Selected Documents

From the Pension File of

Harrison W. Hartzell

1866 - 1931

Researched By Stephen J. Hartzell

Catherine (Shuff) & Harrison W. Hartzell (Hatzell)
Behind 471 W. Perry St., Tiffin, Ohio, About 1913
(This is the only known picture of Harrison Hartzell)

Other 8th OVI Pages
Incidents of Camp Life With the 8th Ohio Infantry
Harrison Hartzell's Service Record - 8th OVI & 4th OVI
Letters From the 8th Ohio Infantry Published in the Tiffin Tribune During The War

August 18, 1866


On this 18th day of August A.D. 1866, before me, a Judge of a Court of Record, in and for the County and State aforesaid, personally appeared Harrison Hartzel aged 23 years, a resident of Tiffin in the State of Ohio who, being first duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Harrison Hartzel who enlisted in the service of the United States at Tiffin, Ohio on the 31st day of March 1862, as a Private in company I, 8th Regiment of Ohio Infantry Vols., in the war of 1861, and was honorably discharged on the 25th day of April 1865; that while in the service aforesaid and in the line of his duty, he recieved the following disability, to wit:
On the 17th day of September 1862, at the Battle of Antietem, he recieved a gun shot wound in the left cheek. The ball entered the left cheek and passed out bottom right jaw bone, breaking the lower jaw, and penetrating the tongue. His speach has been greatly impeded by the wound, and his power of mastification impaired.
Said Harrison Hartzel hereby constitutes and appoints A. H. Byers his attorney to prosecute this claim and recieve the Pension Certificate to which he is entitled by reason of the disability above stated.

Applicant's Signature.
Harrison Hartzell
Attest, John Fell, M. Johnson

Also personally appeared John Fell and William Newson residents of              whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being duly sworn, depose and say they were present and saw Harrison Hartzel sign his name to the forgoing declaration; and further swear, that, from the appearance of the applicant, and their aquaintance with him, he is the identical person he represents himself to be; and further state that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.
Witnesses Signatures;
John Fell, William Newson (his mark)

Note: There were no further communications filed by Harrison Hartzell untill 1887. He claimed that this was due to the fact that his attorney had moved away, which he did in fact do. Also Harrison himself moved to Hamilton Co., Indiana, and did not return to Tiffin until about 1876. By the time he renewed his claim, his 1st wife & oldest son had died, and his youngest was adopted out. His remaining son was raised at the Infirmary, and later at St. Francis Orphanage. Then he was remarried in 1882. Through all of his post-war years, he had a difficult time supporting his family, in large part due to his injuries, but also due to the Depression which held it's grip on the entire nation. Another factor was that the Government was saddled with an enormous debt after the war, and few pensions were approved prior to an 1882 Act of Congress.

Drs. McCollum, Spooner & Fanning
Seneca County Medical Review Board
October 5, 1887

Pulse rate per minute, 100; respiration, 18; temperature, 98-2; height, 5 feet 4 inches; weight, 130; age 46 years.

Upon examination we find the following objective conditions:
Tongue very red & tissued. There is a cicatrix on left side of tongue one inch posterior to point extending beyond, toward right side of the misial line, contracted depressed and firmly adherent to floor of mouth, causing defective mastication & deglutition & articulation. There is a cicatrix on left cheek one inch posterior to angle of mouth 1/2 inch in diameter. Ball passed through left cheek, tongue & fractured right inferior maxilary bone 1/2 inch posterior to mental foramen from which point bone was removed through the mouth. There is thickening of the bone at this point & tenderness & abnormal fullness or prominence at right cheek over the fracture. There are 2 small cicatrices each 4 lines in diameter, one external to mental foramen & one 1/2 inch posterior to mental foramen, each tender, depressed & adherent to bone. Muscles of left cheek atrophied. Heart accelerated & tumultous. Claimant is suffering from slight mental aberations from effects of wound.
All organs of special sense except taste normal. All internal organs except heart normal. Muscular system except at about wound lax and flabby. Nervous system irritable & morbidly sensitive.

E. J. McCollum, H. Spooner, Jus. F. E. Fanning

NOTE: Refferences to "mental aberations" and "irritable & morbidly sensitive" are clear indications of a condition we now know as "shell shock" or "post traumatic syndrome", conditions that we are just now beginning to understand.

Handwritten Letter

October 22, 1887

“Replying to your inquiry of the 18th instant relative to the claim of Harrison Hatzell late of Co. A, 4th Reg. Ohio Battalion. I have to say that the correct way to spell my name is as found on the enclosed certificate of service. (Hatzell) The way it is spelled in the last certificate or declaration (Hatzell) is right. The way that it was spelled in the declaration filed April 26, 1867 (Hartzell) is as his relatives spelled their names in the East. But before the war I spelled it as I do now (Hatzell) and that either way is correct.

The reason my claim in 1867 was never completed was because my attorney, who was Mr. Byers went away and there was nothing more done with my case. I am certainly entitled to pension on my first application, it being filed in time for the arrears act.

Awaiting your reply through my attorney R. W. Brown I remain;

Harrison Hatzell”



(Note: Harrison’s pension was approved at a rate of $4 per month retroactive to April 25, 1865)


(also wounded at Antietam, later an MD in Tiffin, Ohio)

October 20, 1890

“I have known Harrison Hatzell since March 1862. Saw him on the battlefield of Antietam Sept. 17, 1862 where he had received a gunshot wound through the mouth. The ball passed in the left cheek and passed out on the right. Knocked out four teeth on the left side and three on right breaking the submaxilary (lower jaw) bone on right side also cutting a deep furrow through the tongue. There is a shortening of the right side of the submaxilary bone, so much so that the upper and lower teeth do not fit together, thereby making mastication (chewing) very imperfect. The wound in the tongue, which very nearly cut it in two, makes it very difficult for him to be understood in conversation, and that disability seems to be increasing. Also the imperfect mastication has produced a catarrhal (inflammation) trouble of the stomach and bowels which is also increasing his disability.”

(Note: Dr. West remained in Tiffin after the War and practiced medicine. He died in 1903 and was buried at Rock Creek Cemetery.)


(Seneca County Medical Review Board)

August 24, 1898

“There is a cicatrix (scar) one inch to the left of the left angle of the mouth, one inch vertical diameter by 1/2 inch transversely depressed and adherent, tender. There is another cicatrix, 2 inches posterior to symphysis of lower maxillary (jaw) bone right side where the ball was removed. The jaw was fractured at this point with loss of bone tissue. Cicatrix extending back along maxillary bone 1 1/2 inch vertically in diameter 1/2 inch transversely adherent, tender. depressed and dragging. There is no teeth in the inferior maxillary bone. The ball in it’s way cut across upper portion of the tongue one inch posterior to the tip of the tongue leaving a cicatrix in it’s course 2 inch transversely in diameter by 1/2 anterior posteriorly, contracted, tender, interfering seriously with the movement of the tongue. The wound of jaw and tongue seriously impair the act of mastication (chewing) and deglutition (swallowing), sense of taste impaired, the act of chewing produces cramping of the muscles beneath the tongue. The tenderness of the wound of jaw bone and tongue precludes the possibility of wearing a set of artificial teeth. The mastication of food is improperly done, and as a result the claimant is not properly nourished and is not able to do any manual labor. He is a plasterer by trade but cannot do any labor. No vicious habits, no evidence of syphilis.”

Dr. Robert C. Chamberlain
Affidavit - March 17, 1908

I have this day examined Harrison Hatzell and find that he has a gunshot wound of mouth cheek & tongue, right maxilary bone having been fractured. He suffers a great deal from neuralgia on the right side of head & face - is not able to wear an artificial plate - and as he has no teeth is not able to masticate well, giving rise to indigestion and frequent attacks of diahrea. This totally unfitts him for manual labor, and the injury to the tongue makes it hard for him to speak distinctly.

Robert C. Chamberlain, M.D.

Harrison W. Hartzell
December 26, 1916

471 West Perry St., Tiffin, Ohio
December 26, 1916
Hon. Commissioner of Pensions
Washington, D. C.

Dear Sir,
Please allow me to inform you that yesterday (December 25) I was 75 years old, having been born December 25, 1841, and hence I am entitled to a pension of thirty dollars per month instead of only 25 dollars which I am now drawing. So please rate me from this on at $30 per month and oblige.
My Pension Certificate number is 379,285.

Fraternally Yours,
Harrison Hatzell


March 20, 1917

“Hon. Commissioner of Pensions Dear Sir:- Please allow me to inform you that I wrote you on the 26th of last December notifying you that I was seventy five years old, on December 25, 1916; and therefore according to the Act of May 11, 1912, I am entitled to thirty dollars ($30) per month pension. However I have heard nothing from you in the way of reply.

I was a private in Co. I, 8 Regt., OVVI. No. of Pension Certificate 379,285. Please let me know why you do not send me my back pay and oblige.

Fraternally yours,
Harrison Hatzell”

(Note: This letter was written in Harrison’s own hand, just two weeks before he died.)


11 1/2 Court St., Tiffin, Ohio

June 7, 1917

“Honorable G. M. Saltzgaber, Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir: Harrison Hatzell, Private, Co. I, 8th Regiment, O.V.I., Civil War, was receiving a pension of thirty dollars per month under certificate number 379285. Mr. Hatzell died about 5:30 P.M. on the 3rd day of June and his pension voucher for the quarter was not delivered to him. Upon information from your department as to the steps necessary to secure the payment of the ninety dollars ($90) I will comply with directions.

Mr. Hatzell died leaving a widow. I would also thank you for a blank application for a pension for her. Mr. Harrison Hatzell was very poor indeed and his widow is totally blind. I charge no fee for my services in this matter. Mr. Hatzell and my father were in the same regiment, both gone now.

Very truly yours,
James D. Watson”

(Note: Mr. Watson remained in Tiffin for a number of years and practiced law from 11 1/2 Court St., and later from 94 1/2 East Market St. In at least one year Mr. Watson hosted a reunion of the 8th OVI. His home was at 120 North Sandusky St., later the home of the Church of Christian Scientists. He died in 1947 and was buried at Pleasant Union Dukes Cemetery.)


October 5, 1917

“.........We cannot show the age of Catherine Hartzell, the Claimant except as we have already done so by affidavit. She came from a poor obscure family and was early thrown out upon the world, the most ignorant person I have seen in many a day. She has been blind for several years and in a terrible condition.”

(Note: More than 2 years later, July 23, 1919 Catherine’s pension was finally approved after much effort, and the involvement of 2 U.S. Congressmen who sympathized with her plight. One of the biggest reasons for the delay was the fact that she could not remember where or when she was born, was blind and completely helpless.)


October 5, 1917

“Personally came Thomas H. Hartzell, who being by me first duly sworn, says that he is a son of Harrison Hatzell, who was a member company I, Eighth O.V.I., Civil War; that the correct spelling of the name of the deceased soldier is Hartzell and not “Hatzell” as it was spelled when he enlisted and as his name was carried through the United States Records, and the name under which he received a pension up to the time of his death; that the name was carried as spelled “Hatzell” in his pension as that was the same as it was spelled as an enlisted soldier; and that he was a son of the said Harrison Hartzell or “Hatzell” by a marriage of the said Harrison Hartzell prior to his marriage with Catherine Shoof, the claimant herein. As a further explanation of the spelling it should be said that at the time of the enlistment of the said deceased soldier he then spelled the name “Hatzell”, but that the spelling was afterwards changed by the father of the said deceased soldier on demand of a third wife (Ruth) of the father of the said deceased soldier who was a full blooded Yankee.

Affiant further says that his father, the said deceased Harrison Hartzell, was married prior to his marriage with Catherine Shoof, the claimant herein; that in April, 1871 (wrong date) his father, the said deceased soldier, married Ellen Clark; that the said Ellen Clark Hatzell was his mother; and that his mother died on the 22nd day of March, 1878; (wrong date) and that his said father was not married prior to the marriage with his said mother.”

“Affiant further says that he is forty two years of age, and resides at 475 West Perry Street, Tiffin, Ohio.”


(Same Regt. & Co. as James Hartzell, Harrison's brother)

June 28, 1919

“I have known the said Harrison Hartzell from his boyhood, and from before the time he became of marriageable age. We were school mates when boys. I have known him continuously from that time until his death.

Some time after the close of the Civil War he went to Indiana to live where he was married to his first wife. In a few years he came back to Tiffin with his wife and family. They resided here after they returned, in this county, mostly in this city. His first wife died at the Seneca County Infirmary in child-birth, or shortly after child-birth from the effects thereof, which occurred in the early part of the year 1878.

After he came back to Tiffin from Indiana, I met him from time to time, and from my conversations with him, and also from what was always generally reported in the general vicinity, I am satisfied that his said wife who died at the County Infirmary, was his first wife. When he left Seneca County after the Civil War to go to Indiana, he was a single man. After the death of his said first wife he remained single for a number of years, residing in Tiffin, until he married his present widow, the said Catherine Hartzell, in 1884. From the time of his marriage with her, they always resided together as husband and wife until the time of his death, and they were never divorced, and since his death, the said Catherine Hartzell has not remarried.

I have always resided in Tiffin and vicinity since I first knew the said Harrison Hartzell, met and conversed with him frequently, and had the facts been different from the statements above given, I believe I would have known it or found it out.”

(Note: Mr. Burger, also a native of Lehigh County, was a boyhood friend, and remained one of Harrison’s closest friends. He died in 1925 and was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery.)


July 5, 1919

“I was personally well aquainted with the said Harrison Hartzell from before he became of marriageable age, until the time of his death. We were boys together and attended school together when boys in Eden Township, this county.

Some time after the Civil War he went to Indiana where he married his first wife. They lived there for a number of years, when he came to Tiffin with his family along about 1876 to live, and he continued to reside here until his death. His first wife, Ellen Hartzell died at our County Infirmary in the early part of the year 1878, she having died in child-birth. He remained single for a number of years until he married his present widow, the said Catherine Hartzell, in the year 1884.

The said Harrison Hartzell was a plasterer by trade, and he occasionally did work for me. I frequently met and conversed with him.”

(Note: Mr. Glick, a native of Lehigh County was a close lifelong friend of Harrison. He died in 1920 and was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery.)


July 7, 1919

“I am the above named claimant for a pension. I have been blind for about fourteen years. I never attended school, and I cannot read or write. I do not know how old I am, but I think I must be about 66 years of age. I am told that my son, known as Charles Werley, is 49 years old. He was born at the County Infirmary, and I think I was about 17 years old when he was born. I was not married to his father, whose name was Werley. I am told that he was born at the Infirmary in 1870, May 15; I suppose that is correct.

As near as I can remember, I was living at Lawyer Bachman’s along the river in Tiffin, I do not remember the name of the street, when they took me to the Infirmary. As well as I can remember, shortly after my son was born, I went to keep house for Isaac Iler who lived several miles from Tiffin, but I do not know in what township it was. I stayed at Iler’s all summer, and when I left there, I went to keep house for Reuben Lott who lived in Liberty Township, in this county. I do not know how long I lived at Mr. Lott’s, but I think it was several years.

From his house, I went to keep house for Joe Ogle, who lived in the country, about four miles from Tiffin, near Mr. John Haverstick’s home. I must have been living there or with Mr. Lott in the summer of 1880, but I do not know positively. I think I was living at Mr. Hiltabidel’s when I was married to Harrison Hartzell. I am told that I was married to him in 1884; I do not know the year, but my boy, Charlie was a good sized boy when I was married to Hartzell.

I do not remember what was in any papers I signed for a pension. If I gave my age as more than 64 years at that time, I believe I must have been mistaken. When my husband died they talked of taking me to the County Infirmary, but my son Charles took me to live with him. I have lived with him since that time. He is married, has a large family and is poor. He resides at 73 Rosa Street, Tiffin, Ohio.

Catherine Hartzell
(Her mark)”

“Note: -- This affidavit is intended to meet as far as possible the requirement of a letter to Hon. A. W. Overmyer from the Pension Department, dated Jan. 28, 1919, which asked for the Claimant to give her residence in the summer of 1870 and 1880. The above embodies the facts as well as I could get them from the Claimant after a long and tedious conversation with her.

George M. Hoke, Att’y.”


July 8, 1919

“I am the second son of Harrison and Ellen Hartzell, the above mentioned soldier who spelled his name Hatzell. I was two years old when my mother died, or rather nearly three years, as I was three years old April 23, 1878. I do not remember my mother at all, and all I know about her, I learned from my father, the said Harrison Hartzell. I visited Rock Creek Cemetery which is located about four miles from this city, today with George M. Hoke, and read the inscription on the tombstone, thinking that the day of her death might be inscribed there. The following is the inscription I found inscribed on the stone at her grave: ‘Mother. Ellen Hartzell. 1854 - 1878’. This tombstone was placed there some four or five years ago by my said father.

My father always told me that my mother died at the Seneca County Infirmary, her death following the birth of my youngest brother, John Hartzell. I always remembered March 23, 1878, as the birthday of my youngest brother, who is supposed to be somewhere in the West, but from whom I have not heard for several years. He and I were not brought up together, as he was adopted in one family, and I lived for a year or two with a man by the name of Martin, when I was placed in the County Infirmary where I had my left foot cut off with a mowing machine when I was seven years old. Then I went to St. Francis Orphans Home near Tiffin, from which time I did not see much of my said brother.

I have seen the copy of the record of death of my said mother, which Mr. Hoke procured from the Probate Court, and which he told me he intended to send to the Pension Bureau, in the above entitled case, and that copy of the record gives FEBRUARY 23, 1878, as the death date of my said mother. I do not dispute that record, although I gave an affidavit heretofore in this case, and in that affidavit, if I stated the date of her death, I must have stated it as MARCH, 1878, somewhere between the 23 and 28, as I understood that my said mother died very shortly after the death of my said oldest brother.

I have no interest in this case, and I am not interested in it’s prosecution. The claimant is the widow of my father, and while she was his wife and no doubt did the best she could by him, I was very little at home during the time she was his wife. She has been blind for many years and needs what help the laws of the United States entitle her to as the widow of a Civil War soldier.”



(Guardian of Catherine Hartzell)

May 25, 1921

“Sir - I herewith enclose Pension Certificate of Catherine Hartzell, and June 4th Voucher. Said Catherine Hartzell having died May 19, 1921.

Francis R. Mann,

(Note: As is shown by this letter, the June voucher was returned uncashed. The law required that any uncashed vouchers be returned after the death of the pensioner. The $90 that was questioned by the Werleys became legally uncollectable after Catherine’s death. The balance of her estate was consumed by funeral expenses and the cost of care to the Seneca County Infirmary. The Werley’s bitterly disputed the handling of Catherine’s estate, and those bad feelings remained for many years.)


October 15, 1930- to the Pension Commissioner

“Dear Sir; I’m writing in regard to my Dad. I don’t know any other way to help him out but write to you. You see, dad can’t write. He never had any schooling, and for that reason he can’t write, so I will do the best I can to try and explain to you how everything is.

You see my grandmother died and left a great deal of money pension, and of course there was a guardian appointed over her. And such treatment she did get from him, he sent my grandmother to the poorhouse, and there is where she died. He wouldn’t let us keep her, and that’s what hurried her death on. Anyway, he thought $7 a week was too much for her care, and she was stone blind besides, and is my dad entitled to what’s left? If he is the guardian won’t let him have it, and my dad needs it very much.

Someone took the discharge from my dad, he can’t give any information about my granddad, only what I have here if that will help. You see, I live in Toledo, Ohio but my dad, Charley Werley is still living in Tiffin, Ohio, and my grandmother has been dead eight years. I think you should do something about it, as no one back in Tiffin won’t help him, they’re all for the guardian side. My grandfather was in the Civil War. I think he enlisted in Tiffin? And my grandmother’s name is Catherine Hartzell. Now will you please answer and let me know if you can do something? Now is my dad entitled to what’s left?

Please write me at once the full details and will appreciate very much.

Yours Truly,
Mrs. Gladys Martin,
542 North Street,
Toledo, Ohio”

(Note: The Guardian was requested by Charles Werley at the urging of the G.A.R. The pension money did not exist, as will be explained later. Charles was very poor, and had been sued for divorce (on the grounds of spousal abuse & non support) at the time the guardian was requested. The discharge papers did wind up in the hands of Tom Hartzell.)


November 11, 1930

“Mrs. Gladys Martin, 542 North Street, Toledo, Ohio

Dear Madam: Replying to your letter of the 15th ultimo, this bureau has on three separate occasions in the past advised your father, Charles Werley, that this bureau can take no action concerning the disposition of the estate of Catherine Hartzell who was pensioned as the widow of Harrison Hartzell, Co. I, 8th Ohio Infantry by certificate No. 873756. Inasmuch as said pensioner was under guardianship, the court by which the guardian was appointed has jurisdiction over the accounts of the latter and the settlement of the estate.

When the pension money was paid to the guardian it lost it’s identity as such and therefore would be treated the same as any other funds in the possession of the guardian belonging to his ward. If your father believes the estate has not been properly disposed of, or that he has not secured his full share thereof, it is suggested that he take the matter up with the court by which the guardian was appointed, that is the Probate Court of Seneca County, Ohio, or that he consult an attorney at law in the matter.

Very truly yours,
Acting Commissioner”

(Note: Charles Werley had written a number of letters to the pension bureau. Being functionally illiterate, his letters were extremely difficult to understand.)

Other 8th OVI Pages
Incidents of Camp Life With the 8th Ohio Infantry
Harrison Hartzell's Service Record - 8th OVI & 4th OVI
Letters From the 8th Ohio Infantry Published in the Tiffin Tribune During The War


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