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Brief Look at the Pension Laws
to Israel and Roxana's page
Luke's pension file is 80 pages long. It contains affidavits on several different topics. In order to comply with the laws for awarding of pensions, Roxana had to prove:
  • Luke W. Fay served in the Civil War on the Union side and died because of injury or sickness received in that war.
  • She was the mother of the deceased soldier. There is a surprising amount of space devoted to supporting this fact. The government would have liked a letter from Luke to Roxana calling her mother, or a letter to someone referring to her as his mother. There is material in the affidavits explaining why this does not exist.
  • Roxana, a widow, had not remarried.
  • The soldier had no wife or dependents under 16 at the time of his death.
  • The soldier was responsible for supporting her; that he had in the past and up to the time of his death supported her.
  • She had no real property which could be sold to provide funds for her support, and she had no money.
All of this was easy for Roxana to support by way of affidavit. The fees for the affidavits came from work done by one of her daughters; she truly had no money at all. She worked until she was "too old and feeble" and then was supported by her daughters and friends; she went to one friend or relation after another and was taken in.
Although the facts of the case were obvious, it still took a long time to process. Roxana filed July 17, 1873, and the certificate was not issued until November 1879. It is not clear why it took so long; her lawyer, Jacob G. Harlan, wrote Washington several times, and received no answer. The last time was in 1876; the file does not say if he got an answer that time, but activity seems to have started up again. Harlan passed the file on to another lawyer for Roxana. The file never explains why the delay, but my guess is that it had to do with statements in Roxana's original filing about a letter sent by Israel to Luke. In that letter, which because of its importance I have placed first, Israel mentions two land claims, one for himself and one for Luke. If those claims had still existed, Roxana would have been able to sell them, get money and use it for her support. Thus Roxana had to show that those claims did not exist any more, and the Pension Office wrote to all the places Roxana was known to have lived to ask the assessors of the district whether Roxana owned any property listed on the tax rolls. In each case, the answer came back that there was no entry on the rolls for her.
Eventually Roxana did receive a pension at the rate of $8 a month, retroactive to 1862. It must have been a blessing for her, for the first time to have money and not have to ask for total support.
I have not tried to transcribe all of the material. For example, there is an affidavit by the physician about Luke's death that I am not including; and I have not transcribed the affidavits from the assessors about the tax rolls. I am including what I consider important or interesting.
Luke was born in Clinton County, New York. He was 23 on June 18, 1861.
Enlisted: June 18, 1861
Captured: September 20, 1861
Released on Parole September 24, 1861
Died January 23, 1862
Roxana filed officially July 17, 1873
Certificate number assigned November 1879
Roxana died April 17, 1901
Note on the transcription
I have tried to reproduce the wording of the affidavits exactly. I have NOT tried to follow the capitalization or the punctuation of the original. The reason for this is that they are not consistent in the original, nor is it always clear if a letter is meant to be a capital or is merely written a bit larger than others. Commas are especially difficult to check because the paper itself contains dots because of the reproduction quality (poor). I have used commas only if I felt they were necessary to the meaning and if at the same time I could SEE them in the original. I have NOT reproduced the underlining, because I believe that it was added by the Pension Office and was not in the original.
1)  Letter from Israel to Luke; some time in 1859
2)  Roxana's application February 11, 1873
3)  Roxana from Coffee County August 16, 1876
4)  Roxana from Douglas County April 19, 1879
5)  Lucy Jane Fay Carrigan 8/10/1878: several years up to Luke's death
6)  Stillman W. Post 9/17/1877 -- period Oct 1862 - Oct 1864; Michigan
7)  Nancy Scott 3/23/1878 -- period 1865 - 9/1867; Canada
8)  C. B. Graves 2/8/1879 -- general
9)  Margaret Pepper 8/23/1874 -- early background
10)  Zuba Beach 2/1/1878 -- some time 1864 - early 1865; Michigan
11)  Amanda M. Foster 8/5/1876 -- period up to and after Luke's death