04 March 2013
Black Lung Pension?
Sometimes people remember things because something triggers their memory.
I was briefly discussing a Civil War pension case with my wife yesterday. Emphasis is on the word briefly. While talking, I wondered how many widows receiving a Civil War pension never married again because doing so would jeopardize their benefits. I then made some joke about a widow having a boyfriend or suitor but never marrying him for this reason.
And then my wife mentioned her Grandmother's "gentleman friend" that she had after her husband (my wife's Grandfather) died. I'm not certain if she had ever mentioned the friend before as her Grandmother died well before we were married.
The only reason my wife mentioned her Grandmother's boyfriend was because she remembered her Grandmother getting a black lung pension check and my mentioning of Civil War widows and potentially "lost" pensions made her think of her Grandmother and her own pension and the suitor. Sometimes it does pay to discuss your research with family members.
Records of that pension are another record to try and locate. The Grandfather was a coal miner for some time before the family moved to a more urban location.
Widows may choose to not marry again simply to keep their pension. Or the pension may be a convenient excuse to stay single--sometimes one husband is enough!