John A. Crippen
Casualty of the Civil War

John A. Crippen served in Captain C. S. Dennis' Company D of the 37th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was enrolled at Cedar Rapids [Iowa] on 30 Aug 1862, to serve three years. He was mustered into service that same day at Muscatine, Iowa, as a private. He was officially discharged at Cincinnati, Ohio, on 3 Nov 1864, for disability. His Certificate of Disability for Discharge, dated 3 Nov 1864, reads "the said soldier was taken sick at Memphis Tenn in June 1864 with diarrhea which has continued unabated ever since — he has performed no duty since that time. Being advanced in years and broken down in health he will not likely render any more service to the government." John A. Crippen died at the Post Hospital Cincinnati, Ohio, Nov. 4, 1864.

This certificate also gives some interesting information about John himself: he was born in Cayuga County, N.Y., 45 years old, 5 '2" high, light complexion, gray eyes, dark hair, and at enlistment was a laborer.

On 7 July 1886, William A. Crippen, youngest son of John A. Crippen stated that he was the custodian of the family Bible of his father John A. Crippen, with the following entries:

"John A. Crippen and Nancy Bidwell married June 21, 1849. George R. Crippen born December 27th 1852. David G. Crippen born August 8th 1855. William A. Crippen born February 23rd 1857. Mother Crippen died March 29th 1864."

This file also gives some interesting background information on him. John A. Crippen was granted a divorce in Clayton Couny, Iowa, from Nancy (Bidwell) Crippen on 21 Sep 1859, on the grounds of adultery (his testimony was also included in the file, but will not be transcribed here). His wife did not appear in court. John received custody of the three children. This divorce record also tells us that John and Nancy were married "on or about the 21st day of June 1849 in Pennsylvania."

A marriage certificate from Linn County, Iowa, states that John A. Crippen and Adelia L. Sills were joined in marriage on the 27th day of July A.D. 1861, by E. H. Dobbs, J.P. Adelia's maiden name is given as Warren. There were no children from this marriage.
Adelia (Sills) Crippen and John Hodge applied for, and were given, a license to marry on 11 Sep 1865 in Linn County, Iowa, but the license was never returned to the county office. An affidavit signed by a Mary Jane Belmer stated that she was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Adelia and John Hodge in September of 1865 in Cedar Rapids. That they lived as man and wife for only a few weeks before they separated. She also stated that Adelia resided with one James Sweeney and that about September 1870 she married Mr. Sweeney. Adelia Crippen died in Cedar Rapids 9 Aug 1872.

The following affidavit was found in John's file:

"State of Iowa
Linn County — On this 2d day Feby 1885 before me a Notary Public in & for the county and state aforesaid personally appeared George R. Crippen, David G. Crippen and Wm. A. Crippen residents of said county & state who being duly sworn state each for himself as follows that they are applicants for pension in supplemental certificate No. 45923 that they are the only living children of John A. Crippen late of Comp. D. 37 Ia. Vol. and Nancy Crippen who was wife of said soldier John A. Crippen. …
"That our said Mother was remarried to one Frank Wright in some Eastern state but we are unable to give the date or place or any record of same nor do we know of any one by whom said facts can be proven."

George R. Crippen
David G. Crippen
William A. Crippen

In 1888 the children of John and Nancy Crippen were all living in Center Point, Linn County, Iowa.

This pension file for John A. Crippen is located at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The pension application number for the Widow's pension is #76333/45923; for the minor children: #323719/243169, 32 legal size pages complete the file. Copies may be obtained from the National Archives or I will be glad to provide copies to interested persons for $10 which covers my copying and postage costs.


Click here for Robert Eugene Crippen's web page - a descendant of John A. Crippen


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