A Pension Record Goldmine

As I have continued further and deeper into my research, I have had to leave the cozy world of censuses, vital records and Sons of American Revolution Society applications. The most recent goldmine were the pension applications and records found at Fold3.com. Though I am sure there are very pedestrian applications, the one I found for Emeline (Hunt) Dixon, the widow of Timothy Dixon, contained some priceless testimonies about my 4th great-grandparents.

Lack of Marriage Certificate

State of Vermont, County of Windham, Town of Whitingham … I, H. B. Ballon Town Clerk of said town of Whitingham hereby certify that I have searched the records of said town and that the marriage of Timothy Dixon is not recorded or if it is, I have failed to find it. (8 January 1883)

Though this was quite the problem for Emeline as she attempted to collect her late husband’s pension, it is quite lucky for us as it brought about a reason for people to attest to her marriage and life with Timothy. Her attorney wrote to the Pension Office:

Dear Sir, This is a peculiar case as to the proof of marriage we shall be obliged to furnish. The parties living near the line went over into Vermont in 1827 to be married and were married in Whitingham as she said. No record of it exists in Whitingham. I then tried other adjacent towns in Vermont to see if perchance she was mistaken in the town but am certain she was right. The persons who were present at the marriage I find are dead.

So I send the claim that it may be entered and the rolls examined and soon I shall send proofs of death and as proof of marriage, copies of records of births of children from as many towns where they have lived as I can find they had children born in, also affidavits to show them living together and reports that they were husband and wife. Hope this case so unfortunately delayed will receive attention and be granted as soon as proof is {illegible}.

Following this was some of the evidence he sought out:

  • Death: February 28, 1858, Timothy Dixon aged 65 years, 8 months (Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts)
  • Birth: A Record of Timothy Dixon’s children; Timothy son of Timothy and Emeline Dixon born March 4 AD 1829. (Heath, Franklin, Massachusetts)

Emeline’s own sworn testimony (20 Feb 1883):

I, Emeline Dixon, widow of Timothy Dixon and an applicant for pension depose and say that my said husband at the time of his marriage was a hatter and worked at that trade the early part of his life and the last part of his life he worked at farming, gardening and doing odd jobs … as he got opportunity at no regular trade.

The justice of the peace said of her: “…well known as a very reputable person and of the highest reputation for veracity…”

Charles H. Howland testified:

That he well knew Timothy Dixon and Emeline Dixon of said Plymouth and lived in the same neighborhood with them and was well acquainted with them from the time of their moving to said Plymouth until his death.

That they moved to Plymouth with quite a large family of children about the year AD 1851 and the said Timothy Dixon and Emeline Dixon lived together as husband and wife and were so reputed from the time of their arrival in Plymouth in 1851 to the time of his death and were esteemed as very worthy and reputable people in all respects.

The words of my 3rd great grandfather Comfort Dixon (50) and his brother Edwin (47) of their own father and mother (13 Feb 1883):

That they are the children of Timothy Dixon and Emeline Dixon. That from the time of their earliest recollection of anything their said father and mother lived together as husband and wife. That they remember their thus living together at Belchertown, a short time at Sturbridge, Southbridge, also at Brimfield and Oxford from which place they and we removed to Plymouth where we now reside and where our said father Timothy Dixon died Feb 28th 1858.

That our said father and mother moved to Plymouth in September 1851 and they lived together at Plymouth till his death and our said mother Emeline Dixon has remained a widow since his death.

We remember the birth of our youngest sister Elizabeth.

We have often heard our said father Timothy Dixon speak of having served in the war of 1812 against Great Britain. We have heard him talking the matter over with his brother John Dixon also.

The final included testimony was that of Dr. Alexander Jackson, the family’s doctor:

That he has been a physician in practice is said Plymouth from 1843 to the present time. That he knew Timothy Dixon and his wife Emeline Dixon and was their family physician from the time they moved into Plymouth in the year 1851 till the time of his death in 1858 and know that they lived together as husband and wife and were so reputed in the community and had in their family several children among them Comfort H. Dixon and Edwin Dixon still living in said Plymouth. Said Timothy Dixon and Emeline Dixon were much respected in the community and were very good people. Said Emeline is still living and well known to me. Have heard said Timothy Dixon on several occasions speak of having served in the War of 1812.

Treasury Department, Third Auditor’s Office, April 3rd, 1883. Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions with the information that Timothy Dixon, Private, who served in Captain L. Ripley’s Company of the 37th U.S. Infantry, from April 5th, 1814, to May 10th, 1815: Did not sign. No tracing of the signature can be furnished from the rolls on file in this Office.

The original application:

State of Massachusetts

County of Plymouth

On this third day of January, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-two, personally appeared before me the same being a Court of Record within and for County and State aforesaid, (1) Emeline Dixon aged 72 years, a resident of Plymouth, in the State of Massachusetts, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is a widow of (2) Timothy Dixon deceased, who was the identical (3) Timothy Dixon, who served under the name of (4) Timothy Dixon as a (5) private in the company commanded by Caption Larry (Terry?) Ripley, in the 37th regiment of U.S. Infantry, commanded by ___ in the war of 1812; that her said husband (6) enlisted at Danbury Conn. on or about the fifth day of April, A.D. 1814, for the term of the war, and continued in actual service in said war for the term of (7) one year, whose services terminated, by reason of (8) an honorable discharge at New London Conn, on the 10th day of May, A.D. 1815. She further states that the following is a full description of her said husband at the time of his enlistment, viz: (9) height about 5 feet 8 inches, complexion light, hair light brown, eyes grayish blue, age then about 22. She further states that she was married to the said Timothy Dixon, at the town of Whitingham, in the county of ___, and in the State of Vermont, on the ___ day of July A.D. 1827, by one (10) ___, who was a (11) Justice of the Peace and that her name before her said marriage was Emeline Hunt; and she further states that (12) neither she nor her said husband had been previously married and that her said husband (13) Timothy Dixon, died at Plymouth, in the State of Massachusetts, on the ___ day of February, A.D. 1858; and she further declares that the following have been the places of residence of herself and her said husband since the date of his discharge from the Army, viz: (14) at Heath, Belchertown, Sturbridge, North Oxford, and at Plymouth, all in the state of Massachusetts.

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