“I don’t remember…”

Deposition D

13 Jun 1890
Mrs. T. A. Cleage Sr

Penelope Van Dyke Cleage in her youth

I am 54 years of age, the wife of Thomas A. Cleage and my post office address is No. 111 Gilmer St. Chattanooga, Tenn.

I know the claimant Katie Cleage, she was a seamstress in my husband’s mother’s family. I knew Philip Cleage that is, I remember there was such a man on the place. I have no recollection that Katie and Philip were married or that they lived together as husband and wife.

I do not know as to whether or not Katie had any children. I don’t remember that she ever did any work for me. I lived in Athens Tenn. and Katie lived about three miles out of town on the farm with my husband’s father. If Katie were married to Philip, I think I would have known it. I do not remember when the servants left – though it was during the war. I have not had any knowledge relating to the claimant since the war. I have no interest in this claim for a pension. My answers have been correctly recorded.

Mrs. T. A. Cleage

13 day of June 1890


“Chattanooga Daily Gazette” pg. 3 August 6, 1865

Penelope Van Dyke Cleage was born in 1836 to the wealthy family of Judge Thomas Nixon Van Dyke and his wife Elizabeth Anne Deadrick in McMinn County, outside of Athens. She married Thomas A. Cleage in 1856. Thomas Alexander Cleage was the oldest son of the slave holders Alexander and Jemima Cleage.

Penelope gave birth to nine children and six were surviving in 1900. All were born in Tennessee except daughter Susan, who was born in November 1865 in Adams County, Illinois. How did she come to be in Illinois at that time?

Thomas A. Cleage was involved in removing the assets of the Athens Branch of the State Bank of Tennessee to Georgia during the Civil War. Katie will mention it in her next deposition. Later Thomas, who was a cashier at the bank and other officials, were accused of misappropriating funds for themselves. There was a point when Thomas was arrested and said he knew where the gold was and if they released him, he would go get it and return it. Instead, he went to Illinois, apparently along with his family and Susan was born while they were there. eventually it was worked out without prison and Cleage returned to Tennessee to live in Chattanooga. I gleaned this Information from various newspapers on newspapers.com.

Thomas A. Cleage was 67 when he died of cancer of the stomach in 1900. Penelope died of a stroke in Athens in 1907. She was 72. Her body was returned to Chattanooga and both are buried in Forest Hill Cemetery there.


For links to the other posts in this series, click this link – Katie Cleage’s Pension Hearing

I found the information for this post in Katie’s Pension File, on Ancestry.com, on FamilySearch.org, on Newspapers.com and on the free site Chattanooga Newspapers

I found the information for this post in Katie Cleage’s Civil War Pension file, on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.

For links to the other posts in this series, click this link – Katie Cleage’s Pension Hearing

, on Newspapers.com and on the free site Chattanooga Newspapers

6 thoughts on ““I don’t remember…”

  1. I’m confused, was Thomas Cleage brother to Phillips Cleage? His wife doesn’t seem to have known very much about the marriage apparently! That’s an exciting story, published in the paper, that Thomas took all that money out of the south before the confederacy could take it.

    1. No, Thomas Cleage was one of the white Cleages, another son of Alexander and Jemima Cleage. He was one of the slave holding family and a brother to John, who testified yesterday. I added this information up there. I’m sorry for the confusion.

  2. Kristin I continue to be amazed and enthralled by your research! This is truly valuable. Whenever I hear the Cleage name here in McMinn County I quickly relate it to your research and remember they weren’t even decent slaveholders (as your research indicates) and didn’t try to at all to help this former slave receive a pension! Now he’s accused of stealing money from the bank!!

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