Friday, July 29, 2011

Rachel Luttrell and Her Widow's Pension Woes-Part 6

It wasn't easy being a widow in the 1800's. If a woman wasn't left with any real estate or money then she was facing some hard times, especially if there were children to raise. The options were few, as illustrated in an affidavit from Alfred Carpenter, age 30, in Bourbon County, Kansas.

"I have known Mrs. Rachel Luttrell for 
seven years. She has no real estate
and her personel properity, excepting her
house hold goods, is not worth more
than thirty dollars ($30.00). She does not
earn more than five dollars ($5.00) per month
from sewing and washing. She is not
able to earn a comfortable support for
herself and family. She is forty four 
(44) years old and of frail form and constitution
Mrs. Luttrell has two children that are wholly
dependent on her for a support. She has
two boys, Arthur and Edwin that labor when
they can get work to do. They helped their
mother last with about seventy dollars

What really caught my attention in this affidavit was the names Arthur and Edwin. Rachel's oldest son was Thomas Arthur and her second son was John Edwin. In two other separate affidavits there is a reference to her husband, Hugh, as Lawson. This of course was his middle name. 

I am familiar with the German custom of using the middle name as the call name. However, the Luttrells are of Irish decent. Perhaps Rachel was German. With her maiden name being Schmuck it is a very good possibility. 

Discovering this family's use of middle names as call names has really changed my research direction. It has also made it just a little more confusing as well. As I've stated in previous posts, there were a lot of Luttrells and they all used the same names over and over again. 

This family sure keeps me busy!


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  3. The German tradition of using the middle name as the "first" name caused me much head scratching when I began looking for my Cupp (Kopf) ancestors 30 years ago!

    Another was the (English?) tradition of using the suffix "Jr." to denote a namesake who wasn't "Senior's" son, but only a nephew or even a younger first cousin on the same side of the family. Very confusing 200 and 300 years later!

  4. Wow this lady was considered frail at 44, I can only imagine how difficult things could have been back then for women!

  5. I tend to wonder if Rachel truly was frail at 44, or if this was an embellishment to prod the government to give her the pension she was due.