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Abel is known to our family as "Uncle Wad".  Abel Payne was the brother of my great grandmother Permelia Ann Payne Malcom  (I have subsequently found that Great Uncle Wad's middle name was Watkins (not "Wade") and his first name is spelled "Abel".  M.H.)


 Below is an excerpt from the autobiographical writings of my uncle, Donald Humphreys Malcom, grandson of Permelia Ann Payne Malcom.  Don wrote these words concerning "Great Uncle Wad" in 1997 and 98. 

On  the left is a photo of myself taken on July 11, 2007 with the gravestone of Abel W. Payne who is buried at Danville National Cemetery  in Danville, Illinois. 


It is a beautifully kept cemetery.  

Abel' s  stone reads:

Abel W. Payne,            Closup   ►

Co. L, 1

6 Ill. Cav.                     

"Before I go any further with this report, I should discuss Grandma Permelia's brothers.  I did not know the three oldest brothers, but Great Uncle Wad used to come and see Grandma when I was a kid and he would tell me stories about the Civil War.  Probably most of them were figments of his imagination but one of them, my Dad told me, was true.  Uncle Wad's thumbs were longer than his middle fingers.  I mentioned earlier that the Payne brothers knew Lincoln before he became President.  It seems that when Wad was made a Captain, President Lincoln heard about it and wrote  him a congratulatory letter. (As far as we know Wad was never a made a Captain in the civil war but was only a Corporal. So, I cannot prove the veracity of the rest of this story.  Don may have him mixed up with the memories of the rest of Wad's brothers or uncles, many of whom were active in the war. I don't suppose we will ever know the whole truth.)  Uncle Wad kept the letter on him and when he was captured and sent to Andersonville prison camp, the Confederate soldiers found it and thought he knew what President Lincoln was planning.  So, they took him out and hung him up by his thumbs to make him talk.  When he would pass out, they would take him down and then hang him up again the next day.  He told me that he would have been happy to talk but did not know anything of importance.  After the War, he traveled a lot because Union Officers could ride for free.  He always carried a case with two loaded pistols and one day found the man that had hung him up by the thumbs.  They fought a duel and Wad killed him.  Since it happened in Illinois, north of the Mason-Dixon Line and the man killed was a Southern Officer, they did not do anything with Uncle Wad, even though duels were outlawed by that time."

Below is an excerpt from the History of Vermilion County, a tale of its evolution, settlement and progress for nearly a century; Pages 829 and 830: Written by Lottie E. Jones and Published by Pioneer Publishing Co. 1911. From her writing, it seems that Ms. Jones either interviewed Abel or was a personal acquaintance of him or his family.  



"To Abel W. Payne, a farmer, and also for some years justice of the peace of Newell township, belongs the honor of having been the third man to enlist in the army from Vermilion county in response to President Lincoln's call for volunteers to put down the rebellion. Three times he enlisted during the war, and it is doubtful whether any soldier of the Union attempted more conscientiously to perform his duty .


He was born in Vermilion county in 1841 and is a son of J. and Virletta (O'Neal) Payne. The parents were both natives of Indiana and came to this state in 1832, settling on a farm in Vermilion county, where they continued until the death of the mother. The father went to Texas in 1849 and there remained for six years, at the end of which time he returned to Illinois and married as his second wife Priscilla Beasley, a native of Illinois. He took up his residence in Danville, where he met his death in a political riot in 1863. Mrs. Payne died shortly afterward, leaving two children: J.B., now in the insurance business at Potomac, this state; and Hattie, now Mrs. J .M. Barrows. The subject of this review was the sixth of seven children born to J. Payne by his first wife, the names of the others being: William 0., Alonzo G. and Malinda, all deceased; Permelia, Addison C., deceased, and George, who died in infancy.  Until his mother's death Abel W. Payne continued with his parents. He had then arrived at the age of nine years, and from that time he has provided for himself.  Up to the period of the Civil war he worked by the month among the farmers of the neighborhood. In 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Twelfth Illinois Volunteers, under Captain Frazier. At the close of the term of enlistment, which was for three months, Private Payne reenlisted in Company K, Thirty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, under Captain Charles Black, for a period of three years, but at the end of eight months was discharged on account of disability after participating in the battle of Pea Ridge. However, he quickly recovered and again enlisted, serving now in the Sixteenth Regiment of Illinois Cavalry under Captain Wolcott. At the battle of Jonesville, Virginia, he and a number of companions were taken prisoner by the Confederates and confined at Andersonville prison, Georgia. At the close of the war he received his honorable discharge, and in view of the sufferings through which he passed and the injur1es he received in defense of his country , he was some years ago awarded a pension of twenty-four dollars per month. Returning home in 1865, Mr. Payne began to work in the coal mines at Danville, where he continued for fifteen years. He then rented land, which he cultivated until 1890. when he bought a farm of twenty acres, which he has since operated. He also owns valuable property in Bismark On October 10, 1865, Mr. Payne was united in marriage to Miss Harriet Balser, a native of Indiana. One child, Thomas L., who is now living at Tilton, this county, was born to them. In 1890, Mr. Payne again married, the lady of his choice being Mrs. E. A. Payne, the widow of his brother and a native of Albany, New York.  She has one daughter by her former husband, Hettie, now the wife of Nicholas Baty, of  Bismark.


Mr. Payne has been throughout his life an active supporter of the Republican party, and he is at the present time serving as justice of the peace in his district. He is a believer in the Christian religion, and is identified with that branch of Christianity which is represented by the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a self-made man and by perseverance and attention to duties from day to day he has attained the honorable position which he holds in his township, as a man who always does as he promises, who is true to his friends, and who is ever ready to do anything in his power to advance the permanent welfare of his neighborhood."


Below is a short history of Abelís war record and of his many applications to receive a pension from the Army.


1876 He applied for a pension 16 February 1876 at the age of 35. While prisoner of war he contracted chronic diarrhea which still continues and greatly interferes in the performance of manual labor. He was captured 03 January 1864 and escaped from Salisbury 14 March 1865.

War Department--Adjutant General's Office

Enrolled 18 April 1861 at Danville in Co. C, 12th Reg, ill. Cav. Vol. and mustered out with the company on 01 August 1861.  Enrolled 15 August 1861 as a private in Co. K, 37 ill. Vols. Discharged 14 April 1862 at Rolla, Missouri. From the Certificate of Disability for Discharge: Said Payne has complained of having fits & his father is subject to the same. His first attack was on a march from Otterville, Mo. to Sedalias & he had a long spell while at Lanine Crossing. He was left sick at Otterville Jan 25, afterward rejoined Co. & detailed to wait on sick list. Incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of hereditary epilepsy. Capt. Wlll1am P. Black's Co., Camp Stevens, Ark.

Enrolled 20 February 1863 and mustered in 16 April 1863 into Co. L, 16th ill. Cav.  Captured in action at Jonesville, Va. 03 January 1864. Confined in Richmond, Va. 13 January 1864 and sent to Americus, Georgia 23 February 1864. Escaped at Salisbury, N.C. 13 April 1865. Reported at Camp Chase, Ohio 04 May 1865 and mustered out 24 June 1865 at Columbus, Ohio. No evidence of medical treatment or disability on prisoner of war records.


Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions

Request of Thomas J. Dale, Catlin, Illinois on 16 Jul 1887 for details of the soldiers scurvy concerning which you have heretofore testified. Reply 16 Jul 1887 goes into detail about the effects of scurvy: Sore gums, loose teeth, discoloration of limbs with acute pain, teeth dropping out, bones of mouth and cheeks decaying, etc.


Application for Increase of Pension

On 21 April 1903 he requests an increase of his $12.00/mo. pension.

On 23 November 1903 he requests reconsideration of his claim for increase in his

pension which was rejected. He claims the rejection is unfair and unjust.



On 05 May 1914 there is an affidavit from J.B. Payne (John Buchanan Payne, Abelís half brother) who is past 57 years of age and who says he is the brother of Abel in which he states that he is in possession of the family bible of John Payne, Jr. There is a reference in that bible to A.B.W. Payne, b. 17 June 1841 who J.B. swears is Abel W. Payne.  J.B. has been in possession of the bible for more than 45 years. On the flyleaf of said bible appears; "Published by E. Morgan and Co., Cincinnati, A.D. 1851."


Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions

He again applies for a pension on 24 September 1920 and gives general information. At this time he is almost blind and is totally blind in left eye and can see but very little out of right eye. He is also nearly deaf. His occupation has been farmer and in the dairy business at Bismark, Illinois.