Sunday, June 7, 2015
INTERESTING MILITARY PENSION RECIPIENTS
As you may or may not know, most of the folks I choose for Immortal Nobodies are people I know of from my own genealogical research. Narrowing that a little bit more, most are from my own families. But not today. For today's Immortal Nobodies – a man and his wife.
"He" is a fellow named Noah D. Damon, who served in the Revolutionary war. He was born about 1760, and enlisted in 1775, making him about 15 at the time. The extant records indicate that he served with the Massachusetts troops and was a private.
"She" is Esther Sumner, a sweet young thing who was born about 1814.
These two people married in 1835. She was 21 and he was 75. There is no interesting story of "why" such a May-December marriage happened, just that it did. The marriage lasted until his death at the age of 93 in Benton, New Hampshire.
The reason why I was even thinking of those folks was that I was reading the prologue of a new book, "The Bonus Army" by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen which was giving some data as to pensions for our military people throughout the years, and the authors noted that the last surviving dependent of the Revolutionary War continued to receive benefits until 1911. I found this fact amazing, and I wanted to know just who that was, since this particular statement did not have a footnote with that information. So of course I Googled to see if I could get an answer. What came up was blog by noted genealogist Mary Harrell Sesniak. Now there was no 1911 date in it, but since the story she told had a 1906 date, it was close enough. Plus, I figure any 75 year old who takes a 21 year old bride, or vice versa, is worthy of the Immortal Nobody appellation.
Anyway, to finish the story, Noah filed for a pension and received his first payment in 1848. He could actually have filed earlier, except he indicates that he had been a resident of Canada and was "ignorant of his right." His application also stated that he had received a sword injury in his thigh that troubled him even as he submitted his paper. At his death in 1853, the monthly pension went to his wife, and she received it until her death in 1906 at the age of 93.
Noah and Esther did not know they were making history of a sort – a history of a pension that existed from 1853 to 1906 for service in the military at the founding of our nation in 1776. Nor would they expect to find themselves listed as Immortal Nobodies in my blog. Welcome, Damons.
As a final note, I am delighted that Google sent me to Mary's most interesting blog that provided information for me. I must add that I am finding "The Bonus Army" book chock-full of information on a time in our country and an event during that time that I knew absolutely nothing about – and to find it presented in a most readable format! How I love non-fiction books! And my Immortal Nobodies, one and all!