Nadow story


Benjamin Nadow Jr’s Civil War pension file papers

by Conrad W. Terrill, 13 Feb 2011

These are papers in a collection on file at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C., in a folder entitled “Civil War Pension Records – Benjamin Nedow.”  I examined these records in 1983.  There are a large number of documents in the file.  I examined this file in 1983, xeroxed four documents, and took notes on many others.  Benjamin Jr.’s surname was written down as “Nedow” (instead of “Nadow”) when he enlisted, and all the pension file documents follow this spelling in order to be in accord with that.

Here are those 1983 notes. (PDF, 1.9 MB)

The following are photocopies, including transcripts in some cases, of documents in the pension file.

Benjamin Nedow Jr.’s certificate of disability for discharge from the Army of the United States, 11 Aug. 1865, at Smithville, NC. (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Declaration for the increase of an invalid pension, signed by Benjamin Nedow, of Holden, Worcester Co., MA, dated 3 Feb 1879.  (PDF, 1.9 MB)  (I copied this document for the sake of getting a copy of Benjamin Jr.’s signature.)

The document below is evidence that Benjamin Nadow Sr.'s real name was Cyprian Nadow.  There are other depositions showing the same thing.  In one, Maxim Nadow gave testimony on behalf of Benj. Jr.'s widow in her claim for a widow's pension, and answered the question, "Who was Cyprain Nedow?" with, "I don't know."  He was then asked, "What is Benjamin in French?" and he responded, "Su-pri-a.  It is pronounced as it is spelled but I don't know the correct spelling of it."  Benjamin Sr. responded the same way in another deposition:  "What is your first name in French?"  "Pronounced Su-pri-a.  My son Benjamin was always called by the French speaking people Supria but by the Americans and all who spoke the English language called him Ben or Benjamin."

General affidavit by Cyprian Nedow, of Swanzey, NH, on behalf of Mary (Hill) Nedow’s widow’s pension claim, stamped “U.S. Pension Office, May 17, 1902.” (PDF, 2.0 MB, includes transcript)

Mary (Hill) Nadow's claim for a widow's pension in 1902 was complicated by the fact that she could not prove that she and Benj. Jr. were ever married.  She claimed that they were married by a Justice of the Peace in Quechee, Vt.  When the Pension Office Special Examiner, Russell Barnes, went there to check this out he found that the only Justice of the Peace there in 1865, William Bragg, had died many years ago.  Bragg's daughter, a Mrs. Hewitt, informed Barnes that she had burned all the old record books belonging to her father just last year.  The only other evidence of Mary Hill's marriage to Benj. Nadow was the record of the baptism of their first child in a Catholic church in Mass. in 1866; however, the child's father's name was given as "Zepharina Nadeau", and the mother's as "Mary DeCarte."  This misunderstanding resulted somehow from information given to the priest by Hattie Nadow, the baby’s sponsor.  The depositions for Mary Nadow's pension claim were required to clear up this misunderstanding.

Deposition by Mary (Hill) Nedow, given at her home near Keene, NH, in support of her widow’s pension claim, 7 Apr. 1903.  (PDF, 5.3 MB, includes transcript)

This last item is not from Benjamin Nedow’s pension file, but from the book Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in the Civil War, compiled and published by the Massachusetts Adjutant General’s Office (Norwood, MA: 1932).  Benjamin Nedow Jr. was in Company G of this regiment.

History of the Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery, vol. 5, pp. 657-8. (PDF, 737 KB)