Tag Archives: Preserve the Pensions

1812 Miles Report for March 2015

Another month is down, and it has been a very successful one in my quest to complete 1812 miles by swimming, biking, or running. You might call this my own personal triathlon campaign for the War of 1812 Preserve the Pension project! Remember the challenge is out there for one and all to complete the project with funds raised before I complete the 1812 miles combined, and the miles on bike as a stand-alone goal. The table below shows my progress to date:

Disciple/Month February March Total
Swim Miles 1.25 .5 1.75
Bike Miles 80 240 320
Run Miles 49 97.3 146.3
Grand Total Miles 130.25 337.8 468.05

So with 468.05 total miles completed as of Saturday, 28 March 2015 that leaves 1343.95 miles to completion of the combined challenge, and 1492 miles for the completion of the additional stand-alone bike challenge.

On Saturday, 7 March I ran the Rex Lee Run of Cancer Research in behalf of several of my friends, and family battling with it. One of whom is Pat Oxley (Former FGS President) who by the way was one of the driving forces behind the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Project.


In this photo, I am pointing to the name of brother in-law “Alfred Krahenbuhl”, however Pat Oxley’s name is also on the wall at the race.  Perhaps another way we can honor our colleagues battling with cancer is to contribute to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pension Project on their behalf. Hey, just a thought!


In this photo I am at my racking (Staging) area for the Icebreaker Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, 21 March 2015. As you can see, I am very serious about completing this challenge. It was also the day before my 61st birthday. My thoughts were with the valiant Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines that fought in the War of 1812. As I ran the race, I thought about them, swimming rivers, riding their horses over rough roads and pathways, and marching over some of that same terrain while carrying 40 to 50 pounds of gear. Yes, the very veterans we are trying to preserve the pensions for. Let’s not forget about what they have done not only for our Nation, but for us. Help lighten their burdens by contributing to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pension Project.

So what is on the docket for April? With the weather getting better with each passing day, you can rest assured that I will be out there completing the needed miles. On Saturday, 25 April 2015, I will be running in the “South Shore 5K – Helping our Neighbors in Need” which is hosted by the Interfaith Social Services Center in Quincy, Massachusetts. I will also be speaking at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference in Providence, RI from 14 – 18 April. So all of you out there in New England stop by and say hello and please contribute to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pension Project. Until the end of next month – THANK YOU!


10 Ways to Help PTP Today

genealogy, Preserve the Pensions, War of 1812, help, volunteer, donate, contribute, easy, history, military history, war, American, America, US, USA, US History, American history, Army

The team at Preserve the Pensions (PTP) is always looking for ways to reach our community. We thought we’d make it easy this week, and give you ten very easy things you can do to help us reach our goal to digitally preserve the War of 1812 Pension files.

1. Share our blog posts on social media! Use hashtag #Warof1812 to let your friends know about our efforts. You can tag us on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest.

2. Set up a monthly donation. It’s super easy! And for the price of a pizza, a latte, or a new pack of Sharpie’s, you can make a big contribution by the end of the year!

3. Add a widget to your blog or website, and link it back to our homepage: www.preservethepensions.org.

4. Research your War of 1812 ancestor using these amazing documents found on Fold3.com for FREE and then write their story! No blog? We’ll publish the story for you right here on Preserve the Pensions blog.

5. Take PTP flyers to your local society meeting, library, museum, corporate donor program, or other venue. You can order them for free and we’ll mail them to you!

6. Ask your company to contribute! Corporate donations make a huge impact when matched by Ancestry.com!

7. Create a way for your society do host a matching campaign or fundraiser. Can your society raise $500 this year toward’s the cause?

8. Volunteer! PTP is in need of folks to help with numerous tasks! We have space for you on our marketing team, major donors committee, publications team, social media, society campaigns and more! If you have an interest, please contact us to learn more.

9. Share one or all of our four videos on the project. Share them on your social media, website, blog, at your society, with your mayor and the local dog walker! Share them with everyone!

10. Donate! Every little bit helps, so donate today!

Remember, every $45 donation can save 200 pages of these records with a matching grant from Ancestry.com. What can you contribute today?


Mary Carson Aston

Figure 1: Obituary of Mary Carson Aston

Figure 1: Obituary of Mary Carson Aston

Who is Mary Carson Aston? According to her obituary, Mary was “ever regarded as a lady of high moral worth and true womanly graces.”[1] Mary Carson Aston demonstrated tremendous fortitude while living her life on the rough western frontier.

Mary Carson Aston was the widow of Richard Aston, a member of the Indiana Militia and a veteran of the War of 1812. Richard served in the Indiana Militia in 1812 and 1813.[2]

Mary requested a widow’s pension in 1871 for the service rendered by her husband during the War of 1812. The pension was rejected 22 May 1872 due to Mary’s death on 2 August 1871 and the lack of declaration “oath” to support the Constitution not filed. In essence, Mary never had the chance to prove she did not remarry after her husband’s death, passing away herself before the application process was resolved.[3]

The pension file included a newspaper listing her obituary from which I gleaned that “Mary Aston was born in Ireland Dec. 20th 1786…” The obituary further documents Mary’s migration from Ireland to Kentucky to New Albany, Indiana, where she would spend the remainder of her life.

With only a few hours available each week and limited resources at my disposal, I reviewed documentation gathered to examine the life of Mary Carson Aston. I was now restricted by the fact that I could only complete additional research online from my home in Utah. Knowing that this would constitute a partially “exhaustive search” in accordance with accepted Genealogical Proof Standards, I decided to push forward. I hoped that the research I completed would allow others to follow-up on my discoveries and pursue them to a logical conclusion.

In addition to the newspaper obituary, the pension file contained letters supporting Mary’s claim for a widow’s pension and the necessary government forms requesting that the pension be granted. With the information gleaned from this file, I searched online databases in the hope that I could find clues to help document Mary’s life. These databases gave me a rough outline of her family structure. I then expanded my research to include military service records, local histories, census records and other online resources.

From these records, I learned that Mary’s father was John Carson, born before 1766 and Mary had at least four siblings, who were named Jonathan, Jane, Sarah & Elizabeth.[4]

I discovered that Mary Carson and Richard Aston were married in Indiana around 1807 and her obituary lists that the couple had thirteen children, but only two lived to adulthood: Nanina and John H. Aston.

Nanina Aston was born in 1810 and died in 1892. She married John Livingston.[5] Mary’s obituary indicates that she died in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Livingston. Considering this and the fact that Nanina is referenced as a witness in the documents provided with the pension and bounty land warrant, and the unindexed Bounty Land Application files application[6], it seems likely that Mary and Nanina remained close to one another throughout their lives.

Richard, Mary, and John appear together in New Albany on the 1850 US Census, which was taken on 14 August 1850. Mary’s birthplace is listed as Ireland on this census, and it is noted that Mary could neither read nor write. According to this census, Richard had likely retired by the age of 64.[7] According to the pension file, Richard died 16 August 1850 at his home in New Albany just two days after the census was recorded.[8]

Figure 2: Aston family listed on the 1850 United States Federal Census

Figure 2: Aston family listed on the 1850 United States Federal Census

On 12 June 1860, Mary is listed as the head of household on the 1860 US Census. John H. Aston is listed in the household as well. Mary’s birthplace is again listed as Ireland and it is documented again that she can neither read nor write.[9]

There is a great deal of additional research that should be completed to define Mary’s life as well as the lives of her closest family members but from the records I have compiled thus far, one thing is clear:

As an illiterate woman living on the edge of civilization, Mary Carson Aston was, indeed, a woman worthy of our respect and one of the many admirable pioneer women of our nation and the records that initiated this review of Mary’s life are a testament to the value of the War of 1812 pension files.

Written by Michael J. Hall & Toby L. Broderick

Do you have a War of 1812 story to share? Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know! Be sure to donate today to preserve Mary’s story, along with thousands of others yet to be found.

[1] “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files.” database and images, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 17 March 2015), entry for Richard Aston and widow Mary, page 16, Indiana. http://www.fold3.com/image/247/274375508/

[2] “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, “database and images, Fold3.com http://www.fold3.com : entry for Richard Aston and widow Mary, page 5, Indiana. http://www.fold3.com/image/247/274375483/

[3] “War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, “database and images, Fold3.com http://www.fold3.com : entry for Richard Aston and widow Mary, page 3, Indiana. http://www.fold3.com/image/247/274375479/

[4] L. A. Williams & Company History of the Ohio falls cities and their counties: Precincts of Jefferson County, Ky. General histories of Clarkand Floyd counties, Ind. New Albany and Floyd County. Clark County and Jeffersonville, (1882), pages 239-240; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 17 March 2015).

[5] Findagrave.com. database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 17 March 2015), memorial page for Nanina Aston Livingston (1810-1892), Find A Grave memorial no. 90,548,528, citing Fairview Cemetery, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana. http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=livingston&GSfn=nanina&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=90548528&df=all&

[6] Certificate no. 55-120-44965 in Richard Aston, Indiana Militia Capt Peacall, Indiana, War of 1812, Unindexed Bounty Land Application file; Records of the Bureau of Land management, Record Group 49, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[7] “1850 United States Federal Census,” database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 17 March 2015), entry for Richard Aston (age 64), New Albany, Indiana. https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12069-52639-95?cc=1401638

[8] Findagrave.com.database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 17 March 2015), memorial page for Richard Aston (1786-1850), Find A Grave memorial no. 99,122,173, citing Fairview Cemetery, New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana. http://findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=aston&GSfn=richard&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=99122173&df=all&

[9] “1860 United States Federal Census,” database, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 17 March 2015), entry for Mary Aston (age 73), New Albany, Indiana. digital image: http://www.fold3.com/image/51360483/