Transcript Tuesday: General Affidavit in the Widow’s Pension Application of Serena C. Sayles, 1894

General Affidavit 

State of Virginia, County of Mecklenburg, 

In the matter of the application for pension of Mrs. Serena C. Sayles widow of the late Ira Sayles 

ON THIS 4thday of July, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety four, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, J. M. Sloan, aged 60 years, a resident of Chase City in the County of Mecklenburg and State of Virginia, whose Postoffice address is Chase City, Va, and M.V.B. Webb, aged 58 years, a resident of Chase City, in the County of Mecklenburg and State of Virginia whose Postoffice address is Chase City, Virginia, well known to me to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who being duly sworn, declare in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:

They have personally known the said Serene (sic) C. Sayles , widow of the late Ira Sayles, for some twenty years. She was never married to any one(sic) else besides Ira Sayles. She was lawful wife until his death. Ira Sayles died near Chase City, Virginia, on the 14thday of June 1894. Mrs. Serene (sic) C. Sayles has never married since the death of her late husband. They further certify that both of them have known the applicant in such manner that they would have known it if she had married again, since the death of Ira Sayles.  Mrs. Serene (sic) C. Sayles is in very dependent circumstances and unable to support herself, except by her daily labor, which is her only means of support. 

And we further certify that the above statement was written by N. H. Williams, in our presence and only from oral statements made to him on this 4thday of July 1894, at Chase City, Virginia, and in making this above statement, we did not use and we were not aided or prompted by any written or printed statement or recital, prepared or dictated by any other person and not attached as an exhibit to this testimony. 

We further declare that we have no interest in said case, and are not concerned in its prosecution. 


J.M. Sloan, late Capt. Co K.O.V.I

M.V.B. Webb

State of Virginia, County of Mecklenburg, ss:

Sworn to and subscribed before me this day be the above-named affiants, and I certify that J.M. Sloan read said affidavit to the said affiants including the words ____erased, and the words ____added, and acquainted them with its contents before they executed the same.  I further certify that I am in nowise interested in said case, nor am I concerned in its prosecution; and that said affiants are personally known to me and that they are credible persons.  


W. H. Williams, Notary Public

Note.–This may be sworn to before a Clerk of Court, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, or any officer who has the right to administer an oath. 

  • General Affidavit in the Pension Claim #597.861 of Serena C. Sayles, widow of Ira Sayles, Soldier’s Certificate #859591; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2 thoughts on “Transcript Tuesday: General Affidavit in the Widow’s Pension Application of Serena C. Sayles, 1894

    • This affidavit is one piece of evidence kept in the Civil War Pension file of my great-great-grandfather, Ira Sayles. I discovered the document over 10 years ago, during my first visit to the National Archives. I had copies of the entire file, and kept researching Ira and wife Serena’s lives. Now, upon review, I notice details I did not deem relevant a decade ago. Like the names of individuals who offered testimony in support of the applications, four different times. This post is one in a series that will lead to an examination of Serena’s neighbors, John Milton Sloan and Martin Van Buren Webb. Fascinating Reconstruction stories are emerging. Stay tuned!

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