The 21st United States Colored Infantry Regiment
1 Corporal transferred to non-commissioned staff as Sergeant Major May 1, 1865.
2 Discharged at Morris Island, South Carolina May 29, 1864 for disability.
3 Discharged at Morris Island, South Carolina May 29, 1864 for disability.
4 Sergeant transferred to non-commissioned staff as Commissary Sergeant May 1, 1865.
5 Deserted March 1, 1865.
6 Reduced from Corporal July 1, 1863.
7 Promoted Corporal November 20, 1863; Discharged for disability November 15, 1865.
8 Promoted Corporal August 1, 1865; Died in Hospital Morris Island, South Carolina, February 5, 1865.
9 Promoted Corporal October 1, 1865.
10 Died in hospital at Hilton Head, South Carolina October 13, 1865 of dysentery.
11 Promoted Corporal September 12, 1865.
12 Died July 27, 1864.
13 Promoted Corporal August 31, 1865; promoted Sergeant September 12, 1865.
14 Joined from Rec Depot October 20, 1864 at Morris Island, South Carolina.
15 Discharged September 7, 1864 by reason of expiration of term of service.
16 Discharged August 17, 1865.
17 Never reported from recruiting.
18 Never reported from recruiting depot.
19 Died May 10, 1865 of small pox.
20 Deserted December 18, 1865.
21 Credited to state of Connecticut.
22 Promoted to Corporal August 24, 1864.
23 Promoted to Corporal January 1, 1865.
24 Never reported
Widow: SARAH EUBANKS
Witnesses who served with James Eubanks in the 21st regiment of USCI testified that he was disabled with kidney and bladder ailments while serving in the army. Sarah Eubanks, known s Sarah Carter before her marriage on May 18, 1867, to James Eubanks, applied for a widow’s pension, but was denied on the grounds of not providing medical evidence of the soldier’s ailments prior to his death.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
General Affidavit: State of Florida, County of Nassau, ss: In the matter of Sarah Eubanks on this 6 day of Sept, A.D. 1898, personally appeared before me, a Justice of Peace in and for aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, Stephen Wright age 59 years, a resident of Fernandina in the County of Nassau and State of Florida whose post office address is Fernandina Fla.“I am well acquainted with deceased soldier I was a comrade of his in same Company and Regiment and remember well when he was at time unable to do duty service and was affected in his urination and after he come home, being mustered out- he was at times very sick and finally died from what they say Kidney & Bladder troubles. I visited him often and found him parilize in small part of his back and ailment in [?]- I first- remember he being sick at Morris Island, S.C.”General Affidavit. State of Florida, County of Nassau, ss: In the matter of Sarah Eubanks on this 6 day of Sept, A.D. 1898, personally appeared before me, a Justice of Peace in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, Henry Hannahan age 56 years, a resident of Fernandina. “That he has been acquainted with the deceased soldier ever since during the war that they were comrades in the army and that he remember very well that while soldier was at Morris Island S.C. and in duty of the U. States carrying carrying cartridge [belt] and [from?] [chafe?] of the same around his waiste by wearing and heavy marching that he contracted kidney and bladder disease in so much that he was unable at times to urinate and was in bad condition all this I know happened d at Morris Island S.C. in latter part of 1864 I also remember that I visited him in his last illness and that he was still ailing from Kidney Bladder and urination trouble and that he finally [died of it.]”
WIDOW’S PENSION. Reissue to allow under the General Laws. Claimant: Sarah Eubanks
Submitted for Rejection, September 10, 1900. Newburgh, ExaminerApproved for rejection on the grounds of no record of medical evidence of the existence of any disability in the service at discharge or after until about six months prior to death and the claimant declared inability to furnish satisfactory evidence to connect the soldiers death of [?] paralyses with his military service.
September 7, 1900 Important Dates:
Widows Declaration for Pension. State of Florida. County of Nassau. On this 1st day of March 1921, personally appeared before me a Justice of Peace of a Court of Record in and for the County and State aforementioned, Sarah Eubanks, resident of Fernandina, Claims “that she is the widow of James Eubanks who was a Private in company “A”, commanded by William [?] in the 21 Regiment of U.S.C.T., in the war of 1861; that her maiden name was Sarah Carter and that she was married to said James Eubanks on or about the 18 day of May, 1867, at Hilton Head, S.C., by Reverend Vandross.”“She further declares that said James Eubanks, her husband, died on or about the 1 day of Jan, 1887, at Fernandina in the State of Fla, and the immediate cause of his death was disability due to service. “The following are the amounts, dates of birth, and places of residence of all the children of her deceased husband who were under sixteen years of age at the time of his death:
Elizabeth, born on the 26th day of Dec, 1876
AFFA FORESTER (FORMERLY GRAY) WIDOW OF LEWIS FORESTER
GENERAL SUMMARY FROM THE PENSION RECORDS
Affa Forester testified that she and Lewis Forester were married January 29, 1854. She was born free, and Lewis was born a slave whose father purchased his freedom. Their home was on the St. Johns River, at today’s Magnolia, south of Black Creek. Adam Fleming, a member of the Fleming family of Fleming Island in what is today Clay County, Florida, performed the ceremony. After the war they were remarried “by law” by the Reverend Catalin Simmons of what is today known as the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. During the interval between the two ceremonies, five children were born to Lewis and Affa. The entire family made their way to Fernandina in 1862 after Union forces occupied the town in early March 1862. About one year later, in June 1863, Lewis joined the United States Colored Infantry and served the United States until about one year after the war ended.
Before the war, Lewis and Affa Forester had been the only free black family that owned land in Clay County. After the war they returned with their children to this very same farmland at Magnolia on the St. Johns River. Lewis lived until 1889.
Witnesses who testified during the pension application proceedings were almost all veterans of the Lewis’s military unit, Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry1. George Floyd said he and Lewis and Affa knew each other before the war, and that Lewis was nearly white in complexion, “so white that I mistook him for a white man.” Floyd, age 63, said that he knew both Lewis and Affa before the war, and that Lewis was a carpenter. We lived near each before the war, on the Saint John’s River opposite of Black Creek.”
Co. K, 21st Regiment of United States Colored Infantry
February Francis was born a slave at Mayport, in Duval County, Florida, the property of William Christopher. Francis was both a sailor and a soldier during the Civil War. He enlisted first in the United States Navy, and, after being honorably discharged, enlisted in the United States Colored Infantry.
February Francis was originally from North Florida where he spent his childhood in slavery and was known as February Christopher. At some point during the war he changed his name from that assigned him by his former slave owners to February Francis, although Navy records apparently list him as Christopher February. After the war, Francis returned to Duval County and lived at Jacksonville, Florida. Late in life, on November 8, 1917, former sailor and soldier February Francis was married to M. Alena Diggs at St. Nicholas, Florida. Francis had become a deacon in a church at St. Nicholas by then, and had changed his name again, to February Shaw.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Received at the Office of the Pension Bureau on 05/22/1912: “I am the identical February Francis who enlisted in Company “K” 21st Regiment U.S.C. Troops at Jacksonville Florida on the 14th day of September 1864 to serve 3 years and was discharged April 23 1866 at Charleston S.C. by means of muster out of organization having served 1 year, 7 mos and 18 day I am now 73 years of Age, having been born at Mayport February 1, 1839.
“I am 5 feet 8 in high, black, black eyes, black hair grey now. I have lived in Duval County Florida during the whole time since the war. I am now a Pensioner of the U.S. government under certificate No. 672763 I have the honor to ask the Hon. Commissioner of Pensions that I may be re-rated at $20.00 per month under law of May 1912.”
11/02/1916: “Attention is invited to affidavit of claimant filed July 27, 1916, wherein he states that the name of his owner was William Christopher, which statement, in the opinion of the examiner, is sufficient, taken in connection with the unusual name of February, and in consideration of the similarity in present description and allegations of the claimant, February Francis, to establish his identity with the sailor Christopher February”
F.D. Byington, Acting Commissioner, wrote to the Quartermaster General, War Department, on 11/04/1916: “In the above-cited claim for pension it appears that Christopher February, a colored man, was discharged from the U.S.S. “Wabash,” then part of the blockading fleet off Charleston, S.C., on November 29, 1863, and he states that he was thereafter placed on the transport “General Hunter”; was on said vessel on April 16, 1864, when she was torpedoed on the way to Jacksonville, Fla.; was taken off by the “Harris Reed”? (Harriet A. Weed) and brought to Jacksonville, where he enlisted in the army.”
“It is shown by a report from the War Department that he enlisted in Co. K, 21st U.S. Col. Inf., on September 7, 1864, under the name February Francis, and a report is desired showing whether said Christopher February or February Francis was serving as an employee of the Quartermaster’s Department aboard the “General Hunter,” and, if not, showing to what regiments the troops aboard said vessel were assigned.”
February Francis to Commissioner, Stamped Received by the Pension Office, 07/19/1917: “[I]was discharged from U.S.S. ‘Wabash’ and went right aboard the ‘General Hunter’ and served on her until she was torpedoed April 16, 1864 off Mandarin…joined the ‘Wyoming’ Cap. Jones. Left the ‘Wyoming’ and enlisted in the 21 U.S.C. Inf. Sept. 7, 1864 and served with until he was discharged.”
Copy of Wedding Invitation, Stamped Received by the Pension Office, 05/01/1920: “Mr. Frank E. Smith of Jacksonville, Fla. announces the marriage of his mother Mrs. M. Alena Diggs to Deacon February Shaw at St. Nicholas, Fla., Wednesday evening March the Fourth, at eight o’clock nineteen hundred and fourteen”
Will of February (Francis) Shaw, November 8, 1917: Makes his wife Mary Alena Shaw the sole administratrix of his estate. Leaves 1 ¼ acre and another 3 7/8 acre plots of land to his wife with the exception of one acre which he leaves to his adopted son Robert Lee Adams. He also leaves his wife all personal belongings.
Letter from M. Alena Shaw to the Commissioner of Pensions, Stamped Received by Pension Office, 05/01/1920:
I am not making application for a widow pension, I am only asking for my husbands Pension to pay his funeral expenses, and will be satisfied if paid my attorney undertaker Pratt I Borrowed money to make the first payment and owe a balance of $65.00 so you can see that there nothing in it for me.”
GEORGINA GRAY, widow of Pablo Gray
Pablo Gray was born into slavery at St. Augustine, Florida, the property of Raphile Canova. His widow describes him as of mixed-race ancestry, one-fourth African ancestry. He enlisted Company A of the USCI at Fernandina in June 1863 and was promoted to corporal.Georgina Gray, the widow of Pablo Gray, testified that she was born a slave in Pierce County, Georgia, the chattel property of Jim Walker. At some time during the war, she “moved” to Fernandina, Florida, where she met and married the soldier, Pablo Gray. Whether that “move” was an escape from slavery to Union-occupied territory is not stated. Georgina and Pablo settled in St. Augustine after the war, where Pablo worked as a “peddler in the street and doing errands” according to the widow, who testified that he suffered from aggravated asthma contracted during his military service.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Proof of Incurrence of Disability for soldier Pablo Gray.State of Florida, County of St. Johns, ss: Personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County and State, duly authorized to administer oaths, Thomas Williams, age 64 years, a resident St. Augustine, in the County of St. Johns, and State of Florida who, being duly sworn according to law, states that he is acquainted with Georgiana Gray, applicant for Invalid Pension, and knows the said late Pablo Gray to be the identical person of that name who served as a [soldier] in Company A 21st Regiment of Colored Volunteers.“Thomas Williams upon oath states he was in the same company with the late Pablo Gray soldier. That he knew him before he went with the recruiting service and was with him and knew him to be [the same] man when he enlisted the service in 1863. That he took the asthma in the line of duty but I don’t know [the exact time it happened], but I do know that he was suffering from it a year or more after leaving the service and suffered with it a great deal after that during the balance of his service or about two years. This I know of my own personal knowledge having been with him through the service.“[Saith] that he was in the same company with him; Further that he knows his widow Georgina Gray very well; That they lived together as husband and wife up to his death. That they had never been divorced, and that she is still the widow of late solder. Further: That he lived as neighbor to them and knew of the sickness of late Pablo Gray. He suffered from asthma and throat difficulty and died from same disease, and weak lungs: Further that he was wholly unable to perform manual labor, and during the last few weeks to my knowledge he suffered a great deal up to his death Nov 20th 1886.”Testimony by Thomas Williams December 22, 1898: “Since his return- up to his death- He was suffering from asthma and throat trouble all the time and was not able to do any manual labor at all. He could only do some errands for merchants and so earn a little now and then. He suffered a great deal the last few months he lived. The above I know from personal knowledge having lived neighbor to him.”GENERAL AFFIDAVIT: On this 26 day of November 1890 Georgina Gray testifies as follows. “I was born in Pierce Co. Ga. nearest town was Carterville 20 miles off. I moved to Fernandina Fla where the war was going on and that was my residence when I got acquainted with my late husband. When in Georgia before moving to Fernandina I was owned by Jim Walker. I was acquainted with my late husband about one year before we were married. I was known by the name of Georgiana White before getting married to Pablo Gray. Was never married before nor been married since his death. Pablo my husband enlisted in St. Augustine. He was a soldier when he came there first. My age is 47 years was born in Oct but don’t know the day of the month.“The company my husband belonged to was Co. A, Captain Davis. Lts. Dow & Harper. He was a corporal in the company. He was born in St. Augustine was a quarteroon, quite light complexion. His age was 53 when he died 4 years ago. He was a slave belonged to Raphile Canova. He was always known as Pablo. He never had any other wife but me- to my knowledge. His occupation was a peddler in the street and doing errands. He was not able to do any hard work after the war as he suffered with severe [parius?] in the chest and with asthma. Dr. Robinson was the physician at Fernandina (now dead) until they went to Hilton Head S.C. Soldiers height was 5ft 11 inches or about. His post office address was St. Augustine Fla.”General Affidavit: January 23, 1892, Levi Jackson, aged 36 years, a resident of St. Augustine says: “That [I] have been well and personally acquainted with Pablo Gray all my life. I knew Pablo Gray the late soldier when he [determined on] military service, knew him to have asthma quite bad for years after his discharge from the service. Knew him to be suffering in such way that he was not able to do any manual labor but…washing...for which he got but little pay. Further I knew him to suffer him the trouble continuously for years and increased [?] him turned the better part of his life, and he died of aggravated asthma...in the year 1886.”General Affidavit: On September 7, 1892, personally appeared Georgina Gray, age 48 years, [saith] “That her late husband Pablo Gray died of lung disease contracted in the army. The Physician who attended him in the Regiment, was Dr. Hawk, but she has no way of knowing where he is and cannot get his affidavit. She did hear he was dead. She further states that her husband had no attending physician here [because] he could not pay one. That upon his having spells of coughing & choking she would give him some [?] [?] to relieve his pain time to time. That upon his last moments there was a Physician sent for but he got there too late to do anything for him. Further that she cannot get the testimony of any commissioned officer as she cannot find out their whereabouts if living which is doubtful. She is unable to furnish medical evidence for the reasons told above.”Claimants General Affidavit: January 5, 1899, Georgina Gray upon oath states “that her husband, the late soldier Pablo Gray, was only attended by a Physician A Dr. Smith who is now about, and she does not know his whereabouts. She further states that her husband died from throat & lung trouble and aggravated asthma. That he was [?] [?] the difficulty after returning from the war and was not able to earn scarcely anything not being able to perform manual labor at all. That from April 1866 the time he returned [from the war] to Nov. 24, 1886-the time he died-he suffered continuously with asthma & throat & lung trouble. That she was with him nursing & doing for him up to his death. Post office address is St. Augustine, Florida.”General Affidavit: On January 5, 1899, George Edwards, 113 Marine Street, St. Augustine, Florida, upon oath states he “knew the late Soldier Pablo Gray very well. Knew him before he went into the service and when he returned from service. Knew also his widow very well- Georgiana Gray- lived neighbor to them. They always lived together as husband and wife, and were never divorced. She is still the widow of Pablo Gray deceased. He further states that he knew of late soldiers sickness after returning from service. He suffered from asthma and chest trouble this I knew because I often saw him during his sickness; He was wholly unable to do any manual labor and could only do a few errands now and then. For the last few months before he died he suffered continually from the difficulty and died Nov. 24, 1886.”General Affidavit: On September 20, 1900 Anthony Glen, aged about 73 years, “declared…that he knew Pablo Gray late soldier when he was a small boy and have known him ever since up to his death knew him a year before he entered the service, and knew him to be a strong man. Physically strong and well able to do a man’s labor. I lived in the neighborhood with him. And saw him everyday and knew this of my personal knowledge.”
WIDOW’S PENSION: Georgina Gray, Soldier Pablo Gray
Co. A., 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: DIANA HATCHER
Benjamin Hatcher was a veteran of the 21st Regiment of the United States Colored Infantry. A slave in Georgia before the war, he escaped bondage to freedom in Union-occupied in Fernandina, Florida, where he enlisted in the army. After the war he received a disability pension for asthma and for eye problems. After Hatcher’s death, his widow, Diana Hatcher applied for a widow’s pension, which was approved, but only after a lengthy and grueling investigation into her background and character. For historians, the Diana Hatcher pension record is of great value for the evidence it contains concerning the fragile bonds of what was known as “slave marriage.” Examiners repeatedly and relentlessly probed the marital relationships of freedmen applicants for pensions, searching for evidence of immoral behavior, which would permit them to recommend against the granting of pensions. Answers to the questions in this case point out poignantly how precarious and tenuous were the marital bonds under slavery.Benjamin Hatcher, for example, was married three times prior to 1865. He first married a woman named Rebecca, enslaved like Hatcher, and fathered two sons: Powell Hatcher and William Benjamin Hatcher. They were separated during slavery. Hatcher’s second slave wife was Harriet Carey, who testified: “I married him when I was about thirteen years old when my boss bought him. I have two children by him….That was in slave times that I lived with him. We separated when he went to the war and left me and the children…in Georgia. He never came back to me anymore. I never saw him again until [after the war] I saw him here [Fernandina] living with Sister Hatcher.”After Hatcher escaped from bondage he found sanctuary in Union-occupied Fernandina, Florida, and took a third wife, Minerva Hatcher, this time by legal marriage with a preacher and a certificate. When he mustered out of the USCI, he returned to Fernandina and to Minerva. After Minerva’s death he remarried in 1883, six years after becoming a widower, to Diana Palmer at a church in Oakland neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. He continued married to Diana (Palmer) Hatcher until his death in 1894, after suffering an apparent heat stroke while roofing, causing him to tumble from the roof and die.Diana Palmer was also married three times before her “legal” marriage to Hatcher. The first three relationships were with fellow slaves, none of which she considered legal marriages. Her first husband was Brutus Floyd, by whom she had two children and said: “we did not live together long. I cannot tell what become of him, we parted before my girl Sarah was born…I was a slave when all my children were born. I did not consider Brutus my husband.”After Brutus departed, Diana related to the investigator, “In slave time when I lived with Mr. Palmer [her owner] I had a husband, his name was Sammie Sams, he was sold off to a negro trader long before the war…and I never heard from him after he was sold.” Next she lived as wife to Bethel Bellamy. About that relationship she said: “Bethel Bellamy and I lived on separate plantations—our slave marriage was with the consent of our owners, I suppose his master gave consent but do not know.” With Bellamy, she escaped bondage and found refuge with Union forces in Fernandina, prior to Bellamy’s enlistment in the USCI and the end of their so-called slave marriage. Quite accurately, Diana Hatcher told the investigator, “there was no divorce for colored peoples before the war….”
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORDS
Letter to Pension Bureau, August 10, 1887.
In reply to your official circular JEJC Aug 4-87 relative to invalid pension claim no #61969 Benj Hatcher, I have the honor to state as follows, viz when I was discharged from the army on Morris Island SC in May 1865. I went to Hilton Head & remained there farming for two years and then returned home to Fernandina Florida in March 1867 and have resided near Fernandina ever since farming. I first felt suffering in my left eye during my term of service under enlistment, it was caused by catching cold while on guard in cold weather on Morris Island during the second year of my service. I went to the Surgeon of Our Regiment Dr Hawk, and showed him my eye & explained to him my suffering, he gave me a bottle of eye-water and told me to bathe the eye with it, and I did so, and it seemed to relieve it a little for the time but not permanently….While at Hilton Head and for some time after I thought my eye would outgrow its weakness and fit well but as it did not, finally went to Dr J D Palmer of Fernandina in the year 1884. Who examined the eye and said he would have to take it out and scrape the film off which is growing over it. I did not fancy that sort of work so I went to Dr W. H. Pope in July 1887 who examined the eye and said it was badly filmed & would continue to grow worse but he thought the right eye would remain good and not be seriously effected, he therefore advised me to not have the left eye operated upon. Dr Pope is also a resident of Fernandina Fla, The eye troubles me always in mid-day I can’t see to look and has so troubled me for many years since the war.
Benjamin [X] Hatcher (His Mark)
From statement before me On August 18th 1887, Charles V. Hillyer, Notary Public, Fernandina, Florida, Mar 30, 1895, to the Commissioner of Pensions: “In the case of Benjamin Hatcher lot 547555 I have the honor to return all the papers with my report thereon. As will be seen from the deposition of Henry Hannahan one of the principle witnesses in his claim the claimant and pensioner died about four month ago leaving a widow but no dependant relatives as minor children. He also testifies that deceased claimant was married before but does not know whether his first wife died or not and that he was married only about five or six years ago again and that a son by the first wife is still living at Kings Henry Nassau Co Florida. These statements could be confirmed with the widows declaratory in case she claims her husbands pension. It is also learned that the widow has some property and that for two years previous to Benjamin Hatcher’s death she was living with her father in Jacksonville while the claimant who is now deceased lived here in Fernandina Florida. I did not deem it necessary to take further testamentary in this claim concerning the cause of death of the claimant but the witness Henry Hannahan testifies to identifying the corpse as that of deceased petitioner. In view of the foregoing facts I recommend the case for rejection.”Very respectfully, James P Terri, Special Examiner.Deposition: Case of Benjamin Hatcher, no. 347555, March 30, 1895, Fernandina.Deponent: Henry Hannahan: “I am sixty two years old am not able to do much work but I do a little painting and whitewashing. My residence and post office both at Fernandina, Nassau Co. Florida am a pensioner under certificate 663080. I was a comrade in Co A 21 USC Inf. of the deceased claimant Benjamin Hatcher who died about four months ago. I knew him intimately all my life before, during the war in the service, and since and saw the corpse as our Grand [bury?] post of which I am commander buried him. He died three miles from here but was buried from the first Baptist church here and the coffin was offered to give his friends a last look at the body. His wife was at the funeral but for two years she were residing in Jacksonville while Benjamin Hatcher lived here. I don’t know what the estrangement was between them but believe it was about a lot of land and house that was owned between them. I don’t know its value. She the widow now lives in Jacksonville but she came here and consulted me in January about getting her husband’s pension. The lot of land I referred to above is situated in [?] Island, Duval County, Florida. “Benjamin Hatcher was married to his last wife about five or six years before he died. I heard that Hatcher was married before but do not know whether his first wife died or whether he was divorced. I know his sons first name I do not now recall, he lives at Kings Ferry in this county Nassau Co Florida, which son was a child by the first wife. His present widow the second wife lives with her father but she washes for a living. I don’t know whether the widow filed her application for pension or not. Benjamin Hatcher left no minor children nor any dependant parents or he was about eighty years old himself.”General Affidavit: October 10, 1895. Shed Glen and Daphne Whitehead. “We have known claimant and her deceased husband about twenty years in fact ever since they were married. They were never divorced from each other, always lived together as man and wife. We are near neighbor of claimant, and see her frequently, and know that she has not remarried since the death of her husband Benj Hatcher. Claimant does not own any real estate, has no stocks, bonds or mortgages and no income except from a little labor she can do which amounts to nothing. She is only a poor old colored woman living with one of her children and trying to get along the best she can, her health is bad and she cannot take in washing or do any hard work, he son helps her all he can, but he is poor himself and has hard work to get along.”Claimant’s Affidavit, Duval County, Diana Hatcher, 10 October 1895. “I stated in my application for pension that I was married Dec 18 1883 as I was testifying from memory I gave the date as sure as I could. I find this record shows I was marred to solider Dec 13 1883. I also stated in my application that Hatcher’s first wife died Oct 1882. In this matter I was also testifying from memory and gave the date as well as I could remember. In this I was mistaken as it appears from the record kept by the minister who officiated at her funeral that she died Aug 29 1882 and I desire these corrections be made in my application. “In regard to my former husband if he could be called that I desire to say that it should not have been put in my application- I lived with a man in slavery time and we passed as man and wife though we were never married. More than twelve years before the war the man I was living with was sold to a gentleman living in Louisiana or Mississippi and he went away with him. We did not belong to the same owners, I have never seen or heard of him since that time. “It is impossible for me to furnish any evidence in regard to any former marriage other than to Benj Hatcher, because I was not married to any one. I lived with a man in slavery days as his wife, he belonged to one owner named Haines and I belonged to another owner named Palmer. The man I lived with to wit, Samuel Sams, was sold by his owner to a planter from Louisiana or Mississippi and taken there by the man who bought him and I never saw him afterwards. I was then living in this county and have lived here ever since or near here. Sams was taken away from Florida long before the war and there are no living witnesses who know anything about the facts except myself. I saw Sams one Christmas which we spent together and I did not know until the following April what had become of him. He had been sold and I did not know it.”Deposition B-1. Case of Diane Hatcher, No 615.172. Jan. 2, 1896, Jacksonville, Fla.. Question: Did Bellamy belong to the same master that you did?Answer: “No sir.”Question: When and how did Bellamy get his freedom?Answer: “He got away from his masters as best he could and went to Fernandina Fla.”Question: [Was it] there you and he hid? Together there? Until he went into the U.S. army did you?Answer: “Yes sir- but we [parted?] He went to the army.”Question: Did you have any marriage with him after he went to Fernandina Answer: “I had no marriage with him after I got my freedom or after we went to Fernandina.”Question: What became of Bellamy?Answer: “He died here in Jacksonville- before I married Ben or I heard so- I was not here when he died but heard so.”Question: By whom can you prove that Bellamy is dead and the time he died?Answer: “By the undertaker who buried him. I will [?] the name till- I cant tell you now, the people or what place he died or dead.”Question: Now tell me who you have had since slave time as your husbands or men tell the names of all of them.Answer: “I had in slave times Brutus, Sammy Sams, Bethel Bellamy after Bellamy and since slave times and then Ben Hatcher?”Question: Are you a pensioner?Answer: “No sir.”Question: Did you apply for a pension or [warrant?] of Sams, Brutus, or Bellamy ? Answer: “No sir- I made only application as the widow of Ben Hatcher. Bethel Bellamy and I lived on separate plantations- our slave marriage was with the consent of our owners, I suppose his master gave consent but do not know.”Question: Who can tell me about your marriage to Bellamy?Answer: “I do not know as no one can- the white family to who I belonged are dead , - Bellamy was owned by Mis [?] she died during the war, the family are gone.”Deposition A. December 12, 1896, Jacksonville, Duval Co, Fla. Diana Hatcher: “I live in Oakland, Jacksonville Fla….I do not know my age, I think I am about 60 years old. I keep house, I am the person who is claiming pension as the widow of Ben Hatcher who served in Co A, 21- USCI and died Sept 12, 1894 at Fernandina, Nassau Co Fla… I met…Ben Hatcher during the war. At that time I was living in Fernandina Fla, I first saw him in that place during the war, after he enlisted. He then had a wife and no children. That wife’s name was Minerva Hatcher. They lived together until she died- I can [recall] the day or year she died. She died in Fernandina, Fla about a year and eight months before I married Ben, I was living in Jacksonville at the time she died I guess she had been dead some weeks before I heard it. Yes sir, I am certain she was dead before I married Ben, I had no husband when I first married Ben. I belonged to Mr. David Palmer at St Nicholas in this county. After that I went down to Pablo he is now dead- Mr Ed Holmes his son in law is the old…there, I guess I earned find some of the servants in [town] that know one then.“In slave time when I lived with Mr Palmer I had a husband, his name was Sammie Sams. He was sold off to a negro trader long before the war. They took [him] to Mississippi or Louisiana and I never heard from him after he was sold I did not have any other husband, I had no children by Sammie Sams. No sir I have not lived with him any since the war- not seen him, no sir- I had no husband since the war until I married Ben Hatcher.“I was married to Ben Hatcher in Oakland Fla, Dec 12, 1883 by Thomas Lancaster a Baptist preacher. He had no other wife and I no other husband at that time. Sarah Ring, Julia Williams, Mrs. Richard Ward and Thomas Ward and others living in Oakland were present when I was married. After marriage we lived together as husband and wife all of the time until he died. We lived some of the time in Fernandina and some of the time in Oakland Fla. At Fernandina, we lived out in the country about 2 ½ miles from the city east near the beach. George Hills, Emma Hills, Ruth Morrison lived near us- they live there now. When living here [Ranshad?] Ward, Hattie Edwards, William Edwards, Charlotte Davis were neighbors to us. Thomas Ward also lived near us.“I had no children by Ben Hatcher. Yes sir, I have some children- none by Ben, my children are something over 30 years old William Floyd is my son, he lives with my [?] in Oakland, Sarah Yelder is my girl I think she is about 35 years old, she lives in Maitland, Orange Co, Fla.“Yes sir I was not married to the father of these children, Brutus Floyd was father of my children- he is dead.
January 2, 1897, Jacksonville, Duval Co., Florida.
January 30, 1897, Jacksonville, Florida.
February 1, 1897, Jacksonville, Florida. Deponent: Ramsey Dey. “I do business at 19 + 21 W Adams St Jacksonville Fla as undertaker- have been engaged in business here about 19 years. I know this claimant- have no interest in her pension claim. I knew Bethel Bellamy- a colored man in his lifetime- I do not know whether he had been a soldier, he was a night scavenger when I knew him- I would consider his mind weak-I must have known him ten years I suppose.“Yes sir I recollect burying him . His mother Scipio Bellamy was in East Jacksonville, Fla somewhere from 8 to 10 years ago. I have no record of his burial that I can find- it was done on the request of his mother Scipio Bellamy who paid for it and I can find no record of it I feel confident that his death occurred no less than 8 no more than 10 years ago. I think Bethel Bellamy when I knew him had no family.”Report to Pension Bureau by J.D. Harlo, Special Examiner, Jacksonville, FlaFeb. 1, 1897. “Herewith are returned the original papers in the above entitled pension claims and the widow taken therein.The claims were referred for special examination to determine the merit of the pending claim made the old claim for disability from disease of the eyes, and to determine the merit of the widow claim under the new law (as of January 27, 1890)“The claimant was given the usual notice of special examination and fully advised of her rights and [line missing] accompanying me with taking the testimony at the city except that of J. Ramsey Day, Amelia Williams and Joshua Williams. She was not able to go with me to Nassau Co. Fla. but I read to her all the evidence taken by me there.“I have carefully examined the records of circuit court in and for Nassau and Duval counties, Fla. from dec 12, 1883 to sept 12 1894, this is for all the time from the alleged marriage of claimant and solider to the time of soldier death and find no evidence there of any divorce proceedings were ever instituted by either party. I am [unable?] to find anyone who ever heard of any divorce proceedings between them- in fact that class of people rarely resort to a divorce court.“The evidence examined by [Mr. Shaw?] the claimant was married to the soldier at about the time alleged and was recognized by their families and neighbors as husband and wife from that time until the death of the soldier. That they lived together some of the time and that he had returned from his last visit to claimant but a few days before he died. At that time claimant was [away] to care for her father who was sick on his death bed. The claimant alleges she was married to the solider by Thomas Lancaster, the copy of record furnished by her shows the marriage ceremony was performed by Henry Lancaster M.D. in the record which I looked at shows the [?] made by Henry Lancaster, but the, is said that it might be taken for [?] something else. There is no question that they were married and lived together as man and wife. The license and [?] refers to these parties.“I have examined the records of the officers of the tax collection for the city and county. (Jacksonville, Duval Co, Fla.) for the years 1894, 5 & 6 can find no property assessed to the claimant, and no property assessed to Rodwell Palmer or similar name I did find however that the lots nos. 73 & 74 block 11 in Oakland were assessed to unknown owner for the years 1895 & 6 at $400. these were the lots formerly owned by claimants father Rodwell Palmer, - lots where claimant now lives, it appears [?] rule to as- surround estate at one [?] of its actual cash value, making value of property $1200. [?] assessed against claimant in Nassau Co Fla.“While investigating widow claim at Fernandina Fla (Nassau Co) I learned claimant had at one time while a slave had Bethel Bellamy as husband, and had raised one or more children by him. She had told me nothing about her relation with Bellamy. That made necessary an additional statement from her which I took after reading to her all the testimony taken by me in Nassau Co. in her statement she claims never to have lived with Bellamy after his discharge from the service and in that I think that the evidence sustains her. In [?] there is evidence tending to show that Bellamy became insane while in service because this claimant had abandoned him Withstanding claimant statement she had not lived with Bellamy since his return from the service and the other evidence on that point I deemed it best to hold up the case and make an effort here to learn what parties here might know about her relations with Bellamy and whether or not Bellamy is dead and if so the date of his death. After the fullest inquiry among colored and white people who knew claimant and Bethel Bellamy I have been unable to find any evidence that they ever lived together after his discharge from service about 1864. I searched the court record of this city find is incomplete - a point I understand was disturbed by fire at one time, and there appears to me several periods between Jany 1876 and Jany 1892, when no record was made. The records do not show the death of Bethel Bellamy. Inquiring many of his neighbors in East Jacksonville Fla. where he died would fix the date of his death from six to twenty five years ago. The undertaker who buried him Mr. J. Ramsey Day has no record of the date of his burial, but fixes the time from memory as stated on his deposition, as from eight to ten years ago. The colored people who knew Bethel Bellamy have little idea of the passage of time and their recollections of such matters are of
November 6, 1916
Signed Diana [X] Hather (her mark)
Witness to mark- C. B. Stephens P.O. Address Jacksonville, Fla.
MARY C. FORESTER HANNAHAN, second wife of soldier and pension recipient.
The pension file of Henry Hannahan is in many ways unique. By the end of the war Hannahan had achieved the rank of Sergeant Major and throughout his lengthy experience with the Pension Bureau he explained how this rank made his war experience different from those of many of his comrades in the USCT. Hannahan was also literate and therefore able to write his own letters to the Pension Bureau. Hannahan was willing to use his literacy to help other former soldiers in the USCI. Letters written by him can be found in the pension application files of many of his former comrades living in the Fernandina area. Hannahan’s pension application file is noteworthy for information for free blacks and slaves before the war and their black life after emancipation.
Hannahan claimed disability from war service which induced rheumatism and that he suffered from bullet wound in his left thigh. The results of several medical examinations are contained in the file. White officers and surgeons from his regiment were questioned about Hannahan and his condition, and his service records were extensively and repeatedly searched at the War Department.
Hannahan’s first wife Nancie passed away in 1867. Three years later he married Mary C. Forester with whom he remained until his death. When Hannahan died in October 1910, Mary Hannahan submitted an application to receive a widow’s pension.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD OF HENRY HANNAHAN
Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Henry Hannahan, June 12, 1880: “…he occurred disability, the symptoms and location of which are hereafter described: Rheumatism all over [?], neck, & head being the worst, has often been in bed 3 months at a time. Also while at an Island opposite James Island near Charleston, in the State of South Carolina, on or about the Fourth day of July, 1864, he incurred a bullet wound in his left thigh. He still carries the bullet in his left thigh.
Letter, Henry Hannahan, April 12, 1881:“This is to certify that I cannot furnish medical evidence of my soundness at enlistment, because I had no family physician at that time, being in good health, and I have used every means in my power to find the examiner, surgeon and have failed 2nd I cannot give you medical evidence of the state of my health since my discharge, because my Doctor Ebenezer G. Clay, and C.W. Horsey, both of Fernandina Fla, are both dead, and I have been to poor since they died to employ anybody else, 3rd I cannot furnish an affidavit of the surgeon that treated me while in the service, Dr. J.M. Hawks, because he has forgotten the particulars of my case, as the letter that I sent you sometime since, that I received from him shows.”Examining Surgeon’s Certificate, A.J. Wakefield, September 21, 1881: “From exposure lying on the ground of Morris Is. S.C. and in N. Florida campaign of Feb 1864 contributes rheumatism in legs and arm which have troubled him ever since. The G.S.W. [gun shot wound] of left thigh is not to be rated. He was struck in head with butt of a gun which caused insensibility and left [trembling] of fingers [?] and sleeplessness at night.Disability rating from Rheumatism one quarter (1/4) and from injury to head one quarter (1/4) makes in all one half (1/2) entitling him to $4.00 per month.”Affidavit for Commissioned Officer or Comrade, Ben Redding, April 23, 1881: [Hannahan] “did contract rheumatism while standing to attention from seven o’clock at night until 9 o’clock next morning in a beating rain, the waters washing down the hill under his feet. He was treated by the Regimental Surgeon, and has been a sufferer from it ever since, and since he left the Army, has at times been confined to the bed months at a time, and was a helpless invalid three years, and is only able now to do little jobs, I was with him the night he contracted said rheumatism and know of this sickness.”Note in File, No Signature, No Date: “Friend Dudley, I have just received the accompanying papers through Judge Hillyer of Fla. Who says ‘the Claimant is a bright acceptation, to the general rule, of the colored race, Honest, Virtuous, industrious, and grateful. He is at present a great invalid and need help. If Uncle Sam can or intend to do any thing for him – the poor fellow – no[w] is the time do it’ I know nothing about the claimant but I do know that there is not money enough in Fla. to induce the Judge to make a false statement, if he is a some of mine….” (page two missing)Letter, from Henry Hannahan to Commissioner of Pension, July 21, 1882: “I inclose (sic) your letter of about two years ago, to which I have affixed the Number of Claim and Division assigned. I respectfully request information as to the status of my claim, for pension, bounty, and black pay. Since I was mustered out of the service I have never received but $84.00 in all. Hoping for an early reply I am very respectfully yours.”Pension Office Notice, Wm. W. Dudley, November 24, 1882: In every claim to Invalid Pension it is necessary that the following information should be furnished by the claimant, if it does not appear in his declaration.1. – He should state under oath the nature and locality of the wound or injury, or the name or nature of the disease for which pension is claimed.2. – He should state under oath when and where the alleged wound or injury was received, or the disease contracted, and the circumstances of the origin of each.3. – He should state under oath whether he has been in the military or naval service since ___, 18 .4. – He should state without oath the names or numbers and the localities of all hospitals…in which he was treated while in the service, giving, as nearly as possible, the dates of treatment in each. If he was not treated in the service he should state the fact.5. – His post office address…In the claim, No, 4, of Mr. Henry Hannahan, the information indicated by paragraph No, 4 has not been furnished and should be supplied. Please return this circular with your reply.”War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, M. Barke, January 12, 1883: “He is reported on Muster Rolls from orgin (sic), to Feby 29/64, present for duty (as Corpl); from Feby 29/64 to Aug 31/64, present, “Daily duty act’g sergt. Major” form Aug 31/64, to April 30/65, present for duty. On muster rolls of field and staff, same Reg’t from April 30/65, to Feby 28/66, present for duty, as Serg’t Major, “Appted & May 9th to take effect May 1/65.“He was mustered out of service with Field & Staff, April 26th, 1866, at Charleston, S.C. – as Henry Hennyham. Company morning reports, Cous. morning reports, Company & Regimental Descriptive Books, & Hospital Register not on file.“The records of this office furnish no evidence of alleged wound July 24, 1864, nor of disability Dec. 24/63.”Pension Office, February 6, 1883: It is desirable that the description of the disability should be, as far as practicable, in the handwriting of the surgeon, John M. Hawks, late surgeon of the 21st U.S.C.T. residence of New Smyrna, Fla.
Examining Surgeon’s Certificate, A.J. Wakefield, M.D., February 28, 1883: “he is 50 years of age, that he weights 130 pounds, and that he is 5 feet 7 inches in height. His pulse-rate per minute is 96, his respiration 32, and his temperature 99 ¼. The examination reveals the following facts. There was no wound of the left thigh from it, he said to have [stopped] between his left testicle and the inner surface of the thigh and has left no trace of the injury made at the time. There are no symptoms of rheumatism either in [?] or swelling of the joints except that of no great [?] of the left foot. The heart sounds as normal [?] the normal range.
“He was wounded by a bayonet in left hand which passed between it 3 and [?] metacarpal bones impairing the usefulness of his hand and show a large cicatrix…There are signs of great physical disability but see no absolute reason to know that it is in course of his army life.“Cannot rate the specified causes.”War Department, M. Barlow, June 2, 1883:“The muster roll of Co “A” 21st U.S. Colored Troops for Nov. and Dec. 1863 reports private Ben. Redding present “Daily duty Hopsital. Dept. cook” and private Washington Little present. The muster roll for July and August 1864 reports them present. Co. and Regt. records do no report them absent July 4th 1864.“The name Louis Spaulding or similar name is not shown on the rolls of that company. During December 1863 the company was stationed at Fernandina Fla. and on July 4th 1864 it was stationed at John’s Island S.C.”Letter, John M. Hawks to Commissioner of Pensions, June 11, 1883: “In the case of Henry Hannahan late Sergeant Major 21st U.S.C.T. who has applied for pension, I respectfully beg leave to say: That I have no doubt that his statements in reference to my treating him for rheumatism at Hilton Head and Morris Island are true; but owing the great number of similar cases, and the length of time that has lapsed since their occurrence, My recollection of the particulars is too indistinct to allow me to make an affidavit. “Hannahan was a brave and dutiful soldier, and I bespeak for him liberal treatment at the hands of the Government he offered his life to save.”November 10, 1883 The Commissioner of Pensions, Wm. W. Dudley sent Dr. Hawks a letter asking for additional information concerning Hannahan’s case. “Any information that you may be able to give, as to the merits of this claim, will be duly appreciated and considered confidential.” Letter, J.M. Hawks to Commissioner of Pensions, November 14, 1883: “…I have no records in my possession showing that I treated the claimant for any disability at any time or place. The diary which I kept in 1864, is now in Lynn [Mass?], I will immediately cause it to be searched; and if mention is made of the case I will inform you without delay. I have in my possession a private record of the deaths, and discharges on Surgeons Certificate, from the above named regiment. I have no recollection of treating the claimant at any time.”Original Invalid Pension, Henry Hannahan, January 15, 1884: “Rheumatism, rejected on the ground of no record of alleged disability, no medical evidence in the service or since and claimants declared inability to furnish any evidence.“Gunshot-wound, rejected on the ground that the claimant has not been disabled in a pensionable degree, by reason of alleged gunshot wound since date of discharge.”Letter, Wm. W. Dudley to Henry Hannahan, January 21, 1884: “Referring to your above entitled pension claim, you are informed that the claim on account of rheumatism was rejected Jany 15th ’84, on the grounds that there was at the War Department no record of the alleged disability and than you declared your inability to furnish medical evidence showing that you had rheumatism either in the service or since. The claim on account of gunshot wound of left thigh was rejected on the same ground that you have not been disabled in a pensionable degree by alleged wound since the date of discharge.”Letter, Henry Hannahan to Tanner, No Date Available: “Dear Sir Mr Tanner wit the most profound respect I Send you thes lines Bagin you inform me if thear is eney cha[?] of my attorney mr. Gorge Lemon haven a hearin in a Short time my cas have Ben pend For the perod of fore years and he rites me it all he has Ben wating for anser from Burau would you Be ples to give Sam instuction in regard to the mater Ever your humble Servant Henry Hannahan late Segt Major of 21st Regt USCT now commander of 15 PH Sheridan G.A.R.”Letter, Henry Hannahan to Commissioner of Pensions, February 5, 1884: “Dear Sir your, was receved in refence to the gun shot wound I didnt expet that to helpe the case I simoley menshoned it to the purson who made out my paper, For me I didnot expect for that alone to make my case clear Sir I have Been Subject to rumitism, ever Sence the erley part of Sixty-fore Wils on Morris Island I war not A sickley man Before that time of eney contagus deseases more than Chils and fever thear is [perjeny?] Head hae was me from my Burthe wich was that I was not Subject to eney Such dezeses Before I enlisted the Service I have not perfect use of my lims at all times I am not able to do much I am not Able to make a Seport for my fameley they in fact.”Physician’s Affidavit, W.H. Pope, June 6, 1887:“I have been engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery for a period of Thirty two years, and have personally known the claimant above named for the period of ten years. From personal examination of aforesaid Henry Hannahan I find that he received the following injuries a gun shot wound of left thigh and bayonet wound of right hand I believe that there has been an impairment of health in consequence of the aforesaid wounds which disables him from doing manual labor to the extent of one half, and that he is justly entitled to a pensioner.”Physician’s Affidavit, J.L. Horsey, June 6, 1889:“I have been engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery for a period of three years, and have personally known the Claimant…ten years. From a personal examination of aforesaid Henry Hannahan I find that he received the following injuries a gun shot wound of left thigh and bayonet wound of right hand. I believe that there has been an impairment of health in consequence of the aforesaid wounds. Which disables him from doing manual labor to the extent of one half and that he is justly entitled to a pension.”Letter, Henry Hannahan to Unknown, April 9, 1889:“Dear Sir I now Send you a few lines informing you that I have receved the Book and paper, wich eforded me much Pleuser in deed it has Ben my whishes to precibe for it Before this But I have been much [?] onacount of the fever hear this Seyson also a very Sick mother and taxes ar Staring me every day in my Fase I am much [?] I Will Send my money just as Sune as I can get it and Will get all I can to dae the Same I can And I Will Send you a ful [Stampy?] as Sun I also I haven’t Sen Moses, rabbyan a, yet to inform him of This matter as yet I am in hopes of Hearing Glariey muse from you in a few Day, I hope the most Will not meet ontell the last Wenyday in this month and I will try to have every member prescribe for Paper and Book if I can I Will not fail to myself as Sune as I can get money in Hand it is very hard and dull hear with my this Sesen I will close happen to hear From you Sun your humble Servent Henry Hannahan”Letter, Henry Hannahan to Commissioner of Pensions, August 31, 1889: “Dear Sir you, received I hope to Hear from you Sune as I am in great distress the lim is [?] on Wenyday and my family will Be out dors all dae all you can for me I am much wared I hope you will have a hearin By the time this line reaches you and let me hear from you ever your Humble Servant- Henry Hannahan”Letter, Henry Hannahan to Unknown, October 13, 1889:“Dear Sir Wit plesure I Send you thes lines to aske of you if thear eney hopes of my claim comin to hand or has Ben dropt it Seme as it is doubtful and discuriges after So longer time it has pending thear in fore of my comred what has put in thear claim Since what have received thear, this is th Second tim min has Ben filed and it is discurigen every has have put in Sence has Beter hopes then Hannahan I am in deep distress Expecting to luse my home at eney moment ples let me hear from you if I could onley no if the prospect war Brite on my Side I might made Som arrangement Sae I could Secure my place But canot Witdout Suritey I haven’t Ben able to doe much of enything like for Som time to ern enething or I would of Send you Som [Stampy?] as I would like to ples anyer Sun your Humble Servent Henry Hannahan”
In 1890 Hannahan underwent another examination by the Medical Examiners of the Pension Bureau. This examination led to a two-dollar increase of his monthly pension, raising it to four dollars a month.
Medical Examination, A.J. Wakefield, M.D., Greg Hutching, M.D., April 2, 1890: “Pulse rate, 100; respiration, 22; temperature, 985; height, 5 feet 10 inches; weight, 122 pounds; age, 57 years. No scar or apparent injury on the skin of thigh where he claims to have been injured. The only joints invaded are the 1st & 2nd distal joints of the 5th finger of the right hand, The finger is fixed about 1/8. The joints are no enlarged and there is no loss of motion except in the extension as mentioned. All other joints muscles & tendons are in a normal condition. Heart sounds normal but rapid and weak, body poorly nourished. No other disability found. He is in our opinion, entitled to a 2/18 rating for disability caused by rheumatism.”Declaration for Original Invalid Pension, Henry Hannahan, July 14, 1890: “That he is now suffering from Rheumatism and Neuralgia of Head and Eyes, and that he is unable to do manual labor and only to work at time at such light jobs as will not require much effort.”Invalid Pension, Henry Hannahan, September 11, 1891:“Approved for Admission. Randaley, Legal Reviewer.Approved for rheumatism $6, no other disability show in a ratable degree. D.M.M. Phusm, Legal Referee.Approved for continuous at $6 for all disability shows viz general disability and impaired vision. P.E.W. Nov. 29 93.”Medical Examination, A.J. Wakefield, M.D., Greg Hutching, M.D., July 15, 1891: “Pulse rate, 96; respiration, 20; temperature, 985; height, 5 feet 10 inches; weight, 127 pounds; age, 58 years. We find some stiffness & slight enlargement of the right knee joint with ½ loss of motion, the right knee measures 13 ½ inches the left 13 inches. The 5th finger also of the right hand is partially flexed and permanently is – the joints are not enlarged but there is some deformity and he is unable to extend the finger. These are the only joints invaded – all other joints; muscles & tendons are normal at their time. Heart sounds are normal but its action is rapid & impulse feeble…He is, in our opinion, entitled to a 4/18 rating for the disability cause by rheumatism, 4/18 for that caused by defective sight, and nil for that caused by neuralgia.”Medical Exam, A.J. Wakefield, M.D., Claude Joyner, M.D., and Geo [?], M.D. April 5, 1893: “Pulse rate, 88; respiration 20; temperature 985; height, 5, feet 10 inches; weight, 127 pounds; age, 60 years. Rheumatism the 5th finger of right hand is flexed and permanently so & cannot be extended all other fingers are normal the right knee joint is stiff & enlarged & tender right knee measures 13 ½ left 13 inches with ¼ loss of power & motor of knee joint all other joints muscles tendons normal heart sounds normal but rapid. For which we rate four eighteenth. “Neuralgia: we find no neuralgia or evidence of same rate nil.“Impaired vision: there is none, but slight cloudiness of crystallum has both eyes. Can read Jargens plate 5 no 11 at 28 inches & no further he is quite feeble & the body is poorly nourished for which we rate four eighteenths.“He is in our opinion, entitled to a 4/18 rating for the disability caused by Rheumatism, nil for that caused by neuralgia, and 4/18 for that caused by impaired vision.”Deposition A, Henry Hannahan, March 23, 1895: “I am sixty two years old was born in 1833. I a little white washing help my wife and do odd jobs. My residence and post office address both Fernandina, Nassau Co Fla. I enlisted June 13th, 1863 and mustered May 12th, 1866 at Morris Island as a private in Co A 21st U.S. Col Vol Inf and was Sergt Major of same 21st U.S. Col Vol Inf that was the only military service I had. I was never in the navy.“I claim pension for rheumatism and neuralgia of the head and bayonet wound of right hand originates in the service. I do not mention the gun shot wound left thigh as it was a flesh wound. For the fore years preceding my enlistment I was a waiter…I had no illness during the fore years preceding my enlistment except chills and fever. When enlisted I was [?] at Hilton Head and examined by five doctors I don’t remember the names of any of them but one man was present was Surgeon of the 8th Maine Regt. He was lighthaired and had a beard light moustache he was a tall slender man. No privates were present in the room or they came in only one by one at a time.“I contracted Rheumatism in the service at Battery Shaw, Morris Island, S.C. and while on duty Christmas Eve (Dec 24) 1864. We expected an attach and had to stand at attention all night. Being a Sergeant Major I had no mess mates or lunch mates, I had quarters by myself. I contracted neuralgia of head at same time as I took rheumatism from exposure and taking cold. Early in 1866 don’t know exact date while on battalion drill at Mt. Pleasant S.C. at the order to take arms from stacks while I was walking half the company from one of the privates carelessly grabbed the gun the bayonet which struck me on back right hand. Bayonet did not go through I could never find out the exact man who did it but they were punished they belonged to Co C 21st U.S. Vol. Inf. one mans name Dennis Brown the first name of others was Scipio and George. I was not treated before our shot round but was treated by Surgeon Nathan Roberts for bayonet wound and Doctors JM Hawks treated me for fever and rheumatism. I was only confined for a hey day to my tent did not go to the hospital. Louis Shandling and Joseph Williams my comrades in our regiment and who live in….”Deposition D, William [Josie] Josey, March 25, 1895: “I am about 80 years old. I am pretty feeble…I am pensioned under the old law…I enlisted with same Co A 21st Regt U.S. Col. Vol. Inf. an on the same day that claimant William Hannahan did don’t know…the exact date…May 1866. I knew the claimant Henry Hannahan who is now present many years before the war I remember when he used to run on the Steamer Carolina from here Fernandina to Charleston about three or four years before the war when Buchanan was President. I also saw him frequently before that in Fernandina as was native and resident here I know him to be a fine, healthy young man before the war and was sound the day he enlisted with me in 1863. I enlisted as a private but was afterwards two years later I was exempted from duty because of loss of eyesight an was made [blind?]…I remember hearing claimant complaining on convoy infirm duty on winter night which was freezing that he thought he would besick that he was stiff in his limbs. I remember in answer to claimants suggestion that he has laid up in his tent…said then that his arms and legs pained him, I said this to him “get out boy you think you are as old as I am” I don’t know whether claimant ever went to the hospital. Being a Sergeant Major I did not see much him in his tent…”Deposition C, Louis Shanlding, March 25, 1895: “I am fifty five years old…I am a pensioner under the new law for disease of eyes. I enlisted after I cam out of the navy on Aug 8th 1864, and was shuffled around to different regiments before I was settled in Co H 21 U.S.C. Vol. Inf. I met claimant about two years before the war I then a slave but he was a freeman he was then running a boat from here to Savannah in 1864…I did see him as Sergeant Major of our regiment he looked sound and healthy he did not limp or show signs of weakness.“On Christmas eve night 1864 at Battery Shaw in South Carolina we were in line all night as we expected and [?] It was cold and rainy all night I saw claimant on [?] limping and asked him what [?] him, he said he was stiff and though he would have the rheumatism for last nights exposure. He was laid up almost three or four days afterwards…I don’t know whether he ever went to the hospital don’t think he was ever cured since then because he has used a stick constantly since the war…”Deposition B, Joseph Williams, March 25, 1895: “I am in my fifty seventh year…I am an applicant for a pension under the old law. I enlisted about five months after claimant don’t remember the month or year in Co I 21 U.S.C. Vol. Inf….I was mustered out with regiment on Morris Island in 1866 as a third sergeant. I first met claimant in the service when I enlisted did not know him before but then he seemed pretty spry and healthy. At the suggestion of the claimant I recall the incident…Christmas eve night we were on duty at Battery Shaw and the events of the following day [?] was when Col. N.G. Bennet came into the company [?] and congratulated the men on their behavior the preceding night and ordered them to be given a gill of whisky each. The night [?] was cold and stormy and water covered the ground and claimant was on duty all night so was I. I heard of [?] that an engagement was expected a few days afterward I witnessed the claimant limping he complained of a stiff knee, I knew that Segt. McQueen had to take the claimants place as the latter was laid up complaining with that stiff knee…We were mustered out same day…I came to Jacksonville by way of Savannah and I came here to Fernandina about nine years ago but I saw the claimant in Jacksonville about sixteen years ago. He told me he was employed as a steward on the Steamer [?] running from Savannah to Jacksonville. He seemed to me spry then. When I came to Fernandina about nine years ago…claimant…complained then that his rheumatism was painful and he has been complaining ever since…five years I knew him to be laid up with rheumatism…”Deposition F, Samuel Petty, March 26, 1895: “I am about fifty four years old…I have known the claimant for over forty years. I am a second cousin of Henry Hannahan but I am not interested in his claim. I first saw the claimant in Jacksonville where I was then living I think he was then steamboating he was then a healthy man. I then knew the claimant constantly since 1855 to present time by seeing him frequently by. I saw him about a year after I saw while he was in the service. I had been discharged from the Navy I think it was in 1863 on ninth of December I should have said that I saw him some time before he enlisted but I don’t know exactly when he did enlist. His condition was the same when I saw him the first time as when I saw him the second time no change within him. I enlisted in 1862 [?] N. in the Gunboat Pembina and then on the Oleander and was discharged I think in April 1864 from the Oleander. I cant tell when I first saw the claimant after the war but I saw him with a year after Lee surrendered I was blind then for about five months and claimant came to see me. I think it was in 1867 or 1868 he the first year of Reconstruction of this State when I dabbled in [politics] that I have any recollection of claimant complaining of being crippled but I don’t know the cause but I know that he could not get around to work…”Deposition E, Roy S. Delaney, March 26, 1895: “I am forty nine years old…I know claimant since 1859 or 1860 we were both steamboating I was on the St Marys a Steamer running between running between Savannah an Palatka and claimant was working on the Carolina running between Charleston and Palatka. Claimant was then a vigorous spry man he did not limp or show any signs of rheumatism. I saw claimant when he was mustered out and came home to Fernandina Florida I think it was in the winter of 1865 then he was crippled as shown by his walk because he then used a stick. He has been troubled since then nearly all the time with rheumatism…I was not an enlisted man but served as a waiter on General Littelfield of 3rd Brigade Colored Troops…”Deposition G, Thomas Hubbard, March 28, 1895: “I am fifty two years old was a blacksmith by trade but now a general laborer, not a pensioner but was dropped as disability ceased…I served in Co H 33 U.S.C.Troops. I knew the claimant Henry Hannahan who is now present seven or 8 years before the war and I identify him as the soldier of the 21st Reg. Colored Troops. He was Sergt. Major of the 21 Regiment. I first saw soldier after his enlistment in latter part of 1863. I knew him to be a healthy man then at Hilton Head after that time I first saw him I used to visit him sometimes he was laid up excused form duty but I don’t know what ailed him. I saw the claimant two months two months after we discharged (which was on January 31st 1866)…I think claimant has worked about one third (1/3) of his time since the war some of the time he was not able to work at all…”To Commissioner of Pensions James P. Lain Special Examiner, March 30, 1895: “I have the honor to return all the papers in the case Crt. 663080 Henry Hannahan with my report thereon. Claimant is now pensioned at $6 for rheumatism under the law of June 27th, 1890 he claims that it originated in the service but as no medical record was found and as several of the witnesses testify by X marks the case was not sent here for special investigation. The claimant is regarded here as a reputable colored man and can write he was explained his rights as to further examination but waives notice. The former surgeon does not remember treating claimant but is inclined to believe his statement that he did and the letter to Hon. Commissioner of Pensions dated June 11th, 1883. Brief Jacket Page 17 he speaks favorably of the claimant. Many of the former witnesses are now dead among them Doctors J.L. Horsey and W.H. [?] Ben Reding, Stephen Haddock, and Levi Young. Wash Little had testified about gunshot wound of thigh but as the claimant says that is merely a flesh wound and has dropped that disability from his claim I did not [know] of Washington Little as he did not testify about anything on which much cumulative testimony was offered. All of the interviewees were colored and of average standing as to truth and
Later the same year testimony concerning Hannahan’s health was once again collected. Affidavit to Origin of Disability, Henry Johnson, September 14, 1897: “…I find the claimant had contracted rheumatism in the right hip, and was at the date above mention suffering with neuralgia in the head, the applicant, complains of severe pains in right hip, so severe that the plaintiff are at times badly crippled. I has been called upon on several occasion at night to go out and gather Herbs in the woods and make Bandage and place to his head to alleviate his pains and suffering of the neuralgia, pains in the eyes that cause the failure of eye sight, is the result of neuralgia, applicant is less than 2/3 of an able bodied man, for manual labor…”
Affidavit to Origin of Disability, Augustus Johnson, September 14, 1897: “My first acquaintance with claimant was at Hilton Head, SC the claimant was then complaining of suffering severe pains in his right hip has developed into rheumatism of right hip. Also at the same time claimant was suffering with neuralgia in the head, the neuralgia continues so severe that the frequent pains bodily impair sight of each eyes. I am and had been continually acquainted with claimant from 1863 to the present 1897. Claimant is less than 2/3 of an abled bodied man, and is not able for the performance of manual labor.”Questionnaire, Henry Hannahan, May 3, 1898:First. Are you married? If so state your wife’s full name and her maiden name.Answer. Yes, Sir I was married furst in 1861.Second. When, where, and by whom were you married?Answer. 1st Miss Nancey Gail wee were maried by a Methodist minster do not remember a stranger.Third. What record of marriage exists?Answer. She dide in Sixty Seven.Fourth. Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.Answer. Yes, Sir to Mary Calrine Forrester [unreadable line]Fifth. Have you any children living? If so, please, state their names and dates of their birth.Answer. On daughter By furst wife onley non liven Second Wife children, My furst wife child war February 4 1862 Ella Eugure.Affidavit for Commissioned Officer or Comrade, Louis Spalding, November 23, 1899: “That while we were on duty on that Christmas eve night of 1864 a very heavy rain poured down on us all and it was very cold and dreary and that the said Henry Hannahan was with us and on that night he could have taken the Rheumatism for exposure and of which I judge he contracted Rheumatism therefrom and I also notice that he is partially paralyze in his muscles and is very nervous at time and I am sure he is unable to earn a support for his family on account of such disabilities.Increase Invalid Pension, Henry Hannahan, August 5, 1904:“Rate $12.00 per month, commencing August 5, 1904.Approved for total inability to earn a support by manual labor.Age 70 years.Rate $12 per month.Nov 16, 1904 WH DenisonNov 19, 1904 Geo [Puneyer?]Brief for Reopening, Henry Hannahan, June 26, 1906:“Evidence indicated below filed since above rejection, is not deemed sufficient to warrant reopening of claim for that reason that affiants Williams and Spalding had formerly testified in claim and present no new or material facts. The testimony of the other affiants is of the same character or that furnished prior to rejection of claim and cant be accepted to establish origin in service of disabilities alleged.”Letter, To Milo B. Stevens, and Co. From Henry Hannahan, October 7, 1907: “Dear Sir I write you this letter it inform you that I received a letter from you stating that I was to recive a new notice but I have not recived it yet will I get it by the 4 of nest month if so please let me no at once. I have not been able to get any more claims as yet. Please let me no about the in [case?] of the patent.”November 5, 1907: “Dear Sir I canot rite on account of my perilas [paralysis] I am in hope and can get enough to Finish paying for my Lot as I am much oppress at payment plean. Do all you can for me in FCG. Hannahan.”Reissue, Act of February 6, 1907, Henry Hannahan, November 18, 1907: “Approval. Submitted for Adm, Nov 18, 1907, Chat Hanback, Examiner. Approved for Admission. Age over 70-Rate $15, per month.Reissue to allow under Act February 6, 1907.”
March 16, 1910 submitted a letter to the Pension Bureau stating that he was now completely unable to do any manual labor. He requested another increase, which he believed he was eligible for because he was over 75 years old. By 1910 Hannahan was receiving a pension of twenty dollars per month.
Bureau Certificate, Henry Hannahan, March 16, 1910:“It is hereby certified…is entitled to a pension at the rate of Twenty dollars per month to commence on the Sixteenth day of March one thousand nine hundred and ten.”
Widow’s Pension Application
Declaration for Widow’s Pension, Mary Hannahan, January 12, 1911: “That she was married under the name of Mary C. Forester to said Henry Hannahan on the 2 day of October 1870, by Samuel Boyd, at Fernandina, Fla here being no legal barrier to such marriage; that she had not been previously married that he had been previously married under the slave law to Nancie in year 1860 and she died in 1867.”Drop Order and Report, J.L. Davenport, February 09, 1911: “the above described pensioner who died Oct. 1”, 1910…who was last paid at $20.00 per month to 4 Aug, 1910…”General Affidavit, R.M. Henderson, March 28, 1911: “That he is an undertaker and has been for 39 years and he was the undertaker in the burial of Henry Hannahan and kept a record of the same which is as follows (Henry Hannahan, Native of Camp Hope, Duval County, Fla. Died Oct 1st 1910 of Bronchitis, age 77 years 8 months & 23 days. Dr. Galphin, Physician.”)General Affidavit, Dolly Rogers, March 28, 1911: “That she has been acquainted with the claimant Mary ever since she was a little girl long before she was of marriageable age and knew that she was never married to any one until she got married to Henry Hannahan I was not present at their marriage but having know her when a girl and also known him and living in the same community and surrounding they live in it was possible if any previous marriage had taken place I have know it or heard of it…and that she has not remarried since the death of her said husband Henry Hannahan and that she has not remarried since the death of her said husband I am her close neighbor and see her every day and know that Henry her husband is dead I was present when he died and attending is funeral he died Oct. 1, 1910.”General Affidavit, Laura Bonand, March 28, 1911: “That she is well acquainted with Nancy Hannahan the former wife of Henry Hannahan having known her some years before her death and that they were close friends and visited each other often I know that she (Nancy is dead though I was not present when she died or at the funeral because of these facts I was sick in bed with the fever and Nancy visited me often then and I always thought she caught the fever from me that caused her death Nancy died about October 1867 in Fernandina Fla.”General Affidavit, Mary C. Hannahan, March 28, 1911: “That she cannot furnish no record of the death of Nancy Hannahan her husbands first wife from the undertaker or a physician because in year of 1867 we had no undertaker. Coffins then were only made by hand by carpenters and they kept no record and all of the old Physicians who practice then are dead now and no church record of her funeral was kept then I have endeavored to furnish all this but was and am unable to find any record hence I had to resort to testimony.”General Affidavit, Emma F. Stewart, March 28, 1911: “Says that she is well acquainted with Mary C. Hannahan having met her about in year 1860 she was a small girl then in Jacksonville, Fla and was not married to any one before she married Henry Hannahan. My acquaintance with her and seeing her often was as such that if she was ever married before I would have know it I also know that after they were married that they lived together as man and wife until her husband died recently and that she has not remarried since his death. I also know that his former wife is dead (Nancy Hannahan) she died in year of 1867 about Oct as near as I can remember I was present at the funeral and burial and at here side when the breath left her body, she died in Fernandina Fla”General Affidavit, Della Johnson, April 8, 1911: “That she is well acquainted with Henry Hannahan deceased. Have known him from boyhood and seem him often after our acquaintance I first met him in Jacksonville, Fla. also in St. Augustine Fla. afterward and then in Fernandina, Fla. the latter place he remarried in up to time of his death and I do know that he was only married twice 1st to a girl by of Nancey and she died after which he married to Mary C. the present widow, and I do know that Mary C. and Henry Hannahan live together as man and wife up to the time of his death and were never divorced because if such had happened I would know or have heard of it.”General Affidavit, Stephen Wright [of Co. A 21st regiment], April 8, 1911: “He has been acquainted with Henry Hannahan all of his life time or from the time he could remember things having first met him in Jacksonville Fla and saw him often and on in place, to place up to the time of our enlistment in the service of U.S. and I do know that he was never married but twice that is first to Nancy and second to Mary…lived together as man and wife up to the time of his death and were never divorced and if such was to the contrary or opposite I would have known of it or heard of it.”
Widow’s Pension, Mary C. Hannahan, April 26, 1911: “Approved for admission under Act of April 19, 1908. April 27, 1911, F. Wood, Reviewer. The soldier was pensioned at $20 per month…”
Co. A. 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: CHARLOTTE LANGLEY
Edward F. Langley was born in St. Augustine and lived there until enlisting in the USCI in June 1863 at Fernandina, Florida. He served until April 25, 1866, when he was honorably discharged at Charleston, South Carolina. After the war Langley settled in Fernandina, Florida, and married Charlotte Cooper on February 10, 1878. Five children were born to Charlotte and Edward, two died young, and three daughters survived the soldier’s death. One of the three daughters, the widow claimed, was “an afflicted invalid for life.”
The soldier died July 13, 1902, after becoming overheated while roofing, and falling off the roof to his death. After muster out, however, he had repeatedly complained of lung disease, probably asthma, caused by assigned duties during the war.
During the investigation following the widow’s application for pension, the examiner focused on the alleged link between the soldier’s lung disease and military duty, on the small properties owned by the widow, and on the veracity of the entries of the children’s ages in the family Bible.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Edward F. Langley, pensioned at $8 per month, commencing August 8, 1902, and $2 additional for each child, as follows: Ernestine Langley: Born, October 12, 189_; Age 16, October 11 190_; Commencing August 8, 1902
Recognized Attorney: Nathan Bickford, Fee $10.00.
Submitted for admission, April 6, 1908, J.C. Brelsford, Examiner.
Approved for rejection on the ground of no title under Act June 27, 1890, as claimant is in possession of property which [earns] annual income in excess of $250.00. April 8, 1908.
Soldier was pensioned at $6.00 per month for disease of respiratory organs.
Enlisted June 13, 1863; Honorably disch’d April 25, 1866; Died July 13, 1902; Declaration filed August 8, 1902
Marriage: Feb. 10, 1878
Application for Widow’s Pension
Claimant’s Affidavit: State of Florida, County of Nassau: personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for aforesaid County and State, Charlotte E. Langley, age 57 years, whose Post-Office address is Fernandina Fla. well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows: “That she is the widow of Edward F. Langley deceased, and that she has three children all girls one a minor name Ernestine born October 12th A.D. 1892. And that my family Bible record is good and reliable, showing the date of birth of all the family. She has filed or caused to be filed with the Commissioner of Pension a Certified Transcript from Tax Assessor of Nassau County whom is the Custodian of all taxable property in the county. She does not own any other property in county or state other than that certified to by the tax assessor and is on file in the pension department at Washington.
. . .
“That she was married under the name of Charlotte Cooper to said soldier at Fernandina on the 10 day of February, 1878. By Rev. J.G. Howard; that there was no legal barrier to this marriage; that she had not been previously married that the soldier had not been previously married.
“That the said soldier died July 13, 1902, at Fernandina Fla. that she was not divorced from him; that she has not remarried since his death; and that she is without other means of support than her daily labor and an actual net income not exceeding $250 per year.
“That the soldier left the following-named children who are now living and under sixteen years of age, to wit:
Irene Langley, born Aug. 26, 1879 at Fernandina
Mary Langley, born Jan. 26, 1882 at Fernandina
Earnestean Langley, born Oct. 12, 1890 at Fernandina
Charlotte X Langley (Her Mark)
General Affidavit: On this 25th day of July A.D. 1904, personally appeared before me, a Clerk of the County Judge’s Court in and for the aforesaid County and State, duly authorized to administer oaths Charlotte E. Langley, “[saith]….That she is the widow of Ed. F. Langley deceased who was born in St. Augustine Florida in 1834 and died in Fernandina, Florida, who was a soldier during the Civil war in company A 21 rgt U.S.C. Infantry. That long before the time of his demise, he [suffered] from lung disease.
. . .
“That she is a widow with three children to support, one child a minor under the age of 16 years. One child is an afflicted invalid for life. All three of her children are girls. She has less than two hundred dollars income per annum or for the support of herself and three children.”
General Affidavit: M.J. Taylor aged 50 years, whose Post-Office address is Fernandina Fla. and Alexander Verdier aged 29 years, whose Post-Office address is Fernandina Fla., [saith]: “that the said Charlotte E. Langley has two pieces of property in the City of Fernandina, lot 10 in Block 25, which is occupied by herself and children as a homestead, and Lot 31, in Block 14 which is rented for $18.00 per month, and the only other personal property owned by Charlotte E. Langley consists of household goods, and that the Said Charlotte E. Langley has three children all girls. Ernestine [is] the minor child Born Oct 12th 1892. The only other means of support of Charlotte Langley is the assistance of her children.”
General Affidavit…by Charlotte Langley, aged 57 years “…[saith] that she has this 15 day of Dec 1906 presented and shown to me in person her family Bible where all the family births deaths and etc. are kept, the said bible bears the date of make 1866 and issue by the New York America Bible Society the birth of Ernestine Langley was Oct. 12, 1892. J. H. Stays, Notary Public, Fernandina, Fl.”
Claimants Affidavit: M.J. Taylor and Alex Verdier, aged 53 & 30 respectively, declare in relation to the aforesaid case “that the Claimant Charlotte E. Langley is personally known to us. And we are also familiar with propertys owned by her in this city. Viz. Lot 10 Block 25 is occupied by herself and family as a residence. Lot 31 in Block 14 is rented by her at $18 per month of which she has to pay taxes amounting to lat year state and county taxes $16.60 land City Taxes $36.75 in the past year the city compelled her to lay a cement sidewalk in front of last named property. Costing $60.00 and for other repairs she spent to the best of our knowledge and believes $35.00 there is another piece of property in this city namely Lot 1 in Block 47 owned by her Daughter but it is not now nor ever was owned by the Claimant Charlotte E. Langley or Edward Langley her Husband, as will be showed by County record. Fernandina, Fla. March 21st, 1908.
I, S.W. Manucy, Tax Assessor for Nassau county, Fla, hereby certify that Lot 10, Block 25, City of Fernandina, was assessed at valuations named below for the following years, [1902-1908 at $425 each year].”
I, Edwin R. Williams, Clerk of the Circuit Court, in and for said County and the custodian of the Public Records, do hereby certify that the records of said County do not show any title to Lot 1 Block 47 in the City of Fernandina in the names of either Edward F. Langley or Charlotte Landley bukt does show that on April 15, 1898, a deed was issued by Annie E. Robert and Husband to Earnestine V. Langley for the above named lot, which said deed is recorded in Book A2,” page 504, of the Public Records of said County on August A.D. 1908.
Deposition C. Case of Charlotte E. Langley, No 768.431. October 7, 1908. Fernandina. Deponent: Ernestine Victorine Langley. “I am the youngest child of Charlotte E. and Edward F. Langley. My post office address is, Fernandina, Fla. I have always [believed] my birthday was Nov 12, born in 1892. I am sixteen. I will be 17 years of age in November. My name and date of birth in the Bible is Papa’s handwriting. I remember the date of my fathers death. It was the 13 of July 1902.”
Deposition B. October 7, 1908. Fernandina. Deponent: Charlotte E. Langley. “My post office address is Fernandina, Nassau Co, Fla. I do not know my age. I am pretty agreeable and have the rheumatism. I work for my living. I was born and raised in Savannah, Ga. I was born in time of the war. My name was Charlotte Cooper. My mothers name was Cooper. I never had but one husband in my life. His name was Edward F. Langley. I was married to him right here in Fernandina. We were married by Father Howell Paster of the M.E. Church. Father Howell is dead. (Marriage certificate procured, reads “Edward F. Langley & Charlotte Cooper February 10, 1878.” was [married] “by Rev. J.G. Howard”). I knew Edward two or three years before I married him. He never was married until he married me, I am his first wife he ever had. He had been a soldier and was getting a pension before he died. He died the 13th of July 1902. He was [suffered a stoke?] and fell off the house and he did not live but four days. He had the asthma before that and I tried to get him not to go on the house. I had five children by him. There are three living and two died. The three living are named, Rena Langley, Mary Etta Langley and Ernestine Victorine Langley. Ernestine is the baby one and is the only one under sixteen years of age when her father died. The only way I can tell her date of birth is by my bible record. (Record procured, reads, “Ernestine Langley Born October 12 year 1892.”) (The Bible was published in 1866 and contains a number of [words] written with le[a]d pencil and some with pen and ink and in different handwriting. The last entry is Ernestine Langley recorded in ink and in handwriting.) I cannot write I cannot read writing. My Pa put down the name of Ernestine and date of birth. The other names and date were put down in the book by my husband.”
Question: The names and dates of the different sisters are in different handwritings. How do you explain that?
Answer: “I don’t know I can’t tell anything about that.”
Question: In your declaration for a pension you gave the date of birth of Ernestine as in 1890. Your husband, in reply to a communication from the Pension Bureau gave the date as 1890. How do you explain the discrepancies between your first statement and your subsequent statement that Ernestine was born in 1892?
Answer: “They make a mistake, the book don’t say so. I don’t know how it came that my husband got that date, I don’t know anything to go by but my bible. When I married Edward he had that same Bible, his mother had it, he said. There ain’t any church record. I do not know of any way to pin down the date of her birth only by the Bible.
“(The Bible record continues the name, 1st “ M.A. Langley 1884 Born Jan’y 26.” “E.F. Langley, Born August 26, 1892” Then a number of [?], [?] names and names of parties which claimant says do no belong to her family; that she does not know them; that they are names of friend he (husband) put down; that she does not know anything about them, J.A. Davis, Examiner.)
Witnesses: Ernestine Victorine Langley, Rena Langley.”
Report by J.A. Davis, Special Examiner, October 10, 1908: “…. The claimant is infirm from rheumatism and has the appearance of being quite old. She is very ignorant, but regarded as a good woman. The child Ernestine is an intelligent girl and does not look to be any older than the age she gives in her deposition. As stated in the body of claimants deposition the Bible in which the record appears was published in 1866. The name Ernestine Langley is the last in the record and the ink is much fresher in appearance than any other entry. If the names first entered, M.A. Langley, E.F. Langley and R.E. Langley are in the handwriting of the soldier, the name Ernestine Langley and date was written for him. I believe the date 1892 is the probable correct year of her birth. I submit this report for consideration of the “Chief of Southern Division.”
Deposition B. November 4, 1908. Deponent: Charlotte E. Langley: “My post-office address is Fernandina, Fl (5th St.). I do not know my age rightly, I am pretty old. I have not got any record of my age, it got lost. I was born in time of the war at Savannah, Ga. I was Charlotte Cooper until I married Edward F. Langley. I never was married before and I ain’t married since he died. I was married to Edward Langley here in Fernandina by Preacher Howard. I have our marriage license and it shows we were married February 10, 1878. My husband died July 13th 1902, he got overheated and fell off a house that he was shingling. He was drawing a pension and I have affidavit for the widows pension. Edward never was married until he married me. I knew him a number of years before I married him. I never lived with him, I never lived with a man in my life before I married him. I had five children by Edward Langley, three are living and two are dead, a boy and a girl. Rena Edna was my first child, than Mary Ella Georgia Langley, then the two that are dead, one named Marietta and the boy named Philip Eugene Langley then my last child, Ernestine Victorine Langley, that make the five. I do not know the dates of birth of any of my children only what the Bible shows. Pa put it down there, I tries to keep that Bible straight, he put them all there himself. I know how old Ernestine is, yes sir, I know how old she is. Her birthday will be next week Thursday, then she will be seventeen sure.”
Question: The Bible record gives the date of her birth as October 12, 1892. That would make her birthday last month and her age 16, instead of 17. How do you explain that?
Answer: “Well if the Bible states that, then correct it, I put the Bible right before you, I might make the mistake, I give it you the best I know. I don’t know, they said they were not going to give the child nothing and I did not bother with that, the Bible is all I can tell about her age.”
Question: Your husband made a statement to the Pension Bureau relating to the children and in that statement he gives that name Irene. Who is Irene?
Answer: “He did not give the full name, he meant Rena.”
Question: He gave the date of birth of Irene in Aug 26, 1879. Your Bible record gives the date of birth of Rena as Aug 26, 1882. How do you explain that difference?
Answer: “He must have made a mistake, because there is the Bible. I never had a child named Irene.”
Question: Your husband gave the date of birth of Marrietta as ? . It is evident that the dates have been changed in your Bible, Jany 26, 1882. Your Bible record is, Jany 26, 1884. Can you explain that difference?
Answer: I can’t tell only he made a mistake. the last figure in the year date has been erased in the date of birth of M.A. and R.E. (Marrietta and Rena) and another figure substituted.
Question: Have you any knowledge of that change?
Answer: “I don’t know nothing about it. The Bible has been out of my hands. It has been up to the Lodges. I did not have physician with me in attendance when any of my children were born. Emily Hunter was midwife at the birth of all my children. She is a very old colored lady. I do not know what has become of her. They always said the government didn’t pension no children and I didn’t bother with the ages. I do not know of any other record and I do not know any way of giving the dates of birth only from the Bible.”
Deposition G. November 5, 1908. Deponent: Moses J. Taylor. “I am 54 years of age. I am an Individual Insurance Agent. My post office address is, Fernandina, Fla. (416 So. 7 St.). I have known the claimant, Charlotte E. Langley for twenty five years. I knew her husband before I knew her. I became acquainted with Edward F. Langley in 1874 and knew him from that time until his death. I think it was July, I am quite sure it was July 1902, when he died. I attended his funeral, but I have forgotten the exact date. From the time I got acquainted with Charlotte I have known her as Edward F. Langley’s wife. I do not know of his having any other wife and I know he and Charlotte lived together until his death. I know that she has not remarried since his death. I know all the children living when I see them and particularly Ernestine, she is the youngest one and the most active one. I do not know the date of her birth. I made an affidavit in this claim and the date I gave is that taken from their family Bible. I have examined the family Bible shown to me and in particular the record of Ernestine’s birth was written then in ink there when I testified and the pencil date at the top of the page has evidently been changed since I made my affidavit. All I know about the date of Ernestine birth is what I took from the Bible and I am sure the date I testified to is as I found it at the time my affidavit was made. I have done the writing for the claimant and the papers have been acknowledged before Mr. Stays in the county office. The claimant brought her Bible, the book you have here now and Mr. Verdier and I both testified to date of birth of Ernestine from that book.”
Deposition F. November 5, 1908. Deponent: Alex Verdier: “I am 31 years of age. A Real Estate Agent. My post office address is Fernandina, Fla. I have known the claimant Charlotte E. Langley all my life, as far back as I can remember. I knew her husband Edward F. Langley from the same time until his death. I knew them as husband and wife and they lived together from the time I can remember until his death. He died in July 1902, I do not remember the exact date. I have known the claimant ever since and I know she has not remarried. Her property consists of L. 31 Bl[o]ck 25. There is no property in the name of Charlotte E. Langley The property mentioned is in the name of her late husband Edward F. Langley. There is one piece Lot 1 Block 47 in the name of Ernestine V. Langley. All of the property is in the city of Fernandina. Langley did not have any will. Under the laws of the State the property will be divided between the claimant and three children. The property is [informed?]. There has been a inspection of property here, it is difficult to say what the property is worth. In my judgment Lot 31 Block 14 would be worth one thousand dollars. Lot 10 Block 15 is worth about $700.00. She has, or rather to the heirs, the increase from Lot 31 Block 14 is rented for $16.00 per month, it has been rented for $18.00 per month. She has no other source of income except her labor. I looked the matter up and read a statement as to the amount of taxes and increases on the property, but I do not remember the exact amounts now. Ernestine V. Langley is the youngest child. I been knowing her since she was a little child, but I could not state the date of her birth….The date of birth of Ernestine given in my affidavit was taken from their family bible which was shown to me by the mother, I remember distinctly about the Bible. One thing that makes me remember distinctly about the Bible she had in there the date of my marriage without any name. The record “1896 she was married 6 of April was married” I know that referred to me, my wife, the girl I married lived right next door to Langleys and I was satisfied it was meant for me because right following is the record of birth of my child 24 of Sept 1896.”
Deposition B. November 5, 1908. Deponent: Ernestine V. Langley.: “I am the same Ernestine V. Langley who made a statement before you last month related to my age. I am the youngest child of Charlotte E. and Edward F. Langley. I live with my mother and my address is Fernandina, Fla. My age will be 17, the 12th day of this month. I am sure that is right as I have kept track of my age. I was born in 1891, that makes me 17 this month.”
Question: In your statement to me last month you said you always understood your birthday was Nov 12, born in 1892, you now say 1891, how do you explain that discrepancy in your statement?
Answer: “I undoubtedly must have made a mistake in my first statement, I am sure I will soon be 17 years of age.”
Question: The Bible record reads “Ernestine Langley born October 12 year 1892.” can you explain that?
Answer: “I do not know anything about that. I do not know whose handwriting that is. 1892 will make me only sixteen and I will be seventeen next week Thursday. The name and date written with lead pencil at the left of the page in the “Family Record” I know is Papa’s writing and that I am confident is meant for my record. I do not know of any way of pinning the date of my birth except by the Bible record and very [?] as I have been taught.”
Deposition D. November 6, 1908. Deponent: Marrietta Langley. “I am a child of Charlotte E. and Edward F. Langley. I live with my mother Charlotte E. Langley. I have been taught that I was born January 26, 1884. I was twenty four years old last January. I have a sister Rena, older I am and I have a sister Ernestine younger that I am. I know how old Ernestine is. She is 17 years old this month. I know her birthday. That comes on the 12th day. There were two children born between myself and Ernestine.”
Deposition D. November 6, 1908, Fernandina. Deponent: Rena Langley. “I was born the 26 of August 1880. I am the oldest child of Edward F. and Charlotte E. Langley. My post office address is Fernandina, Fla. My father died the 13 of July 1902. I was present when he died and I remember the date. There are only three children living, myself, Mary Langley and Ernestine Victorine Langley. Ernestine is the youngest. She was born the 12 of November. She will be 17 years old this month. I was home when she was born. There is no particular circumstance marked with her birth that makes me remember her age. I just know she will be 17 on the 12 of this month. I do not know the year she was born. Her date of birth is put down in the Bible. Pa put it there I suppose. I don’t know who else could. (Witness provided the family Bible published in 1866. The name R.E. Langley is written with led pencil and reads “R.E. Langley, born August 26, 1882.” There is a [similarity?] about the writing with that of Ernestine Langley which latter record is written with ink.) The R.E. Langley is my record of birth. The E. stands for Edna. My name in full is Rena Edna Langley. I do not know of any child amongst my friends who was born the same time Ernestine was. My mother did not have any doctor when Ernestine was born. I think Emily Hunter [was] the midwife. I do not know where Emily Hunter is now. I do not know of any record of births besides the family Bible.”
Jacksonville, Fla., November 6, 1908. “I have to honor to return, herewith, all the papers in case No. 768.431 of Charlotte E. Langley, widow of Edward F. Langley, late of Co. A. 21st Reg’t U.S.C. Inf. and whose post office address is Fernandina, Nassau Co, Florida. This claim has been referred for special examination, in compliance with the instructions of the Hon. Commissioner of Pensions in slip dated October 21, 1908, directing that a further statement be taken from the minor child relating to discrepancies in her former statement; whether there is a possible record of birth and to interview M.J. Taylor and Alex Verdier as to age of the child. A “Notice of Special Examination” was served on the claimant, but she did not avail herself of her privileges. I have taken the testimony of all witnesses who can throw any light on the question of age. The claimant, as stated in a former report is an ignorant, stupid colored woman. The witness, Marietta Langley is an invalid and weak intellectually. Ernestine the minor is the only intelligent member of the family and she cannot make a very satisfactory explanation related to discrepancies, or as to the family record. The witnesses were seen separately, claimant was at a neighbor at work and Ernestine was at school when I called at their house. All witnesses fall back on the family record and do not know anything about the childs age outside of that record. After consideration and with the consent of the family, though the book is quite bulky, I have directed it forward with this report, under separate cover. The record plainly shows the erasures and changes in dates and [?] is invalid especially in that last page of the “family record” relation to the child Ernestine. The record at the top of the page, I believe refers to the minor and the original entry appears to have been October 12, 1891. The last entry is “October 12, year 1892”, the last figure (2) apparently made over figure 1. When I examined the record previous to my final report, the room was very dark and the change in figure escaped my attention. There is no church, or other public record of the date of birth of this child and it is absolutely impossible to get any explanation of the
Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
William Nateell was a waiter in St. Augustine before the war began. His enlistment records describe him as five feet, ten inches tall, with hazel eyes, dark complexion,
and black hair. After the war Nateell was identified as being of mixed-race origins, specifically “mulatto.” Like many of the slaves and free blacks who joined the United States Colored Infantry regiments, Nateell was unable to read or write, which might explain the six different spellings of his last name found in various military and pension bureau records. Nateell, the most common spelling in the records, is used here. Married in 1870, Nateell fathered four children before his wife died in the 1880s.
Over a fifteen year period beginning in 1889 and ending in 1904, just months before his death, William applied several times for pension funding. In the original application he claimed to be disabled by rheumatism caused by war-time exposure, but other disabilities were added during the course of his application process. Numerous army comrades and St. Augustine friends testified about his contracting rheumatism and the impact the disorder made on his life. Physicians who examined Nateell came to differing conclusions concerning his alleged rheumatic condition, some finding no signs of debilitation, others deciding that he was eligible for a pension based on his rheumatic condition alone. In 1894, Nateell asked for an increase of pension, citing inflammation of throat and bladder and asthma and loss of teeth.
Nateell’s final medical examination is reprinted here because of the uniqueness of the form. It provided printed instructions to examiners in the margins, which are reproduced and indicated by use of a different typeface. By the time Nateell submitted his last request for pension reconsideration, he had claimed eleven different disabilities or afflictions.
Excerpts from the Pension Record
Declaration for Invalid Pension, October 3, 1889: “…[Nateell] contracted rheumatism in consqeunt (sic) of exposure to, and incident to the said service while serving as a said soldier in said Company and regiment from the date thereof to the day of his discharge. That he was treated in hospitals as follows: on Storma Island S.C. from July 1865 to on or about November or December 1865…regimental hospital…that he is now partly disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries…”
Miles Jackson and Jack Morgan testified in November1889 concerning Nateell’s disability: “…July, 1865, [claimant] became disabled…from exposure incident at said duty of service….From exposure to body [he] did contract ‘Rheumatism’ and from that disease deponents know and state that the said Natteel was sent to Hospital – the Regimental Hospital situated on Stoma Island about 12 miles from Follie Island S.C. When deponents visited and saw the Claimant so afflicted with “Rheumatism” That the facts stated are personally known to affiants by reason of the said deponents being a member of Co. “I” in said 21st U.S. Col. Troops, and that they have resided near claimant ever since his discharge & return home from the army & know that he has always been suffering with Rheumatism to the present date.”
General Affidavit, James Growls and George Edwards, December 12, 1989: “…that he has always suffered from “Rheumatism” and that from their knowledge and belief so obtained this disability has existed during each & every year of said person since his discharge and that said Rheumatism has disabled him to a great extreme from performing manual labor and making his living from one half (½) of his time said now prevents him from working as a laborer.”
General Affidavit, Charles Young and Samuel Brown, December 17, 1889: “…the said Natteel has always been a sufferer from Rheumatism – and has frequently been unable to do any kind of work and that for & during each year of the said period, form 1866 to the present date form their own knowledge they state that the said William Natteel has been disable from performing manual labor for one (½) one half of his time in each year of said period and is entirely unable now to perform most work of any kind.”
Proof of Disability, Antonio Papy, December 17, 1889: “…and while with his Company and Regiment and in the line of his duty, and while en-route on march from Follie Island to Fort Johnson in the said state of South Carolina,…William Nateell from exposure with discharge of his duty did contract Rheumatism and from said disability – was since to the Regimental Hospital…”
General Affidavit, William Nateell, December 30, 1889: “That it is impossible to furnish any evidence of Medical Treatment by Physicians [about] his discharge as the only doctors who have ever treated him are now dead to-wit Drs. Jno. E. Peck, J. Hume Simmons, and James Walker – that these did treat and proscribe for him, in charity, when he was to poor to pay for Physcians!”
General Affidavit, William Nateell, January 1, 1890: The claimant testified “That he is unable to furnish any affidavit of Campaign Officer or that of a surgeon for the reason that he is now unable to find any officer who was present and he has reason to believe that Lt. Dow who commanded his company is now dead. And that the surgeon who healed him at Follie Island Hospital, South Carolina--he does not know his name--but believes that he either belonged to the 54th or 56th New York that he is unable to know how to find him…this making it almost impossible to be identified by a surgeon in his case.”
General Affidavit, William Nateell, February 26, 1890: “That the disability for which I claim a pension originated while serving as a member of Co. A, 21st U.S.C.T. and while so on duty, and incident to said service, at Morris Island S.C. deponent did contract Rheumatism from which he has always and continuously suffered from that day and period, from about 1864 to the present date. That he was treated by Drs. Peck, Simon, and Walker at this time and period – all of said Physicians were residents of St. Augustine but are now deceased and deponent is unable to obtain their statement for that reason. That they each and all treated deponent by prescribing external remedies (which deponent purchased & used at distinct periods and is & has been so required to apply such remedies. That for over one-half of deponents later years he has been confined to his home unable to do, or perform any work and he is now so disabled that he is prevented from performing much work of any character, except light work – that this extent of his disability has been present ever since deponents discharge in 1866.”
Medical Exam, R.H. Gillan, U.N. Mellitte, and G.W. Lancaster, March 12, 1890: “Pulse rate, 92; respiration, 22; temperature, 100; height, 5 feet 9 inches; weight, 145 pounds; age 52 years.
“No enlargement…or stiffness of joints, no atrophy of muscles…no positive evidence of recent lesion…yet applicant insists that he endure much pain…and seemingly much incapacitated for labor.
“He is, in our opinion, entitled to a ¼ rating for disability caused by muscular rheumatism.”
Medical Exam, R.H. Gillan, U.N. Mellitte, G.W. Lancaster, December 3, 1890:
“Pulse rate, 90; respiration, 20; temperature, 98½; height, 5 feet 9 inches; weight, 149 pounds; age 50 years.
“The claim to Rheumatism appears well-founded but is confined to muscular and serous structures, shifting from place to place, appearing and disappearing as influenced by changes of work or weather, and presents no objective symptoms. Heart-action rapid, feeble and excitable, but no sufficient evidence of organic disease. A state of anemia, as foreshadowed by rapid, feeble pulse.
“Disability to do manual labor, one-half.
“ In the absence of enlarged joints, contracted tendons, atrophied muscles &c. our belief in the existence of rheumatism is chiefly predicated when the proper and characteristic symptoms delineated by the applicant, and we still believe his rating fair without being excessive.
“He is, in our opinion, entitled to a ½ rating for disability caused by Rheumatism.”
Medical Exam, A.J. Wakefield, George Stratsburg, September 16, 1891: “Pulse rate, 72; respiration, 18; temperature, 98.5; height 5 feet 10 inches; weight, 136 pounds; age, 52 years.
“We find atrophy of the muscles of left thigh…there is slight enlargement of the left knee joint – measures 13¾ right knee only 13½ - there is very little loss of motion in the joint about ¼ - all other joints, muscles and tendons are in a normal condition at the present time though we believe him to be suffering from occasional attacks of muscular rheumatism – the heart sounds are normal – pulse 72 sitting – 92 lying – 120 standing…we find the eyes normal in every detail until we reach the pupil which are the average size but do not respond to light and shade – there is opacity of the lens in each eye – he can read Jargin Pt 5 – No. 11 at 15 inches – His urine is light straw color acid reaction – ph. gr. 1020 – no abnormal products. We find no disease of the nervous system. No evidence or history of vicious habits – No other disability found.”
Declaration for Invalid Pension, William Nateell, August 16, 1892: “That he is entirety unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of Rheumatism and pain starting from the umbilical region which runs down the left side to the toes, which are drawn upwards from it nearly all the time also darts up the left side to the top of the head. Also inflammation of the throat, Bronchitis and Asthma. Soon after leaving the army I was accidently struck with an axe in the small of the back, in the coccygeal regions, which causes much pain troubles me most of the time. Sight commencing to fail, being about 52 years old – all the jaw teeth are gone also inflammation of the bladder & enlargement – of the prostate gland, compelling me to get up at night quite often sometimes as often as every ten or fifteen minutes.”
Note in File, E.H. Jenning, Examiner, October 7, 1892: “Cause of rejection. ‘No Increase’ Abstract of Testimony to Reopen. Affidavits from his physicians which fail to show an increase disabling…”
Medical Exam, A.J. Wakefield, C. Joyner, December 7, 1892: “Pulse rate, 104; respiration, 22; temperature, 98.5; height, 5 feet 9 inches; weight, 140 pounds; age, 52 years.
“Rheumatism left thigh…left knee joint is one inch larger than right there is some tenderness of tissue and slight atrophy of same all other muscles, joints, tendons, normal. Heart normal but a little rapid…
“Defective sight – pupils normal size but do not respond to light and shade there is no opacity of lens of both eyes can read Jargin plate 5 no 11 at 15 inches No…for which we would rate…
“Inflammation of throat and bronchitis the larynx and pharynx is slightly congested…we rate two eighteenths. Asthma we find no evidence of asthma…At normal of back we find no evidence…no scars or other incidence rate nil.
“Inflammation of bladder…normal, no evidence of inflammation of bladder and nil enlargement of prostate gland.”
General Affidavit, John G. Rake, July 19, 1893: “…that I have been acquainted with William Nateell for the past fifteen years, during my residence in this City of St. Augustine, and that I have met him almost daily during this time, and know that his habits of life are and have been good during all of this time, and I further know that his disabilities of impaired eye sight and, inflammation of the throat, that he complains of were not caused by any mean habits on his part so far as I know or have heard of…”
Invalid Pension, William Nateell, September 23, 1995: “Submitted for Aug. 28, 1895. Approved for rejection Rheumatism…no ratable disability shown. Approved for rejection not ratably disabled for earning a support by manual labor…Houston, Med. Referee.
Declaration for Invalid Pension, William Nateell, December 16, 1903: “…unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of acute rheumatism, disease of kidneys, bronchitis, throat trouble and enlargement of the neck.”
Surgeon’s Certificate, [?] Joyner, Jay H. Durhew, A. Williams, February 17, 1904:
“Name of disabilities. Rheumatism, disease of kidneys, throat, bronchitis, disease of bladder, asthma, loss of teeth, disease of back, enlarged prostate.
“Here give the claimant’s statement (as briefly and as compactly as possible) in regard to date of origin and cause of disabilities and the manner in which they effect him. Rheumatism since war in arms & legs: disease of kidney 6 years: pain in back inability to hold water at times: throat 8 years, tumor in right side of neck, Bronchitis for 5 years, cough & inability to breath easily: Disease of bladder 5 years pain and inability to hold water: Asthma 7 years inability to breath & shortness of breath: Loss of teeth seven years: Disease of back
“Birthplace, St. Augustine, Florida; age, 63? Years; height, 5 – 7 ½; weight, 133 pounds, complexion, Mulatto; color of eyes, Brown; color of hair, Gray; occupation, None, now; permanent marks and scars other than those described below, None.
“We hereby certify that upon examination we find the following objective conditions: Pulse rate, 110, 110, 118 (sitting, standing, after exercise) ; respiration, 24, 24, 26 (sitting, standing, after exercise); temperature, 100.2;
“Here give a full description of the disabilities, in accordance with Book of instructions, and make a separate paragraph for each disability. Facts within the knowledge of the Board, or member thereof relative to the case of any disability found should be stated.
“Whenever a disability is shown or believed to or aggravated by vicious habits the opinion of the board must be stated. When not due to such habits this fact must be stated.
Rheumatism: - no swelling or enlargement, tenderness of all joints or pressure, no stiffness of joints: or limitation of motion; rheumatism is probably of syphilic origin, for we find an old scar on lower margin of meatus, substantial tenderness, & slight enlargement of glands of groin with an old scar in left groin.
“Kidneys Urine clear amber, alkaline, 1.020. no albumen or sugar. slight mucus – prostate is some what enlarged, but no hesitancy in passing urine:
“Throat Naso-pharynx congests, some old mucus patches, tonsils congested. Eustacheau tubes pervious hearing normally acute
“Bronchitis Full inspiration 38 expiration 36 respiration fairly full firm & easy, but some old dry rales of the right side, sheet is somewhat prominent.
“Heart Point & area of apex impulse normal position: evident to palpation not to inspection; rhythm fair, sounds distinct no murmur, no hypertrophy or dilation: some dysproea or exertion no cyanosis or oedema.
“Disease of Bladder see kidneys
“Asthma no physical signs of at this examination.
“Loss of teeth teeth in bad shape, badly decayed and broken.
“Disease of Back No physical signs of.
“Enlarge Prostate: See kidneys
“Claims to have had chills and fever each day: Liver dullness extends from 5th intercostal interspace to ½ inch below free border of the ribs spleen not enlarged.
“Tumor of throat we find a tumor 2 inches by 1 inch in breadth just below the angle of the jaw on right side over the large vessels, but not adherent or dragging.
“General Disability: - Tongue coated, pale & fissured, very much emaciated, muscular soft & flabby – shows marked general disability
“When rates are recommended solely on subjective evidence the strongest reasons must be given therefore.
“We find that the aggregate permanent disability for earning a support by manual labor is due to rheumatism & general disability & warrants a rate of $6.00.”
Invalid Pension, William Nateell, March 29, 1904: “Approved for rheumatism, disease of kidneys, bronchitis, affection of throat and neck; also general disability under Order 76.”
March 18, 1904 F.M. Baker, & March 25, 1904, W.F. Wolfe, Legal Reviewers: “Approved for rejection. A ratable degree of disability is not shown.
. . .
“Now pensioned under other laws at $6.00 per month.”
On October 21, 2004 Nateell submitted a final “Additional Declaration for Invalid Pension and Arrears” at this point claiming complete disability. He died four months later on January 28, 1905 still pensioned at a rate of $6.00 a month.
Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: SYLVIA PALMER
Records in this file contain information about the soldier, Primus Palmer, his widow, Sylvia Palmer (formerly Sylvia Brown), and their five children. The records relate only to the years after the Civil War. The primary value of records in this file would be for genealogical purposes.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Claimant Sylvia Palmer, widow of soldier, Private Primus Palmer
Postal address is 1363 Albert Street, Jacksonville, Florida. Palmer applied for a pension March 13, 1891, and was pensioned at $12 per month under Act of June 27, 1890. The pension rate awarded was $8 per month, commencing February 11, 1907, and $12 from April 19, 1908. Palmer enlisted in the USCI on June 18, 1863, and was honorably discharged April 25, 1866. He married Sylvia Palmer April 15, 1891.
Soldier’s date of death was January 13, 1907.
Pension Certificate No. 682484. Name, Primus Palmer
Department of Interior, Bureau of Pensions,
Washington, D.C., January 15, 1898.
In forwarding to the pension agent the executed voucher for your next quarterly payment please … return this circular to him with replies to the questions enumerated below.
McClay Evans, Commisssioner.
First. Are you married? If so, please state your wife’s full name and her maiden name.
Answer. “Yes Sylvia Palmer, Sylvia Brown.”
Second. When, where, and by whom were you married?
Answer. “1867 Hilton Head, S.C. Rev. Mr. Stoney.”
Third. What record of marriage exists?
Answer. “I do not know of any.”
Fourth. Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.
Fifth. Have you any children living? If so, please state their name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.
Answer. “Five. William 1874; George 1880; Byard 1881; Boss 1882, Ianty 1886.”
Primus X Palmer (X for his mark)
Declaration for Widow’s Pension. Act of June 27, 1890, and Acts amendatory thereof.
On this 5 day of February, A.D., one thousand nine hundred and Seven personally appeared before me, a Notary Public within and for the county and State aforesaid, Sylvia Palmer aged __ years, whose Post-Office address is Jacksonville Florida, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of Primus Palmer, who enlisted under the name of Primus Palmer, at Fernandina Florida on the __ day of ___, A.D. 1863, in Company “A” 21 U.S.C.Troops and served at least ninety days in the late War of the Rebellion, in the service of the United States, and was honorably discharged ___ and died Jany 13, 1904. That she was married under the name of __ to said Primus Palmer on the __ day of __, 1867 by Rev. Stone, at Hilton Head, S.C. there being no legal barrier to said marriage. That said soldier or sailor had not been previously married. That applicant had __ been previously married. That she has not remarried since the death of said Primus Palmer. That she is without other means of support other than her daily labor, and an actual net income not exceeding $250 per year; that the names and dates of birth of all the children now living under sixteen years of age of the soldier are as follows:
Children all grown.”
General Affidavit: On November 16, 1908, Laura Glenn of 1352 Van Buren Street, Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, testified: “My age is 48 years and I well remember the time and circumstances of the marriage of Sylvia Palmer to Primus Palmer. I was five or six years old when the marriage occurred. I do not remember the exact date. The marriage was soon after the Civil War at Hilton Head, S.C. The ceremony was performed by a white minister by name of Stoney. I think no record of marriage exists, as all the County around Hilton Head was at that time in a “torn-up” condition.”
“I know positively that they were married and that they lived continuously together as man and wife until soldiers death Jan 13th 1907. I know positively that Sylvia Palmer had never been married before she married Primus Palmer her maiden name was Sylvia Brown. I know positively that Primus Palmer has never been married until he married Sylvia Brown at time and place above stated.”
“I also know well the condition of Sylvia Palmer in regard to Real or personal property. I know that she owns no Real estate. She owns no personal property outside of a scant amount of Household which will not exceed $30 or $35 worth. She is a very poor woman and her only means of support is by washing or laundry work or little just of work that she may find to do. There being no one who is legally bound to support her and that she no real property for years before her husband died.”
General Affidavit: Monday Small, of 1363 Albert Street, Jacksonville, Duval Co., Florida, testified: “My age is thought to be 64 years. I know positively that Sylvia Palmer was married to Primus Palmer in April about the 15th, 1867. I know whereof I speak for I married an older sister of Sylvia, in 1866, and they lived continuously together as man and wife until the death of Primus. Jan. 13th, 1907. I know positively that Sylvia whose maiden name was Brown, was never married until she married Primus Palmer. I know particularly that Primus Palmer had never been married, until he married Sylvia Brown; now, his present living and lawful widow. In regard to claimants ownership of Real, Personal or Mixed Property. I know positively that Sylvia Brown owns no Real Property or other property some few household goods which in value would not exceed $25 or $30. What little household she owns is located on Monroe St Jacksonville, Fla. Sylvia Palmer has no income whatever, and what support she has comes from her own labor as a wash-woman. She has not owned any Real estate for the past six years. Primus Palmer left no property to will to any one. Primus Palmer left no Life insurance for anybody.”
General Affidavit. On November 20, 1908, Sylvia Palmer testified: “I am the widow of Primus Palmer late Co A 21st U.S.C.Vol Inf who served as such in the Civil War and I am now trying to obtain a widows pension believing that I am justly entitled. I was married to Primus Palmer not long after the Civil war. There is no record of same that I know of. Was married at Hilton Head, S.C. by a regularly ordained Presbyterian Minister a white man, who is dead. County was in a “torn-up” condition as regards records. Enclosed please find two affidavits showing positively [I] was married, as claimed. Primus Palmer was never married until I married him, I never was married until I married Primus Palmer he and I lived together as husband and wife until his death Jun 13th 1907. I have no children under 16 years of age. I own no property, real personal or mixed except a scant record of Household goods. I have no income whatever. Have no property to dispose of since my husband died. Soldier left no will, he had no property of any kind to will. He left no life insurance. There is no one who is legally bound to support me. My only means of support is washing clothes for people.
Co. A, 21st Regiment, USCT
Antonio Pappy was a slave before the war, the property of the Llambias family of four bachelor brothers. Antonio Pappy, his father, mother, and four brothers, were apparently all servants to the four Llambias brothers. Although it is not stated in the record, Pappy must have remained in St. Augustine after the town was occupied by Union forces in March 1862. His enlistment in the USCI did not happen until April 1864. Two of his brothers served in the same company and regiment.
After the war, Antonio Pappy returned to St. Augustine, and remained there for the rest of his life. Many years later he applied for a veteran’s pension for disability claiming that he had contracted malaria while on duty at Morris Island, South Carolina. Two of his neighbors in St. Augustine, comrades from his regiment during the war, testified that he showed symptoms of malaria when he mustered out of service in 1866, and that the symptoms were sufficiently serious to prevent him from working. These former comrades also stated that Pappy’s illness during the war was severe enough to result in his being placed on light duty.
Pappy worked as a barber after the war, yet the special examiner questioned his inability to do manual labor. It is unclear whether this was a standard question for all applicants or if the special examiner had preconceived notions about the kind of employment a former slave could or should secure.
The special examiner questioned neighbors about Pappy’s ability to earn his own living. In this line of questioning both physicians and lay-people were asked to assign a percentage value to the pension applicant’s disability. Dr. John K. Rainy, Pappy’s personal physician, and other medical examiners decided he was 75 percent disabled, although the percentages varied slightly. The conclusions of the Medical Examiners were contradicted by testimony by friends of Pappy, who had served with him in the army.
Nearly three years after it originated, Pappy’s pension request was denied and was referred to a Medical Referee, who reopened the case for further examination and testimony. The Pension Bureau attempted to determine who had submitted the correct diagnosis: the Medical Board at Jacksonville or all of the other deponents interviewed?
During the summer of 1894 Pappy was again examined by the Medical Examiners at Jacksonville, despite the mounting evidence that he was indeed suffering from rheumatism and malarial poisoning the Doctor’s once again fail to find evidence of any symptoms during Pappy’s check-up. But Pappy was also examined in 1895 by doctors in Plattsburgh, New York, after he moved there temporarily in the mid-1890s. The Pension Bureau realized physicians in different regions were assigning the same man different disability ratings, and returned the case to the Chief of the Southern Division of the Pension Bureau for a review of the evidence.
In May of 1896 Pappy personally sent a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions requesting that a decision be made concerning his reopened file. The result was a referral to the Special Examination Division and a renewal of the medical examinations. New affidavits were given by the witnesses previously interviewed. The information gleaned from this round of interviews provided information on Pappy’s life as a slave as well as his activities when a soldier.
In March of 1897, J.A. Davis, the Special Examiner in charge of Pappy’s case submitted his final report to Washington. Davis found Pappy to be an intelligent, industrious man, and suggested that the Pension Bureau not give undue credence to the decisions of the Jacksonville Medical Review Board.
Despite Davis’ cautions, Pappy’s request was once again denied. Nevertheless, after nearly a decade after his original application, Pappy finally received a pensionable rating of disability. On March 15, 1899, following a final medical examination Pappy’s request was approved.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
General Affidavit, Antonio Pappy, June 10, 1890: “That he is unable to furnish any Physician’s affidavit to treatment since his discharge and return home, for the reason that Drs. Benedict, Simmons and Peck all late of St. Augustine Fla. who did treat deponent for Malaria are now dead...For many years the said Dr. Jms. E. Peck was his family physician and treated him for malaria and malarial fevers and Rheumatism and since the said Dr. Peck’s death deponent has only followed the advice and prescriptions then and there given him by his said physician....”
General Affidavit, Cornelius Blanchard and Louis Martin, June 10, 1890: Both Blanchard and Martin testified that they knew Pappy and had lived “near neighbors of him since his return home from the army in 1866. They know and state he has been afflicted with Malaria and Rheumatism. That periodically he is compelled to give up work and is confined to his home with chills and fever, and is frequently unable to get about from the effects of his Rheumatism…that for one half of his time is prevented from following his profession or performing manual labor.”
Thomas Williams and William Nateel, members of Co. A, 21st USCT, testified on June 16, 1890 and November 11, 1891. Since the second affidavits generally repeat what as said in 1890, it is not included here. “That said Antonio Pappy while in the line of his duty, at or near and on Morris Island in the State of South Carolina did....during the year of 1865, become disabled...from exposure... [and] did contract malaria and malarial poisoning which resulted in Rheumatism which has remained as permanent disease to claimant ever since his venture home from said service. That the facts are personally know to the affiants by reason of affiants having been present with said company and regiment at the time claimant contracted his disability, and having so seen him sick and in consequence of claimant being so sick and unable to perform the hard duties of his company he was put on light duty with the commissary and quartermaster.”
Physician’s Affidavit, Dr. John K. Rainy, November 13, 1890: Dr. Rainy testified that Pappy “is suffering with rheumatism in right hand and arm with attrophe (sic) of the muscles of the hand render him unfit to follow his avocation (a barber) during cold or damp weather. He is also suffering with pteregyum in both eyes rendering his work difficult and painful by lamp or other artificial light. He is three-fourths disabled for performing manual labor.”
Cornelius Blanchard and George H. Johnson, testified November 17, 1890: “That they have been well and personally acquainted with claimant for 27 years...and lived with and worked with him for 10 years and know that he is disabled from malaria contract (sic) in the [service] of the United States[:] Rheumatism in Right Hand and arm with arthritis of the mussle (sic) of the hand Rendering him unfit to follow his occupation a Barber during cold or damp weather he is also Suffering with pteregyum in Both eyes rendering his work difficult and painful by lamp or other artificial light he is three fourths disabled for performing manual labor…”
A. Wakefield, M.D. and C. Johnson, examined Pappy and testified December 07, 1892: “He has pain in shoulder back & limbs. Upon examination we find the following objective conditions; Pulse rate, 108; respiration, 20; temperature, 98.5; height 5 fee 6 ½ inches; weight, 135 pounds; age, 45 years.
“Malaria we find no evidence of malarial fever spleen liver healthy & normal tongue is not coated skin is healthy...for malaria we rate nil.
“Rheumatism[:] All joints muscles tendons normal heart sounds normal we find no evidence of rheumatism for which we rate nil. No disability found to list.”
Joseph Hammond, a friend of Pappy’s, testified June 9, 1893 that he knew him “to have been disabled at least to ¾ extent by malarial poisoning and rheumatism at the date of filing his claim July 24, 1890 to Dec. 14th, 1892…The above he states upon his own personal knowledge of the facts and that claimant has no bad habits whatever.”
William Nateell, gave testimony for a third time on June 9, 1893, stating he knew Pappy “to be ¾ disabled in account of malarial poisoning and Rheumatism, and this disability existed during the time from July 24 1890 to Dec. 14th 1892, and still continues at the present time....”
Pappy’s Pension Application was denied on August 9, 1893, when examiner S.J. Filch, ruled: Submitted for Rejection. Approved for not disabled in a pensionable degree. Approved for rejection, no pensionable disability shown under Act of June 27, 1890.
Referred to Med Referee for action.
The medical referee reopened examinations and testimony concerning Antonio Pappy’s pension application. Dr. J.K. Rainy, in his second testimony on Pappy’s case, stated October 4, 1893, “That he is a Practicing Physician, and that he has been acquainted with said soldier for about 13 years, and that he knows he has been suffering with rheumatism involving the shoulders and back. The muscles of the shoulder are loose and flabby the deltoids are small he cannot use his arms in labor above his head and in damp and cold weather he is unable to ply his vocation (barbering) on account of stiffness in the shoulders…Disability from rheumatism in shoulders 12/18 He finds no other disabilities at the present time....”
Physician Chas. A. Wenham testified November 18, 1983 that he “has been acquainted with said soldier for about 8 years, and that he has been afflicted with Rheumatism ever since he first knew him. The right shoulder in the principle joint…he is unfit for manual labor- 10/18 being the disability claimed. His eyes are weak and he is unable to see to do any work by lamp-light as after dark…”
A. Wakefield, M.D., C. Johnson, and Geo. Joseph Maxwell, M.D., examined Pappy for a second time, and stated on June 20, 1894 that the soldier “makes the following statement upon which he bases his claim for Orig. Had rheumatism ever since was in service. Affects right shoulder. Had a severe attack of malarial fever about 4 years ago.”
“Upon examination we find the following objective conditions: Pulse rate, 80; respiration, 24; temperature, 98.5; height, 5 feet 6 inches; weight, 148 pounds; age, 48 years.”
“Rheumatism – All joints muscles tendons normal no stiffness swelling or tenderness in any part of body heart and lungs normal. No evidence of rheumatism.”
“Malarial Poisoning – We find no evidence of malarial poisoning body well nourished muscles…”
“…a strong healthy man and able to do a full days manual labor.”
“No evidence of syphilis or vicious habits.”
Dr. J.K. Rainy and Dr. Charles A. Wenham (third testimony), March 26, 1895 and May 26, 1895, stated: (Rainey) “He had been suffering with articulas rheumatism involving the shoulder elbows and hands....Would consider him 12/18 disabled for manual labor or his trade.” (Wenham, May 26, 1895) “During the cold damp weather he is unable to do much...but in Summer can get along fairly well – disability – (12/18) (2/3) ....”
In the mid 1890’s Pappy briefly moved to Plattsbrgh, New York, from where he submitted another pension application. The conclusions reached after another medical examination differed greatly from those conducted previously in Jacksonville. Pappy was given disability ratings for malaria, rheumatism, and heart disease.
Medical Examination, E.M. Lyon, D.J. Kellogg, and J.H. LaRocque, July 10, 1895: Pappy “makes the following statement upon which he bases his claim for original He has fever and [rheumatism?] off and on. He has rheumatism the worst in shoulder and arms it is also in hips. He is a barber. Upon examination we find the following objective conditions: Pulse rate, 78.84.90 respiration 24; temperature 98.6; height, 5 feet 7 inches; weight 139 muscles not firm. Hands show no work...Conjunctivas sallow. Lim enlarged projecting 3 inches below ribs while laying down – also soft. Spleen considerably enlarged. Stomach and bowels healthy...he is now suffering from regular chills and fever. Rating 6/18 for chills and fever.
“Arthritis in fingers, writes – right elbow…no enlargement of joints, no other joint and no muscle tender symptoms of rheumatism.
“Rating 4/18 for rheumatism.…Rating 8/18 for heart disease, lungs healthy, no indication of viscous habits, no other disabilities found.”
P.J. Gallagher, Medical Division, Pension Bureau, discovered that different regions of the country had given different disability ratings. On September 11, 1895, he inserted notes in the Pappy file: “Respectfully returned to Chief of the Southern Division The action of rejection dated Dec. 19, 1894, was proper in view of the evidence in the case, no pensionable disability being shown by the certificates of medical examination then on file.
“Certificate of recent medical examination, dated July 10, 1895, show disability form Malarial poisoning, and rheumatism and resulting disease of heart in a degree ratable under the general law, if legal approval be made for origin and continuance.”
Department of the Interior, File Note, E.G. Crabbe, September 25, 1895: “Date of filing: June 3, 1890. Date of rejection: Dec. 19, 1894. Cause of Rejection. No pensionable disability by reason of malarial poisoning and rheumatism.”
Abstract of Testimony to Reopen. Two affidavits of physicians, failed upon examination of claimant; also certificate of examination had since retraction in opinion with Med. Ref. here with. Claimant alleges that the Board of Surgeons at Jacksonville, Fla., ‘did not examine him, just merely looked at him’”
Antonio Pappy wrote from St. Augustine, Florida, to the Commission of Pension on May 17, 1896: “I ware examined by Medical Board at Plattsburgh, N.Y. the 10 of last July. Having not heard any thing I thought I woold ask woold my case be call up as I expick to leve June the 10 for Plattsburgh, New York. I dont know wather I will want any more proft or not from hear hope you will plese have my case call up soon. ”
In June of 1896 Pappy’s case was referred to the Special Examination Division in attempt to clear up the confusion surrounding Antonio’s disability. E.G. Crabbe, Department of the Interior, File Note, June 15, 1896: “Respectfully referred to the chief of the Board of Review with a view to reference to the Special Examination Division to determine origin in Service and line of duty and continuance since discharge. This is deemed necessary for the reason that there is no record, no medical evidence prior to 1882, and claimant avowed inability to furnish it, also, the lay witnesses do not unite.”
A.A. Aspensaill, Department of the Interior, File Note, June 17, 1896: “Respectfully referred to the chief of the Special Examination Division, with a view to a Special Examination to determine origin and certain cause of alleged Malarial Poisoning and rheumatism.
J.K. Rainy, M.D., Deposition G, March 13, 1897: “I have given him casual examinations. He was suffering from rheumatism in his arms and shoulders and extremities has been unable to get his arms up to his head and could not follow his business which is that of a Barber. That has been his condition ever since I have known him. I do not know the origin, it was a chronic case when I first met him. He could not do manual labor…he has been three quarter disabled and I would say a quarter disabled from performing his duties as a Barber. He has been very steady and regular in his habits and is a man of good character. I do not remember, but I have an indistinct recollection of making an affidavit in this case…I knew the claimant has been suffering with pteregyum of his eyes: Think that trouble, or the trouble with his eye sight is as much due to rheumatism as it to pteregyum.”
Cornelius Blanchard, Deposition F, March 29, 1997: “…it was first after he came out of the Army, my first visit here was in 1865 and I remained here ever since. I was not in the Union Army, I was in the C.I.A. When I first met Antonio I can’t say what his physical condition was. I remember seeing him about and was frequently with him, but what his physical condition was I can’t say. It strikes me he was complaining of rheumatism in something about his eyes, but what it was I can’t say, I remember having him complain of his eyes…He complains of feeling stiff and sore all over. I never delayed to ask him particularly about the different parts of his body. I have never seen him do hard manual labor since I have known him. I do not think he is able. I could not say whether he has been able to attend to his duties as a Barber.”
Thomas Williams, Deposition E, March 29, 1897: “I am 58 yrs. of age. No occupation, I used to be a mason and plasterer. I have been totally blind for twelve years…I have known Antonio Pappy ever since he were a boy. I knew him well before the war, there were not many people here then. I do not know of anything but he was a sound boy, before the war. I recruited him under Capt. Davis and he was nothing but a young boy then. I never knew anything about his going to Beaufort before I enlisted him and the Doctors refusing to pass him. I heard him say he went and they wouldn’t pass him. I do not know what the reason was. I never heard him complain about a thing before the war as I know of, he was in the same company with me. I enlisted in Co. A 21st U.S.C.T. the 13th day of June 1863 and was mustered out the 6 of April 1866. Antonio did not go until after that, after the battle of Olustee I recruited him. Antonio was all right when he went in the army, he could read and write when he enlisted and I [guess?] that is why they [put?] him in the Q[uarter] M[aster] Dept. Lt. McCleary was Q.M. He is in the north somewhere. I do not know of Antonio being sick, or injured in the army. We came part way here together. When the claimant was discharged he was all right. There was nothing ailed him as I knew of…it was six or seven years after the war before I heard him complain of rheumatism. He complains with rheumatism most all the time. He never was able to do manual labor, as a man should do. He always attends to his work as a Barber. I only know of his being laid up once, about two weeks but he been complaining with it all along. I do not remember making an affidavit in this case, but I would say [it is] possible. I do not remember going before the clerk of the court and signing an affidavit with Wm. Nateel…If my name is signed there I must have done it, it has been so long I can’t remember.”
William Nateell Deposition C, , March 29, 1897: “I have known the claimant Antonio Pappy from boyhood. He lived on our side of the street and I lived on the other since the war. Before the war we were play boys together, I was the oldest. Before the war as far as I could know he was well and hearty. I was in the same Regt. and Co. with him, he was in the Q.M. Dept. I enlisted in 1863 in the summer, in Co. A 21st U.S.C.T. and I was mustered out in April 1866. I used to see Antonio…during our service. While he was in the Q.M. Dept. I used to visit him, because there was only three or four of us from here. He was a house boy. He was sick in the service times…I never knew what was his trouble only what he told me, that he was full of pains all over him. I don’t know if he went to the Hospital or was in his tent. I could see he was a sick man and he complained, but I do not know what it was, only since we got back he complained and he tells me it was rheumatism. We came home together and I remember he complained that all his arms were aching and when he got here he was completely down and when I see him again after we got home he was all drawed up. I asked him, ‘what is the trouble with you’ and he said, they say it is rheumatism. Ever since that he has been complaining all the time. Every year he has complained and has been down so that he could not do anything. I could not tell you what time. I should say that was two, or two and a half years ago. But it is the only time I knew of. I never see him do manual labor, because he was always complaining. He is a man of good habits, I never seen him drink in my life, he has always held himself very proper. I don’t remember if I ever made any affidavit for him. Yes, I do remember going before Mr. Allen and signing two affidavits (at different times) with Thomas Williams. When the claimant went into the service…he was not able to do heavy duty…I do not know the reason.”
John T. Pappy, Deposition D, March 29, 1897: “I am about 54 yrs. of age, a Barber…I am a brother to the claimant Antonio. Before the war we belonged to the [Clamtine?] family and were brought up together. Antonio was always well and hearty his physical condition was good. I never hear him complain of pains in his shoulders, or arms before the war. I was not in the service at all, two brothers were with Antonio, but both are dead. I was not here when Antonio came home, I was out in Indiana. I have been with him for the last twelve years, his physical condition has not been very good, he has always complained of rheumatism. His rheumatism is mostly in his shoulders and in his hands, his knuckles are all enlarged. He used to have it in his legs and knees. When I first came back, twelve years ago, he was laid up with the rheumatism in his legs and knees. It interferes with his business of Barber and he would not be able to do hard manual labor at all. This has been his condition for the past twelve years and I think his eyes are afflicted, he seem to have trouble with his eyes all the time, That has been for six, or eight years and he has been wearing glasses that length of time. His habits have always been good. He rarely takes a drink of liquor…”
Antonio Pappy, Deposition B, March 29, 1897: “I am 51 yrs. of age. A Barber by trade…I enlisted April 25th 1864…and was mustered out April 5th 1866. That is the only service I ever had. I went to Beaufort S.C. to enlist, there the examining surgeon refused to pass me. That was about six months before I went in the service, because I came back to St. Augustine Fla. and staid a few months and then enlisted here. I was exempted the first time on account of pains across my shoulders. I could not carry a knapsack. The Doctors who examined me said it was malaria, or rheumatism. I had been troubled with these pains as long as I can remember, it seemed like it was grown in me. I am an applicant for a pension on account of Rheumatism and malaria. I though[t] I got rheumatism on Morris Island. I used to have these pains before but did not know what they were until the Doctor on Morris Island told me I had malaria from sleeping in those damp [?] [?] on the ground. My rheumatism was in my right shoulder and it [affected] my right arm so that I could not use my arm and it affected my thumb and finger. It was in my left side around my heart and in my back over my kidneys. I never went in the Hospital because I was working in the Q.M. Dept. and they had light work for me to do. There were days I could not use my arm and had to stop work but I staid in the company. I never have had any wounds or rupture or other disability. While in the Army I was treated by Dr.[John M.] Hawks. I do not know where he is now, I believe he is dead. He did not do much for me only told me what to rub with. He did not give me any medicine, I did not take any.
“When I enlisted and before that I lived here in St. Augustine. I was born and brought up here. I did not have any Doctor before the war. I never had any treatment, never done anything for my aches and pains before the war, it never used to bother me any, just little streaks of pains. I never was laid up with it before the war. I was a slave and belonged to Llambias. There were four brothers and they all lived together and we all lived right in the yard with them and I did not belong to any particular one. They were named, Tony, Jerome, Johnny and Dale. They are all dead. They were all bachelors and they did not have families. My father and mother are dead. There were no fellow servants only our own family. I have three brothers living, one older and two younger. They are named John, Dowings and Alfonse. John has lost an eye from Neuralgia. Yes, he has rheumatism so that he has to lay up, he has been laid up twice this winter. There is nothing wrong with Dowings. Alfonse has Locomotar Alexia. He has had that two years. My father and mother did not have rheumatism. My father died with consumption. My mother died of old age.
“When I came out of the service I came back to St. Augustine and have been here ever since. I was sick when I came out of the service. I had that same pain across my shoulders and in my right arm, I couldn’t lift an axe to cut word. I had Dr. John E. Peck he attended me when I came home. He attended me off and on a year, or two, I was not laid up so that he had to come to me, I went to his office. After Dr. Peck, I did not have any Doctor until Dr. Rainy attended me. He has attended me off and on for the last ten years. I have been so I could not work, but I have not been confined to my bed. I went to Dr. Rainy, he did not come to me. I have worked at my trade ever since the war, at my brothers Alfonse’s [barber] shop. I did not do any work for a number of years after I came out of the service.
“Before the war, old man Tom Williams’ and Wm. Nateell, knew me well. Most of the people here now are strange people. I was trying to think of some [?] before the war. Old man Tony Nelters knew me before the war. Tom Williams was in the same company in the army with me and old man Nateell was to. I do knot know of any others here, they are all dead…I was not with the company much, I was in the Q.M. Dept. Lewis McQueen, Pablo Rogers and Stephen Haddock, are the only men I remember. Sgt. A.B. Phillips was Q.M. Sgt. I do not know whether he is living. I tented with Phillips. Since the war the people who know me intimately would be Ed Henstien, Cornelius Blanchard, Louis Martin, Charley Fowler. I do not care to be present when the testimony is taken.”
J.A. Davis, Special Examiner’s Final Report, March 30, 1897: “I have the honor to return, herewith, all the papers in case No, 779.462. of Antonio Pappy, late of Co. A 21st U.S.C.T. and whose post office address is, St. Augustine, St. Johns Co., Fla. Claimant has filed a claim under the old law and also under the “Act of June 27” 1890” alleging malarial poisoning and rheumatism. The claim under new law was rejected on the two reports of examining board at Jacksonville, Fla., their certificates showing no disability. A subsequent examination made by the board at Plattsburg, N.Y. finds a ratable disability and because the conflict between said reports the case has been referred for special examination to determine injury and continuance.
“The usual form of “Notice of Special Examination” was served the claimant but he declined to avail himself of his privileges and does not desire notice of further examination. The claimant is a sturdy, industrious man, with a good character and I was particularly impressed with his candid and frank manner of testifying. He is intelligent and knows the effect of his [?] and statements. He states that his disability did not originate in the service but in his final statement says he did know anything about the claim under the old law and that he supposed all of his papers were filed under the “Act of June 24” 1890” and further, that he does not desire to prosecute the claim under the old law. Notwithstanding the papers were referred to determine origin in the service…
“The witnesses who have testified are regarded as truthful and good citizens and though they do not all corroborate their original affidavits, they are all positive that for a number of years past the claimant has been afflicted with rheumatism. Cornelius Blanchard was a little disagreeable and at first refused to be sworn in to testify. If it be necessary to have claimant again examined, but in view of the fact that the personnel of the Jacksonville board is the same who made the examination now in the case, I decided to refer the papers to the Bureau with my report. Either the board did give claimant a cursory examination, or he rapidly grew worse between the date of last examination made by said board and the examination made by Plattsburg, N.Y. board. The fact that claimant has very soft hands (indicating no labor) and that he has enlarged finger joints, especially the right hand thumb joint, is perfectly apparent to the eyes of a layman. I think claim under “Act of June 27” 1890 should be admitted.”
Despite Davis’ testimony, Pappy’s request was once again denied.
Invalid Claim, April 10, 1897: “Resubmitted for adm., April 6, 1897 JA Davis, The Exm. Approved for rejection…on the ground that according to claimants, & Special Examiners, the disabilities existed prior to enlistment, & are not of service origin; claimant also states that he does not wish to claim under the general law. April 10, 1897”
Nearly a decade after his original application, Pappy finally received a pensionable rating of disability. P.J. Gallagher, Medical Examiner, Medical Division, Note in File, November 20, 1899: “…opinion that a ratable disability under the Act of June 27, 1890, is shown from malarial poisoning and rheumatism and resulting disease of heart by certificates of examination dated July 10, 1895, and March 15, 1899. Disablity in a ratable degree under the act of June 27, 1890, is not shown by prior certificates of examination.
Approved: J.F. Raub, Medical Referee.
On January 13, 1899 Pappy returned a questionnaire to the Pension Bureau, which listed his immediate family members. In it he stated that he had been twice widowed, but he did not provide the name of either wife. He did name two children: Mary Pappy, age eight, and Henry Pappy, age six. Neither of his children pursued a dependent’s pension upon his death.
On March 15, 1899 a final Medical Examination was performed on Antonio Pappy. The findings were very similar to Dr. Rainy’s description of his disability years earlier.
Medical Examination, A.J. Wakefield, M.D., N. Williams, M.D., and Claude Joyner, M.D., March 15, 1899:
“Malarial Poisoning – Rate 8/18
Rheumatism – Rate 12/18
Degree of motion in arms – 2/3
Disease of Stomach – Rate 6/18
Disease of Eyes – Rate 6/18”
On January 3, 1900, Pappy filed an Additional Declaration for Invalid Pension and Arrears to which he added eye failure and stomach problems resulting from malarial poisoning. After a decade of pursuing a pension Pappy was allotted $6.00 a month for disability caused by malarial poisoning.
Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: ROSA PAPPY
William Pappy was one of five brothers who, with their parents, were the slaves of and servants for the Llambias family, consisting of four bachelor brothers, in St. Augustine, Florida. Three of the Pappy brothers served in Co. A, 21st Regiment, USCI. William was the drummer for the regiment, but also was assigned other duties. He claimed a disability pension for an injury allegedly suffered during the war, and while on duty assignment.
After the war, William Pappy and his brother Antonio worked as barbers. William married another St. Augustine native, Rosalie Goff, on March 6, 1871. Three children were born of the marriage.
The pension record contains testimony by several men who served with William Pappy in the USCI, neighbors of the Pappy’s, and member’s of William’s family. Medical evidence supplied by examining physicians is also included. The special examiner assigned to the case focused his investigation on 1) allegations that excessive alcohol consumption led to the soldier’s death, and 2) charges that soldier’s widow, Rosalie G. Pappy, led an immoral life.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Geo Chandler, Secretary of the Interior, February 8, 1893. “It is hereby certified that in conforming with the laws of the United States that Rosa Pappy Widow of William Pappy who was a Private Co “A” 21st Regt. United States Colored Volunteer Infantry is entitled to a pension under the provisions of the Act of June 21, 1890, at the rate of Eight dollars per month to commence on the twelfth day of August 1890 and to continue during her widowhood unless she shall forfeit her right thereto. And she is also entitled to two dollars per month additional for each of the following named children while living and under the age of sixteen years: William L. commencing August 12, 1890 Sixteen July 21, 1898.”
Affidavit to Origin of Disability. William Natteel swears that: “his age is 47 years; that he is the identical person who served as a Private in Co. A, 21st Reg’t USCT Vols., and knows the above soldier, who was a member of Co. A, 21st Reg’t USCT; that on or about 5th day of February, 1865, while in the line of duty, and without fault or improper conduct on his part, at or near Morris Island, State of South Carolina said soldier incurred a disability by receiving a great nervous shock or injury to spine, that the said Wm. Pappy while then [?] on duty as an orderly for one Col Bennett [Andy?] said regiment and while mounted as said orderly did receive his injury. That deponent knows this fact that when the said Wm. Pappy (now deceased) came in to camp from duty he came to deponents tent, they being fellow townsmen, and complained he was hurt by the horse jumping a ditch. Deponent said to him Where are you hurt as he appeared in great agony, Pappy replied about the side over & stomach and under a great state of nervous excitement or shock. That deponent did not as an eye witness see the accident, or deceased (Pappy) said it was while he was coming [?] [?] to the front where regiment was stationed and said horse took fright.”
General Affidavit. Deponent: Joseph Ketton, age about 55, and Raymond C. Reyes, age about 76, both of St. Johns County. “That they were well and truly acquainted with Wm. G. Pappy, deceased, from having lived near him as neighbors during each and every year from his discharge from the army to the date of his death, and from having seen & conversed with him nearly everyday more or less during that period, except when he was confined to his house by illness. They knew that he was ruptured and that he appeared & did suffer from general affliction of the nerves, or some nervous disorder which affected his whole system; that at times he would be so much afflicted that he could do nothing & would have to give up all kinds of work. Complaining of severe pains in the head, back &c. and his mind did not always appear sound or clear to his friends. That the nervous attacks appeared every so often in each & every year during this period, & that during the last 2 or 3 years of said Pappy’s life they almost prevented him from any work or labor. That they lived within two blocks, saw him as above stated nearly every day, and often have been called for by said Pappy and his family to sit up, or assist in watching him when so afflicted with these extreme attacks. That from this knowledge as obtained and from having seen & known deceased for many years before-nay-during his whole life and seen his great suffering they state that his disabilities prevented him from earning his living during ½ of each & every years during the period from his return home to the date of his death. And they further state that he was ruptured at the time he came home from the army.”
General Affidavit. Deponent: Wm. H Atkins, age 44, and Lancaster Hall, age 30 both of St. Augustine, Florida: “That they are well and truly acquainted with Rosa G. Pappy widow of Wm. G. Pappy and do state that she has not remarried since the date of the death of the said Wm. G. Pappy that they have known her continuously since that period and know that she has not ever been remarried, that their knowledge is attained from living where these facts would have been known to affiants. And affiants further state that the children of said marriage to wit: Arthur J, Lotta, & Wm. G. Pappy are still living- or have lived to be 16 years of age.”
General Affidavit. Deponent: Lotta Pappy: “That she is the daughter of the claimant and was always informed by her Mother and by the Soldier in his lifetime that she was born on the 16 Jany 1874 and she has uniformly celebrated the 16 January as the anniversary of her birth.”
General Affidavit. Deponent: Martha White Heifer, age about 50, swears: “That she is a professional midwife and knows the said Rosa G. Pappy, that she was present with claimant at the birth of William Pappy a minor child of the claimant and that from her knowledge…he was born at St. Augustine on the 5th day of July AD 1882. That this fact is fixed from deponent being in attendance when another lady (now living here) at the same time….That she has been well and truly acquainted with claimant and knows she is now and always has remained the widow of the said Wm. G. Pappy since his death. And that the children to wit Arthur, Lotta & William are now living and that their mother the said Rosa G. Pappy has never remarried.”
General Affidavit. Deponent: Rosa G. Pappy, age about 40, St. Augustine: “That she is unable to furnish any church record of Baptism of the children or the evidence of birth from midwife relatin[g] to the time the said Arthur J. and Lotta Pappy were born as they were not christened in any church at the time of their birth and the midwife who was present at the time of their birth with affiant are both now dead. That affiant states that among her, the colored race, it is not the custom to carry children to churches for baptisms & when [it is] done any record is kept by such churches of the facts of record. And she is not able to say or does not know that her children were ever baptized.
“That to the best of her knowledge and belief the said Arthur J. Pappy was born August 7, 1871; Lotta Pappy Jan 16-1874 William G. Pappy July 07/82. And that these dates are taken from her family record.”
General Affidavit. Joseph A.S. Blanchard, age 30 St. Augustine, Charles Bram, age 44, St. Augustine, persons of lawful age, who being duly sworn, declare in relation to the aforesaid case as follows: “Joseph A.S. Blanchard when [under] oath states as follows, that he knew the three children of Rosa G. Pappy. Viz. Arthur [James?] Pappy, Lottie G. Pappy and William Lloyd Pappy. That the prior named…has been for several years alive as far as he knows and that the last alive are here in the city and are living today, and this he knows of his own personal knowledge.”
Charles Bram upon oath states as follows that “I knew Rosa G. Pappy, widow very well and her three children also- named Arthur James Pappy, Lottie G. Pappy and William Lloyd Pappy and that they continue here [?] they are alive today.”
Affidavit of Physician, L. Alexander, who Treated the Soldier in his Last Sickness: “I was the attending physician at the time of the above named soldiers death. He died on the 21st day of September, 1885. The immediate cause of his death was chronic disease of nervous system. I have been practicing medicine for 22 years. I first knew the soldier about the year 1880. I first treated him professionally
Further testimony of Joseph A.S. Blanchard age 30 St. Augustine, Charles Bram age 43 St. Augustine. Charles Bram states: “That he knows Rosa G. Pappy the claimant well and has know her ever since the death of her late husband and knows of this of his own personal knowledge that she has never been remarried since the death of her husband, and that she is still a widow at the present date.”
Joseph A.S. Blanchard states: “that he knew the late Wm. Pappy very well he also knows Rosa G. Pappy very well. Has known her since the death of her husband, and known her to be a widow, she has never remarried, and is still a widow at the present time and this he knows of his own personal knowledge.”
General Affidavit: James Lee Sanders, age 29 St, Augustine, James J. Johnson, age 32, testify: “James Lee Sanders upon oath states that he knows Rosa G. Pappy very well. Knows [her] to be dependent upon her own labor for a supplement that she has no property nor has any income and this he knows of his own personal knowledge. James J. Johnson upon oath states that he knows Rosa G. Pappy for five years. Knows of his own personal knowledge she has no property nor has any means of supplement and that she depends upon her own labor for support.”
General D. Ruggles, Assistant Adjutant General, The Commissioner of Pensions, wrote to the Adjutant General’s Office, War Department, Washington, D.C. , on Dec. 20, 1881:
“I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your request of Nov. 22nd, 1881, for consideration of application for Pension No. 354.305 and to return in herewith, with the following information from the records of this office.
“It appears from the Rolls of U.S. Colored Troops on filed in this office that William Pappy was enrolled on the 13th day of June, 1863, at Fernandina, Fla, in Co A, 21st Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, to serve 3 years, or during the war, and mustered into service as a Private on the 30th day of Aug., 1863, at Fernandina, Fla., in Co. A. 21st Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, to serve 3 years, or during the war. On the Muster Roll of Co. A of that Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, to serve 3 years, or during the war. On the Muster roll of Co. A of that Regiment, from origin to Aug. 31, 1863, he is reported present for duty; Sept and Oct, absent with remark, “On daily duty, Drummer S.C. no 6, Oct 31’63. Without leave since Oct 19’63, at St. Augustine, Fla.” from Oct 31 ’63 to Aug 31 ’64, present “On daily duty as Drummer.” From Aug. 31 ’63 to Feb’y 28 ’66, present for duty.
“He was mustered out of service with Co. A April 25th, 1866, at Charleston, S.C.
“Co. A was stationed at Morris Island, S.C. form April to Dec. 1864, No evidence of alleged Hernia on Co. or Regt. Records on file in this office. Co. morning report Bk. Oct. 13 ’63 show him “on leave of absence St. Augustine, Fla.” Nov. 16 ’63 “returned duty” May 19 ’65 ‘at Regt’l Hd. Qrs.” Co. Return for May ’65 show him “Sick at Gen’l Hosp’l, Hilton Head, S.C.” June and July ’65 “on duty at Reg’tl Hd. Qrs.” Aug. ’65 “to clerk”.
William Pappy: Hospital Statement. “I hereby certify that I am claimant for Pension No 354.305 I was late of Company A, 21st Regiment U.S.Col. Troops Vols, and the following is a full, true and correct statement of all treatment, received by me while in the service and in line of duty on Morris Island Charleston, S.C. during the fall of 1864, Reg’t Hos’p 21st U.S.Colored was returned to duty (light) same year, and continued at such. Until Spring of 1865.”
“Given this 30th day of December 1881, and I further state my Post Office address is Saint Augustine, Fla. State of Florida. “I was enlisted on the 13th day of June, 1863, to serve three (3) years, or during the war, was discharged on the twenty-fifth (25) day of April 1866 in consequence of muster out of Regiment.
“During the fall of 1864 I was seriously injured while in the line of duty and in the service of the United States, by lifting solid shot and while under the immediate observation of the commissioned and non commissioned officers in charge. The said accident happening to me at the time on Morris Island, Charleston Harbor, Charleston, S.C. and while a member of a…[general duty party] and in consequence of which I was immediately removed to Hospital (Regimental 21st U.S.Colored Troops). Said Hospital being situated on the above named island, where I was first treated by my Regimental and assisted by his Ass’t Surgeon, named respectively Drs. Hawks and Roberts. And who while under their treatment, prescribed to me for Rupture (“Hernuei”) and from which at date of working 30th of December 1881, am not wholly recoved. And which I fear I have to carry with me to my grave and which also deters me from making anything like a livelihood for myself and family.
“I remained in Hospital on Morris Island Two (2) weeks, or more, and was then reported by US Surgeon in charge available for light duty in qr’s [quarters] only. Which generally consisted of minding the Gen Racks, Room Orderly, Kitchen [Polves?] Etc. in which capacity I acted for three (3) or four (4) weeks longer and was then returned to duty by the Doctor.
“Soon after the Regiment was ordered to take post at the Citadel, Charleston, SC whither I accompanied it. When soon afterwords, probably a week or more, I was again taken sick from my former injury and was taken into Hospital in the Citadel (Post) from which after three (3) weeks, I was again returned to light duties, and at which times to date of discharge I continued acting through. On Company morning report for duty I was excused from all duties, which involved lifting or hauling heavy substances. I am sorry to state, that from my entry into the service until my discharge from the same, I was kept in total ignorance of my surroundings, not having the benefit of an education. I only knew when to go to work or drill. And do as I was told by those appointed over me according to the rule and article of war. The above facts are known to a good many of my old companions in arms. Be they living or dead. Those of the former will vouch for my truthfulness in this my statement. Trusting my state will merit my claim, I remain
Claimants Affidavit. Deponent: Rosa G. Pappy. Date Stamped May 28, 1890. Saith “That she was in error in her deposition made for pension relative to the birth of her children to wit: Arthur J. and Lotta Pappy, as so much as the party who prepared the affidavit misunderstood her in saying that Arthur J. was born Aug 1870, It should have read Aug 7 1871. And that Lotta was born June 1872-It should have read Jan’y 16 1874, that the dates were truly stated then, as now. But by some clerical error to affiant unknown they were differently set forth and she prays this correction. That affiant further says that her family record she has is only made up of an entry made by comparing dates with neighbors whose children were born about the same time as deponents. That it is no family Bible and it is not such a record as she could have verified by or in any count. That this is the only evidence she can give about the birth of her children.”
George E. Lemon, Counsellor at Law, Solicitor of Patents and Claims, 615 Fifteenth Street, N.W., (Citizens National Building), P.O. Drawer 325, Washington, D.C., Aug. 13, 1890.
“Dear Rosa G. Pappy,
“I hardly think Mr. Natteel can reconcile the statement he now makes with his former evidence and with the sworn declaration for pension of William Pappy the deceased soldier. Mr. Natteel formally testified the soldier “incurred injury to spine or nervous shock by his horse jumping a ditch”, and he now supplements that evidence by a state that the soldier incurred a rupture at that time. The soldier himself alleged that his rupture was caused by overlifting and carrying shell and shot in the ordinance department at Morris Island. It would seem therefore that Mr. Natteel must be in error as to the origin of the rupture. Comrades Morris and Jackson state that the soldier incurred “internal injuries” by being thrown from his horse. The soldier never gave the date when he incurred the rupture but his comrades can supply that omission.
“Get me the evidence of comrades showing that the soldier was detailed for duty in the ordinance department at Morris Island and giving the month and year if they can; that at the time he was dispatched he was sound and free from any rupture and that when he returned to the company he was ruptured and said he incurred it by heavy lifting in the ordinance department and they should describe how the rupture looked, and where located; and if it is a fact. They should [further?] state that on account of said rupture he was detailed as a mounted calvary at Regimental head quarters. State under oath why you cannot furnish an affidavit from Arthur, and ask the Department to adjudicate the claim as evidence on file. The soldier stated he was treated by Dr. Hawks for rupture. His address is Dr. John M. Hawks, Hawks Park, Fla. I shall write him today, and you should endeavor to get the evidence of Lieut. George Hopper, Pleasant Walby, N.Y. and Sergeant Jerry Thomas of Fernandina, Fla. I think we can get this matter straightened out and satisfactorily explained.”
Letter from Wm. H. Hannahan, Comander, Post 15 P St Sheridan Ga. Post Box 77,
Sept 28th 1890.
“Dear frend your letter to our Late frend Jery Thomas has Ben Received and ar very Sory to Say that he has Ben dad over two years his widdoe Lent your letter to me as Being the Sergent Major of the Same Regiment 21st USCT I can only Slightly remember that he was returned to his company Sick after the Experbihen But canot relat to you at present by hos it ocard But as soon as I can meet wit Some of our comrade whose Belongin to the Company I Shal rite you at one
Respectfully yours, William H. Hannahan.”
Deposition A. Case of Rosa G. Pappy, No. 394141. January 23, 1891. St. Augustine, Florida. Deponent: Rosa G. Pappy: “I am about 40 years old, a housekeeper, residence South Charlotte St. St. Augustine, Fla., which is my P.O. Address. I was born and raised here in this town and this has been my home all life, except-short absences.
“I claim pension as the widow of Wm. Pappy who was a private in Co. A 21 Regt U.S.C.Troops, and who died in this place Sept 21, 1885 of fits of nervous trouble that appeared to come from his privates. All his misery appeared to come from his privates.
“He was ruptured before I married him. He told me that he got ruptured while in the army, but I cannot tell how he got his rupture. I often heard him tell about being thrown from a horse, but whether he got ruptured that way, or in some other way, I cannot tell. I became acquainted with him soon after he came out from the war, and ever since I knew him he complained of being ruptured, and when I married him I knew he was then wearing a truss.
“I was married to him in Jacksonville, Florida, March 6, 1871 at the house of my Mother, Mrs. Lucy Lee, previously Goff. Her first husband (my father) was named Jeffrey Goff and after he died mother married John Lee who was killed in the army, and mother drew a pension as his widow until she died.
“I was married by Wm. N. Sampson, a Methodist-minister (colored) Elie DeLion, a barber now of Jacksonville Fla, was there and stood up with us. [My] Husband was a Barber and had always lived here so far as I know, and was always a Barber since I knew him. I never knew him to try to do any other kind of work. He never had any fits until about the time when I had my last boy (William) some 8 years ago.
“He had no serious sickness from [?] or any disease, that I know of, during all the time that I knew him until then, except- that trouble from his rupture and his bowels coming down. That was all his trouble but at times he would be laid up, unable to work at his [?] on account of that trouble. He had kind of a bag or sack that he wore the carry his testicles in and then straps came up around him this way (indicating) about his hips.
“Dr. Shine of this city used to tend husband some, but D. L. Alexander was the last Doctor we had, and knew all about husbands death, and I got the evidence from him to send on to Washington.
“No sir I have not lived or cohabitated with any man since the death of my husband. I have supplements myself and cared for my children mostly by hard work, washing and ironing. Sometimes I rent a large house like this and rent-out rooms. I have two rooms rented now, a man and his wife in one room and two men in the other. I have not remarried was never married but that once and my late husband was never married before he married me.
“Our first child Arthur J. Pappy was born about six (6) months after we were married. I had a record of all my childrens ages, down on a sheet of writing paper, I never made any Bible record, I gave that sheet of paper to Mr. Harry Atkins him, who helped make out the papers. And he got into some difficulty here and went off and take it with him. Arthur Jr. will be 20 years old next (Aug (7th)91) Lotta was 17 years old last week (Jan16th/91) Wm was 8 years old the 5th of last July. All my children were christened in the Episcopal Church here on King St opposite the Catholic Church. I think they keep a record of the christenings at that church. It is a white folks church.
“Those there children are all we ever had.
“Husbands brother Frank Pappy was in the same Co I think and Frank’s wife ‘Bell’ Pappy of this city followed them around in the army and was up on Morris Island S.C. with them. Frank Pappy is dead. His brother Antonie E. Pappy of this city was also with him. I frequently heard husband speak of a comrade of his Co. named Jerry Thomas, and I wrote to Fernandina to find out about Mr. Thomas and got this letter from Sgt Maj Wm H. Hannahan, which I hand you, saying that Jerry Thomas is dead.”
“I know of no doctor now living who [?] husband before he had his trouble from fits except Dr. Shine of this city. Dr. Miller came in and [?] him some when he had the fits, and that trouble, and then at the last we had Dr. Alexander. Dr. Miller has gone away to China. We had no regular family doctor, when husband was ailing he generally would see Dr. Shine, and when I was confined we had women doctors.”
Q. How was your husband effected by his fits?
A. “They would come on him when he would be apparently all right, would be talking and he would go right down. Would generally be stiff and foam at the mouth. Would sometimes be kicking or jerking. His nervous spells would last from 5 to 10 minutes sometimes the blood would gush from his nose. I think the Doctors called it Epilepsy.”
Q. Was he a drinking man did he habitually use intoxicants?
A. “I know he drank liquors, but we never had any fuss about liquor. He never got drunk, could always attend to his work. He had some trouble with his eyes and could not see well and wore glasses. Green glasses for a week or two before he died. His brother A.E. Pappy worked with him in the shop.”
Q. Who were your most intimate neighbors here before your husbands death?
A. “I lived in our house for over ten years. On a St between Charlotte and St George Streets, called St Francis St. Our newest neighbors were John Sherman & wife who now live on Charlotte St near the old [Green?] Club House. Mr. and Mrs. Angelo of this vicinity were neighbors then. Mrs. Cobett the Mother of Sawyer Cobett, and the Lawyer himself knew my husband well. They still live on St. Francis Street.
“Just before husband died he got crazy like and was out of his mind for about a week or two. I thought it was from worry because he could not attend to his business.”
Deposition C. January 24, 1891. St. Augustine, Fla. Deponent: L. Alexander, M.D. “I am 49 years old, a physician and surgeon of practice since 1869, a regular graduate of medicine. I knew the dec’d husband of the cl’t off and on for three or four years prior to his death. Would treat him at time when his family would come in and say Doctor he was drunk yesterday.
“I never saw him when under the influence of liquor so as to be suffering from delirium tremors but would hear of his living so affected at times. I never knew anything about his being ruptured, unit a long time after his death.
“At the time of his death I was not called to see him until he was in a comatose state. I made the statement relative to cause of death which your have and it is as correct, as I could make it from my knowledge of the case. I do not think the immediate cause of death of decedent was due to nervous difficulty due to either rupture or [varicile?], as during the time he was under my care and observation.”
Deposition G. January 24, 1891. St. Augustine, Fla. Deponent: Wm. F. Shine: “I am 52 years old a physician and surgeon of 33 years practice a regular graduate. I have known this Clt her husband and family ever since she had a family. If the deceased’s husband had rupture an [?] or other like [?] I never knew anything if it. My only treatment of the deceased was for the effects of whisky, and I understood that Dr. Alexander also attended him for trouble from delirium tremors of which he died.”
Deposition H. January 27, 1891. Ormand, Florida. Deponent: Harry F. Flowers: “I am 43 years old, a carpenter, residence and P.O. Address is at Mandarin, Duval County, Fla.
“They told me he drank pretty hard toward the last of his life.”
Deposition M. January 27, 1891. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Wm. Josie” “I am 71 years old a carpenter residence and P.O. address as above. I was with the Regiment from muster in to muster out. Except about six (60 mos in Hospl. as a Pr[v.] in Co A 21 U.S.C.T. and was with it on Morris Island, S.C. and afterward when at Charleston S.C. but I have no recollection of Wm. Pappy being hurt while in service.
“Comrade Jerry Thomas is dead. Comrade Ben Hatcher is now very sick. He lives 3 mile SE at a place called Buckfield. Monroe Green was the 1st Sergt. He is dead. Lt. Hooks was on the Genl’s staff. Geo. Floyd was 1st Sergt after Greene died.”
Deposition K. January 29, 1891. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Ryan Heagle. “I am 44 years old a drayman, residence and P.O. address as above. I served as a private in Co. A 21 U.S.C.Troops from Feb/65 until muster out in 1866.
“I first knew Wm. Pappy, the dec’d husband of the claimant at the citadel in Charleston, S.C. He was one of the first men I got acquainted with in the regt. He was there about Genl. [Schimlfigd?] headquaters and was mostly about there until our muster out. I do not remember that he did regular duty with our Co or as a drummer within while I with the Rgt.
“He complained a good deal about trouble with his back, but about his rupture I could not say. We would sometimes “skylark” (tussell) and he would tell me must not hold him to tight around his waist as his back has been hurt by a fall from his horse.
“I lived North after our dischg and he came south and I saw no more of him.”
Mrs. Rosalie G. Pappy, Widow of William Pappy (dec’d), Private Co A 21 Regt U.S. Colored Troops, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Fla. Jacksonville Fla. Jan. 31, 1891.
Further Notice Waived. Basis of claim: Widow completing claim made by soldier from disability from rupture, and also alleges soldier died from results of injury rec’d in service.
F. Bell, Special Examiner to Hon. Commissioner of Pensions,
“Herewith I return all papers with my report in the above cited claim which was referred for special examination as to general merits. The usual motions were duly served on the claimants; she was fully advised of her rights, but waived them and was not personal or represented at the examinations of any of the witnesses.
“She is a rather hard character, and keeping a “ranch” with her daughter and another girl where rooms and accommodations can be had if reports are to be relied on. The relations of the dec’d soldier are very much incensed against her and one of the brothers (A.E. Pappy) who is employed as a barber in the Ponce de Leon Hotel. Told me that prior to the death of decendant this [woman]- there would come and get the dec’d and take him away and she (claimant) would [lall?] him [ye?].
“That they were intending to take him away from her and have him cared for but meanwhile he died suddenly. And they laid the matter before the Grand Jury with a view to having the [Claimant] indicted [?] but as no proof-motion was made they had not sufficient evidence to secure her indictment and the matter was not pursued any further.
“He [?] that although a member of same Co. as his dec’d brother yet- he was away on detail in the 2M Dept: and knew nothing of the alleged injury to the dec’d.
“From the evidence before me I am of the opinion that the widows claim is without merit: being barred under the general law by the fact that his death was not due to his army service, and the claim cannot be considered under the Act 27 June 1890 for the reason that one claim under that act has been filed.
“As respects to claim for purpose which was pending at time of soldiers death it would seem from the widows account of his disability, that it was more in the nature of [venereal] than a rupture, but as no medical examination was done it [would] probably be difficult to determine the nature of that difficulty or the extent of disability, if any, resulting there from. I could only learn of one attempt by the dec’d to perform manual labor since his army service and that was abandoned in less than a week. (See Dep. B of Wm Natteel).
“From the evidence before me I am fully convinced that the decedent was injured in some manner by the alleged fall from his horse, but that is no impossible to determine the nature and extent of same.
“I am also satisfied that his death was due to excessive use of intoxicants, and not to his army service.
“1st Sergt. Geo. Floyd was absent on his business as a fisherman and date of return uncertain, hence I did not see him. Comrade Isaac Pope was seen but knew nothing of the merits of this claim, Ben Hatcher was very sick in bed.
“As it is impossible to determine what portion of soldier disability if any, was due to his army service I am of opinion that the pending claims must be rejected, and I recommend submission for rejection for reasons stated.”
Deposition F. January 24, 1891. St. Augustine, Florida. Deponent: Mrs. Bell Culley (formerly Pappy): “I am 48 years old. A cook for Mrs. G. R. Cooly of St. Geo St near City Gates, in St. Augustine Fla. which is my P.O. address. My first husband was Frank Pappy a brother of Wm Pappy the dec’d husband of the cl’t. I married Frank Pappy before his enlistment and went with him, with the Regt all through his service. He died after the war from consumption. I married John Culley after Frank Pappy died but John deserted me about 7 years since. I was a widow about 3 years.
“Have never applied for a pension. I know that Wm Pappy my bro-in-law complained of being hurt in his privates while riding a horse and doing duty as orderly, in the spring of 1865. about the time Genl Sherman was coming around back of Charleston S.C. and while our troops on Morris Island were trying to get into the City. But I cant tell the exact date and I know only what he told me about it.
“After the war I did not see much of him. He was a barber here after the war I never saw him have any crazy spell.”
Deposition D. January 24, 1891. St. Augustine, Florida. Deponent: Mrs. Harriet Pappy: “I am about 74 years old, a housekeeper, a widow and live with my son Alfonso A. Pappy on Corner of Onieda & Weldon Streets, St. Augustine Fla., which is my post office address. I am the mother of the dec’d husband of the Clt. I had five sons, Frank, John, Wm Antony E Sumings, and Alfonso A. Pappy.
“Frank, Wm and Antony were all in the army in the same Co and Regt.”
Q. What disability, if any, did your son Wm incur while in the army.
A. “He was all-right when he first came back from the army. He made his home with me for quite a while after his return, before he got married. Sometime after his return from the army, I think it was while we were living out on Garrison St Next door to Mr Natteels, I think William hurt himself in some way lifting, strained himself so he passed blood for a spell. That was the first I ever knew knew of his having anything the matter with his urinary organs or his privates. I think he ruptured himself then. I do not remember what doctors he had if any.
“I cannot tell how long it has been since Wm commenced to have those crazy spells, but it was not until after he got married. His wife went off to NY at one time, and left him, and he got to [fretting] and came up to where I lived in Mr. Bravott –house in Hospital St one night and was wild and crazy like but was sensible after he got better.
“We had no doctor, just did what we could for him. After that he did not have another spell for some four or five years.
“After awhile his wife this claimant got to running with a black man named Gabe Williams and Wm would try to break up that connection, and would fret about it and get to drinking, and that would make him have those crazy spells, and he had only two of those spells and then he had the one that killed him.
“I attended to him to my best, his wife would not go into the room to look at him when call to her, and after they had put him in his coffin she would not go in to look at him after he was dead.”
Q. Has she been running around or living with that Gabe Williams or any other man, since the death of your son William?
A. “I think Gabe Williams got married shortly after my Wm died, but I do not know whether Rosa (cl’t) has been living with any other mean since then or not. She does not visit here and I do not know anything about her doings.”
Declaration for Original Pension of a Widow-Child or Children under Sixteen Years of Age Surviving. On this __ day of May, A.D, one thousand eight hundred and ninety one personally appeared before me Frank Hambler Notary Public with and for the county and State aforesaid, Rosalie G. Pappy aged 40 years, who, being duly sworn according to law, makes the following declaration in order to obtain the pension approved by Acts of Congress granting pensions to widow: “That she is the widow of William Pappy who enlisted under the name of William Pappy at Fernandina, Florida, on the 15th day of January, A.D. 1863 in Company A 21st United States Colored Vols in the war of the rebellion, who (died in St. Augustine, Florida September 21st A.D. 1885.) having been sick from apoplexy and died from the effects thereof on the twenty first day of September, A.D. 1885, who bore at the time of his death the rank of a private, in the service aforesaid; that she was married under the name of Rosalie Goff to said William G. Pappy on the sixth day of March, A.D. 1871, by Rev. William W. Sampson at Jacksonville, Fla., there being no legal barrier to such marriage; that neither she nor her husband had been previously married that she has to the present date remained his widow; that the following are the names and dates of birth of all his legitimate children yet surviving who were under sixteen years of age at the father’s death, to wit:
William Lloyd Pappy, born July 5th 1882
Lottie Pappy, born January 17th, 1874
Arthur J. Pappy, born January 1st, 1872
“That she has not abandoned the support of any one of his children, but they are still under her care or maintenance that she has not in manner been engaged in, or aided or abetted, the rebellion in the United States; that no prior application has been filed that she hereby appoint Frank Hambler of St. Augustine, Fla her attorney to prosecute her claim; that her residence is Marine street, and that her post-office address is St. Augustine, Florida.
General Affidavit. August 11, 1891. Nelson McMiller, aged 34, Residence St. Augustine, Florida. Post Office Address St. Augustine, Fla., and Joseph A.S. Blanchard Aged 29, Residence St. Augustine, Florida. Post Office Address St. Augustine, Fla. “That Mrs. Rosa G. Pappy has no other present means of support than her daily labor and that she has not remarried since the death of her husband William Pappy.”
Corroborating evidence obtained from church records. “This certifies that on April 12th 1874 Rev. Wm, Munford Rector of Trinity, Prof. Espi. Church, St. Augustine Fla. baptized Arthur James Pappy born Aug. 7th, 1871 and Lottie Gertrude Pappy, born Jan. 16, 1874. Also, that on August 6th, 1882 Rev. E. Roote Rector of Trinity Ch. baptized William Lloyd Pappy born July 5, 1882. Copied from Parish Record by Rev. J.E. Julian in charge pres. Term. Aug 18th, 1892. J.E. Julian.
Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: DOLLY ROGERS
Pablo Rogers was born free at St. Augustine, Florida, and lived there until the Civil War. He must have been forcibly drafted into labor service for the Confederate efforts to install artillery at St. Johns Bluff in Duval County to bar Union gunboat access to the St. Johns River, as he says he “run away” from the battery when General Finnegan was in command. He succeeded in escaping to Fernandina and enlisted in Co. A, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, probably in June of 1863. He served for nearly three years and returned to make Fernandina his postwar home.
In 1911, one year after Rogers died, his widow, Dolly Rogers, applied for a widow’s pension. The subsequent investigation opens windows on the prewar life of both Pablo Rogers and Dolly Rogers. Noteworthy are persistent efforts by the examiner to the marital history of Dolly, a former slave, and Pablo Rogers, a former free black. Whether or not Dolly Rogers was legally married to a former slave named Philip McCann, and whether or not they were legally divorced—if married—became major issues to the investigator. According to Dolly, when Philip and I stood up together [there] in the white folks yard,” that did not amount to a legal and binding marriage, even though the couple produced three children during their relationship.
Dolly Rogers told the investigator that she gave birth to a daughter at age fourteen, while still a slave owned by William Clark., and that her owner, that same William Clark, was the father of the child. When she was herself still a child, she was told that her own father was named Raphael Torus [spelling may not be right], but said “I never saw him to know him. My mother was Betty James, that was her last husband’s name.” For whatever reason, the investigator did not ask any follow up questions.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION
Deposition B. June 21, 1901. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Pablo Rogers. “I couldn’t tell you about my age. I was a boy six years old when the stars fell. (1833) My post office address is Fernandina, Fla. Ever since I come out of the army I has been a fisherman. I was born and raised on St. Augustine, Fla. I was a soldier during the war of the rebellion. I joined here at Fernandina, Fla. I enlisted in Co. A. 21st Rgt. U.S.C.T. I do not remember the date I enlisted. I do not remember the date of my discharge. I was in the Army for three years.
“Col. [Liberty] Billings had my discharge papers and he died with yellow fever and then his wife went-away and carried my discharge papers with her. I wanted him to see about my pension is the way he came to have my discharges. The name of my first Capt. was Davis, but he was always on recruiting service and 1st Lieut. Dow acted Capt. nearly all the time I was in service. My Ord. Sgt. at that time was – Green, he died at Charleston, S.C. with smallpox. My [?] Sgt. was Geo. Floyd. One of my comrades who enlisted from St. Augustine was [?], his name was Pablo Gray. He was the only one who enlisted with me from St. Augustine at the same time. Frank Pappy from St. Augustine belonged to the same company. There are a number of men who belong to the same company with me. Henry Hannahan, the Drum Major, Washington Little, Tony Allen, Wm. Josie, Richard Thomas, all live here and belonged to my company.
“I do not know what age I gave when I was in the Army. I was so rejoiced to go in I believe I said I was twenty. I was a enlisted man and had a family when I was in the Army. I was a free born man. I have never changed my name. There was no other Pablo Rogers in my rgt. There was never another Pablo Rogers here in Fernandina, since the war. I was discharged on Morris Island and I came to Fernandina, and have lived here ever since. I do not remember when I put in my claim first. It has been a good while ago. I think Lawyer Latimer was my agent in Washington then, Mr. Bickford is now my lawyer. I have been before the “Board of Doctors” of Jacksonville, Fla. time to be examined.
“I do not remember the time of I was there first. It has been a good while ago. I do not remember whether I was asked as to my age. I do not remember what I told them. I remember it was two years ago when I was before the board the last time. I remember they asked my age and I told them I was [?] three. The Doctor said you are older than that and then I believe I told them I was seventy six and after some talk I said well Doctor I do not know my age. I remember seeing the stars fall . I am sure I was six years old then.
“I run away from the St. Johns Batt’y [Battery] Gen. Finnegan in command. He was at Mayport, Fla. and I got to Fernandina, Fla. from there and enlisted in the 21st rgt. USCT. When I came here I found Pablo Gray from St. Augustine and we enlisted together. I have not got any brothers living. The Pappy’s that I remembered as being from St. Augustine joined me as recruits. They were man boys I did not know any of them until they came to the Rgt. I have never seen any of them since the war….
“I am claiming a pension under the “Act of June 27, 1890” I not claim any pension of any disability contracted in the Army. I am a married man. I was married to Dolly McCann here at Fernandina, by Lewis Cook. I do not remember the date. I have a son now married, who is along about 22 or 23 years of age. I had been married before I went in the war. My fist wife died during the war. I did not marry again until I married Dolly McCann. My wife had been married to Philip McCann her maiden name was Dolly Dewes [Dewees]. Philip McCann is living. They could not agree and so they separated. My wife got a divorce from Philip McCann, at Fernandina, I have not got any children under sixteen years of age.”
Deposition A. Case of Dolly Rogers, No. 960113. December 15, 1911. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Dolly Rogers: “I am about 68 years of age; my post office address is Fernandina, Fla. I do day work for people about town. I am the identical person who applied for a pension as the widow of Pablo Rogers, who died in Fernandina one year ago this month. I do not recall the exact date of his death but he died on a Monday. He was getting a pension but I do not recall in what company or regiment he served. No, I have not remarried or lived with any man as his wife since my husband died. I have not been called by any other name than Dolly Rogers since my husband’s death.
“I was sold as a grown woman about the beginning of the Civil War. My last owner was Dolly Clark, and went by the name of my mistress and I was known by that name until after freedom then I “done” for a man named Philip McCann. I went by his name but I was never married to him by any kind of ceremony. McCann and I took up together and we stayed together for about 3 or 4 years. We both lived at the same house and I cooked and washed for him, and was called ‘Mrs. McCann.’”
Question: Did you and McCann live as husband and wife, that is, were your relations just the same as if you had been married by a ceremony?
Answer: “Our relations were the same as if we had been married, until he left me and went to Jacksonville, where it was said he died. We lived together here in Fernandina; I had two children by him, one of them, Femie King, is living now. Her husband is Samuel King, and they live in Savannah, Ga. King is a waiter, but I do not know his street address. The other child was Charlie McCann, and he died 15 or 16 years ago right here. They were the only children I had by McCann.
“I had only one child, Betsy Clark, during slavery time. Her father was my owner, William Clark. Betsy has been dead many years. She was born while I was a slave, and was about 14 years old when she died right here in Fernandina. She died before I married my last husband, and I only had three children before I married my last husband. I was born at St. Augustine, and I was told that my father was named Raphael Torus? I never saw him to know him. My mother was Betty James; that was her last husband’s name. She died last August, no, two years ago.
“During the war I was known as Clark, after my owner and carried that name until I took up with McCann, and used his name until I was married to Pablo Rogers. I don’t recall the date or year of marriage but I got a copy of the record. I have one sister, Louisa Harrow, a widow, at Gainesville, Fla. Lewis Murry, and Walter Glover, brothers at Gainesville. We all had the same mother but different fathers. I lived at Gainesville until the second year after freedom then came here and have been here since. I took up with McCann after I came here.”
Question: What became of McCann after he left you?
Answer: “I saw him once after he left me; he came back here to see his mother, Malinda McCann. She is dead. I only saw him the one time. I understand when he left here he went to Jacksonville, and I heard that he died in Jacksonville; I heard of his death before I married Rogers. He has no living brothers, yes there is one living, Stephen McCann, who lives in the country across the drawbridge. Then he has one living sister, Ellen [?], a widow, who lives out in the country same as Stephen. Washington Littles knew me right after I married Rogers but I do not know whether he knew me while I was living with McCann.”
Question: What parties have known you [since] you came here about 1867?
Answer: “Della Johnson and Lewis Spalding knew me but they are dead. Stephen McCann and his sister Ellen have known me right straight along. There is an old lady name Small, I cannot think of her first name, who lives near me has known me a long time. I cannot think of any others.
“I first know Pablo Rogers after I came here. He was a married man then; his wife was named Charlotte. I found them here living together when I came, they stayed together until she died right here in town. She died 3 or 4 years before I married him. I do not recall in what year she died. She is buried in the Old Town Cemetery. I do not know of any brothers or sisters of Charlotte, and I never saw any of their children; they did not have any that I know of. I am sure that Charlotte was living after I came here and she did not die until 3 or 4 years before I was married to Pablo. She and myself were the only wives I know of him having and I am sure that Charlotte was dead before he married me. I was at her funeral and I am sure that she was buried at the Old Town Cemetery. I do not know of any living brothers or sisters of my husbands. He had brothers and sisters at Key West, but they are all dead; if any of them are living I do not know it. They were Mary Rogers, I have seen her, and Fred Rogers. There was another brother but I have never seen either of the brothers. John [Shays], here in town, Mose Taylor, Washington Little, Stephen Wright, and Ab. Pierson all knew him about the time or before I did.
“I lived with my husband from the time of our marriage until my husband died. We lived in Fernandina all the time, and the parties named would know that we stayed together. We were never apart for more than a week or so at a time; my husband was a fisherman and would be away from me sometimes a week or so, but there was never any legal separation.”
Question: Have you seen or heard that Philip McCann was alive after you and Rogers were married, tell me the truth about this matter?
Answer: “I have not seen him since Rogers and I were married, and I am not sure if I heard of his death before or after I married Rogers. I did not consider him my husband and did not pay any attention to him after he left me. I was never divorced from Philip McCann.”
Question: Did you have any other name than Clark or McCann before you were married to Rogers?
Answer: “I belonged to William Dewes [Dewees] and he or at least his wife, sold me to the Clarks. I have read my husbands statement but he has made a mistake for he lived with Charlotte after I knew him and stayed with her until she died a few years before our marriage. While I did live with McCann, I was never married to him and we were not divorced. If Philip McCann was living about 10 years ago, I do not know anything about it. He did not serve in the U. S. Army or Navy. I had three children by Rogers; the youngest is about 27 or 28 years of age.”
Question: Do you know of any parties who have seen McCann after you last saw him?
Answer: “His brother or sister might have seen him after I did. Nathan Bickford of Washington is my attorney.”
Deposition C. December 16, 1911. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Ellen Curtsey. “My age about 63 years. I was about 13 when the war started. Address Fernandina, Fla. A house wife. My husband is Jonas Curtsey, who cuts wood and does odd jobs. My maiden name was Ellen McCann; that was my name before I was married.”
Question: Have you a brother named Philip?
Answer: “I had a brother named Philip McCann who died 3 or 4 years ago in Jacksonville. It might have been five years ago. He was sick in a hospital and an old man named Richard Small, who is dead, came here and told me that Philip was dead.”
Question: Was Philip ever married?
Answer: “Yes, he was married. His wife was named Dolly; she is Dolly Rogers now and lives in town. She and Philip were a married at Stark (sic), Fla., soon after the war. I lived at Stark (sic) and I was present when my brother married her. They were married at my mothers house, and they went through a regular ceremony. They had a preacher marry them, I think Parson Dupree married them. I am sure they were married by a ceremony, and it was soon after the war. They stayed together at Stark[e] about two years, then they moved down here.”
Question: About how long did they live together here?
Answer: “They stayed together some years here; some considerable while, but about how many years I do not know.”
Question: What happened then; were they parted or divorced?
Answer: “They parted; they could not agree and separated. They were not divorced that I know of. I never heard anything about them being divorced or whether they went to the court and got a legal separation. She was afterwards married to Pablo Rogers and she stayed with him until he died last year or early this year. I never knew of them being parted. They lived here together. She has been here ever since she came from Starke with my brother. She went by the name of McCann until she married Rogers.
“I have not seen Philip for more than 10 years. He lived here awhile and then went to Jacksonville. If he ever married again I never knew of it. He never had any other name than Philip McCann. He was born in Nassau Co., and was about 3 years older than me. My father was Jeff. McCann and my mother was Linda. His parents were the same. My brother had never been married before he married Dolly, and I do not think she had been married before. They had two girls Femie and Dora, and a son, Charley. He is dead, and Dora died when a baby. Femie is now married to a man named King. Dolly had a girl named Betsy who died during the time of the yellow fever over 20 years ago. I am sure my brother was married to Dolly by a regular ceremony, and if they were ever divorced, I do not know anything about it, but if they had been divorced I would have heard of it. Dolly is the only woman I know of Pablo Rogers having, I had seen him before she was married to him, but did not know of any other wife. I have not heard that she remarried or lived with a man as his wife since Pablo died. I only have one brother living; Stephen.”
Deposition D. December 16, 1911. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Stephen McCann: “I am 54 years old, address Fernandina, Fla. I work on the dock as a laborer.”
Question: Have you a brother named Philip McCann?
Answer: “I had a brother name Philip McCann, but I do not know if he is living now or not. I heard a rumor about 8 or 9 years ago that he died but I never could get the straight of it, and I do not know where he died or when. I last saw him about 15 years ago; he lived here up to that time and had been working here. He went to Jacksonville from here, and I have not seen him anymore. I do not recall who told me about his death but it was folks from Jacksonville. He only had the one name; Philip McCann.”
Question: Was Philip ever married or did he live with any woman and refer to her as his wife, that you know of?
Answer: “He was married to Dolly McCann, she was his first wife and they were separated for years, she was his first wife, and she is living on the Island somewhere. She afterward married Pablo Rogers. Yes, I recall when she and my brother were living together. She went by the name of McCann before she married Rogers, and she and my brother had a son and a daughter. The son was Charley McCann; he is dead, and the girl is Femie McCann, she has been married twice and I do not know what her last husband is named, or where Femie is living now.”
Question: Did you understand that you brother and Dolly were married or did they just take up and live together?
Answer: “They were married at Stark[e] Bradford Co., Fla. I lived there at the time and it was not long after the Civil War. I was not grown, and was not present at the ceremony, but to the best of my knowledge they were married by ceremony at Stark. They stayed at Stark for couple of years and then they came here, and they parted here. My brother did not marry again that I know of and he did not take up with another woman that I know of; he did not have another wife while he lived here.”
Question: Did you ever hear that your brother and Dolly were divorced or did they simply part?
Answer: “They simply parted; I never head of any divorce. I never knew of either of them getting a divorce either here or at any other place. I did not pay much attention as to how long they had been parted before she married Rogers, I do not know about how many years they had been apart. I came here a little before them and this has been my home ever since. My brother and Dolly came here together; I am sure they were together before they came here, and I know my brother lived here up until about 15 years ago; it was something like that, and it was some years after he left here before I heard the rumor of his death. I never saw anyone who attended his funeral or saw him after his death. I never heard of him being at any place but Jacksonville after he left here. My brother was not a soldier or sailor during the war. I have heard read the statement of Pablo Rogers but I never heard of my brother and Dolly Rogers being divorced. I have been seeing her since she and Rogers were married and know that they lived together until he died last year. I never saw his first wife; it was the first time that my brother had been married and I never heard that she had been married before. They were married soon after the war closed, and I am sure it was at Stark. I have one sister living; Ellen Curtsey who lives 2 miles out of town on the Island. I have one half sister; Francis Stanley, at Waldo, Fla. Her husband was Berrian Stanley; he is dead. Francis is older than my sister and myself.”
Deposition E. December 16, 1911. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Charles McCrea,
Age 70 years. Address Fernandina, Fla. “Do odd jobs, was a farmer. I first knew Pablo Rogers in Jacksonville, Fla., before the Civil War. I knew him before the Indian War here in Florida, and knew him well up to his death last year. He was in the 21 Regt during the war and I was in Co. H 33 U.S.C. Inf. Pablo’s first wife was named Marge and he had her during slavery and she died during slavery. She died before he went in service. His next wife was Charlotte Hills. They were married along about the time of his discharge. Charlotte was living with John Hill when I enlisted in 1862, and when I came back here in 1867, she was living with Pablo Rogers. John Hills was killed during the war. Pablo referred to Charlotte as his wife, but I do not know how long they had been together when I came back here. He stayed with Charlotte until she died and she died here about 1869. That is as near as I can get at it. I was not right in Fernandina when she died, I was at sea then, but when I got back, Charlotte was dead, and about 2 years later he was married to Dolly McCann, she was Philip McCann’s wife. Charlotte had been dead 2 or 3 years before Pablo was married to Dolly.”
Question: It is shown that they were married in 1877?
Answer: “Well Charlotte must have died about 1873 or 4, because she died only a few years before Pablo married Dolly. I never heard Charlotte and Pablo were parted until she died. I never saw Charlotte after Pablo was living with Dolly, and to the best of my knowledge, Charlotte died right here in Fernandina. I do not know of any brothers or sisters of Charlottes.”
Question: What became of Philip McCann?
Answer: “He and Dolly parted and he went to Jacksonville from here and about one year ago he was said to be in Tampa. I never heard of his death. I saw a party about one year ago who said they saw Philip McCann in Tampa. They did not say what kind of work he was doing. I never heard that Philip and Dolly were divorced; they just parted, and she married Rogers about 2 years after she and Philip had parted. I never heard where she and Philip married, but they were living here as husband and wife. I never knew Charlotte under the name of Sutton; she was a Hills then Rogers. Dolly and Rogers stayed together until his death. Pablo and I were chums, and we had always been on intimate terms. I have been here since 1867. I am sure that I never heard that Philip McCann died. He has a brother and sister here in town.”
Deposition F. December 20, 1901. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Walter H. Glover.
Age 51 or 52 years. Address Arredonda, Fla. a farmer.
Question: Have you a sister named Dolly?
Answer: “Yes, Dolly Rogers. We had the same mother, Betty James, but different fathers. Dolly’s last husband was Pablo Rogers, and he died at Fernandina.”
Question: How many times has Dolly been married?
Answer: “She has only been married twice by my knowing. Her first husband was Philip McCann and he lives in Jacksonville now. I haven’t seen him for 15 or 20 years. I do not know anything personally about her marriage to Philip, and never heard when they were married or where. It has always been my understanding that they were married. They lived together when I was small. I only remember them being together at Fernandina. I do not know how they became unmarried; whether they were separated or divorced. I never heard whether they were divorced or not, never heard anything definite about that, but to the best of my knowledge they were married. I do not know whether Philip was married after he and Dolly parted, but I heard that he married again, I do not know anything definite about that. I do not know about how long after they parted before she married Rogers. I only remember one child she had by Philip and that was Femie. My sister Louisa Harrow, we call her Lula, is younger than me, I nursed her, and my brother Lewis Murry is 1 ½ years older than me. Dolly has no full brother or sister. If Philip died, I never heard it, he was in Jacksonville the last I heard of him.”
Deposition B. December 23, 1911. Fernandina, Florida. Deponent: Dolly Rogers.
Question: When and where did you first meet Philip McCann?
Answer: “I first met him during the war at a little place called Newnansville, the other side of Gainesville, Alachua Co., Fla. I had no care of him.”
Question: When did you first have the care of him and where?
Answer: “About two years after the war I came down here.”
Question: Who came here with you?
Answer: “I came here with my sister, Nancy Walker and her husband. They went to Virginia, think they went to Norfolk; I have not heard from them for ten years or longer. Her husband was Newton Walker. I do not whether they are living or dead.”
Question: When you first came here, from what place did you come?
Answer: “I came here from Gainesville.”
Question: Had you lived near in any other town near Gainesville?
Answer: “I lived at Starke 2 or 3 months, but my regular home was Gainesville, before I came here.”
Question: Is it not a fact that you lived with Philip McCann in Starke, and that you were married to him at his mother’s home at that place?
Answer: “Yes, it is a fact that I lived with him at Starke, but I did not stay there long with him. There was a white man going thru Starke and he read something out of a book while Philip and I stood up. We did not have any license to get married.”
Question: What was the idea in you and Philip standing up when the white man read something out of a book?
Answer: “I suppose it was Philip’s idea that we were getting married.”
Question: After the white man read something out of the book, did you start living with Philip or had you lived with him before?
Answer: “I ha[d] lived with him before that; I have not been with him long.”
Question: Were you known as Mrs. McCann when the book was read and you stood up with him?
Answer: “I did not go by the name McCann until I came here. At the time I came here Philip was at Cedar Key or somewhere down there fishing. I came here about 5 or 6 months before he came. We lived together after he came here, he was with his mother and father on the other side of the draw (about 3 miles from the town. I might have been here about 4 months before he came.”
Question: Where you and Philip McCann ever divorced or did you get a legal separation from each other?
Answer: “We never got a divorce or any legal separation; never had any action by the court.”
Question: The public record of you marriage to Rogers shows that your name was McCann before your marriage to Rogers!
Answer: “I was called McCann before I was married to Rogers. You have advised me that in 1901 Pablo told a special examiner that I had been married to Philip McCann, but I do not know who he could have said that. I have heard read the testimony of Ellen Curtsey and she is wrong about me marrying Philip at her mother’s house; she has made a mistake about saying that I lived at Starke for 2 years with Philip; I acknowledge that I did live there with him but not that long. When Philip and I stood up together were in the white folks yard, I do not remember the name of the white folks but there was only three of us present; Philip, the man who did the reading, and myself. Ellen lived at Starke then.”
Question: Who was Dora?
Answer: “She was McCanns child; I did not think it was necessary to say anything about her.”
Question: You told me before that you only had three children before you married Rogers?
Answer: “I did not think it was necessary to mention that one; I had 3 by McCann and 1 before I lived with him. I have heard read the testimony of Stephen McCann and he is mistaken about our marriage sure, and about Philip being here up until 15 years ago. I have heard read the testimony of Charles McCrea, and have no complaint to make about that. I have heard read the testimony of Walter Glover, I have no complaint to make but they are all mistaken about the marriage part. You have read me a copy of the record showing the fact of death of Phillip (sic) McCann at Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 3, 1901.”
Question: Have you any complaint to make about the conduct, manner or fairness of the examination of your claim?
Answer: “None except about that marriage to Philip.”
Question: Who was the white man who did the reading?
Answer: “I do not know his name. Philip and I had a falling out at Starke, and I told him we were not married. He went and got that white man and I think Philip paid the white to do the reading. We did not have a license to get married.”
Question: Were any other folks (colored) getting any licenses at the time?
Answer: “Not that I know of. That was after the war closed when Philip and I stood up.”
Report of Don E. Clarke, Special Examiner. Jacksonville, Fla., December 26, 1911.
“I have the honor to return all papers in pension claim, Wid. Org. No. 960,113, Dolly Rogers, widow of Pablo Rogers, Co A. 21 U. S. C. Inf., together with a report relative thereto. The papers were referred to the field to determine question of legal widowhood, and came to this district for the initial examination. The usual notice was served claimant, when all of her rights were fully explained. She did not desire to be present or represented when witnesses were seen, and waived right to further notice. All the testimony, and copy of death record, which evidence is adverse, has been read to her.
“The claimant alleged that she had not been married prior to her marriage to the soldier, and evidence was filed showing non-prior marriage on her part. According to the testimony secured in the field, the claimant was married to Philip McCann at Starke, Bradford, Co., Fla., about 1867. She lived with him at that place for a few months, then, it is claimed by her, McCann went to Cedar Keys fishing, and she went to Fernandina. He afterward joined her there and they lived together several years at Fernandina, when they parted and claimant afterward married the soldier, but McCann did not die until December 3, 1901, as shown by copy of record of death. On June 25, 1901, the soldier stated to Special Examiner [Davis] that claimant had been married to Philip McCann; that he was then living, “they could not agree and so they separated,” and “my wife got a divorce from Philip McCann here at Fernandina.” The claimant denies that there was a divorce, and as far as the witnesses knew, there was no divorce. In view of the fact that claimant denies divorce, I did not make search of the records, as they are in such shape that search is next to impossible. There is no book or docket record, the papers being bundled without being arranged and there were enough papers to fill 3 or 4 bushel baskets. The Clerk of the Court showed me the papers and told me to look over them if I wanted to, but in view of the testimony, a search did not appear to be warranted. I made personal inquiry at Starke relative to the marriage records and learned that the Court House, together with all marriage record, was burned in February 1875. Marriage license #1, is dated Dec. 20, 1876; and the land records, Book A. Page 1, the first entry is dated March 11, 1858, and the name changed to Bradford Co., Fla., Dec. 6, 1861. All records were also destroyed by fire in May 1865.
“This claimant bears a fair reputation but she was not frank about her relations with McCann. She had one child during slavery, and three while living with McCann. The only one now living is Femie King, wife of Samuel King, a waiter, at Savannah, Ga. I have obtained the testimony of a brother and sister of McCann’s; a half brother of claimants’s, and Charles McCrea, whom I learned was a close firend of the soldier. Louisa Harrow and Lewis Murray, half-sister and half-brother of claimants, about the same age as Glover, have removed to Winter Park, Fla., (Orange Co) but their testimony would have been cumulative. Della Johnson, BJ 10, Lewis Spalding, BJ 11 & 12, Ceasar Baker Inv BJ 8 and 12, and Cornelius Bell, Inv BJ 11 & 12, and Corneluis Bell, Inv BJ 6, are dead. George Floyd, Inv BJ 10 has left Fernandina and present whereabouts are not known. Washington Littles, BJ 9, Moses J. Taylor, loose affidavit, and Joshua Williams, Inv BJ 9, were absent from home when I called. I interviewed George Mullin, Inv BJ 11 but could learn nothing as he is an invalid and mind has failed.
“Consideration by the chief of Board of Review is recommended.”
September 28, 1914
“In response to a communication of the 15th instant from Mrs. P.R. Brady, you are advised that your above cited claim for pension under the Act of April 19, 1908, filed March 7, 1911, was rejected February 5, 1912 (and you were so notified) on the ground that you were not lawful wife of the soldier prior to June 27, 1890, as is required to give pensionable (sic) status under said Act.
“In order that you may fully understand your case, it is proper to add that it is shown by evidence on file that you married the soldier July 23, 1877 and lived with him to December 5, 1910, the date of his death. It is further shown by competent testimony on file that you married one Philip McCann in the year 1867; also that you were never divorced from said McCann and that he died December 3, 1901, hence, your marriage with the soldier was void at inception and you did not become his lawful wife until December 3, 1901.
“The rejection of your claim was in accordance with the law and the evidence on file and the same is adhered to.”
Very respectfully, G. M. SALIZGABER [?], Commissioner.
Dear sir I am write you to ask you to help me with my child I am in need I have five children and I not able to take care of them I am Begging for help wont you please help me my children are small one cant help the other my health is Bad some time I not able to give them Bread I am Pablo Rogers grand daughter an old soldier of the first war I wish to get and ans from you soon
I am in need
From Elizabeth Washington
May 1, 1928
Dear Sir I am writing you these few line to let you know that haven’t any Body in the war But my grandpapa Pablo Rogers he was a old soldier in the firs war that all the Relative I have be in the war But he did not die in the war I and his grand child I have five children and all of is small and cant help them self that I am ask for help my health is Bad husband have the compsumpion I have any help that if I am ask for help if I did not need help I would not ask will you please help I am a poor creater I saw some old papers of grandpa own and so this address and I thought I would Right for help please ans and help me will you please I will thank you very much
Co. H, 21st Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
Widow: CATHERINE ROBINSON
Thomas Sparkman, the enslaved property of Thomas Sparkman of Alachua County, Florida, escaped from bondage in 1864. Soon thereafter he changed his name to Thomas Robinson (his father’s name was Robinson) and enlisted in Company H of the 21st USCI.
Robinson claimed that he suffered an eye ailment while serving in the army, however, the special examiner focused instead on Robinson’s alleged case of gonorrhea, which was also contracted during the course of the war. Pensions were not provided to soldiers who were ill as a result of their own “vicious habits.”
Testimony concerning Robison’s service is provided by a variety of witnesses, including the family of his former master, fellow soldiers who served along side him in the USCT, and other acquaintances and neighbors.
After Thomas Robinson died in June 1896, his wife Catherine Robinson applied for a widow’s pension. The available paperwork does not indicate whether she received a pension.
Catherine Robinson’s first step in the application process was to establish that she and Thomas Robinson were legally married. She then attempted to demonstrate that she was in financial need of the pension income. Throughout the application she avoids mentioning Robinson’s alleged case of gonorrhea when describing his illness.
EXCERPTS FROM THE PENSION RECORD
Affidavit, May 12, 1883: “I, Jerre AuBerson swear that I knew Thomas Robinson about three years before he enlisted as soldier. I was a slave of Stephen Bryant and lived in Alachua County Florida. Robinson was also a slave belonging to Peter Sparkman and the two plantations were about three miles apart I knew Robinson well and saw him frequently. His health before he enlisted was good…
I William Burnele swear that I also belonged to Stephen Bryant of Alachua County and well knew Thomas Robinson in 1862 and have ever since known him. That before his enlistment in the Civil War he was perfectly healthy and sound…”
Deposition A, Thomas Robinson, September 14, 1886: “Occupation: Farm Laborer Age 53. Born November 1833 at Richmond, Virginia. “When I was six years I became the slave of Peter Sparkman-in 1839-and continued to be the slave of and resided with said Sparkman at Alachua Co Florida, 12 miles East from Newnansville, Alachua Co. Florida and enlisted in Co. “H” 21 U.S.C.T. Aug ’64. I served as a member of said Co H Regiment until mustered out with same April 25, 1866 at Charleston, S.C. …
“I am claiming Pension for afflicted eye sight incurred in November 1865, at Hilton Head. South Carolina while a member of Co. H, 21st, U.S.C.T. At that time my eyes, and eye lids become sore and inflamed- matter running out of my eyes- I was treated by Dr. John M. Hawks Surgeon 21st U.S.C.T. He treated me in my tent. Gave me sugar lead- mixed in water to wash my eyes out. I was under his treatment for about three days and off duty.
“Dr. John M. Hawks, Surgeon of the Regiment, before that time had been treating me for the ‘Clap’, I got it in June 1865 from a woman at Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. The Regiment was camped at that place, at that time. In November 1865 after I used the eye wash given me by Dr. Hawks, after a while my eyes healed up! And did not trouble me any more until December 1866-Christmas Time, at St. Nicholas, Duval Co. Florida my eyes became sore- ? my eyelids. Sores come out all over my head and face- severe pains in my shoulders and knees- head –and anus. I had no medical treatment at that time. The only medical treatment I have had for any cause since muster out. April 25 1866, was an operation performed on my left eye at Jacksonville, Florida in February 1879 by R.P. [Slamill?]. M.D. …
“I did not know the cause of my having sore eyes at Hilton Head, S.C. in November 1865 Dr. John M. Hawks [?] that time had been treating me for the “Clap”, Dr. Hawks did not tell me the cause of my having sore eyes at that time. I do not know whether my sore eyes at that time was the result of my having the “Clap”. I had not at any time had any disease or affliction of eyes prior to November 1865. I had not had any sickness of any character at any time prior to my having [unpleasantness?] in my eyes- at Hilton Head, S.C. in November 1865: except the attack of “Clap”…”
Deposition G, Jesse Amenson, September 15, 1886: “…was neighbor to said Robinson until he went in the Union Army in the Fall of 1864 He was known, then as ‘Tom Sparkman.’ Called after his master Peter Sparkman. Claimants fathers name was Robinson.”
“I have made it my residence up to the present time, and live neighbor to Claimant since the summer of 1867. He has been known as Thomas Robinson since that time.”
Deposition H, William Russell, September 15, 1886: “I first formed the personal acquaintance of the Claimant, Thomas Robinson at Alachua Co. Florida in 1862. He was the slave of Peter Sparkman and known as Thomas Sparkman, and resided in his neighborhood at Alachua County, Florida, from 1862 until he run off to enlist in the Union Army in the fall of 1864.
“Up to that time Claimant had no disease or affliction of his eyes. Up to that time his eyes appeared to be in a perfectly healthy condition.
“When I next saw Claimant at St. Nicholas, Duval Co. Florida in 1870 he was complaining of not being able to see well. He has been complaining of having poor eye-sight since 1870.”
Deposition F, James Hall, September 15, 1886: “I have no knowledge of said Robinson having any physical disability whatever, until November 1865 at Hilton Head, S.C. he had sore and inflamed eyes. I did not then, and do not now know the cause of the sore and inflamed eyes of said Robinson. Up to that
Deposition J, Adam Hall, September 15, 1886: “I have been personally acquainted with the Claimant, Thomas Robinson, and he has resided in my neighborhood at St. Nicholas, Duval County, Florida, since the Spring of 1866. He came to my house at St. Nicholas in May 1866 and made his house at my said house until about July 1867. When he came to my house in May 1866 his eyes were sore and inflamed etc., and sores all over his head and face. He was using an eye wash for his eyes. I did not know what it was or where he got it. I don’t know the cause of claimant having sore eyes at that time. He said that his eyes had troubled him since when he was in the Army and that this was the second attack. He did not, and has not stated to me the cause of his eyes being affected. His eyes healed up in 1867. He has complained of not being able to see well ever since.”
Deposition B, Peter W.W. Sparkman, September 16, 1886: “I was personally acquainted with the Claimant, Thomas Robinson from his youth to on or about 1864, when he enlisted in the Union Army. He was a slave of my father Peter Sparkman, who died at Alachua Co Florida in 1870. Said Robinson, was born a slave on the plantation of my said father…and resided on said plantation until on or about 1864, when he ran away and enlisted in the Union Army. Prior to that time said Robinson was known and designated as ‘Tom’ or ‘Thomas Sparkman’, was a stout healthy man and free from any physical disability. I have no knowledge or recollection of the Claimant said Thomas Robinson having any disease or affection (sic) of his Eyes, or either of them at the time prior to the occasion of his running Away.”
“After said Robinson, the Claimant, disappeared in 1864, I did not see him until August 1886, when he came to my house at Waldo, Alachua County, Florida, and stated that he called himself Thomas Robinson. He was than quite blind suffering from defective eyesight. He said that he had had defective eye sight for some years; but did not state as to how, when, or where he incurred his affection (sic) of eyes; but complained of having defective eye-sight.”
Deposition C, George W. Sparkman, September 17, 1886: “…[Claimant] resided on said plantation up to the time that he ran away, and enlisted in the Union Army- Sometime in 1864, while a slave of my uncle, said Peter Sparkman, Claimant was known and designated as ‘Tom’, or ‘Thomas Sparkman’, and while the slave of said Peter Sparkman was a sound healthy man; and free from any physical disability, whatever,”
Deposition E, Gilbert Rogers, September 18, 1886: “…I enlisted in Co H 21 U.S.C.T. in August, 1864 served in that Co. & Regt. with said Robinson until muster out. April 25-1866. I have resided within four miles of said Robinson since April 1866- and have seen him occasionally during that period. The first time I knew of said Robinson having any sickness or physical disability was in November 1865 at Hilton Head South Carolina he commence to have sore eyes. Thez (sic) were very bad at time. Dr. Hawks and Roberts our Regimental Surgeons were treating him. After awhile his eyes got better,- but complained of not seeing well ever since that time After he was mustered out for a time, in the Summer of 1866, he had another spell of having sore eyes and was quite blind for a time he got better- but could not see very well.”
Deposition [J?], James Adams, September 18, 1886: “His eyes healed up almost entirely before muster out in April 1866. I don’t think they got perfectly well I don’t know the cause of said Robinson having sore eyes, at that time. He said to me, at that time that he thought he had taken cold-and, also, that the reflection of the sun on the sand beach had made his eyes sore. I have no knowledge of said Robinson having venereal disease in any form at that time I have not heard it spoken of before now.
“At times he has had attacks of having sore eyes. Quite a severe one came several years ago, when the doctors performed an operation on his eyes.”
Deposition J, Seymour Holliday, September 18, 1886: “I first became acquainted with Claimant Thomas Robinson in May, 1866…At that time he bought a piece of land from me; and has resided on the same near me from that time to the present. When said Robinson came to reside near me in May 1866 he had sore and inflamed eyes. His eyes at that time appeared in a very bad condition. After a time he appeared to get better from his inflammation of eyes.”
“I think that said Robinson, on an average has been 1/3 incapacitated from performing manual labor by means of his affection (sic) of eyes from May 1866 to the present time.”
Special Examiner F. Mitchell’s Report to the Commissioner of Pensions John C. Black,
September 20, 1886: “In the matter of Special Examination to determine the general merits of the Claim of Thomas Robinson #468.797, whose Post Office Address is St. Nicholas, Duval County Florida; for disease of eyes: alleged to have been incurred at Hilton Head, South Carolina in November 1865, while serving as Corporal Co. “H” 21 U.S.C.T.-from August 27, 1864 to April 25, 1866.
“Claimant alleges to have had no medical treatment for his Eyes since Muster Out. April 25, 1866; except an operation for Glaucoma, performed by R.P. David, M.D. Jacksonville, Duval Co. Florida, February 14, 1879; assisted by Drs. Grady, and A.J. Wakefield.
“Claimant now, admits: that the only sickness that he had prior to his eyes being in any way affected was an attack of Gonorrhea contracted by him in June 1865 at Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina; while a member of Co “H” 21 U.S.C.T.: and from his statement, undoubtedly resulting in an attack of Gonorrheal Opthalmia In both instances, being treated by Dr. John M. Hawks, Surg. 1 U.S.C.T., who is at present residing at…Essex Co. Massachusetts. His testimony is very essential to the adjudication of this claim.
“I am of opinion that this claim should be rejected, on the admission of Claimant: that the physical disability of Eyes, for which he claims pension was not incurred in the military service of the United States, in line of duty.”
Declaration for Widow’s Pension for Catherine Robinson, Stamped Received August 22, 1896: “Catherine Robinson, aged 48 years, a resident of the town of St. Nicholas, county of Duval, State of Florida, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of Thomas Robinson, who enlisted under the name of Thomas Robinson, at Fernandina Fla on the 21” day of August, A.D. 1864, in Co “H” 21” U.S.C. Vol. Infantry as Private and served at least ninety day in the late War of the Rebellion, in the service of the United States, who was honorably discharged April 25” 1866, and died June 29” 1896. That she was married under the name of Katy Francis to said Thomas Robinson on the 27 day of September, 1884, by Rev. Wm. Johnson, at St. Nicholas, Fla., there being no legal barrier to said marriage.”
General Affidavit, Simeon D. Halliday, August 22, 1896: “He is and had been a sober industrious and in my judgment honest man. He has at times been greatly afflicted and with infective sight that at times have turned to total blindness, and always interferes with work requiring good eyesight.”
General Affidavit, Catherine Robinson, No Date Available: “I am the widow of Thomas Robinson, late of Co. “H” 21” U.S.C.T. I was never divorced from him, and I have not remarried since his death. I am the owner of five acres of land and a small house of four rooms at St. Nicholas, county of Duval and State of Florida, this property is my homestead and is worth about $350. I have no income whatever from it. I do not own any stocks, bonds mortgages or other investments. I am dependent entirely upon the labor of my own hands for a support and I cook for a living when I [can secure] a place. I got about two dollars a week when I am at work I out of work at present. I was never married to any one prior to my marriage to Thomas Robinson. There is no one legally bound for my for my support, I cannot furnish any certificate from the tax assessor because he says that land in this state in not assessed to individual owners but according to location.”
Neighbor’s Affidavit, Peter Peterson and Al Sheppard, No Date Available: “I have known the claimant twenty years and four years respectively. I knew her as the wife of Thomas Robinson. She was living with him as his wife when he died. Claimant’s means of support are her own daily labor. She cooks, she was cooking for Dr. Buck and his family last week. She has no income except for her daily labor. She owns no real estate except her homestead consisting of about five acres and a house consisting of four rooms, this property is located in Duval County about three miles and a half from the Court house of this county. This property in my estimation is worth $350. This property produces no income except what is produced by the labor of claimant. Claimant has no stocks bonds mortgages, money at interest or other investments- if she had an acquaintance with her is such that we would know of it Claimant has not remarried since the death of the said Thomas Robinson- There is no one legally bound for the support of claimant…her income is about two dollars a weeks when she is working.”