6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 20, 2021 12:47 PM by Elliot Schneider

    Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton

    Gary Shelton Newbie

      How do I use the United States Mexican War Pension Index,1887-1926 to find information the index cards lead to? I found my great grandfather's name (Leonard McLeod) who became entangled with another man's name (Alfonzo Vinton, as an Alias) when it turned up that their wives both filed for the same widow's benefits.  I hope there are files behind the index records which might reveal the information I need to work with to sort out what happened, why the identity of the two men has become entwined and why two widows applied for the same soldier's pension when I have no evidence they each deserved it. My sixth sense tells me there's a case of stolen identity behind it all (at best) and at worst a case of one man somehow impersonating the other through the last half of his life.  I am reasonably certain a man known as Alonzo Vinton did served in the Mexican War; I am also reasonably certain a man known as Leonard McLeod did not.  I'm trying to prove or disprove that they are one-and-the-same person, and I feel there's information in those files which will assist my doing that.  Does anybody know how to access the files behind these index cards?

        • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
          Elliot Schneider Guide



          He is the same man with an alais or second indents who seemed to marry three different women over the years all being able to claim a pension.


          I found an Alonzo Vinton the the US Army registers of Enlistment of 18 Oct 1847 it states he was born in New York, St. Laurance County. Had him listed as a harness maker. Here is where he is burried




          I also found that a individual of Alonzo Vinton was sent to penitentiary for forgery and fraud of several individuals. Also found that he had like three wives.


          03 Jan 1850Fort Jefferson, Darke, Ohio, USA

          appointed U.S. Postmaster, as Alonzo Vinton; short service, as a new postmaster was appointed in 20 Mar 1850


          Convicted of Forgery

          07 Nov 1850Ohio, USA

          as Alonzo Vinton, sentenced to 3 years in the state pennitentary


          Military Warrant Land Grant

          20 Mar 1851

          Alonzo Vinton, Private in Captain Macres' Detachment, Eighth Regiment United States Infantry - Military Warrant 23.772 for 160 Acres in Edgar Co., IL - assigned to Samuel Davis from Alonzo Vinton by Charles S. Pomeroy, atty



          Aug 1853Darke County, Ohio, USA

          divorce of Alonzo Vinton finalized


          Hester "Hetty" BELLIS





          05 Sep 1857Canada

          marries as Alonzo Vinton


          Henrietta H. DRAPER




          07 Apr 1868Holden, Johnson, Missouri, USA

          marries as Leonard McLeod of Holden, Johnson Co., MO

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          • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
            Jason Atkinson Guide

            Dear Mr. Shelton,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Name Index to Mexican War Pensions, 1949 - 1949 in the Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Record Group 15).  This series indexes the series Case Files of Mexican War Pension Applications , ca. 1887 - ca. 1926. While some pension applications in this series have been digitized, the application for Leonard McLeod has not been digitized and is not available online. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov.


            Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.


            To request a copy of non-digitized military pension application files, please download the NATF Form 85, fill it out to the best of your knowledge, and mail the completed forms to the address listed on the form. Please include a copy of the card from the Index. You also may place your order online using eservices.archives.gov. For more information see Requesting Copies of Older (pre-WWI) Military Service Records.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


            • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
              Elliot Schneider Guide



              Name:Alonzo Vinton
              Spouse:Hetty Billis
              Spouse Gender:Female
              Marriage Date:18 Dec 1848



              Looks like a #2 Marriage in 1868 in MO this time he went back to using Leonard McLeod:




              Here is the court for Drake County over a dispute in the land. Alonzo Vinton is named vs William H. Seuman






              Showing the records for Drake County for divorce from Hester Vinton his first wife#1:


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              • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
                Elliot Schneider Guide



                Susan McLeod AKA Susan Glass first  husband Solomon Barnard, its possible either Alonzo went estrange or his wife went estranged with another man.




                Barnard, Solomon_CivilWarPensionApplication_NARA_2588825_roll151




                I also found this. Its possible that he did not divorce his second wife. That's why there was a duplicate widows pension because each women was technically still married to him. Its amazing that the courts did not seek paperwork for divorce papers?


                Pensions granted westerners



                24 Mar 1898

                was notified that she would no longer be receiving military pension for 2nd husband, as she is no longer considered the legal widow



                17 Mar 1894Colorado, USA

                filed for widow's pension for Alonzo Vinton, Mexican War veteran, application # 11958, contesting widow pension certificate #7270 of Susan McLeod






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                  • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
                    Gary Shelton Newbie

                    Hi, Elliot, and thanks for your work to find these documents! (I've seen all of them before, actually have them attached to my Ancerstry-dot-com tree)

                    I'd located the file index cards (6 in total) and now I'll need to follow Jason Atkinson's advice to contact the National Archives with a request for the files behind each one of them.

                    One question: I'm not sure what you meant saying, "its possible either Alonzo went estrange or his wife went estranged with another man." What I don't understand is "went estranged," so maybe you can help me with this term.  I appreciate that!

                    Also, What can you tell me about what it meant to have an alias or to be an alias in the Mexican War.  In later conflicts (eg. US Civil War), I understand that a soldier could arrange with another person to actually do the fighting for him; but, I can't find any reference to that occurring during the Mexican War.  So how does one become an alias for another and who is the alias for whom?  I have found nothing to indicate that, in this case, the name Leonard McLeod ever was involved, so I can't figure out why there'd be a pension available to him or to his widow.  It doew seem, however, that his wife Susan knew about a pension, and perhaps knew about a pension available under the name of Alonzo Vinton.  It's critical to note, in light of the Newspaper article of the pension granted to Alonzo Vinton in Neosho, MO, that there is no evidence that anyone of that name ever lived there, but Leonard McLeod in fact did.  Could it be that McLeod filed and obtained this pension by applying for it under the name Alonzo Vinton?

                    I'm interested to learn what you think, and also whether you have any family ties to me or these people, or if your interest in helping me is more because it's what you enjoy doing?

                    Thanks again, looking forward to hearing from you!

                      • Re: Seeking US Mexican War Pension records for widow of Alonzo Vinton
                        Elliot Schneider Guide



                        I'm just a genealogist that loves doing research more so on the military side of things. I have no affiliation to this family or any of your ancestors. To answer your question is that "estrange" means  a wife who no longer lives with her husband. So if you look there may have been like three marriages in between a few in the states and one for sure in Canada. It the "estrange case a husband or wife can technically be married by law but they decided to separate meaning not living together. Within this time frame its possible either one or the other left and possibly got married in Canada and did not tell the other spouse that they were actually married in the US. So its possible that one wife was the correct wife in getting benefits and the other one was denied until the Government found that he was technically still married to the other women.


                        The answer to your second question pertaining to "Alias" was used Some common reasons for a soldier using an alias include: Bounty jumpers who enlisted more than once in order to get paid bounty more than once. They would typically use different names each time. Soldiers who assumed a new identity at enlistment. This could have been done for various reasons, including someone who was trying to enlist underage, or maybe someone who had abandoned his family.


                        Also to point out that Alonzo Vinton aka Leonard McLeod did live in MO, you missed it from the last thread I posted he married in 1868 in the following, that because he knew he had a known "alias" and he went back to using it when he re-married Susan Glass "Bennett"


                        07 Apr 1868Holden, Johnson, Missouri, USA


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