This week in my post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, I have decided to focus on my 3rd great grandfather, Aaron Gombert, who was a Civil War veteran. He was also a classic example of how much you can learn just from Civil War pension papers.
One day I logged into my online tree on Ancestry.com and saw a leaf shaking above his name. Up until this point, I knew very little about Aaron. Only that he was about 1832 in Pennsylvania, he was a farmer in the Mahoning Valley in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, living there with wife, Lucy and their 5 children. It turned out to be a hint that Aaron was listed in the 1890 Veterans Schedule. From this document I learned that Aaron had served as a Private with the 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment from August 18, 1862 until May 24, 1863. It also stated that he had contracted typhoid fever during that time.
Some more searching on Ancestry, yielded his name in the Civil War Pension Index. From there, I was able to request his papers from the National Archives. A thick packet showed up a few weeks later. It was filled with a wealth of facts. I was able to get his birth date, and his date of death. It also gave a physical description of him: 5′ 8″, light complexion and red hair. Yes, it turns out my 3rd great grandfather was a ginger!
I was also able to get documentation of his marriage to my 3rd great-grandmother, Lucy Hontz. This was very difficult information to obtain, since the nearby church did not have the record. It turned out they were married on February 5, 1854 by the Rev. C.G. Eichenberg, a pastor, who served several churches in the area.
There were also some details about his service. Aaron had fought with his regiment in the Battle of Antietam, Maryland on September 17, 1862. After that battle was won, they arrived in Harper’s Ferry and camped there. Around October 1, 1862, Aaron became sick with typhoid fever and was sent first to the regiment hospital in Harper’s Ferry, then to Frederick City Hospital, Maryland where he remained for 2 months. When he recovered he was sent back to fight with is regiment until he was mustered out in May 1863.
Aaron seemed to have been plagued with the after effects of the typhoid fever for years after his discharge. His back pain eventually led him to become totally incapacitated and he could no longer farm his land. Aaron died August 9, 1900 and is buried in the Saint John’s Church cemetery in the Mahoning Valley.
His wife, Lucy, kept collecting his pension until her death on September 26, 1903. Another date that I had verified from the pension files.