Adelia’s story is an intriguing one. Her first husband, Joseph Springer, died in 1864 after serving as a private in Company A, Seventh Michigan Cavalry. When she applied for a pension in 1865, she was a widow with four children under the age of sixteen.
Her second marriage, to Jason Webb, caused her pension to be dropped. Webb left their home in 1872, and Adelia never heard from him again. Presuming him dead, she remarried a third time to Washington Fish in 1883. When Fish died twenty-two years later, Adelia applied for restoration to the pension rolls for her first husband’s service.
Since Webb was not confirmed dead, the situation was looked into by the Pension Bureau. Adelia and Elva both made statements that in 1874 they had received a letter, signed “A Friend,” that had contained a five-dollar coin. The letter said that Webb had died and that he had requested the gold coin be sent to his daughter. Special examiner F. Churchill notes that Adelia by this time was rather old and feeble and left the matters of her case up to the local notary, who he says was a bungler and a drunk, and her daughter, who had “only a ‘fair’ reputation” and seemed rather anxious to secure the pension. Adelia, though, appeared truly honest in her belief that Webb was dead when she got remarried.
Now comes the twist. Another rejected pension claim for the widow of a Jason B. Webb popped up, leading to more questions. This second widow, Rosanna Webb, had no knowledge of her late husband having ever been married before. Rosanna stated that she had married Webb in 1876, and had three children with him. The examiners showed her a daguerrotype of Adelia’s former husband, and Rosanna identified him as the Jason Webb she had married. She then produced a tintype (seen above) that her husband had greatly treasured. He had told Rosanna that it was a “picture of a friend of his mother.” It was presumed that the two women in the tintype were actually Adelia and Elva.
This tintype remains in Adelia’s pension application file as “Exhibit C – no request for its return.”