My first search of the Index for Sumter County, SC Pension Rolls led me to a Pension Roll Book that had the name of my 3rd Great Grandfather Alpheus J. Baker (1824-1917). It showed that he was living in Bishopville, SC and received a pension payment on 17 Feb. 1901 for his service in White's Battalion for "service until surrender".
|1901 Sumter County,SC Pension Roll Book|
Picture of original held by the SC State Archives
Next, I wanted to look at the microfilm for the Lee County, SC Pension Roll records. Lee County was formed from a part of Sumter County in 1902. Bishopville had become a part of Lee County so Alpheus should be in these lists.
When I went to get the microfilm it wasn't there. Turns out that some one else was using it. I was told that the original papers would be pulled for me instead!
What I was brought was a file box with the Pension Rolls from Lee County, SC 1909-1919.
Each year had an envelope that contained the Pension Roll papers plus letters. Handwritten or typed letters were in almost everyone. The letters were statements as to the standing of a person receiving or who had been denied a pension. Some were asking that their pension monies be given to various people to bring to them since they couldn't come themselves, or asking the Pension Board to look into their case again.
One of the best ones I saw was this typed note from 1914 that includes the name of my 3rd Great Grandfather's sister Julia Dorrity Byd. Julia was receiving a Widow's Pension in behalf of her deceased husband, James Byrd.
|1914 Letter to Comt. Gen, Columbia, SC from R.H. Singletary|
Picture of original held by the South Carolina State Archives
On the bottom is says:
" Please let me have a check for Mrs. H.J. Goodman, Mrs. Mary Deas, and Mrs. Julia A. Byrd, who are on my list as dead and who are still living as these people are worrying the life out of me about it,
R. H. Singletary"
I hope this got cleared up quickly so that Mr. Singletary could get some peace!
If I had looked at the microfilm would I have seen this or any of the other letters? Would I have just scrolled through until I found the right place and name? Were the letters microfilmed along with the Pension Rolls? I don't know but I do know that there is great value in looking at the original. How fun it would have been to find a handwritten letter signed by someone in my family tree!
There is nothing like holding an original record created by or for your ancestor. I am so glad that the microfilm that I needed was being used that day.The next time I have a choice between a copy or the original I will ask for the real thing!
©Cheri Hudson Passey