1890 Veterans Census Shows A Civil War Union Soldier at Home in Cabarrus County

29 Jan 2016

A Census Bureau employee using a Hollerith tabulator in 1908. The Hollerith tabulator was first used for the 1890 census. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

A recent posting on the blog site Family History Daily (www.familyhistorydaily.com) was a story about how the 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War can assist genealogy research as a substitute for the 1890 U. S. Federal Census. As many know, the 1890 census, which contained more than 60 million individuals, was destroyed in a fire in 1921. The special enumeration of Union (and some Confederate) veterans is very large, and 90,000+ images are offered on a number of subscription sites, and for free at www.familysearch.org. Although much of it survived the fire, unfortunately, the records for the states of Alabama through Kansas (alphabetically) are mostly lost, Records remain from all states from Kentucky through Wyoming. Finding an ancestor means access to that veteran’s name (or widow’s name and her deceased husband’s name), rank, date of enlistment, date of discharge, address, disability incurred by the veteran, special notes and more.

The National Archives explains: 

The Pension Office requested the special enumeration to help Union veterans locate comrades to testify in pension claims and to determine the number of survivors and widows for pension legislation. Some congressmen also thought it scientifically useful to know the effect of various types of military service on veterans’ longevity. To assist in the enumeration, the Pension Office prepared a list of veterans’ names and addresses from their files and from available military records held by the War Department. The superintendent of the census planned to print in volumes the veterans’ information (name, rank, length of service, and post office address) compiled from the 1890 enumeration and place copies with libraries and veterans organizations so individuals could more easily locate their fellow veterans.

U.S., Civil War Pension Index file for Allen Frame, www.Ancestry.com. Original data: National Archives and Records Administration.

Curious as to whether any Cabarrus County veterans were on the list, further investigation showed one: a Union soldier by the name of A. F. Frame of Tulin (Tulin was a district near Odell School Road and Windy Road. In 1942 it was absorbed into Concord and Kannapolis). Allen F. Frame, born and raised in Goshen, Indiana, served as a Private in Company E of the 129th Indiana Volunteers, mustering in March 6, 1864. His unit eventually ended up in Charlotte where it served provost duty (military guard). Frame had suffered some injuries during the war, but worked as a teamster. He mustered out on August 29, 1865. Frame decided to stay in North Carolina: the reason was Margaret Cline. According to a February 28, 1890 article in the The Standard (Concord):

“He has been living here since 1865, and says the reason for his coming back here is that he fell in love with a Southern girl while here fighting, and came back here for her and she made him stay.”

After securing employment with a Dr. Scott, Allen and Margaret were married on March 29, 1866. The couple purchased a farm in No. 3 Township (Odell), part of the old John Bradford plantation, where they raised cotton. Because of his war injuries, Allen was awarded a generous government pension. Sadly, Margaret died while still young and their only son, Willie, died in 1893 at the age of 23. Willie left a wife and 10-day-old son, William Robert Frame. After Willie’s death, Allen sold the farm and moved to a home on McGill Ave. in Concord. There he found work at a mill. On May 16, 1907, he married Margaret Simpson.

“United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890,”  A F Frame. 

Although a native Yankee, Allen Frame was well respected in the community and known for his kindness and generosity. A Concord paper even described him as a soldier who had “fought bravely and honestly.” One story told that when work began to slacken at one of the various mills of the city, Mr. Frame had a job that was paying $6 per week. He also had a neighbor who lost his job at the same wages, and in order that the neighbor might not be long idle, Mr. Frame gave his job to his neighbor, stating at the time that his $30 per month from the government would be sufficient to keep him. 

Allen Frame suffered a stroke on July 16, 1908. Without hope of recovery, he died at his home on July 20. 

You may be surprised who you find in the 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War –  even an old Union soldier who found family and friends in Cabarrus County. 

Additional sources:

  • http://www.civilwarindex.com/armyin/129th_in_infantry.html
  • www.ancestry.com
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odell_School,_North_Carolina#Tulin_telephone_exchange
  • The Concord Daily Tribune, “The Death Record,” 20 Jul 1908, p. 1