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Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work on many family projects, but I think the one that touched me the most was that of Wesley and Anna Catherine Rush.
Wesley Rush was born in Maryland, a son of Lewis and Jane Rush. The family moved to Marion County, Ohio, when Wesley was 9 years of age, and along with several families, including Miller, Pontious, Fogler, Idleman, Underwood and Lippincott, migrated to Fayette County in the 1850s.
While living in Ohio, Wesley and Anna Catherine Miller were married, with Peter Pontious officiating. Their firstborn son, Christian Francis (Frank), was born in Ohio on Dec. 30, 1852.
Three more children were born to the couple, with the dates of their births carefully entered into the family Bible. These were, Nathan Silas, Ruthe Lucinda and Anna Carolina Rush.
Wesley joined other Fayette County men in volunteering for service during the Civil War, these men making up Co. F of the 7th Cavalry. The adjutant general’s records indicate that he enlisted on Oct. 10, 1863, giving his residence as Edgewood. Wesley was mustered in on Dec. 31, 1863, and died two weeks later, on Jan. 16, at LaGrange, Tenn.
Asa McDonald of Bowling Green Township, was one of three captains of Co. F, the others being Joseph M. Chase of Shobonier and Antrim J. Kockler of Otego Township.
Pension papers obtained from the National Archives tell that Wesley traveled to Mattoon to enlist in the Union Army. These papers also tell that he died at LaGrange, Tenn., from “disease contracted within the line of duty.”
Anna filed for guardianship of her children in Fayette County, saying that her husband had left $800 in personal property. It took Anna Catherine five years to obtain a pension; she died one week later.
When Anna Catherine first undertook to obtain a pension for herself and the children, she was required not only to prove her marriage to Wesley, but also to prove by affidavits that she had not remarried following his death. Lewis Miller was paid to get an attorney to obtain affidavits for her in Ohio, for which he was paid $2 a day for 11 days.
Anna was also required to prove the dates of her children’s birth. This information was recorded in one place only, the family Bible. Anna carefully tore out the page from the Bible, and it was sent along to the pension office in Washington.
You will note in the copy above that the office of pensions oval stamp appears on the "family record" page.
As mentioned above, it took Anna five years to have the pension approved. One week later, on Nov. 19, 1869, during a raging blizzard, Anna and her children were in their house when she heard the cow bellowing. Cautioning the children to stay in the house, she made her way to the barn to see what the problem was.
She did not return, and was found the following day. Anna had become lost in the blizzard. She was 39 years of age, and has a tombstone in Old Loogootee Cemetery.
Fast forward 150 years. In researching Wesley Rush’s Civil War service, a request was made to the National Archives for any information available from his pension file. Along with various forms, the Bible page that Anna had removed from the family Bible all those years before to prove the births of her children, was in the file.
Had we not requested this data about Wesley Rush, this most important document would not have made its way back to the family.