“I remember their having one child”

Deposition E

David Bridges was literate and signed his name on his deposition.

14 June 1890
David Bridges

I am 41 years old, a farmer by trade and my post office address is Market House (stall 13.) Chattanooga, Tenn.

I have known the claimant ever since I was a small boy. I lived in Athens near her from the time I was a small boy until during the war. I left there in 1862 and went in the army in 1863. I was not an enlisted man, that is, I was taken prisoner before I was mustered in. I have seen the claimant since the war, but it has been some time ago.

When I knew her in Athens she was what I suppose you would call married, in those times we had no license. She was living with a man as his wife. The man she was living with was Philip Cleage. I knew him well. I used to go out very often to see them. I don’t know how long they had been living together, but they were living home when I went off to go in the army. They had one or two children, I disremember which, there was one certain. I could not tell whether the child lived. I remember their having one child, the last time I went to the farm the child was a small child, a baby in its mothers arms. I don’t know whether Philip worked on the farm, or what he did do. I do not know what Katie did, I did not live with them, I was only there back and forth Sundays and nights. They lived in a cabin back of the Cleage mansion. I saw Philip after he went in the army, at Knoxville. I saw the claimant during the time I was in Knoxville. She was with Philip and staid in the camp with him and was known as his wife. My brother married in the Cleage family and his wife came to Knoxville while I was there. My brother is named George Sherman and he lives in Athens, Tenn. He did not belong to the same regiment the claimants husband did. My brother’s wife who was at Knoxville is not living. I am positive that Philip Cleage and the claimant lived together as husband and wife before and at the time of the war and after he went in the service. I do not know of my own knowledge but after I came out of prison, I did not get home until 1867 and I was then told that Philip was dead. I have seen and heard of the claimant, but I have never visited her any since the war.

I have never heard that she had remarried since Philip ‘s death. The only one of Philips brothers living that I know of is Charles, at Athens, Tenn. Yes, he was living in the Cleage place during and before the war. I am not related. I have no interest in the world in this claim. Katie has never mentioned the matter to me, I never knew that she was looking for, or expecting a pension.

I have fully understood all your questions and my answers have been correctly recorded

By claimants Atty.:  Are you certain about seeing the child?

David Bridges: I am. I saw the child and supposed it was his child and had reason to suppose it was. I may be mistaken about it’s being her child.

14 June 1890


David Bridges was born into slavery about 1844. He married twice. The first time to Nancy Loucey. They had at least four children together. In the 1870 census, David could read but not write. By the 1880 census he could read and write. I do not know if he attended school or if his children taught him as they learned. I was impressed with his handwriting in signing his signature.

David worked as a laborer in Athens, TN for some years and then about 1881, the family moved to Chattanooga where he worked at Hoyt’s Tannery. In 1887, Nancy Bridges died in Chattanooga. She was 45. The cause of death was given as edema. Her remains were returned to Athens and buried there.

In 1894, fifty year old David married 32 year old Charity Martin. They returned to Athens where they had three children together. David worked as a laborer. He died sometime between the 1900 and the 1910 census. I have been unable to find a death record for him and unable to find the family in the 1920 census. However, I know he died before 1910 because Charity listed herself as a widow. And he doesn’t appear anywhere else.

Charity worked as a cook. She suffered from tuberculous for two years before dying on October 2, 1921. Her son David Bridges was the informant on her death certificate. He did not know her parents names.


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