Did you know that mothers could also receive a Civil War pension for their sons’ service?

My 4th great-grandmother, Sophia Ross Pottgen, received a pension for her son Henry’s service during the Civil War.  He died because of chronic diarrhea.  Not a pleasant way to go.:( She was already a widow, after the death of her husband Francis in 1853.  Since her son Henry helped take care of her financially, she was eligible for a pension.

It appears that she had to prove the following: that her son served and died, didn’t have any children, the relationship with his mother, the death/disability of her husband, her loyalty, and her financial dependence on her son.

BRIEF in the case of Sophia Pottgen, mother of Henry Pottgen Private Co. C 13 M S Inf
Resident of Madison county, State of Illinois
Post Office Address: Alton, Illinois
Service: The Adjutant General reports that Henry Pottgen was enlisted March 20 1862 and on the Roll for Nov + Dec 1863 he is reported “died while on furlough from hospital”
Death: Dr. H. Williams testifies that the soldier died Oct 29, 1863, of Chronic Diarrhea contracted in the service + line of duty.
Lieut. Keeling certifies that he has reason to believe that the disease was contracted in the line of duty.
Celibacy of Soldier: Shown.
Relationship: Shown by the required evidence.
Death or disability of husband: Death of husband in 1853, shown.
Dependence: It is shown that the deceased contributed to the support of the claimant for 3 years or more before enlistment to the amount of 15 or 20 dollars per month.
Loyalty: Shown
Agent and his P.O. address: J.T. Rice Alton, Illinois
Admitted June 20, 1865 to a Pension of $8 per month, commencing Oct 29, 1863.
Exd. Geo. Ewing, Examining Clerk

And here is a form for an increase of pension:

STATE of Illinois
County of Madison} SS
On this 17th day of September A.D. 1866, personally appeared before me a Clerk of a Court of Record, in and for the City of Alton, Madison County, in the State of Illinois Sophia Pottgen, aged 56 years, a resident of Alton in the County of Madison and state of Illinois, and whose post-office address is Alton, in the County and State aforesaid, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is a pensioner of the United States, duly enrolled at the Springfield, Ill Pension Agency, at the rate of $8.00 per month, by reason of the service and death, while in the United States service, of her son Henry Pottgen who was a private in Company C 13th Regiment of MS Infantry. That the following is a correct list of the names, dates of birth and residence of all her children who were under the age of sixteen years at the time of the death of her said son and who are now living, viz,:
Sophia Pottgen, born Oct 7, 1851, living at Alton, Illinois
That the above named were the children of her deceased husband and herself, and that she has not abandoned the support of any one of the above named children, nor permitted any one of them to be adopted by any other person as his, her, or their child.
She therefore claims an increase of pension to the amount of $2 per month, under section two of Supplementary Pension act of July 25, 1866.
She also declares that she has remained a widow ever since the death of said son and that she has not in any manner been engaged in or aided or abetted, the rebellion in the United States; and she hereby appoints H.G. M. Pike of Alton, Illinois and authorizes him to present and prosecute the claim, and to receive and receipt for the certificate that may be issued in satisfaction thereof. Her former Certificate is numbered 49905
{signed} Sophia Pottigin
Also personally appeared before me, at the time and place aforesaid, George Hewitt of Alton, and James Thornton of Alton whom I certify to be credible persons, who, being duly sworn according to law, declare, each for himself, that they well know Sophia Pottgen, who signed the foregoing declaration in their presence; and that she is the identical person she represents herself to be; and that the statement made by her in said declaration, in regard to the children of her deceased husband, is verily believed by them to be true in every particular. They further swear that they, or either of them, have no interest in this claim, either present or prospective, and that they are not concerned, directly or indirectly, in its prosecution.
Signature of Witnesses{ Geo Hewitt, James Thornton
Sworn to and subscribed before me, this 17 day of September A.D. 1866; and I hereby certify that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim. and that these affidavits were read over to affiants before execution.
{signed} John W Ash, Clerk ACC

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Bertha Mae {Davidson} Howard was a sister to my husband’s great-grandfather, Clyde Cleveland Davidson.



In Memory of
Born: September 7, 1894
Passed Away: December 19, 1968

Saturday, December 21, 1968, 2:00 p.m.
Congregational Church
Tonganoxie, Kansas

Dr. Emil T. Pietz

Mrs. Frances Myers

Truth Rebecca Lodge No. 266

Hubbel Hill Cemetery
Tonganoxie, Kansas

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My mom’s wedding dress sits in the cedar chest in her room.  I remember when I was kid (maybe 10 years old?), I tried it on and she took a picture of me in it.

When we were home this past August, we pulled it out and my two oldest daughters tried it on.


It kind of scares me that it almost fits them.  I don’t feel old enough to have daughters this big!!

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My Papa served as a Marine aboard the USS Cabot during WWII. This is a commendation he received for his service while they were under attack.

U.S.S. Cabot
c/o Fleet Post Office
San Francisco, California,
5 December 1944.


From: The Commanding Officer
To: THORNTON, Alphonso James, Jr. (871916) Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Subject: Commendation

1. You are hereby commended for service as set forth in the following


, while
“For outstanding service and meritorious conduct as a member of the crew of the U.S.S. CABOT on 25 November 1944, off the west coast of the Philippines while this vessel was under attack by Japanese aircraft. During and after a heavy aerial assault he displayed unusual ability, skill, and untiring devotion to duty which contributed to the defense of the ship, quick repair of damage, and aid to the wounded, thus assisting in restoring the ship to a state of highest possible efficiency. His loyalty and devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

2. A copy of this commendation will be filed with your service record and a suitable notation made therein.

{signed} S.J. Michael
CC: Service Record

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