By Lisa K. Slaski
Adam Wurster was born 2 Jun 1835 in Wuertemberg, Germany, a son of Christian Wurster. He immigrated to this country in 1854 and settled in Morehouseville as early as 1856 or as late as 1858 and was living here at the time of his enlistment in the Civil War. Christian Buchele stated that he boarded with him for the last 4 years prior to his enlistment. Henry Lamkers stated that he was in the habit of visiting Adam's boarding place prior to his enlistment. At this time he was in good physical health as attested by several individuals who knew him before the war. Horace Rice later of Newport by his own words "got him to enlist" in the war effort having known Adam prior to the war. Adam had hazel eyes, brown hair, was 5 foot, 6 inches tall, and of fair complexion. He was a wagon maker and a wheelwright by trade.
Adam enlisted 24 Nov 1861 at Morehouseville for 3 years as a Private and was honorably discharged 26 Nov 1864. He was 26 at the time of his enlistment and was mustered into Company G, 97th NY Volunteers. He mustered out with the company on 26 Nov 1864 near Petersburg, Va. Notes on his service:
Reported present 31 Dec 1863.
Reported present Jan and Feb 1864
Reported present to 30 Jun 1864
Promoted to Sergeant on 1 Jul 1864
Reported present Jul and Aug 1864
Reported present Sep and Oct 1864
His name is properly spelled Adam Wurster, though spelled differently at times.
He returned to Morehouseville after his service and married the widow Mary Kreuzer Bennett on 22 Jan 1865, by Justice of the Peace, Havilla Winchell in Morehouseville. She was born 7 Jun 1841 in Germany, the daughter of Michael and Frederica Kreuzer and the sister of William Kreuzer (by his own testimony) of Morehouseville. She had immigrated about 1853. Previously she was married on 25 Sep 1859 to Anatol J. Bennett the son of Basile Bennett a blacksmith in Morehouseville. Anatol died 22 Feb 1862 and never served in the war.
Anatol Bennett and Mary Kreuzer had two children:
- Adell Bennett, born about 1861. By 1880 she married Frank Durwanger (May 1850 - 14 Jun 1914, in the Bronx). Frank was born in Germany and immigrated in 1879 to the US. Adella died 2 Jan 1892 in Manhattan. They had the three children: Henrietta/Lillian b. Apr 1880 (single in 1930), Emma b. Mar 1882, d. 11 Sep 1918 in Kings and Annie b. Jan 1885.
- Anna Bennett, born Mar 1862; She was listed as blind starting in the 1875 census record and continued to live as a spinster with her mother and step-father until her death on 15 Mar 1904 in the Bronx. She's buried in Lutheran cemetery. Her cause of death is "Chronic Malnutrition".
Adell and Anna were raised by Basile Bennett and their mother and step-father. Adam Wurster and Mary Kreuzer Bennett had 4 more children:
- George B. Wurster born 8 Oct 1865. He appears to have had a son, George jr., born about 1901.
- William Wurster born 17 May 1867. He married Jennie M. and had a daughter Gladys who married Reilly G. Castleman and had a son Donald M.
- Mary E. Wurster born 15 Jun 1870, m. William Huck. She was his second wife and they had no children. William died 30 Dec 1923 in the Bronx. A son, Albert, from a previous marriage apparently liked his step mother well enough to support her in her old age.
- Adelaide Wusrter born 12 Sep 1872, .
Adam's family lived with Basile Bennett through the 1880 census records, though in 1880 itself Adam is found in NYC while his family is still in Ohio (Herkimer county, NY) and in 1875 he is listed in Ohio, but testimony in his pension file states that he removed to Hudson, Columbia County and was being treated for Rheumatism and Dyspepsia at this time in this location. Perhaps he was enumerated in both places, as it would have been within 6 months or so of when he first moved. His wife and likely the rest of the family joined Adam in NYC about 1882.
Both J. V. Ferguson and Gideon Rickard testified that Adam contracted rheumatism and dyspepsia (stomach ailment) near Petersburg, VA about Jun 1864. Also Horace Rice testified that he complained while in the service of his hips hurting him. Adam testified that there were few other Germans in the company and thus he did not get intimate with many of the soldiers in the company. So others of his company were not able to say when or if he contracted these diseases while in service. Also, as his service time was nearly expired, Adam stated that he did not go to hospital, but stayed with his company and got a pass, when necessary, to ride in the ambulance when he could not march. This decision on Adam's part led to over 10 years of necessary petition and investigation to determine his eligibility for pension as his service records did not show a disability due to service.
Several residents of Morehouseville testified that when Adam returned from the war he came back to Morehouseville and was suffering from Rheumatism and Dyspepsia and that he was unable to do more than 1/2 that of an able bodied man when it came to manual labor. As his trade of wagon maker (or wheelwright) requires much manual labor he was forced at times to stop working and/or hire others to help with the labor as he was working for himself at this time. However, by 1867 he had removed to Ohio, Herkimer county, NY where he worked for Albert Abeel. Albert also testified similarly, including that he knew Adam before the war.
In 1874 Adam moved to Hudson, Columbia county, NY where he worked in a shop as a wheelwright under the employ of Capt. Smith of the 97th NY Volunteers. He remained here for about 2 years removing about 1876 to reside in NYC until his death in 1922. He worked for a couple different shops as a wheelwright while in NYC and progressively suffered more and more from the Rheumatism and Dyspepsia.
He first tried to apply for a pension on 28 Jun 1880 and was rejected based on 2 separate medical examinations that found he was of good physical condition with no outward signs of either Rheumatism or Dyspepsia. The second examination was performed in 1884. So on 11 Jul 1890 Adam reapplied and had to have his prior doctor's provide evidence to the contrary to show chronic Rheumatism and Dyspepsia. He was once again rejected on 1 Apr 1891 as there was no evidence that he contracted these diseases while in the service, though the investigation did determine that he suffered from Rheumatism. Thus Adam had to obtain affidavits from people who knew him well before, during and after his service years. One of his own doctors stated that he suffered so much at times that he worked when most men would not have done so. His friends stated that he was compelled of necessity to work when he was totally unfit to do so. They also stated that when he was compelled due to his illness to not work he was confined to bed at his home. He himself testified that he could only eat cold fresh meats and no salted meats. His friends and doctors told of a bland diet and loss of appetite with bouts of constipation and diarrhea. He was finally approved for an Invalid Pension on 24 Oct 1892 for his Rheumatism, but there's no apparent acceptance of the Dyspepsia. By 1904 his pension was $6 per month. It was increased to $10 in 1904, to $12 in 1905, $15 in 1907, $20 in 1910, $30 in 1912 and $50 in 1920.
The following was Adam's deposition on his own behalf:
Case of Adam Wooster, No. 396,134
On this twenty seventh day of August, 1891, at #339 W. 41st street, City and County of New York State of New York, before me James J. Early, a Special Examiner of the Pension Office, personally appeared Adam Wooster, who being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this Special Examination of aforesaid pension claim, deposes and says:
I am 56 years of age. Occupation wheelwright. But can't follow it only by spells. And my residence and post office address is as above.
I was a sergeant in Co G 97 New York Vol. Inf. During late war. I enlisted Nov. 24, 1861, and was discharged November 1864.
I claim pension for rheumatism and dyspepsia contracted in service. I had trouble with dyspepsia for some length of time before discharge: but the rheumatism first affected me while in front of Petersburg Va. In June 1864.. I got no treatment while in service except a pass to the ambulance a few times while on a march. The dyspepsia affects me as that I can only eat cold fresh meats. Can't eat salt meats of any kind. But I drink coffee. The rheumatism affects me mostly in my hips and the small of my back and as my work as a wheelwright impels me to stand, the pain catches me there and I have to quit.
After I was discharged I lived for about a year at Morehouseville, Hamilton Co., NY: then I moved to Ohio City Herkimer Co., NY. I think I lived in Ohio City for about six years and from there I moved Hudson and was there three years. Then I came to this City and have resided here since.
While in Ohio City I worked for myself and while in Hudson, Columbia Co., I worked for Capt Jones.
While in Ohio City I was treated by Dr. Ashley and while in Hudson I was treated by Dr. Smith. Dr. Ashley has moved to New York Mills, near Utica, NY.
Since living in this city I have been treated by Dr. C. McDougall; C. J. Dummond and by Dr. J. C. Miller. Dr. McDougall lives on W 40th street no. 104. Dr Dummond lives on 42nd street no 358 and Dr. Miller address is the same as Dr. Dummond.
While I was with the Company I tented with the 1st Sergeant Harry Landers; but I don't know where Landers is. I had the Chaplain of the Reg't. Mr. Ferguson, who lives at Little Falls, NY furnish me with an affidavit and Gideon Rickards was the only German I can think of who knew me in the company. No I did not get Rickards testimony. He is now dead. If there is an affidavit from him, I do not know who procured it. Of the names on the list I recall F. Murphy; 1st Lt. Michael Connolly; Stephen Naylor and Horace Rice. I think they will recollect me.
While at Morehouseville I can't refer you any one except Martin Bow and Henry and Wm. Kreutzer and in Ohio City, Albert Abeel and Gilbert Johnson knew me. I can't think of any names to refer you to in Hudson. Since I have been in this city the doctors that I have mentioned know of my condition.
When I first came home I could do a little light jobs. I worked for myself and could take it easy. The first time I went to work in a shop was at Hudson and there I was about one third disabled but had to work many times when not able to work.
When I first came here I worked first about the same as at Hudsonů jobbing off and on. Have not done any work for a month past. The last shop I worked in is on 64 between 10th and 11th Ave before then I worked for Kesper on 11th Ave.
As regards my comrades they were mostly all either Americans or Irish only a few Germans and I did not get intimate with many of them. I never went to hospital. My time was mostly out when I got the rheumatism so I kept with the company.
There are lots of the men in Kespers shop on 11th Av. Who know me. I worked there for a number of years.
I will go with you to see the witnesses here in New York City, and I would like to know when the examination is made in Ohio City and Morehouseville. I will try and be present there.
I understand your questions and my answers are correctly recorded.
George E. Simon? of Washington is my attorney.
[Signed] Adam Wooster, Deponent
Mary Kreuzer Bennett Wurster died 16 Jun 1902 at 85 E. 164 street (their home) in the Bronx and was buried at Lutheran cemetery in Brooklyn. Adam died at his daughter, Mary E. Huck's, home in the Bronx at 1230 St. Lawrence Avenue on 28 Mar 1922 after a long illness first occurring in July 1921 and is buried on 1 April 1922 in Lutheran Cemetery, Brooklyn. He apparently had military honors at his burial as there was a charge for "attendance and personal services in connection with the obtaining of Firing Squad" from the funeral director. The total cost for his funeral was $348. The physician's charge was $424. He was nursed during his last days by his daughters, Mary E. Wurster Huck and Adelaide Wurster along with his daughter in law Jennie Wurster and one other lady whom I do not know if there is a blood or marriage relationship (though it's likely as there was no nursing charges), Rosalie Headland, who knew Adam Wurster for 25 years. In 1931 both Adam and Mary were removed from Lutheran cemetery to Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx.
- Federal Census records for Morehouse and NYC
- Genealogical information found in the pension file of Adam Wooster, Case No. 396134, Invalid Certificate 816714 - very large, well over 100 pages!
- Death certificates for Anna Bennett, Mary Kreuzer Wurster, and Adam Wurster.
- Death certificate for Adell Bennett Durwanger and census records provide overwhelming circumstantial evidence of Adell Bennett's marriage to Frank Durwanger.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-May-2008 13:17:07 PDT
Copyright © 2005: Lisa Slaski