The Fay Family: Daniel Merritt Fay, Civil War Pension

Vermont Directory
Henry Fisk Fay: Expanded Directory
Daniel Merritt's page
Maud Amanda's page
The pension file is a large file and a very interesting one. The information contained in the file has provided many details of Daniel's life and of his background. It has assisted in researching his family connections. And it is interesting in its own right. For these reasons, I have transcribed much of the material here. I have omitted most of the medical detail; it is specific to the case. I have also omitted cover sheets, duplicated stamps and dispositions, and so on. But what I have included should provide a clear look at the three people, Daniel, Amanda and Hattie, and a general idea of what can be found in a pension file. Each section of the pension file contains an index; and I have reproduced those index pages here, with links to the transcribed material.
Brief Look at the Pension Laws
Daniel was not eligible for pension under the first set of laws; but when the criteria for pension were expanded, Daniel's rheumatism and heart problems, and his hand injury, brought him within the rolls of pensioners. The first set of documents we have pertain to Daniel's own claim to pension. This was granted.
Daniel M. Fay and his Medical History
Amanda did not know of Daniel's whereabouts at this time, and she had reason to suppose him dead. For this reason, she filed for pension as Daniel's widow. Since Daniel was living, her claim was rejected, and she withdrew her application, but the papers were kept on file at the Bureau of Pensions.
Amanda and the First Claim
In 1904, Daniel died. Hattie, living with him as his wife, filed for a widow's pension.
Hattie and the Contesting Widow Claims
When the Bureau of Pensions looked into her claim, they found the claim that Amanda had earlier filed, in which she claimed to be the widow of Daniel. This established the claim as one of Contesting Widows: and a special examination into the merits of the two cases was required. Two special examiners were put in charge of gathering evidence.
Amanda and the Contesting Widow Claims
Amanda's claim was validated and accepted; and Hattie's was rejected on the grounds that she was not Daniel's legal widow. Although there a question of fraud, a decision was made not to follow up on it, partly because of the age of the two women. Amanda was awarded a pension that she kept until her death in 1916.
The Rejection of Hattie's Claim