Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - Thomas Morran

Thomas Morran

Representing: Union
G.A.R. Post: Post #86 Haller City (Arlington) WA


Unit History

  • 29th Wisconsin Infantry G

See full unit history

Thomas Morran
Full Unit History

29th WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Spring & Summer, 1862 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered In: 9/27/92 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered Out: 6/22/65 Shreveport, LA

Regimental History

REGIMENTAL HISTORY:

The 29th, a three year "western theater" regiment left the state of Wisconsin on 11/2/62. Upon reaching a point on the east bank of the Mississippi River - opposite Helena, Arkansas - part of the unit joined an expedition into the interior of the state after which it was engaged in picket and expeditionary duty until 12/23. The regiment then moved to Friar's point, Coahoma Co., MS and set up camp. While there four hundred of the regiment put to flight part of Confed. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry.

1863. On 1/11 the unit went to Devall's Bluff, Ark where it captured artillery, arms and prisoners. In February it took part in the Yazoo Pass expedition. On March 1st it was sent toward Vicksburg. On the way, it reached Port Gibson, MS in time to contribute greatly to that 5/1 conflict. In the battle that ensued, the 29th was assailed by heavy fire from the enemy who were positioned on top of a ridge and some woods on the right. The unit held its position and prevented a Rebel flank movement by keeping up a terrific fire. In this, the regiment's first battle, it lost 71 killed and wounded.

At Champion's Hill, (5/16) MS the regiment advanced across an open field toward a thickly timbered hill where the enemy was posted. Opening a concentrated fire the unit carried the Rebel position by bayonet, capturing some 300 prisoners while losing 114 killed and wounded.

The 29th next joined the siege of Vicksburg where it was positioned in the advanced trench works. After the fall of that fortress on 7/3/63 it found itself engaged at the second battle of Jackson and was afterwards involved in expedition, guard and picket duty. These assignments continued during the remainder of the summer and into the fall.

1864 actions involving the 29th included Cloutierville (4/22) and Sabine Cross Roads, both in Alabama. After that, in July, the regiment returned to Algiers near New Orleans. While there it was in a severe skirmish at Atchafalaya River. In the latter part of the year the unit moved into Arkansas where it spent the remainder of the year in heavy fatigue duty, picketing, and expeditions along the rivers of that state.

Early in January, 1865 the regiment went to Kennersville, near New Orleans. It remained there until February 5th when it joined the Union movement against Spanish Fort at Mobile, AL. With the fall of that place the 29th served in Mobile as provost (military police) guard before being sent to Shreveport on the same duty. Final muster came in that city on June 22nd.

Soldier History

SOLDIER:
Residence: Madison, WI   Age: 15.2 yrs. **
Enlisted/Enrolled: 8/21/62 Madison, WI   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 9/27/62
Mustered Out: 6/22/65 Shreveport, LA
Discharged: 7/65 Madison, WI
Highest Rank: Pvt.

Family History

PERSONAL/FAMILY HISTORY:

*ED. NOTE: This veteran's birth surname was Moran. Further, that was how he signed his name in later life. During the Civil War, however, his surname primarily appeared as Morran. Whether or not the additional "r" was intentional or accidental is not known as available documents do not include Thomas' initial enlistment papers. Herein, though, we will follow this man's life under the surname Moran.

Additionally, throughout the Moran story individual first names are documentally found spelled in a variety of ways. The ones chosen for usage are those which have appeared most consistently within available documents.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

** From the beginning, chronicling the life path of Thomas Moran has not been an easy task. Even his birth data - date, month and year - is questionable in available documents. However, for our purposes we are accepting June 4, 1847.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

Although the Moran family cannot be found in the census annals for either 1840 or 1850, Thomas was reportedly born in Wellsville, Allegany County, New York. Allegany County is located in the lower southwest corner of the state not far from the Pennsylvania border.  His father, Patrick Moran, was born in 1810 Ireland.  Thomas' mother, Mary Morarty was also Irish. Her birth year was 1820. While the year was 1840 or earlier, exactly when Patrick and Mary came to America is not known. Also not documented is whether they were married in Ireland or the U.S.

Patrick and Mary, whether single or married, likely entered the U.S. at New York, New York. Where they initially may have settled is not known, but - as noted - as of 1847 they were reported as living in Wellsville.

The first U.S. Census denoting the Moran family is from Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin in 1860. In that tally Patrick's occupation is listed as "laborer." What drew the family from New York to Wisconsin is not documented. The move westward, however, came sometime between 1855 and '60.

As of 1860 Patrick and Mary's children were noted as follows: John (b. 1840 NY), Hatt [Nettie?] (b. 1842 NY), William (b. 1844 NY), Thomas (b. 1846 NY), Mary (b. 1852 NY) and Margar[et?] (b.1855 NY).

Initial information on Thomas outside of his birth family comes from 8/21/62, the date when - in Madison, WI where he was residing, likely with his parents - he enlisted for 3 years in Captain Festner's company of the 29th Wisconsin Infantry. That organization subsequently became Co. "G" of the 29th.

At enlistment Thomas' vital statistics were noted as: Age = 17 [Ed. Note: Accepting Thomas' birth date as 6/4/47, he would have been aged 15.2 years of age]; Height = 5'6.5"; Eyes = blue; Complexion = light; Occupation = farmer. For enlisting Thomas received a $100 signing bonus or "bounty", $25 of which was paid up front with the balance to be received in later increments.

During the waning months of 1862 company muster rolls would show Private Moran as "present for duty." The same continued into and through 1863 with one exception, that being when he was absent for a time on "detached service. The nature of that assignment is not documented.

Private Moran continued to be borne on the rolls as present throughout 1864. During this calendar year the only notation on his muster sheets were that for several months he was "entitled to $6 back pay for (the) months of May and June."

1865. In June Private Moran settled his clothing and financial accounts with the government, received back pay owed him plus the remaining $75 of his enlistment bonus/bounty and said goodbye to the U.S. Army. His period of wartime service had proven to be very benign.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

With military service behind him Thomas resettled in Madison, WI where he would remain until 1879. Whether or not an initial or other portion of this time was in his parents' home is not known. While he would reportedly remain in Wisconsin until 1879 his whereabouts are not found in the census for 1870.  The following year he married to a woman named Martha (sic) Oleson. 

On 8/7/82 in Dane County, Wisconsin Martha (plaintiff) filed the following document against (defendant) Thomas in the local circuit court: "In the month of October, 1871 (defendant Oleson) intermarried with defendant. That one child William Moran has been born to them. Said child was legitimized by said marriage and is now 9 months of age. Plaintiff and defendant have resided in this state for more than one year last past. That ever since the marriage and although of sufficient ability (def) has refused, neglected and still refuses and neglects to furnish her a home or to provide her with the necessities of life and has totally abandoned and deserted plaintiff willfully and dedignedly and against plaintiff's consent has relegated her to her father's home. Plaintiff seeks annulment of said marriage and she may have the custody of said child...and further relief as court may see fit." As best as can be determined the case dragged through court into 1873 when, on 2/24 of that year a judgement of divorce was granted and the marriage between the plaintiff and defendant was dissolved. Plaintiff received custody and care of the child. Defendant had to cover her costs...........What actually came out of this legal decree is not known.

It appears that following the above legal finding Thomas remained in Wisconsin. While his residence was likely in Madison, such is not documented. As previously noted, he remained in that state - in Madison-  until sometime in 1879 when he removed, apparently to Iowa, for that is where on 2/7/80 (or '81) in Muscatine he married anew to Avelena [there are several spellings of the name] E. Sichman/Sickman (b. 8/16/58 Scott Co., IA). The union would produce three children: Jessie "Jess" T. (b. 12/2/82 IA), Lorena M. (b. 7/21/88 WA Terr.) and Elmor P. (b. 1892 WA).

As noted by the birth places of the Moran children, Thomas and his new bride initially resided Iowa but, while the year is unclear, at some point they quitted that state for Crystall Falls, Michigan and, from there, continued to move westward to Washington Territory where they put down roots in or near the Snohomish County community of Arlington. They were there at least by mid-1888 as that was where and when second child, daughter Lorena, was born. As is often the case, what had drawn first the couple and, then, the family westward is not documented. Also not documented is Thomas' employment situation throughout those years.

1893. This is the year during which Thomas' life saga took a strange twist when, around July, in Cook County, Illinois one Catherine/Katherine O'Connor (b. ca. 1855) filed a court claim stating that she and Thomas Moran had been married and never divorced. According to her story, the two had met in 1866 when both he and she were working at the Madison (Wisconsin) insane asylum. While Thomas' position at the institution is not specified, she was a nurse. When Thomas left the asylum he worked/resided on a farm 9 or 10 miles outside of town. He also later resided in Baraboo, WI. The two were wed 8/17/1875 at the Waukegan, WI Immaculate Conception Church.

The "alleged" Mrs. Moran's story continues thusly: "He lived with me about three weeks and then went away to build railroads in Iowa (saying) he would be back in ten days. I (subsequently) received two letters (from him dated 10/2/74 [Ed.: This date is pre-wedding] and 9/19/75) which I still have, but never saw him again. Sometime later I heard of a man with his name in Wisconsin. I wrote him but he was not the man." Further, "In June, 1893 just before I filed my claim I was in Madison, WI and saw his sister Nettie. She said he (Thomas) was killed on a railroad up north in Wisconsin a number of years - 6 or 7 - before. She also said that her mother had tried to get a pension and that her cousin, (now dead) went to where the soldier was buried. The sister wrote me a letter, later that she could find out no more about it so I cannot furnish any more proof of his death than the evidence of persons who know that he was not been heard from for a long space of time."

It appears that from 1893 when Katherine/Catherine Moran filed the above claim, her case continued through the pension courts. Further, on 8/3/96 she filed paperwork to try and obtain a U.S. Government widow's pension based on the alleged death of her supposed soldier husband Thomas. This, coupled with information regarding a Thomas Moran having gotten married in 1861 – then-soldier Moran would have been a “very” young teenager - plus indications that soldier Moran was alive and well in Washington State, prompted pension officials to travel to the remote wilderness community of Arlington to interview Thomas.

On 3/9/98, in Arlington, Washington, Thomas Moran deposed the following: "I have resided here for the past 8 years.  I knew a woman named Catherine O'Connor at one time. I became acquainted with her at Madison about 1866 or '67. I went off on a trip with her once from Chicago about 1876 or '77. If I was married to her on that trip I have no knowledge of it and did not know what I was doing.......I have no knowledge of what became of her. I took that trip with her and then took off on a railroad job in Iowa." Shortly thereafter, on 3/25/98, Katherine/Catherine's widow's pension claim was rejected. Although during this same month records were apparently disclosed which confirmed a wedding ceremony on 8/18/75 involving Katherine/Catherine O'Connor and a Thomas Moran, nothing appears to have come from this to affect Thomas and Avelena. *** The latter, however, must have been shaken by the entire process.

As the 20th century dawned Thomas and Avelena continued to live out their lives in Arlington, Washington. The census for 1900 noted Thomas, with a birth year of 1849, employed in a local hotel. Besides his wife, under the roof of his home was son Jessie and Avelena's 78 year old German mother, Marie. If the population tally for that community taken ten years later is to be believed, Thomas, his wife and all three of their children were residing in the Arlington home. The ages given for all, however, appear quite discrepant in terms of youth, compared to earlier tallies. Thomas' occupation on this occasion was listed as "farmer," 1910 would be his last census.

Dropping back a year, in July, 1909 Thomas, himself - now employed as a merchant -  finally got around to seeking a U.S. Government pension, based on his days of Civil War soldiering. As no documents are available relating to diseases, etc. tracing back to those days, when such a pension was granted, it was apparently on age, alone.

In 1912 the former army private's stipend began in an amount of $15.50. On 6/4/14 the payment increased to $18 and, on 6/4 of the following year it raised to $24. A 1918 increase to $30 was to be the peak payment received by Private Moran.

Thomas Moran died 3/15/19 in Arlington, WA. No documental cause of death is available. Burial was in the Arlington's Haywood Cemetery.

****************************************************************************************************************************************

After her husband's passing Avelena remained in Arlington. The census for 1920 found she and her 90 year old mother in the home of her son Elmor and family.  

That same year, in May, the widow Moran filed papers to continue receiving at least a portion of her late soldier-husband's pension stipend. Because of the earlier controversy about Thomas having married to her, without having divorced an earlier spouse, the following was written by the pension office: "It is very probable that Avelena believes that the soldier was never married prior to her marriage to him. He refused to acknowledge he was married to Catherine when questioned by a special examiner of this bureau who had some special knowledge of his earlier marital history; therefore he would probably make more positive statements to his wife Avelena for purpose of convincing her he was not a bigamist...no further action is deemed necessary on the case at this time." Although a dollar amount is not known, Avelena was granted a pension stipend.

Avelena Moran died on 8/12/1925 in Oakland, Alameda Co. CA. Likely her death came while visiting married daughter Lorena who resided in nearby Berkley. Still a resident of Arlington, her earthly remains were returned to Washington State for burial beside Thomas.

*** Footnote: On 2/23/22 in Chicago Catherine O'Connor (Moran) had acknowledged receipt of a government pension office letter informing her of Thomas' 1919 death. In response, she reiterated her marriage to him on 8/18/75 and thanked the sender for the information..........The end.

Cemetery

Buried at Arlington Cemetary

Adopt-a-Vet Sponsor


©2016 Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State • All Rights Reserved.