The Traveling Genealogist

Do Military Pensions Contain Asset Information?

Samuel Yohe Death Information
Samuel Yohe Death Information

Yes, they may. Generally, a widow needed to prove a financial need to receive his pension, proof of his death, and proof of death (or divorce) of any of her and his prior spouses.

A veteran qualified for a pension, regardless of assets, if he was injured in the service of the United States. Beginning in 1907, elderly veterans could receive a pension when they turned 62/70/75 years of age, with sufficient proof of their age, which did not require them to be disabled (34 U.S. Stat 879, chap. 468, “An Act Granting pensions to certain enlisted men, soldiers, and officers who served in the civil war and the war with Mexico.”).

Col. Samuel Yohe of the 1st Pennsylvania Infantry (Civil War) did not apply for a pension. According to the death record submitted (right) by his widow, Caroline, he died on 05 Jul 1880 at age 75 in Philadelphia from  “Congestion of Brain.1

Carrie Yohe Widows Application for Pension
Carrie Yohe’s Declaration for Widow’s Pension

Col. Yohe’s widow Carrie filed a “Declaration for Widow’s Pension” on 21 April 1892, citing financial need. Carrie reports she married Samuel on 04 Aug 1864 in Easton, Pa, and Samuel’s prior wife died in June 1862, and this was her first marriage2. As part of her claim, several affidavits from family and friends were submitted to support her claim of financial need. One of the affiants was Carrie’s sister Emily who lives with Carrie states: “she [Carrie] gains a subsistence by renting out apartments. She is the possessor of $6000 in bonds of the Phila and Reading Coal & Iron Co. on which she receives $360 = per annum interest.”3

Affidavit of Emily W Reeves
Affidavit of Emily W Reeves

According to the pension department, holding $6,000 in bonds that generate $360 income a year and the income derived from renting rooms in her house, Carrie was too wealthy to receive a widow’s pension!


1 Health Office, Registration Department, No. 3123, Philadelphia, Pa., May 5th 1892, “Yohe, Samuel, Civil War Pension File Widow Application #548273″, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs (RG 15), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, DC. (hereafter Samuel Yohe Pension File #548273)
2 Declaration For Widow’s Pension dated April 1892,  “Yohe, Samuel, Civil War Pension File Widow Application #548273″
3 Affidavit of Emily W. Reeves dated 01 Sep 1892,  “Yohe, Samuel, Civil War Pension File Widow Application #548273″