Whats Your Favorite US Southern Claims Commission Questions

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ucvrelics

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I am always amazed when I read the questions that were asked of all Southerners who filed a claim with the US Southern Claims Commission. If you read thru them all, they give an interesting insight into the feelings of the US government during reconstruction. Questions 44 - 51 would disqualify just about everyone living in the South. No wonder so many claims were denied. I don't think a full blown Union Loyalist could answer them all the right way.

My favorite 2 are # 5 & 14. especially where they refer to Bull Run with both names Bull Run & Mananas. Whats your favorite 2 questions.
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ucvrelics

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Oh No, every single question had to be answered. Most claims would run from 38 to 80 pages such as the one attached. If you N/A anything your claim was denied. That's why the only winners in this were the yankee lawyers.

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alan polk

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Hey ucvrelics,

Are you getting this information off of Fold3? I've been negotiating the Claims Commission through Ancestory and have had little to no luck, much less through NARA. I ask you because, if you got this from Ancestory, I would like to know how you got it before I pay to go on Fold3.
 

ucvrelics

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Check it out, has a very interesting history from its beginning to its use after the war. Something y'all might have to do after the BREXIT.
 
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ucvrelics

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Why pay someone when you can go to the source for free. The LOC archives is loaded with the same info.
 

Allie

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Why pay someone when you can go to the source for free. The LOC archives is loaded with the same info.
I've been finding them on fold3, didn't know they were also on LoC. Where are they found there?

These are some of my favorite documents to read through - they're a good source for the daily troubles facing Southern families, which didn't otherwise get written down, and also for minor skirmishes and troop movements. I found out exactly where Lew Wallace was encamped near me, for example.

And the answers can be funny! I have one set of relatives by marriage, the Ellises, who put in for a claim and made the mistake of calling three of their former slaves as witnesses. One said that the only evidence he had ever seen of his master having Union sympathies was that he was quick to scarper off to Memphis any time Confederate recruiters were in the area. They asked him if he, the witness, had Union sympathies, and if so, what Mr. Ellis thought of it. "We never spoke on the subject. I don't suppose he knew," replied the former slave. I'm not sure what Ellis was expecting but his claim was denied.

Sometimes these claims seem very unfair - for example, I was reading one denied claim in which it seemed clear to me that the victim - the widow of a Union soldier - was a known Unionist before and during the war. What excuse could the Commission possibly come up with for denying the claim? Well, it turns out, Confederate foragers had also been in the area, and unlike the Union foragers who just stole what they wanted, the Confederates paid and left a receipt. This - accepting a receipt for having soldiers remove your property against your will - counted as giving aid and comfort to the enemy. So if the Confederates had just stolen from helpless widow women like the Yankees did, the claim would have gone through.
 
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ucvrelics

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Just go into the LOC website, under archives. You could only make a claim for less than $10.000 so that eliminated the millions in cotton the Union Army stole from Southern Planters after the war. But that is for another thread. I really enjoy reading them and like you I can find out where a lot of CW camps were by cross referencing the land records.
 
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leftyhunter

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I am always amazed when I read the questions that were asked of all Southerners who filed a claim with the US Southern Claims Commission. If you read thru them all, they give an interesting insight into the feelings of the US government during reconstruction. Questions 44 - 51 would disqualify just about everyone living in the South. No wonder so many claims were denied. I don't think a full blown Union Loyalist could answer them all the right way.

My favorite 2 are # 5 & 14. especially where they refer to Bull Run with both names Bull Run & Mananas. Whats your favorite 2 questions.
View attachment 103617 View attachment 103618
The book " Loyalty and Loss the plight of Alabama's Unionists " Margaret Storey go's into great detail about the SCC. By the time some one payed an attorney often by contingency fee plus what they actually received the claimants would receive pennies on the dollar.
Leftyhunter
 

ucvrelics

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You are spot on. Most of the original claims I have looked at went a law firm in DC and over the 10 years of the commission the firm named changed 4 times. Kind of like today.
 

Old_Glory

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Some of the founders of the Republican Party would not pass that questionnaire.... I think maybe almost everyone in that time period would fail it. What a nightmare. Fascinating document from the time.
 
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Borderruffian

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What was the Iron Clad Oath?

It was an oath meant to keep former CS soldiers and Sympathizers from having alot if not all rights of citizens . It also kept them from voting holding public office or being employed by a Government Agency and serving on a Jury. The one in Missouri was drafted by the Radical Republicans and I believe was even part of the Drake Constitution. It was meant to further hamper any "disloyal" people.
 

Waterloo50

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It was an oath meant to keep former CS soldiers and Sympathizers from having alot if not all rights of citizens . It also kept them from voting holding public office or being employed by a Government Agency and serving on a Jury. The one in Missouri was drafted by the Radical Republicans and I believe was even part of the Drake Constitution. It was meant to further hamper any "disloyal" people.
Thank you.
 

NedBaldwin

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Questions 44 - 51 would disqualify just about everyone living in the South.
How so?

Its not clear to me from the questions that a specific answer would be disqualifying. I also dont see that 44-51 would apply to just about everyone in the South.

44 asks about how they voted. There were opportunities to vote against secession, so I can imagine plenty living in the South who would not be disqualified by this question.

45 asks about "vigilance committee", "committee of safety", "homeguard" etc. Certainly disqualifying for some but not for everyone.

46 asks if you served in the military and makes note of conscription. Not sure what would be disqualifying about claiming you were forced to serve.

47. 48 and 49 ask about whether you worked for the Confederate government in a support or supply function and 50 asks if you worked holding prisoners. Certainly disqualifying for some but not for everyone.

51 asks if you served in the US armed forces, which many southerners did. So hardly disqualifying for everyone.
 
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