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Letter home from a Mexican War soldier

Another interesting find in a military pension file at the National Archives. George Tarkleson served in the Mexican War in the late 1840s. After he died, his widow Elsie applied for a widow’s pension on his behalf.

She had very little to prove that she was rightfully entitled to his pension. The pension bureau decided that if she could provide a document with his signature on it, they would match that with the signature they had for him on file. This sounds easy enough, but George had died 35 years earlier. There are several statements from Elsie in the pension file stating that she had nothing to provide them with his signature on it.

It appears that she eventually found something– a letter written by him in 1847, from Vera Cruz, Mexico, while the war was going on– complete with his signature at the bottom. What’s interesting though, is that this letter was written to his wife, but it was not addressed to her. George had been married previously, so this was a letter written to his first wife.

One has to wonder how Elsie tracked down a letter written almost fifty years ago to his first wife, but however she did it, it doesn’t seem to have worked. There is no record of her being granted the pension. The letter, however, remains in his pension file there at the National Archives.

What stories about your family are at the National Archives? Contact me at www.RhinehartRoots.com and let me help you find out!