I don’t have too many ties to Virginia, but I thought I’d take some time and write about a cousin who ended up in the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Southern Branch in Hampton, Virginia.
Phineas D Parks is my first cousin five times removed. He is the son of Calvin Chapin Parks and Harriet Thomas. He was born about 1833 in Oakland County, Michigan Territory. By 1850, he was living in Waukegan, Lake, Illinois. On 5 November 1856, Phineas married Harriet Lincoln in Kendall County, Illinois, and by 1860, they were living in Earl, LaSalle, Illinois, with their infant daughter, Hattie.
On 26 September 1861, he enlisted in Company I, Illinois 4th Cavalry as a Sergeant. He was discharged on 8 July 1862 due to disability, rank of QM Sergeant.
Eventually, I find Phineas living in the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Southern Branch in Hampton, Virginia by 1880. How or why he ended up there, I’m not sure. He died on 7 June 1891, at the home, and is buried in Hampton National Cemetery.
According to the National Home records, he was admitted on 17 April 1879. From then until March 1883, it looks like he was in and out of the home, either by transfer to and from the Northwest Branch, or discharged and readmitted.
|Historical Register of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938, Southern Branch, Page 1|
|Historical Register of National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938, Southern Branch, Page 2|
Where Phineas was between the time he was discharged from service and when he appears in the Home in 1879, I’m not sure. I find a P D Parks (widow, age 37, born in Michigan) and a Hattie (age 10, born in Illinois), living in Seattle, Washington. By all appearances, this would seem to be Phineas and his daughter Hattie. But, I’m not 100% sure. The occupation of lawyer throws me off, since he identified himself as a dry goods merchant in 1860 and a tinsmith in 1880.
I also found an Army enlistment record for a Phineas D Parks, enlisted on 5 August 1864 at Chicago, Illinois. He’s the right age and lists Oakland County, Michigan as his place of birth and tinsmith as his occupation. The “Remarks” column has a bunch of information, most of which I don’t understand, but I can clearly read the last two words, which say “a Private.” Military records, terminology, and protocol, are clearly not my area of expertise, but if this is the same person, how can he go from the rank of a Sergeant to a Private? I’m also not sure how he could re-enlist after being discharged for disability (the 1890 census Veterans Schedule indicated his disability as “sabre wound head”). Plus, the dates of enlistment and discharge that he uses for the Home register and the 1890 census Veterans Schedule, are the dates from 1861 and 1862. There is no mention in the Home register of additional service, not that there would be (remember, me + military records = not good!). But curiously, there is mention of additional Navy service in the 1890 census.
It appears he filed for a pension in 1879. Perhaps the file would shed more light on not only his military service, but where he was in those intervening years.