Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oath of Allegiance

Having southern roots, I knew that Confederate soldiers had to sign an Oath of Allegiance after the Civil War. What I hadn't realized was something I discovered yesterday.
I've been finding some remarkable documents on FOOTNOTE.COM all this week - from their collection of scanned documents from the National Archives. Last night I was going through the documents related to my husband's Revolutionary War ancestor, Zachariah Worley. I was reading through his pension application from September 1832. I was mesmerized reading his account of his march from Virginia to Pennsylvania to South Carolina to North Carolina and back to Virginia. I read of his capture and his release and then another enlistment of six weeks. After the death of Zachariah in 1837, pension request documents appear for his widow, Milley Dewitt Worley. THEN I found what I hadn't realized. She had been granted the pension, but the pension was taken away with the outbreak of the Civil War. She was living in Smith County Tennessee while receiving the pension, and therefore had to reapply in 1866 after the Civil War, and in order to, again, receive the pension she had to sign the above document, an Oath of Allegiance, to the United States and to the Union. I guess I should have realized that this would have been the case, but it just hadn't occurred to me. One other interesting thing about the above document (that's page 2), is that on page 1, she's shown to be 100 years old. I think some of the math may be off on that, as she's shown as 74 in the 1850 census, 90 in the 1860 census and now 100 in 1866.
Some of the other interesting reading in the documents was the statement of a Mr Shepperd that he had attended her wedding in Virginia - that he'd been working in the tobacco fields and had walked out of the fields to attend the wedding. This Mr Shepperd later married Milley's sister, according to the document. Mr Shepperd's family had also moved from Virginia to Smith County Tennessee.
The pension documents gave dates for Zachariah's birth, marriage and death and a death date for Milley. It mentioned children, but didn't name them. It mentioned that Milley was living with Benjamin Davis, in Smith County Tennessee, when she applied for her pension. He turned out to be her son-in-law, and knowing his name was the key to finding her in the Smith County census records, because in the 1850 census, Milley was listed in his household as Milley, but NOT as Milley Worley. She was just listed as a member of the Davis family, so she had been indexed as a Davis. In the 1860 census I found Milley in the Benjamin Davis household, but she had been indexed as Mila Warley (Okay. I might have found that one on my own).
What fun!

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