Archive for the ‘Widow’ Category

A comparison of their pension applications and Compiled Military Service Records (CMSRs) confirms that it was this soldier — not Henry Hill, Company E, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry — who was shot and killed by his commanding officer.

According to his CMSR, William Hill was born in “Carrol, N.C.” (possibly “Corolla” in Currituck County, North Carolina. Although one of the cards in the CMSR stated he was 35 years old when at enlistment, other documents in his CMSR reported he enlisted at age 27. He was promoted to Sergeant about a year into his service but he was demoted for “over staying pass and for incompetency. Shot while in act of mutiny by Lt. Spencer, June 23d 1864.”

Widow – 167,048 / —–, Nancy Hill

Widow’s Claim for Pension, Nancy Hill, 22 October 1868
40 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“widow of William Hill … Company H … she was married to said William Hill on or about November 1846 at Portsmouth in the County of Norfolk and State of Virginia … said marriage having taken place according to the customs existing among colored people in the State of Virginia — without a license or the services of a minister of the Gospel … She further declares that said William Hill was killed … at Bermuda Hundred”
“Also personally appeared … Edward Berry and William Tatom, residents of Portsmouth, Norfolk County, and State of Virginia”

Memo by M. Boubin [sp?], Assistant Adjutant General, War Department, 1 September 1883
“Co. Descriptive Book shows [William Hill] shot while in the act of mutiny by Lt. Spencer, June 23/64. Alexander M. Spencer was 1st Lt. of the Co. No record of trial of Lieut. Spencer on file. The name Henry Hill is not borne on the rolls of that Co.”

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Henry Hill, Company E

A document in this soldier’s file reported that Henry Hill had been shot by his commanding officer Lieutenant Alexander.* However, other documents prove that the Lieutenant shot William Hill, Company H, 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry.

According to his Compiled Military Service Record, Henry Hill was born in Duplin County, North Carolina. He enlisted in 1863 at age eighteen and mustered out at Brazos Santiago, Texas in 1866.

Widow – 302,248 / —–, Margaret Hill

Declaration for Widow’s Pension and Increase, 14 March 1883
56 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va; post-office address, Norfolk, Virginia
“She is the widow of Henry Hill … that her maiden name was Margaret Johnson … married to said Henry Hill, on or about the 6th of September A.D. 1856, at Surry Court House, in the County of Surry, the State of Virginia, by consent of her former master … her husband, died in the service of the United States, as aforesaid, at Bermuda Hundred, in the State of Virginia, killed by Lieut. Spencer… for refusing of his commanding officers to take muskets as he was a cavalry man and he was ordered to take muskets, and he disobeyed and he was shot and killed dead … and that she has the following-named children of deceased husband, under sixteen years of age, who are now living, the dates of whom births are, given below, to wit:
Mary Hill, born August 9, 1858, living at Norfolk
Stephen Hill, born April 12, 1860, living at Norfolk
Woody Hill, born May 1863, living at Norfolk
“Also personally appeared Humphrey McCoy and Mary Walker, residents of Norfolk City”

Sworn Statement, Margaret Hill, 12 June 1883
“45 years old … she was born at Surry Court House, Virginia, sometime 1838, and when she was quite small her former owners moved to Sussex C.H. Va. carring [sic] her with them and that she remained with them at Sussex C.H., Va. untill [sic] the close of the war in 1865 … she first became acquainted with Henry Hill her p.o. was Sussex C.H., Va. and … [they] grew up together … do not know [sic] where her husband was born … she has no means of support except what little her children do for her and she is unable to do any kind of work”

*The officer was not court-martialed.

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According to his Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) — not shown here — the soldier was 40 years old when he enlisted in New York City. His occupation was horse trader. After the war he and his wife settled in Baltimore.

Invalid — 125,499 / —–
Widow– 489,516 / 450,795, Catherine Jones

Declaration for an Invalid Pension, Walter Jones, 2 May 1867
43 years old; residence and post-office address, 69 Arch Street, Baltimore, Md
“He was wounded in a skirmish with the rebels about the 15th day of January 1865 as nearly as he can recollect near Suffolk, Va. striking him by a musket ball in the front and inner side of the left leg about six inches above the ankle which shattered the bone and lodged about two inches above the ankle…. always requiring a cane to walk, and limping in his movement
“Also personally appeared, George Riggs and Warren Riggs … residents of Washington, DC”

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Catharine Jones, 2 December 1890
“The soldier died July 19, 1871 in Baltimore, Md. … that she was married under the name Catharine Cheevers to said Walter Jones on May 1861 by Rev. Stephen Howard at Gloucester, Va. … the soldier had been previously married but his wife had been dead for some time when he married claimant”
“Also personally appeared, Nancy Taylor residing at 594 W. Preston St., Balto, Md. and Caroline Moseley residing at 755 Raborg St., Baltimore, Maryland … acquaintance with her of 25 years and 25 years, respectively”

Sworn Statement, Caroline Moseley, 2 December 1890
50 years old; residence,755 Raborg Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“I was bridesmaid at the marriage of Catharine Cheevers and Walter Jones at Gloucester, Va. in May 1861 and I dressed the bride.”

General Affidavit, Catherine Jones, 9 December 1891
50 years old; residence, Baltimore, Maryland
“My husband Walter Jones was a member of Company C 1st Reg U.S. Cold. Troops.
In my original declaration I was mistaken when I said my husband was a member of Co K 30th US Cold Troops.”

Sworn Statement, Anthony A. Carter and Elizabeth Maddux, 16 December 1890
[Carter] 45 years old; residence, 511 Norris Ave., Baltimore, Maryland
[Maddux] 40 years old; residence Horning Ave near Carrolton Ave., Baltimore, Md.
“[Maddux] saw him carried out of the house, dead. He died on the corner of Pine & Josephine Sts., Baltimore, Md. Anthony A. Carter moved him into the house about ten days before he died.”

General Affidavit, Catharine Jones, 28 June 1893
49 years old; residence, Baltimore, Md.; post-office address, 594 W. Preston, Baltimore, Md
“Her husband died of the smallpox and all his effects were burned by the city.”

Handwritten Note Signed by John B. Giles, Laurel Cemetery, 30 June 1914
“I hereby certify holding Mrs. Dervella Lattimore responsible for (three dollars) 3.00 to John B. Giles Supt LC for the open of grave of Catherine Jones burried [sic] in Laurel Cemetery no of lot 47 Laurel Park area.”

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**Today’s post includes research notes for documents dated 1891-1892. Last week’s post included research notes for documents dated 1868-1888.

The widow’s former enslaver offered testimony about the widow’s age, her children’s ages, the year of purchase, and the year he moved “his people” from Hampton, Virginia to Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Pension benefit applications from the widow and the guardian dragged on for more than 20 years and were eventually denied.

Widow — 425,390 / —–, Margaret Washington
Guardian — 162,426 / —–, Albert Portlock

Widow’s Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension, Margaret Washington, 16 November 1891
about 50 years old; post-office address, Hampton, Va.
[She married the soldier Isom Portlock] on the 1st day of October A.D. 1856 by Rev. Rich’d Parker at Norfolk, Va. … Claimant re-married … 1867 … [the soldier’s] legitimate children
Georgiana born November 1st 1859
Cyrus born September 15th, 1861
“Also personally appeared Lee Price, residing at Hampton, Va. and Annika [Amanda?] Robinson residing at same.”

Declaration for Original Pension of a Widow — Child or Children under Sixteen Years of age surviving, Margaret Washington, 10 December 1891
46 years old; residence, Hampton, Va.; post-office address, Hampton, Va.
“She was married under the name of Margaret Young to said Isom Portlock … 1856 by consent of former owners … names and dates of birth of all his legitimate children yet surviving who were under sixteen years of age at the father’s death,
Georgia Portlock, born Oct 1, 1859
Cyrus Portlock, born Sept 15, 1859
“Also personally appeared L.C. Williams, residing at No. 19 in Jefferson street, in Norfolk, Va. and Cyrus Portlock residing in Atlantic City, Norfolk, Va.
[Note: There are discrepancies in the reported birthdates — Leslie]

Names and P.O. addresses of officers and comrades of Co. F. 1st Reg’t U.S. Col. Cav., 31 March 1892

NameRankPresent P.O. Address
Jno. Walker2d Sgt.Elizabeth City, Pasquotank Co., NC
Beverly WestSgt.22 Cleveland St., Norfolk, Va.
Cuffy EmmersonPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Wm. FullerPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Henry SivillsPvt.Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va.
Edw. W. WhithersPvt.c/o J.F. Dezendorf, Norfolk, Va.
Isaac DeansPvt.Barboursville, Orange Co., Va.
Edw. ProctorPvt.South Mills, Camden Co., NC

Report from Special Examiner, Eastville, Virginia, to the Commissioner or Pensions, Washington, DC, 22 November 1892
“p.o. addresses are respectively: Georgiana until the Spring of 1893, Calhoun Colored School, Calhoun, Lowndes Co., Ala. After the Spring of 1893, Normal School, Hampton, Va., Cyrus, Atlantic City, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va. … Wm. B.F. Hudgins, who was the last owner of the mother and who appears to be a highly intelligent gentleman and to have a good memory, states that he bought the mother in 1858 and that she had two children then … Wm. Hudgins, moved his slaves off from Hampton to Dinwiddie, Va. in July 1861 … the soldier ‘kept company’ with one Jennie Selden after the mother of the minors was sold and sent away in 1858, that he ‘kept company’ with Jennie when his company was stationed in Norfolk for 7 [or 9?] months during service and that when his regiment was sent to Texas after the war ‘Jennie’ accompanied the soldier and occupied a tent with him there as his wife and was known by his surname although it is stated that they were not married and did not live together after service and that afterwards ‘Jennie’ would not have anything more to do with him.”

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*Today’s post includes research notes from documents dated 1868-1888. Next week’s post will include research notes from documents dated 1891-1892.

The widow’s former enslaver offered testimony about the widow’s age, her children’s ages, the year of purchase, and the year he moved “his people” from Hampton, Virginia to Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Pension benefit applications from the widow and the guardian dragged on for more than 20 years and were eventually denied.


Widow — 425,390 / —–, Margaret Washington
Minor — 162,426 / —–, Albert Portlock (Gdn.)

Application of Guardian of Minor Children in order to Obtain Army Pension, Act July 14, 1862, Albert Portlock, 18 May 1868
42 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va. “Declaration as Guardian of the minor children of Isom Portlock… guardian of Georgiana Portlock & Cyrus Portlock …[Isom Portlock] died in Norfolk City, Virginia … [August 1897] ; that his death was caused by phthisis pulmonalis … dates of birth are Georgiana Portlock born July 1856, Cyrus Portlock born October 1859 … parents of said wards were married in Norfolk City, Virginia on the 2d day of October [1855] by Rev. Richard ParkerChas. C. Brown, Claim Agent, Norfolk, Va.
“Also personally appeared Rev. Pete Shepperd and Jacob Reddick, residents of Norfolk City, County of Norfolk, State of Virginia”

Handwritten letter from Cyrus Portlock, Norfolk, Virginia to Hon. John C. Black, Pension Bureau, 9 January 1888
“Dear Sir — Having put in my claim some time ago I write for information concerning it. I am the son of the late Isom Portlock, Co. F, U.S. Infantry. I wish you would let me know something concerning it whether pro or con in my favor.
Cyrus Portlock
Knitting Mills
Norfolk, Va.
c/o Eda Cowper [sp?]
[Note: The soldier’s son incorrectly reported that his father served in the infantry — Leslie]
[Note: There were several knitting mills in Norfolk. More research to determine which one this one is.– Leslie]

Sworn Statement, James Brooks, 27 December 1888
45 years old; residence, 255 Queen St. “That he was a corporal of Co. F…. he was well acquainted with Sergt. Isom Portlock … contracted a heavy cold at Fort Monroe about the months of Jan and February … layed [sic] for at least four weeks without tents on the cold ground in the snow, frost, and rain … great many soldiers caught their death of cold and Portlock was one of the victims. He lingered all through the army up to his discharge on the 4th of Feby 1866. … he died the immediate cause of his death was consumption he contracted in the service … he died on the 8th Dec 1867 … he had but little acquaintance with his family”

Sworn Statement, Cyrus Young and Frank Young, 27 December 1888
[C. Young] 58 years old; residence [illegible] Queen St., [Norfolk, Va.]
[F. Young] 55 years old; residence, [illegible] Queen St., [Norfolk, Va.]
“Each of them well acquainted with the claimant Margaret Portlock … now the wife of Cornelius Washington that they knew Isom Portlock before the war … they resided near neighbor to the claimant and claimant’s husband at that time … [Cyrus Young] says they served together up to discharge … each of them were present in the City of Norfolk when the soldier died. They cannot say whether the soldier had any doctor to treat him after being home. They heard from his wife Margaret one Doctor Crowder treated the soldier but … they are sure is deceased and the soldier lived but a short while”

Sworn Statement, Margaret Portlock, 27 December 1888
about 50 years old; residence, Norfolk Co., Va.;
“Ida born 15 day of July 1857 and she died Sept 1862 at Hampton, Va. and Georgeana born 1 day of Nov. 1859 still surviving and Cyrus born on 15 day of Sept 1861 … the soldier her husband died Dec 8th 1867 at Norfolk, Va. … she was married with the said Cornelius Washington on the 22 day of Jan 1870 at Dinwiddy [sic] County, Va., that the ceremony was read to her and Cornelius Washington but had no license, her marriage to the said Washington was witnessed by the white people known as the Wishburns of said county, she further states that her said first husband Portlock never were previous married till the marriage to her … the guardian known as Albert Portlock of said minors he is deceased some five years now … She has been informed by good authorities both of the surgeons of his regiment are deceased Dr. Samuel S. Manily died at Portsmouth, NY seven years ago. Dr. William B. Grey died at N. Orleans June 1873. … treated by one doctor name Crowder who are deceased now three years”

Sworn Statement, Barbara Vann, 28 December 1888
60 years old; “That she was well acquainted with the claimant Margaret Portlock now Margaret Washington before the war of 1861, that the claimant was married to Isom Portlock the year of 1856 in the City of Norfolk, Va. by the consent of her former owner, the claimant is the mother of three children by her said husband … Ida born 15 day of July 1857 and died Sept 1862 at Hampton, Va. Georgana born 1 day of Nov 1859 and Cyrus born 15 day of Sept 1861, she further states the soldier died Dec. 8th 1867 at Norfolk, Va. … after the death of the soldier the claimant married one Cornelius Washington on the 22 day of Jan 1870 at Dinwiddy [sic] … she was to both marriages of the claimant and births of the children and also present at the death of the soldier”

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The soldier was killed in action at Fort Pocahontas, Virginia. His wife re-married and her second husband was appointed guardian of the soldier’s son, his only surviving child.

Widow – 105,405 / 84,935, Nancy Young
Minor -158,406 / 116,387, Rufus Young

Oath of Allegiance, Nancy Young, 1 December 1865
“I, Nancy Young, do solemnly swear in the presence of God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Union of States thereunder, that I will in like manner abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations which have been made during the existing Rebellion with reference to the emancipation of of slaves so help me God.”
“Nancy Young — a resident of Norfolk County … aged 28 years … doth on her oath … in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress appeared July 14, 1862, that she is the widow of Nelson Young who killed on picket duty on Wilson’s Landing on James River on or about … Sept 1864 … she was married … January 1864 by the Rev. William Knott a regular minister of the Gospel of the MP Church and has had five children … whose names and ages are as follows: Claudius, dead; Mary Anne age dead; Angenetta dead; Rufus aged five years; Elton dead … [Nelson Young] was a free person at the time of enlisting … and had been free … of his being freeborn … I hereby constitute and appoint Leopold C.P. Cowper of Portsmouth, Va. as my true and lawful attorney.”
“And personally appeared Southall Bass and Mary Bass residents of Portsmouth … they were personally acquainted with Nancy Young … they have known the said applicant and her said husband for 20 years”

Sworn Statement, Southall Bass and Alinzo Elliott, 31 December 1866
“they have known Nancy Young … for more than twenty years … they lived within five miles of [Nelson and Nancy Young] for twenty years … [Rufus Young] is now living with his mother in Norfolk County, Virginia … that said child is now is his 7th year being born in 1859 Nov … they have often been to to their house and seen the mother since said child was an infant.”

Sworn Statement, Nancy Ridgeway, 5 September 1867
“mother of Rufus Young, only surviving orphan child of Nelson Young … born on the 18th day of November 1860”
“Also personally came before me Mary Bass aged twenty seven years and Susan Elliott aged fourteen years, residents of Norfolk County, … they knew well the late Nelson Young and Nancy … that they lived within two miles of them … they saw the mother and child in its first infancy, that they often have seen the mother and said child within a few days after its birth

Sworn Statement, Thomas Ridgeway, 28 February 1868
residence, Norfolk County, Virginia
“that he is the legal guardian of Rufus Young his ward whose father Nelson Young now deceased … guardian of the minor child of Nelson Young who died at Wilson’s Landing, Va. being killed on picket on James River while on duty … Nancy Young [soldier’s widow] and mother of the child aforesaid, Rufus Young, again married being now the wife of the said Thomas Ridgeway … the parents of his ward Rufus Young were married at the home of Jesse Watts in the county of Norfolk, Virginia on or about … Jany 1855 by the Rev. William Knott, a minister of the M.E. Church and that I do constitute and appoint Leopold C. P. Corprew of Portsmouth, Virginia my attorney”
“Also personally appeared Alonzo Elliott and Josiah Elliott, residents of Norfolk County, State of Virginia … that they were personally and intimately …. Nancy Young widow of the said Nelson Young did on the 9th day of January 1867 intermarry with one Thomas Ridgway … now the legal guardian of said Rufus Young, that they were present and witnesseth the said marriage … [the couple] were married by the Rev. Jeremiah Thomas, a minister of the [illegible] Church in the County of Norfolk, State of Va. “
“Also personally appeared before me the Rev. William Knott, a minister of the [illegible] Church”

Court Decree, County Court of Norfolk County, Virginia, 3 March 1868
“The Court doth appoint Thomas Ridgeway, Guardian to Rufus Young orphan of Nelson Young dec’d: and thereupon the said Thomas Ridgeway, appeared in court and together with Wm. H. Elliott and Josiah Elliott his securities, who justified on oath as to their sufficiency, entered into and acknowledged a bond in the penalty of One Thousand Dollars with condition according to law, which bond is ordered to be recorded.”

Sworn Statement, Nancy Ridgeway, 22 April 1868
“Her child Rufus Young was never baptized, that the children of colored persons were never submitted to this rite as she knows or believes.”
“Also personally appeared Venus Bivins by calling a midwife, aged fifty-five and Elizabeth Elliott, aged thirty-five years, residents of Norfolk County, Virginia … that they both were present at the time of the birth of and delivery of the above named Nancy Ridgeway when she was Nancy Young and the legal wife of Nelson Young … in the 18 day of Nov 1860 of her child Rufus Young”

Memorandum by Thomas M. Vincent, Assistant Adjutant General, 23 March 1868
“He is reported ‘Killed in action when on a search near Fort Pocahontas, Va. Augt. 1864. On Muster Roll dated Feby 4/66. ‘xx Was killed while skirmishing Augt. 28/64, where not known.’ Original Statements on file in this Office signed by the Co., Capt. He is reported ‘Killed August 18, 1864”

Sworn Statement, Dempsey Nash, Court Clerk, 13 July 1868
“It appears from the record in my office that on the 5th day of January 1867 a license was issued according to law to solemnize the marriage of Thomas Ridgeway and Nancy Young, a widow, both colored, and it further appears from the said record and the return of J.R.V. Thomas, a minister of the Gospel that he did on the 10th day of January 1867 duly celebrates the wrights [sic] matrimony.”

Declaration of Guardian of Minor Children for Increase Pension Under Act of July 25, 1866, 9 December 1876
“Thomas Ridgeway, aged about 45 years … mother of the child has remarried and that the date of birth of said ward is as follows 17th Nov 1860 … the maiden name of his mother was Nancy Elliott.”
“Also personally appeared Southall Bass and Thomas Riddick, residents of Portsmouth”
[Note: The word “increase” was handwritten and inserted before the word “pension” — Leslie]

Sworn Statement, Thomas Ridgeway, 30 June 1888
“Thomas Ridgeway, guardian to Rufus Young, orphan of Nelson Young … says that his post-office address is Portsmouth, Virginia”
“Also personally appeared Venus Bivins and Elizabeth Elliott”

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The couple had a “slave marriage” in Portsmouth in September 1864. The soldier died at Brazos Santiago, Texas in August 1865. His comrades-in-arms attended his burial.

Widow — 129,839 / 115,387, Sally Singleton

Widow’s Claim for Pensions, Sallie Lawson, 10 July 1886
25 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“Her maiden name was Sallie Herbert and that she was married to Lawson Singleton on or about the 15 September, 1864, at Portsmouth in the County of Norfolk and State of Virginia by mutual consent and that she knows of no record evidence of said marriage except the consent of parties married under slave laws … she hereby appoints Mssrs. Wolf & Hart, Washington, DC as her lawful attorney … all the children of my deceased husband who where [sic] under sixteen years of age at the time of his death, Mary Clare Singleton born 15 Oct 1865, the p.o. address, Portsmouth, Va.”
“Also personally appeared before me, Dick Williams and Samuel Williams residents of Portsmouth … were present at the death of her husband & know the child Mary C. Singleton aforesaid as her child.”

Letter from Assistant Adjutant General to Commissioner of Pensioners, Washington, DC, 21 July 1866
“On the muster roll of Co. H of that Regiment, for the months of July and Augst 1865, he is reported died at Brazos Santiago, Texas, Augst 29th 1865”
[Note: “On the muster roll of Co. H”? Other records indicate he served in Company D — Leslie]

Letter from Brevet Major and Assistant Surgeon, USA J.J. Woodward to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 25 October 1866
“Reported to this Office by Surgeon B.S. Manly as having died Aug 30th, 1865 at Brazos Santiago, Texas”

Sworn Statement, Sally Singleton, 5 July 1867
“That she was married to the said Lawson Singleton, at Portsmouth, Virginia in October 1864, without a license so the services of a minister of the gospel, but by mutual consent and subsequent cohabitation … she had of the said Lawson Singleton, one child, Mary Clarissa Singleton born on 1st Feby 1865, which said child is now alive and living with the said affiant.”
“At the same time personally appeared Samuel Marshall, Andrew Joiner, Hannah Marshall, and Emma Williams … that they are well acquainted with Lawson Singleton … and have known her for ten years. That they were also well-acquainted with Lawson Singleton … and knew him for the same period of time … were married at Portsmouth, Virginia in the month of October 1864 … that the affiants Samuel Marshall and Andrew Joiner, were present at their marriage.”

Sworn Statement, Sally Singleton, 29 July 1867
residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia
“Declares that she is the widow of Lawson Singleton … Also personally appeared William Hawkins and Solomon Jones, residents of Norfolk County”

Sworn Statement, Samuel Marshall and Ackwell Jones, 15 February 1868
“Samuel Marshall and Ackwell Jones … Samuel Marshall … was well acquainted with Lawson Singleton [who died in latter part of August 1865] … and after his death, followed his body to the grave, and assisted in its burial. And affiant further alleges he knew the said Lawson SIngleton before he entered the service of the U. States … and affiant believes the said Lawson Singleton died of disease contracted whilst in said service and whilst in the line of his duty”

“Ackwell Jones … was well acquainted with Lawson Singleton — and the affiant further alleges that in the month of August 1865 … Lawson Singleton died … the deponent visited the tent of the now deceased, during his sickness, viewed the body after death, and witnessed its burial … the deponent believes the said Lawson Singleton died of disease contracted whilst in said service and whilst in the line of his duty”

Letter from Sally Singleton to William W. Dudley, Commissioner of Pensions, 1 October 1881
“Dear Sir,
Please inform me the case of my child being dropped from the Pension Rolls, my daughter was Born, on the Last day of January 1866, and my daughter Mary case been droped [sic] know [sic] 9 months”
“Please Sir, address me
No. 276 1/2 Queen Street
Norfolk, Virginia”

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Born in Nansemond County, Virginia died in the post hospital at Brazos Santiago, Texas in August 1865. At the time of his death, he owed $14.00 to a sutler named Paul Jones.* Witnesses for the widow provided contradictory testimony about her private life but her application was approved. Names of the couple’s enslavers were noted in the record.

Widow — 116,291 / 115,769, Lavinia Ashburn

Sworn Statement, Lavinia Ashburn, 24 December 1865
25 years old; post-office address, Portsmouth, Virginia
“She was married to [Miles Ashburn] in the year 1860 and that there is no record of her said marriage … there are now living two children the fruit of said marriage viz. Jane Ashburn, aged 3 years and 5 months and Mary Charity Ashburn aged 2 months … She hereby authorizes Samuel V. Niles of Washington City, DC to prosecute her case”

“The Family Record was exhibited before me of which the following is a true copy viz.
“Jane Ashburn was born on the 10th of June in the year of 1862, Daughter of Lavinia and Miles Ashburn”
“Mary Charity Ashburn was born on the 14th of September in the year of 1865, Daughter of Lavinia and Miles Ashburn.”

“Also personally came Clara A. Sparrow and Matilda Tynes residents of said city … they were also well acquainted with Miles Ashburn and knew him before he entered the service of the U. States”

A.S. Dixon, Notary Public”

Sworn Statement, Isaac Pierce and Willis Council, 1 October 1866
“they lived in the same neighborhood with [Miles Ashburn] and have known him for more than ten years past … they are well acquainted with his widow”
“and at the same time personally came Lavinia Ashburn”

Widow’s Application for Pension, Livinia Ashburn, 14 February 1867
“her maiden name was Livinia Luke … she was married to said Miles Ashburn … 1861 in Nansemond County … by an authorized minister … there are now no children living the fruit of said marriage”
“Also personally appeared …Mrs. Jane E. McCoy and Clara Ann Sparrow residents of Norfolk County”

Sworn Statement, Jane E. McCoy, 14 February 1867
“she well knew Miles Ashburn … that [the couple] lived on her premises and that she knew them as man and wife … Ashburn left two children at the time of his death and that they have since died”

Widow’s Declaration for Pension or Increase of Pension, Lavinia Ashburn, 16 August 1867
60 years old; residence, 1008 Effingham street, Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, 1008 Effingham street, Portsmouth, Va.
“Jane Ashburn born April 1862, Charity Ashburn born Jany 1865”
“Also personally appeared Jacob Ashburn, residing in Bowers Hill, Va. and Nathan Ashburn, residing at Bowers Hill, Va. … witnesses: Nathan Ashburn, Jeff. Davis

Sworn Statement, Lavinia Ashburn, 8 February 1868
“She is unable to furnish any record of her marriage as the law of Virginia did not require the [illegal] of license for the marriage of col’d persons … personally came Richard Freeman and Albert Jones … declare that they were personally and intimately acquainted with the above named Miles Ashburn that they were in the same company with him … and that he died in the service in at the hospital at Brazos Santiago Texas and that he died in August 1865″

Declaration for Pension of Children Under Sixteen Years of Age, Lavinia Ashburn, 17 March 1891
47 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, c/o Room No. 1, 114 Main Street, Norfolk, Va.
“is the legal guardian of Jane and of Charity Ashburn … Jane Ashburn … born Jany 6, 1862 … Charity Ashburn … born Jany 15, 1865 … the father was married under the name Miles Ashburn to Lavinia Luke … declarant hereby appoints … N.E. Knoeler, No. 10 Grace Place. Washington, DC. … her attorney.”
“Also personally appeared Albert Jones residing at No. 5 on Clifford street, in Portsmouth, Va. and Charles Williams residing at No. 17, in Pearl street, in Portsmouth, Va.”

Deposition, Lavinia Ashburn, 20 August 1901
address, 814 Bart St., Portsmouth, Va.
“I am not acquainted with my age. I had two children with the northern troops came through Suffolk, Va. so I must be somewhere near 60 years old. Housekeeping is my occupation.. … My husband was born in 5 miles of me and I was born 5 miles beyond Suffolk, Va. He was born in Nansemond Co., Va. and was a slave owned by Elisha Ashburn. I do not recall name of my husband’s father. My husband took his name from his owner. He never went under any other name.”
“We were married some ten months before the ‘Yankees’ came to Suffolk. We only had a slave marriage — simply got consent of our owners and went to living together, never had a ceremony of any kind. My owner was Isaac Luke. My husband lived as I said 5 miles from me but he came Wednesday and Saturday night of each week to see me. I was married once before I married my husband but he left me and took up with another woman. His name was Charles Driver. I had two children by him. Miles Ashburn was never married before he married me.
“My husband Miles Ashburn enlisted in Norfolk, Va. Oh, yes, I saw him after he joined the army. He came to see me some 2 or 3 times. He would come home on furlough whenever he could get off. I saw him the night before they all started for Texas. The whole Regt went. They took a steamer. The steamer came up about where the present ferry wharf is now. After that I never saw him again. I finally received word that he died in ten days after he got to Texas.”

“At time of death of my husband, I lived on Queen St. near Catholic church. Lived there only about one year when I moved to Getty’s Station 3 miles out of this town. Lived there with my brother Miles Williams. Lived there one year and a half and then came back to Portsmouth. I then lived on Chestnut St. on line of County and City. Lived there a year and then moved on Green and South St. Lived there 7 years. Lived there 7 years. Was known [illegible] Charles Pierson (white), Fatry Pierson, and Mr. Ed. Johnson and since that time I have lived principally on this st. The only person who has ever lived in house with me since the war was my brother and he only lived there a short time.
“I have had seven children are dead but one, viz. George Driver.
“I had two children by Driver and three by Miles Ashburn. When I told you a few minutes ago that I had six or seven children I must have been mistaken for I can only count five. My last child was born in four weeks after its father died.
“I have cooked for four different men viz.
Eli Rix now of Boston, Mass.
Wm. Smith, no, I think it was Jesse Smith. He lives beyond this city — cannot give exact address.
William Erbett, King Street and James Gerr of Richmond.
Charles Eason used to visit me at times but he is dead. He was a roomer for Mrs. Deasondorf. He at times staid [sic] at my house at nights. His wife who is now dead used to [illegible] to look after him. I was then living at corner Green and South. He also used to come and stay at my house when I was at 1008 Effingham st. Charles Eason and I were in the house alone. Chas. Eason‘s wife lived about a mile or two out of town — she lost her mind and was sent to the asylum. Chas. Eason died about 3 years ago.”
[Note: The streets mentioned in her testimony are in a Portsmouth neighborhood called Lincolnsville.

Deposition, Lavinia Ashburn, 21 August 1901
“I do not know correct age, but I was grown and had two children when the war commenced.
“I have had two children since the death of my husband. Charles Eason was father of both said children. One of said children was a girl and was named Martha — the other was a boy and named Charles. These children were born on Green st., near South and I rented the house from Mr. Wilson. I do not recollect the age of Martha but Charles would be twenty-three years old if alive. These children died when they were small. They were about three or four years of age when they died.
“[Charles Eason] commenced his visits to me during the last of the war after my husband had been killed or died in Texas and continued his visits up to about a short time before his death. He died some two or three years ago”

“I used to be known under the name of Lavinia Driver. That was the name of my first husband. His name was Charles Driver and we were married in slavery time but he ran off and left me. He died year before last. … I have one son by Charles Driver. He is alive and over 40 years of age.”

Deposition, Lavinia Reed, 27 August 1901
“unable to give my age but I had children when war commenced”; occupation, housekeeping; residence, 908 Griffin St., Portsmouth, Va.
“I have known Lavinia Ashburn some 12 or 15 years. After we got acquainted we were next door neighbors till some 3 or 4 years ago
“She never married anyone while I knew her but a man named Charles Eason used to stay a heap with her. … Lavinia did not bear a good name and drank hard at times and people talked about her and Charles Eason. I told her it was wrong myself but she did not appear to like it so I let her alone. … Lovinia rented two rooms — in lower room she cooked and slept in upper room. As I recalled in the upper room there was a bed and a lounge.”

Deposition, Anthony Reed, 28 August 1901
“I do not know my age but am over 70”; residence, 908 Griffin St., Portsmouth, Va.; “I am a laborer but cannot work much of the time.”
“I have known Lavinia Ashburn for many years. She never married Charles Eason for he had a living wife.”

General Affidavit, Mary Reed and Martha Wright, 16 January 1904
[Reed] 65 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Columbus st., near Green, Portsmouth, Va.
[Wright] 55 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 704 London st., Portsmouth, Va.
“They have been well acquainted with the claimant … ever since before the war of 1861, that ever since the war they have lived in Portsmouth or the adjoining part of Norfolk Co. and during that time the claimant has lived in Portsmouth; that during that time they have visited her frequently and known her intimately … that for the last 7 years they have all been living near each other in Portsmouth and claimant lives with her son and his children, that she is a member of Zion’s Church in good standing and could not be so if she had been guilty of open and notorious adulterous cohabitation.”

“Also appeared Lucy Ann Johnson, age 47, a resident of Portsmouth, Va., address, Columbus St., between Green and Effingham, Portsmouth, Va. … she has known claimant all her life that she was born and raised in Portsmouth where claimant has always lived since she could remember her. … she has lived near her and visited her frequently day and night.”

*Details about Miles Ashburn’s military service, illness, hospitalization, and death are reported in his Compiled Military Service Record.

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Dennis Banks, Company K

When this soldier died in service, he was in debt to the U.S. Army (15 cents for ordnance plus $1.64 for camp and garrison equipage) and he owed $14.00 to a sutler.
— Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served with the United States Colored Troops [microform]: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry (Colored), 6th United States Colored Cavalry (1997). Reel 0001 – 1st United States Colored Cavalry: Ackess, Alexander – Bom, John H. at https://archive.org/details/compiledmili0001akesunit/page/n5 ). Banks’s Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) can be viewed at n863-n880

Widow — 141,638 / 108,524, Caroline Banks

Caroline Banks, Widow’s Claim for Pension, 26 January 1867
25 years old; post-office address, Norfolk, Virginia
“was married to said Dennis Banks on or about the 24 Dec 1860, near Elizabeth City in the county of Pasquotank, and State of North Carolina by mutual consent ….married by consent of master John Banks to Dennis Banks by consent of his master John Banks … Dennis Banks [died at] Brazos Santiago, in the State of Texas, on or about the 5 day of July, 1865, of cholera … at the time of his death, one child born in wedlock since dead”
“Also personally appeared before me, Dempsey Elliott, and Raphael Wright, residents of Norfolk County, and State of Virginia”

Sworn Statement, Caroline Banks, 29 January 1869
“her maiden name was Caroline Banks. That she was married in the mode common among persons of color in the state of North Carolina at that time, without a license or the service of a minister of the gospel, but by mutual consent and by cohabitation of the parties”
“At the same time, personally appeared Henry Banks and Manuel Banks … that they are well acquainted with Caroline Banks … have known her for twenty years. That they were also well acquainted with her husband Dennis Banks … the said parties and the affiant living near neighbors of each other in the county of Pasquotank, NC all their lives … were present when [the couple] married, in the mode common among persons of color in North Carolina”

Marriage License [copy], Edward Clarke and Mrs. Caroline Banks, 30 December 1871
Norfolk County; Husband, 26 years old and single. Wife, 25 years old and widowed. Both lived in Norfolk County, Virginia. He was born in Norfolk County, Virginia to “Jas. and Lottie Clark.” and worked as an oysterman. She was born in Edenton, North Carolina and her parents weren’t named. They were married by Reuben Jones at Churchland, Norfolk County, Virginia.

Widow’s Claim for Arrears Pension, Caroline Banks, 20 March 1883
39 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Virginia; post-office address, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Virginia
“she is the widow of Dennis Banks who was a Corporal of Company K commanded by Captain Whitehead of the 1st Regiment of the U.S.C. Cavalry Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Jeffey Geard and who died in U.S. Service at Brazos Santiago Texas … September 1865″
“That she was married to the said Dennis Banks on December 1856 at Perquinky [sp?], NC by consent of their former owners; that her name before her said marriage was Carline Banks … appoints William Ward, 276 1/2 Queen St. of Norfolk, Va., her attorney”
“On the same day personally came Charles Easn a resident of Western Branch township, Va. and Benjamn Jenkins a resident of Western Branch township, Va. … they have been personally acquainted with the soldier and his wife 30 years or more.”
“[signed by] Chas. Eason … Ben Jenkins

Note: Spelling variants — “Dennis,” “Denous,” “Denis,” and “Dempsey” — appeared in the Compiled Military Service Record — Leslie

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This pension application is rich with detailed observations about individuals, their character, their occupations, their living arrangements and relationships: “third cousin to her said husband … underage and could not get a license in Virginia … a white man’s child … the minor has been shaving for more than three years … were not married and did not occupy the same room … now running on a schooner between Norfolk, Boston & New York … visited his family at different times while in service, and the family were then living in Portsmouth … made a bargain herself to buy the land … they are both gentlemen, don’t think either one of them would tell a lie.”

Widow — 158,200 / 123,131, Letitia Foulkes

Sworn Statement, Dr. H.P. Ritter, 28 October 1868
“He has examined Harriet Foulk, General Jackson Foulk & Alexander Foulk children of Samuel & Letitia Foulk and … Harriet was born during the month of December 1856 & that the said General Jackson was born on or about the month of November 1859 & that the said Alexander was probably born about the latter part of the month of February 1861″
“Also personally appeared Mary Ann Porter and Matilda Parker, residents of Gates Co., NC … they have been for more than 25 years personally acquainted with the claimant … they were present at the marriage of the parties at the home of the late Revd Wm. Cross a Justice of the Peace of the said Gates County, NC & that said marriage occurred on or about May 2/1855 … [Cross] died about the month of April 1865 at said Gates County, NC”

Exhibit A, Letitia Foulk, 25 July 1878
about 41 years old; residence, near Gilmerton Locks, Norfolk Co., Va.
“She was born and raised free, and lived in the neighborhood of Holy Neck Chapel, Nansemond Co., Virginia from birth until about two years after the commencement of the late war, that she was married on the last Thursday in May, and think it was in the year 1856, to Samuel Foulk a free coloured man who lived in the same neighborhood. Affiant maiden name was Letitia Foulke and she was third cousin to her said husband. They were married in Gates Co., NC by a Magistrate named William Cross, it was the nearest point in NC where they could find a Magistrate, it was not far from Gatesville, went to NC to get married because she was underage and could not get a license in Virginia. Affiant has learned that William Cross … died during the late War learned the fact by writing through her attorney when she first applied for a pension…. he died at Fortress Monroe of smallpox during the first year of his enlistment … Affiant was sent for by soldier before his death. She went to Old Point but found the soldier was dead on her arrival … The point in North Carolina at which she was married was about 12 miles from her residence at Holy Neck, Nansemond Co., Virginia. There was a large party with her to see the marriage, James Faulk and wife who live near Holy Neck waited on them at their marriage … Her attorney Thomas Baker proved the marriage by a letter from a member of Mr. Cross’s (the Magistrate) family, was not acquainted with any person who lived near Wm. Cross in Gates Co., NC thinks Dr. Elliott of Somerton was present at her marriage. Mary Ann Porter was not present at her marriage but was at the wedding after her return home. Mary Ann Porter died five or six years ago. Matilda Parker was not present at her marriage. Granville Joiner and Benjamin Fly nor either of them were present at her marriage. Affiant had two children by the soldier viz General Jackson who will be 21 years old the 25th day October 1878, and Alexander who will be 17 years old on the 27 of February 1879. When she put in her claim through Thomas Baker, she told him that she had three children, but that Harriet the oldest child was not the child of the soldier, he Baker told her it made no difference … and she did as he advised Harriet was a white man’s child, was not married to Harriet’s father … [affiant] lived in the same house with Armistead Moore for three or four years … has not lived with Moore for the past two years … She never had a child by Moore, never cohabited with him … said Moore is now running on a schooner between Norfolk, Boston & New York, don’t know the name of the schooner. She first lived in the same house with Moore at Coxes Point, can’t fix the date, has lived at her present place of residence four years next March, Cox’s Point is the same place lately rented by Robt Noel. Thomas Nickerson, was a near neighbor when she lived at Cox Point, Nickerson now lives near Gilmerton Locks, Armistead Moore does not visit her now. Miles Copeland, one of affiant’s neighbors has known her all her life, he is an intelligent coloured man, believe Armistead Moore is courting Copeland’s stepdaughter. Affiant’s oldest son works at Baxter & Collins Mill seven or eight miles above Great Bridge. Don’t know where Ben Fly is, thinks Granville Joiner lives at Lincolnville. Matilda Parker lives near Getty Station.”

Exhibit B, Alexander Faulk, 28 July 1878
16 years old; residence, near Gilmerton Locks, Norfolk Co., Va.
“He is the son of claimant … he will be seventeen years old on the last day of February 1879, that he never saw his father to his knowledge, he has always lived home with claimant … Claimant and Alexander Moore lived together four or five years, but they were not married and did not occupy the same room, claimant employed Moore as a farmer for her, Moore rented the Cox & point farm but claimant paid the rent”

Exhibit C, L.B. Kenney, 28 July 1878
40 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“He a Pension Examining Surgeon … made an examination of Alexander Faulk … he gives it as his professional opinion that the said Alexander Faulk is twenty-one years of age, his general development indicates that age and he admits that he the minor has been shaving for more than three years.”

Exhibit D, General Jackson Faulk, 29 July 1878
21 years old; residence, Gilmerton Locks, Norfolk Co., Va.
“He is the oldest son of claimant, that he doesn’t remember his father, but recollects seeing a man near Wingates in Norfolk Co. with a uniform on and has always been taught that was his father, and that his name was Samuel Faulk, and that he died in the U.S. Service at Hampton, Va. Affiant has always lived with claimant … Armistead Moore lived with claimant for some five or six years, he did not live with her as husband and wife, but they farmed together and she did his washing and cooking, they did not occupy the same room … they rented first from Smoale & Co [?] of Philadelphia, and afterward from J.J. Bilosoly. When claimant lived at Cox Point, Armistead Moore was responsible for the rent. After moving to Bilosoly’s place claimant made a bargain herself to buy the place, so much each year until paid for … Moore lived with claimant for five or six years preceding last autumn, since which time he has been running on a schooner to New York and Boston, he has not been to claimant’s house since last Autumn, he lived with her as a boarder until that time… Moore is not a married man”

Exhibit E, Robert Noel, 31 July 1878
50 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“owns and works a farm near Cox Point, has known [claimant] for about 10 years, about nine of which she has lived with Armistead Moore as his wife … about six years ago they moved from thence across a creek nearer to Gilmerton Locks, thinks they bought the property … often heard Moore speak of claimant as his wife… Moore shipped the production of the land they lived on in his own name…. about a year ago he went away with Captain Trammell [?] on a schooner which trades north. Is acquainted with her (claimant) sons”

Exhibit F, Martin J. Ballentine, 1 August 1878
72 years old; residence, Gilmerton Locks, Norfolk Co., Va.
“acquainted with claimant, she resides on a place adjoining his farm, she came to live there about three years ago with a colored man named Armistead Moore … [they lived there] until about a year ago, when Moore went off on the schooner Lydia Roper [sp?] Capt. Crasmer [sp?], thinks Moore went as steward … don’t know claimant’s children”

Exhibit G, J.J. Bilosoly, 9 August 1878
39 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
“has known her since Feb 17 1873 at which time he sold her a piece of land in Norfolk Co. She did not pay him for the land, but gave notes endorsed by Armistead Moore, and a deed of trust to secure him, the notes have never been paid. Claimant has lived on said land ever since, don’t know whether Armistead Moore has lived with her or not.”

Exhibit H, Miles Copeland, 9 August 1878
resides at Western Farm, Norfolk Co., Va.
“has known [claimant] since she was a child, she was a freeborn coloured woman, raised near Holy Neck, Nansemond Co., Virginia … claimant was married some years (three or four) before the late Rebellion to a free coloured man named Samuel Faulk, her maiden name was Letitia Faulk. She had one daughter before she married Samuel Faulk. She was not married to the Father of said Daughter. Affiant was not present at the marriage of claimant, he lived in same neighborhood at the time she was married. … it is not certain whether she was married in Nansemond Co. or in North Carolina, many people went from Virginia to North Carolina (which was only a few miles off ) to get married … knows that [Faulk] was a Cavalry soldier, has seen him in uniform, thinks he enlisted in Norfolk or Portsmouth or vicinity because he visited his family at different times while in service, and the family were then living in Portsmouth he (the soldier) died of smallpox … thinks his regiment was on the James River at the time.”

Exhibit I, Armistead Moore, 9 August 1878
residence, schooner Lydia H. Roper, Norfolk Co., Va.
“he has never been married to the claimant, did not live in cohabitation, lived with her as an employee for six or seven years, left her employment last Autumn, never lived with her as husband and wife, never occupied the same bed or same room with claimant … knows Robert Noel and M.J. Balentine, believes they are both gentlemen, don’t think either one of them would tell a lie. Miles Copeland is a respectable colored man, and is friendly to affiant, don’t believe he would tell a lie.”

Exhibit K, Henry Faulk, 10 August 1878
38 years old; residence, near Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Virginia
“He is a brother of Samuel Faulk … affiant was a soldier in same co. & Regiment. Affiant enlisted in 1863 or 1864 … Affiant was not at their marriage but know they were regularly married and lived together as husband and wife … Affiant has not regarded Armistead Moore and claimant as husband and wife … The deceased soldier and claimant were distant cousins, heard of their marriage shortly after it took place, and visited them in their domicile … don’t visit claimant because of living with Armistead Moore and not being married to him, or denying her marriage.”

Widow’s Claim for Arrears of Pension, Act Jan. 25, 1879, Letitia Falk, 28 September 1881
43 years old; residence, Norfolk, 3 miles from Portsmouth;
[also appeared] Irena Porter, residence, Norfolk, Va., No. 69 Newton St., and Milly Smith, residence, Norfolk, Va., No. 44 Fourth St…. long acquainted 30 years”

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