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Civil War Widows Lunch Photo
January 20, 2003 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Last Civil War Widows Do Lunch. Gertrude Janeway, the Union War widow, passed away Friday at 93. Live tonight on ABC, Alberta Martin will receive the grand prize -- one million confederate dollars and a 2003 Dodge Durango. [Just kidding.]
posted by britain (12 comments total)

 
Hmmm. Let's do the math. Mrs. Martin, pictured in the first link, died in 1998 at the age of 97. That means she was born in 1901. Her husband, on the other hand, was a Civil War veteran. That means he would have had to have been at least fifteen years old by 1865. In 1901, then, he would have been about 50 years old, and by the time the lovely Mrs. Martin was old enough to marry, let's again say fifteen years old, her husband would have been 65. That seems a little odd.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:43 PM on January 20, 2003


[I'm sorry, Mrs. Martin should read as Mrs. Anderson.]
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:44 PM on January 20, 2003


The age disparities are not as bizarre as they seem when you realize that Civil War veterans came with a huge pension attached. In a manner of speaking, you could say that last surviving Civil War widows were the Anna Nicole Smiths of the antebellum era.
posted by jonp72 at 1:52 PM on January 20, 2003


Well, they were that old. 70 and 80 year old's marrying 20 year olds. Wow. Strange times.
posted by psychotic_venom at 1:57 PM on January 20, 2003


She never married again. Imagine living 60 years without your spouse. Only the ages here are reminiscent of Anna Nicole.

When one of the parade of "oldest women in the world" died a few years ago, the article about her life said that her (one and only) husband had died in World War I. Not Two, but One. Imagine all the years she had to go through alone.

Also, not that it matters much, but weren't they handing weapons to 12-year-old drummer boys and calling them soldiers by the end of the Civil War?
posted by GaelFC at 3:41 PM on January 20, 2003


Certainly this sharply illustrates that slavery was not at all long ago. Not long at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:13 PM on January 20, 2003


Not long at all.


Hahahaha! Sorry
posted by ac at 4:31 PM on January 20, 2003


She never married again. Imagine living 60 years without your spouse. Only the ages here are reminiscent of Anna Nicole.

Sorry to be cynical, but Civil War pensions were some of the biggest government social welfare outlays prior to the New Deal as the Socil Security Administration website reports. And in many cases, remarriage could void your eligibility for widow's pensions. The financial stakes were smaller, but the motives were just as pecuniary as Anna Nicole Smith's.
posted by jonp72 at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2003


The second article adds information that might help resolve several of the questions raised in this thread.

1 "John Janeway, who married her when he was 81 and she was barely 18."

2. She received a $70 check each month from the Veterans Administration.

3. "After he died, why it just seemed like a part of me went down under the ground with him," she said in the 1998 interview. "He is the only one I ever had. There wasn't anybody else."
posted by Hildago at 4:55 PM on January 20, 2003


I'm wondering if that $70 check has been adjusted for inflation. $70/month pension doesn't seem outrageously large for the 1870s yet seems ridiculously small for 2000s dollars.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:22 PM on January 20, 2003


It was posted here on MeFi a while ago about a former slave (born in Africa and brought over on a slave ship) who was invited to one of the Apollo Moon Shot launches by NASA and asked what he thought -- he said he didn;t believe it was happening.
posted by stbalbach at 9:49 PM on January 20, 2003


When Alberta Martin's Confederate husband died in 1932, she was left to take care of their son on her own. Eight weeks later, she decided to marry again. And as it turns out, she was able to keep the Martin name. She married her late husband's grandson from a previous marriage. There was just a two-year age difference this time around.

Ooog. Then the grandson would have had to help raise his own uncle....
posted by orange swan at 7:11 AM on January 21, 2003


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