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Bureau of Pensions – Legal Opinion



Department of the Interior,

Bureau of Pensions,

Washington, D.C., October 12, 1894

Claims of
Ellen Duff,
No. 402,098, and
Catharine A. Duff,
No. 521,233,
as widows of
Christopher Duff,
Co. E, 7th U. S. Inf.,

Respectfully returned herewith to the Chief of the Board of Review are the above described claims with opinion that, from the evidence on file, neither of the claimants is shown to be the legal widow of the soldier.

It appears that Catharine and the soldier were married in 1863 and that they were not divorced until 1881. It appears that the claimant Ellen and the soldier were married in 1879 and lived together subsequent to the soldier's divorce from his first wife. No subsequent marriage is shown between soldier and Ellen.

The claimant Catharine cannot be recognized as the widow of the soldier, for the reason that she was divorced from


him in 1881. The claimant Ellen cannot be recognized asthe legal widow ofthe soldier, for the reason that her marriage to him in 1879 was null and void by reason of the existence of a legal impediment. It is possible that a marriage was contracted and entered into between the claimant Ellen and the soldier after he obtained the divorce from his first wife, but no such marriage is shown. Before claimant Ellen's claim is either admitted or rejected she should be called upon to furnish evidence of a marriage contract and entered into when both of the parties were legally capable of contracting a valid marriage.

Very respectfully,

J O'O Roberts
Asst. Chief Law Division.