Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Parent’ Category

****This is one of the longest pension applications I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1890-1911. Previous posts included research notes for documents dated 1866-1885, February 4, 1886 and February 5-19, 1886.

This soldier was killed in a skirmish in Fort Powhatan, Virginia on January 25, 1865. Action on his mother’s pension application continued for more than 30 years. Her application was complicated by conflicting information about a second marriage which was further complicated by the fact that two men shared the same name. Witnesses in support of the mother’s application included childhood friends, neighbors, and former enslavers. They reported names of those enslaved with her as well as the names of enslavers and their relatives, They described the mother’s efforts to remain independent and details about her church membership. Dates for specific events were framed within the 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic and President Lincoln’s assassination.

General Affidavit, Sarah Butts, 7 November 1890
“I have been intermatly [sic] acquainted with Mrs. Fannie Wilson … for over 28 years … we used to be about one hundred yards apart from 1862 to 1866. I know since that time she she has been living at the same place corner of Pine & Griffin Streets in Portsmouth. I have on different occasions visited her and administered unto her. … I further know that if it is required for her to obtain the signature of hundred of her church members which composes of more members of color than any other in town, she could obtain them.”

General Affidavit, Jesse Whitehurst, 7 November 1890
“I am personally acquainted with Mrs. Fannie Wilson … and have been very near 29 years. She used to keep a cook shop on the wood dock lower end of County St. in the years of 1862, 1863, 1864, & 1865. I have known her personally since 1862. … I have been living within a stone’s throw of her ever since 1883 and between the years of 1865 [?] 1883 [?]. I used to visit her some time….. I knew her son before he went in the Army, he used to work for one David Owen hauling wood from my lighter. I am a lighterman.”

Sworn Statement, Jesse Whitehurst, 5 January 1891
57 years old; residence, Griffin Street Extended
“I have known Fannie Wilson 28 years … She used to keep a cook shop & boardinghouse not 60 feet from where my lighter landed in in those years … on the lower end of County Street in the city of Portsmouth …. [Paldo Wilson] went in the U.S. Service … he was employed by one David Owens now dead who was a drayman in the city Portsmouth.
“I further declare that I have frequently seen Mr. David Owens on Saturdays pay Paldo Wilson $2.50 two dollars & a half for his week’s work. And he Paldo Wilson would run across the street & give it to his mother Mrs. Fanny Wilson.
“Paldo Wilson used to haul wood from my lighter before he went in the U.S. Service.”

Sworn Affidavit, John Bracy, 20 January 1891
51 years old; residence, cor of County and Blount Streets Extended
“I have known [Fannie Wilson] ever since 1863 … in the fall of 1863 I was a lighterman and I hired Paldo Wilson from his mother Fannie Wilson and paid $2.50 per week to his mother for his services…. I further declare that she is old and is to be pitted [sic] … I further declare that she belongs to Zion Baptist Church Colored, the same church which I am a member and the congregation numbers over 2,000 souls … I further declare that in the years of 1863 & 1864 Mrs. Fannie Wilson use [sic] to keep a boarding house & cook on the old wood dock in the city of Portsmouth.
“I further declare that the said Paldo Wilson … was employed by one David Owens as a drayman and he paid him $2.50 per week.”

General Affidavit, Chloe Holloday, 7 March 1891
45 years old; residence, Pine Street, Portsmouth, Va.
“I known Mrs. Fannie Wilson I have lived right here by her every since the year of 1873…. I have visited her both night and day. .. I am at her house almost anytime night and day”
“Witnesses: Norman W. Rutter and Z.T. Hutchings, Sr.

General Affidavit, J.W. Rutter, 9 March 1891
“I have known Fannie Wilson ever since 1869 and during all these years she has lived in the neighborhood … our dwellings being within a few rods of each other and my position as a merchant and an officer in the community is of such a nature as to know her intimately.”

General Affidavit, Z.T. Hutchings, Sr., 11 March 1891
44 years old; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“I have known the applicant since 1867 … She has lived quitely [sic] on the corner of Pine & Griffin Streets since 1867 in the month of January … I lived within three hundred feet of the said applicant 18 years … she has been sick during these weeks, laid there in the house weeks after weeks, and a month at a time, and no one to look after her or to attend to her, only what my wife and the community would do for her.
“I further declare that if there is one applicant in the United States, which the general government ought to look after according to its promise I think this is one…. I further declare that she is very old and sickly.”

General Affidavit, Missouri Watkins and Antinette Elliott, 13 July 1892
[Watkins] 45 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
[Elliott] 48 years old; residence, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“I have known Mrs. Fannie Wilson over 26 years, part of this time I lived 220 feet from her. Part of this time I lived within the same square with her. I have visited her in her sickness and administered unto her needs. She is very old and broken down in health. I further say that she has a good reputation in the community where she lives. … She owns the little house which she lives in but she had to morgauge [sic] it to get some money to live on.
“I live [right here] at the back of her, the said Fannie Wilson’s lot. … I have aided her again and again … I have been personally acquainted with her over 20 years. I live hear [sic] next door to her and have been hear [sic] over 6 years. I see her every day twice a day. She ownes [sic] her little house which she lives but it is got a lean [sic] on it.”

Deposition, Fannie Wilson, 24 July 1902
about 70 or 75 years old; residence, 936 Griffin St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I became acquainted with the father of Paldo Wilson long before the war. His name was America Wilson. He was a slave so was I. We were married according to slavery custom. … I heard that he was dead but he was sold away from me before the war and left me with seven children one of whom was the soldier.
“I had a man boarding with me by the name of George Morrison who died about 12 or 13 years ago. … He wanted to marry me but I didn’t want to … He paid for his room and lodging … Morrison married Rebecca Dixon and she lives on Clifford St near Chestnut st. She knows me ever since I have been living here.
“Q. When did Morrison start to live with you?
It was during the war and after my son Paldo was killed, soon after the war I should have said. I have been here over 33 years and he never saw me until my son brought him to this house. My son John is dead … I have no property except this little hut.
“My son Paldo was 16 years old when he enlisted. He was not married.
“My witnesses were Moses Barrington, Lovie Smith, E.G. Corporal (dead). They are all I can recollect.”
“Mr. J.W. Rutter, Washington, DC, executes my pension vouchers on the 4th and I pay him 50 c.
“The man Morrison whom I lived with married 15 or 20 years ago at Portsmouth, Va.”

Memo from J.W. Rutter, Notary Public, 1012 South Street, Portsmouth, Va. [on letterhead] to the Commissioner of the Pension Bureau, 13 March 1911
Fannie Wilson “died Oct 26th 1910 and burried [sic] Oct 28th
“Her daughter Letticia Taylor now a resident of New York City left these papers in my office so I return them to the Pension Bureau.”

Read Full Post »

***This is one of the longest pension applications I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated February 5-19, 1886. Previous posts included research notes for documents dated 1866-1885 and February 4, 1886. Research notes for documents dated 1890-1911 will be published next week.

This soldier was killed in a skirmish in Fort Powhatan, Virginia on January 25, 1865. Action on his mother’s pension application continued for more than 30 years. Her application was complicated by conflicting information about a second marriage which was further complicated by the fact that two men shared the same name. Witnesses in support of the mother’s application included childhood friends, neighbors, and former enslavers. They reported names of those enslaved with her as well as the names of enslavers and their relatives. They described the mother’s efforts to remain independent and details about her church membership. Dates for specific events were framed within the 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic and President Lincoln’s assassination.

Mother — 119, 679 / 94,739, Fannie Wilson


Deposition, Zachariah T. Cutchings, 5 February 1886
39 years old; occupation, laborer; residence, cor Pine & Griffin Sts, suburbs of Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That he is son-in-law to the clt Fannie Wilson whom he has known intimately since December 1865 at which time he began to visit her daughter. She was then living on Dinwiddie st bet Crab & South st., Portsmouth, Va. He had however known her personally as early as 1862 before he entered the army and she has lived with him and in his house since his marriage to her daughter now about nineteen years ago ….
Q. Did you know the claimant when she lived on the Wood Wharf here in Portsmouth.
A. In 1862 my mother kept a stand in the market which is just across the street from where the claimant lived and I became acquainted with clt’s daughter and I was at or about her cook shop. In 1863 I went to school with her daughter, now my wife, and I was often ….
Q. Who else eat at her table on the occasions when you eat there
A. Myself clt and two daughters, Joe Wheeler and a girl named Mary. Joe Wheeler was visiting. Mary Kee is dead (Mary is somewhere in the northeast …
Q. Was it usual for young men to visit their sweethearts 3 or 4 times a week.
A. I was employed in the U.S. Navy Yard and I was attending the same night school with my wife and I would call and take her to school & bring her back and on Sundays I took her to church and brought her home. Her mother, the clt, went with us to church as she was a member of the church we attended.
Q. When the clt kept her cook shop on the Wood Wharf did she have regular boarders or or did she keep a stand for public use.
A. It was almost wholly transient, just like any small house, she sold to anyone who applied.”


Deposition, Thomas Peden, 5 February 1886
45 years old; residence, “South St. near Pine in the suburbs of Portsmouth, Va.”; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.;
“That he has known the claimant intimately since July 1863. That about the 1st day of August 1863 while at work in the U.S. Commissary Department at Portsmouth, he began to board at the clt’s snack house on the Wood Wharf in Portsmouth and he continued to take his dinners and suppers at her eating stand for four months following. Then he transferred across the river to Norfolk to work in the warehouse there but was frequently sent back & forth to Portsmouth and where in Portsmouth he always took his meals at clt’s house.
“Q. Did she keep lodgers as well as boarders?
“A. No, sir.
Q. Have you ever known a man by the name of Samuel Wilson?
A. No, sir.
“[Peden] for the past 17 years I have lived as a neighbor to her.”

Deposition, James Copeland, 5 February 1886
38 years old; occupation, insurance agent; residence, suburbs of Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That he has known the claimant Frances Wilson, since in 1868, he was an intimate friend of her son-in-law J.T. Hudgins, and with him he frequently visited clt’s house where she now resides. Subsequently he knew her (1870) as a member of Zion Baptist Church of Portsmouth of which he was church clerk five years and also as a deacon in said church. According to the rules of the church, it was a part of his duty to visit the members in case of absence from church etc.”

Deposition, Polly McPherson, 5 February 1886
55 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence and post-office address, London between Green & Effingham st, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va. That she became acquainted with the clt Fannie Wilson about a year and a half ago after the Yankees took Norfolk, Va.) (May 1862). The way I became acquainted with her was by renting a room in her house … and I moved with her and lived with her on Dinwiddie St between Crab & South and I lived with her until she moved to Newtown, a suburb of Portsmouth. This was in the year 1866 as near as I can remember. While we lived at the Wood Wharf I took in and done washing and she (clt) kept a snack house….It was a small two story brick house containing three rooms. I rented and occupied the back room on the ground floor & the claimant and myself cooked in the front room and her & her two daughters slept upstairs. The stairway leading to clt sleeping room ran from the cook house…there was an old wood house back of my room.”

Deposition, John W. Dowdy, 6 February 1886
35 years old; occupation, carpenter; residence and post-office address, 315 Harrison St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That he has known Fannie Wilson since the clt since in 1862 or 63. She having been a customer at his father’s grocery and that he remembers very distinctly that a man by the name of Ragsdale brought this claimant to his father’s store.”

Deposition, Sarah Barrington, 6 February 1886
41 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence and post-office address, Griffin Street extended just outside the city limits, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.
“I have known the clt Fannie Wilson for the past 25 years while she was yet a slave and I knew her very intimately while she resided on the Wood Wharf in Portsmouth, Va. I lived in the adjoining house and saw her almost every day while she lived there. I was not living there at the time the clt left the wharf but was still intimate with her. … I have lived within speaking distance of her for nearly since. She left Newtown which has been now 20 years.”

Deposition, Mary White, 13 February 1886
50 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence, cor Queen & Court sts, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That I have known the claimant since in the second [sic] of late war, soon after the federal forces took Norfolk, Va.
“My husband, now dead, and I occupied a room which my husband rented from her in the house on the Wood Wharf, Portsmouth, Va. I occupied that room 18 months. My room was the front room upstairs. There was two other rooms upstairs occupied by the claimant & these two rooms were used by the claimant’s sister … Her sister’s name is Lavinia but I have forgotten her last name and I don’t know where she is. Downstairs of the house on Wood Wharf was occupied in the front by Hon. C.V. [illegiblea]Wilson and the back room was occupied by Polly McPherson.”

Deposition, Lester Brown, 15 February 1886
50 years old; occupation, laborer; residence, 126 Hawk St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“That I am one of the former slaves of Dr. Samuel Brown who owned land in Norfolk Co., Va. about 20 miles south of the city of Norfolk and he was a fellow servant … she was the wife of Americus Wilson who was sold from her six or seven years before the war. Fannie Wilson took up and lived with one Lamb Billie Wilson as his wife for about two years and then he died in about 1860. … Her youngest child was named Paldo Wilson.”
“I have known Fannie Wilson since she came to live at Portsmouth, Va.”
“I also knew another Lamb Wilson but I do not know what he done for a living. I come home from the navy in 1864 and I never saw him about Fannie Wilson’s cookshop. …This Lamb Billie Wilson died about as I have stated in 1860 out at Bear Quarters in this Co. about 20 miles from here. He has a daughter by a former wife now living in Norfolk who can tell when he died.
“I came here [to Norfolk] that year after the place was taken over by the Yankees. I must be mistaken as to when I heard of his death. I know I left him up there when I left. I presume his old master Geo. B. Wilson could tell us when he died.”

Deposition, Eliza Hopper, 15 February 1886
40 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence and post-office address, 28 Wilson Ave., Norfolk, Va.;
“I am the daughter of Lamb Billie Wilson who belonged to George & Billie Wilson at Great Bridge, Norfolk Co., Va. I belonged to the Foreman family and lived about 15 miles from where my father lived and I do not know whether he and Fannie Wilson ever lived together or not. I was present at the death of my father but I do not know when it was, whether before or since the war. I remember this — that I was then living out at my old house where I lived before and since the war and I am unable to to say when he died.”
“Q. You were present at the funeral of your father?
A. I was living on David Foreman‘s place at the time he died and he died on David Foreman’s place.
Q. At which place was David Foreman living when your father died.
A. He lived at that time on a part of the old horse farm right across the road from the old horse house.”
“Q. Did your father Lamb Billie Wilson ever live in Norfolk or Portsmouth, Va.?
A. Not to my knowledge. He always staid [sic] up about where he was raised.”

Deposition, Letitia Hutcheson, 15 February 1886
34 years old; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.;
“I am the daughter of Fannie Wilson, the claimant … I have lived with my mother … all my life was raised here in this house 19 years ago and I have lived here ever since. I was a small child when my mother brought me away our old home in Norfolk Co. and I have but a limited recollection of of the place and the people we left behind. My first distinct recollection dates from our residence on the Wood Wharf at Portsmouth. I remember when my brother Paldo went into the army.”

Deposition, Sophia Nichols, 18 February 1886
65 years old; post-office address, Wallaceton, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I knew Fannie Wilson long before the war and I knew Lamb Billy Wilson before the war and I know they lived together and husband and wife.”

Deposition, Reuben Saunders, 18 February 1886
65 years old; post-office address, Wallaceton, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I became acquainted with Lamb Billy Wilson and his wife Fannie during the late war… After the war Lamb Billy Wilson came back here and did not return to his wife. I think I must have been back here two or three years before he came back. I also helped bury him when he died … [Fannie] often came to see him when aboarding his lighter.”
“Q. Have you known another colored man who went by the name of Lamb Wilson?
A. Yes. I knew one who sometimes went by that name but his right name was Lamb Williams. He was also a lighterman and was down about Portsmouth at the same time Lamb Billy Wilson was there with his wife. He is also dead.”

Deposition, Alexander Foreman, 18 February 1886
60 years old; occupation, farmer; post-office address, Wallaceton, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I have known [claimant] about all her life. I knew her when she was the wife of Americus Wilson and when she lived with Lamb Billy Wilson…Soon after the Yankees took Norfolk, Va. in 1862 (May) [the couple] went to Portsmouth, Va. to live and I often visited them there where they lived in a brick house on the Wood Wharf”
“During the war my white folks were afraid to go inside the Yankee lines so I done their marketing and trading for them and in doing this was in Portsmouth very often”
“Lamb Billy and I were like brothers. We had worked together at lighting long before the war.”
“Q. Was there another Lamb Wilson?
A. No, sir. His name was Lamb Williams. He was also a lighterman He died right here in this house where you are now.”

Deposition, John Nichols, 18 February 1886
67 years old; post-office address, Wallaceton, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I have known Fannie Wilson … a former slave of Dr. Samuel Brown for the past 35 years.”

Deposition, Geo. A. Wilson, 18 February 1886
63 years old; occupation, farmer; post-office address, Great Bridge, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I was the owner of a colored man by the name of Lamb Billy. I also knew Fannie Wilson who formerly belonged to Dr. Samuel Brown … the man Lamb Billy died several years ago at Bear Quarter, Va.”

Deposition, Lavinia Webb, 19 February 1886
50 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence, Dinwiddie St bet County and Crabb sts., Portsmouth, Va.
“I have worked [at this address] about two months. I live in the suburbs of Portsmouth, Va. … I am [the claimant’s] sister … I lived at house on Dr. Brown’s place (my owner) and Fannie was hired out and lived about two miles from us….[Fannie] lived in Bear Quarter before the war.”
Q. Who came with you when you came to Portsmouth?
A. My husband Joe Webb, Ben Lee & Levi Foreman.”

Read Full Post »

**Today’s post includes research notes for a single document dated February 4, 1886. Last week’s post included research notes from 1866-1885. Future posts will include research notes from the remaining documents.

This soldier was killed in a skirmish in Fort Powhatan, Virginia on January 25, 1865. Action on his mother’s pension application continued for more than 30 years. Her application was complicated by conflicting information about a second marriage which was further complicated by the fact that two men shared the same name. Witnesses in support of the mother’s application included childhood friends, neighbors, and former enslavers. They reported names of those enslaved with her as well as the names of enslavers and their relatives. They described the mother’s efforts to remain independent and details about her church membership. Dates for specific events were framed within the 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic and President Lincoln’s assassination.

Mother — 119, 679 / 94,739, Fannie Wilson

Deposition, Fannie Wilson, 4 February 1886
about 57 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence, corner of Pine & Griffin Street, a suburb of Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“Q. To whom did you belong prior to 1850?
A. I belonged to Dr. Samuel Brown late of Norfolk Co., Va., Dr. Brown is dead. I always belonged to the Brown family.
Q. Whereabouts in Norfolk Co. did you reside from 1850 to the breaking out of the late war?
A. Near Hickory Ground about 20 miles from Norfolk
Q. Did Dr. Brown reside on the plantation on which you were employed?
A. He and his family resided on the plantation where I was employed.
Q. Did Dr. Brown leave a widow and children surviving him?
A. Dr. Brown left a widow who is now dead, also a son named Samuel Brown and three daughters named Mary, Maggie & Rosa, all of whom now reside in Norfolk, Va. These children were quite small when the war broke out.
Q. Did Dr. Brown own other slaves besides yourself
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Please give me the names of these slaves who were with you on Dr. Brown’s plantation from 1850 to the beginning of the late war or rather until you and they left your old home
A. Lester Brown. Alex Brown. Wesley Brown and Willis Brown. All of whom reside in Norfolk, Va. I don’t know just where they live or what they do for a living.
Q. Were you ever married?
A. Yes, according to slave customs.
Q. What was your husband’s name?
A. America Wilson
Q. To whom did he belong?
A. To Robert Wilson who resided in the same neighborhood with Dr. Brown
Q. When did you and America Wilson take each other for husband and wife?
A. I don’t know exactly but it must have been 16 years or more before the late war.
Q. How many children did you have by America Wilson?
A. I had seven including Paldo Wilson, all of whom are dead except one daughter with whom I am now living.
Q. What became of America Wilson?
A. He was sold away from me three or four years before the war broke out and I afterwards heard that he was dead. His brother William told me so…
Q. Where did you reside at the date of the death of your son Paldo Wilson which appears to have occurred January 25, 1865?
A. I was living down on the Wood Wharf in Portsmouth.
Q. Who was living with you at that time?
A. My two daughters and a Mrs. Mary White who left for parts unknown some several years ago….
Q. Who lived by you and associated with you while you resided on the Wood Wharf?
A. Mrs. Sarah Barrington who lives near me now, lived near me. Also Polly McPherson. I have forgotten who the others were.
Q. Where did you go when you left the Wood Wharf in 1866?
A. I went to live on Dinwiddie Street South & Crab St.
Q. How long did you reside there?
A. Only three months. Then I moved to the corner of King & Dinwiddie Sts. and remained there two months. Then I moved to Newton, a suburb of Portsmouth where I remained ten months. Then I moved to where I am now and I have lived right here ever since.
Q. Who lived with you while you lived in Newton?
A. No one but my daughter. I am mistaken as to the date when I left the Wood Wharf. It was in the fall of 1865, instead of 1866.
Q. Who lived near you and associated with you during your residence in Newtown.
A. It was a strange place and I did not know anyone there. My associates were in Portsmouth. I belonged to Zion Baptist Church….
Q. When did your daughter marry and I mean with whom you are now living?
A. She married Dec 1867.
Q. Have you made your home with her ever since?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is name of your daughter’s husband?
A. His name is Zachariah Taylor Hutchings.
Q. Have you ever known or do you know a man by the name of Lamb Wilson?
A. Yes, sir. I have known two men of that name.
Q. Who did they belong to before the war and were either of them related to your late husband America Wilson?
A. They belonged to old Billy Wilson of Norfolk, Va. and were not related to my husband.
Q. Did either of these men ever live or board in the same house with you?
A. When I lived on Dinwiddie st. bet Crab & South, I rented one of the Lamb Wilson a room but he did not board with me. I was there three months. Then I moved to the cor of King & Dinwiddie sts but he did not go with me. After I moved to Newtown I again rented him a room which he kept and occupied two months. Then he left, and I have never had any other business transactions with him.
Q. What became of him?
A. He went from my house to where he was raised near Great Bridge, Va. and I hear he died there five or more years ago.
Q. Who associated with you when Lamb Wilson was living at your house on Dinwiddie St.?
A. Polly McPherson visited me very often. So did Sarah Barrington. There were no near neighbors near me for at that the house I occupied was the only one near.
Q. Did you ever see or know a man by the name of G.H. Ragsdale?
A. Yes, sir. I have seen a man who went by that name.
Q. When did you first become acquainted with this man Lamb Wilson to whom you rented a room?
A. All his life. He was raised near where I was.
Q. Did he board or eat at your cook shop when you lived on the Wood Wharf?
A. He worked at lighting vessels and chopping wood and some times as he would be passing he would buy a snack and go on as others did.
Q. Did he ever lodge in your house while you lived on the wharf?
A. Sometimes when he would come up with his lighter he would get his meals and go in an old back room and sleep.
Q. Please describe the house in which you lived while at the Wood Wharf.
A. It was a small two-story brick with one front and one back downstairs and an attic room upstairs.
Q. What part of the house did Polly McPherson occupy?
A. She occupied the back room and done some cooking with me.
Q. Was this back room where some of your boarders sometimes slept a part of this two-story brick in which you lived?
A. No sir. It was or had been the wood house. It was a frame and was detached from the brick building. I did not have control.”

Read Full Post »

*This is one of the longest pension applications I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1866-1885. Next week’s post will include research notes from a document dated February 4, 1886.

This soldier was killed in a skirmish in Fort Powhatan, Virginia on January 25, 1865. Action on his mother’s pension application continued for more than 30 years. Her application was complicated by conflicting information about a second marriage which was further complicated by the fact that two men shared the same name. Witnesses in support of the mother’s application included childhood friends, neighbors, and former enslavers. They reported names of those enslaved with her as well as the names of enslavers and their relatives. They described the mother’s efforts to remain independent and details about her church membership. Dates for specific events were framed within the 1855 Yellow Fever Epidemic and President Lincoln’s assassination.

Mother — 119, 679 / 94,739, Fannie Wilson

Letter from [illegible] Taggard, Assistant Adjutant General, to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 19 July 1866
“‘He is reported killed in a skirmish with the enemy, January 25, 1865.’ The name of Paldo Wright is not borne on the rolls of Co. E. 1st U.S. Cold. Cavalry on file in this office.”

Sworn Statement, Fannie Wilson, 26 October 1866
43 years old; residence, Henry St., Newtown, near Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“Her said son was killed by a gunshot in the head in action in line of duty at Fort Powhatan, Va. on the 25th Jany 1865 … her said husband died Oct 1/55 (the same year of the ‘yellow fever’) at Norfolk Co., Va. … [Fannie’s personal property] consists of
personal estate (furniture) about enough to furnish one good room … That prior to her son’s enlistment & death, she was ‘keeping house’ and dependent wholly on him for support”
“Also personally appeared E.G. Corprew and Albert Robinson, residents of Portsmouth, Va. who on oath declare that they have been for more than 15 years acquainted with the claimant Mrs. Fannie Wilson”

Sworn Statement, Fannie Wilson, 21 August 1873
“Declares that after her first husband America Wilson was sold and carried away from her as has been set forth … she was married again by consent of their masters to one Lamb Wilson, that this event took place about one year after her first husband was sold from her. That she continued to live with her second husband until the fall after President Lincoln was killed. That she then separated from him and they have not lived together since. That he is still living or was a short time ago.”

Declaration for Restoration to the Pension Rolls of a Person Whose Name Has Been Dropped Under the Act of February 4, 1862, Fanny Wilson, 18/19 April 1882
residence, corner of Pine & Griffin streets, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va; post-office, Portsmouth, Va.,
“Her means of subsistence have been proceeds from washing, cooking, etc “
“Also personally appeared Thos. Peeden, residing at…. South street, Portsmouth and Moses Barrington, residing at … Clifford st., Portsmouth, Va,”

Sworn Statement, Moses Barrington, 11 March 1882
“Says that he has known the said claimant Fannie Wilson … 21 years … I know that her son left his employment and went over to Norfolk and enlisted in the service of the United States.
“I know that he was his mother’s support before he went in the Army in 1863. After her son Paldo Wilson went in the Army his mother Fanny Wilson keep a cook shop for a long time for a living. After that she went and hired out in service to learn a living. After that she taken in washington [sic] for a living.”

General Affidavit, Alexander Wilson and Laister Brown, 13 March 1884
[Wilson] 40 years old;
[Brown] 49 years old;
citizens of Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“We were well acquainted with Pauldo Wilson, son of Mrs. Fannie Wilson … the last owner or owners of the said soldier are all dead.”

Sworn Statement, Sarah Barrington, 28 February 1885
residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“She has known Fanny Wilson for the past twenty seven years … lived only two doors apart”

Sworn Statement, Eliza Fisher and Polly McPherson, 28 February 1885
“Paldo Wilson worked as laborer for one Daniel Green, owner, (since dead)”

General Affidavit, Cary Brown, 11 April 1885
“I have known her all of my life. I and her and her son Paldo use [sic] to belong to the same owners before the late Rebellion. I and the said Paldo Wilson being children together on the same plantation, he being about three months older than I.”
[Note — This statement isn’t on a form. It’s handwritten and notarized — Leslie]

General Affidavit, A.A. Corprew, 15 April 1885
“I use [sic] to haul wood in a lighter and unload it within sixty feet of Mrs. Fanny Wilson door. I lightered then for a living…. [Paldo Wilson] was employed by one David Owens now dead.”
[Note — This statement isn’t on a form. It’s handwritten and notarized — Leslie]

General Affidavit, John Wright, 15 April 1885
“We were young lads together here in the city of Portsmouth … I left and went the U.S. Service in the latter part of (1863) and left Paldo Wilson here with his mother on the wood dock ”
[Note — This statement isn’t on a form. It’s handwritten and notarized — Leslie]

Sworn Statement, Edward Overman, 29 April 1885
“I have known the old woman since my early boyhood somewhere near 20 years and as she frequently came to the home of my parents I have had ample opportunities for observing her deportment which at all times has been excellent and worthy of imitation by all classes of her race … her home for near or quite 20 years has been near mine except at intervals when I was away.”
[Note — This statement isn’t on a form. It’s handwritten and notarized — Leslie]

Sworn Statement, James Copeland, 1 May 1885
“As one of the deacons of the church to which she belongs, namely the Zion Baptist of this city … she has never been remarried, nor cohabited with any man since I have known her which have been ever since (1868) … [Copeland has been on the] deacon boards of Baptist churches, hold monthly meetings to look into matters of that kind in conjunction with other matters pertaining to the welfare of the church, she living in the limits of the city ever since the close of the war. Would certainly have been reported to her church, and espelled [sic] … [she is] a member of my church, in good and regular standing.”
“I having been living here in this city since 1867, been a member of this church to which she belongs nearly (14) fourteen years, during which time I served as church clerk six (6) years and now I am one of the deacons of my church, and have been for years, certainly I am in a position to know.”

General Affidavit, William Smith, 8 May 1885 [date stamped by Pension Office]
“has known Mrs. Fanny Wilson since (1864). I use [sic] to live next door to her 8 years previous to (1878). … I have known her to take in washing and work in the truck field to earn a living”
[Note — This statement isn’t on a form. It’s handwritten and notarized — Leslie]

Read Full Post »

The soldier and his younger sister were born to a freeborn woman in northeastern North Carolina. Their father enslaved by a Virginian was for many years too ill to work. The soldier who died in Corps d’Afrique Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana had been his mother’s sole support.

Mother — 392,359 / 261,461, Fannie Culpepper

Declaration for an Original Pension of a Mother, Fannie Culpepper, 27 March 1889
72 years old;
“[John Culpepper] died while in service in hospital in New Orleans, La. … [claimant’s husband] Miles Culpepper, aged 75 years who died 9th of May 1888 … that there were surviving at date of said son’s death his brothers and sisters … Mary ”

Memo from J.C. Kelton, Adjutant General’s Office, War Department to Commissioner of Pensions, 11 June 1889
“Final Statement shows him: Died Sept. 12, 1865 at Corps d’Afrique Hospital, New Orleans, La. … born in Craven Co., NC. Age at enrollment, 20 years. Occupation, farmer. Eyes, hair, and complexion, black. Height, 5 feet 6 inches.
“Name John H. Culpepper not borne on rolls of Co. K, 1st US Col’d Cav’y.”

Proof of Dependence, John Cornish and Isaic Manning, 4 June 1889
[Cornish] 54 years old;
[Manning] 63 years old;
“[Each said] I have been for 30 years intimately acquainted with Fannie Culpepper … [her son] considered it his duty to aid and assist her … Miles Culpepper the father of said soldier died on the 9 day of May AD 1888 at Craven Co. in the State of North Carolina … These statements are made from personal knowledge, derived from long and intimate acquaintance with said claimant and family for the past 30 years”
“Witnesses: W.R. Drury and S. Cherry

Proof of Dependence, David Nichols and John Cornick and James Normans, 11 June 1889
[Nichols] 65 years old; Currituck Co., NC
[Cornick] 60 years old; Norfolk, Va.
[Normans] 64 years old; Currituck Co., NC
“Miles Culpepper [was a] sober & temperate man”

General Affidavit, John Cornish, 27 June 1889
post-office address, Norfolk, Va.
“That he knew Miles Culpepper before the war … and that he knew his son John before he enlisted … [Miles and Fannie] had only 2 children, one was John, one was girl by name of Mary Anne now living in Norfolk aged 20 years having been born in 1869 in Pasquotank Co., NC, don’t know what day or month but I know it was in 1869 …. don’t know John’s age exactly but think he was about 20 or 21 when he enlisted, think he was born in 1842 or 1843”

Proof of Dependence, John Cornish, 11 July 1889
“I have been for 35 years intimately acquainted with Fannie Culpepper … [Miles Culpepper] unable to perform labor of any kind … setting and lying about a wreck of himself … prior to [the soldier’s] enlistment [the soldier] working for and maintaining the family paying rent and supplying food etc as far as his means would allow him to do for his mother, sister, and father until his death in 1865 … I’ve heard his mother say that he assisted & supported her and spoke of him as a good son and child”

General Affidavit, Fannie Culpepper, July 1889
73 years old; residence, 116 Nicholson st
“That she was married … on or about Feby 1838 in Pasquotank Co., NC, that she never had any owners or masters as she was freeborn. Her husband Miles was a slave and belonged to a Mr. Willoughby Wilson of Virginia. Her son John was born about 1840. That her husband for many years before the war was a cripple from rheumatism and unable to support himself … Her son John the soldier was her only support from time he was able to work until his death in service at New Orleans Hospital 1865. That since then she had one other child Mary born on January 14th 1869 in Pasquotank Co., NC. That after her birth she did not live with her husband Miles C. as he was unable to to support her and she being unable to support him he stayed with his friend who kindly looked after him and she lived with first one friend and then another to present time … She declares that all those who were present at marriage of herself & Miles now dead also at birth of children.”
“Witnesses: W.R. Drury and J.T. Wilson

General Affidavit, Mark Morris and James Washington, 1 August 1889
[Morris] 53 years old;
[Washington] 49 years old;
“That they knew Fannie and Miles Culpepper for about 15 years before the war … Also knew Miles Culpepper … was an invalid from time of breaking out of war a cripple from rheumatic afflictions. She was not a slave and her son was her own and only support belonging to no master and worked for and supported his mother for several years before war and continued to contribute to her support until he was ordered away to Texas …. Miles Culpepper died in Portsmouth, Va. on the 9th day of May 1888 ... we lived close neighbors to and saw and conversed with often”
“Witnesses: W.R. Drury and S. Cherry”

General Affidavit, Fannie Culpepper, 1 October 1889
73 years old; residence, 125 Norfolk St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 125 Hawk St., Norfolk Co., Va., c/o W.R. Drury, 16 Bank St., Norfolk, Va.
“with the natural infirmities attending age, she is a great sufferer and totally dependent on the community for every comfort and the food necessary to her maintenance, as far as medical treatment is concerned she is unable to provide for as she is penniless … prepare for winter which is so rapidly approaching and enable her to keep out of the almshouse of which she stands in so much dread”
“Also personally appeared John Cornish, residing at No. 125 in Hawk street, in Norfolk, and Margaret Harrison …residing in Norfolk County”
“Witnesses: James Coleman and B. Griffin

Read Full Post »

Five soldiers in this regiment have the same name and all five are associated with pension applications. One of them was a witness in this application.

Today’s post is about a soldier was born enslaved in northeastern North Carolina. He settled in Norfolk, Virginia after discharge and worked as a house carpenter. For three years veterans, neighbors, and friends provided testimony — and some repeatedly. Names and locations of close to 40 people have been identified. Though the applications were rejected, the interviews provide detailed information nowhere else recorded e.g. name changes, half-siblings, aunts and uncles, a fiancee, a disreputable attorney and notary public, occupations and trades, living conditions, customs, and so on.

***This might be the lengthiest pension application I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated July 1895-1896. Previous posts included research notes for 1892-1893 and 1894-June 1895.

Invalid — 918,580 / —–
Mother — 567,311 / —–
, Juda Williams

Deposition, Raphael Wright, 2 July 1895
53 years old; occupation, huckster; post-office address, 80 Ave.. A, Huntersville, Norfolk, Va.
“I became acquainted with the clmt Judy Williams about the fall of 1866, she then lived near Craney Island, Norfolk Co., Va. with her husband Decature Williams. Later on in the same year I became acquainted with the soldier John Williams. I used to see him at the house of his mother the clmt. … I lived in clmt’s neighborhood and not more than 4 miles away from her from 1866 until about 9 years ago. … died about 17 or 18 years ago in Norfolk Co., Va. …When I got acquainted with him in 1866 he told me that he served in my Regiment in Co. K. … I know that the soldier sent the clmt some money at times.”

Deposition, Edward R. Pitt, 3 July 1895
56 years old; occupation, farmer; post-office address, Bowers Hill, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I was present with my company all the time except for 2 weeks about Sept 1864…. I remember John Williams. … did not know him before enlistment.
“He was a well man when he enlisted … but became feeble and sickly during his service. … We had nothing but shelter tents at [Camp Hampton near Ft. Monroe, Va.] and the weather was very cold… I saw him in Norfolk once or twice after discharge. I do not know the claimant.”

Deposition, John Hardy, 6 July 1895
50 years old; occupation, hacker; post-office address, 208 Cumberland St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the clmt Judy Williams all my life. She lived in Currituck Co., NC when I first met her. I also knew her son John Williams from his boyhood. His home was also in Currituck Co. NC before the war. … I knew his father Decatur WIlliams. He was my uncle. He died some years before the soldier.

Deposition, James Norman, 9 July 1895
77 years old; occupation, laborer when able to work; post-office address, Hayes Post Office, Gloucester, Va.
“I served in Co. K … I remember John Williams … I did not know him prior to enlistment and have never seen him since discharge.”

Deposition, Jerry Wilkins, 13 July 1895
73 years old; occupation, none; post-office address, National Soldiers Home, Va.
“I was well acquainted with John Williams … I knew him from boyhood. He belonged to a Mr. Bray or Gray in Currituck Co., NC. I lived across the river from him, about 4 miles, and used to pass over there very often to go to the mill and to go to a store. His father was named Kater and I knew him right well. His mother I did not know so well. I think her name was Katie. I saw her only a few times. I think she lives in the Western Branch. … [He then replies to the Special Examiner that her name might have been Judy or Juda.] I am not certain that her name was Judy but since you mention it, I believe that was her name.
“He was a very young man when he enlisted.”

Deposition, Elizabeth Lee, 15 July 1895
about 57 years old; occupation, housekeeper; post-office address, 10 Calvert St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the clmt Judy Williams about 17 years. I lived near her on the Western Branch about 7 years. I also knew her son John Williams, met him soon after I got acquainted with his mother, the claimant. … The clmt’s husband died before I got acquainted with her… I have worked in the neighborhood where claimant lived every summer during the truck season since I moved into Norfolk 9 years ago.”


Deposition, Aaron Wright, 16 July 1895
54 years old; occupation, farming; post-office address, Box 49, Churchland, Va.
“I have known the clmt Judy Williams upwards of 25 years. She was then living about 3 miles from here with her husband Kater Williams. The said Kater Williams died every bit of 15 years ago. I can’t fix the date. I attended his burial. … She has no property but some household goods for $5 which would well pay for. … The claimant is now confined to her bed, had a stroke of paralysis about a month ago. I saw her son John quite often but never was much acquainted with him. He used to visit her.”

Deposition, Anthony Pinner, 3 October 1895
29 years old; occupation, letter carrier; residence and post-office address, Norfolk, Va.
“I do not know Judy Williams the claimant. …The name Anthony Pinner as it appears as an attesting witness to the signature by mark of said persons is not my signature. I did not write my name as it there appears nor did I authorize anyone to sign my name thereon.”
[Note: This document is signed by the deponent in longhand — Leslie]

Deposition, Emma Poole, 3 October 1895
52 years old; occupation, housekeeper; residence and post-office address, 83 Liberty St., Norfolk, Va.
“I became acquainted with the claimant when I moved into this house. Her son John Williams had a room in this house at that time and he retained it until he died three years ago last June.
“Two years ago last July I went with the claimant to the office of Luther C. Williams … and then about 3 months ago a pension examiner came here and got me to sign another paper.”

Deposition, Raphael Wright, 5 October 1895
54 years old; occupation, huckster; residence and post-office address, 80 A Avenue, Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the claimant Judy Williams since in 1866…got acquainted with her through her son … who served with me … He was in Company I and I was in Company H of said regiment. … went with her to Luther C. Williams office on Bute Street in this city where her application for pension was made out … when we got there Luther got D. Betts Robertson whom I know to write out said application … Luther Williams who was a notary public sworn both of us … I known Anthony Pinner the letter carrier but he was not present in [the office] … [the application] was executed the day before Christmas 1892.”

Deposition, John Hardy, 9 October 1895
about 50 years old; occupation, hack driver; residence and post-office address, 208 Cumberland Street, Norfolk, Va.
“known the claimant for a number of years. I also knew her son John Willliams … I have known [Luther C. Williams] who used to keep an office on Bute St. near Church St. of this City but I have never been in his office with the claimant.”
“Q. Can you write your name? A. No sir.
“There is no other man of my name in or in the vicinity of Norfolk.”

Deposition, Samuel B. Humphries, 9 October 1895
52 years old; occupation, drayman; residence and post-office address, 46 Mosley St., Norfolk, Va.
“I have known the claimant Judy Williams all my life. We were neighbors and fellow servants almost from my birth. … I went with her to Luther C. Williams office two years ago last July…Myself and a woman I did not know were with her at the time … I do not know the witness Emma Poole … I now remember that Emma Poole was the woman that was present and signed said papers with me.”

Deceased Pensioner [Certificate] Application, John Ash and Agnes Mitchell, 20 April 1896
“Before me personally appeared John Ash, residing at Churchland, Norfolk County, Va. and Agnes Mitchell, residing at Churchland, Norfolk County, Va. … they well and personally knew Juda WIlliams, who died on 9th of March 1896 and who was applicant for pension as the mother of John Williams … she left no property whatever kind … Witnesses: Geo. A. Melvin and Alvah H. Martin
[Note: The word “Certificate” on the form is struck through and the word “Application” is written in — Leslie]

Read Full Post »

Five soldiers in this regiment have the same name and all five are associated with pension applications. One of them was a witness in this application.

Today’s post is about a soldier was born enslaved in northeastern North Carolina. He settled in Norfolk, Virginia after discharge and worked as a house carpenter. For three years veterans, neighbors, and friends provided testimony — and some repeatedly. Names and locations of close to 40 people have been identified. Though the applications were rejected, the interviews provide detailed information nowhere else recorded e.g. name changes, half-siblings, aunts and uncles, a fiancee, a disreputable attorney and notary public, occupations and trades, living conditions, customs, and so on.

**This might be the longest pension application I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1894-June 1895. Last week’s post covered 1892-1893 and next week’s post will include July 1895-1896.

Invalid — 918,580 / —–
Mother — 567,311 / —–
, Juda Williams

Names and P.O. addresses of officers and comrades of Co. I, 1st Reg’t USC Cav for use in above case (Form 3-514), 17 December 1894

NameRankPresent P.O. Address
Richd. WebbSgt.209 Bank St., Norfolk, Va.
Wm. ReedCorp’l.78 Jefferson St., Norfolk, Va.
Chas. PiercePvt.Near corner High & Garden St., Portsmouth, Va.
Wm. YoungNorfolk, Va.
Chas. Jones243 Queen St., Norfolk, Va.
Mattison KnightPortsmouth, Va.
Chas. Holmes1529-4th St., NE, Washington, DC
Henry Stone18 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
Thos. WilliamsWilcox Wharf, Charles City Co., Va.
Henry SmithLand of Promise, Princess Anne Co., Va.
Andrew MadreHertford, Perquimans Co., NC
Alex CherryPortsmouth, Va.

Deposition, Judy Williams, 7 May 1895
68 years old; occupation, servant; post-office address, Churchland, Norfolk Co., Va.
“My name is Judy (not Juda) Williams … I am the mother of John Williams … I saw the soldier in the army, he came home to see me a time or two before he went to Texas with his Regt. … before he was discharged he went to Washington, DC and stayed but a short time, could not tell whether he stayed a year or not.
“I don’t know how long he had been discharged when I first saw him on his return from the army. It might have been about a year…. Samuel Humphrey told me he complained a good deal in the army, I don’t know of what. … I reckon the soldier lived in Norfolk, Va. from his discharge until his death. I never lived in the same house with him after the war. I used to come and see him. I could not tell who he worked for when he first came out of the army, did not do much work at first. He was a carpenter and worked on houses.
“Q. Where did he live here in Norfolk immediately on his return from the army?
He lived in the same house with Moses Massenburg on Liberty St. a good while. He had not Dr. attending him. Got medicine from different sources.
“About 10 years before his father died, that is about 25 years ago he had a bad attack of rheumatism so that he could not turn himself. We took him to the Western Branch and I and his father nursed him … he had another attack here in Norfolk … The soldier died suddenly on Scott St. on June 20, 1892 from asthma.”
“John Williams, the soldier was never married, nor lived or cohabited with any woman as her husband…. No sir, he left no child or children surviving him. … Decatur Williams, the soldier’s father.”

“My son could write his name. Learned that in the army. Could also write a lettler…. Henry Judkins, Sam Humphries, Moses Massenburg, Mrs. Poole and Mrs. Price were present when he died.
“I have no property at all except clothing and a bed.
John Hardy and Sam Humphrey know that Decatur Williams is dead. Emmaline Williams also knows he dead. Was at his funeral.
“Q. Where was the soldier living when he had the first attack of rheumatism?
I don’t known on what street he lived. Yes, sir. I came to town to take him out. I don’t know who waited on him. I have forgotten.”

Deposition, John Williams 2d, 31 May 1895
56 years old; occupation, laborer; residence, Baltimore Ave near Ocean View R.R., Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, c/o Mr. Smith‘s Co., Princess Anne and Kelly Ave’s., Norfolk, Va.
“I served as Pvt in Company I, 1st USC Cav … under the name John Williams 2d… I was born in Hampton city, Va. … There was another John Williams in said Company I … he was known as John Williams first and was right smart older than I. He died here in or about Norfolk about 18 years ago. I do not know who his parents were…. I did not know any man named John Williams in Co. K … Our company was most of the time detached off. I never could write my own name.
“I do not know Emma Allen… I have ‘put in’ for pension before W.R. Drury … I afterwards ‘put in’ for pension through R. Bagnall, Jr. once or twice.”

Deposition, Peter Fentress, 3 June 1895
56 years old; occupation, farmer; post-office address, c/o W.H Miles, Broad Creek Road & Park Ave., Norfolk, Va.
“I remember the soldier John Williams very well. … Did not know him before enlistment but saw him quite often in Norfolk He died 2 or 3 years ago I heard. … I heard him talk about his mother but don’t know her.”

Deposition, Samuel B. Humphries, 8 June 1895
51 years old; occupation, truckman; post-office address, 46 Mosley St., Norfolk, Va.
“I was on detached service at Genl. Weitzel‘s, no, Genl. Wheeler‘s Hdqtrs….[John Williams] and I were tentmates at Fort Monroe, in front of Petersburg and in Texas. I know him some years before enlistment, met him in this county. I was also acquainted with his father and mother. His father was named Kader Williams and his mother is named Judy. She lives on the Western Branch in this county.”

Letter from Azriah Griffin to Bureau of Pensions, 10 June 1895
“I am Azriah Griffin, I am farming on my own [illegible] I can stop and see you upon notice any hour of day. I am farming 1/2 mile east from Bell Cross, Camden, NC.
“Respectly,
Azriah Griffin
Late Co K, 1st USC Cal

P.S. Direct to Azriah Griffin
in care of O.D. Cartwright
Box 27
Camden, NC

Deposition, Squire Bright, 18 June 1895
56 years old; occupation, fishing and crabbing; post-office address, 313 Dinwiddie St., Portsmouth,, Va.
“I knew the soldier John Williams well…. I do not know the clmt Judy Williams, do not know that she was the soldier’s mother. I saw him at times in Norfolk, Va. every year or two from discharge until his death. … I never was his tentmate.”

Deposition, Moses Massenburg, 19 June 1895
64 years old; occupation, carpenter; post-office address, 120 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
“I was well acquainted with the soldier… I became acquainted with him the same year he came out of the army and I knew him intimately until he died. We worked together often as carpenters…. He died suddenly. I heard he dropped dead. I did not know the soldier’s father. I know his mother. Her name is Judy Williams. She lives toward the Western Branch. While I and the soldier lived together she came over many Saturdays and stayed over til Monday morning, generally cooking for us. My former affidavit is correct except that I did not know soldier’s father, do not know whether he is dead or not….The soldier used to give clmt money regularly. She looked to him to help support her.”

Deposition, Henry Judkins, 25 June 1895
59 years old; occupation, carpenter; post-office address, 86 Scott Ave., Norfolk, Va.
“I served as corpl in Co. A… I was well acquainted with John Williams. He was a member of Capt. Whiteman‘s Co K of the same Regt. … From his discharge until death I lived not more than about 200 yards from him in this City and he worked with me right smart. He was a carpenter.”

Deposition, Charles Murden, 25 June 1895
64 years old; occupation, whitewasher and plasterer; post-office address, 6 Fifth St., Norfolk, Va.
“I became acquainted with the soldier John Williams about 22 years prior to his death and knew him intimately until his death which occurred about 3 years ago. … I would go to his shop and ask him how he was and he would tell me that he would do alright if it was not for the pain in his knees or back.”

Deposition, Emma Poole, 25 June 1895
52 years old; occupation, housekeeper; post-office address, 83 Liberty St., Norfolk, Va.
“I became acquainted with John Williams .. about 15 years before his death. He was a carpenter. In Sept 1890 I and my husband and children moved into this house where he was then living in a room that he rented. … He died on June 20, 1892 at Mrs. Price’s house on Scott St. He roomed here. She washed for him and cooked for him sometime. He went around to see her and was taken with an attack of asthma and pain in breast. She sent for me and he died with his head in my hands between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning.”
“I am also acquainted with the clmt Judy Williams. She used to come here to see him .. and he told me she was his mother. … He used to give her provisions and shoes and things.”

Deposition, Emma Harrison, 25 June 1895
40 years old; occupation, housekeeper; post-office address, 38 Willoughby St., Norfolk, Va.
“I became acquainted with the soldier John Williams about 1880 … I knew him very well. I washed for him about 5 years and boarded him three years. … He died in my house on Scott St. on June 20 or 21, 1892 from shortness of breath, asthma and rheumatism…. He was going to marry me in Nov. but died in June. I filed a claim for reimbursement of expenses of his last sickness and burial under the name Emma Allen.. I have since married a Mr. Harrison. I was also sometimes called Emma Price but that was never my name.”

Deposition, Stephen Reddick, 26 June 1895
67 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, Berkley, Va.
“I served as corpl and sgt in Co. K … I remember the soldier John Williams … I did not know him prior to enlistment but saw him several times here in Norfolk after the war. He told me he was a house carpenter…. I do not know the clmt Judy Williams.”

Deposition, Isaac Manning, 29 June 1895
61 years old; occupation, farmer; post-office address, c/o W.H. Miles, Park Avenue, Norfolk, Va.
“I served as Pvt in Co K … I remember John Williams very well. He was a small man, had dark hair and complexion.
“I first met him after enlistment about the time the company was organized at Ft. Monroe … I was not his tentmate…. I do not know the clmt Juda Williams.”

Read Full Post »

Five soldiers in this regiment have the same name and all five are associated with pension applications. One of them was a witness in this application. Today’s post is about a soldier was born enslaved in northeastern North Carolina. He settled in Norfolk, Virginia after discharge and worked as a house carpenter. For three years veterans, neighbors, and friends provided testimony — and some repeatedly. Names and locations of close to 40 people have been identified. Though the applications were rejected, the interviews provide detailed information nowhere else recorded e.g. name changes, half-siblings, aunts and uncles, a fiancee, a disreputable attorney and notary public, occupations and trades, living conditions, customs, and so on.

*This might be the longest pension application I’ve examined. Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1892-1893. Future posts will include research notes for 1894-June 1895 and July 1895-1896.

Invalid — 918,580 / —–
Mother — 567,311 / —– , Juda WIlliams

General Affidavit, Emma Allen, 12 July 1892
residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“John Williams died indebted to me in the sum of $159 for board, eating, and waiting on for 13 months. Also she paid for medicine … John Williams boarded with her at least 13 months and the soldier was sick all the time. He was not able to work and she trust him … he died on the 20 of June 1892”

General Affidavit, Emma Poole and John Hardy, 27 January 1893
[Poole] 48 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 83 Liberty St., Norfolk, Va.
[Hardy] 52 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 208 Cumberland St., Norfolk, Va.
“That each of them were well and intimately acquainted with the claimant and were also with her deceased son”

General Affidavit, Moses Massenburg and Raphael Wright, 27 January 1893
[Massenburg] 61 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 120 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va.
[Wright] 48 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 58 Smith St., Norfolk, Va.
“That each of them is well and intimately acquainted with the claimant.”

Deposition, Emma Poole, 30 May 1893
50 years old; occupation, washing and ironing; residence and post-office address, 83 Liberty St., Norfolk, Va.
“I first knew [John Williams] over 15 years ago. I knew him up to the time of his death. When I moved into this house on September 15, 1889, he was living here and had been living here for about four years. … He died on June 20, 1892 very suddenly in a neighbor’s house. He had gone out a few hours before. I was sent for and he died with his head in my hands. He died at Mrs. Price‘s on Scott St. He had been ailing a long time. He had shortness of breath. I think it was asthma, heart disease or something of the sort. He was a single man. He had told me he was never married. His mother is living. Her name is Julia Williams. She lives on the Western Branch. … Witnesses: Willie Poole and C.A. Holley

Deposition, Thomas Norris, 30 June 1893
73 years old; occupation, inmate, National Home, P.O. National Soldiers Home, Va.
“I was in Co. I in USC Cavlry during the war. …[John Williams] never put in a claim that i knew anything about. He was never confined in hospital while in service that I ever knew of. I know Robert Brickhouse. I do not know B.A. Richardson, Jr., Notary Public, Norfolk, Va.”
“I never knew John Williams mother. In 1863 John Williams father married a woman on Hawk Street, Norfolk, Va. named Lucy after her husband John’s father died but I never knew him.
“John Williams first wife died as much as six years ago. I don’t know her name. Later he married another woman who was very nearly white. I don’t know her name. She and John Williams were living on Lamberts Point road about two years ago. I did not know until now that John Williams was dead.”

Deposition, Juda Williams. 7 July 1893
66 years old; occupation, job work; residence and post-office address, Churchland, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I was married to the father of John Williams, Decatur Williams, by masters consent many years before the war and I lived with him until his death about fourteen years ago as near as I can now remember. My son was born in Currituck, Va. … I was the mother of four children. All of whom are now dead but James Williams with whom I now live.”

[My son] told me once that he was going to be married but the girl he was waiting on died and he did not marry anyone that I ever heard of. I saw my son on average ten or twelve times a year”

Deposition, Robert Brickhouse, 12 July 1893
63 years old; occupation, light job work; residence and post-office address, Lamberts Point R.R., Barboursville, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“I do not know John Williams of Co I of same regiment. I never knew him… I sometimes write my name and sometimes sign by mark but I was never a witness for a person I do not know.”

Deposition, Raphael Wright, 11 July 1893
50 years old; occupation, selling on the market; residence and post-office address, 58 Smith Street, Norfolk Norfolk Co., Va.
“I was intimately acquainted with [John Williams] and if he had been married I should have known it. Except when he was out on Western Branch with his father or on the boat he was in Norfolk where he always lived.
“I saw him often the last three or four years and he did not live on the Lamberts Point rd. … I know [John Hardy] mighty well. He drives a hack”

Deposition, John Hardy, 11 July 1893
about 50 years old; occupation, hackman; residence and post-office address, 208 Cumberland St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“[Juda Williams] was my uncle’s wife. I knew her son John Williams since we were boys together. … I was never in [Luther C. Williams] office in my life.”

Deposition, Luther C. Williams, 12 July 1893
31 years old; occupation, notary public; residence and post-office address, 308 Bute Street, Norfolk, Va.
“I knew [John Williams] all my life … He was never married to my knowledge … [Juda Williams] executed an application for pension … six or seven months ago…..I know Raphael Wright and two men of the name John Hardy”

Letter from J.W. Montgomery, Special Examiner to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 13 July 1893
“As there have been some suspicions cast upon the official actions of Luther C. Williams before whom the mother of this soldier executed her application I thought it well enough to test the validity of it also.”

Sworn Statement, Samuel B. Humphries, 21 July 1893
“the claimant is the mother of John WIlliams … [the soldier] died unmarried and leaving no children neither whole or half-blood and that his mother the claimant is a person that I have intimately known for the past thirty years and that she is a widow and during the time when her son’s health permitted him to work he always contributed to the support of his mother … have known her son since his boyhood in fact we served together in the same Company and Regiment”

Sworn Statement, Elizabeth Lee, 21 July 1893
55 years old; residence; 51 Pulaski Street, Norfolk, Va.
“the claimant is unmarried … she has known the claimant for the past fourteen years”

Sworn Statement, Raphael Wright, 21 July 1893
“became acquainted with [the claimant] shortly after I left the service of the late war … have known [her son] to send her money as she had no one legally bound for he support … I was also a member of the same regiment”

Read Full Post »

Adam S. Cobb, Company E

The Clerk of the Court said that the mother’s paperwork was destroyed in a North Carolina county courthouse fire in March 1876. However, she eventually received a pension. The soldier’s father then filed an application but his claim was denied “on the ground that the soldier was not the legitimate son of the claimant, being the offspring of a slave marriage.”

Mother — 384,713 / 281,984, Jemima Cobb now Hill
Father — 605,045 / —–, Isaac Murphy

General Affidavit, Mrs. Jemima Cobb, December 1888
residence, Green Co., N.C. … “Lived on Rev. Thomas Moore‘s farm in Greene County, North Carolina — post-office, Snow Hill, year 1865 and have lived on different farms in Greene County ever since except one year spent in the adjoining county of Lenoir. Ages of family [in 1865]; James, 11; Martin, 13; Maria, 15; Grace, 21; Charlotte, 25; Charity, 27; Jacob, 29. All of these are dead but five — and 10 more children died previous to the year 1865. No person is legally bound to take care of me since the death of my son Adam, after the surrender. As I am old and my memory is deficient, the facts about my children’s ages are not exact, but are approximated as nearly as possible.”

War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, 21 January 1889|
“… Adam Cobb … died of tuberculosis … Co. Descriptive Book shows Nov. 10, 1865, date, and Brazos Santiago, Tex., place of death. The following is his personal description as shown by Co. Descriptive Book: Born, Norfolk, Va.; Age at enrollment, 21 years; Occupation, waiter; Eyes, hair & complexion, black; Height, 5 feet, 10 inches …”

General Affidavit, Jno. [illegible], 28 July 1890
about 41 years; residence, Snow Hill, Greene Co., N.C.; post-office, Snow Hill, Green Co., N.C. … “has been well and personally acquainted with Adam Cobb for five years prior to 1861 … and that said Adam Cobb lived in his neighborhood with Mrs. Cynthia Cobb as a slave before he left home and entered the Union Army … I was clerk of the Superior Court of Greene County and aided Jemima Cobb in filing papers to collect, the amount due Adam her son at his death, that during the preparation of the papers in her claim, she Jemima Cobb left with me as clerk of the Superior Court all of her papers furnishing dates and information concerning her son Adam, for safe-keeping, which papers of all description were subsequently destroyed in the Clerk’s office by fire which burned the courthouse in the year 1876 during the month of March …”
[Note: An entry at the Greene County, North Carolina USGenWeb site mentions the 1876 courthouse fire.– Leslie]

Sworn Statement, Isaac Murphy, 11 August 1894
74 years old; residence, Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C.;   “… father of Adam Cobb who was born & raised at near Snow Hill, Green [sic] Co., N.C. & belonged to Samuel Cobb & Miss Sinthy Cobb of Green Co., N.C. … “

Sworn Statement, Needham Borrow, 18 March 1895
45 years old; residence, Vanceboro, N.C. … “I have known claimant for thirty years more or less and he is at the present not able to do manual labor. He is about seventy five years old and is dependent upon people … soldier’s mother died about three years ago. I live within 1/2 mile of claimant and see him often …”

Sworn Statement, James J. Murphy, 18 March 1895
63 years old; residence, near Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C.; occupation, farmer … “I have known claimant since boyhood up to the present date. I also know his wife Mima Cobb. They both was slaves. She belong [sic] to the Cobbs of Green Co., N.C. & Isaac Murphy claimant belong [sic] to the Murphys of Green [sic] Co. Also I belong [sic] to Murphys of Green Co., N.C. Claimant was married to Mima Cobb long before late war under slave custom. I was present and by said union & cohabitation one child viz Adam Cobb was born. And when the late war of 1861-5. Adam Cobb enlisted as a soldier & I have not seen him since I heard he died in the war and Mima Cobb died at Snow Hill, Green [sic] Co., N.C. I don’t know direct date but I think she died about three years ago. I know this by reason of & rec’d a letter from my mother of Snow Hill saying that Mima Cobb was dead. I am living a neighbor to claimant. He is not able to support himself. He is about seventy-five years of age. He is dependent on hands of charity & people who are not legal bound to his support.”

Sworn Statement, Isaac Murphy, 25 March 1895
75 years old; near residence, Vanceboro, N.C.; occupation, nothing … “… The soldier’s mother died on or about the 8th day of July 1890 at Snow Hill, N.C. Edward Haper & Charity Payton was at her funeral or burial …”

Sworn Statement, Isaac Murphy, 27 November 1897 
78 years old; residence, near Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C. …”I cannot remember the date of my marriage to the soldier’s mother. I know it was long before the war of 1861-5 and I do not remember the date of the soldier’s birth. … my occupation is that of a farmer … My old clothes & horse and old cart and old buggie is worth about fifty dollars ($50.00) … I live near to Vanceboro, N.C. then [sic] I go to Washington, N.C. is why I ask for my mail to go there to Vanceboro, N.C. …”

Sworn Statement, Junier [?] Murphy, 27 November 1897 
68 years old; resident, Washington, N.C. … “I have known old man Isaac Murphy all my life. He is about 75 or 78 years of age. He was a man when I was a boy. I knew his son Adam Cobb who was a young man when he enlisted in the Union Army. I knew about when he was born but I do not know the date of his birth. The claimant is not worth anything that he can obtain any revenue from. He owns an old horse cash & an old worn out buggie and a few old clothes. I know by reason of we were all rais [sic] together in Green [sic] Co.,N.C.”

Sworn Statement, William Galloway, 27 November 1897 
42 years old; residence near Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C.; post-office address, Vanceboro, N.C. … “I have known the claimant Isaac Murphy about nine (9) years. He is a neighbor to me. He is in my opinion about seventy-five or eight (75 or 8) years of age. He has not got any property that he can get any income from. He has old clothes & an old horse & buggie worth about fifteen or twenty dollars. His occupation is now nothing. He is helpless, old and feeble. I visit him, see him weekly. He has to be nursed best part of his time. All he owns is worth in all about twenty-five dollars. He is an honest old man and is now blind. He is total blind in one eye” ….”

Letter from Acting Commissioner, Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions, Washington, DC to W.H. Pender, Washington, NC, 17 September 1898
 “Sir: The above cited claim for dependent father’s pension, under the act of June 27th, 1890, is rejected on the ground that the soldier was not the legitimate son of the claimant, being the offspring of a slave marriage.”

Appeal to the Secretary of the Interior, Isaac Murphy, 22 March 1899
70 years old; residence and post-office address, Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C. … “My claim for a father’s pension … was rejected by the Com. of Pensions … upon the grounds that I am not the legitimate father of Adam Cobb decd … being the offspring of a slave marriage…. [I appeal] upon the grounds that the slave marriage was the only legal marriage for col. slaves prior to 1866 and,  further I am the soldier’s father who depended on him as a slave father would a slave son, further his mother received a pension from the Bureau of Pensions on account of him. She is now dec’d and I applied for a Dept. father pension and I have furnished all the testimony called for by the Bureau of Pensions. I am old and very feeble and fast passing away. Therefore, I beg for reconsiteration [sic] of my pension claim …”

Sworn Statement, Isaac Murphy, 9 February 1904
83 years old; residence, Vanceboro, Craven Co., N.C. … “well known to be reputable and entitled to credit … I was born and reared in Green [sic] County near Snow Hill, N.C. on Willis Murphy‘s plantation. I belong to him before the war of 1861. I grew up on his plantation. Mima Cobb, my former wife, belong to one Samuel Cobb of Green County. Her owners and my owners were about four miles aparedt [sic]. I and Mima were married by consent of owners. My owner Willis Murphy consent for me to live with Mima Cobb and her owner consented for her to live with me under slavery custom and we lived together as husband and wife continuously for about sixteen years before the war of 1861. Our owners recognized us as husband and wife and so did all the community of people who knew us and during said co-habitation we had ten head of children. Three of them died in infancy. Those that lived and were named are as follows James, Amanda, Maria, Martin and Fanny were twins. Adam, Gracy, all of the children were separated and gone away. I only know where one of the children is and that is Gracy who lives in Snow Hill, Green [sic] County, N.C. That after I and my wife were seperated [sic]. I never return to her anymore. As to our continued cohabitation as husband and wife under slavery custom you will find here enclosed and affidavit of my young mistress Mrs. Nanny Murphy of Green County, N.C. and Lewis Harper and Leah Harper all of whom have testified that I was the identical husband of Mima Cobb.”


Read Full Post »

Four brothers from Southampton County, Virginia — all freeborn — enlisted in cavalry units: Henry Charity, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored CavalryJoshua Charity, Company A, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry; Thomas Charity, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry; and Friday Charity alias Friday Whipple, Company I, 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry.

This young man fled his apprenticeship and enlisted in the Union Army. He died of “congestive fever” (malaria) in a regimental hospital.

Mother – 292,885 / 225,641, Gincy Charity
See M.O. Ctf 225,614 Thomas Charity E 1 U.S.C. Cav (2 sons)

[Note: The mother filed for pensioner’s benefits on 19 May 1882. The handwritten note at the bottom of the pension index card — it begins “See M.O. Ctf” and stands for “Mother’s Original Certificate” — directs the researcher to the shared application and certificate number assigned to both young men. — Leslie]

 

Declaration for an Original Pension for of a Father or Mother, Jinsey Charity, 12 May 1884
71 years old; post-office address, Franklin, Southampton Co., Va.
“[the soldier] enlisted under the name F. Whipper … died while in service between Richmond and Petersburg on the 1st day of April 1865 . . . the said declarant was married to the Father of said son at Southampton Co., Va. … in 1821 …
“Also personally appeared Henry Darden, residing at Jerusalem, Va. and H.W. Taylor, residing at Jerusalem, Va.”

 

Statement of B.F. Pope, Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army, War Department, Surgeon’s General’s Office, Record and Pension Division, 30 September 1884
Friday Whitford, Private, Co. I, 2 U.S.C. Cav. died in Regimental Hospital, Feb. 27, 1865 of ‘Congestion Fever.'”

 

Letter from, B.F. Knight, Clerk’s Office of the Circuit and County Courts of Southampton, Jerusalem, Va. to Hon. J.C. Black, Commissioner of Pensions, 16 November 1885
“I have been requested by Ginsie Charity of my neighborhood, whom I know well, to go to Washington to collect her pension money which she thinks is ready. In order to save her needless expense, I write to know if the claim has been adjusted and should I come to Washington with power of attorney, and I collect the claim…”
[Note: This letter was signed by B.F. Knight — Leslie]

 

Sworn Statement, Gincy Charity, 22 January 1887
“I am the mother of Friday Charity … and that my residence has always been this county and that my p.o. address since 1865 has been Newsoms, Va. … no one has been legally bound to support me since since 1865 nor since the death of the soldier nor have I ever married since the death of my son Friday. … that my husband abandoned me prior to the death of the soldier & left me to support myself as best I could … I have never owned any property either before or since 1865 except a few chairs & a bed and my son Friday wrote me letters while in the army & I only possessed a knowledge of his death by information of one Henry Williams who returned a private of Co I. 1st Reg. U.S. Col. Cav. “

 

Letter from Jincy Charity to Jno. C. Black, U.S. Pension Commissioner, Washington, DC, 22 January 1887
“I have waited so long because I have been so much troubled to get this pension that I had despaired of ever getting anything from the Gov. but I am now so old & feeble & so poor and needy that I have determined to make one more effort.”

 

Letter from John Charity to Hon. John C. Blackwell [sic], 28 December 1887 [date stamped]
“Dear Sir,
“You will please let me know whether a child can draw a pension on his brother. The name of the man I am after now is Friday Charity but enlisted under the name Friday Whipper, Reg. 2, Co I. His mother died May 11, 1880. I want to know whether her youngest son can draw it or not.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: