52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20 – Hannah Jane (Longcor) Hunt

Relationship: 2nd Great-grandmother
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Hannah Jane was worried about getting her widow’s pension from the U.S. Government. She didn’t have her marriage certificate to prove that she was married to William H. Hunt. Her husband had fought in the Late War of the Rebellion from 28 April 1861 to 30 June 1865.[1] He had passed away on 23 February 1918[2] and she really needed the pension to make ends meet.

She was a bit worried and confused. Before he had died, William had sent paperwork to the pension office stating that he and Hannah had been married on Christmas Eve of 1868.[3] Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 5.57.18 PMWhy were they asking her for more proof? How could she prove she was officially married when she didn’t have a document? The reverend that had married them was long gone.

Fortunately, the pension office provided her with some answers. The letter had come from the Commissioner in early May of 1918 explaining what she would need to do if there was no verified copy of public or church records.[4] She would have to find some people that knew her well and who would testify in an affidavit that she had been married to William. But who to ask?

She thought about it. Sarah! Sarah was at the wedding and had been a bridesmaid! Sarah A. Longcor was married to Joseph P. Longcor, one of her father’s brothers. Her brother, George, would also testify on her behalf. And what about someone not related? Hmm… Mr. Steele would probably agree to help. He had been at the marriage ceremony too.

When Hannah asked them to testify, they agreed. They all gathered at the Sussex County Clerk’s office in Newton, New Jersey, on 09 May 1918 to get the affidavits completed.

Sarah was sworn in and started her testimony:

“I reside at No. 152 Sparta Avenue, in the Town of Newton, in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey and am the wife of Joseph P. Longcor.

I know Hannah J. Hunt widow of William H. Hunt and have known her for the past fifty five years.  Her maiden name was Hannah J. Longcor, daughter of Samuel and Eliza Longcor.  I also knew her husband William H. Hunt in his life time, and knew him for fifty years prior to his decease.

I was present at the marriage of the said Hannah J. Hunt and William H. Hunt on December 24-1868, and was bridesmaid at their wedding.

Hannah J. Hunt and her husband lived together continuously from the time of their marriage until the date of his death of February 23-1918, and they have resided in Sussex County continuously since their marriage, and I have also lived in Sussex County and have visited at their home frequently.”[5]

Hannah was so nervous when the testimony was over that she signed the affidavit. “No, no,” said the Clerk. “Mrs. Longcor is the one that needs to sign.” He crossed through Hannah’s signature and handed the pen to Sarah. “Mrs. Longcor, would you please sign under the crossed over signature?” he asked.

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George Longcor was sworn in and began his testimony:

“I reside at No. 48 Pine Street in the Town of Newton, in said county and state, and have resided in the County of Sussex all of my life, and am fifty four years of age.

I am a brother of Hannah J. Hunt widow of William H. Hunt deceased, that the said William H. Hunt died on February 23rd-1918 leaving him surviving his said widow Hannah J. Hunt.

I was a small boy when my sister and the said William H. Hunt were married, but remember their marriage and have visited their home frequently, in fact at least every month of the year since their marriage, and I know that they have lived together continuously from the time of their marriage until the date of the death of the said William H. Hunt, and that they were never divorced nor have any divorce proceedings ever been commenced by them or either of them.”[6]

Satisfied with his testimony, George signed his affidavit at the bottom.

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Charles S. Steele, an employee of the Sussex National Bank, was sworn to tell the truth in the same manner as the others and started his testimony:

“I reside in the Town of Newton in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, and am receiving and paying teller for the Sussex National Bank of said Town of Newton.

I know Hannah J. Hunt and have known her for more than fifty years past. I also knew her husband William H. Hunt, who died on February 23-1918. I was present at their marriage on December 24th-1868 and have known them both continuously ever since they have resided in Sussex County from the time of their marriage until the death of the said William H. Hunt on February 23-1918, and they have always lived together continuously since their said marriage until the date of the date [sic, most likely should be “death”] of the said William H. Hunt.”[7]

Mr. Steele then signed the bottom of his affidavit, adding a swooping flourish underneath it.Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 6.19.49 PMThe testimony was done. Hannah gathered and sent all the documents to the Pension Bureau and waited for news on whether she would receive the much needed pension.

Hannah finally received news that she had been approved for a widow’s pension of $25.00 per month in September of 1918.[8] And, more good news, it was retroactively effective back to 26 March 1918! She would now have some income with which to support herself. She smiled and breathed a sigh of relief.
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[1] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. This is William Henry Hunt’s full pension file which includes all documents in the file related to soldier’s claim (SO) no. 359,438, widow’s claim (WO) no. 1,117,693, widow’s certificate (WC) no. 852,451, and soldier’s invalid claim (Inv.) no. 424,023.
[2] “Death of William Hunt,” obituary (28 February1918);  Bound newspaper stacks, Sussex County Historical Society, Newton, New Jersey.
[3] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Form 3-389, questionnaire dated 02 April 1915.
[4]William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Letter to Hannah J. Hunt from the Pension Bureau Commissioner, dated 03 May 1918.
[5] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of Mrs. Sarah A. Longcor, dated 09 May 1918.
[6] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of George W. Longcor, dated 09 May 1918.
[7] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Affidavit of Charles S. Steele, dated 09 May 1918.
[8] William H. Hunt (Pvt., Co. I, 70th NY. Inf., Civil War), pension no. W.C. 852,451; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Form 3-732, approval of widow’s certificate 852,451 dated 09 September 1918.

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One thought on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #20 – Hannah Jane (Longcor) Hunt

  1. I have some more family info you might be interested in. I grew up in Newton and my great grandmother was Audrey Hunt Strait., after her death my dad, Robert Wood, bought her house from his mom Bernice. I remember you and your sisters living on Merriam Ave.

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