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Soldier's application for pension

 Collection — Box: SFC3 [F09.090.03.01], Folder: 265
Identifier: MS0265

Scope and Contents

2 copies of an unused application for Confederate Soldier's pension, State of North Carolina, to be filed with the Clerk Superior Court upon approval of the County Pension Board for the county of residence. Applicant had to attest to enlistment in North Carolina State Troops, the company and regiment.


  • 1921 - 1929

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Soldier's Application for Pension is the physical property of J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections. Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical background

North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953: In 1867 North Carolina began granting pensions to Confederate veterans who were blinded or lost an arm or leg during their service. In 1885 the State began granting pensions to all other disabled indigent Confederate veterans or widows. Although the Civil War injured or killed tens of thousands of North Carolinians, not until after Reconstruction did the state begin to pass broad pension laws to provide for crippled ex-Confederate soldiers and the widows of deceased veterans. In 1879 the legislature passed a law granting $60 per year to Civil War veterans who had lost both arms or both legs or were totally blind. Only a dozen individuals applied for this pension. An 1885 statute expanded the program by creating a $30,000-per-year fund to pay pensions to soldiers who were at least "three-fourths incapacitated by wounds" and to Confederate widows whose husbands had died during the war. As a result, from 1879 to 1900 approximately 4,500 North Carolinians applied for benefits under the new law. Although there was an extensive verification process, approximately three-fourths of all veterans' applications were approved in the first year. The most common reason for rejection, which could be appealed, was that the disability was not severe enough to warrant a pension. In 1887 the legislature extended pensions to widows whose husbands had died from disease, not just from wounds. However, the North Carolina pension system was poorly funded; pensioners still received approximately $60 annually, in contrast with Tennessee's system, which provided $100 a year. At the beginning of the twentieth century, state lawmakers decided that veterans were entitled to pensions simply for suffering the infirmities of old age. In 1901 fixed pensions ranged from $30 to $72 annually, based on the extent of incapacitation, with total pension expenditures not to exceed $200,000 for veterans and widows. This amount was increased during most succeeding legislative sessions, reaching $650,000 in 1919. In addition, in 1909 the lawmakers authorized counties to levy special taxes to benefit veterans residing within their borders. Moreover, veterans' petitions were now approved for reasons that earlier would have resulted in rejection, and applications were simplified. The most important change after 1900 was that a widow could apply for a pension even if her husband had died after the war, as long as he had never deserted. Furthermore, in 1909 the legislature allowed applications from widows who had married Confederate veterans as late as 1 Jan. 1868-two and a half years after the war ended. In the ensuing years this date was gradually moved forward; by the 1920s widows received pensions even when they had married Confederate veterans in the 1880s. Another change granted pensions to women who had remarried since the death of their veteran husbands. Before 1901 about twice as many widows as veterans applied for pensions, as few men believed that they could meet the strict eligibility requirements of the 1885 law. After 1901, with the aging of many former Confederate soldiers, the state received roughly equal numbers of applications from veterans and widows. A total of 35,000 pension applications were filed from 1901 to 1946. Pensions were provided for Confederate veterans who were residents of North Carolina and who had lost a leg, eye, or arm, or who were incapacitated for manual labor while in the service of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Widows of soldiers who were killed in service were entitled to the same benefits as long as they did not remarry. Any person, however, who owned property with a tax value of $500.00 or received a salary of $300.00 per year from the nation, state, or county was not eligible. The law was amended to include widows of soldiers who had died of disease while in service. In 1901, a new pension law was passed, in which, “Every person who has been for twelve months immediately preceding his or her application for pension bona fide resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States (provided, said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day of April, 1865)" was entitled to a pension. No person holding a national, state, or county office for which he received $300.00 annually, no person with property valued at $500.00 or more, or no person receiving aid under laws for relief of totally blind and maimed was eligible (inmates of the Soldiers' Home, recipients of pensions from other states, and deserters were excluded from benefits under the pension acts, although inmates of the Soldiers' Home were granted quarterly allowances of $1.50 in 1909 -- increased to $3.00 quarterly in 1913).


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Language of Materials



Two-sided, State of North Carolina Soldier's Application for pension, act of March 8, 1921.

Related Materials

Mary Anna Morrison Jackson Papers, MS0174.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Julie Henry in 2015.

Soldier's application for pension
J. Henry
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte 28223 United Stated

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