This is one of my favorite documents from the Mary J. Whalin pension file. (Click on the labels related to Patrick Whelan for additional information about this pension file.) This deposition gives several clues for me to follow up on. It also provides details of what life was like in those days and some of the challenges faced by my relatives.
Misspellings and other mistakes are transcribed as they appear in the document.
Case of Mary J. Whalin, No. 773265
On this 19th day of May, 1903, at Chicago, county of Cook, State of Ill, before me, J. H. Stibbs, a special examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, personally appeared Pierce Landy, who, being by me first duly sworn to answer truly all interrogatories propounded to him during this special examination of aforesaid claim for pension, deposes and says: I am about 70 years old. I do not know my age. I reside at 181 Milton Ave Chicago Ill.
I knew this claimant before she married Pat Whalin. When I first knew her, she was a young unmarried girl. I do not believe I was at their wedding, because I was on night watch at the time, but I knew all about it, & my wife attended the wedding & saw them married.
I know they lived together from that time until he died, except for the time he was in the soldier’s House, but they were never divorced or legally separated, & she has not remarried since he died.
I knew Pat Whalin long before he went a soldiering, several years before the war, and he was then a young unmarried man. His first marriage was to this woman Mary. My first wife was his sister. When I first knew him he was a drayman here, & several years before the war he bought a lot on Siegel Street, & built a house on it, and lived there with his mother & sister, and he was living there with his mother at the time he married claimant and he afterwards lost the place on a mortgage. The first house was burned In the big fire (1871) & then[?] he borrowed money to build a two story house & that he lost. I think he was some older than me but not much.
The only property he left was the house where he lived, & I don’t know as that belonged to him. Claimant has been very poor since, and has to work as a scrub woman.
The affidavit [?] [?] B. J. [?], was signed by me.
I am not interested in this claim. The above has been read to me & is correct.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19 day of May 1903, and I certify that the contents were fully made known to deponent before signing.
Interesting points from this deposition:
1. Pierce Landy's first wife was the sister of Patrick Whelan and my ancestor, Timothy Whelan. Unfortuntely her first name is not given. I hope to find her in censuses and other records, but I'll need to be sure I find the first wife, and not a later one.
2. The mother of Patrick and Timothy Whelan lived in Chicago before Patrick went a soldiering! This is great news, since Timothy was one of my "space alien" ancestors who seemed to materialize in Chicago without any relatives. I will be trying to find out more about the mother (such as her first name) through censuses, cemetery records and other sources.
3. Patrick worked as a drayman (wagon driver) and lived on Siegel Street before the Civil War. This informtion will help me idenify him in city directories.
4. Patrick lived in a soldiers' home for a time. I will try to find out which one, and see if any records are available that might relate to Patrick.
5. Patrick owned property in Chicago. I'll want to look at any deeds, mortgages, or other records about the property.
6. Pierce Landy believes Patrick was older than him, but not by very much. Pierce wasn't sure of his own age, but believed he was about 70 years old in 1903. Therefore Patrick was probably born before 1833, at least according to Pierce.
I wll continue to post additional depositions and discoveries as I find them.