Civil War Blog

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Frederick Ruben or Reuben Frederick? Valley View Veteran.

Posted By on June 30, 2017

In the 1890 Veterans’ Census of Weishample, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, a Ruben Frederick was enumerated as a solider who served in the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company I, as a Private.  In compiling the original list of veterans from the Lykens Valley area, this veteran was incorrectly identified as Frederick Ruben.  Of course this posed some problems in obtaining additional information about him.

In searching for a Frederick Ruben in the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, no such person was found.  However, the hints coming up on Ancestry.com suggested that this person was a Jewish Civil War Veteran who served in the 12th Illinois Cavalry, and was not a Pennsylvanian.  Likewise, other than than the 1890 census, no person with the Ruben surname and a given name similar to Frederick was found in any census in the Lykens Valley area.  Returning to the original identification source – the 1890 Veterans’ Census – the error was discovered, and the search was re-started with Frederick (or Fredericks) as the surname, and Ruben (or Reuben) as the given name.

The Pennsylvania Archives‘ File Card correctly identified the individual as Reuben Fredericks,who also appeared on the rolls as Rubin Frederick. He enrolled at Philadelphia on 25 February 1862 at age 30, in the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company I, as a Private.  No other information is provided on the card, except that he was mustered into service at Philadelphia on that same day. No discharge date was given on the card, with the statement that this individual was “not on the Muster Out roll.”

According to the 1890 Census, the dates of service were 12 February 1862 through discharge on 13 October 1862.  The October discharge date would seem to indicate that Reuben Fredericks‘ service was not full term – and possibly was shortened by a medical discharge.

The answer to the reason for the discharge, is most likely found in the Pension Application Records available from the National Archives.  The Pension Index Card, shown above from Ancestry.com, shows that Reuben Frederick applied for disability benefits in September 1878, which he received.  A widow, Catharine Frederick, applied for benefits from Pennsylvania in March 1902, which she received. The card above is from Ancestry.com.

In 1860, Ruben Frederick and his wife Catharine lived in Hegins, Schuylkill County, where he was working as a farm laborer.

In 1870, Reuben Frederick and his wife Catharine lived in Barry Township, Schuylkill County, where he was working as a laborer.

As previously stated, in 1890 Ruben Frederick was living in Weishample, Schuylkill County.

In 1900, Reuben Frederick was living in Barry Township, Schuylkill County, with his wife Katherine, where he gave his occupation as “cripple.”

In the 1860 and 1870 census, there are possible sons and daughters in the household.  An 1880 census of Berks County has been located which has both a Reuben and a Catherine, or about correct ages – but the children don’t completely match those in the earlier censuses.

Reuben Frederick died before March 1902, the date that Catherine applied for pension benefits.

In checking Ancestry.com family trees, several persons have his birth date as 2 January 1827 or 1828, and the death date as 22 February 1902.

Finally, several Ancestry.com members have attached the above portrait to Reuben Frederick, without giving a source.  Is this a portrait of Reuben Frederick? Perhaps a blog reader can give a source which will help to confirm (or deny) that this is his portrait.

Much more information is sought about this veteran – his service and his life after the war.  Please add comments to this blog post and/or send via e-mail.




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