Monday, April 8, 2013

Amanuensis Monday
Thomas Taliaferro's Letter - 1915

Thomas Taliaferro's letter made me giggle and reminded me of my maternal grandmother who said that when a man gets a wife, he gets a slave for life. Thomas was writing the United States Pension Bureau complaining about his wife's inattentiveness. She visited her children for weeks and was not available to tend his needs. Bertha Welch Williams was his second wife and they did not have children together.

Thomas served with the 50th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. He was a slave with members of my paternal family, owned by the Taliaferro family near Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS. Thomas' descendants married into my paternal family.

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions

Sir in Aug 1912 my wife left me sick and stayed of two months year before that my wife left me Sick and Stayed off one month and again She ask me to let her go to her son and Stay two or three days and She went and Stayed of three weaks and I went to her and ask her to come home So She could See after her bisuness and she told me She wasnt going home no where I have been cooking for my Self very near every since I and her been married whenever I give her money or anything She gives her children part and I dont like no such wife as that and whenever I bring in grocery She Cary her children a posion and I dont conSider her being a wife of mine and so that way I had to go to the Sheriff and give her away and he told me to let her go and not have any thing to do with her This is my last wife and She have fail to treat me right
your truly Thomas
Hazlehurst Copiah Co
781778 Miss

Letter from Thomas Taliaferro's Civil War pension records.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sounds like Bertha was her own woman and he didn't like i.

  3. I love this letter! I'm still laughing :) Yes indeed she was her own woman.

  4. Why was he telling this to the Pension Board? Would it have an effect on his pension or was he just venting?

    1. Thomas' sister testified that his intent was to disqualify her as his widow, so she wouldn't receive a widow's pension after his death. The investigator questioned whether the couple was separated.They concluded the couple never separated based on the testimonies of family and friends.

  5. I had the same question as Kristin...but it sounds like it didn't help him much. What an interesting letter!

  6. No, it didn't help him. I think he wanted her to make quick visits with her children and in his mind she was not a good wife because she chose to spend time with her children.