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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The soldier joined the Grand Army of the Republic, Ellsworth Post in Baltimore. Two members of his post described him as “a man of good habits, stood well in his community and everybody spoke well of him” and said that his ailments were the result of “exposure, hardships and lying upon the damp battlefield during his service in US Army during the Civil War.” After the war he and his wife had several children including some whose births were not entered into a public record. These claims included statements from a doctor, midwives, neighbors, and fellow soldiers.

Invalid — 860,966 / 929,774
Widow — 576,605 / 400, 207, Sarah Wilson

Declaration for Invalid Pension, Eleck Wilson, 30 August 1890
51 years old; residence, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD; post-office address, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD
“He hereby appoints, with full power of substitution and revocation Geo. W.F. Vernon, 108 St. Paul St., of Baltimore, state of Maryland”
“Also personally appeared Edward Wilson, residing at 206 Cross St., Balto., Md. and Robert Thomas, residing at 206 W. Hamburg St., Balto., Md. … acquaintance with [Eleck Wilson] for 23 years and 25 years, respectively”

Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Alexander Wilson, 5 July 1892
52 years old; residence, residence, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland; post-office address, 206 Cross St., Baltimore, MD
“in the service and in the line of his duty, at turnpike between Petersburg & Richmond in the State of Va., on or about the 10th to 15th day of May 1864 … my horse fell down and I fell on my sword which struck me on the small in my back, causing pain in the same which has troubled me ever since…. did not go to the hospital but was treated by Dr. Warner [?] … since leaving the service … resided in Norfolk, Va. since Sept 10, 1869, then moved to Baltimore, Md. where I have since resided … when enrolled, a farmer”

“Also personally appeared George Palmer, residing at Balto City, Md., and E.L. Holmes, residing at Balto City,

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Sarah Frances A. Wilson, 6 May 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York St., Baltimore, Md.
“That she was married under the name of Frances Ann Harris to said Alexander Wilson on the 16th day of July 1868, by Rev. E.G. Corprew, at Portsmouth, Va.”
“Names and dates of birth of all the children now living under sixteen years of age of the soldier are as follows:

Frances born ….. June 26, 1878 Florence born ….. Sept 15, 1883
John born ….. Feby 8, 1880 Maggie born ….. March 27, 1886
Addie born ….. Feby 17, 1882 Joshua born ….. Feby 4, 1889
 Joseph born ….. Sept 5, 1891

“[her attorney] Geo. W.F. Vernon, 225 Courtland St., of Baltimore, State of Maryland”
“Also personally appeared Sarah Wilson, residing at Balto, Md, and Sharon Reed, residing at Balto, Md. … acquaintance with her of 15 years and 18 years, respectively …. Although I was not personally present at the birth, I was sent for.”

General Affidavit, Mary E. Coates, 8 May 1893
66 years old; residence, 6 E. Church St., Baltimore, Md.
“That I am a midwife … I delivered the claimant Frances Wilson wife of Alexander Wilson of a female child subsequently called Maggie Wilson… I was also God Mother to the said child and by reference to my bible I find the date to be 27 March 1886.”

General Affidavit, Rachael Miles, 8 May 1893
44 years old; residence, 229 W. Hill Street, Baltimore, Md.
“That I was a nurse to Mrs. Frances Wilson when she gave birth to a male child on the 4th February 1889, owing to a delay in the arrival of the midwife who had been engaged…. I personally delivered on the 4th Feby 1889 child subsequently called Joshua known and recognized as a legitimate child of Frances and Alexander Wilson. I remember the date as it was just a month before President Harrison was inaugurated. … I was an intimate friend and associate of the claimant and her deceased husband prior to the marriage … she has no property whatever, possesses only a few chairs, table, beds etc of no value, she is entirely dependent upon those not legally bound for her support and her own daily labor such as washing etc. for her support and that of her minor children all of whom are now living and have not been abandoned.”

General Affidavit, Nellie Gross, 10 May 1893
83 years old; residence 17 Winder St. Baltimore, Maryland
“That I am by occupation a midwife to Mrs. Frances Harris ... and delivered said wife of a female child, 15 Sept 1883 subsequently known and called Frances Wilson, the legitimate child of Frances and Alexander Wilson”

General Affidavit, Charles H. Fowler, MD, 10 May 1893
30 years old; residence, 712 S. Sharp Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“That he well knew Alexander Wilson … that he well knows Frances Nelson … That there was born to the said Alexander Wilson and Frances Wilson on the 5th day of September 1891 a male child … named Joseph Wilson. That the said affiant was the attending physician during the illness of the aforesaid Frances Wilson while pregnant with the aforesaid child though he did not deliver the same.”

General Affidavit, Rachael Mills, 12 May 1893
44 years old; residence, 229. W. Hill St., Baltimore, Maryland
“That I was a neighbor and intimate friend of the claimant Frances Wilson. That I Iived in the same neighborhood with the claimant for more than four years, that is from 1877 to 1891, I was sent for and saw the mother and child shortly after the Birth.”

General Affidavit, Sarah Frances Ann Wilson, 16 May 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“prior to the Rebellion I was a slave, that at the time of my birth my mother was owned by Rueben Culpeper of Virginia, now dead, whose wife was named Ann Culpeper. My mother gave me the name of Sarah Frances Harris but my mistress desiring me to have a portion of her name called me Sarah Frances Ann Harris. In 1868 I was married under the name of Frances Ann Harris, but since my marriage I have dropped the Ann almost entirely, sometimes giving my name as Sarah Frances, then again simply as Frances; that I am called by most of my friends simply Frances Wilson.”

General Affidavit, Sarah Frances A. Wilson, 13 October 1893
46 years old; residence, 134 W. York Street, Baltimore, Maryland
“I cannot furnish the dates of birth of our children viz. Addie born Feby 17, 1882; Maggie born March 27, 1886; Joshua born Feby 4, 1889; and Joseph born Sept 5, 1891; by the public record by the fact that the midwife (Millie Gross) who delivered one of the children Addie failed to report the birth of said child, therefore, no record of said child’s Birth; that owing to a delay in the arrival of my midwife at the birth of my child Joshua, I was delivered of said child by my nurse (Rachel Miles) who made no report to the Health Dept. … that my last child Joseph was born before the arrival of my doctor (Chas. H. Fowler) who attended me at the time, but I find also he has failed to report Birth to the Public Record. I have filed the affidavits of the midwife, nurse, and doctor as to the dates of Births of children herein mentioned … and through no fault or carelessness on my part.
“I hereby swear that the following named children are still living and have not been abandoned; viz. Frances; John; Addie; Florence; Maggie; Joshua; and Joseph.”

General Affidavit, Benjamin Green, 2 March 1897
51 years old; residence, 811 S. Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD
“That I was personally well acquainted with the deceased soldier Alexander Wilson for two years prior to his death in April 1893, we were members of the same Grand Army Post, and was well associated … said soldier was a man of good habits, stood well in his community and everybody spoke well of him”

General Affidavit, Alfred Fields, 16 March 1897
51 years old; residence, 1010 S. Fremont, Baltimore, Md
“That I was personally well acquainted with the deceased soldier Alexander Wilson for 20 years prior to his death, that we were members of the same Grand Army Post (Elsworth Post No. 19) and that we lived neighbors for several years … he contracted [his ailments] from exposure, hardships and lying upon the damp battlefield during his service in US Army during the Civil War … Alexander Wilson was a man possessed of no vicious habits, and well respected”

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Several acquaintances of more than 30 years testified that though the soldier had once been robust and healthy he was suffering with a number of ailments because of his military service. The medical details aren’t in these research notes. Instead the focus is on births, deaths, marriages, and residences and a brief reference to combat experience.

Invalid — 749,089 / 593,356

General Affidavit for Any Purpose, George H. Hanes, 3 June 1892
44 years old; residence, Virginia Beach, Va.
“He has been 35 years personally acquainted with Isham Wright … that they was rased [sic] together, and Claimant was older than himself …”

General Affidavit for Any Purpose, Peter Wright, 3 June 1892
44 years old; residence, Virginia Beach, Va.;
“He has been 35 years personally acquainted with Isham Wright”

General Affidavit, Henry Weldon and Julia Jackson, 24 October 1892
[Weldon] 72 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, Norfolk, Va.
[Jackson] 65 years old; residence, Norfolk, Norfolk Co., Va.; post-office address, 14 Log St.
“that each of them are well & personally acquainted with Isham Wright … each of them has been knowing the said soldier at least 30 years”

Deposition, Isham Wright, 8 January 1902
55 or 56 years old; occupation, laborer; residence, 461 Cumberland St., Norfolk, Va.
“I was born in Norfolk County, Va., near Great Bridge; was a slave and was owned by David Wright. My father was Ishmael Butt.”
“The first part of my service was in Va., but the last part was in Texas. We were in Texas was some ten months. We went on a boat from Va. to Texas. We stopped for a little while at Key West, Fla. We took boat at Fortress Monroe and landed at Brazos Santiago. Part of us went to Corpus Christi, but I remained right at Brazos.

“I was in only one regular battle; Chicihominie [sic] and we had a skirmish at Wilsons Landing and at Weldon RR. We had no man killed or wounded out of my company but some were taken sick and died. Anderson Twine and Dean Rogers died of sickness while they were members of my company. Both of them died at Portsmouth and before we went to Texas. We lost no man in Texas. We had no battles in Texas. The war was over before we went there.
“Girrard was my first Colonel. He was Col., but was succeeded in Texas by Major Seipe. Garrard resigned before we went to Texas. Wamer was our Major. I do not recollect who was Lt. Col. Bowins was my Captain or was acting as Captain. Lt. Mack was shot by the Sutler at Bermuda Hundred and the Sutler was in turn killed by the soldiers. Stone was our regular captain.
William Ward was our Ord. Sgt., but he was succeeded by Dempsey Elliott.
William Hoffman, Weldon, Jones were Sgts.
Tom Frost, James Olders were Corporals.
Ben. Anderson, Jacob Moseley, Frank Wilson and Albert Foreman were friends of mine in service.”

“I was never in a regular hospital in service but in Texas I was treated by our Reg’t Dr. for my eyes. I do not recollect name of the doctor.”

Sworn Statement, Mary T. Wright, 28 March 1902
“the widow of Isham Wright, who died at Campostella, Norfolk, Va., on the 22nd day of February, 1916; that she and the said Wright had not been living together as man and wife for about three years and that she cannot establish her right to accrued pension due to said Wright and that she accordingly waives all claim to such accrued pension and requests that the same be paid to the undertaker who buried said Wright.”

Questionnaire (Form XX -XXXX) , Isham Wright, 27 March 1915
[date and place of birth] Feb 4th 1842, Norfolk Co., Va.
[wife’s name] Luvenia Powell Wright
[date] “I was married, Jan. 35 years, married by Rev. William Jarvous
[previous marriage] “I was previously married. Luvenia Wright, 35 years ago; death Norfolk County, 25 years old; I am married 10 years ago to Mary Saldon.”
[names/births of all children] Vandella Wright died, 7 years of age, Norfolk Co.; Isham Wright, Jr. died 12 years of age, Norfolk, Va.

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The soldier and his brother John Hutchins alias Levin Wilmer served in the same company. Born free men in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, they worked as watermen on the Chesapeake Bay. The brothers were with a friend Alexander Hazleton alias William Fortney when a group of men attempted to kidnap and enslave them. The three men escaped and enlisted under assumed names. They returned to Maryland’s Eastern Shore at war’s end.

Invalid — 1,137,020 / 1,138,640
Widow — 1,034, 690 / 782,665, Susan Hutchins

General Affidavit, Solomon Price and Elias Bryson, 5 August 1895
[Price] 67 years old;
[Bryson] 69 years old;
“citizens of the town of Centreville, County of Queen Anne, State of Maryland … We have known him for a long while and we know that before he went into the Services of the U.S. he was a strong healthy man and we often met during the war and after the war our intimacy has been kept up for we all have lived together or rather very near each other … this affidavit has been written for us … by Alfred Tucker, at Centreville, Queen Anne County, Maryland “

General Affidavit, Boswell Griffin, 27 December 1895
57 years old; citizen, Wye Mills, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland;
“I am personally acquainted with George Wilmer … We were both in the army but in the same Regt. … We frequently met while we were at Brazos and Brownsville, Texas …”

Questionnaire, Barney Hutchinson, 25 March 1901
[birthplace] near Queenstown, Md
[place of enlistment] Onancock, Va.
[previous residence] in Queen Anne Co., Md
[occupation] laborer
[enslaved] “I was born free.”
[place of discharge] Brazos Santiago, Texas
[residence since discharge] Queen Anne Co., Md.
[occupation] “I work on farms when able.”
[physical description] 5’6″, brown skin, smallpox marks
[a different name in service] no
[different name in pension application] no
[current name] Barney Hutchins

Form 3-442, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions, K.C. Kniffen, Chief, Record Division, 27 January 1909
Please furnish the names and post-office addresses of officers and comrades of Co. H, 1st Reg’t U.S.C. Vol. Cav.

Theophilus H. ButlerSurry C.H., Surry Co., Va.
George GoodsonWaterway, Princess Anne Co., Va.
Jeremiah LockerGreat Bridge, Norfolk Co., Va.
Ferdinand Ohlenberger2d Lieutc/o Aug. Limberger, San Antonio, Tex.
Albert PageOak Tree, York Co., Va.
Richard PierceSergtc/o J.W. Hosier, Suffolk, Va.
Alfred Simpson#28 1/2 Lincoln St., Nofolk, Va.
Joseph ScottPortsmouth, Norfolk Co., Va.
Jerry White#243 Lincoln St., Hampton, Va.
John H. WilliamsMapleton, Princess Anne Co., Va.

Deposition, Barney Hutchinson alias George Wilmer, 8 September 1909
“65 years, July 8 last” post-office address, Wye Mills, Queen Anne Co., Md.
“I was born in this immediate locality in Queen Anne Co., Md. was about 20 years old when I enlisted, farm laborer … I had no measles scars or marks before I enlisted except scars from smallpox, which I had in Feby 1864.
“I have but one brother John H. Hutchins who served in the same co and regt with me. I have five sisters and half-sisters living. They are:
Sarah Emory wid[ow] of John Emory who lives not far from Centreville.
Tamsey Hurd – widow of Oliver Hurd – lives in the road from Centreville to Wye Neck.
Ann Maria Curtis – 1135 W. Saratoga St., Baltimore, Md.
Rachel Griffin [illegible] Bazwell Griffin lives near here.
Lizzie Saulsbury – wife John Saulsbury – no his widow – she lives in Baltimore, Md. but I cannot give her street address. I lived here until just before I enlisted. Then I went to Baltimore accompanied by my brother John. After we got to Baltimore a man fooled us and got us in a boat to dredge for oysters and took us down the Chesapeake Bay.
“When we got down the Bay – we left the boat – ran away and landed on the Va. shore near a place called Pungoteague – went from there to Onancock, Va. where we met a recruiting office who offered us three hundred ($300) bounty so we enlisted and we were taken to Cherrystone, Va. then by boat to Norfolk County then to Newport News, Va. where we got our money for enlisting and our uniform.
“We did not send the money home we kept it and spent it.
“Q. Anything out of the ordinary happen in the Regt?
A. One man whose name and co. I cannot recall was hung at Ft. Lincoln for killing a man before we got to the Regt. while his co. was in Norfolk.
“Butler and Parker of my co. – given names forgotten – deserted – were caught – tried by court martialed [sic] – put on duty but never received any pay …
“Q. Name the officers of the co.
A. Lt. xx Waterman commanded the co. until we went to Texas. Then he was made Provost Marshall and after that Lt. Whitsell commanded the co. We also had a Lt. xx Smith with us for a time.
No Captains was with the Co. while I was in the Regt.
The Sgts. were Odly. xx Boyd, Sgt. xx Williams, Sgt. xx Scott, Sgt. xx Wright. Copl. xx Butt, Copl. xx Hardess, Copl. xx Wright.
I cannot give first names of any of these men or address.
“I remember the following members of the Co. Levin Smith, John Williams, “Bob” Furby, Arthur Webb, Isaac Gardner, xx Wingfield, Bob Hughes, xx Albert. I think he was made Copl. while we were in Texas. Noah [illegible], Abraham Henry. I do not know where any of these men are — never saw them before I enlisted, have not seen one of them since. They were mostly from Va. Copls. Butt — and Sgt. Boyd did live in Norfolk — so they said — before they enlisted.
“I saw no one from Queen Anne Co., Md while I was in the service …”
“Q. Why did you change your name when you enlisted. Because I had run away from the oyster boat and was afraid I might be caught. I do not know why I selected the name George Wilmer rather than some other alias. I knew plenty of people named Wilmer in this section of Md. I was freeborn.”

Letter from Special Examiner, 17 September 1909
“In connection with this claim I have also investigated the claim of John H. Hutchins alias Levin Wilmer … a brother of the pensioner George Wilmer; the report in both cases being mailed at the same time.
“The evidence in these two claims should be considered together.
“I intended to have taken both [statements] the same day so that they might not have an opportunity to coach or communicate with each other but Barney was away from home and it was almost night before he could be located — too late for me to return to the locality and secure his brother’s testimony on the same day.
“Barney is the brightest of the two brothers and seemed to be able to give a finely detailed history of his service, considering he was called upon without warning. He cannot read or write and there is no roster and there is no roster or other history of his Regiment on the peninsula so far as I can [illegible].
“I am therefore inclined to believe the statement he has made is based upon his memory alone.
“While he states he met no one of his former acquaintances and friends in the army except his brother John H. and Alex Hazleton alias Mr. Fortney.”
“He is an encyclopedia of information about soldiers who enlisted from Queen Anne Co., Md. but he was never given information adverse to a claiamant and sometimes his information is not correct so I do not know how much reliance to place in his testimony in this case.
“The Eastern Shore of Va. locality described by Hazleton I know well and the George Powell he refers to was a local merchant … Powell died some ten years ago. I did not have pensioner and his brother go with me to Hazleton as they are poor, John very poor and disabled … Hazleton is not a pensioner, nor an applicant and seemed unbiased in his manner.”

Declaration of Pension, Barney Hutchins, 27 May 1912
67 years old; residence, Carmichaels, Queen Anne, Maryland; post-office address, Carmichaels, Queen Anne, Maryland
“that he is the same person who enrolled at Nan Cock [sic], Va. under the name of George Wilmer … that he was born July 8th, 1844 … his several places of residence have been Queen Anne County, Maryland … ”

Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Susan Hutchins, 26 September 1914
65 years old; “she is the widow of Barney Hutchins … who died on the 10th day of September A.D. 1914 … that she was married under the name Susan Little … in January 1889 by Rev. _____ Lee … at or near Carmichael, Q.A. Co., Md.
“Also personally appeared Frederick Nichols, residing at Centreville, Md, and Daniel Hutchins, residing at Carmichael, Md. … an acquaintance with her of 40 years and all his life, 40 years, respectively … “

General Affidavit, John H. Hutchins and Rachel E. Griffin, 6 [8?] October 1914
[Hutchins] 72 years old; of Queenstown
[Griffin] 65 years old; of Centreville
“citizens of the County of Queen Anne, State of Maryland …
That they were intimately acquainted with Barney Hutchins and Susan Little from the time said parties became of marriageable age up to the time of their marriage … that said parties were married about the year 1869 in Queen Anne County, Maryland by a minister named Lee …”

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