Last widow of a Civil War veteran dies at 101: Woman who married 93-year-old aged 17 passes away


The final identified widow of a Civil Struggle soldier has died on the age of 101, ending a exceptional life story that she had saved to herself for over 80 years.

When Maudie Hopkins of Arkansas died in 2008, it was believed that there have been no identified Civil Struggle widows left within the nation.

Then, in December 2017, Helen Viola Jackson of Marshfield, Missouri, determined to inform her personal astonishing story.

‘I by no means wished to share my story with the general public,’ she stated in 2018.

‘I did not really feel that it was that essential and I did not desire a bunch of gossip about it.’

Helen Viola Jackson, pictured in December 2018, died on December 16, at the age of 101

Helen Viola Jackson, pictured in December 2018, died on December 16, on the age of 101

Jackson, seen in an undated photo from her youth, married James Bolin when she was 17

Jackson, seen in an undated photograph from her youth, married James Bolin when she was 17

Brolin was in the cavalry in the Civil War, and married Jackson from 1936 until his death in 1939

Brolin was within the cavalry within the Civil Struggle, and married Jackson from 1936 till his demise in 1939

Jackson defined that she was 17 when she married 93-year-old James Bolin, in 1936.

Bolin was a buddy of her household, and the teenage Jackson was despatched by her father to help him in his outdated age.

He was unable to pay her for her service, and so he recommended they marry, to ensure that her to assert his Union pension.

Jackson, certainly one of ten youngsters, agreed – however on the situation she might hold her single title, and proceed dwelling along with her household on the farm. Bolin agreed, they usually remained married till his demise on June 18, 1939.

Jackson by no means remarried, and had no youngsters. She additionally by no means claimed his pension, after Bolin’s step-daughter threatened to smear her popularity if she did so.

‘All a girl had in 1939 was her popularity,’ she stated.

‘I did not need all of them to suppose that I used to be a younger girl who had married an outdated man to benefit from him.’

Jackson, who never remarried and had no children, was a local hero, pictured in March 2019

Jackson, who by no means remarried and had no youngsters, was an area hero, pictured in March 2019

Jackson in January 2019 examining an exhibit dedicated to her at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri

Jackson in January 2019 analyzing an exhibit devoted to her on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Dwelling and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri

The exhibition detailed Jackson and Bolin's unusual story

The exhibition detailed Jackson and Bolin’s uncommon story

The story started with Bolin’s signing up for his navy service on the age of 18, in keeping with military records, because the conflict was breaking out.

He fought with each the thirteenth and 14th Cavalry, ending the conflict with F Firm.

Missouri had each Accomplice and Union forces, however Jackson spoke of his Union pension, suggesting he fought with the Missouri State Militia 14th Cavalry.

Members of the Missouri State Militia had been recruited from the state of Missouri, however armed by the federal authorities. That they had to supply their very own horses, within the cavalry regiments, and got sporadic bonuses for doing so.

They fought virtually solely within the state of Missouri, most notably within the Battle of Westport – one of many largest battles west of the Mississippi, typically known as the Gettysburg of the West.

The battle was fought on October 23, 1864, in fashionable Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, and noticed a decisive defeat of Accomplice forces.

The Missouri State Militia additionally fought within the Battle of Mine Creek, the most important cavalry battle west of the Mississippi river, involving roughly 10,000 troops.

Jackson kept her story to herself for 80 years, until finally telling her tale in December 2017

Jackson saved her story to herself for 80 years, till lastly telling her story in December 2017

Bolin married Elizabeth Davenport Bolin – the date of their marriage ceremony is unknown – and the couple settled in Niangua and had 5 youngsters, born within the decade after 1869.

Elizabeth died in 1922, aged 79.

The Jackson household – James Washington Jackson, his spouse Thursa Arizona Shelby Jackson, and their 10 youngsters – farmed simply exterior Niangua, and commenced to help the aged widower.

Helen Jackson met Bolin at church, throughout the peak of the Nice Melancholy, and her father volunteered her to cease by his home every day and help him with chores as she headed dwelling from college.

Bolin, who didn’t need to be seen as a charity case, got here up with the concept of marrying Helen, as a manner of securing her monetary future.

‘He stated that he would depart me his Union pension,’ Jackson defined, in an interview with Hamilton C. Clark, a historian.

‘It was throughout the melancholy and occasions had been arduous. He stated that it may be my solely manner of leaving the farm.’

The couple married in entrance of some witnesses at his Niangua dwelling on September 4, 1936.

‘Mr Bolin actually cared for me,’ she stated in an interview for Our America Journal.

‘He wished me to have a future and he was so variety.’

Bolin recorded the marriage in his private Bible, which is now a part of a rotating exhibit on Jackson that has traveled to a number of museum places, together with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Dwelling and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri.

The Daughters of the Union Veterans confirmed Jackson’s marriage utilizing historic paperwork, together with a signed affidavit from the final dwelling witness to the nuptials.

After the marriage Jackson remained on the household farm, and few knew of the association.

Jackson was an honored guest at the Memorial Day celebration at the National Cemetery in Springfield, MO, in November 2018

Jackson was an honored visitor on the Memorial Day celebration on the Nationwide Cemetery in Springfield, MO, in November 2018

Jackson's 100th birthday celebration at the Elkland Independent Methodist Church

Jackson’s one centesimal birthday celebration on the Elkland Unbiased Methodist Church

Jackson celebrated her century with a party, balloons - and vivid green nail varnish

Jackson celebrated her century with a celebration, balloons – and vivid inexperienced nail varnish

Talking on the 2018 Missouri Cherry Blossom Pageant – which she helped discovered – she gave her causes for preserving the wedding a secret.

‘How do you clarify that you’ve married somebody with such a distinction in age,’ she stated.

‘I had nice respect for Mr Bolin and I didn’t need him to be harm by the scorn of wagging tongues.

In a exceptional twist, after his demise she by no means did declare his pension: certainly one of Bolin’s daughters threatened to make the association public, and smash her popularity.

Jackson acquired quite a few accolades, together with serving as grand marshal in her hometown’s annual Independence Day Parade.

Jackson (center) with other members of the congregation at the Methodist church

Jackson (middle) with different members of the congregation on the Methodist church

Jackson died in her nursing home at the age of 101, outliving all other Civil War widows

Jackson died in her nursing dwelling on the age of 101, outliving all different Civil Struggle widows

James Bolin is buried in Niangua cemetery, in the town where he and Jackson both lived

James Bolin is buried in Niangua cemetery, within the city the place he and Jackson each lived

She was lively in her Methodist church, the place the women’ ministry was named in her honor, and in her native gardening membership.

She additionally acquired an honorary highschool diploma from Niangua Excessive College, courtesy of the category of 1937.

A play about Jackson’s life, The Secret Veil, was written in 2019 and carried out on the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival as a fundraiser for the Randy Travis Basis, arrange by the nation music star for stroke victims.

Jackson died on December 16 at Webco Manor Nursing Dwelling in Marshfield, Missouri, the place she had been a resident for a few years.

She was engaged on her funeral preparations in 2017, when she lastly determined to open up about her life.

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