Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Yandell Wood (1826-1906), 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 18, "Where There's a Will"

"Where There's a Will" is Week 18's prompt for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge hosted by +Amy Johnson Crow and her blog, NoStoryTooSmall.com, I selected my paternal third great-grandfather, Yandell Wood, for this week's post.  In reading his short will, I learned about something completely new to me at the time - Civil War compensation claims (a.k.a., "war claims").  Without his mention of this in his will, I may not have learned about:

  • The legal action war claims allowed
  • Yandell's occupation
  • Yandell's business partnership with his brother, J. L. Wood

How I descend from Yandell Wood, my paternal 3rd great-grandfather. My father (living) 
and I would be listed below my paternal grandfather, John Egbert Wood, above.

15 March 1906 Davidson County, Tennessee, Will of Yandell Wood.
(Probated on 14 June 1906).

Using FamilySearch.org's Historical Records Collection, I located a digital copy of Yandell's will (directly above) in the Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927, Davidson County Wills, 1902-1908, Vol. 36, Images 209 and 210.  The second and third sentences of his will read:

"I will and bequeath to my wife Fannie Wood* all of my personal property, which includes all the interest I have in a war claim I have against the Government of the United States of America, amounting to several hundred dollars and now pending before Congress.  Said claim is for flour taken from the Mill of J. L. Wood & Co. Millers at Alexandria Tenn, of which Company I was a member - being equal partner with my brother, said J. L. Wood, and al so [sic] for damages resulting from breaking our mill and stopping the use of , [sic] or operating the same for about a year - all by order of General Reynold & Col. J. T. Wilder, officers in the Federal Army - in 1863 - As to the amount and dates I refer to said claim as present ed [sic] to Congress by Senator Frazier in 1906."

*Note:  Fannie was Yandell's second wife and is not my paternal third great-grandmother.  He first married Harriet Sneed (circa 1835-1896), and she is my third great-grandmother.

The Archives of Appalachia website, hosted by East Tennessee State University, indicates the following regarding Civil War compensation claims:

"In 1873, Congress established the Committee on War Claims. This committee expanded on the former Committee on Revolutionary Claims to include 'claims arising from any war in which the United States has been engaged.' The Committee on War Claims provided an avenue for individuals who lost property during the Civil War (1861-1865) to file for compensation from the federal government...According to the Fourth General Report of the Commissioners of Claims (1874), Tennessee had the highest amount of claims filed at 554 with Virginia following at 475."

After gaining a better understanding of what my third great-grandfather was pursuing, I did more research into his particular claim and learned that it was presented to the Court of Claims on 10 July 1912.

Excerpt from page 2002 of Catalogue of the Public Documents of the Sixty-Second Congress
and of All Departments of the Government of the United States for the Period from July 1, 1911, to June 30, 1913
Volume 11 by the United States Superintendent of Documents.

(Publisher: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1915.)

I also discovered that, during the Court of Claims' December 1914 term, a motion to dismiss almost all war claims for "Want of Jurisdiction under Act of March 4, 1915, sec. 5 (the Crawford Amendment)" was made and that Yandell's claim was #1716 on the list of approximately eight-five percent of Congressional claims then dismissed.

Book excerpt showing dismissal of Yandell Wood's war claim.
(From page 306 of Congressional claims by United States. Court of claims.
United States. Dept. of Justice; Thompson, Huston. Published 1915.)

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.