Military Monday: Frank (Francois) Chenette, Civil War Pension File

Surgeon's Certificate for Frank Chenette

(Digital Image; Documents Privately Held by Cynthia Shenette; Image and Text Copyright (c) 2016 Cynthia Shenette)  A couple of years ago I ordered my great-grandfather, Francois Chenet's (1813-1886), Civil War pension file from the National Archives.  I didn't really know what or how much to expect for my 80 bucks, but I thought what the heck, and purchased the file for myself for a birthday gift.  Well, didn't I hit pay-dirt!  The file contained over a hundred pages and provides an interesting insight into a number of members of the family.  

Francois and his son Francois (1845-1864) volunteered on the same day on 10 December 1863, and Francois Jr. died of disease in Virginia on 3 November 1864.  Lucky for me Francois Sr.'s pension file includes information on Francois Jr., Francois Sr., Francois Sr.'s fourth wife, Lucie Touchette (my great-grandmother), and a number of other family members, friends and acquaintances who were deposed after my great-grandmother Lucie was caught collecting Francois Sr.'s pension after she married for a second time.

The handwriting in the documents is somewhat hard to read, and while I've skimmed through them over the last couple of years I really think I need to transcribe some of the documents to really take in the details and the whole of what they are trying to tell me about my great-grandfather's family.  My hope is to post some my transcriptions on my blog.  Unfortunately, my scanner is not able to scan the full size of the documents in the file.  I've included a portion of the document for a visual at the beginning of this blog post.  If you are related to Francois and would like to see the full document, please feel free to contact me, and I will be happy to scan the document as best I can and send it to you.  

If you are related to Francois (and given that he had four wives and 24 children, who isn't) I suggest you also take a look at the blog posts I've listed below.  He was an interesting character.  While you read the text of the surgeon's certificate keep in mind that at the time of the doctor's visit in September of 1884 Francois had seven children, ages 14 and under, including a two year old daughter.  Francois died at the age of 72 on 22 March 1886.  He left his fourth wife, Lucie, and 14 living children ranging in age from three to 46.

Claim No. 310,290

State: Vermont, County: Orleans
Post Office: Coventry, Sept 27th, 1884.
I HEREBY CERTIFY That I have carefully examined Frank Chenette, father of Frank Chenette, Jr who claims a pension as the dependent Father of Frank Chenette, Jr. who is alleged to have died Date not stated, and that in my opinion, based on such examination and a personal acquaintance with him for ----- years, the said Frank Chenette  - father is and has been physically incapacitated  for the support of himself and family, the nature, degree, and duration of his disability as follows: 
Age 73 - Weight. 130. Pulse 56. Respiration 16 Temp 97.5 Claims to be disabled by reason of partial blindness. and also by reason of Rheumatism which was incurred while in the service as Private in Co. K 11th Vermont Vols., in front of Petersburgh, Va in April 1865. - both of these disabilities have troubled him ever since he was in the service. constantly. Says now all the work he can see to do is to turn a crank in a printing office at Waterloo,, PQ. (formerly a laborer.) I find upon careful inspection of his eyes that there is an opacity of the vitreous humor of the R eye - which totally destroys the sight of  the R eye.  There is a like condition of the L eye - but of less opacity - He can see a little with it - cannot read half inch type in any position.  cannot see to pick up a large white beam from the floor except in a very strong light.  He is totally blind in R eye and partially blind in L eye. 
I rate for total loss of R eye 1/2 total }                     3/4 total 
Rating for partial loss of sight of L eye 1/4 total }
I also find the applicant has Rheumatism.  The positive signs being crepitus in shoulder or knee joints - enlargement of joints of great toes and joints of fingers of R hand - also a contraction of flexor tendons of 2d -3d - 4th fingers of R hand. 

Dr. C. F. Branch
Examining Surgeon.

There appears to be no cardiac complications from Rheumati [paper tear] His heart is acting very slowly - with five intermissions, each minute.  He uses no tobacco or liquors, he says, - His general appearance indicates that he was once a strong man , yet today aged + infirm, his disabilities are sufficient to entitle him to a rating. The facts  are not within any knowledge I simply find from his history and symptoms, and positive evidence of disease.  In my opinion the Rheumatism has existed about twenty years, the blindness may have begun as early and has been progressive - Probably he will be totally blind in a few years if he lives. - He is entitled to a pension of himself for service as a soldier, but prefers to ask for a Fathers pension.  His tongue is large and red, liver + spleen + Abdomen + Rectum normal. Muscles small + shrunken with age.  I should rate him for Rheumatism - one half tota [paper tear].

[Stamped: US PENSION OFFICE OCT 8 1884]

Other Posts You Might Like:

Tombstone Tuesday: Francois Chenette, Civil War Soldier
Sightseeing Around Civil War Richmond, Virginia
Four Wives and 24 Children: A Demographic Study
Flash Back! The Life and Times of Francois Chenet (Greatly Abridged)

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