4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 19, 2021 10:05 AM by Randall Hamilton

    Inferences from information on Civil War pension form

    Randall Hamilton Newbie

      I am trying to determine the death date of my 3-great grandfather, David O. Bell. I have proof that the popularly accepted date of his death (18 January 1898) is incorrect. He has a Civil War military headstone (showing only the company he served with), but exhaustive searching has failed to turn up an application for that headstone in any online collection I can find.


      I have attached a copy of a page from David Bell’s application for an increase in pension from the 1890s. At the bottom right corner is a section labeled "Indorsements," in which is written:


           Apl 12/99 Aud adv of dth-- N.K.

           Mar 21/1900 Aud adv no claim for accd filed. HG

           P.C. to Aud


      As I interpret it, the auditor was advised of David Bell’s death on 12 April 1899, and no claim for an accrued pension had been filed by 21 March 1900. No real surprise there: David’s wife had passed away a couple of years before.


      My question is whether that comment regarding no filing for an accrued pension is there because there was a time limit after David’s death (one year, say) within which such a claim had to be filed, or perhaps after such a length of time without a claim, the file was closed. In other words, would it be reasonable to infer from that comment that David necessarily died on or about 21 March 1899 (one year before the date on that annotation) or is that annotation date purely arbitrary, with no inferences to be made from it?


      Is there a typical amount of time back then that would have elapsed between a pensioner’s death and such an auditor being notified? If he died on or about 21 March 1899, that’s about three weeks before the date the auditor was advised of his death. That seems a reasonable time for the late 1800s.


      Incidentally, in the annotation “P.C. to Aud,” does “P.C.” mean “pension certificate” or have I misunderstood?


      Thank you so much for your time and your assistance. I appreciate your insights, and I look forward to hearing from you.


      Randall Hamilton



      Page from David Bell's pension increase application