"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed Taylor Daily Press - 28 Oct 1999

Texas Confederate Pension Applications

In 1889, Texas enacted a Pension Law, which provided a cash award to disabled Confederate veterans or their widows. There were 54,634 veterans or their widows who filed Confederate Pension Applications.

The Texas State Library & Archives in Austin, Texas has an on-line index to these Pension Applications at: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/lobby/cpi/cpindex.htm. This website provides the names, county of residence, and pension number of each applicant. You can search the database either by surname or county of residency.

The Confederate Pension eligibility requirements were: veterans who were over the age of 60, had come to Texas prior to March 1, 1880, was disabled because of wounds for a period of at least 3-months, had not deserted, and was indigent. A widow who had married a qualified veteran prior to March 1, 1866, who had been a Texas resident prior to March 1, 1880, and was indigent, was also eligible.

Because of these requirements, the Pension Applications can in no way represent a complete roster of Texas residents who had fought for the Confederacy.

In 1925, an amendment to the pension law allowed for benefits to any Confederate veteran who came to Texas before 1910 and widows who were born before 1861 to receive payments. It also allowed for benefits to veterans of military actions against the Indians and Mexican raiders as well as those in the State Militia who served during the Civil War.

The Pension Law was again amended in 1917, and it now allowed for payment for burial expenses known as “Confederate Mortuary Warrants.”

Pension Applications and the attached documents were submitted to the County Judge where the veteran or widow lived and then it was sent to the County Commissioners, and finally it was forwarded to the State Comptroller of Public Accounts for payment. The applications included the name of the Confederate Veteran and his personal information, occupation, military history, and county of residence. A widow’s application showed her husband’s place and date of death, how own birthplace and age, and the date of marriage.

The Pension Application forms and their attached records and correspondence are on file at the Texas State Library & Archives. You may request copies of any of these documents by telephone, (512) 463-5480; by mail, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711-2927; or, by e-mail, archinfo@tsl.state.tx.us. Each file will vary in number of pages and content; therefore, the staff will copy each complete file requested and bill you for the total number of pages reproduced. The photocopy charge is 10˘ per page, plus shipping and handling. There is a $1.00 minimum for this service. Please note that requests for copies of Confederate Pension Applications may take as long as 4 to 6 weeks for processing.

Book Review

Mearse, Linda. Confederate Indigent Families List of Texas 1863-1865. San Marcos, TX: L. Mearse, 1995, 499 pages, index.

A seldom-utilized resource by genealogists is the “Confederate indigent Families List (1863-1865).” Linda Mearse has transcribed these original records, which are available at the Texas State Library & Archives in Austin, Texas. There is an on-line index to her book at the following website: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/lobby/cif/index.html.

On Nov. 24, 1863, the Texas Legislature passed a Joint Resolution whereby the government pledged to support and maintain the families of Confederate soldiers during their absence from home. The “Act to Support the Families and Dependents of Texas Soldiers” was passed on Dec. 15, 1863 and it set aside one million dollars every year to be paid to the “families, widows, and dependents of soldiers currently serving in the State or Confederate forces, or of soldiers killed or disabled in service.” After, Nov. 1864, cloth and excess thread from the State Penitentiary was given to these families.

On or before March 1st of 1864 and 1865, the Chief Justice (now known as the County Judge) of each county submitted lists of servicemen and the number of their dependents who were eligible fore relief. The County Clerk administered the money distributed to the county for this purpose. The information available varies from county to county. While the number of dependents is always given and additional information may include: the name of the soldier who is currently in service, disabled or died; his unit; and, the name of acting head of the household.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 25 Oct and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604