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Investigator Report – Aug 31, 1895



No. 521.233
Catherine A. Duff — P.O. Erins Springs, I.T.
No. 402.098
Ellen Duff — P.O. Ft. Smith, Sebastian Co. Ark.
Contesting Widows
Christopher Duff
W.E. 7th U.S. Inf.

Ft. Smith Ark
Aug 31, 1895

Hon. Wm Lochren,
Comn of Pensions
Washington, D.C.
Sir:–

I have the honor to return the papers in the above described claims and to submit my report interm.

These claims were referred tome to determine whether the soldier and claimant, Ellen, ever jointly executed any deeds or other writings after the removal of the legal impediment; whether the soldier left a last will and testament wherein he recognized Ellen as his lawful wife and whether or not she succeded to his personal property or whetherPage 2


Page 3she held dower in any lands of the soldier.

I have worked on this case at odd times, but was never able to complete it until now.

I submit evidence herewith to show that soldier and the claiment (Ellen) executed a deed jointly, after the removal of the legal impediment; that she succeded to soldiers personal property –, and she still hold a claim, or improvement, in the Indian Territory and recieves the results therefrom; that soldier left no last will and testament. It is also shown that the deed which Ellen + soldier executed jointly – that her name was [reg___ed] to the deed as a matter of [prec__tion] rather than to any legal status therein; that Catherine also made a deed to the same piece of property as a matter of precaution also.

It is also shown in this investigation that Ellen had been married before she married Duff, the soldier. She did not


tell Ipl. Exr. Stocksloger this. Her first husband was Henry Shackelford now of McKinney, Collin Co. Tex. They lived together a short time and he left her because she was too intimate [unk] other men. Whether Schackelford ever obtained a divorce from ellen [Hm] been unable to learn. The records of both Sebastian Co. and Scott Co. have been destroyed by fire and there is nothing to show in either of the Courts whether the parties were divorced or not. Schackelford married again and it is questionable whether he [umed?] commit himself now, if he was never divorced, because the law of Texas is very sever in regard to such practices. If he was assured by the Special [Exam____] that the matter [umed] be treated with the utmost confidence and that it [umed] not be used against him, he might devulge. This is a material point in this case, because of Shackelford + Ellen were never divorced her re-marriage, either by common law or otherwise, [umed] be illegal.Page 4


Page 5It is shown beyond a doubt that Ellen has never been a Christian woman. Her first husband left her on that account. She then took up with Duff the soldier, and a married man, and she ws intimate with him, and she became pregnant by him and when she couldn't conceal her shame, she left this county with him and went to Texas where they lived in open + [wotonous?] adultry for 5 years. She broke up Duffs family and caused hiom to seporate from his legal wife + children and take up with her, a prostitute. Her reputation since Duffs death has not been good, and she is regarded as a woman of easy virtue. She married Tom Stephenson since the [soldiers?] death and they have separated.

The claimants (Ellen) marriage to Christopher Duff is void [abinection?] She lived in adultery with him before that and after that. [Ifare?] [bisee?] him the removal of the legal barrier [emed] change the status of these people not [inih] standing she signed a deed


(because the man [umed] [not?] take it without her signature, and then she signed it by x mark when she can write her name) jointly with Christopher Duff and she succeeded to his personal property

I am of the opinion that Ellen Duff is not, by law, entitled to a pension as the widow of Christopher Duff. The fact of her having a former husband from whom there is no evidence that she has ever been divorced, and the fact of her loose character all through her life leads me to the opinion that her claim is void of merit. However, I shall recommend further examination at McKinney Collin Co. Tex. for the testimony of Henry Shackleford, former husband as to divorce +c. The special Examiner must approach Mr. Shackleford very delicately + midly and with considerable tact in regard to this matter.

Very Respy
H. N. Patton
Special Examiner

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