North Carolina Confederate Soldier's and Widow's Pension Applications (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
North Carolina, United States
North Carolina flag.png
Flag of North Carolina
US Locator North Carolina.png
Location of North Carolina
Record Description
Record Type Pension Applications
Collection years 1885-1953
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of images of applications for pensions filed by Confederate veterans or their widows for the years 1885 to 1953. The records are divided into two basic sets:

  • Applications 1885 to 1901
  • Applications after 1901

The records are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the last name within each record set. There are also indexes following the two collections.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Confederate Soldier Pensions

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Regiment name
  • Military experiences
  • Postwar life
  • References to wife and/or children
  • Nature of incapacity

Widow Pensions

  • Name (Married and Maiden)
  • Deceased soldier's name and regiment
  • Cause and Date of soldier's death
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Date of birth
  • Date of marriage
  • Nature of the soldier's or widow's incapacity

The first general pension law in North Carolina for Confederate veterans and widows (Chapter 214) was passed in 1885. This law provided for the payment of $30.00 annually to Confederate veteran residents of the state who had lost a leg, eye, or arm, or who were incapacitated for manual labor while in the service of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Widows of soldiers who were killed in service were entitled to the same benefits as long as they did not remarry. Any person, however, who owned property with a tax value of $500.00 or received a salary of $300.00 per year from the nation, state, or county was not eligible.

These pension laws, however, underwent numerous changes over the next few decades. Chapter 116 of the laws of 1887 amended the 1885 law to include widows of soldiers who had died of disease while in service. The next general pension law was passed in 1889 and remained in effect until it was amended in 1901. As per this amendment, applications had to be certified, witnessed, and filed with the county commissioners who in turn sent them to the State Auditor.

In 1901, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a new pension law (Chapter 332). Under the new act, "Every person who has been for twelve months immediately preceding his or her application for pension bona fide resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States (provided said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day of April, 1865) was entitled to a pension.

The pensioners were divided into four classes:

  • First class, totally incompetent from wounds to perform manual labor, $72.00 per year
  • Second class, those who lost a leg above the knee or an arm above the elbow, $60.00 annually
  • Third class, those who lost a foot or leg below the knee or a hand or an arm below the elbow or had a limb rendered useless from a wound, $48.00 annually
  • Fourth class, those who lost one eye, widows, and those unfit for manual labor, $30.00 annually

Certain persons were excluded from benefits under general pension acts.

No person holding a national, state, or county office for which he received $300.00 annually, no person with property valued at $500.00 or more, and no person receiving aid under laws for relief of totally blind and maimed was eligible (inmates of the Soldiers' Home, recipients of pensions from other states, and deserters were excluded from benefits under the pension acts, although inmates of the Soldiers' Home were granted quarterly allowances of $1.50 in 1909 -- increased to $3.00 quarterly in 1913).

Practically each succeeding General Assembly made some change in the pension laws.

Collection Content

Sample Image

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the soldier
  • The approximate date of birth
  • The approximate date of death
  • The names of family members and their relationships

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Beginning name - Ending name to view the images.


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s pension application, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. The pieces of information in the record may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. This information will often lead you to other records.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
  • Use the information from the pension application to search for additional military records
  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or burial records
  • Confederate records are often fragmentary due to incomplete muster and descriptive rolls. The records are otherwise considered a reliable source in family history research. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby states

Research Helps

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of North Carolina.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953." Database with images. FamilySearch. https://FamilySearch.org : 19 April 2018. North Carolina State Archives Division of Archives and History, Raleigh.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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