21 July 2013

Sallie Lincecum's Widow Pension Saga

What a difference ten years makes when applying for a widow's pension...I guess.

Sallie (Kirksey) Lincecum was the wife of Brazos D. Lincecum, married 26 October 1871 in Caldwell County, Texas. They are also my second cousins, 6x removed.

Sallie's signature, 1917.
Brazos enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862, when he was just 19 years old. He was a soldier in Company K, 36th Texas Infantry. And, at the time of his death in 1913, Brazos was living in a Confederate Home in Austin, Texas. So why was Sallie's application for a widow's pension rejected when she applied in 1917?

Well, one of the first notations I saw that might be a problem was this: "Husband of applicant died at the Confederate Home at Austin. Applicant has not preserved any records."

Nonetheless, Caldwell County Judge J. T. Ellis attempted to get information on Sallie's behalf by a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions:
I am enclosing the application of Mrs. Sallie Lincecum for a Confederate pension; she is very old and feeble and is unable to give definite information as to the command in which her husband served; It is a well known fact however in this county, that B D Lincecum was a Confederate Veteran and that he died at the Home in Austin in April, 1913...
The commissioner did request information from the war department and received notice that Brazos B. (aka Brazos D.) was indeed a member of the company K, 36 Regt, TX Cav, CSA, but that he was listed as deserted on the roll for Feb 1864. It was noted, however, that he was on the roll for January 1865 with no specific information regarding presence or absence. All that prompted the rejection of Sallie's application:
Dear Madam --
I have your application for a pension but am compelled to reject same as the war records at Washington show that B. D. Lincecum Deserted Feb. 2, 1864.
Sallie's signature, 1927.
Fast forward ten years. Sallie again applies for a widow's pension. This time attorney Henry Fielder appeals on her behalf with nothing more than a "Dear Sir: Enclosed application of Mrs. Sallie Lincecum for pension as widow of Confederate soldier."

This time the war department fails to mention B. D.'s desertion: "The records show that B. D. Lincecum, pvt., Co. K, 36th. Tex. Inf., C.S.A., enlisted Feb. 28, 1862, at San Antonio, Tex., and on muster roll for Jan. and Feb. 1865, (last on file) his presence or absence is not stated." -- Lo and behold, Sallie gets her pension. Unfortunately, she died January 1929. Instead of getting the pension for a likely deserved twelve years, she got it for less than two.

The relationship between Sally and B. D. is a murky one. I have yet to find them in the 1900 census, which I would desperately love to see. Are they together? Maybe an odd question to ask, but I have my reasons. In 1910 (before B. D.'s death in 1913) Sallie is living with her brother, listed as widowed. And on her husband's death certificate (about sixteen years before Sallie's death), B. D. is listed as a widower. Furthermore, though they both rest in Caldwell County, Texas, Brazos and Sallie are in different cemeteries.

Maybe I'm making something out of nothing.

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