(Editor’s Note: The column below ran on Saturday June, 1, but the headline was wrong. To eliminate any confusing the Daily Times is republishing the column in its entirety with the correct headline.)
The death in 1877 at age 53 of Elijah Boldman, left his widow Ellen – providing for five children at home. Elijah had been a Private in The First Ohio Light Artillery. He was my great-great grandfather and is buried at White Oak Cemetery in Adams County. Upon doing research, I requested and received information from the U.S. National Archives – detailing my great-great grandmother’s application for a widow’s pension. I learned that he didn’t apply for a pension during his lifetime, because according to his widow, “…he didn’t want to live off the government!” Even though his health was failing and ailing from “consumption,” or in today’s world, called Tuberculosis. The Mayo Clinic describes it as a wasting disease, especially pulmonary tuberculosis and causing emaciation. The consumption was likely from his incarceration in a Confederate Prison; after being captured at the battle of – “Port Republic.” (After a few months he was paroled and returned to duty.) Envisage a man with children at home not wanting what he deserved – even though his sickness was due to service in the Army at a time of war. His widow Ellen then applied for a widow’s pension that she was entitled to.
I picked out two depositions that were given by his Widow and Brother-in-Law. “Declaration of a widow for Army Pension – State of Ohio – County of Adams: On this 21st day of July AD 1879 – Personally appeared before me. This same being account of record within aforesaid county, Ellen Boldman age 45 years who be(ing) duly sworn according to law makes the following declaration with intent to obtain the Pension provided by acts of Congress given tiny pensions to Widows. That she is identified widow of Elijah Boldman who enlisted under the name of Elijah Boldman at Adams County Ohio on the 5th day of November AD 1861 in Company L 1st Ohio Light Artillery in the war of 1861 (Civil War.) Who contracted disease of the lungs while in aforesaid service, which at the time the rank of Private and that he died at home in Adams County, Ohio with aforesaid disability on the 26th day of February AD 1877. That she married under the name of Ellen Holt (maiden name,) to said Elijah Boldman on the 15th day of March in 1849, by Wm. Veach, J.P. (Justice of the Peace) at Bear Creek there … to such marriage that neither she and her husband had been previously married (to someone that was still alive.) That she has to the present date remained his widow. That the following are the names and dates of birth of all his legitimate children yet surviving who were under sixteen years of age at the Fathers death: (Name with birthdates) – Matteson April 6, 1866, Viola (month missing) 1868, Martha August 25, 1870, Laura December 13, 1873 and Eliza (Elizabeth) – December 18, 1876 Boldman.” Signed Ellen Boldman
“The following account is the deposition given by Henry A. Holt, brother of Ellen (Holt) Boldman. Elijah served in the Civil War with the First Ohio Light Artillery. “The State of Ohio in the County of Adams – Examined By Deponent W.H. Woods. On this day 21st day of February 1878, personally appeared before me a Notary Public for said County, Henry Holt of Scioto County. Whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit and who after being duly sworn according to law – Says in relation Elijah Boldman late of Battery L of 1st Ohio Light Artillery. That he was well acquainted with him at and prior to his enlistment and knew him to be a stout hearty man and free from disease of the lungs. But after his said enlistment and while in prison (of war) he contracted disease of the lungs which continuously persisted – to the cause of his death and that he died on or about the 20th day of February, 1877. The aforesaid disease which he contracted, as above stated while in line of duty – makes statement from his own personal knowledge and has no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of above claim.” Signed: Henry Holt.”
The depositions were written as they appeared on the originals, sent by the U.S. Archives and in printed copy form. I noticed that the depositions (above) had same month and day but different years – (could be mistake by examiner?) Another note is that Elijah had been married before and had two sons that served in Army. There were other depositions by many other folks – and in the end the Widow got her pension
Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: email@example.com