Posts Tagged ‘Methodist Episcopal Protestant Church’

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

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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