37. Robert John HARMON8,9,44,45,46 was born on 21 February 1824 in Marion County, Indiana.4 He died on 7 January 1900 at the age of 75 in Oklahoma Territory.46 He was buried in Chester Cemetery, Major County, Oklahoma.47
DAR #610043, Virginia Alice Buckles, gives his birth as 21 Feb 1824, as does the manuscript in Surname File at Lebanon Public Library, rather than 1825 as given to me by Harmon researchers.
Married 7 Oct 1844, at her father's residence, Boone Co, IN by Jonas L. Belotte, Minister of the Gospel. [from Widow'd pension]. Marriage record image is on FamilySearch. License was issued 7 Oct 1844, Boone Co. to Robert John Harman and Sarah Dye, both of Boone Co. Sarah's consent was personally given by her father; Robert had a certificate.
1850 Census. Dist 7, Boone Co, IN, Hh 1599
Iowa State Census. 1856. Nevada, Story Co. Hh 43
1860 Census. Robert J. Harmon and Sarah were living in Eagle Twp, Boone. Co. Most of the children were born in Iowa between 1854 and 1858 so it seems they moved there but came back to Indiana.
USGenWeb; Boone Co:
I have been unable to find the family in 1870. In his pension testimony, Robert said that was that the family went back to Story Co, Iowa in the mid 1860's and that in 1870 they moved to Beatrice, Nebraska. Beatrice is the county seat of Gage Co.
1880 Census, Liberty, Osborne Co, Kansas, p.347D: R. J. Harmon, age 55, b. IN, both parents born in KY. Sarah, wife, age 56, born in Ohio; her parents born in Pennsylvania. Eliza J. Roe, daughter, age 29 and born in Iowa shown as living with them, but she was also listed with her husband.
1885 Kansas State Censes. Victor, Osborne Co Kansas, Hh 11
Robert claimed disability and drew a pension for his service in the Civil War; his widow claimed the pension after he died. He was asked to list his living children and their birthdates. The five living children were at that time, Sarah, Malissa, Eliza, James, and Isaac.
The pension file contains 210 pages - more pages than the days he served. Robert enlisted 1 Aug 1862 at Lebanon, IN for three years. His service record shows he was present in September and October but on 25 Nov he was sent the hospital at Camp Gallatin, TN. It was noted that at one time he was admitted to the regimental hospital with "sore eyes'. He was discharged at Gallatin on 27 Dec 1862 with a Certificate of Disability which is in the file. Robert applied for an invalid pension based on the fact his feet had been frozen due to exposure and the toes of his right foot amputated. However, testimony of others revealed that prior to the War he had a rather long-standing drinking problem and had his feet frozen at least twice and his toes had been amputated prior to his enlistment. He should never have been allowed in the Army as he was not fit for long marches, but friends and family thought perhaps it would help his family - probably because he would be paid as a soldier.
At the time of his application, May of 1881, Robert and family were living in Covert, Osborne Co, Kansas; he was age 54. Examination by the doctor did reveal that his right leg was much atrophied and the hip joint tender, undoubtedly from walking on the damaged foot. In one deposition, he claimed the doctor that treated him was now dead and at another time he even claimed his wife had treated him following the War and she had amputated his toes. He considered this a second amputation based on freezing his feet again while on guard duty during a snow storm - then he decided she had only removed some bone fragments. I could not help but wonder if his alcohol usage had clouded his brain and he perhaps believed since he was then living in Kansas, the government would not question his claim, or seek testimony back in Indiana.
His Lt. testified to putting Harmon to work as a teamster since he was unable to march, but apparently that hadn't worked out too well either as he lasted only a few days at that job. His neighbors in Kansas that had not known him earlier, were all convinced his disability was from his war service - so he didn't just lie to the pension board.
His case was brought to the attention of a Special Examiner in 1884 - the man broke his shoulder and was unable to continue the investigation and it was turned over to a second Special Examiner the next year. Both concluded Harmon's application should be rejected and he be prosecuted for fraud - the latter examiner also stated that Harmon himself had committed perjury and influenced others to do the same.. At one point in an interview, Harmon stated he wished to withdraw his claim. The papers indicate the case was again brought before the Pensions Board of Review for "Re-review". Another Special Examiner was appointed in 1886 and again he made an exhaustive inquiry concerning all the allegations resulting in the same conclusion - Harmon had made a fraudulent claim and should be prosecuted. But there is nothing in the file to indicate there ever was any prosecution - perhaps the changes in the pension laws, from requiring that the disability was incurred as a result of service, to simply awarding a pension for disability happened in the interim.
At any rate, Robert John Harmon continued to apply for an invalid pension. By 1890, he not only suffered from the rheumatism associated with the half-amputated foot, but also had chronic diarrhea and disease of the eyes. The usual physical examinations by a board of three doctors are included in the file. On 9 Jan 1891, he was approved for a pension of $12 per month under the Act of 27 Jun 1890.
In 1897, Robert applied for an increase in his pension; he was now age 73 and they were living in Oklahoma Territory. His physical exam states he was emaciated, much debilitated, walked half bent over with steps short and feeble. His sore eyes were diagnosed as trachoma - a leading cause of blindness in that time frame. Seems to be no question that he was certainly disabled, but he seems not to have received an increase. He was dropped from the pension rolls when he died in early 1900.
His wife Sarah applied for her widow's pension within a few days of his death - he died January 7, 1900 and she applied on the 25th. She was living in Bostick [no longer a town], Woods County, Oklahoma Territory. The file contains the certified copy of their marriage from Boone Co, Indiana. Testimony of some of her neighbors was disputed because they had not known her long enough to testify that she had lived with Robert ever since the marriage. She did receive a pension - $8 per month until her death. A letter from a granddaughter that is in the file, relates that, Sarah, too, was nearly blind in her old age. One of the doctors testified to treating their daughter for "sore eyes" when they still lived in Indiana. Trachoma is a bacterial infection - perhaps it spread through the family.
Robert John HARMON and Sarah "Sallie" DYE were married on 7 October 1844 in Boone County, Indiana. Sarah "Sallie" DYE, daughter of George W. DYE and Sarah Hanna CALVERT, was born on 12 January 1823 in Ohio.4 She died on 12 November 1911 at the age of 88 in Woodward County, Oklahoma.8
George Findley has:
1900 Census. Oklahoma Territory, Woods County, Bishop Twp Hh 40
Would appear that Sarah may have died in Alfalfa Co OK, since that was where she was living in 1910. DAR application states she died in Woodward Co - Chester OK was in Major Co.
1910 Census. Spring Twp, Alfalfa Co OK, ED 11, Hh 232
FindAGrave.com: Memorial # 28080804.
Robert John HARMON and Sarah "Sallie" DYE had the following children: