28 May 2012

Frankie's Letter: From a Widow to the Pension Board

Last in three posts dedicated to the military personnel in my family, a Memorial Day tribute of sorts.

As any genealogist would know, pension files can be an incredibly illuminating resource. Several years ago, we obtained the file for Capt. Oscar F. Brown and his wife, Frances (Lawrence) Brown. Frankie's file was considerable in size, having lived several more years after her husband, and petitioning repeatedly for increases in her widow's pension.

Oscar & Frances Brown, seen with unidentified children.
Private holdings of author.

Included is a copy of a letter, written by Frankie, dated 31 Oct 1928. By this time, Oscar had been gone 22 years, and she was living with her youngest son, Warren, in Orting, Washington. She turned 75 the previous July and was expecting a higher monthly sum, due to the change in her age. This excerpt in particular caught our attention as a family:

"... I am a soldier's daughter, a soldiers' widow, and a soldier's mother and think I am entitled to at least $40 a mo., and a soldiers sister [to] 3 brothers."
Although she didn't know it at the time, she is in fact:

the daughter of a soldier
the sister of soldiers
the widow of a soldier
the mother of a soldier
the grandmother of soldiers
the great-grandmother of soldiers
the great-great grandmother of soldiers


  1. It sounds like Frankie earned her pension several times over! I hope she got her increase and enjoyed a long life.

  2. She only lived a few years after this letter, but she did get the increase! Her last years were spent in her daughter's household, which I think were happy times for her.
    Thanks for reading and commenting, Shelley! ~Jen


Please comment! I would love to hear your thoughts!