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Digital Collections: 1901 Confederate Pension Applications

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The Government & Heritage Library has many different digital collections thanks to the work of our Digital Information Management Program staff who work to put information online in conjunction with the State Archives of North Carolina. Currently, there are about 30 collections and more than half of those are of interest to genealogists. I will regularly highlight a collection. The first collection highlighted is the 1901 Confederate Pension Applications.

Pension application for Sidney V. Cash of Gaston County

Pension application for Sidney V. Cash of Gaston County

Confederate soldiers or their widows only received pensions if they were killed or injured during the war. In North Carolina, an act was passed by the General Assembly in 1889 for pensions to Confederate soldiers in NC. They were divided into four classes based on their disability as a result of the war, and each class had a set amount that would be paid to them. The General Assembly revised this act with a new one in 1901. There were some differences, which are outlined in the introduction to this collection. For one thing, they had to reside in North Carolina 12 months prior to application, making them a resident of the state. Not all pensions in this collection are dated 1901; a few are earlier, some are later.

Pension applications sometimes included letters or multiple pensions. The collection has approximately 10,000 entries, but there are over 30,000 results. In the case of Ezekiel Absher of Wilkes County, there are 3 pensions dated 1901, 1902, and 1904. Only his 1904 pension was approved.

This database can also help with finding ancestors who were slaves and servants. 118 applications are those of former slaves. 59 applications are those of former servants – which could indicate a former slave or a former apprentice. An example is the man Silas Pettiford of Franklin County. His application shows that he was the “servant” of S.C. Blakely and that an affidavit (not included) shows that he served along with Blakely as a body servant. His application also shows that he was 90 years old at the time of application.

Over 400 applications are widows’ pension applications. Widow pensions were more strict than for the veteran. They had to be married to the deceased veteran by April 1, 1865 and they had to remain unmarried in order to receive the pension. Mrs. E.C. Roe  was the widow of J.C. Booker and applied in 1908.

Whether the pension application was for the disabled veteran or the widow, the entry titles in the database are under the names of the veteran or body servant. All records for that veteran are filed together, which is why there are about 10,000 entries, but over 30,000 results. You can organize search results by title (name of veteran), subject, description, or date. screenshot of how to change sorting

This is an excellent resource when searching for a North Carolina Confederate Civil War veteran who died or was injured during the War.

Be sure to check what we have in our catalog on Confederate pensions in North Carolina. In addition, if you missed it the first time, read the blog post from 2 years ago about 1885 pensions from the book Dead or Disabled: The North Carolina Confederate Pensions 1885 Series.


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