Declaration For Invalid Pension
State of Missouri, County of Jackson, ss., on this 14 day of July A.D. On thousand eight hundred and ninety, personally appeared before me a notary public within and for the County and State aforesaid, Benjamin W. Hurd aged 71 years, a resident of the Vance, Wyandotte County, state of Kansas, who being duly sworn according to the law, declares that is the identical Benjamin W. Hurd who was enrolled on the 21st day of July 1861 in Co. A., 6th Kansas Cavalry and Reenlisted as Act. in same reg. in the war of the rebellion, and served at least ninety days and was honorably discharged at [left blank] on the 18the day of July 1865; that he is totally unable to earn a support by reason of rheumatism all over body often lasting for months at a time, kidney disease, dropsey, chronic diarrhea, old age, and general disability; that said disabilities are not due to his vicious habits, and are, to the best of his knowledge and belief, permanent; that he has never applied for pension under application no. [crossed out]; that his ia pensioner under certificate no. [crossed out] that he makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the pension roll of the United States, under the provision of the Act of June 27th 1890.
Signed by Benjamin W. Hurd (by mark)
The next page has these three questions;
Are you married? Answer: no
What record of marriage exists? Answer: no
Have you children living? Answer: no
Transcription ends. Now some commentary. I've always tried to keep an open mind on this situation. In some respects the situation is a he said/she scenario. However, it is those three questions that tips the scales in favor of Benjamin being a scoundrel and rogue. He had married twice, and have at least five living children. So, he clearly lied there, so his credibility is completely suspect in my eyes. Human beings are complex and I only have a few documents to glean any information on this couple.
I always thought that Abiah married much too young. She was 16 1/2. This was probably an impetuous marriage on both parts. Their respective siblings had married in May 1846 (his brother George married her sister Louisa), and six months later they were married. He had no formal education. It just doesn't sound like they had much of a chance.
In any case, although these people are my great-great-great-grandparents, they aren't so far in the past as one would think. I knew my grandfather well and he went to Abiah's funeral when he was 14. He was also raised by his grandmother after his own mother died in 1918. That grandmother was the daughter of this couple. So, it's right there, tantalizingly close and yet forever shrouded in mystery.