Preserve the Pensions! 52 Ancestors: #13 Rodolphus Stanhope

My 2nd great-grandfather James Lucey had a wife and child before he married my 2nd great-grandmother. She died in childbirth along with their son James in 1868. Her name was Mary Jane Crotty and according to the 1865 Massachusetts census, was literally the girl next door. There was no civil record of the marriage or of the birth, just her death record which listed her maiden name. So how do I know about it?

His Civil War pension application.

Having that information put me in contact with Flavia Adams, a descendant of the Crotty’s,  fellow genealogist and a wonderful woman. It also helped to explain the strong connection between the families. If it weren’t for the pension records, that connection might have been lost to history.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives, Ancestry.com and Fold3, launched a fund raising campaign to digitize 7.2 million War of 1812 pension documents held in the Archives. Once digitized the files are available for free via Fold3. There are thousands of stories in those very fragile documents, they need to be protected and made available. Please join me in supporting this extremely important effort by donating at Preserve the Pensions.

One War of 1812 Pension records that I’m particularly interested in is that of my 4th great grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope. He was born around 1796 in Massachusetts, possibly in the Sudbury area where his family lived before moving to Plantation 4 [which became Robbinston in 1811] in present day Maine. He was a young man of 15 or 16 when he volunteered for Captain Thomas Vose’s company in July of 1812, just weeks after Congress authorized the war.

RodolphusStanhope1812Service

Massachusetts Volunteer Militia in the War of 1812, pg. 159 Records of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.

Rodolphus married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children over the next 30 years. They lived in Robbinston, Perry and finally Whiting, Maine. Rodolphus died 17 August 1870 and a short time later Susannah applied for his War of 1812 pension. I can’t wait to see what stories might be in his pension records. Help make sure that none of the records are lost, make a tax-deductible donation at Preserve the Pensions.

Pension Application

Ancestry.com. War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

This post is 13th in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge series.

Military Monday – War of 1812

In the Boston area, going to visit the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown is a right of passage for every kid. Two hundred years ago today, America declared war on Britain and the Constitution would earn its nickname “Old Ironsides” in the ensuing naval battles. The War of 1812 is sometimes called the “forgotten war”, overshadowed by the American Revolution and the Civil War. But, it was an important step for America, to prove to Britain and the world that it could stand up on its own.

Image Source: Library of Congress website http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2005691642/

My 4th Great-grandfather Rodolphus Stanhope enlisted at Robbinstown, Maine as a Private in Capt. Thomas Vose Jr.’s Militia, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Shead’s Regiment.1 He was 15 years old at the time. I can’t find any record of engagements for this unit, so I don’t believe he saw any fighting. He does show up in the War of 1812 Pension Application Index on Ancestry.com. The actual Pension files are being digitized (you can support the cause here) and will be available on Fold3 as they are completed. I will probably order the records from the National Archives this summer.

Rodolphus (1796-1870) was the son of Peter and Elizabeth (Parmenter) Stanhope. He married Susannah Hickey in 1815 and they had 13 children including my 3rd great-grandfather, Rodolphus in 1817.

1. Ancestry.com. U.S., Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data: Various. Sacramento, California: California State Library.