William H. Slavens Civil War Pension Information.

Update: This pension file has been digitized at the National Archives and placed online at the NARA website. The 27 page file can be viewed-- or downloaded as a pdf file-- at this link.

The following information was extracted from various papers in the file for Elizabeth Slavens's widow's pension on the service of her husband, William H. Slavens.

This William Slavens is somewhat of a mystery man. He first appears in the 1840 census in Pike County, Illinois. By 1854 he's in the Jefferson County, Iowa, state census, and from the 1856 census it would appear that he came to Iowa in 1841. By 1860 he's in Mercer County, Missouri. Because of his Tennessee birthplace (1860 census) it's thought that he is a son or grandson of William or Daniel Slavens, sons of John and Elizabeth Stuart Slavins.

The file jacket says that William Slavens died at St. Louis, Missouri, on February 14, 1863, of erysipelas. Application no. 68,927, certificate 75,169 of the Act of July 14, 1862, surname is spelled Slavins and Slavens on the jacket. Note that the cause and date are different in the enclosed documents.

William was a private in Company B, 27th Missouri Volunteers. He enrolled at Ravenna, Missouri, where he was living.

Elizabeth was granted an $8 pension commencing January 29, 1863, plus an additional $2 a month commencing July 25, 1866, until son William H. Slavens Jr. achieved the age of 16 years on November 28, 1869. Former payments were to be deducted from this award. This certificate was dated April 19, 1867, and was granted through the Springfield, Illinois agency so we can assume that Elizabeth was living in that state at the time. In the 1870 census she, daughter Adeline, and son William are in the Sangamon County, Illinois returns.

In a statement dated May 28, 1866, it stated that William H. Slavens was a private in Co. B., 27th Missouri Volunteers, and was a resident of Mercer County, Mo., served by the Princeton post office. The adjutent general reported that William was enrolled on August 6, 1862, and died in the hospital at Benton Barracks, Mo., on January 29, 1863. Elizabeth stated that she could not find a commissioned officer to provide a certified account, but provided statements from Joseph Shook, Samuel Widner, and James M. Gooden, also members of Co. B. They stated that William took a violent cold while guarding Gratiot Street Prison (in St. Louis) in January 1863 and died from the effects of said cold on January 29, 1863. "The weather was very cold at the time said soldier was doing guard duty and was in the line of duty at said time."

The claim states that Elizabeth and William were married September 15, 1839, which was proved by a certified copy of the record from Pike County, Illinois. Children under 16 were Sarah A., born October 16, 1848; Mary A., born Oct. 16, 1850; and William H., born November 14, 1853.

A claim for increase dated January 4, 1867, adds that the company was commanded by Captain O'Conner, and the 27th Infantry Volunteer Regiment commanded by Colonel Thomas Curley. Elizabeth also swears that she has not abandoned the support of son William nor permitted him to be adopted by any person. Note that by this time, William would have been the only child under 16. The claim for increase was filed in Mercer County, and the family still had a Princeton address.

A pension agent in Chicago on May 24, 1882, filed a statement that Elizabth Slavens was last paid to June 14, 1876, and has since been reported dead.

In the file is a certified copy of the birth register entry for William H. Slavens Jr., born November 29, 1853, in Mercer County, Mo.

The Surgeon General's office reported on August 1, 1865, that William Slavens died January 29, 1863, at Benton Barracks, Missouri, of consumption.

In the original application for a widow's pension, dated August 15, 1864, it states that Elizabeth is forty years of age. It also states the same date of death, cause, children, etc. as the 1866 application extracted above. So while having two daughters born on the same day, October 16, two years apart is uncommon it is likely correct.

The file contains a certified statement from the Pike County, Illinois clerk of court attesting to the marriage of Elizabeth Hazlett and W. H. Slavens on September 15, 1839, by Brice Alsbury, a minister of the gospel.

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