This week's post is the start of what I hope will be a series of posts relating to the same subject - Berryville Politics at the turn of the 20th century. I know that sounds incredibly boring, but hear me out.
The following poem was penned anonymously sometime around 1910:
On the night of July 9, 1904 Richard Ellyson was shot and killed near the Hamilton Saloon in Berryville, Virginia.
On March 18, 1818, Congress passed and enacted legislation providing aid to veterans of the American Revolutionary War. To qualify, one must be poverty-stricken, a veteran of either the Continental Line or Navy, and have served at least nine months (or to the end of the war, depending on enlistment). Applications had to be filed with a local representative to be passed onto the Secretary of War, who was responsible for processing and fulfilling claims. By 1823, there were over 18,000 petitions for pensions. So many veterans applied, leading Congress to amend their 1818 legislation in May 1820 - now, petitioners had to submit schedules of income and assets along with their petition for pension. The Secretary of War was then able to decide which applicants were best suited to receive pensions.
Under the 1818 act, qualifying officers were to receive $20 per month, and enlisted men $8 per month for the remainder of their lives. Earlier acts also protected widows, granting them access to part of their husband's pension upon his death, assuming she outlived him.
In the archives of the Clarke County Historical Association, one such petition has been discovered. Below is an original copy belonging to one Jacob Hunt, and the transcription follows:
Melanie is the current archivist for the Clarke County Historical Association, in Berryville, Virginia. She is a graduate from Shepherd University, where she earned a degree in History.