Every time the laws were changed and passed a new round of submissions for Civil War pensions would follow. In 1916, Amarilla tried again to obtain George Barclay’s Civil War Pension. This meant that she had to fill out the Declaration for Widow’s Pension form to get things started. The Barclay Hotel burned down in 1915 and it appears she had to seek out another set of marriage, divorce and other papers if she could not find them in her home or hotel and resubmit.
I find that interesting because the government had a 2 inch file on George’s Pension which I obtained from the VA not the National Archives. Of course the Veteran’s Administration really didn’t start till 1921.
This Widow’s form was filed on 24 October, 1916 and submitted. As far as I can tell the process took till July of 1919 to finally come to an end. The application was being considered for pension a total of three years in process.
Here is a summary of what happened. In these documents her name is spelled Ammarilla and the last name is Barcklay.
Summary of this attempt at obtaining George Angus Barclay’s Civil War Pension 1916 to 1919
October 24, 1916: Declaration for Widow’s Pension signed and forwarded.
March 2, 1917: Overview card for Remarried Widow of George. A. Barclay with summary of the file.
April 3, 1917: Letter from War Division to D. Elliott Waggeman, Atty, Wash D.C.
They want testimony from two credible witnesses who knew the soldier from the time he attained marriageable age, showing whether he had been previously married with further instructions in order to comply etc… Signed by the Commissioner.
April 13, 1917: Letter from the Auditor for the War Department to Treasury Department, Wash D.C.
….For use in the above-cited claim for pension, please furnish a tracing of the soldier’s signature, and loan to this Bureau any papers that may have been filed in a claim for arrears of pay or bounty based on his service. Signed by the Commissioner
May 12, 1917: Letter from Treasury Department to Commissioner of Pensions, Wash D.C. for Bounty:
An application was filed December 17, 1867, in the Paymaster General’s Office, War Department, for bounty under Act of July 28, 1866, by George Barclay, late of Co. I, 9th Minn. Inf. and said application is herewith transmitted with the request that the same be returned to this office at the earliest practicable date. Signed by a J.L. Baity Auditor. (No copy of this bounty claim was in the pension file).
August 25, 1917: General Affidavit
General Affidavit, Minnesota, Cass County, Personally came before me ____Shiller in and aforesaid County and State Ammarilla Dawes age 58 years, residing in Pine River, Cass Co., Minn. who being dully sworn, declares:
That her husband’s full and correct name was George Angus Barclay and he was born in Connecticut. His age at enlistment as nearly as she can compute was between 16 & 18 (he was 18), and his occupation when he enlisted was farmer, and when he enlisted he lived at Shakopee. She further states that his height was 5 feet 6 inches, his complexion dark, color of eyes dark brown, hair dark, and as to marks and scars she states he had none that she knows of. She further states that her own maiden name was Spracklin and that after the soldier George Angus Barclay died she was remarried to Jefferson G. Dawes from whom she was divorced in the year 1910 on her own application. She further states as to any former marriages of the solider George Angus Barclay that he was never married until he married the affiant and that she states that she was never married before she married George Angus Barclay. Signed Ammarilla Dawes, and F……Shiller, 25 August 1917. Notary Public seal.
September 10, 1917: General Affidavit.
That her various places and dates of residence since the death of the soldier, Geo. Barclay, have been Pine River, Cass Co., Minnesota.
Cover form from Department of the Interior, Bureau of Pensions card with summary of contents. This is like their cover piece.
September 18, 1917: General Affidavit:
John Leef, age 55 residing in Pine River, Cass Co. and Mrs. J. P. Leef aged 50 years. That they have been personally acquainted with the claimant, Ammarilla Dawes since of the date of the death of the solider, George Barclay and that she has not been married since that time other than to Mr. Dawes who divorced.
November 27, 1917: A note asking for more information about the marriage to Dawes.
January 17, 1918: State of Minnesota, District Court, Co. of Hennepin – the Marriage License of Jefferson and Ammarilla Barclay 2 September 1902 was submitted to the Commissioner.
February 5, 1918: Additional Evidence General Affidavit.
That her husband, Jefferson G. Dawes, did not render any military or naval service to the United States in any capacity.
July 9, 1918: This was a note/letter talking about rules about pensions and the marriage of Jefferson G. Dawes and the name and service of George Barclay etc.
July 22, 1918: Returning of documents by Auditor of the War Department, and their divorce papers are submitted by Cass Courthouse County, Minnesota.
March 3, 1919: Miscellaneous papers contained in the pension file. April 22, 1919 and on April 25, 1919 a formal letter to the Postmaster…. a H.M. Vandervort requesting more information about the situation – ret’d to Chief _______to call on Postmaster at Pine River, Minn. and determine whether she has remarried and what her standing and reputation in the community since February 1, 1910.
The report back is not good something about her living with a man by the name of George Urton and it is not known if they are married. Her reputation is mixed.
May 18, 1919: A letter was sent to the Chief and Special Examination Division requesting a special investigation to 1) to determine whether she has remarried more than once and after her divorce from Dawes which would jeopardize the pension. 2) They then wanted to know her involvement in George’s death. 3) a Mr. Young was assigned the task of investigating Amarilla Barclay Dawes.
June 7, 1919: A letter telling the Postmaster that they want to personally interview Amarilla and J.G. Dawes, Mr. and Mrs. Leef, please supply information about where they were living, Signed by E. W. Young, Special Examiner.
June 20th, 1919: Letter to Mr. E.W. Young signed by A.K. McPherson, Clerk of the Court, Walker, Minn. He states he finds no evidence in the proceedings of the Coroners inquest that show that any suspicion was lodged against the Widow of the deceased G. A. Barclay.
June 18, 1919 Brainerd – Jefferson G. Dawes personally appears before me E.W. Young…
June 21, 1919 – letter to the Commissioner of Pensions. He is submitting his report with documents on the Claim for George’s pension and E.W. Young’s investigation. I have moved this ahead of the depositions of J.G. and Amarilla of E.W. Young:
He took the deposition in Brainerd from J.G. Dawes. While husband of the claimant he was also mayor of Pine River and that he was regarded as something of a four-flusher which was reference to his business transactions and he says he observed this behavior in J.G. The special examiner believed J.G.’s testimony about Amarilla. He then went to Pine River and didn’t tell Amarilla about his interview with J.G. prior to visiting her. She is now engaged to George Urton who lives with her. Then the special examiners remembers George that this soldier was a storekeeper, saloonist, postmaster, logger and big in the area, also a hotel keeper and his death and the gossip. The case appears for final action.
Deposition of J.G. Dawes, June 18, 1919 in Brainerd, Minn. This is a summary not a full transcription.
My age is 70 years last March, my residence and address are Brainerd, MN in real estate business. I got married to Rilla Barcklay in Minneapolis date do not remember, but some 15 or 16 years ago. I did not know her husband in his lifetime. Became acquainted with her at Pine River when I was there on a matter of business. She was in the logging and store business there and wanted me to manage it for her, offering me half. I took it and turned over to her probably as much as $10,000. He then makes comments about Grace and Ronald which are not good…She and I always lived together after our marriage, until the separation in Pine River, where I built her home she now has….I did not get a divorce from her. She got it from me. I let her get it. He comments about the divorce are not good. Then Mr. Young asked about her reputation and her conduct during the marriage. J.G. proceeds to give details about her behavior which are not good…He states he has no interest in her pension claim and nothing against it.
Deposition of Amarilla Dawes, June 19, 1919 in Pine River, MN. This is a summary and not a full transcription.
My residence and address are Pine River, Cass Co., Minn, am keeping house, I am claiming pension as the widow of George. A. Barcklay who was a Civil War Soldier. He was not a pensioner. My only claim to pension has been made on account of him. He was in the I, 9 Minn. Inf. I married Jefferson G. Dawes after Barcklay’s death, date do not remember. Married him at Minneapolis and got divorced from him going to Bemidji to meet the judge, I guess the papers are in Walker….She talks about George Urton and that she is engaged to be married. Mr. Young proceeds to ask her questions about her conduct and she replies refuting J.G.’s comments. I was never accused of having anything to do with Mr. Barcklay’s death, except by Mr. Dawes. She mentions Louis Bebeau being arrested, tried and acquitted of the murder of her husband. I would rather forgo any pension I might possibility get than to have this read in the presence of witnesses or to have any further inquiry made about it.
July 8, 1919: Wid. Org. Ammarilla former widow of Geo. A. Barclay…Pension is rejected warranted on the facts show in this claim? 1) Adulterous cohabitation while claimant was the wife of J.C. Dawes is no bar to pension. 2) There is nothing to show adulterous cohabitation after claimant’s divorce from Dawes until Sept/Oct 1918.
July 10, 1919: Another statement, our further consideration of the case and in view of claimant’s statement before the special examiner that she would rather foregoing any pension she might possibly get than to have her deposition read in the presence of witnesses or to have any further inquiry made about it. The claim may be rejected as if now stands on the ground of abandonment of further prosecution of same as declared in her deposition taken by special examiner on June 191, 1919. Signed A.A. Aspenwall, Chief, Board of Review.
On July 22, 1919: C.M. Saltzgaber, Commissioner writes to W. Elliott Waggaman, Atty, Wash D.C. and to Amarilla that the claim is rejected on the ground of the claim’s abandonment of further prosecution of claim etc.
Well, isn’t this a fine pickle. I really am proud of my great-grandmother for abandoning the pension claim. I think both her and J.G. did not have any understanding of what was happening and it appears they were not informed by Mr. Young that he was going to approach them both. It was unfortunate but not uncommon that this type of investigation occurred.
It seems to me the facts were: 1) Whether George was a soldier and what was his service; 2) that George and Amarilla were married, where and when; 3) when did George die; 4) after George’s death her remarriage to J.G. Dawes, where and when; 5) and that Amarilla divorced Dawes in 1910; 6) she had not remarried but was engaged to George Urton in 1918. These are the facts to me, anything else is irrelevant, but this apparently was not the case as the quote below presents:
The Commissioner of Pensions refused to issue a certificate to allow pension under the special act on the ground the evidence shows that since the passage of the act of August 7, 1882, and prior to an since the approval of the special act, the claimant has been guilty of open and notorious adulterous cohabitation. Appeal was entered August 14, 1919.
One of the general provisions of the pension laws is as follows: the open and notorious adulterous cohabitation of a widow who is a pensioner shall operate to terminate her pension from the commencement of such cohabitation. Act of August 7, 1882, sec. 2, 22 Stat., 345.
Source: Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Appealed Pension and Bounty Claims, Editors John W. Bixler and Ralph W. Kirkham, Google Books. page 441.
Amarilla would try one more time in 1939 for George’s pension and get a little help from her grandson Gordon. If you are wondering what the term “four-flusher” used to describe J.G. means it is a reference to the game of poker and how someone presents a certain face to others. I have posted about J.G. Dawes on this blog and you can review his posts and Amarilla’s just go to the Page at the top of this blog that covers George and Amarilla’s table of contents of posts written.