Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Need to Correct the Correction on the Death Date of Isaac Marshall Deline

Earlier this month I posted "Correction on the Death Date for Isaac Marshall Deline." The correction was premature, and after gathering more facts, the correction needs to be reversed. Isaac Marshall Deline, a descendant of Adam Brouwer, did in fact die on 27 December 1894 in Nordhoff, Ventura County, California. There were not two men of the same name who served during the Civil War with Co. K of the Illinois Infantry's 100th Regiment, there was but one. The husbands of Nancy Adair and Lottie Greenfield were not two different men named Isaac Marshall Deline. They were the same man.

Evidence for the above is found in the Civil War Pension File of Isaac M. Deline. There were three applications made, and yesterday I received 100 pages of a total of 135 from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D. C.

The evidence that prompted the original correction posted on November 4th seemed sound at the time. Records for an Isaac M. Deline, or Isaac Deline, were found simultaneously in two different locations on the 1870 and 1880 U. S. census records. It appeared that one Isaac was found in Joliet, Illinois with wife Nancy and two children, George and Alvira Deline. A second Isaac was found first in Arapahoe Co., Colorado (1870) and then in Amador Co., California (1880). In addition, a Marshall I. Deline is found in the Joliet, Illinois City Directory in 1884, while also in 1884, Isaac M. Deline was on the voter rolls in Los Angeles, California. The Isaac in Joliet is known to have been married to Nancy Adair and the couple had son George Deline born in 1858 and daughter Alvira G. Deline born about 1860 (age 3 mos. on the 1860 U. S. census at Joliet). It is also known that the Isaac in California was married to Lottie Greenlief and had two children with her, a daughter Charlotte May Deline born in 1888, and a son Frank Deline born in 1889. Clearly there has to be two different men here, right?


It seemed a bit suspicious that both of these Isaac Delines were born in New York, in about 1831 or 1832, and had both served with the Illinois 100th, Co. K. It seemed even more unusual that Nancy (Adair) Deline and her two children are both buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Joliet, while their husband and father, Isaac Deline, is not. Still, the other facts pointed to two different men. This conflict is what prompted the need to order and examine the Civil War pension file for Isaac M. Deline.

There were three separate applications made for a pension. The first was by Isaac himself dated 24 June 1890 (no. 783876) from California. The second was by his widow, Nancy Deline, dated 9 Feb 1895 and filed in Illinois (no. 608527). The third was by the "contested widow" Lottie Deline, date 5 Mar 1895 in California.

Isaac M. Deline Civil War Pension Index Card (NARA via
The file of all three applications clarifies the story of Isaac M. Deline. It includes affidavits and depositions from a number of persons including Isaac's son George, both widows, and others who knew them. Included is an affidavit from Thomas Edgar of Kileel, Co. Down, Ireland, who attests to Nancy's origins and her immigration from that town to New York. For those interested, I've placed what was received (100 of 135 pages) from NARA, online. (Feel free to download the PDF).

In short, the story of Isaac Marshall Deline and his double life goes as follows. Isaac, a son of Isaac Deline and Sally Bovee, was born in Orleans County, New York (either at Yates or Ridgeway). I have two dates of birth, one 23 March 1831, supposedly from a family record. The second, 21 March 1832, possibly calculated from his age at death. Sometime between 1832 and 1840, Isaac's father moved the family to Lenawee County, Michigan. According to his cousin, Henry Bovee, Isaac "went east" in about 1850. Isaac is not found on the 1850 U. S. census in his father's family in Dover, Lenawee Co., Michigan. It is found in the pension file (page 37 of the PDF placed online) that Isaac had military service from 18 October 1852 to 22 December 1852, but the location and specifics of the service are not given. Apparently, he was in New York City, and was a ship carpenter's mate (page 67). Nancy Adair, a daughter of Alexander Adair of Kilkeel, Co. Down, Ireland, came to New York about this time, possibly with her brother, or perhaps to live with her brother who was already in New York (page 7). She was not married when she immigrated, and Thomas Edgar, the despondent, says she was "about 30 years old." Nancy was married to Isaac on 23 January 1854 at the Second Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, at the corner of York and Gold Streets (page 28). Repeated testimony, and a search of the court records in San Francisco, California which found no record, state that Isaac and Nancy were never legally divorced. In 1855 the couple can be found on the New York State census in Brooklyn's Fifth Ward. In 1860 they are found in Joliet, Illinois with George, age 2, and Alvira, age 3/12 (3 mos.). Isaac is age 28 born in New York, while Nancy's age is also given as 28, born in Ireland.

Isaac Deline, mistakenly recorded as Issac N. Deline in the Adjutant General's report, enlisted with Co. K, Illinois 100th Regt. on 3 July 1862, mustered in on 30 August 1862 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, as Isaac M. Deline on 1 Jan 1863. He resigned on 29 May 1863, the reason being, "domestic affairs" (page 70). In his Declaration for an Invalid Pension (page 71), Isaac states that he was discharged at Murfreesboro, Tennesee on 25 June 1863. He had been injured in a fall upon a rock on a very dark night, which caused a "running sore" (ulcer) above his left ankle which caused him trouble ever since. Isaac was granted $12 a month beginning 2 March 1891 (page 77).

In 1870 the four, Isaac (age 36), Nancy (age 40), George (age 12) and Alvira (age 10) are again found in Joliet, Illinois. The date on the census sheet is 8 June 1870. In the same year, on a sheet dated 12 July, Isaac is enumerated in Arapahoe County, Colorado, age 36, born in New York, a carpenter. Seven, apparently unrelated men ages ranging from 22 to 55, are recorded in the household. In her affidavits Nancy states that Isaac went west "about 1870." One affidavit states that he was having financial troubles in Illinois before leaving. His son George stated that they first heard of Isaac in Denver, Colorado and that he went to California in 1877 and was further found in Santa Clara County (page 89 which is a summation). As mentioned above, Isaac's name is enumerated in 1880 both in Joliet and in Township 3, Amador Co., California. From Nancy's affidavits it appears that once Isaac left in 1870, he never returned, so it appears that in 1880 and in the following years with regards to his name appearing in the Joliet City Directory, that Nancy was simply giving his name to the enumerator and to those who published the directory. She states that she had one correspondence with Isaac in 1887 or 1888. She then did not hear of him, or his where-a-bouts until 1893 or 1894 when he was found in Ventura County, California. Isaac is found on the California Great Registers (voter rolls) in 1876 (San Francisco), 1880 (Volcano, Amador Co.), 1884 (Los Angeles) and 1888 (Ojai, Ventura Co.). Simultaneously, he is still listed in the Joliet City Directory in the years 1884 through 1889/90.

Lottie Deline, in her application, states that she knew Isaac for about two years before they were married on 12 September 1887 (page 90). She was under the assumption that Isaac's first wife was deceased. She was not, and Isaac was well aware of that fact when he married Lottie. The realization that Isaac had two families seems to have come to light only after Isaac's death (see the letter of 9 March 1896 from John A. Milligan to Mrs. I. M. Deline of Joliet, pages 46-49 in the pension file). As mentioned above, Isaac and Lottie had two children who were only about ages 5 and 6 when Isaac died. Lottie mentions them in her application. Nancy had provided a letter from the pastor of the Second Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, attesting to their marriage in 1854, while Lottie apparently only had her own word. In the summery (page 92) favor is given to Nancy for the claim of being Isaac Deline's widow (Nancy and Isaac were never legally divorced and Nancy never remarried). Nancy received a widow's pension of $8 a month beginning 9 February 1895. Her last payment was 4 January 1900, and it was dropped 27 March 1900 due to her death.

Of Isaac's four children, it appears that only his son Frank (by his second wife, Lottie) had descendants. While George married, later in life, he did not appear to have had children. Neither of Isaac's daughters, Alvira (first wife) or Charlotte May (second wife) married. Alvira is buried with her mother in Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois. George is buried there as well. Charlotte May, or simply May Deline, died in 1974. Lottie (a common nickname for Charlotte) died in 1916. Both are buried, along with Isaac in Nordhoff Cemetery, Ojai, California. Frank Deline died in 1949 and is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery. Frank's wife was Clara D. Archer, and they had two daughters, Florence and Alta.

As mentioned, only 100 of the 135 pages of Isaac's pension file were received. Some affidavits are difficult to read and it is suggested that those who have a greater interest in this story download the PDF so that they can spend more time examining it. Research conducted at can be found in this small "tree," although a subscription will be needed by those who wish to access the details within the sources cited. The page for "Lieut. Isaac Marshall Deline" at Find A Grave provides some more information, some of which I have not been able to verify.

And so the correction of November 4, 2014, stands corrected.

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