p. 3, 1852 Jan 7 entry for Isaac W. Abrams; Clerk of the County Court, Kentucky State Historical Society and the State Archives, Lexington; photocopied pages for entry for Isaac W. Abrams with film number appended, ordered and received by mail from Family History Library Photoduplication Service, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 2011; photocopies made from FHL microfilm 216825.

[4] Greenup County, Kentucky, Deaths 1853, p.1, Isaac Abrams, 20 September 1853; digital image, Ancestry.com “Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953” (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 22 April 2014).

[5] The Samuel Abrams family was enumerated twice in 1860 in two different counties in Ohio – the first on 21 June 1860 in Scioto County, and the second on 19 July 1860 in Jackson County under the surname Abraham. The sixth member of the household in Scioto County is Massa, age 6, born Ohio; the sixth member of the household in Jackson County is Massy, age 5, born Ohio. 1860 U.S. census, Scioto County, Ohio, population schedule, Madison Township, Harrisonville Post Office, p. 539 (stamped), dwelling 491, family 491, Samuel Abrams; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 23 April 2014); citing National Archives microfilm M653, roll 1033. Also, 1860 U.S. census, Jackson County, Ohio, population schedule, Hamilton Township, Jackson C.H. Post Office, p. 166 (stamped), dwelling 845, family 833, Samuel Abrams; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (access through participating libraries : accessed 23 April 2014); citing National Archives microfilm M653, roll 992.

[6] Compiled service record, Joseph Abrams, Pvt., Co. C, 39Ohio Inf.; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.; digital image, supplied by Darrell Chatraw, 26 March 2013.

[7] Compiled service record, Samuel Abrams, Pvt., Co. H, 191Ohio Inf., Volunteer Enlistment for Samuel Abram; Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.; digital image, supplied by Darrell Chatraw, 26 March 2013.

[8] “Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, compiled 1861–1865,” entry for Joseph Abrams, page 43; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1762-1984, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.; digital image, Ancestry.com “U.S., Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, 1861-1865,” (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 January 2013.

[9] Department of Veteran Affairs, “Nationwide Gravesite Locator,” database, Burial & Memorial Benefits (http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov : accessed 23 April 2014), entry for Joseph Abrams (d. 1865), New Bern National Cemetery, New Bern, North Carolina. This site gives his date of death as 5 May 1865.

[10] General Affidavit, 31 Aug 1889, Harrison Adams, M.D., minors pension application no. 270031, certificate no. 370556; service of Samuel Abrams (Pvt., Co. H, 191st Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications…, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of  Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[11] Compiled service record, Samuel Abrams, Pvt., Co. H, 191Ohio Inf., Co. Muster-Out Roll card for Samuel Abram, RG 94; NA-Washington.

[12] General Affidavit, 31 Aug 1889, Harrison Adams, M.D., minors pension application no. 270031, certificate no. 370556; service of Samuel Abrams (Pvt., Co. H, 191st Ohio Vol. Inf., Civil War); RG 15; NA-Washington.

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2 Responses to Minerva

  1. Such tragedy to endure at such a young age. Your perseverance in uncovering your family history is unfailing. It does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. I am enjoying reading about your maternal side of the family, too.

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