November 30, 2015

1893 W B Stevenson Civil War Pension Application Transcription


W B Stevenson

Manvel, Grand Forks Co, North Dakota

[Dated May 20, 1893 when it was received by the Department of Pensions, Washington DC]


My Father was a British Naval Officer and I was brought up for that service and served in the Mediterranean Squadron. In April 1863 I deserted taking the name of Thomas Crawford by which I entered the American Service.

I enlisted in Morristown, PA (ten days after I arrived in the United States. Was sent to the front sometime in July or August (I can’t remember dates). Joined the 111th PA Infantry attached to Company I.

The Colonel’s name was Cobhan he was acting Brig General to our Brigade. Lt Colonel [T?] Walker acting as Colonel to the Regiment. The Captain of Company I was Aide-de-camp, and 2nd Lt Deffenbaugh had charge of the company while I served in it.

Brevet Brig.-General George A. Cobham, Jr., Colonel 111th Pennsylvania Volunteers, killed July 20, 1864, at Peach-tree Creek, Ga.

In March 1864 by order of the Secretary of the Navy I was transferred to Bridgeport, Alabama, to Chattanooga, Tennessee and thence to Nashville, Tennessee, and thence by river to Cairo, Illinois was put on a receiving boat for a few days and was sent on board the Monitor Chickasaw in which I served until the war was over.

I forget the name of the first Captain the Chickasaw had for he was discharged in New Orleans when we got there.

Captain G H Perkins U.S.N. took charge with Mr Hamilton as executive officer. Mr Pike, Mr. Jordan ensigns was onboard until she was laid up at New Orleans where I was sent to the hospital from which place I was sent on board the supply ship Fearnot then in New Orleans, this was after the war was over.

I would never want a pension if I could get along. I have been in the American Merchant Service since the war up to the last 12 years I came North Dakota and farmed. Small prices and poor crops left me nothing. I am at present and has been Post Master at this place for six years and there is nothing in it.

Yours very respectfully,

W B Stevenson

Manvel, North Dakota

(Continued from the articles below)

William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926

William Burden Stevenson – The Civil War Years 1862 – 1864


(2015) Union Generals Killed In The Civil War. Retrieved November 04, 2015, from

George Hamilton Perkins – Belnap, George E. (Commodore). (2015) Letters of Captain Geo. Hamilton Perkins, U.S.N. Retrieved November 04, 2015, from

Stevenson, W B Pension Application, Page 118 Navy Survivors’ Certificates. (2015) Retrieved November 04, 2015, from

© 2015 – Carol Wilkerson

William Burden Stevenson – The Civil War Years 1862 – 1864

William Burden Stevenson – The Civil War Era

(continued from William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926)

In William’s Civil War pension application records he states that about two weeks after leaving the Royal Navy as a deserter he made his way to Pennsylvania and joined Company I of the 111th PA Infantry under the false name of Thomas Crawford.

It’s not yet been discovered just how he began serving in the United States Navy, but I would posit that he might have divulged his previous maritime experience without disclosing that he was a deserter from the Royal Navy. In a document from the US Treasury Department dated 9 November 1893 it states that on May 2, 1864 William was transferred from the Army to the Clara Dolsen and served on that ship until May 12, 1864; he also served on the Chickasaw until July 10, 1865; lastly, his next ship of service was the Fearnot and he was stationed on that ship until August 9, 1865.

The Clara Dolsen (sometimes spelled Dholsen) is described as:

“Clara Dolsen was “a magnificent river steamer” in which half interest was owned by Bart Able and Albert Pearce of St. Louis. She was built in 1861 at Cincinnati, Ohio. Used in the service of the Confederate States out of Memphis, Tenn., she was captured by Federal ships of the St. Charles Expedition on the White River, 14 June 1862. Later she operated with the Union army and eventually as USS Clara Dolsen (frequently written Dolson).”

The Chickasaw was a river monitor, but not in the sense of what you might envision when you hear the word “monitor” i.e., the Merrimac and the Monitor. These were steam driven boats and in this case, for William Stevenson, a place to reside for a while until his next orders sent him to the his last ship, the Fearnot.

“From the time of her arrival at Key West 17 September 1861, Fearnot served as coal and supply ship for the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, sailing out of Key West to Ship Island, and after its fall, New Orleans. Her last service, from October 1865 to May 1866, was in carrying surplus ordnance to Pensacola, and guarding the large amounts of ammunition accumulating there. She arrived at Boston 29 May 1866, and there was decommissioned 18 July 1866 and sold 3 October 1866.”

William was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy on May 1, 1864 at New Orleans, Louisiana. After the Civil War was over, he continued to serve on ships at sea during peace time.

(To be continued)


(2015) Clara Dolsen. Retrieved November 02, 2015, from

  1. W. (2015) Fearnot. Retrieved November 02, 2015, from


William Burden Stevenson 1842 – 1926

William Burden Stevenson – Soldier, Sailor, World Traveler

Usually, when you begin researching someone in a family line you start at their birth and work forward, and backward as well to connect them with their parents and ancestors. With William Stevenson I think I began in the middle and worked both directions. I knew some people in his immediate had lived here in Washington State, but what really piqued my interest was that William had resided here in my town of Port Orchard and is buried in a local cemetery here.

William’s parents were John and Ellen Burden Stevenson who were both born in Scotland circa 1815. As an adult, John was an officer in the Irish Coastguard and as his career was ending son William, who had been brought up to also be a Naval Officer for Britain, was just beginning his time in service. William’s father John had retired sometime after 1860 and was awarded a land patent by Queen Victoria. John had his choice of British locations, but in the end he chose Canada. To be specific, on Lake Malcolm in Ontario. All of the family still at home, including the youngest, Jane Elizabeth who was born in 1860 when her father was still stationed in Killybegs, Wexford, Ireland set sail for North America.

I’m guessing that William, the oldest, entered his naval service before the rest of the family left Ireland. His entry paper states he joined 27 June 1860 and was on the 1HMS St. Vincent. At the time of William’s service on the ship it was primarily a training vessel for young boys. William’s designation was as an Ordinary Seaman. Later records (American Civil War) note that during his time on the Vincent they spent time in the Mediterranean Ocean.

1862 – William Stevenson deserts the Royal Navy

One can only imagine what life was like in the Royal Navy for nineteen year old William. In looking at the records for the St. Vincent it wasn’t uncommon for these young sailors to be caned or birched if the Captain deemed it necessary. I don’t know that William ever received that punishment, but perhaps there was a far greater peril on the ship: disease. 1864 Training Ship, Home Station, Portsmouth. 2Report of Fevers and Small Pox onboard. Number of Cases of Disease and Injury. No proof has been found as to just how and where William left the ship, but we next find him as new soldier in the American Civil War.

In William’s Civil War pension application records he states that about two weeks after leaving the Royal Navy as a deserter he made his way to Pennsylvania, and joined Company I of the 111th PA Infantry under the false name of Thomas Crawford.

To be continued…


1HMS St Vincent (1815). (2015, April 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:35, October 5, 2015, from

2(2015) HMS St Vincent. Retrieved October 05, 2015, from

© 2015 Carol Wilkerson. All rights reserved


Was Great Grandpa Named John GORMLEY Nordgren?

 His Middle Name Is Gormley?

My genealogical head-scratcher for the night is/was I was looking at some of my recent ancestors who might be in the latest release of the SS records and happened upon someone who has my GGrf in their tree with my pictures (which is OK, I make them public) but it shows in their tree that my GGfr’s middle name (of which I have no record) as Gormley. John Gormley Nordgren. This person who added it is connected to the Croasdill family, which includes John’s youngest child, my aunt Edith Nordgren Croasdill. Edith took care of her father near the end of his life, so maybe someone in her family ran across my Nordgren family documentation.

I think this person who owns the Chester_Chesler Family 2015 Tree on Ancestry will contact me soon so we can solve this mystery!