Deposition of Thomas Williams for Case of Hester Lancaster Abram Lancaster 33rd USCT and Thomas Williams 21st USCT November 20, 1908 Pension Records
Case of Hester Lancaster, No. 848.540
On this twentieth day of November , 1908, at St. Augustine, county of St. Johns State of Florida, before me, J. A. Davis, a Special Examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared Thomas Williams who, being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special examination of aforsaid clam for presion, deposes and says:
I am 70 years of age. I am blind and have no occupation. My post office address is No. 66 Dumas St., St. Augustine, Fla. I knew Abram Lancaster from playmates ? I was a slave, but he was free and we plaved together as boys. When we muster in the Army we muster from here together. and I muster the 21th Regt and he muster in the 33rd Regt U.S.C.T. I know he was married a long time before he must in the Army and his wife went to him at Beaufort. I could not tell you exactly when they married, but they had two children when she came to Beaufort. One boy was named John, but I Have forgotten. Oh! Jake was the other one. Abram lived here a good many years, this was his home after the war, but Jane was not with him. They had some squabble at Hilton Head and I am pretty certain they did not live together after the war. I am sure they married, though I was not exactly present, but I passed by the house the night they married. I know they got married, they were by the Catholic priest. II do not know the priest name, it was Father Aubacy I think. The never had a divorce that I know of, I don't think they did. I don't know anything about his marriage to the woman in Jacksonville. I saw the woman and talked with her and she was living with Abram, then he was sick her and she came here and stayed with him a short time. Abram died at the Hospital here, but I have forgotten the month and year. I know when Jane died all right, I was in Jacksonville it has been quite a number of years. Jane was living when Abram was first living with the woman in Jacksonville. This Jacksonville woman was not living with Abram for many years and when he got sick she would not take care of him. I am not related. I have no interest at all in this claim. I have heard you read this disposition. I have fully understood your questions. My answers have been set down correctly.
his Thomas Williams mark
Attest - Phillip Crosley Wm H. Bolton
Notes It is very difficult to read J A Davis' writing. If you see a better transcription of a word, please email me.
In the post war era slave marriages were not valid unless there was cohabitation. See Marriage rules for more information. This problem is compounded because I have no information on the status of free black marriages before the War of Rebellion and the status of Jane Nattiell (slave or free before the War of Rebellion.) From what we have seen the pension officers treated free and slave marriages the same before the war and they needed to be ratified by cohabitation after a. Emancipation proclamation, b. the war. c. a particular date set by the State.