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Sayles Surnames

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. 

Signed

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.  

Signed

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.
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Sayles Surnames

Transcript Tuesday: Neighbor’s Affidavit in the Pension Application of Ira Sayles, 1893

For the testimony of employers or near neighbors of soldier (other than relatives,) who have known him before his enlistment, or since his discharge and return from the army. 

State of Virginia, County of Mecklenburg,

In the matter of the application for pension of Ira Sayles on this 8 day of May, A.D., one thousand eight hundred and ninety-three personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, J.M. Sloan, aged 58 years, a resident of Chase City in the County of Mecklenburg and State of Virginia whose postoffice address is Chase City Va 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: 

That I have been personally acquainted with Ira Sales (sic) for 15 years and that his habits are good. That he is a teetotler (sic) and has no bad habits, so far as I know or ever heard of.

He has been employed for many years in the Geological Survey, and has not been located in any one place long at a time. Would suggest application to surgeons, in Washington, who examined him last Oct. (sic) I refer to the Board of Ex. 

It is impossible to get further testimony here as he has not been here but a few months.  

He is almost totally helpless, so much so, that (he) doesn’t go about at all.  This is his home and he visits us occasionally. 

Signed

J. M. Sloan 

Notary Public

N. H. William


From the Pension Claim #1124.613 of Ira Sayles, Neighbor’s Affidavit, J. M. Sloan, 8 May 1893; original documents in National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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Project 150 Sayles

On This Day: Ira Sayles Enlists in the Union Army

On August 14, 1862, my great-great-grandfather, Ira Sayles,  volunteered “to serve as a soldier in the Army of the United States of America, for the period of THREE YEARS, unless sooner discharged by the proper authority.”  The forty-four year old teacher from Alfred, New York joined others gathering at the recruiting station in Almond, Allegany County, New York.  The blue-eyed volunteer swore that he would “bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America” and that he would serve “them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever.”  He stood five foot eight inches tall, his hair still dark and full.  Having pledged to observe and obey the “orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War,” Ira Sayles signed his name.  The next day Private Sayles was mustered into Company H of the 130th Regiment of the New York Volunteers Infantry.

*** Thank you, cousin Sharon, for sharing this photograph of Ira Sayles.

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Good Reads

You have to read this!! – 1861:The Civil War Awakening

Growing up in southwestern Virginia I studied the War of Northern Aggression  American Civil War twice before leaving elementary school.  Book reports, timelines, war monuments, heroes’ homes, battlefields and class lectures were integral pieces of the Lost Cause/States’ Rights curriculum.  None of that childhood education or my recent family research prepared me for the chaos I found myself in among the pages of 1861: The Civil War Awakening.  Adam Goodheart has stripped away 150 years in this great narrative, sweeping the reader into the sights and sounds, the worry and the hope of that year in America.

The Union was a sentiment, but not much more.  ~Henry Adams 

Writing from his barracks inside the Capitol, Theodore Winthrop wrote a dispatch to  The Atlantic Monthly.  “Our presence here was the inevitable sequel of past events,” he wrote. “We appeared with bayonets and bullets because of the bosh uttered on this floor; because of the bills —  with treasonable stump-speeches in their bellies — passed here; because of the cowardice of the poltroons, the imbecility of the dodgers, and the arrogance of the bullies, who had here cooperated to blind and corrupt the minds of the people.  Talk had made a miserable mess of it.”

Goodheart’s account of this year deftly uses such original sources to construct character and narrative; it is a lively, compelling story of our country’s descent into the madness of fratricidal war.

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Childhood Memories Project 150 Random Thoughts

The Cloak of Defeat: Friday’s Facing The War

Author’s Note:  What began as a mere dabbling into my family roots has become a robust investigation of my family history. Slowly the search has become centered on the lives, decisions and events of the Civil War era, 1850-1880, as they shaped the physical and mental landscape in which my grandparents and parents lived.  Here I repost an essay from last summer, in which I first grapple with how those past lives reached out to touch my childhood, my mental landscape.  

  The Dodson Farm, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

I am American by birth, Virginian by the grace of God.

And like many southern white children of the 1960’s I grew up in a culture that wore its defeat like a thick woolen cloak draped around one’s shoulders, adorned by the tales of our brave soldiers J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson.  To be Virginian was to represent your family and your state with honor, as demonstrated by that great leader Robert E. Lee.  You may not believe in the cornerstone argument BUT you must honor your duty to the motherland and your family, and rise to their defense!

While the institution of slavery was mentioned, pro-slavery racism and its sibling Jim Crow segregation were not discussed.   Ever so subtly children inherited their parents’ mistrust and loathing of all things Yankee, and even with a Yankee mother I could not escape this net.

I remember walking the hall of my high school, surrounded by my black and white friends, laughing and taunting the plain clothes police officer lurking in the dark corner–present to protect any little white child from unruly mobs.  Discussing the latest desegregation violence in Boston, one of my gang cried,”Ain’t so easy, is it, Yankee Boy!”  We all hated the hypocrisy of the Yank, whose finger pointed to the South as the crucible of all American sin and never at himself, ignoring the seeds of racism within his factories, cities, and governments.

All this anti-Yankee sentiment persisted into my adult discussions of the Civil War, and I continued the tradition of defeat.  The Civil War was about states’ rights, far more than it was about slavery.  Most southerners didn’t even OWN slaves, and many who did were right kind to them.  Yankees always think they are so moral and pure, but even they didn’t like free blacks and took drastic measures to ensure that freedom and liberty to the emancipated did not equate into white men’s jobs.  And so it was until I began my genealogical journey.

In census documents, deeds and wills, slavery became slaves–people that my people owned, like the trees they sold for lumber and the hogs they raised to butcher.  My people participated in one of history’s slave cultures, using the commodity of bonded labor to produce commodities like tobacco to be sold in a global economy.  To ignore the stories of slaves, even if they are only names found in documents, is to ignore black pioneering in the United States.  What is contained in my family’s papers, documents and stories will be shared whenever and wherever possible.

For me, it is time to drop the cloak of defeat, and be a true Virginian, honoring all the people who contributed to the development and promise of that state, and to all of these United States.