52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #13 – Lyman Wood

Relationship: 1/2 3rd Great uncle
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As I have said before on ancestor #11 Sidney B. Wood, I have a much larger story that I will be publishing later on in the year that relates to my 2nd great-grandfather William Henry Hunt and three of his other brothers who fought in the Late War of the Rebellion. This larger story ties all of their pension files neatly together.

Lyman Wood is the 1/2 brother of William Henry Hunt. Lyman and William’s mother was Eliza Menard and Lyman was a child by her first husband (given name as yet undiscovered); William was a child by her second husband, Enoch Hunt.

This post specifically addresses the marital status of Lyman Wood. I had often wondered why Lyman had waited so long to be married. I have found the answer to that question and it was revealed to me in his Civil War pension file.

For years, I had assumed that Lyman never married. Lyman and his mother were always found together in the census’ from 1850 to 1880. Lyman was sometimes enumerated with the last name of Wood, sometimes as Hunt. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 5.18.36 PM

The 1890 census was destroyed in a fire so that was no help and I didn’t find him in the 1900 census. I searched Ancestry.com and looked for Lyman Wood which brought up a military listing within the “U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934” that fit one of the service history that I had for Lyman already. It was a good sign but it was perplexing because this was a widow’s application and certificate number. Lyman was with his mother, Eliza, in the 1880 census and I hadn’t thought that he was married and didn’t have a death date for him. It was time for a tangential research jaunt into his marriage and death records before coming back to the military records.

I wanted to find out his death date first. A physical search of Sussex County, New Jersey, probate records showed that Lyman Wood’s estate was probated on 28 November 1896.[5] The petition for administration of the estate by Sarah E. Wood showed that Lyman had died intestate at the Methodist Episcopal Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, but that his normal home residence was in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. It stated that his death date was 10 November 1896 but this didn’t match the pension index record above which stated the widow filed an application on 19 October 1896. How could Sarah apply for a pension before her husband’s death? The probate clerk must have put November instead of October, a simple mistake.

Another nice surprise brought out by the probate petition was that not only was Lyman married but that he had three children! For someone who wasn’t married until much later in life, he certainly was busy and didn’t waste any time starting a family. At the time of his death, he had two sons and a daughter, all minors.

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A search of various sources resulted in no marriage records being found for Sarah and Lyman in either Sussex or Morris County, New Jersey. But now that I knew that Lyman had gotten married and then had died in 1896, I was confident that the pension listing found on Ancestry.com was the file I needed to order. It was time to send in my $80 for the record copies. I ordered online and waited.

Lyman’s pension file arrived with a great thud on my doorstep on 07 September 2014. It had 110 pages filled with all sorts of fun genealogical information. The file showed that Lyman enlisted on 27 May 1861 and served in Company G of the 9th Regiment of the N.Y. Militia until 09 June 1862 when he was discharged at Baltimore, Maryland.

What immediately jumped out at me was Lyman’s certificate of disability for discharge.[6] He was discharged for epilepsy, not incident to service. Well, that certainly explained a lot! No wonder he was with his mother for so long before getting married. Depending on how often he had seizures and how severe they were, it would be tough to attract someone to marry him and be willing to deal with his medical condition.

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Another document found in the file explained why I didn’t find a marriage record for Lyman and Sarah in the relevant counties of Sussex or Morris in New Jersey. Lyman Wood and Sarah Elizabeth Ward were married by Reverend J. B. Woodward on 15 January 1884 in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.[7] Perhaps there was no waiting period or maybe no medical examination required in Pennsylvania in the 1880s and that would explain why the couple traveled there to be married.

I’m glad I ordered the pension file for Lyman Wood. It has revealed all sorts of interesting bits and bobs.  More to come on what else I’ve discovered.


[1] 1850 U. S. census, Essex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newark, p. 148B, dwelling 337, family 542, Enoch Hunt; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 447.
[2] 1860 U. S. census, Westchester County, New Jersey, population schedule, Morrisania, p. 309 (penned), dwelling 2126, family 2403, Enoch Hunt; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 878.
[3] 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Andover, p. 1 (penned), dwelling 4, family 5, Eliza Hunt; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 01 October 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.
[4] 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Lafayette Township, ED 180, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 52, family 54 & 55, William H. Hunt; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 September 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
[5] Sussex County, New Jersey, Petitions and Renunciations Volume C-D: 170, Lyman Wood (1896); Sussex County Surrogate’s Office, Newton.
[6] Lyman Wood (Pvt., Co. G, 83rd NY militia, Civil War), pension no. W.C. 446,752; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
[7] Civil War and Later Pension Files. Department of Veterans Affairs. Lyman Wood (Pvt., Co. G, 83rd NY militia, Civil War), pension no. W.C. 446,752; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Form 3-012, Declaration for remarried Widow’s Pension, 20 January 1920.

 

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