Last documented widow of Civil War veteran dies at 101

A woman believed to be the last living widow of a Civil War veteran has died at 101.

Helen Viola Jackson died Dec. 16 at Marshfield, Mo.’s Webco Manor Nursing Home, the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival said in a statement.

Jackson recently told a minister she had married James Bolin, a 93-year-old widower who served in the 14th Missouri Cavalry, when she was 17, according to the statement. The Daughters of the Union Veterans were able to corroborate her account based on historical documents.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bolin, who “did not believe in accepting charity,” asked Jackson to marry him so that he could leave her his pension amid the Great Depression, she told a historian in 2018. The two were married Sept. 4, 1936. He died less than three years later.

Jackson said she did not make her marriage to Bolin public, saying she “did not want him to be hurt by the scorn of wagging tongues,” and never applied for his pension due to tensions with one of Bolin’s daughters. She never remarried.

"All a woman had in 1939 was her reputation," she told the historian, according to the statement. "I didn't want them all to think that I was a young woman who had married an old man to take advantage of him."

*We send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Helen Jackson. She was the first recipient of the Cherry...

Posted by Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival in Marshfield, MO on Thursday, December 17, 2020