Monday, August 19, 2013

Sara M. Jones Confederate Widow's Application--20 Pages!.

Sara M. Jones Confederate Widow's Application--20 Pages!

In my blog of 15September;postID=1781065888685571887;onPublishedMenu=overview;onClosedMenu=overview;postNum=2;src=postname I discussed learning that my maternal gggrandfather had been in the Confederate Army by virtue of discovering his wife's application for a Confederate pension.  Initially, I was so excited in learning this news that I didn't look carefully and note that The page I was looking at was 95 of 475.  Thus, there were additional pages to the document.  To be exact there were 20 pages of documents in the package which provided a wealth of information.  

It was brought to my attention about the additional pages when I was giving a presentation to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego on Saturday morning, 17 September and recounting how I had found the document quite serendipitously, but that I needed to do more research on the document because I just had the first page.  I was then pointed out to me that I might be able to see it by clicking on the forward arrow on the image.  Sure enough, the additional documents in the package were also on line.  I felt a little dumb for not noticing that; but very happy about the contents that were revealed.  

I haven't had a chance to completely analyze all the documents; but there appear to be two applications--one in 1908 when her husband died and another in 1930.  Apparently she wasn't granted the pension in 1908, yet the 1930 application stated that she had not previously applied for a pension and been rejected.  She had to swear that she did not own a home with a value greater than $2000, nor did she have any property or accounts worth more than $1000 or receive any income over $300 per year.  She also had to have continued to live in Texas since his death.  Her application with all the statements verifying the above had to been Sworn to and signed by a Judge and County Commissioners.  I doubt very seriously that an individual applying for a military pension today would have to get it witnessed and signed by a judge verifying the information was correct!

Interestingly, the 1908 application was titled "Application of Indigent Widow of Soldier or Sailor of the late Confederacy. . . . ."; whereas, the 1930 application read "Widow's Application for Confederate Pension"; but the income and personal wealth requirements were both the same.  The probably became a little more tactful and dropped the word "Indigent" from the title.

There were also several letters from the State of Texas to the War Department in Washington verifying the service of Spear Dean in the Confederate Army.  Interestingly, there were some differences in the responses to some of the letters.  One of the responses in 1909 from the War Department stated "The name S.C. Dean has not been found on the rolls, on file in this office. . . . . . .".  However, in a letter five months later they replied "The records show that Spear C. Dean, private, Company F. 34th Texas Cavalry, confederate States Army, was enlisted February 1, 1862. . . . . . ."  Also, in a couple of instances response letters from the War Department or Comptrollers office state that "Mrs. Dean states in her application that Spear Dean drew a confederate pension; but this office has been unable to locate his application. . . ".

The files contained letters from Sara and Spear's granddaughter to confirm Spear's service as they were applying for membership in the "Texas Division United Daughters of the Confederacy", so perhaps some of my ancestors also had an interest in their family history!

Sarah wasn't granted the pension until 1930, when she was 95 years old.  She died in 1935 just three months short of her 100th birthday.  Not sure why the pension was denied in 1908; but that would have been another 22 years of pension payments!  None of the documents stated the amount of the pension.  I am sure it wasn't a lot, as Spear only served for 39 months.  

I feel very fortunate to have discovered this new information about my gggrandparents.  Here I always considered myself a Yankee and little did I know there was some Confederate history in my bloodlines.