“I talked with Uncle Charles today about it”

Athens, TN in the 1920s. Family photo.

Deposition R

20 June 1890

Adeline Sherman

I do not know how old I am, I can’t tell pretty near. Yes, I was grown up at the time of the war. I am a laboring woman and my post office address is Athens, Tenn.

I was formerly a house servant for Mrs. Jemima Cleage and lived at the Cleage house on the farm. Katie Cleage and Lydia Cleage were house servants. Katie was a seamstress. I did not leave the Cleage family until after the war.  Katie left there just before the soldiers went to Chattanooga she slipped off at night and went to Chattanooga. Katie was not married when she lived on the Cleage farm and before she went to Chattanooga. She did not live with any man as his wife. Me and her slept in the house together all the time.

Yes sir she had two children. She slipped out at night is the way she came to have these children. Old Uncle Joe Cleage was the father of one. The other child was a white child. I could not tell who was the father. I know Uncle Joe was the father of one because he was slipping around there and I see them together several times. Old Uncle Tom Louis claimed the white baby. No he did not tell us, the woman that was with her told that it was white. Aunt Juda Cleage was the woman, but she is dead. I never saw either of the children. They were born dead. No sir, Katie did not go with anyone else besides Uncle Joe. He is not living.

Yes she did sleep in the quarters back of the house. The white folks put her there. She had the disease and they did not want her in the house. They put her off in a room by herself and carried her provisions to her. I don’t know how she staid there, she staid until she got well. Oh it was nearly a month that she staid in there. She had a doctor. Dr. Atlee told what was the matter with her and he never came back no more. I didn’t know whether no more doctor came or not, they never would let us go where she was. Because she had that disease and they was afraid we would take it. I am sure it was on account of her being diseased. That is the only time she staid in the quarters away from us, only when she was sick and had her babies.

Philip Cleage belonged to our white folks then and worked out in the field. No sir, Katie never lived with Philip as his wife. I did not see Philip after he went in the army. She was not with him while they were up the road, up at Knoxville. She went to Chattanooga just before the soldiers. I do not know whether she staid with him in Chattanooga or not. I have not seen her but once since the war.

I have not talked with anybody about this matter. Yes sir, I talked with Uncle Charles today about it. He said you wanted to see us. He did not say anything about the case.

I never knew Preacher McCaury. I did not know Lucy McCaury before the war. I did not know Minerva McCaury before the war. I knew that Philip and Katie did not go together before the war.

I am not related. I have no interest, not a bit in this claim for a pension. I have fully understood all your questions and my answers have been correctly recorded.

            Adeline (her mark X) Sherman


Adeline Cleage Sherman was Sallie Cleage Marsh’s first husband’s child by his first wife, Jane Cleage. That is, she was Sallie’s step-daughter. Until Jane’s death sometime after 1900, she lived next door to Edmund and Adeline Sherman. Jane is mentioned in Alexander Cleages Will, written in 1860, as Adeline’s mother. Edmund Sherman served in the same Company as Philip Cleage. The Uncle Charles who she mentions, is Charles A. Cleage, Philip’s brother who testified earlier and who was one of the siblings who got Philips arrears pay.

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

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

6 thoughts on ““I talked with Uncle Charles today about it”

  1. An amazing piece of research! I get excited each and every time I see a new post. This is worthy of a book and hopefully you’re thinking about doing one. Just putting the letters together from your research is a book within itself. Thank you for sharing.

    1. It is in the back of my mind. If I just didn’t keep making amazing finds right as I think I’ve wrapped it up. I’m so glad you are excited about it. So am I. And posting about it makes me re-read the posts and I find new connections as I do.

  2. Oh I agree you need to take this further, it is the good stories that make people pay attention to history. And this is a really good story!

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