Civil War Pension: John M Hays

John M Hays is a 2nd great granduncle and brother of William B Hayes who died during the Civil War. John has a pension packet that is 138 pages long and there are a several interesting things going on in this pension. John applied for a disabled veteran pension for disease of lungs and rheumatism and weakness in his limbs and legs with dizziness.

John Hays pension payment in 1890

John Hays pension payment in 1890

John’s initial pension pays him $4 per month for his physical impairment. Each time the pension laws are changed, John files a new request for an increase in his pension under the higher rates permitted by the newly enacted laws. The pension payments were based on “how dependent” or “how disabled” John actually was.  As he aged and became more disabled, his pension rates increased.  His monthly pension rates as I have found them in his pension packet are:

  • 1879 – $4.00
  • 1888 – $8.00
  • 1890 – $12.00
  • 1913 – $24.00
  • 1913 – $25.00
  • 1925 – $72.00
JM Hays in hospital at Point Lookout

JM Hays in hospital at Point Lookout

Among the pension file is a statement from the Surgeon General’s Office stating that on 17 August 1862 JM Hays was admitted to Hammond GH (General Hospital) in Point Lookout, Md with

Additional hospitalizations of John Hayes

Additional hospitalizations of John Hayes

debilities and returned to duty around 1 (?) Oct 1862.  The medical records continue with an additional hospitalizations in October & December 1862 and at various facilities through April 1863.

In addition to the recited medical history, which means the National Archives may have additional medical records for John Hayes, I find several affidavits from people who knew John.  Not surprising, several of the people swearing out affidavits are the same people who provided the affidavits for his mothers pension attached to his younger brother William’s service.

John’s files also contain a few letters and misunderstandings that are common for the time.  John relocated on two occasions, one of the moves was a longer distance from Jefferson County, Pa to Allegheny County, Pa.  Both times, his checks are returned to the Bureau of Pensions and his pension terminated.  John is then obligated to prove that he is the same soldier, and that he is not deceased, and that he has instead moved to a new location, and in the final move, has moved in with a daughter.



In an almost comical, comedy of errors a clerk, during one of the reapplications, transcribed service dates incorrectly in John’s file.  This results in John having to arrange for his original discharge from the military to be forwarded to the Adjutant general in order to get the error corrected.  The difference between service of 2 years 11 months and 24 days versus 3 years results in $1 less being paid to John due to a pro-rated pension based on the shorter time period of service!


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