The following information was extracted from various papers in the pension file for Milton Slavens of Saline County, Nebraska, formerly of Hendricks and Putnam County, Indiana. (This Milton was a son of James Slavens, and should not be confused with Zachariah Milton Slavens, son of Isaiah Slavens Jr.)
According to his discharge, Milton Slavens enlisted in Company A, 51st Indiana Infantry, on September 22, 1861, at North Salem, Indiana. He was 21 years old, was five foot nine inches tall, had a light complexion, gray eyes, and light hair. He was a farmer. Milton mustered in on December 13, 1861, and was with his regiment in January and February. He was then furloughed home due to sickness, and was discharged for disability on June 21, 1862.
In November 1861, a few weeks before the unit mustered in, Milton took the measles "which transferred to his lungs, which since that period (he) has suffered great difficulty of breathing, particularly after the slightest exertion. He also notes that he and a number of comrades were poisoned at Bardstown, Kentucky; since that time he has become dispeptic." His discharge stated that he was unfit to perform manual labor "and his disability is one-half."
In 1879, Milton was living in Pleasant Hill, Saline County, Nebraska, and applied for a pension. Back in Hendricks County, Adam Fiscus, who was a mess mate of Milton's in his service in the 148th Indiana Infantry, swore an affidavitt that Milton was mustered out on September 5, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee. While on duty at Pulaski, Tennessee, on March 24, 1865, Milton suffered a stroke of palsy while drawing rations. "I was present and saw him fall and helped carry him to his tent... (I) visited him frequently while in the post hospital at Pulaski, Tennessee, in the month of March 1865."
Milton's doctor back in North Salem also swore an affidavitt, stating that he treated Milton for pneumonia in April 1862; "(the) attack was the sequel of measles suppressed by cold. Having known him from childhood, I can further state that he was a stout hearty man having enjoyed uninterrupted health up to his enlistment in the service."
In Saline County, Milton's brother-in-law W.H. Bryan swore that he had known Milton since 1860, and had worked for Milton often since his discharge from the service, at times when Milton was unable to work for himself. Bryan stated that "claimant has had frequent spells of sickness...which was the result of being poisoned in the service. Claimant is also afflicted with diseases of the lungs and weakness on one side."
In 1882 Milton sought an increase in his pension due to increasing disability. Bryan stated that up to 1880 Milton had been able to perform manual labor about half the time, but since that time he has been totally unable to do manual labor "caused by the piles being out on him most of the time." Bryan made a similar statement in 1890 on another request for an increase in pension. In 1894 Milton's doctor swore that he considered "his a case of total disability, as he is absolutely unable to perform any kind of labor or attend to any kind of business whatsoever."
A questionnaire in 1898 gives some biographical data on Milton's family. He was married to Mary E. Bryan on June 19, 1862, in Hendricks County, Indiana. (Note that this was a couple days before his discharge from the 51st Indiana Infantry. Mary passed away at Pleasant Hill, Nebraska, November 3, 1888. They were the parents of Rosa E., now Rosa Kortright of Aromas, Colorado, born June 11, 1863; Mary E., now Mary Dunning of Canton, Illinois, born November 27, 1869; and Garfield Slavens, of Pleasant Hill, born November 20,1880. Milton married Lottie M. Dunning on December 19, 1889, at Pleasant Hill.
Milton died November 28, 1901, and two months later his widow filed for a pension. The declaration states that Lottie was married to William White and they were divorced before her marriage to Milton. A copy of her death certificate was also in the file. According to it, she was born July 14, 1856 in New Jersey to Loren W. Dunning and Eliza Blanchard. She died April 21, 1936, in Sterling, Colorado, of bronchial pneumonia.
Copyright © 2003 Larry Slavens. All rights reserved.