Sunday, September 25, 2011

Civil War Pension Ephemera from the "Schmidt Collection" #9 - 1866 Pension Attorney Receipt

Remember - you can see all of my previous "Civil War Pension Ephemera" posts here.

In this post, I share another document from my collection: an 1866 receipt for the services of attorney B. F. Winslow to secure a dependent mother's pension for Abley (?) J. Ricketson. The document has several interesting aspects:

1) It gives an idea of the fees charges by attorneys of the day, especially for the various activities required to secure the pension.

2) The revenue stamp on the document is also interesting. It is is a "Type I" Bank Check revenue stamp. As professor and historian Gary Giroux states in his excellent article, "Revenue Stamps: Financing the Civil War," American Philatelist, July 2002 (PDF of article can be found here):

Most documents were subject to the stamp tax. A listing of the categories taxed offers historians information on legal documents and contracting requirements during the Civil War and post-Civil War era. A collection of these documents presents a slice of business history and everyday life. They are found in collection specialties, and many types of documents are available for analysis because of this.

This is one of those documents!

3) While full biographical details on the attorney, B. F. Winslow, have been hard to find, there is no doubt that he was a leading attorney and citizen in Fall River, Massachusetts; he was Justice of the Peace, a legal guardian of the Troy Indians, argued cases in front of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and more. A quick look using my fold3 (formerly subscription showed that Winslow had also served as a pension attorney for some other Fall River, Massachusetts families, including widows. Perhaps he also served as the attorney for an ancestor of yours!

As noted in a previous post of mine (here), Civil War pension attorney expert Peter D. Blanck stated that "At that time, attorney specialization was just starting and the organized bar was still young." This explains why Winslow could be doing business in such diverse areas of law.

4) It's not clear yet who the Ricketson soldier was; no less than 17 soldiers with that last name were in the Union ranks (according to the NPS Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System), and - as i
t turns out - 10 of those 17 were from the mostly likely state of Massachusetts. I haven't looked any more than that, as it's not critical information for me.

I will continue to post more pension ep
hemera from my collection.

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