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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2012-09-11 06:21 pm
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Looking behind the pension...

A while back, I posted about going to the Arkansas History Commission one day to look up the pension application for my g-g-grandmother, Rutha Eveline (Coleman) Wharton, for her widow's benefits from her husband's service during the Civil War.

One day came today.
I knew Rutha had applied for widow's benefits in 1908, after Thomas Jefferson Wharton II died on 16 Mar 1908.

I didn't know he was already getting a pension until I got to the History Commission and looked in their index.

His pension application was granted in 1901 - and filed as T J Whorton, so the two applications were on different reels of microfilm. (Hers was processed under Wharton.)

T J Wharton was approved for a $50 pension on 26 Aug 1901 - nine years after his first application.

The application stated that he was "incapacitated for manual labor by reason of wounds and old age." The notarized statement of his physician, J M Campbell, elaborated on his physical and mental condition.

He had his right thigh broken and bothe collar bones broken both of which disable him from manual labor...General health good. His disability is due to his wounds and general senile disability...He can make 1/3 of a farmhand. The statement was signed on 11 June 1901.

And I began to wonder what the war was like for him.
I know T J Wharton enlisted in the 25th Alabama Infantry, Company I from Talladega Co., AL on 17 Jan 1863.

It's hard to find much information about that company - its movements through the southern United States. I know they were in Tennessee for at least some of their service.

So I kept searching. I looked for documentation on his discharge.

And found him on a Roll of Prisoners of War. Private T J Wharton was paroled by Brevt. Brig. Gen. M H Chrysler at Talladega, Alabama on 26 Jun 1865. He was 33 years old.

I've never heard anything about his experience in our oral family history.

Surely he talked about it - it sounds as if he went through the rest of his life with some impairment of his mobility. That would be tough if you were a farmer.
Rutha Eveline Wharton's pension application only took one try, and was approved 10 Aug 1908 - only a couple of months after she applied.

And she got a raise, to $100 annually.

Rutha Eveline (Coleman) Wharton followed her husband in death on 19 May 1911.

Both she and Thomas Jefferson Wharton II are buried in St. Joe Cemetery in Pope Co., AR.

(Anonymous) 2012-09-16 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I have Wharton/Whorton ancestors, too. I also have PTSD.

You could have hidden most of this entry behind a cut, and placed a warning there that the rest of the content could be triggering to people like me.

You should consider that for the future.