Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, February 7, 1871.
SIR: Enclosed please find declaration for increase of pension in the case of Elizabeth Walking Stick, including pensioner’s affidavit relative to discrepancies between the documents of today and those of her original application. We also transmit herewith the original papers, and also the pensioner’s certificate.
The identity of the pensioner was established by her witnesses, one of whom is known to us, and by Morter Vann, our interpreter. She speaks English freely. It would appear useless to hold claimants in this country responsible for any statements that may appear in their original declarations. They are ignorant of the simplest requisites to a reliable and truthful declaration. They were not even questioned as to the facts relative to which they were made to depose. After copying the contents of the adjutant general’s roll, Wright’s agents filled the remainder of the blank at hazard. The applications were kept until a number had accumulated, and then at judge was called to execute the batch, having never seen the affiants. Claimants were in most cases sworn by J. W. Wright, J. B. Wright, or one of their clerks, as Spencer S. Stephens. Of this fact we have evidence both direct and documentary. That the number of fraudulent claims in this nation were not multiplied is to be attributed to the reticence of the Indians, and an indisposition to exert themselves mentally or physically for the purpose of concocting fraud, and not to any indisposition on the part of the agents, or a scarcity of facilities.
Mrs. Walking Stick is, we are satisfied, the widow of the soldier.
We are further satisfied that her husband died as she alleges. Small-pox as raging here at the time of his death. The fact that the records of the adjutant general state that his death occurred at this place is only one of the many inaccuracies made in the Indian returns.
The age of her child cannot be better established. We have stated the date of birth as early as we think it could by any possibility have occurred, if any weight is to be attached to the statements of herself and witnesses. Should you object to such testimony for increase please advise us, and we will make no more efforts in that direction.
Upon our investigation, and the testimony herewith forwarded, we are inclined to recommend the allowance of the claim. Should you approve our recommendation please sign this order below, and send to chief of widow’s certificate division.
Very respectfully, yours,
GEO. E. WEBSTER,
F. E. FOSTER,
Special Agents United States Pension-Office.
Hon. H. VAN AERNAM,
Commissioner of Pensions
Chief Widow’s Certificate Division:
In accordance with the foregoing recommendation, issue increase certificate to Elizabeth Walking Stick, widow of Samuel Walking Stick, at $8 per month, commencing, September 10, 1863, with $2 per month additional for minor child, (Wilson,) commencing July 25, 1866, and ending December 1, 1879, deducting former payments.
Widow’s Claim for pension
Cherokee Nation, SS:
On this twenty-fourth day of August, 1865, personally appeared before me, a district judge in and for the Illinois district, Cherokee Nation, Elizabeth Walking Stick, a resident of the Cherokee Nation, aged thirty years, who, being duly sworn, makes the following declaration, in order to obtain the pension provided by the act of Congress approved July 14, 1862: That she is the widow of Samuel Walking Stick, who was a private in Company Q, commanded by Captain White Catcher, in the Third Regiment of Indian Home Guards, in the war of 1861; that her maiden name was Elizabeth Wilson, and that she was married to said Samuel Walking Stick, deceased, on or about the tenth day of May, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, at Caney Creek, in the Cherokee Nation, by Rev. E. G. Smith, and that she knows of no record evidence of said marriage. She further declares that said Samuel Walking Stick, her husband, died in the service of the United States, as aforesaid, at Fort Gibson, in the Cherokee Nation, on or about the – day of August, 1864; cause of death, smallpox. She also declares that she has remained a widow ever since the death of said Samuel Walking Stick, and that she has not in any manner engaged in or aided or abetted the rebellion in the United States; and she hereby appoints John W. Wright, of Washington City, D. C., her lawful attorney, and authorizes him to present and prosecute this claim, and to receive and receipt for any orders or certificates that may be issued or paid in satisfaction thereof.
Her XX mark ELIZABETH WALKING STICK.
J. A. Kerr.
H. D. Reese.
Also personally appeared before me John Henson and Jacob Henson, residents of the Cherokee Nation, to me well known as credible persons, who being duly sworn, declare that they were present and saw said Elizabeth Walking Stick sign her name to the foregoing declaration, and that they have every reason to believe, from the appearance of the said applicant, and their acquaintance with her, that she is the identical person she represents herself to be, and know that said deceased recognized her as his lawful wife, and that she was so recognized in the community in which they resided; and that they have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim.
His XX mark John Henson
His XX mark Jacob Henson
Sworn to and subscribed before me this twenty-fourth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-three; and I hereby certify that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim.
NOTE.-If there is any record evidence of the marriage, insert-except that of which a true copy is hereunto annexed-and append a certified copy of the record accordingly. The cause of death must be specified in the second clause of the declaration. The declaration must be made before a court of record, or before some officer of such a court, duly authorized to administer oaths, and having custody of its seal, which must be attached.
All written in original is herein italicized.
Indian Territory, Cherokee Nation, ss:
On this 1st day of February, A. D.1871, before me, George E. Webster, United States pension-agent at Fort Gibson, in the nation aforesaid, personally appeared Elizabeth Walking Stick, residing at Fourteen Mile Creek, in Tahlequah district, Cherokee Nation, who being by me duly sworn according to law, deposes and says: That she is about thirty-five years of age, and is the widow of Samuel Walking Stick, who enlisted under the name of Samuel Walking Stick (Cherokee==Sam Daw, lin. erst.) during the mouth of July, 1862, in Company I of the Third Regiment Indian Home Guards; that said solder was sick with smallpox at Fort Gibson (Blunt) in 1863, and was removed to his home on Fourteen Mile Creek, where he died of said disease late in the summer of 1863, and that deponent was with him at the time of his death; that at the time of his death said soldier bore the rank of private in the company and regiment aforesaid; that she was married to said Samuel Walking Stick about nine years before the war (1853) extended to this country; that she was married according to the “custom of the Cherokees,” (and not by any minister or judge,) on Fourteen Mile Creek, under her maiden name of Elizabeth Thornton; that she never was known under nor assumed the name of “Wilson,” as stated in her former declaration for pension; that previous to said marriage neither deponent nor her husband, the aforesaid Samuel Walking Stick, were ever married; that by said marriage she had two children, Mary Ann and Wilson that Mary Ann died in the autumn of 1865; that Wilson is still living, and is about seven years and one month old, and who was born some three or four months subsequent to her husband’s death, and not earlier than December 2, 1863; that she has, up to this time, remained the widow of said Samuel Walking Stick, never having married since his death; that the following, as above stated, is the name and date of birth of the only child (surviving) of said soldier: Wilson, born (not earlier than) December 2, 1863; that her elder child died previous to July 25, 1866; that she has not in any manner been engaged in or aided or abetted the rebellion in the United States; that a prior application was made by her through John W. Wright, her attorney, on which she received a pension certificate No. 104645, which application, she is informed, included allegations differing from those of this declaration; that she never stated to any party, and never knowingly sworn to, the misstatements so contained in said former application; that upon making said former application an oath was ad- ministered to her by one Spencer S. Stephens, and not by Robert Crawford or any other person, except said Stephens; that she is unable to read or write English; that upon her pension certificate she received payment to the 4th of March, 1870; that she makes this declaration in order to secure the increase due her on account of her minor child, Wilson, as provided by act of Congress approved July 25, 1866, and also to correct and explain the errors contained in her former application for pension; that the witnesses to said former application, John and Jacob Henson, were present at its execution, and witnessed her mark thereto; that her post-office address is Fort Gibson, Indian Territory.
Her XX mark ELIZABETH WALKING STICK.
His XX mark MORTER VANN.
F. E. FOSTER.
Also personally appeared Washington Henson and Stephen Spears, persons who appear to be respectable and entitled to credit, who, being by me duly sworn, say they were present and saw Elizabeth Walking Stick make her mark to the foregoing declaration; that they have been intimately acquainted with her for twelve years, and were acquainted with her husband for fifteen years prior to his death; that they know that said Elizabeth lived with Samuel Walking Stick as his wife for nine years prior to his death, and was recognized as such by the community; that they have seen the minor child of said declarant frequently since its birth; that they believe him to be the legitimate child of Samuel Walking Stick aforesaid, and that his age is not more than alleged by the declarant, his mother; that they know that said child has not been abandoned by said declarant, but still remains under her care and custody; and that said Elizabeth Walking Stick has not remarried since the death of Samuel, her husband, and that if she had it would have come to their knowledge; and further, that they believe said declarant is the identical person she represents herself to be, and that the allegations of her declaration are true that they have no interest, direct or indirect, in any claim of said declarant.
His XX mark WASHINGTON HENSON.
His XX mark MORTER VANN.
F. E. FOSTER.
Sworn and subscribed before me this 1st day of February, A. D. 1871, and I certify that the foregoing declaration, &c., were fully made known and explained to the applicant and her witnesses before swearing; that I carefully examined the declarant and witnesses in order to elicit the truth, especially relative to facts respecting which there is a conflict between the statements of this and the former declaration for pension; that the declarant speaks English intelligibly, and that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the claim for pension or increase.
GEO. E. WEBSTER,
United States Pension-Agent.