Helen Jackson, Last Known Surviving Widow of a Civil War Veteran, Dies at 101

by Joe Rutland

Helen Jackson, who married a Civil War veteran when she was 17 years old, died last December at 101 years old. Jackson died in Marshfield, Mo.

Jackson was the last-known surviving widow of a Civil War veteran. She admitted recently, after keeping it quiet for many years, that she married James Bolin, who was 93 when she was 17. Jackson had been taking care of Bolin, who was a widower and served as a private in the 14th Missouri Cavalry during the Civil War.

According to a statement from the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival, Bolin didn’t believe in accepting charity. He asked Jackson “for her hand in marriage as a way to provide for her future,” the statement said.

On Sept. 4, 1936, the pair officially wed in front of a few witnesses at Bolin’s Niangua home.

Helen Jackson Wanted To Keep Civil War Story From Public

“I never wanted to share my story with the public,” Jackson reportedly said during a Civil War oral history recording in 2018. “I didn’t feel that it was that important and I didn’t want a bunch of gossip about it.”

Born on Aug. 3, 1919, Jackson was in a family of 10 children, according to a blog post from the Cherry Blossom Fest. She was raised on their family farm during the height of the Great Depression,

She and Bolin met at the church near her home. Jackson’s father volunteered her to make daily visits after school to Bolin’s home to assist him with chores and other tasks, the statement read.

Bolin Made Suggestion That Jackson Become His Wife

Eventually, Bolin suggested he wed Jackson because he did not have any money to pay her. The Civil War veteran wanted to show his appreciation for her help.

“Mr. Bolin really cared for me,” she added in an interview for “Our America Magazine.” “He wanted me to have a future and he was so kind.”

The twosome remained married until Bolin died on June 18, 1939. Even after his passing, Jackson never applied for his war-time pension. She didn’t do so in fear of having her reputation ruined after receiving a threat from one of her stepdaughters.

H/T: People.com

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