William L. Horner Collection: Frederick C. Douglass Papers, 1889-1890, 1893-1894

Manuscript Collection #265-001

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: William L. Horner Collection: Frederick C. Douglass Papers
Creators: Douglass, Frederick C.
Horner, William L.
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Collection (1889-1890, 1893-1894) including Civil War Negro soldiers pension and compensation applications compiled by Frederick C. Douglass, a black lawyer, minister, and teacher in New Bern, NC who served as a government pension agent, 1889-1897.
Extent: 0.87 Cubic feet, 2 volumes , pension ledgers

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

July 1, 1974, 2 volumes; Civil War Negro pension application ledgers (1889-1890, 1893-1894). Gift of Mr. William L. Horner, Kinston, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

William L. Horner Collection: Frederick C. Douglass Papers (#265-001), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Mr. William L. Horner

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Quintanilla, March 1987

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

These ledgers contain the claims of blacks requesting compensation for wounds and injuries received or diseases contracted while serving in the Union forces during the Civil War. Most applicants had lived in Craven and surrounding counties prior to the Civil War and fled to Union-occupied New Bern after it fell to Union forces in 1862. The blacks subsequently enlisted in the U.S. Army or Navy and served in a variety of locations during the remainder of the war. Claims for disability pensions were handled by Frederick C. Douglass, a black lawyer, minister, and teacher of New Bern, N.C., who served as a government pension agent between 1889 and 1897.

The majority of claims were made by relatives of black Union soldiers. Many were filed by widows, minor children, and parents of deceased soldiers. Others were claims made by the soldiers themselves. In all cases, the petitioner was required to show proof that the veteran in question had received a disability while serving in the Union forces. The most common affliction seems to have been diarrhea, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, heart ailments, and gunshot wounds. In most cases, health afflictions were related to over-exposure rather than battle wounds.

In order to prove that these disabilities were service-related, petitioners furnished witnesses who testified as to the veteran's background before the war, the nature of his military service, and the health problem resulting therefrom. Testimony attempted to establish the identity of the veteran, and in the case of dependent claims, the relationship between the claimant and the veteran. In some dependent claims, witnesses also had to testify whether or not the claimant was able to support himself/herself. Most of the testimony recorded was given by neighbors, friends, relatives, and doctors.

The records reflect antebellum and Civil War conditions of blacks, slave marriages, births, and ownership. Details of military service are provided, as are the activities of the veteran subsequent to the war.

For related material, see Collections #248 and #323, and Mf. 40.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0265-001.1
Pension application ledger, 1889-1890. [Non-alphabetically indexed by name of claimants. Incomplete index. View index appended to this finding aid.]
Box 2#0265-001.2
Pension application ledger, 1893-1894. [Names of claimants are listed alphabetically with cross references. Incomplete index. View index appended to this finding aid.]

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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