Monday, July 23, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Widow Application

Amanuensis Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

The Virginia General Assembly passed Confederate pension acts in 1888, 1900, and 1902, plus supplementary acts between 1903 and 1934. At first the act provided pensions only to Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines disabled in action and to the widows of those killed in action. But later the act was broadened to include all veterans, their widows and their unmarried or widowed daughters. The acts required that applicants be residents of Virginia.

Here is the application of my great-great grandmother Martha Ann Wilson Davis.
Click to enlarge

Form No. 3
Application of Widow

I,__ Martha A. Davis__, do hereby apply for aid under the act of the General Assembly of Virginia, approved April 9, 1902, entitled an act to aid the citizens of Virginia, who were disabled by wounds received during the war between the States while serving as soldiers, sailors, or marines, and such as served during the said war as soldiers, sailors, or marines of Virginia who lost their lives in said service, or whose death resulted from wounds received or disease contracted in paid service, and providing penalties for violating the provisions of this act, and I do solemnly swear that I am a citizen of the State of Virginia resident at  __Yancey__, in the __County of Rockingham__  in the said state, and that I have been an actual resident of the said State for __70 years__, and of the said city (or county) for one year next preceding the date of this application, and that I am the widow of __Mitchell Davis__ who was a soldier (sailor or marine) in the service of the State of Virginia in the war between the States, and who was a member of  (here state specifically the command and branch of the service to which the husband of the applicant belonged, and, if possible, the names of his immediate superior officers) __[illegible but possibly Gen’r Milne’s Command]  Col. Maupin and Captain H.A. Kite Militia__ and who, while in the discharge of his duty in the military or naval service of the State of Virginia, or of the Confederate States, during the said war, lost his life (if the husband of such widow was killed or died during the war as the result of wounds received, state the facts of the case as near as possible, giving the date of the husband's death.________________________(If the husband died after the war, strike out all relating to his death during the war, and then proceed as follows), and who has since the said war died (here state specifically the cause of the death of the husband of the applicant and the date thereof)__of heart disease in April 1892­­__ and that to the best of my knowledge, during the said war my said husband was loyal and true to his duty, and never, at any time, deserted his command or voluntarily abandoned his post of duty in the said service, and that I was never divorced from my husband, and that I never voluntarily abandoned him during his life, but remained his true, faithful and lawful wife up to the date of his death, and that I have never married after his death, and that I am now entitled to receive, under the said act, the sum of __25__ dollars annually.  And I do further swear that I do not hold any position or office at either national, State, city, or county, which pays me in salary or fees one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor have I an income from any other employment or other source whatever which amounts to one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor do I receive from any source whatever money or other means of support amounting in value to the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor do I own in my own right, nor does anyone hold in trust for my benefit or use estate or property, either real, personal, or mixed, either in fee or for life, of the assessed value of five hundred dollars; nor do I receive any aid or pension from any other State, or from the United States, or from any other source, and that I am not an inmate of any public institution and that I am without means of support, direct or indirect; and I do further swear that the answers given to the following questions are true:
 1. What is your age:  Ans. __70 years__
 2. Where were you born:  Ans. __Rockbridge County, Va__
 3. How long have you resided in Virginia?  Ans. __70 years__
 5. How long have you resided in the city or county of your present residence?  Ans. __Fifty-seven years__
 6. What is your husband's full name?  Ans. __Mitchell Davis__
 7. When and where were you married, and by whom?  Ans. __Aug. 24, 1856, Rockbridge Co., Rev. Ralph Thompson__
 8. When and where, as near as you can state, did your husband die, and from what cause?
    Ans. __1892 Rockingham Co., heart trouble__
 9. Have you been married since the death of your said husband?  Ans.__No__
10. Where and with whom do you now reside?  Ans. __Rockingham County with Nathaniel Davis__
11. What property --real, personal or mixed-- do you own?  Ans. __personal property $50__
12. What assistance do you receive, and what income have you from any source? 
    Ans. __none__
13. If your husband died since the war, please state where he died, and, if possible, the name and address of the attending physician?  Ans. __Rockingham County Simmons Gap Dr. ?? Coffman
14. Give the names and addresses, if possible, of two comrades in arms of your deceased husband.  Ans.  __J.W. Baugher   Beldor, Va    Frank Michle Yancey, Va__
15. Give the names and addresses of two persons who are familiar with the circumstances of your husband's death.  Ans. __Wm Wyant  Roadside, Va   J.W. Baugher  Beldor, Rockingham Co, Va__
16. If your husband died since the war, please state whether his death resulted from wounds received in the war or from disease.  Ans.  __Disease__
17. Give, as near as you can, the nature of the wound or the character of the disease from which your husband died.  Ans. __heart trouble__
18. Give here any other information you may provide relating to the service of your husband or of his death that will support the position of your claim for aid.  Ans. ___________
19. Is there any camp of Confederate veterans in the city or county of your residence?  Ans. __Yes __
20. Is there anyone living, the residence and address of whom is known to you, either comrade or otherwise, who has knowledge of your husband's service and of the cause of his death? If so or not, state.  Ans. __Yes, J.W. Baugher  Beldor, Va, H. A. Kite  Elkton, Va___
Given under my hand this 18th day of March 1903
Martha A. Davis(her mark)

I, __A. E. Wyant, a notary public__, in and for the county of __Rockingham__, in the State of Virginia,
do certify that __Martha A. Davis__, whose name is signed to the foregoing application, personally appeared before me in my county aforesaid and having the aforesaid application read to her and fully explained, as well as the statements and answered therein, made, the said __Martha A. Davis__made oath before me that the said statements and answers are true.
Given under my hand this 18th day of March 1903    A.E. Wyant [signature] Notary Public

Click to enlarge
The next page is simply a list of affidavits of people vouching for Martha Davis and supporting her claim.  I have summarized the contents. 

A – Oath of Resident Witnesses
D.C. Davis and A.T. Powell swear that they are residents of Rockingham County, Virginia, have known Martha Davis for five years, that she is a resident of the county, that she is truthful and is entitled to aid.

B – Affidavit of Comrades
J.W. Baugher and H.A. Kite swear that they know Martha A. Davis as the widow of Mitchell Davis, that they have known her for 30 years, and that they served with Mitchell Davis under H.A. Kite’s Militia, and 2 others whose names are illegible (Murris? Milne’s? Command and Col. ?? Regiment)

C – Affidavit of Witnesses, not Comrades, as to Wounds
J.L. Marshall and E.C. Monger, both of Rockingham County, Virginia, swear that they have known Martha A. Davis for 20 years, and that she lived with Mitchell Davis up to the date of his death, and that they have no personal interest in the claim.

D – Certificate of Physician
C.S.Wyant and Wm. Wyant of Rockingham County, Virginia, swear that they know Martha A. Davis, and that they visited Mitchell Davis during his last illness, that Mitchell Davis had been attended by Dr. Coffman during his last illness, that the doctor is nowhere to be found, and that they believe Mitchell Davis died from heart disease.

E – Certificate of Camp of Confederate Veterans
S. B. Gibbons of the Camp of Confederate Veterans of Rockingham County, Virginia, swears that he examined the application and recommends that Martha A. Davis be granted aid.

F – Certificate of Ex-Confederate Soldiers
Jesse Wyant and J.W. Baugher of Rockingham County, Virginia swear that they were soldiers in the war between the States, that they examined the application, and recommend that Martha A. Davis be granted aid.

G – Certificate of the Commissioner of the Revenue
J. W. Churchie (?) swears that Martha A. Davis is a citizen of Rockingham County, Virginia.

I need to do some more research to learn about Mitchell Davis's service.  The names of the men who led the command and regiment are not easy to read.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I clicked on the document but when I enlarged it, I couldn't read it. Thanks for transcribing it! I found it very interesting...$50 worth of personal property...I wonder what that equals in today's dollar? I am sure we all exceed it greatly!

    I do have my father's album from serving in's the black paged, affix the photos with corner triangles type.

    Happy Monday!

  2. What a valuable document, so many details! And indeed, $50 worth of personal property doesn't seem an awful lot. According to that is $1280 today...