06 February 2012

Affidavit of Widow's Poorness-Military Monday

Source: Glover, Samuel Stillman; Pension File No. 28715, Civil War Pension File,
  (Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration), . 
State of Michigan
County of Manistee
     In the Matter Of Claim for Pension of Adda L. Widow of Samuel S. Glover Jr. personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the County and State aforesaid,
Adda L. Glover aged 66 years, and who being duly sworn, declares in relation to said claim that She or her late Husband did not own any real estate whatever and that they did not own any Personal but Two Horses and a Cow which was Sold to Pay the Funeral and Doctors Expenses for the burial and Sickness of my late Husband and that I have no income from any Source aside from my labor further that my late Husband Samuel S. Glover Jr had No life insurance and further there is no Person leagally bound to Support me and that I have not remarried since the death of my late Husband  He further declares that he has no interest in said claim and is not interested in its prosecution and her Post Office address is Bear Leake Michigan
                            Signature Adda L. Glover
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 26th day of May  1904 and I certify that the reputation for truth and veracity of the above name affiant is Good
                            Official Signature, L.D. Shir?liff
                            Official Character, Notary Public

 My second great grandfather, Samuel Stillman Glover, Jr. died 12 April 1914.  Just six weeks later, his widow, Adaline 'Adda'  L. (Dyer) Glover filed the above affidavit attesting that she did not own real estate or personal property.  She states that she had to sell two horses and a cow to pay for the funeral, burial, and doctor's expenses of her husband.  She had no income and no one responsible for her.  She goes on to state that her husband did not have life insurance.  She states she has not remarried.

Adda was 66 years old and the reason for filing these affidavits was so she could receive a widow's pension from her husband's civil war service.  What did she get for her widow's pension? $8 per month, or $96 a year.  Can you imagine living on $96 a year?  The average American worker made between $200 and $400 a year in 1904.

Adda lived for another 13 1/2 years.  She lived with her daughter, Sadie (Sarah), for a time in Wisconsin and with her son, Louis, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She spent the last part of her life in the Wisconsin Veteran's Home, dying there on 19 Dec 1917.

She continued receiving monthly widow's benefits up to her death in the amount of :

  • 9 May 1904 $8

  • 23 July 1904 $10

  • 26 September 1916 $12

  • September 1916 $20 (by act of Congress to increase widow's pensions)

  • 4 December 1917 $25

  • Thankfully, Adda had a widow's pension and survived by living with her children, but what a hard few years she had bouncing from home to home.


    1. Does this mean if she had owned property or had any money that she would not have gotten the pension? My first thoughts were how demeaning to ask anyone to state these facts. Almost begging. Bless her heart.

    2. I think she had to show she was in need of the pension. Not only did they ask her to show it, the pension record has an affidavit from 2 of her children and a neighbor. All that for less than $100 a year.

    3. I received my g-g-grandfather's CW pension file last month and saw that he, too, received only $8.00/month. He applied for increases several times but was denied (from what I can tell so far). I'm going to begin scanning and transcribing his file this month.

      The Inflation Calculator tells me that $8.00 in 1904 would be valued at $191.60 in 2010. You can't buy beans enough to stay alive with that amount now. (However, $25.00 in 1917 would be worth $421.24 in 2010, so her circumstances improved, but barely.)

      It's interesting what we find out in the pension files. Thanks for sharing this information and for including your source documentation. I've just been researching E.S. Mills to see how it should be done -- and you provided an real example. Thanks.

    4. Nancy, thank you for the information about inflation. Good luck with transcribing your pension file. I found the information fascinating. As far as sourcing goes, I can't take all the credit. I sourced it in Roots Magic, my genealogy software, and then copied and pasted their citation for it.