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Joseph C. Polston's Civil War Pension File


Certificate # 133052
Pension # 88011 (Widow's Pension)
Co. D, 12th KY Cav - Private
Enrolled 12 Aug. 1862 at Owensboro, KY (3 year term)
Mustered In: 17 Oct. 1862 or 17 Nov. 1862 at Owensboro, KY (both dates noted in file)
Died In Service at Louisville, KY
Two different dates are given for his death: 15 Sept. 1864 or 11 Oct. 1864.
(The October date is probably the correct date. One letter in the file states that Laura Polston , widow of Joseph C. Polston, received letters dated Oct. 1864 from her husband. The letters that were referred to were NOT in the file.)

According to one of the documents in the widow's pension file, Joseph C. Polston first became ill on 10 Aug. 1864. He developed "flux" or dysentery which eventually caused his death in either Sept. or Oct. that same year. According to one of his comrades, Joseph C. Polston "became disabled 10 Aug. 1864 - the effects of Flux. Near Atlanta (another place in the file says near Decatur) in the State of Georgia. about the 10th day of August 1864 from exposure. and active Hard service. on Skirmish line, in rifle pits and building breast works". At the time of his death, he was in charge of U. S. Medical Officers in hospital at Louisville, KY.

Joseph C. Polston married Laura Jane Hoover 3 Jan. 1862 in Spencer Co, IN.
Marriage Bond dated: 1 Jan. 1862
They were married by Felix McKenney, J.P. in Eruka (? Eureka), IN.
Laura Jane Hoover was apparently a widow with 2 small children at the time they married.

Several times in the pension file it was stated that "no children now survives", referring to the question of whether or not Joseph C. Polston had any surviving children. It is unclear whether or not he had had children by a previous marriage or if he and Laura Jane lost an infant child. However, several years after his death, Laura Jane Polston wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions; she was trying to get the government to hurry up the process of sending her a pension check. In that letter she stated that she and her two small children were nearly destitute. It appears that she had two children prior to her marriage to Joseph C. Polston. According to statements made in the pension file, she did not re-marry after Joseph's death.

The delay in sending the pension check to Laura Jane Polston was due to charges that Joseph C. Polston had deserted at some point during his military career. However, there was a note that he had re-joined his unit. Supposedly this matter was being investigated. The file does not say what the investigation showed or whether or not Laura Jane ever received the pension check. There was much bickering between two attorneys as to who was trying to fleece the government. Each attorney wrote rather lengthy letters defending his position. Meanwhile, Laura Jane and her two children were trapped in the legal red tape.

1 April 1865 - Laura Jane Polston was 29 years old and living in Hancock Co, KY. Her Post-Office address was Cloverport, Breckinridge Co, KY. She lived on the wagon road connecting Henderson and Cloverport, about 7 miles outside of Cloverport.
24 May 1869 - Laura Jane Polston was 30 or 35 (handwriting not clear) years old and was living in Henderson, Henderson Co, KY. It appears that she lived there for many years.

Most of the forms, letters, affidavits, documents, etc. contained in the pension file, give Joseph's surname as POLSTON. However, occasionally the last name was spelled POLSON or POULSTON.


This abstract is courtesy of Glenda Bastin. Thanks!


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