It was in the mid 1990’s when my folks visited Dad’s mother, Margaret P. (Millikan) McKinley, in Westfield, Indiana. Mom called me soon after that to tell me that Grandma had treasures dating back to the time of the Civil War. Knowing I was a history buff, Mom figured I would be interested in what Grandma had. First, there was an original US Army Discharge Certificate, then a Pension Certificate and finally a copy of a letter from a soldier. Mom transcribed what she could read, but I wanted to see the originals.
On my next trip to visit Grandma, I saw these papers & marveled at the fact that they were over 100 yrs old and represented a connection to the history of the United States.
The name of the soldier was Allen Urp, as officially written on the military papers. I had no clue who this man was. Grandma explained his name was actually Allen Erp & he was her great grandfather. She talked about other family members, but it was like she was talking in code, none of the names were familiar. She talked about “Gee-Gee” and “Granny Boone” & said on her Mother’s side there were connections to Daniel Boone and Wyatt Earp. But this Erp wasn’t spelled the same, so how were we connected? And who was Allen Erp anyway? How was he related to me? Where did he come from? What kind of experience did he have in the war? All of these questions and a glimpse of Grandma’s treasures, started me on the road to Chasing Ancestors & Finding Stories…
So, Allen “Urp”, per his US Military Discharge certificate, dated June 6, 1865, was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky; was 35 years old at time of discharge (however, he was listed as being 33 in the 1860 US Census); 5′ 7” tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes & auburn hair. He was a farmer when he enlisted. He was a Private in Company G of the 86th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteers. Enlisted August 7, 1862. He was discharged in Nashville, TN.
According to his Invalid Pension certificate, dated May 25, 1878, Allen received $5.00 per month from March 4, 1878 to April 3, 1878. Then received $8.00 after that. A notation stated the pension was for “Gun shot wound of right hand, with loss of index and middle fingers. Biennial examination not required.” I guess they figured he had a legitimate injury that didn’t have to be routinely verified.
Allen married Sarah Alexander in 1844 in Pulaski Co, KY. They moved to Clinton County, IN around 1848. Allen & Sarah had 9 children: William Singleton, Hannah Elizabeth, Andrew Jackson, Allen Jefferson, Mary Margaret, Joshua Kerry, Aaron Union, Sarah Alzada, & Norman Frank. Sarah Alzada is my direct ancestor. Allen died in 1885, most likely in Clinton County, Indiana. He is buried at Spencer Cemetery, near Sheridan, in Hamilton County, IN.
More on Allen’s Civil War story next time…
© MJMcK 2016