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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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This soldier was in the 1st U.S. Heavy Artillery and not the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry. The correction was noted on two items in the pension application folder but the mistake hasn’t been corrected elsewhere.

 

Invalid — 1,116,461 / —–

 

Sworn Statement, William Alphine, 12 October 1892
“I hereby certify that my rupture is on the left side of my belly. I was ruptured about July 1866 in the following manner — while working on the Steamer Adelaide as a deckhand running between Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia. I lost the first joint of the first finger of my right hand about November 1888 in the following manner — by having my hand caught in a block and tackle while working at longshore work in Charleston, South Carolina.”

 

A.C. McNulty, Law, Pensions, Patents, 313 W. Clinch Street, Knoxville, Tennessee [letterhead] to Southern Division, 7 December 1896
“Has claimant been heard from direct? Letters addressed to him at 15 Limehouse Street, Charleston, South Carolina, failed of delivery. Delay wholly due to the fact of my inability to secure claimant’s co-operation, I ask that my rights, as attorney of record, be regarded.”
[A handwritten note on the attorney’s letterhead reads “I 1 U S C HA.”  Document was date stamped by the Pension Bureau — Leslie]

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This soldier lived in Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts. He was represented by Tolman & Co. — Ellen Tolman was his attorney and August B. Tolman was a Justice of the Peace. 

 

Invalid — 1,033,866 / 719,198

 

Declaration for Invalid Pension, Alfred Ash, 2 June 1891
“resident of the city of Lawrence, county of Essex, state of Mass … honorably discharged at Galveston, Tex … partially unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of injury to left leg, by horse falling upon him, & malaria & its results … He hereby appoints Ellen S. Tolman [of Lawrence, Massachusetts], his true & lawful attorney … that his post-office address is 33 Melvin Street, Lawrence”

 

Sworn Statement, Alfred Ash, 3 September 1891
“I, Alfred Ash, enlisted in Company I 1st USCT in 1863, dis[abled] in 1865 & have never served in any other military or naval service. My left leg was injured by my horse falling upon me, at Fortress Monroe, while on drill, in Dec 1863 or Jan 1864.”
[Sworn before Aug. B. Tolman, Justice of the Peace]

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It looks as if a clerk’s poor penmanship set the course for this soldier’s first name to be misread. To complicate matters further, the soldier’s attorney was disbarred and had to be replaced.  

 

Invalid — 864,797 / —–

 

Letter from J.E. Hozier, Postmaster, Berkley, Va. to H.P. Maxwell, Norfolk, Va., 4 January 1892
“Your letter ret’d will say in reply that I do not know anyone by the name of Vanjime Anderson who gets mail at this office & who lives about three miles from here on the Old Great Bridge Road, the direction is south … P.S. I will give any other information that I can.

 

Letterhead of W.R. Drury, Attorney at Law and Notary Public, 16 Bank Street, Norfolk, Va. to Bureau of Pensions, Department of Interior, 28 May 1892
“Dear Sir — Vanjine Anderson  … wishes to know how his claim stands. His attorney has been disbarred and he is anxious to know as to whether it is of any use to file with another attorney. Mr. W.R. Drury tells him that all evidence necessary to complete same has been filed by giving him desired information obliged.
[Signed by Vanjine Anderson and W.R. Drury]

 

Deposition, Vanjume Anderson, 7 January 1893
54 years old; farmer; post-office address, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. …

 

Deposition, Cuffy Emmerson, 7 January 1893
65 years old; farmer; post-office, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant … from his childhood and we have always lived in the same immediate neighborhood and continuously since our discharge from service we have lived within five hundred yards of each other.

 

Deposition, Jeffrey Carson, 9 January 1893
51 years old; farmer; post-office address, Box 15, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … “I have known the claimant … for the past 33 years, since before enlistment, during and since service.
“I was with him in the office of W.R. Drury, in this city, when he executed his application for pension and I signed his application as a witness to his identity. Cuffy Emmerson and I signed for him….”

 

Declaration for Invalid Pension, Vanburen Anderson, 7 December 1893
55 years old; residence, Providence, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Berkley, Norfolk Co., Va. … his former application is invalid … also, personally appeared Henry Boone residing at Providence, Va., and Cuffy Emmerson residing at Providence, Va. … acquainted with him for twenty and thirty-five years, respectively … “

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After the war, the soldier and his family settled in Portsmouth. Despite the ailments he developed during his service — frostbitten feet, a consumptive cough, and chronic diarrhea — he owned a home and a rental property. 

 

Widow – 353,162 / 351,550, Margaret Anderson

 

Marriage License [copy], Benjamin Anderson & Margaret Counsell, 6 October 1868
Portsmouth, Va. … Husband’s age, 23 years old, 20th December 1868; Wife’s age, 18 years old, 10th June 1868; both were single; Husband’s birthplace, Williamsburg, Va.; Wife’s birthplace, Suffolk, Va.; both resided in Portsmouth, Va.; Husband’s parents, Benjamin & Lucy Anderson; Wife’s parents, William & Sally Councill; husband’s occupation, farmer; officiant, E.G. Corprew

 

Declaration for Widow’s Pension and Increase, Margaret Anderson, 8 April 1887
“36 years old … she has the following-named children of her deceased husband, under sixteen years of age, who are now living, the dates of whose births are, as given below, to wit:
“Laura, born June 29, 1875, living at Portsmouth
Margaret, born June 7, 1877, living at Portsmouth
Benjamin, born June 6, 1882, living at Portsmouth
Joseph, born October 8, 1884, living at Portsmouth”

 

Proof of Disability, Susan Kearney & Joseph Cornick, 27 April 1887
[Kearney] 58 years old; residence, Washington St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Virginia
[Cornick] [?]9 years old; residence, 617 Queen St., Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Virginia …
“That the facts stated are personally known to the affiant by reason of 26 or 27 years well acquainted with the said Benjamin Anderson … and that each of them and the said Benjamin Anderson and his family resided in the city of Portsmouth from the date of the discharge up to his death and that they further state that each of them was present at the death of the said Benjamin Anderson”

 

General Affidavit, Charles H. Gordon & Jane Wilson, 27 April 1887
[Gordon] 32 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
[Wilson] 38 years old; residence, 619 High St., Portsmouth, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“That each of them was bred and born in Portsmouth, County of Norfolk, State of Virginia, and each of them are well acquainted with Margarette Anderson … That they have known the said soldier before the war of 1861 and have been well acquainted with him up to his death …”

 

Deposition, Margaret Anderson, 21 September 1888
35 years old; post-office, Crabbe St. betn Cook & Armstrong St., Portsmouth, Norfolk, Co., Va.

“Q. Is your husband living?
“A. No, sir, he died Octr 6th 1884, his name was Benjamin Anderson … born in James City Co., Va., age about 34 yrs at death, occupation, laborer … He was a slave of Mr. Sell Jones of James City Co., Va., he is dead. My name was Margaret Counsill. I was raised in Suffolk, Va. I first knew Benjamin Anderson at Portsmouth, Va. during the war. He was a soldier then in Co. D 1s USC Cavy. I married him Octr 6th 1868 here in Portsmouth, Va. The Rev. E.G. Corprew was the minister who married us. Benjamin Anderson was a farmer before the war. There was nothing whatever the matter with Benj. Anderson when I first knew him. He was a stout healthy young man when I first made his acquaintance. In 1866 he was discharged from the Army & he came directly to me at Portsmouth, Va. He had a hard cough complaint of his side hurting him, both feet were frosted. He told me he got this way while in the Army from exposure. He told me the name of the place he got this cold but I cannot now say where it was. This cold seemed to settle on his lungs & he suffered with his frosted feet and clean up to his death he suffered with his feet. He was able to do some work and did work, but he suffered all the time up to his death. After I married him I found out he had diarrhea, and that came at time very badly. It was not continuous with him but at fits & starts he would have it. Had diarrhea badly when he died. Six months before he died he was unable to do any work and finally died Octr 6 1884 of consumption brought on from exposure in the Army.

“He left me four children, all living,
Laura Anderson, born June 23d 1874
Margaret Anderson, “ July 8th 1878
Benjamin Anderson, “ June 9th 1883
Joseph Anderson, “ October 18th 1884.
“These dates are taken from my family Bible. When I made my Declaration for Pension I guessed at their births as I did not have the Bible with me.

“The dates of the births of our children were put in the Bible by our daughter Laura and we guessed at the dates as well as we could.

“My husband Benjamin Anderson had no physician to treat him after the war. He was not able to have a doctor. We went to different drug stores and bought different kinds of medicine. When he died he had no physician & had none at any time. George Coleman was the undertaker, Mary Riddick and Charles H. Gordon of Portsmouth, Va. here with him when he died.

“I have remained his widow, have not re-married. My last child Joseph Anderson was born 12 days after his father Benj. Anderson died.

“Susan Kearney was with me at the birth of all my children. She is a midwife here in Portsmouth, Va. All of the children were born in Portsmouth, Va.

“My husband Benjn Anderson often said he would ask for a pension but he neglected it until too late.
“I wish you to see Mary Reddick, Charles H. Gordon, Susan Kearney, Jane Wilson, all here in Portsmouth, Va. as to condition since service & death, & my not again marrying. James Woodis, Nathan Butcher of Norfolk, Va. as to my husband’s sickness in the Army.”

 

Deposition, Susan Kearney, 21 September 1888
60 years old; occupation, midwife; post-office Pearl St., betn High and Queen, Portsmouth, Va.
“I knew Benjamin Anderson ever since the war ended. Knew him before he married Margaret Counsil. He married her in 1868 here in Portsmouth, Va. Benjn Anderson had a cough and misery in his side when I first knew him after he got out of the Army. I then lived across the street from him and got to know him well and I know he suffered with a dry hard cough & pain in his side, his feet were frostbitten also, said he got this way in the Army. He was a single man when he came out of the Army, and his wife Margaret was a single girl. I got to know to them both intimately well after they were married & I was with him at his death Octr 6th 1884. He died from consumption, and I know he had the symptoms of consumption when I first knew him and got worse all the time, sometimes up and sometimes down. He was then emaciated like & could do but very little work and for a few years before he died he done no work. We gave him teas and such herbs as would do him good. He was not able, to have a doctor. I looked after him and gave him herbs to take for his cough and pains inside. He was too poor to have a doctor.

“Benjn’s Anderson & Margaret Anderson have four children, all living. I was the midwife for them all. I kept no memoranda of their births. I cannot read or write.

“Laura, Margaret, Susan, Benjamin & Joseph, these were all their children. After Benjn Anderson died Joseph was born just 12 days. Margaret was expecting to be confined and did not go to the funeral just 12 days after Ben died his son Joseph was born. I cannot give you the ages except Joseph his was 12 days after his father died & he died Octr 6th 1884. The ages I gave in my affidavit were given me at the time by the mother and she guessed it as no record was kept I feel sure that the ages were given very near right.”

 

Deposition, Charles H. Gordon, 21 September 1888
83 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office Crabbe St. between Godwin & Armstrong Sts., Portsmouth, Va.
“Q. When did you first know Benjamin Anderson?
A. I knew him in 1862 a year before he went in the Army. I was very young but I seriously remember him as a stout young man. I suppose it was 6 or 8 months after his discharge I saw him here in Portsmouth, Va. He and I then worked together for 9 or 10 months. He had a cough, spit up a great deal, complained of pain in his side, and had frosted feet, said he got this way from exposure in the Army. He was able to do full work sometimes & then again he was not able to work but little. We worked in cotton together. He was a single man then, afterwards married his present widow Margaret Council. He had consumption certain when we worked together the year after his discharge. My reason for thinking this is he took cold easily, always had a hard dry cough and pains in his breast.

“I do not know if he had diarrhea or not. He was a man of good habits, never drank. I saw him often after I worked with him& he got worse all the time and finally died with me standing by his bedside Oct 6, 1884 at night. He had no doctor. He died with consumption and very bad at that …”

 

Deposition, Mary Reddick, 21 September 1888
39 years old; post-office address, Crabbe St betn Pearl and Cook sts., Portsmouth, Va. …
“Q. Do you remember when you first knew Benjamin Anderson?
A. Very soon after he came out of the army, inside of 12 months. I got to know him here in Portsmouth, Va. and I knew him well up to his marriage in 1868. His wife was his present widow Margaret Council. They were both single. … I helped nurse him &­­­ was with him when he died. …”

 

Deposition, William Ward, 21 September 1888
48 years old; occupation, attorney-at-law; post-office address, 266 Green St., Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.
“Q. What position did you hold in the army in the late war?
A. First Sgt., Co. D, 1st US Cold Cav
Q.  Do you remember Benjn Anderson.
A. Yes, sir. He was the first man on my company roll….
“I remember in Feby 1864 Anderson was down in regimental hospital with a severe cold. Dr. Gray pronounced it pneumonia, he was our surgeon…. I often excused him from duty on account of these pains in his side…. He got frostbitten feet May 14, 1861 forging Chickahominy river in Va. He was horseback but he swam the river & clothes got wet, it was late in the evening & we slept in our clothes and that night there was a heavy frost and Anderson had his feet frostbitten. Dr. Gray treated him at sick call for frozen feet. He was always reported as present but he was excused from duty….”

 

Deposition, James Woodis, 21 September 1888
46 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, Springfield, Norfolk Co., Va.
“Q. Do you remember Benjamin Anderson?
A. Yes, sir. I knew him in Co. D, 1st USCCavy. … It was near sundown when we got over the Chickahominy river. I can’t say if he was treated for his feet or not. … After being at Brazos Texas I was attached to the Engineers Dept and saw very little of Anderson as he was not allowed to come where I was on duty. … When Anderson mustered out in 1866, I saw him at least 3 or 4 times a week up to his death. … He died in Portsmouth, Va. I was not at his funeral …”

 

Deposition, Albert Loman, 21 September 1888
41 years old; occupation, laborer; No 3 Hull St., Norfolk, Va.
“Q. Do you remember any sickness he had in service?
A. He got frostbitten when crossing Chickahominy Swamps in 1864. His feet were frostbitten, I was his tentmate at Bermuda Hundred … Dr. Gray, the assistant surgeon, treated him in regimental hospital at Old Point, Va. For­­­­­t Monroe tis called. … It was only a short time after he enlisted that he took this cold which seemed to settle in his lungs. … I met his frequently after discharge and I know he got no better … I do know he was from Williamsburg, James City Co., Va. …”

 

Deposition, Nathan Butcher, 21 September 1888
“50 years old; occupation, baker near market, in Portsmouth; post-office address, 79 Hawk St., Norfolk, Va. … he slept in his wet clothes which gave him a terrible cold and also frosted his feet. He complained greatly of his feet, walked bad. I never saw his naked feet but he told me they became frosted after swimming that river. He was on his horse but the water was deep & came midway to his saddle ­­­…”

 

Deposition, Anna Cherry, 22 September 1888
“40 years old; post-office address, Crabbe St., Portsmouth, Va.
“Q. Do you remember Benjn Anderson?
A.  Yes, sir. We were neighbors. He lives where his widow lives now & I lived here up to his death. I have forgot the year he died.
Q. What caused his death?
A.  Lockjaw. He was working away from home & cut his little finger, mashed or cut off and came home with it hanging by the skin and died one or two days after he got home with lockjaw. I did not see him but understand at the time he had lockjaw.”

 

Deposition, Josephine Taylor, 22 September 1888
about 33 years old; post-office address, Crabbe st betn Pearl & Pine st., Portsmouth, Va…
“Q. Do you remember Benjn Anderson?
A. Yes, sir. I was with him the day he died. Monday night he died. I was with him Monday morning, lifted him up on the pillow & someone tried to give him medicine with a spoon, his teeth were clinched & nothing could be got down his throat, he had lockjaw that day and died that night. I was not with him when he died but I understand lockjaw killed him.”

 

Deposition, G.C. Colden, 22 September 1888
45 years old; occupation, undertaker; post-office address, Pearl St., Portsmouth, Va.
“Q. Do you remember Benjn Anderson?
A.  I do. I buried him. He died Octr 6th 1884
Q.  What was cause of death?
A.  He had been working somewhere and mashed his finger. After he died I was called to bury him and was informed he died of lockjaw. I do not know who gave me this information. I have always been under the impression he died from lockjaw from the mashed finger.”

 

General Affidavit, Harriet L. Gray & Jane Wilson, 16 August 1892
[Gray] about 40 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
[Wilson] 39 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.
“That they are personally well acquainted with the claimant Mrs. Margaret Anderson and know of the property owned by her which consist of a lot in Norfolk County near the City of Portsmouth 45 feet front and running back 113 feet with a small house with four (4) rooms left her by her said husband, to which she has added a small house which rents for $500.00 a month, and a small amount of necessary household goods not worth more than $10.00.”

 

Deposition, Margaret Anderson, 27 May 1901
46 years old; residence and post-office address, 1204 Columbia st., Portsmouth, Va. … “I first knew my said husband during the war of the rebellion His regt was in camp out back of Portsmouth, Va. Soon after I became acquainted with him his regiment was ordered to Texas. At discharge he returned to Portsmouth, Va. and he and I were married about two years later in Portsmouth, Va. by Rev. Corprew, and we lived together until he died in Columbia St., Portsmouth, Va. 16 years ago. I don’t know the cause of his death. He was sick only about 9 days. He had incurred an injury to his hand but I don’t know whether blood poisoning followed. Dr. Billysalli attended him. I don’t know where my said husband was born.  His father Benjamin Anderson lived near Williamsburg, James City Co., Va. His mother’s name was Lucy. He had two brothers, George and Wash Anderson. They were not in the army. He had two sisters, Martha and Lucy. … He had a discharge but it got lost after our marriage. I think my said husband applied for a pension but I am not positive. … I had 7 children by the soldier. Four were under 16 years of age when he died — Laura, Margaret, Benjamin and Joseph. Laura, Margaret and Benjamin are in life and live with me. Joseph died Jan 2, 1901.
“____________ Wood of Washington, DC was my atty. William Read, Portsmouth, Va. did my writing and I paid to him $2.00. Read executes my voucher. I go to his office on the 4th and take two witnesses…. I have supported myself by doing laundry work. I have had employment much of the time in the capacity of domestic.”

 

Letter from Thomas H. Reid, Attorney-at-Law and Notary Public, Tidewater Bldg., Green Street, Portsmouth, Virginia to Department of Pension, Washington, DC, 6 April 1931
“Gentleman:
“I am writing to inform you of the death of Mrs. Margaret Anderson who lived at number 1204 Columbia Street, Portsmouth, Virginia. She died on the 28th day of March 1931, and her son, Dr. W.R. Anderson has qualified on her estate as the administrator and he lives at 1309 Glasgow Street, Portsmouth, Virginia. You will find enclosed the certificate of said qualification. Check for the accrued pension can be mailed direct to his address. The check has been returned by the letter carrier.
“Very truly yours,
Thomas H. Reid”

“Virginia:
“In the Clerk’s Office of the Circuit Court of the City of Portsmouth, on the 6th day of April 1931.
“I, Kenneth A. Bain, Jr., Clerk of the Circuit Court of the City of Portsmouth, in the State of Virginia, do certify that it appears from the records of the said Court, on file in my office, that William B. Anderson duly qualified on the 6th day of April, 1931, as Administrator of the estate of Margaret Anderson and duly executed and acknowledged a bond as prescribed by law, in the penalty of $550.00, conditioned according to law, with Mrs. Goldie Anderson as surety.
Given under my hand and the seal of said Court, the day and the year first herein abovewritten.
“Kenneth A. Bain, Jr., Clerk
“By L.M. Hefner, D.C.”

 

Application for Reimbursement, W.B. Anderson, 29 June 1931
49 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.; “… [applies for re-imbursement for] the last sickness and burial of Margaret C. Anderson … and who died March 28th 1931 at Portsmouth, Va. and was buried at Portsmouth, Va. . . .
1 –  [name of the deceased] Margaret C. Anderson
2 –  [status] widow of Benjamin Anderson
3 –  [was decedent pensioned at soldier or sailor] no
4 –  [children under 16] no
5 –  [children living?] [blank]
6 –  [sick or death benefits paid out] Order of Tents, $100.00
7    through 12 [blank]
13 – [administrator or executive?] administrator
14 – [decedent’s assets] her home
15 – [value of all property] $750.00
16 – [value of real estate] $600.00
17 – [property disposition] “to the children as her only heirs at law”
18 – [unendorsed pension check] yes, check was dis[persed]  on April 4th
19 – [relation to deceased] son
20 – [married] yes
21 – [cause of pensioner’s death] acute indigestion
22 – [date illness began] “taken with attack on 27th & 28th”
23 – [date decedent required daily care] “just stated above”
24 – [name/address of physician] Dr. J.S. Jackson, 412 Effingham St.
25 – [person who nursed the decedent] Mrs. Smith, RFD Deep Creek, Va.
26 – [pensioner’s last residence] 1204 Columbia St.
27 – [payments due] “only by undertaker”
“This claimant is expecting the accrued pension and any other allowed by Gov. in such cases to help defray expenses of last sickness and expenses of burial.”
W.B. Anderson
1309 Glasgow St.
Administrator”

“Also appeared Mrs. Goldie D. Anderson and John T. Fisher
1 – [widow or child] no
2 – [death date] March 28, 1931
3 – [any property?] 1 house & lot — value at about $700 or $800
4 – [“We knew the decedent”] 30 years and 40 years, respectively
[Anderson] 1309 Glasgow St., Portsmouth, Va.; [Fisher] 312 Effingham St., Portsmouth, Va.

 

Statement of Attending Physician, J.A. Jackson, M.D., 29 June 1931
Note: Repeats full name of pensioner, date of death, date of illness, cause of death — Leslie

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Prince Albert’s tentmates and comrades-in-arms described the military-related injuries and illnesses that devastated this soldier’s quality of life. In this application, as in a couple others I’ve come across, some witness statements were identical except for a word here or there. I don’t know — yet — how to explain this. Albert’s statement about the accident that occurred during charge drill was written in his own hand (13 December 1899); I’ve omitted the graphic details. Albert also reported that he was known by a different surname before he enlisted. He died at the National Soldiers Home, Hampton, Virginia and his death was noted in The Hampton Monitor.

 

Invalid — 817,616 / 664,214

 

Questionnaire (Form 3-500), Alfred Simpson, 8 August 1890
post-office address, 158 St. Paul street, Norfolk, Va. … “That affiant occupied same tent with claimant Prince Albert about half the time during the service, being members of the same company, claimant was thrown from horse while on drill in March 1864 at Fortress Monroe, Va. … ”

 

General Affidavit, Norvent Pleasants, 4 December 1897
51 years old; residence, Berkeley, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, Berkeley … “That he is well acquainted with Prince Albert … That affiant and Prince Albert enlisted at one and the same time in teaching horses to the same company and regiment … That the said Prince Albert while in the service and line of duty at Fort Monroe, about as affiant now recollects, Feby 1865 was engaged in a cavalry drill teaching horses to jump over some stakes [?],  That while going through this exercise the horse which Prince Albert the soldier and claimant was on, fell and the said Prince Albert was seriously injured …”

 

Questionnaire (Form 3-402), Prince Albert, 4 May 1898
[married?] Ellen Satchwell alias Albert maiden name was Ellen Bonner
[where, when, by whom] December 28, 1881 by Rev. J. H. Mattocks
[record?] “Public. My license was bought under name of Prince Satchwell to Ellen Jordan
[previously married?] no
[living children?] no

 

Questionnaire (Form 3-173), Prince Albert, 23 May 1898
[married?] Ellen Albert — Ellen Bonner
[where, when, by whom] Dec 28, 1881 — Washington, North Carolina — Rev. J.H. Maddox
[record?] in the office of the Register of Deeds of Beaufort Co., N.C., Washington, N.C.
[previously married?] no
[living children?] no

 

Sworn Statement, Norvent Pleasants, 23 May 1898
“I have to state that at Fort Monroe, Va., Prince Albert, a sergeant of my company was with my command stationed there in fall of 1863; That we were practicing our horses to jump over bars nailed up about 4 feet high. While so engaged his horse fell …”

 

Sworn Statement, Prince Albert, 13 December 1899
58 years old; residence & post-office address, Washington, Beaufort Co., N.C. … “I was riding a bucking horse, a horse that was very tretcherous [sic]. he would not jump the canel [sic] but being tretcherous [sic] he jumped into the canel [sic] (or ditch) and that pitched me out of the sadle [sic] over the ditch on the obsid [sic] bank …

 

Neighbors’ Affidavit, Lewis Satchwell & Augustus Lewis, 22 February 1900
[Satchwell] 64 years old; residence, Washington, Beaufort County, No. Ca.; post-office address, Washington, No. Ca.
[Lewis] [blank] years old; residence, Washington, Beaufort County, No. Ca.; post-office address, Washington, No. Ca.
“We have been well and personally acquainted with Prince Albert, claimant, for 60 years, and 60 years, respectively, and that we are near neighbors of claimant, and see him every day or two, and have seen him every day or two. Since claimant came out of army we know of our own knowledge that claimant was physically sound before enlistment…. that claimant has not been able to do manual labor for twenty-five years. The only labor claimant has been able to do at any time since out of service has been of lightest kind that is peddler of vegetables and carrying small bundles for stores. His disabilities has [sic] increased year by year since coming out of service until at present he is totally unable to perform manual labor.”

 

General Affidavit, Alfred Simpson, 3 August 1900
69 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia; post-office address, 158 St. Paul Ave., Norfolk, Va. … “I occupied same tent as claimant about half-time while in service. Claimant was thrown from horse while on drill in March 1864 at Fortress Monroe, Va. and result of being thrown from horse caused rupture in right side.”

 

General Affidavit, Albert Page, 14 July 1900
61 years old; residence, Oak Tree, York County, Va. … “I was a member of the same company … and often tented together and know of my own knowledge that claimant was thrown from horse while in drill charge about March 1864 at Fortress Monroe, Va. … claimant could walk only with difficulty and while at Brazos Santiago Texas, claimant had about July 1865 a severe attack of mumps …”

 

Sworn Statement, Albert Page, 13 October 1900
“I remember 1864 the first part of year is near as I can get at it on a charge drill at Camp Hampton, Va.
“I know it was truble [sic] with him and his horse. I was look [sic] out for myself and after in camp learned a little more. That he treated by the Dr. Gray … I hard [sic] him speaking what Dr. says. It was corruptured [sic] and down in Taxes [sic] 1865 he excused from night duty by become [sic] blind by hot sun …  We arrived at Taxes [sic] 2 July 1865, about August we become blind.”

 

Deposition, Alfred Simpson, 3 November 1900
about 70 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 158 St. Paul St., Norfolk, Va. … “I became acquainted with the claimant Prince Albert as soon as I enlisted in 1863. He was a Pvt, Corp’l, & Sgt in my Co. …
“No sir, I never tented with him. Have never seen him since discharge.
“Q. Did he contract any disease or receive any wound or injury in the army?
A.  A horse threw him at Ft. Monroe, Va. in 1864, don’t know the month, but it was while we were drilling there. We were drilling, charging and his horse threw him, saw him falling, the horse reared up and fell back. That’s all I saw just at that moment. We were drilling, but I saw him a short time afterwards, and he claimed that his ribs were injured, don’t know how many ribs or on which side. They carried him to camp and he was unfit for duty for some 8 or 10 days. He continued to complain of this injury until we [mustered] out, said his side hurt him …”

 

General Affidavit, Henry Custis, 6 May 1901
75? years old; residence, Sewells Point, Norfolk Co., Virginia; post-office address, Sewells Point, Va. “[I] well and truly knew the claimant Prince Albert as we were in the same command in service. The claimant was thrown from his horse while on charge drill at Fortress Monroe, Va. about March 1864 …”

 

General Affidavit, William H. White, 25 May 1901
67 years old; Fort Barnwell, Craven County, N.C.; post-office address, Fort Barnwell, N.C. … “[I] very well knew [claimant] … [claimant] thrown from his horse while on charge drill at Fortress Monroe, Va. about March 1864 … and about May 1865 while on detached duty at hospital near Petersburg, Va. claimant had injury in the right hand which was lanced by surgeon which left little finger of his right hand stiff, crooked, and useless. While at Brazos Santiago about Sept 1865 claimant had severe case of mumps … claimant was exempted from duty on account of impaired vision his eyes being in such condition he stayed in his tent several days and later on he was compelled to stay in his tent at different periods to exclude his eyes from the light.”

 

Sworn Statement, William H. White, 9 September 1901
“[Prince Albert] was in the Hospital in Brazos Texas wounded in hand. He stayed in the Hospital more than a month. Sometime after this his eyesight failed him and he was confined to his quarters for several days. His sight has never been good since that time. He has had spells of rheumatism since the close of the war which I think was contracted while in the army as he was a sound man when he enlisted. We were raised in the same neighborhood and I knew him well. Both enlisted at the same time.”

 

General Affidavit, William H. White, 5 April 1902
68 years old; residence, Fort Barnwell, Craven County, North Carolina; post-office address, Fort Barnwell … “I am well acquainted with claimant Prince Albert and certify that claimant was thrown from horse on charge drill at Fortress Monroe, Va. about March 1864 … and about May 1865 while on detached duty at Hospital near Petersburg, Va. claimant had injury in right hand which was lanced by surgeon which left the little finger stiff, crooked & useless. While at Brazos Texas about Sept 1865 claimant had severe case of mumps … and at same time claimant was exempted from duty on account of impaired vision. his eyes being in such condition he stayed in tent several days and later on was compelled to stay in his tent at different periods to protect his eyes from the light. My knowledge of the disabilities here set forth is derived from my service in same regiment & company with claimant.”

 

General Affidavit, Roshus Shorts, 25 April 1902
73 years old; residence, Phoebus, Elizabeth City County, Va; post-office address, Phoebus, Va…. “I am well acquainted with claimant Prince Albert and I certify that claimant was thrown from horse while on charge drill at Fortress Monroe, about March 1864 and was injured in right side… and about May 1865 while on detached duty at Hospital near Petersburg, Va. claimant had injury in right hand which was lanced by surgeon which left little finger, stiff, crooked and useless. While at Brazos Texas about Sept 1865 claimant had severe case mumps … and at sometime claimant was exempted from duty on account of impaired vision — his eyes being in such condition he stayed in his tent several days and later on he was compelled to stay in tent at different periods to exclude the light from his eyes. My knowledge of the disabilities here set forth is derived from my service in same Regt & company as claimant and seeing him with disabilities named.”

 

Declaration for Pension, Prince Albert, 24 May 1912
70 years; residence, Washington, Beaufort County, North Carolina; enlisted under the name of Prince Albert on the 12 day of Dec 1863 as a Sergeant … mustered out at Brazos Santiago, Texas on the 4th of Feby 1866 … born June 11th, 1842 at Leechville, Beaufort County, No. Ca. … [residences have been] Norfolk, Va. until 1867, then Leechville, Beaufort County, No. Ca. to date … ”

 

Questionnaire (Form 3-389), Prince Albert, 26 April 1915
[birthdate & birth place] June 11, 1842, Beaufort County, N.C.
[post office at enlistment] enlisted at Norfolk, Va. (no. P.O. at the time)
[wife’s full name and maiden name] Cora AlbertCora Bridgets
[when or when married] September 1, 1910, Washington, N.C., Rev. G.E. Askew
[record] court house, Beaufort County, N.C.
[previoiusly married] Ellen Jordan, Dec 1882, divorced February 1910
[wife’s previous marriage] Benjamin Bridges, January 1882, dead but date unknown — died in Edgecombe County, N.C. — was not in Army or Navy — married once only
[living with your wife] yes
[children?] no children

 

Joseph S. Smith, Governor, Southern Branch National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Hampton, Virginia to the Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 28 February 1918
“[Albert] who died at National Soldiers’ Home, Virginia on the 26th day of February 1918. Cause of death: Malignant Dentigenous Cyst; Social Condition, Married. The name, address and degree of relationship of his next of kin, as far as indicated by the records of this House, are as follows: Mrs. Mary Hyslop, Eastville, Virginia, Daughter.”

 

Letter from Eliza Morgan to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 6 March 1918
“Sir, I beg to drop these lines to ask the following information, etc.
“Prince Albert, my father was a veteran of the Civil War, Co. H, 1st U.S.C.C. died at the National Soldiers Home, Hampton, Va. I waited upon him a long time before he went to the  Home. I write to ask is there any accrued money due him, that I his daughter can get?
“Oblige to let me know at your leisure.
“Please address me care of W.S. Wilson, National Soldiers Home, Va.”
[Document was date stamped by Pension Bureau — Leslie]

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Thomas Allen, Company I

Thomas Allen’s Compiled Military Service Record reported that during his service, the soldier worked as a teamster and a regimental fisherman. After he died, his widow Emma who came to Portsmouth in 1862 worked in a peanut factory in Norfolk. According to testimony, she worked “all the time” and had a reputation as an “industrious, smart woman.”


Widow — 655,151 / 529,378, Emma Allen

 

Marriage Certificate [copy], Thomas Allen & Emma Duke, 23 November 1876
[Marriage] 23 November 1876
[Place] Portsmouth, Va.
[Husband’s age] 24 years
[Wife’s age] 23 years
[Condition] both single
[Husband’s birth / Husband’s residence] Portsmouth, Va.; Portsmouth, Va.
[Wife’s birth / Wife’s residence] Suffolk, Va.; Portsmouth, Va.
[Husband’s parents] Moses & Martha Allen
[Wife’s parents] Garrison & Claricy Duke
[Husband’s occupation] Laborer
[Officiant] J.W. Godwin

 

Certificate of Death [copy], Thomas Allen, 7 July 1895
[Age] 43 years
[Birthplace] Portsmouth, Va.
[Length of residence] Life
[Residence or place of death] South Street #826
[Death date] 7 July 1895
[Parents] Moses & Patsy Allen
[Occupation] Laborer
[Condition] Married
[Cause of death] Uncertified
[Place of burial] Wilson’s Cemetery
[Date of burial] 9 July 1895
[Undertaker] Sam Fisher, Jr.
[Place of business] Effingham St., City

 

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Emma Allen, 17 May 1897
about 44 years old; post-office address, 709 County St., Portsmouth, Va.; [veteran] died 7 July 1897;  “that she married under the name Emma Duke to [Thomas Allen] on the 23 day of November 1876, by Rev. John W. Godwin, at Portsmouth, Va. ; witnesses: I.C. Norcom and Wm. M. Turner … Also personally appeared Jennie Sparrow, residing at Portsmouth, Va. and Sarah Smith, residing at Portsmouth, Va. … an acquaintance of hers 20 years and 18 years, respectively.”

 

General Affidavit, Thomas Portlock, 29 June 1897
about 45 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, 628 Columbia St., Portsmouth, Va….”That he has known the claimant and her husband Thomas Allen from their childhood; That neither of them had been married previous to their marriage to each other and could not have been without his knowledge; That claimant has not remarried since the death of her husband; That he states these facts from his own knowledge from the parties gained by a residence in Portsmouth near them during the time of his acquaintance as above stated.”

 

General Affidavit, Lewis Sears, 29 June 1897
62 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, 823 Bart St., Portsmouth, Va…. “That he has known the claimant Emma Allen widow of Thomas Allen from her early childhood to the present time quite intimately, also knew her said husband from his young manhood.”

 

General Affidavit, Jefferson Gordon, 20 January 1899
48 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; he knew the soldier before the war … he remembers well when Thomas Allen enlisted…. That affiant and soldier were living in Portsmouth when the soldier enlisted and was living in Portsmouth, Va. when soldier died; That affiant knew said soldier continuously from his (affiant’s) boyhood until Thomas Allen’s death … Witnesses: John W. Pitt, Joseph P. Hardy

 

General Affidavit, George W. Allen & John W. Pitt, 20, January 1900
[Allen] 51 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, 814 Columbus St.; [Pitt] 52 years old; residence, Portsmouth, Norfolk County, Va.; post-office address, 1414 County St. … “That affiants are personally and intimately acquainted with Emma Allen the claimant.
“Geo. W. Allen for himself states that he is not related to claimant by blood or marriage and that he has known the claimant from her infancy and that affiant and said claimant have been living near each other in Suffolk, Va. and Portsmouth all their lives —
“John W. Pitt for himself that he has known said claimant for 12 years and over and since that time she has to his own knowledge lived in Portsmouth, Va.”
“Affiants know that [she owns] no stock,s or bonds or other investments and has no 

 

Claimant’s Affidavit, Emma Allen, 14 August 1900
39 years old; post-office address, 718 Brighton St., Portsmouth, Va.; “That she owns no property, real, personal or mixed, except a very few necessary household goods, nor has she ever owned anything more, nor has she any interest in any property
“That she has no income from any source, except what she can earn with her own hands, nor is there anyone bound for her support;
“That she has not disposed of any property at any time for the reason that she has already stated.”

 

General Affidavit, Junious Cuffee, 14 August 1900
54 years old; post-office address, 3 Brighton St., Portsmouth, Va. … “That he was personally well acquainted with the soldier Thomas Allen from the year of 1855 to the date of his death in July 1895; That from his intimate personal knowledge of said soldier he says that said Thomas Allen was not enlisted in the U.S. Army or Navy prior to August 30, 1864 or after July 4, 1866.”

 

Deposition, Emma Allen, 1 February 1902
about 40 years old; post-office address, 711 Scott St., Portsmouth, Va.; works in peanut factory … “I don’t know when he enlisted or when discharged but he said he served during the war, not the late war with Spain, but the other war before that. He told me that he enlisted at Norfolk, Va. I don’t know where he served but he went to Texas with his Regt., he told me, said how hot it was there”

“Q.  Did he state the names of any of his officers or comrades?
A.    He did but it’s been so long I have foregotten [sic] their names. I do not know of any man who served with him. He had a discharge from the army but lost it. He read it to me. He could read; but he could not write. He was a soldier, not a servant for an officer.

“He said he got a hundred dollars bounty. When he came out, never received any bounty after I married him. He started to apply for pension at one time through a colored man, name not known, gave the man $1.50, never saw him again, so nothing was done.

“My said husband was born in Portsmouth, the son of Moses and Martha Allen, was a slave of Mrs. Poole (dead)….. I don’t know his age but he was turning gray when he died.

“I was married to said Thos. Allen by J.W. Godwin, the pastor of my church, in Portsmouth, Va., don’t know the date, but it was in the winter time about 25 years ago. I do not know my age when I was married, but I was about grown. I never “knowed” my age. I don’t think I was 23 years old then.

“My maiden name was Emma Duke. My parents were Garrison and Clarisy Duke.

“He, Thomas Allen, was never married before his marriage to me, nor did he have a wife according to slave custom. ‘He never had no wife but me.

“I have had four children only in my life, none since the death of my husband. I have but two children living, but they were both over 16 years old when I applied for a pension. All my children were born after I was married.

“I have worked in a peanut factory every since my husband’s death, have worked there all the time except when I was sick.

“My husband did not tell me how old he was when he enlisted, but said he was not of age, and ran away from home.”

 

Deposition, Jennie Sparrow, 1 February 1902
about 49 years old; a widow; occupation, washing & ironing; post-office address, 816 Green St., Portsmouth, Va.
“I have known the claimant Emma Allen since she was a girl about 10 or 12 years old. Her mother was Clarissa Duke, did not know her father.  … I have lived near her the past 20 years and have visited her often, saw her husband during his last sickness, she was right there waiting on him.

 

Deposition, Junious Cuffee, 4 February 1902
64 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 719 Scott St., Portsmouth, Va. … “I also knew her husband. We were playboys together in Portsmouth, Va.
“He was a slave and I was free. I left Portsmouth, Va. in 1862 and did not see Allen again until I saw him in Brownsville. That was the year the war was over and was just discharged and was on my way home. I served in Co. H, 43rd Col’d Pa. Inf. and this man Allen was in a Cav’y Regt, don’t know what Regt. He was camped there with his Regt.
“No sir I don’t know his full name. I cannot say that it was Thos. Allen … I now live in four blocks of her [Emma Allen].
“Q.  Has she owned any property since Allen’s death?
A.    None, nothing to live on but hard labor. Works in a peanut factory in Norfolk. …. Allen was a medium-sized man, a kind of ginger cake color, age about 54 if still living.”

 

Deposition, Geo. W. Allen, 5 February 1902
54 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 424 Bart St., Portsmouth, Va. …
“I have known  Emma Allen, the claimant, ever since she was born.
“She belonged to Mrs. Catherine Duke in Suffolk, Va. and I belonged to Mrs. Margaret Daughtry. We both came to Portsmouth, Va. the latter part of 1862 and have been living there ever since.
“After her father died, she lived in the same house with me, my father’s house for 3 or 4 years. Her father was Garrison Duke.
“I first met her husband Tom Allen about 1867 or 1868. We belonged to the same club, the Union League. I was at their wedding but don’t know the date. … I used to visit them and saw him once during his last sickness. He died on South Street, Portsmouth, Va., about six years ago…. her daughters live with her. … She works in a peanut factory and her daughter takes in washing.”

 

Deposition, Frank Smith, 5 February 1902
about 55 years old; labor in the U.S. Navy Yard; post-office address, Portsmouth, Va.; “I reside in ‘Brighton’ … He joined the company a few days after I did. “From the time we were discharged to his death I saw him often, he worked at the North Street depot, and I used to go to his house but not often … I don’t know his age but he was quite a young man in the Army … She works in a peanut factory.”

 

Deposition, John W. Pitt, 8 February 1902
nearly 60 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 1414 County St., Portsmouth, Va. “I have known the claimant Emma Allen between 16 and 18 years. When I first knew her she was known and recognized as the wife of Thomas Allen. I got acquainted with him after I met her. … I have seen her but once during the last 12 months…. she is an industrious, smart woman.”

 

Deposition, Richard Webb, 10 February 1902
63 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 374 Bank St., Norfolk, Va. …
“Q.  How do you know that he [soldier] is dead?
“A.  I missed him, some years ago, and inquired for him and was told he was dead.
“I used to load vessels around the dock in Portsmouth, and would talk with him, he worked about the depot near the wharf.
“He told me that he had a wife and asked me several times to come and see him but I never did. I never saw his wife, don’t know her name. I don’t think that he had wife while he was a soldier. He was then quite young. I reckon he married her after he came out.”

 

Deposition, Squire Bright, 18 February 1902
about 60 years old; occupation, laborer; post-office address, 313 Dinwiddie St., Portsmouth, Va. “He lived in Portsmouth after the war. I saw him there often. He is dead. I attended his funeral.
“Q.  Did he have a wife?
A.   Yes, her name is Emma Allen. She is a brown-skinned woman, works in a peanut factory all the time. I have never visited at her house but see her at different things. … She lives a correct life I believe. She is all the time at work.”

 

Deposition, Zilphia A. Lewis, 18 February 1902
32 years old; occupation, housework; post-office address, 1408 Green St., Norfolk, Va., wife of Abr. Lewis. I became acquainted with Emma Allen in 1896, she lived upstairs over me at 715 Scott St. and later lived next door to me about one year. She now lives on Scott St. nearby.
“She told me when she first moved in same house with me that she was a widow and that her husband had been dead 12 months. … I have known men to go there [to Emma’s house]. I suppose they went to see her daughter, never knew one to go to see her or to stay there. People cannot help what their daughters do. She worked all the time.”

 

Deposition, Mary A. Beaman, 20 February 1902
36 years; occupation, laundress; post-office address, Race Street next to Pump House, Portsmouth, Va. … I am a widow … I have known the claimant Emma Allen all my life. …. I lived in the same house with her for over a year since his death, on Scott Street, that has been about three years … She lives not far from me now. … She supports herself by honest work, has worked in a peanut factory every day when able for years, worked there before her husband died, she has charge of a number of hands.”

 

Deposition, Jefferson Gordon, 21 February 1902
“I don’t know my age but I think I am about 50 years old” … occupation, hostler; post-office address, 821 Clifford St., Portsmouth, Va. … “I have lived in Portsmouth, Va. since I was a small boy.
“I became acquainted with Thos. Allen a short time after the war. No, I cannot tell the year when I first met him. I knew him very well. He died on South St. of dysentery, saw him when he was sick. … The claimant does know me but as ‘Dukes’ Gordon. That is a nickname. My right name is Jefferson Gordon.”

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This widow’s application provides insight into her close relationships with cousins and neighbors in the tightknit community of Berkley which was annexed by the city of Norfolk in 1906. She and her witnesses described slaveowners, a church affiliation, and participation in a women’s society. The intrepid researcher would benefit by applying FAN club methodology to learn more about the target ancestor. 


Widow — 417,759 / —  Catherine
Armstrong
 

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Catharine Armstrong, 4 September 1890
America Armstrong married Catharine Old in 1863.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Lewis in Norfolk.  The soldier died 8 December 1871.

 

General Affidavit, J.E. Lovitt, 1 December 1890
53 years old, minister of Methodist Episcopal Protestant Church, Norfolk, Norfolk County … “I was acquainted with America Armstrong during his life time, visited him during his last illness and administered the Holy Communion to him during his last illness and verily believe that he died with consumption contracted during his term of service.”



General Affidavit, Catherine Armstrong, 27 January 1892
“… that before the war she belonged to a Wm. Olds and was allowed to live with and cohabit with soldier under Old Slave laws on or about 1861, that the cohabitation continued by consent of master untill [sic] 1863 when she was married by Rev. William Lewis in accordance with law.  Mr Lewis was a colored minister. There was no marriage certificate.  That she and soldier so continued to live as husband and wife untill [sic] his death in December 8th 1871. She is well known and her husband is well remembered by a large number of persons in this vicinity, and she was always recognised [sic] as his wife. That her husband America Armstrong died in Norfolk Co., Va. at what is known as New Rich and was burried [sic] close by. That she had no children to him by said cohabitation. That she cannot give record evidence of marriage either record evidence of death or burial as none was kept of colored people in the county or outside of cities. That she is entirely dependant [sic] on friends and comrads [sic] to prove her cohabitation, its continuance, his death and date her continued widowhood, and her present dependant [sic] condition and pray that the same be considered and accepted in proof of her claim for pension as his widow.”

 

Affidavit that the Claimant has not Remarried, and that She is with no other means of Support than her Daily Labor, Richard R. Johnson & Ann Foreman, 27 January 1892
[both residents of] Norfolk [and neighbors of the claimant] … “past 28 years to present time [years] we have been well acquainted with the said Catherine Armstrong.”

 

General Affidavit, Ann Foreman & Patsey Joiner, 27 January 1892
[Foreman] 59 years old; residence, Scott St., Norfolk … [Joiner] 71 years old; residence, 57 North St., Norfolk … “knew Catherine Armstrong … knowledge is derived from from [sic] having lived neighbors to, knew claimant before marriage … was present at [soldier’s] death and funeral.”

 

General Affidavit, Richard R. Johnson & Peter Fentress, 30 January 1892
[Johnson] residence, Barboursville; 56 years old; and [Fentress], residence, Norfolk, Norfolk County [no age reported] … that they knew both America Armstrong and his wife … from just after close of war to present time or to death of America in 1871 …Their knowledge is obtained from having been intimate with parties aforesaid, worked with the soldier for years, knew his wife and where he lived at time of death … Peter Fentress was in same company and Regiment and knew soldier during war.”

 

Deposition, Sarah Wright, 3 May 1894
50 years old; servant; post-office address Berkley, Va … “I was well acquainted with the claimant in this case … she died in July 1892.  I was present when she died and helped to shroud her.  I do not know on what day in July 1892 she died. The claimant was my first cousin.  Before her marriage she was Catherine Old and belonged to Mr. Geo. Old. She had no children by America Armstrong, he died a long time ago, was not present when he died.”

 

Deposition, Jane Jamison, 3 May 1894
52 years old, housekeeper, post-office address Berkley, Va. .. “I knew Catharine Armstrong … for about 6 years prior to her death.  She died in July 1892 in Berkley, Va. in a house located just across the street from me where I now live and where I lived at said time … She was a member of a W.A. [Women’s Auxiliary? Women’s Aid?] Corps of which I was also a member … I was present when the clmt died and helped to shroud her.”

 

Letter from John G. Teicher, Special Examiner to Commissioner of Pension, 5 May 1894
“From the testimony herewith it appears that the claimant died in July 1892, leaving no one surviving entitled to complete the case.”

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Spencer Archer took his mother’s name (she was free) rather than his father’s (he was enslaved). His two unions produced 14 children. Archer died in the National Soldiers Home, Hampton, Virginia

 

Invalid – 588,726 / 916,470
Widow – 966,475 / 726,509, Martha Archer

Questionnaire, Spencer Archer, 6 June 1897
“[Married] Martha Archer, Martha Sanderson
[When, where, by whom] according to customs of slaves about 5 years before the war of 1861-65 broke out
[Record] Not any that I know of
[Previously married] Yes to Diana Archer who died nearly 10 years before I married Martha Sanderson
[living children] I have ten (10) children living: Jane, Flora, Lizzie, George, Lena, Annie, Evelina, Clara, Essie and Aaron. I can’t just now tell the date of birth of each one but Clara and [illegible] are the only two under 16 years of age.”

 

Questionnaire, Spencer Archer, 19 March 1898
“[Married] Martha Ann Archer, before marriage Martha Ann Sanderson
[When, where, by whom] 1859 at Hickory Ground by her master John Sanderson
[Record] I don’t know and her master is dead and his daughter don’t know
[Previously married] No other wife before and no other children than my wife
[Living children] I have 11 eleven children living and three dead. I will give the names of them all in my letter as this blank won’t hold them all.”

 

Deposition, Spencer Archer, 9 January 1902
75 years old; retired laborer; residence, Berkley Ave., Berkley Va.
“I was discharged for disability before the regiment went to Texas. I cannot give date of enlistment or discharge for reason that I lost my discharge [certificate]. I gave it to Mr. Brown when I was trying to get bounty. I never got it back from him.
“I was born in Norfolk County, Va. and was a free man; was never owned by any one. My father was Daniel Reed. My mother was Nancy Archer. Father was a slave so I took my name after my mother. I have never gone under any name other than Spencer Archer.
James Malburne who is now present was with me in service. He was a member of my co.
Allen Hill, John Noble, Cicero Pollard, John Jackson were friends of mine in service. Turner was a corporal.
“I was only in one fight viz Petersburg. Gordon of my company was cut with a saber in that fight. Dick Dabney of my company was killed in that fight. He was shot and killed. Private Ellis was also killed.”

 

General Affidavit, Martha A. Archer, 3 June 1911
“[S]he was married to said Archer according to customs of slavery about the year 1856; that she does not know the exact date, being uneducated, but knows that it was the year after what was known in this neighborhood as ‘the big snow’ which she is informed occurred in 1844; that she had never been married before her marriage to said Archer; that Archer told her that he had lived with one Diana Wilkins, but that she was dead before he married claimant; that claimant continued to live with said soldier as his wife from 1856 until the time of his death; that she never saw said Diana Wilkins after she became acquainted with soldier and certainly claimant was the only person with whom said soldier was cohabiting when the law was enacted which legalized slave marriages; that she was never divorced from said soldier and has not remarried since his death.”

 

General Affidavit, Jordan Wilson & Sarah F. Penn, 3 June 1911
89 years old and 70 years old, respectively; both residents of Norfolk County … “[T]hey both lived in the same portion of Norfolk County with claimant and Spencer Archer at the time that they first began to live together as man and wife and were well acquainted with them … they lived together continuously as man and wife that from that time until the date of his death, with the exception of the time that soldier was in the army and while he was an inmate of the Soldiers Home … that they also knew claimant when she was a young girl and before she married Archer.”

 

Letter from Commissioner of Pensions to Lyon & Lyon, Attorneys, Washington, DC,
19 June 1911

“[T]he claimant alleges that the soldier died May 20, 1911, while the report from the Surgeon of the Southern Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers shows that he died May 26, 1911.”

 

General Affidavit, Martha A. Archer, 27 June 1911
“That her husband Spencer Archer was an inmate of the Soldiers Home at the time of his death; that on Saturday May 20, 1911 she received a telegram from the Home announcing his death; that she assumed the date of his death to be the same an the date of the receipt of said telegram; that his body was received at South Norfolk on May 22nd and he was buried on May 23rd, 1911; which was on Tuesday; that on Wednesday of the following week May 31st 1911, she executed her application for pension, that she does not know why the certificate of death from the Home gave the date of May 26, 1911.”

 

Letter from Martha A. Archer [on letterhead of Hubard & Hubard, Attorneys-At-Law, 145 Bank St., Norfolk, Virginia] to Commissioner of Pensions, Washington, DC, 18 September 1916
“I was his wife during the Civil War. … I am 78 years of age, having been born in August 1838, in Norfolk County, Va. … Martha A. Archer, 200 Avenue A., South Norfolk, Va.”

 

Application for Reimbursement, Georgia A. Cuffee, 30 November 1917
35 years old; post-office address, 200 Avenue A, South Norfolk, Norfolk County … Cuffee was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy (Life Insurance Company of Virginia, $102.00) on her mother’s life … “Cuffee paid for about 15 years at first 10 cents per week and later 15 cents per week.”
Q: When did the pensioner die?
A: October 19, 1917
Q: Where was the pensioner buried?
A: Mt. Olive Cemetery, Berkley, Norfolk, Va.
[The pension application folder includes a copy of Martha Archer’s death certificate and the bill from Hamilton Jackson, Funeral Director and Embalmer]

 

Letter from Laura Erie Barnes to Pension Bureau, Washington, DC, date unknown
“Dear Sir,
I would like to put in for relief being the daughter of Spencer Archer. I am a widow. My name is Laura Erie Barnes, 113 West 113 Street, N.Y.C., Apt. 20. My father was in the Civil War Co. C. First Regiment of the U.S. Colored Calvary [sic] name Spencer Archer … Wishing to get a reply as soon as posiable [sic].”

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Joseph Antoine has a complicated life story. Was he West Indian or born in Philadelphia? Why did he have the  letters “A.C.” tattooed on his left arm?  Was he a volunteer, draftee, or substitute?

 

Invalid — 1,117,893 / —-
Widow — 845,479 / —-, Caroline Antoine

General Affidavit, J.A. Nortcutt & Wm. Williams, 24 June 1893
27 years old and 49 years old, respectively; residents, Edenton, Chowan County, NC; “That they have been knowing Joseph Antoine … for 18 or 20 years, and have worked in the same field together with the same Antoine & have worked on same house with him with carpenter tools & having thus been thrown with him in different kinds of work ‘off and on’ for the past twelve years; know that he suffers extremely at times from his lower back which he says he incurred while in U.S. service at Brazos, Texas…”

 

General Affidavit, Major Warren, 10 March 1894
51 years old; Edenton, Chowan Co., NC; “That he was in same Regt as claimant at or near Santiago, Texas in the fall of 1865 & was standing or working close by claimant when claimant got hurt by a railroad tie falling across his back while claimant & one of his comrades were carrying it from wagon to the track. The fall of the tie was caused by claimant getting a stumble or fall. Affiant has lived in same county as claimant since the war & has seen him on an average of once a month during the intervening years & knows that claimant has complained of his hurting & weak back all along from time to time since the war.”

 

General Affidavit, Wilson Warren, 2 June 1894
57 years old; Edenton, Chowan Co., NC; “That he was an eyewitness to the fall of claimant while claimant & a fellow comrade were conveying a tie for the railroad; that he knows the character of the injury incurred by the tie falling on the back of claimant in a stumble & fall which claimant incurred.; That he knows of claimant’s being unable after this injury worth anything for the entire period that was spent by the Regt at that place; That he has seen claimant on average once a month during the intervening years”

 

Request from Willliam Lochren, Commissioner, Bureau of Pensions, to Postmaster, Tynes, Chowan County, North Carolina,
3 April 1895

“Please be so kind as to inform the Bureau, by indorsement on the back of this letter, as to the standing in the community and the general reputation of Allan Boyce and Thomas Wilson [affiants] in [the soldier’s pension claim].”

 

Reply from J.P. Chappell, Postmaster, Tynes, North Carolina to Commissioner, Bureau of Pensions, 8 April 1895
[The following message was written on the back of the form — Leslie]
“In reply to your letter on other side of this letter. Sorry to say that I can’t believe either of them and think that is as near their standing in the community as I can give.”

[A note was pinned to the back of the form — Leslie]
“I keep store and please keep this to your self as they live in 3/4 of a mile of me and find they will tell any kind of tale to git [sic] anything of me.

 

Questionnaire, Mrs. Joseph Antoine, 17 May 1899
[wife] Caroline Cockran – Caroline Antoine
[where, when, by whom] Chowan Co., NC; October 18th, 1878; by Elisha Burk, J.P. at his residence
[record] —
[previous wife] Annie Antoine died in Perquimans Co., NC
[living children] Rosetta Antoine born April 1st 1882; George Antoine born Jan 6th 1884

 

Questionnaire, Joseph Antoine, 14 December 1901
[birthplace] Philadelphia, Pa.
[enlisted at] New York
[residence before enlistment] Wilmington, De and Philadelphia
[occupation] laborer & carriage driver
[were you a slave?] no
[discharge] City Point, Va.
[residence since discharge] Discharge at City Point and went immediately to Norfolk, in 1866 … within a month after I reached Norfolk, Va., I went to Perquimans Co., NC, stayed in Perquimans about 6 years, then moved to Chowan County … have lived here every since
[occupation] Do what work I can in gardens, cleaning up yard, cutting wood
[height / color / marks] 5′ 8″; dark; letters “A.C.” in India ink on left arm & scar in breast caused by sword thrust
[previous service] no
[known by another name other than the one on your pension application] Barrett Fisher as a nickname
[by names you’re known now] Barrett Fisher and Joseph Antoine
[residence] Edenton, Chowan County, NC

 

Letter from Bureau of Pensions to Allan Rutherford & Co. [attorneys], Washington, DC, 6 February 1902
“You are informed that the claimant is required to state under oath his correct name and by what name he desires to be recognized in his claim for pension and explain why his name appears as Barrett Fisher and his birth place as both West Indies and Philadelphia, Pa. and what the letters are in India ink on the left arm stand for and the same was put on before or since the war. He should also state under oath whether he enlisted as a volunteer, drafted man or a substitute. If a substitute he should state the name in full for whom he is a substitute.”

 

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Mrs. Joseph Antoine, 20 March 1906
60 years old; residence, Box 11 RFD Edenton, Chowan Co., North Carolina; “[soldier died] Sep 19, 1904 … that she was married under the name of Caroline Cochrane to said Joseph Antoine March 1877 by E.J. Burke, J.P. at Centre Hill, NC … [soldier] had been previously married to but his first wife was dead.”

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