There were 2 brothers (Charles A. and Lewis) and a sister (Patsy). Lewis has since died. In 1872 they testified, under oath, that their brother Philip never married and that they were the next of kin and eligible to collect the money that the government owed him, as a soldier, at his death. If the siblings admit Philip was married, it would mean they lied, under oath, to receive the money. Perhaps they would have to give it back. They probably believed they would anyway. The money they collected, about $40 then, would be worth about $823 today. The siblings do not stand to gain anything else. They would not qualify for the pension Katie is applying for as they were not his dependents.
This letter was written in 1883, eleven years after Philip’s siblings collected his bounty and arrears pay and one year after Katie began the application process to receive a pension. At that time, her first lawyer was doing nothing to advance her case. She talked about that in this post -> Claimant’s Statement. The depositions we are reading now were taken in 1889 and 1890.
Treasury Department, Second Auditor’s Office
Washington, February 23, 1883
Respectfully returned to the Hon. Commissioner of Pensions
In the case of Phillip Cleage late Corp’l Co. A: of “U.S.C.H.A. Vols. $40.50 arrears of pay to include Feb.’ 18 1866, ware allowed Chas, Lewis and Patsy Cleage, brothers and sister of said soldier, by Certificate, 589287, March 29, 1872.
In their application executed Sept. 5, 1871, the brothers and sister state that soldier has never married and leaves no widow nor children.
Alexander Cleage and David Cleage, the identifying witnesses, swear to soldier’s celibacy, from acquaintance of twenty-three years; they also swear that claimants and the soldier and their parents belonged to them and that they, (claimants and soldier) were children of the same mother.
June 5, 1882 Katie Cleage files her application in which she states that she is the widow of the said soldier and was married to him June 1863 near Athens Tenn. by one Alexander Cleage, their former owner, who pronounced them man and wife, after the manner of slaves.
John Rowland and Benj. A. Cobb identified claimant as the widow of soldier and testify that they lived and cohabited together as man and wife; that they served in the same regiment with soldiers and know that he obtained a furlough to visit claimant and that when he was sick with smallpox claimant visited him as his wife; they swear to acquaintance from childhood.
It appears through correspondence of this office with the P.M. at Athens Tenn. that Germina (Jemima) Cleage, widow of Alex. Cleage, denies that her husband performed the marriage ceremony between soldier and claimant and states that soldier was never married; that they lived together as many slaves did prior to the war, that Lewis and Patsy are the only surviving heirs; that a short time before her husband’s death, soldier called to see his old master and told him that he had never married; and that she never heard of soldier living with Kittie or any other woman and thinks it is a made up case.
Dennis, Auditor, L.W.L 77
I found the information for this post in Katie Cleage’s Civil War Pension file, and papers from the Freedman’s Bureau, (who dispersed the money) found on FamilySearch.org .
For links to the other posts in this series, click this link – Katie Cleage’s Pension Hearing