Updated: Jan 27, 2019
Family disputes can sever the branches right off a family tree. The naive part of me used to wonder how people could go years without speaking to their sister or brother, or even their parents or children. Love, love, love! It's easy!
Well, the years have taught me and given me some experience with family disputes. I have seen some examples of how it happens and this is one example, which I'm sure caused some friction in the Wood family. Hopefully the issue was resolved and forgiveness was granted.
This is a story regarding my 6th great-grandfather, Nathan Wood. He was a soldier of the American Revolution who died in 1836. Below is a transcript of a letter written by Nathan's grandson, Austin Balch, to the Pension Office in 1858. Austin was a son of Nathan's daughter, Polly. In the letter, Austin claims that Nathan's other daughter, Hannah, and her husband reported that they were the sole heirs to Nathan's estate and thereby claimed Nathan's pension without sharing it with Hannah's sisters, one of them being my 5th great grandmother, Nancy (Wood) Brown, who died four years after this letter was written. The outcome of this dispute is unknown.
Killawog, P.O. Broome Co., New York, Dec. 25, 1858 To the Pension Office at Washington,
I wish to inquire of you if David Abby and his wife Hannah did ever make oath that they were the only ayres [heirs] of Nathan Wood and obtained all of said N. Wood Pension and if so I would like to know how much they got. I think it is about 22 or 23 years since my grandfather N. Wood died and it is something near the time.
There was 6 ayres [heirs] of Nathan Wood, all daughters: Polly Balch, Gerusia Underwood, Lucy Parker, Nancy Brown, Lora Abby, Hannah Abby is the names of all after their marriages. I have been informed that David Abby and his wife made oath they was the only ayres [heirs] of N. Wood and got his pension when they was not but one 6 part of it belong to him. They were aided into it by their son Chancy Abby, all 3 of them are now living in Chautauqua County in the town of Arkwright. I think this is the town and this son, Chancy, has got all his Father's property and is worth some $80,000. He is rich.
Now I wish to know if my mother's share of pension is lost or who must I look to for and it is false swearing, outlawed on this business of it is not and it belongs to the state to look into such affairs. I wish they would put it through.
I am the only son and have one sister, Polly Balch and I am a poor boy and I want no more than what belongs to me. If you will please let me know if our claims are good, for what belongs to us, I would be very much obliged. Nathan Wood was in the Revolution War. I would like a copy of David Abby and wife oath and the amount they drew from the pension's office.
I am your humble servant,
For more on this family, see the Harvey page.