Just Letting the Government Know about that “Pension:” Part IV

In his letter of 15 December of 1914 , C. M. Stewart of North Liberty, Iowa,  indicated that if the Pension Department needed additional information about the marriages of Civil War veteran Thomas Graves and the fact that his widow Sarah Graves was not his legal widow, that those details could be obtained from Mrs. W. A. Pyle of Moberly, Missouri, and Mrs. John Stewart of North Liberty, Iowa. C. M. Stewart never stated his relationship to John Stewart or John Stewart’s wife. C. M. stated in his initial letter to the government that he “worked for the government” and it’s possible that’s why he handled the correspondence with the Pension Department.

The two women Stewart referenced probably had some relationship to Thomas Graves and a little bit of research indicated that they were his daughters.

Mrs. W. A. Pyle–likely Mary Caroline (Graves) Pyle.

The Missouri state death certificate for Mary Caroline Pyle indicated that she was born on 17 October 1863 in Shelby County, Missouri, and died on 11 October 1962 in Huntsville, Missouri and was the daughter of Thomas Graves and Missouri Hill. She was the widow of William A. Pyle. It seems very probable that she’s the Mrs. W. A. Pyle referred to in the letter.

Mrs. John Stewart–likely Josie Belle (Graves) Stewart.

John and Josie Belle Stewart lived in Penn, Johnson County, Iowa, in 1910 and their ages, family structure and the ages of their children are consistent with the 1900 census entry for a John and Josie Stewart who are living in Moberly, Macon, Missouri, in 1910. An entry in Ancestry.com‘s “Ancestry.com. California, Death Index, 1940-1997” for a Josie Belle Stewart  (born 20 March 1869 in Missouri and died on 11 September 1958 in Sonoma, Californian) indicated that her father’s last name was Graves and her mother’s maiden name was Bailey. Josie is buried in the Odd Fellow’s Cemetery in Santa Rosa, California, along with an Edna G. Stewart whose age is consistent with the Edna G. Stewart who was enumerated as daughter in their 1900 and 1910 census enumerations.

A little more work needs to be done on the mother of these two apparent daughter of Thomas Graves. Mary Caroline’s death certificate indicated that her mother was named Missouri Hill. Josie Belle’s actual death certificate has not been viewed. The death index entry for her indicated that her mother’s maiden name was Bailey. The 15 December 1914 letter from C. M. Stewart indicated that Thomas Grave’s wife that he was married to when he married his subsequent widow, Sarah, was named Rosie Dix.

The question for me is how much work I want to do on Thomas Grave’s relationships before he married Sarah. She is my aunt and my goal was to document her existence more than I previously had.

C. M. Stewart’s letter mentioned the divorce that Thomas Graves received from his previous wife Rosie Dix after he married Sarah in 1884. Those records may mention Sarah, particularly if testimony is extant. After I obtain those records, I’ll decide how much further I want to research Thomas’ previous wives.


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