Thomas Curran and Patrick Madden, two US Civil War soldiers killed in Tennessee

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Thomas Curran and Patrick Madden, two US Civil War soldiers killed in Tennessee

Post by Jimbo » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:16 am

Hi Sharon,

I've just missed your last update, but if you could please add two more Irish soldiers to your American Civil War database. Discovered this information viewing the Civil War pension files for widows of two soldiers born in County Clare:
1) Thomas Curran of the 5th Regiment Indiana Cavalary, Co. L
2) Patrick Madden of the 25th Regiment of the Missouri Volunteer Infantry, Co. G.

Both soldiers were killed in action during campaigns in Tennessee, and, not too surprisingly, I could not find a headstone for either. The widow of Thomas Curran lived in County Clare, while the widow of Patrick Madden lived in Missouri. Their pension files are very different in size, 28 and 52 pages, respectively.

Margaret Curran, age 64, widow, was living with her brother Batt Riordan and his large family in Gortaderra, Cloonusker in the 1901 Irish census: ... a/1085102/

Her husband, Thomas Curran had enlisted with the 5th Regiment Indiana Cavalry on 17 August 1862 for a period of three years. In the pension application, the widow Margaret Curran stated that her husband died in October 1863. USA government records to verify her claim provide other details: that Thomas Curran was killed in action on 11 October 1863 at Rheatown, Tennessee. This was part of the "Knoxville Campaign" during the Civil War: . On 11 October 1863, Union cavalry units from five states were involved in "Action, Rheatown" where the Union loss was 25 killed, wounded, and missing, according to a NPS brochure:

Perhaps Margaret Curran was not immediately aware that her husband had been killed, as the widow pension application was not completed until April 1869. To attest to the of marriage of Thomas Curran and Bridget Riordan on 12 October 1858 by the Rev. John Stack (sp?), the Scariff & Moynoe parish priest signed an affidavit in February 1869, but the corner of the page with his signature was torn away; but the surviving corner states "witnessed by me and I know "Rev P O Necilly" (sp??) to be the Parish Priest". There were several other affidavits signed by witnesses to confirm this marriage, support by her husband, and birth of one son. A signature on each affidavit would be from a County Clare lawyer, such as George Westropp, J.P., as a final witness. The United States Consul in Ireland, William B. West, also signed and sealed two documents to confirm that William O'Hara, Esq. J.P., and W.B. Sampson, Esq. J.P., who signed other witness affidavits, were indeed lawyers; he scribbled a similar note on the affidavit signed by George Westropp. All very organized and official and Margaret Curran was approved for an initial monthly $8 pension on 22 February 1870, including a retroactive pension back to October 1863, plus $2 per month for her son until he turned 16 years old. The widow Margaret Curran was receiving $12 per month when she died in Gortaderry on 25 March 1907 at the age of 78 years (Scariff registration); the informant was her brother, Michael Riordan, who reported her as "widow of the late Thomas Curran Soldier". ... 549457.pdf

Patrick Madden enlisted with 25th Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry in Kansas City, Mo, on 9 July 1861 to serve three years. The Adjutant General's Office report of September 1864 in the pension file stated that Sergeant Patrick Madden died on 6 April 1862 at the "Battle of Pittsburg Landing" in West Tennessee. This was the Northern name for the battle, that everyone now calls by the Southern name, "Battle of Shiloh": ... anding.htm

His widow, Judith Nash, stated that she and Patrick Madden had married in Ogonnelloe Parish on 12 February 1847. Father John Hayes, the curate of Killaloe, signed an affidavit in March 1864 confirming these facts as well as Rev. Michael Clune to have been the officiating priest, and the witnesses were Martin Nash and Mary Madden. Sadly, this parish record book has gone missing, as Ogonnelloe marriage records don't start until 1857. This was her second marriage. A daughter from her first marriage, Mrs. Bridget Quin, stated that her father "died in 1845" in her affidavit. From the Ogonnelloe parish records (1832 - 1869), Judith Nash and Michael McMahon were the parents of four children from 1837 to 1843, including Bridget McMahon in 1837.

The widow Judith Madden in Missouri would receive a monthly pension until her death in 1883. Patrick Madden and Judith Nash had only one daughter, born in County Clare. Confirming her birth is when the pension approval process appears to have gone terribly wrong:
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions
Washington D.C., Dec. 28, 1889

Sir: In the above cited claim for increase in pension of Judith Madden under the Act of July 25, 1866, the claimant alleged that the child Mary was born May 20, 1850, while in another affidavit she gives the dates as of May 20, 1852.

In an affidavit filed in 1864, Michael McMahon, Bridget Burns, and Margaret Monahan give the date as May 20, 1850, and in an affidavit dated filed in 1880, Michael McMahon and Bridget Burns give the date as May 20, 1856.

Winnie Cole in an affidavit filed on Nov. 18, 1879 gives the date as 1852 or 1853, while in 1880, she states that said child was born May 20, 1856.

These discrepancies should be fully explained by the parties in error, and the correct dates furnished.

Very respectfully,
Hiram Smith
Acting Commissioner
The birth year of the daughter of Patrick Madden was important since pensions are paid only until age 16 years. What is amazing is that this issue was still being discussed 25 years after the Civil War had ended. The claim would ultimately be rejected. The explanation by the pension agent in Missouri is classic.
Kansas City, Missouri
Jan. 27th, 1890
To the Commissioner of Pensions, Washington D.C.,

The discrepancies in the several affidavits mentioned in the enclosed letter may be explained in two ways:

First; no two Irishmen can entirely agree to anything.

Second; there are no records of births in Ireland.

The weight of evidence shows, however, that Mary Madden was born on 20 May 1856; she does not look older certainly. Reliable evidence is at hand that Mary was but a child when she landed in this country in August 1865. If absolute proof be required that she was born at a time curtain (or certain?) the claim must be abandoned — as, at this late day, this, more than probably, is impossible.

Very respectfully,
Fred B. Schnebly
Kansas City, Mo
Patrick Madden, Civil War widow pension files, US National Archives (fold3 website).jpg
Patrick Madden, Civil War widow pension files, US National Archives (fold3 website).jpg (73.84 KiB) Viewed 96 times

9 May 1849 baptism of Mary Madden, Ogonnelloe Catholic Parish records.jpg
9 May 1849 baptism of Mary Madden, Ogonnelloe Catholic Parish records.jpg (118.55 KiB) Viewed 96 times

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Re: Thomas Curran and Patrick Madden, two US Civil War soldiers killed in Tennessee

Post by smcarberry » Mon Mar 22, 2021 10:15 am

These two soldiers are excellent additions to the database, and thanks for providing all the details that I need, plus the fascinating additional aspects of their lives. What you described is so typical of these pension files -- ordinary people having to meet governmental standards and needing to meet repeatedly with lawyers to navigate the system. Refreshing to see the candid statement on the Irish twist to an applicant's dilemma -- no two can agree on anything. This is a revealing aspect of how and why our society became oriented to more comprehensive records, until now in the digital era we are so exposed online in far too many details of our identities. That trend got its impetus from those nit-picking pension requirements. The amount of paperwork generated in some cases is mind-boggling. Thanks for wading through it and distilling it down. I am assuming that Fold3 was your source of the files, since it is my understanding that the D.C. NARA building is still closed to the public.

I ordinarily provide a credit in a soldier's database entry, for the person submitting needed details. I don't have your full name, Jim, so please let me know (by private message, if preferred) how you would like to be noted for that purpose.

It may be up to a year before another supplement is submitted to the Library, but it is great to have your help & support of the database at this time. We who appreciate history realize that this database reveals the realities of war and the breadth of circumstances of these ex-pats. There are those who scooted off fairly quickly, those who were dropped as unsuitable, those who slugged through heat/humidity in those wool uniforms month after month, and those who met their fate far from their families but, thanks to the pension payments. continued to provide for them. That was what it was to "make it" in America and these entries memorialize that. Thanks to you the Madden family has its first such memorial, and this is only the second for a Curran.

Sharon C.

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