Widow's Claim for Pension Minerva Bythwood wife of William Morris 33rd USCT June 17, 1867
Transcription: Widow's Claim for Pension State of South Carolina District of Beaufort
On this seventeenth day of June, 1867, personally appeared before me, a Pension Notary in and for the State aforesaid Minerva Bythwood a resident of Beaufort in the County of Beaufort and State of South Carolina aged 30 years, who being duly sworn, makes the following declaration, in order to obtain the Pension provided by the Act of Congress approved July 14, 1862. That she is the widow of William Morris who was a private in Company "G" commanded by Capt. S. W. Metcalf in the 33 Regiment of U. S. Colored Troops in the War of 1861; that her maiden name was Minirva Mapson and that she was married to said William Morris on or about ____ day of May 1857, at Palatka in the County of Putnam and State of Florida by Rev. M. Johnson and that the same is recorded in her family Bible
She further declares that said William Morris her husband, died in the service of the United States as aforesaid at Beaufort in the State of South Carolina on or about the ______ day of February 1864, of brain fever, That she was again married to Jas. Bythwood her present husband in Janry 1865. She also declares that she has remained a widow eleven months and that she has not in any manner engaged in, or aided or abetted, the rebellion in the United States; and she hereby appoints James D. Bell of Beaufort as her lawful Attorney, with power of substitution, and authorizes her to present and prosecute this claim, and to receive her pension certificates. The following are the name ___ date____of birth and place___ of residence of all the children of her deceased husband who are under sixteen years of age at the time of death from Morris born June 30th 1857 and Sarah Morris born April 8th 1861 and they both reside at Beaufort with their mother
My Post office is Beaufort State of South Carolina
If mark is made, two witnesses who write sign here. ? S. Harper Adm A?
Minerva (her mark) Bythwood
Also personally appeared before me, Frank Higgins and Albert Sammis residents of Jacksonville Putnam County, and State of Florida to me well known as credible persons who being
(cut off) duly sworn, declare, that they were present and saw said Minerva Bythwood sign her name to the foregoing declaration, and that she is the identical person she represents herself to be, and know that said deceased recognized said applicant as his lawful wife, and that she was so recognized by the community in which they resided; and that they have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim
Frank Higgins Albert Sammis
Notes: 1. Why is she trying for a Widow's Pension? She is remarried. She would be entitled to a widow's pension for the 11 months between the death of William Morris and her marriage to Bythwood. Her children would also be eligible for a pension till they were sixteen.
2. She must first prove that she is married to William Morris. This was a marriage before the war so that there is no paper documentation (even though William Morris was a free man.) Note the use of a Bible record. Would she have had a Bible when she was a slave? Would she have been able to read the Bible at that time? This not only shows the difficulty of proving a marriage and the children of that marriage before the war, it illustrates the difficulty of using the documentation produced.