Tennessee Genealogy Research by Debbie W. Spero

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Emma Langford/Lankford Civil War Widow’s Pension for Soldier Silas James Langford/Lankford of Dickson Co. TN

by deb - August 22nd, 2011.
Filed under: Genealogy. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

In the continuation of the Widow’s Pension by Emma Langford for Civil War soldier Silas James Langford, the affadavits tell the story of first and second marriages and more….

11 Aug 1905, J.M. Mitchel age 52 of Daniel, Dickson Co., TN and 56 year old P.A. Michel of same appear before a notary public of Dickson and say that …”soliders former wife died to the best of my recollection in January 1881.    I ( J.M. Mitchel) went to the saw mill and got lumber to make her coffin.   I also helped to burry her.  I am very certain that she is dead.” P.A. Mitchel (“Puss”) stated the same and added:  “I was with her during her sickness and sat up with her corpse and helped to make the shroud was also at the burrying.”

25 Sept 1905 Emma Langford, said in an affidavit:  “In relation to the claimant Emma Langford former husband Thomas Brown, he was never in the US Army or the Confederate Army either; was only a boy when the war commenced”.

27 Oct 1905 Emma Langford, appeared before a notary of Dickson and said:  “I will say in regard to this case that I never had any other husband but Thos Brown and Silas J. Langford.   If he (Silas James) had any other marriage other than the two that has been reported  I have no knowledge of it.”

Bureau of Pensions, Washington, D.C. 20 Nov 1905:   Special examination is recommended in this case to determine question of claimant’s legal widowhood.  It is admitted that claimant and solider had each been once previously marrried and testimony has been filed to show the death of soldier’s first wife and claimant’s firt husband.   The testimony offered to show death of claimant’s first husband Thomas Brown consists of two joint affidavits in the same handwriting–signed by W.R. Jones and J.B. Hunter, and Wesley Spight and G.A. Scott respectively.   In both of those affidavits the date has been changed–there being four alterations in all.   In two instances the date appears to have been changed from 1887 to 1877. and as the claimant married the soldier in 1881 these changes become significant and important.  It is said that Brown was drowned in the Harpeth River that  an inquest was held on his body.  A certified copy of the verdict of the coroner’s jury is the best evidence of Brown’s death the claimant could have furnished, but, for some reason best known to herself and the advisors she has not furnished it.  Let it be ascertained, too….whether the soldier was ever married more than once before he married the claimant and whether she was ever married more than once (to Brown) before she married him (the soldier).

18 Jan 1906 began depositions in the case of Emma Langford:

Bellsburg, Dickson Co. TN, before W.L. Sullivan a Special Examiner of the Bureau of Pensions, appeared Geo A. Scott, who…was duly sworn to answer truly…says:  I am 50 years of age.   My address is Pardue, TN.   I am a farmer.  I have known Emma Langford all my life.   We were both born and raised in this neighborhood.   She is not kin to me.  Her maiden name was Hunter.  Her first husband was Thomas Brown.   He lived in this neighborhood.   The said Thomas Brown was drowned in Harpeth River in the spring of 1877.  I was first married in 1881 and he was drowned some few years before I married.   Of this, I am absolutely positive.  I saw his dead body.   I was present at the coroner’s inquest held on his dead body.   After Thomas Brown’s death his widow did not remarry till she married to Silas J. Lankford.   My father was the magistrate who married them.   The two husbands herein above named are the only husbands that she has ever had…She does not own any property either real or personal.  I got acquainted with Silas J. Langford directly after the close of the Civil War when he came to this neighborhood to live.  He claimed to be a single man when he came here.   He first married a girl whose maiden name was Dunn.  I do not know her Christian name.   The said first wife died about a mile from here.   Her death was caused by consumption.  She died about one year before Silas J. Lankford married to his second wife Emily Brown.   Those two wives are the only ones he had after he came to this neighborhood.  I have never heard that he had any other wife”.

19 Jan 1906 deposition of Emma Langford before W.L. Sullivan, Special Examiner of the Bureau of Pensions:   “I am 57 years of age; my address is Pardue TN.   I am the identical Emma Langford who claims pension as the widow of Silas J. Langford.   My full and correct name is Emma Taylor Langford.   My maiden name was Hunter.   My parents were James and Sally Hunter:   both are dead.  I have one living brother and one sister:  Burrell Hunter and Elizabeth Sheffield, wife of Nick Sheffield.  Both live at Danielsville, TN.   I was born in this neighborhood and have lived here all my life.  I was first married to Thomas Brown, 19 Nov 1874.  He was drowned in Harpeth River 20 April 1877.  His body was recovered and we buried him 22 April 1877.   G.A. Scott and Wesley Speight saw his dead body.  My next marriage was to Silas J. Langford.  We married 15 Dec 1881 Squire G.W. Scott performed the marriage ceremony.   We married in this county.  Silas J. Langford and I lived together as husband and wife from the date of his marriage to me till his death.   Were were never divorced nor otherwise legally separated.  He died 17 May 1905.  I have not remarried since his death.   Thomas Brown and Silas J. Langford are the only husbands I have ever had.   I got acquainted with Silas J. Langford after the Civil War.  He had a wife when I made his acquaintance.  Her maiden name was Dunn.   I do not know where they married.  This wife died in this neighborhood on 25 Jan 1881 of some lingering illness.   I visited her often in her last sicknes and I saw her dead body buried.   That is the only wife he had ever had before he married me, so far as I have ever heard.  The soldier left no child under sixteen years of age at his, the soliders, death.   I have never filed any claim for pension except that as widow of Silas J. Langford.   Silas J. Langford lived in Smith Co. TN before he came here.  He has the following brothers:

Obie Langford  Difficult, Smith Co. TN;Adkisson Langford  Difficult, Smith Co. TN; Miles Langford Difficult, Smith Co. TN; Larkins Langford  Difficult, Smith Co. TN; Jesse Langford  probably in Texas; Murphy Langford, probably in Texas.

Obie is the only one of my late husband’s folks that I have ever seen.  I did not question him as to whether Silas had been married before he married the Dunn woman.    I do not own any property.  I have no income except what I earn by my daily labor.   No person or persons are legally bound for my support.   Mary Smith, Puss Mitchell and Jesse Mitchell saw the dead body of the soldier’s first wife”.

Later that same day, 19 Jan. 1906, another deposition of Emma Langford began:  “Yes I had heard that Silas James Langford had had a wife before the one Zilpha Dunn, who died here….”  

The plot thickens.   In the same day Emma says she knew of no other wives for Silas other than the woman named “Dunn” and herself (Emma) and then she says, “yes, I had heard he had a wife before Zilpha Dunn….” Next up:   the rest of Emma Langford’s deposition of 19 Jan 1906, to be followed by the depsitions of those that knew Emma in Dickson Co. and those that knew Silas James in Smith Co. TN

1 Response to Emma Langford/Lankford Civil War Widow’s Pension for Soldier Silas James Langford/Lankford of Dickson Co. TN

  1. Ohhh the web our dear Silas weaved begins to unravel!!

    Great job Debbie!!. I am so happy his great grandson Harold remembered the stories he heard of Silas as a child and you could carry this on!!

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