Origl Wids Claim No 402.098 of
Ellen Duff alleged widow of
Christopher Duff Musician and
Ordnance Sergt 7th U S Inft
Post Office address Fort Smith Sebastian Co Ark.
Origl Wids Claim No 521.233 of Catherine
A Duff Contesting widow
Post Office address Erin Springs Chickasaw Nat. IT.
Johnsonville, Ind Terr, August 23d, 1894
Hon. William Lochren,
Commissioner of Pensions
I have the honor to herewith return the papers and to submit report in above [entilted?] claims which have been consolidated. When claims were referred to the Special Examiners Division to determine which if either of the claimants is the legal widow of the soldier. Where and when soldier was divorced from Catharine provided he was divorced? Whether Ellen was married to the soldier? Inquirs as to origin of fatal sickness of soldier is made dependent upon Ellen's legal widowhood The [cautary?] has been established by [reoerd?] evidence, hence the origin of fatal sickup and immediate cause of death [ceores?] to be a material question. The following material questions are well settled by record evidence
Catherine was legally married to the soldier on the
on the 5th day of Meay 1863 see No 7 [Bfjkh?] claim # 521,233
That soldier abandoned Catharine and commenced living with Ellen in adultry about 1874 is satisfactory shown by the testimony of both claimants.
It [sumortiah?] he maintained his adulterous relations with Ellen until the 16th day of Nov 1879. when they were illegally married at Sherman Tex by a special dispensation of the Catholic Church that this marriage was illegal because of the fact the marriage of soldier to claimant had not been dissolved but at the time was pending before the Fort Smith Division of the District Court of Sebastion Co Ark. and was not determined until the 6th day of Jany 1881. An Exhibit F+G this report The claimant both agree that soldier dies on this 6th day of 1889.
It therefore follows that neither Catharine nor Ellen were the soldiers widow at the date of his death. Ellen never was the soldiers lawful wife [cuaup__ty?] [bould?] not be his legal widow. Catherine presumebly was his lawful wife from May 5th 1860 to Jany 6th 1881 at which date she was divorced from him in [ausuut?] to her own [pruyun?]. It was not [c__id___?] advisable to inquire into Ellens marriage and alleged divorce from her first husband as it is wholly immaterial. It is not believed that Ellen has knowingly [fur___us?] w/ false claim or committed perjury when [alleguy?]
in original papers [ihah] she was the lawful widow of the soldier. He undoubtably [reported?] to her that he had obtained a divorce from Catherine. Ellen has had another marriage [cvutuu?] since soldier death and has seperated from her 3d husband. This has no [be___ing?] [hower?] on this case. [M_t_?] a recommendation that Ellens claim be rejected [un?] dismiss her case from further [con______?] [see?] [that?] [report?]
Regarding Catharine, she is less innocent.
She knew that she had been twice married since her first husband, the deceased soldier abandoned her and that her last marriage followed followed divorce decree and was therefore legal. She also knew that she had been legally divorced from the soldier a number of years preceeding his death when she filed her [dalroim?] for [fausine?] [allgd?] [therin?] under oath that she was his lawful widow. Catharine is the more intelligent woman and knew she was as remote from being soldiers widow as it was possible for any woman to be. She knew that the marriage and the divorce both served to place her in the attitude of a stranger. Attention is invited to the Dup of form of [giaut?] W.A. Baker [uu?] [llo?] [lef?] of [Wedeus?] + Grayson [Aty?] The testimony of the former was taken before a proper insight into the merit of these claims was possible. The County Clerk in question was [sum?] [obacaun?] he is the custodian of the marriage record of his County. I was not satisfied with his [sut__i_an?] did not believe that Ellen had testified falsly. I [souiguily?] visited the Catholic Mission and then [sulthed?] the
of date of Ellens Marriage to deceased soldier which was a very material point for the reason that had the divorce been granted Catharine prior to soldiers marriage to Ellen she would have been his legal widow. The Catherine claimant was [h___ted?] to make and amended statement onto [miniu?] following [Evuy?] her [puiepad?] statement was taken. She thought over her statement and her willful [fuyay?] and not couscience [cunceon?] prompted a futher [cuucissin?] from her. Her attempt to [triba?] the [Nevu?] Commission as [dirdered?] in hre extended letter (see BFK / No 14) as been ignored.
The [lyidin?] of both claims is respectfully recommended and reference of [lie?] papers to the Chief of the Law Division for his action in Catherins claim.