Was my Confederate veteran ancestor still eligible for a Mexican War pension?
I am researching a man in Wilson County, Tenn. His name is
James C. McIntyre, and he was a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. I
also found James C. Mclntyre in the Mexican War. I don't know if they
are one and the same. I thought I would try to find a Mexican War
pension application. My question is this: Since he was a Confederate
veteran, was he still eligible for this pension? I know Confederate
veterans were denied the right to vote and other rights due to their
service in the Southern army.
A. First, I did not find a James C. McIntyre/McIntire from
Tennessee in the microfilm card index to Mexican War pensions (the cards are also digitized and searchable online at FamilySearch.org). You can
look at these entries for potential relatives and look under other
Second, some Confederate veterans did get Mexican War pensions,
which Congress authorized in January 1887. If a Confederate veteran met
other qualifications for a pension, he could apply if he didn't
acquire his disability during his Confederate service and if he wasn't "under the political disabilities imposed by the 14th
Amendment." Section 3 of the 14th Amendment denied the right to hold federal
or state civil or military office to anyone who had previously held
office and in that capacity had sworn to uphold the Constitution, and
then engaged in rebellion against the same or gave aid and comfort to
those in rebellion.
A good history of Reconstruction, especially
relating to Tennessee since it was readmitted before the passage of the
Reconstruction Acts, can tell you about the various proclamations of
pardon or amnesty and the oaths of allegiance that many Southerners
took to restore their political rights. In some Southern states,
evidence of these oaths is found in such records as postwar voter
registration lists and oaths of office for postwar elected officials.
Third, were the two James C. McIntyres the same person? Sometimes
published county and family histories furnish clues, but those sources
should not substitute for records that were contemporary with the men's lives,
including any documents showing their actual signatures. Study each man
(as if they were two same-named men) in local, county, state and federal records in
the context of his known military unit(s) and residence(s). Also study his
"cluster" of children, spouse(s), other relatives and neighbors. Thorough
research and careful evaluation should help you make a determination.
Get advice for researching your ancestor's service in the Mexican War or 9 other lesser-known conflicts in our digital download, available in ShopFamilyTree.com.
The May 2011 Family Tree Magazine shares the 10 top online destinations for discovering your family's Civil War genealogy and history.
From the December 2002 issue of Family Tree Magazine.