I never thought my family was the kind to write letters to their Congressman. I was wrong. Apparently my great-great-grandmother was just that kind of person–especially when it involved her pension.

One has to admire her gumption, she didn’t even wait to get home to Illinois to write her complaint and apparently wrote her Congressman while she was in Minnesota (or likely had someone else write the actual letter). Nancy did not have her certificate with her and, given that it was 1916, she couldn’t simply email or text some kinfolk back home to have them get the number for her. So the letter to her Congressman was sent sans certificate number. Nancy’s request for an increase was apparently based upon an act of 8 September 1916 and her age. The act needs to be read in order to determine what aspects of it applied to Nancy’s situation.

The Congressman’s letter indicated that Nancy Rampley was aged 70 on 8 July 1846. Congressman Tavenner’s statement of Nancy’s age and date of birth would be secondary information. Those details likely came from the letter Nancy sent to him. That letter is not contained in Tavenner’s correspondence to the Commissioner of Pensions. I have other references to Nancy’s date of birth and, given the secondary nature of the statement in this letter, this letter will not be cited as a source for that date of birth. That would be different if I had no other source for Nancy’s birth.

And…this letter provides evidence of Nancy making a trip to Minnesota, probably to see one of her daughters who lived there. It’s possible that mention of her trip is made in one of the local newspapers–either in Illinois or Minnesota.

Nancy was denied a pension several times, but was finally approved. This letter was obtained in the widow’s Civil War pension for Nancy based upon the service of her husband, Riley Rampley. Riley served in Company D of the 78th Illinois Infantry.




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