The Widow's Pension Application
for Harriet O. Spencer Cardin


This page created August 9, 2008.

Who is Harriet O. Cardin? Harriet was the wife of James H. Spencer, son of Wiley G. and Nancy Spencer. James and Harriet Spencer moved to Winston County, Mississippi about 1850 and were listed there on the federal census of 1850 and the state census of 1853. James died after 1853, and Harriet remarried to Shackleford W. Cardin (sometimes spelled Cordin). In 1856, Shackleford and Harriet Cordin were appointed guardians of "John W. Spencer and Susan P. Spencer minor heirs of James H. Spencer deceased under the age of fourteen years". These were apparently Harriet's children. By 1860, however, they had lost guardianship of the children because records show that guardianship was transferred to William F. Yeager. On the 1860 census, the children were listed with Harriet and Shackleford, but a few pages later, a note was made on the listing of the family of W.F. and Martha Yeager that W.F. was the "Guardian for minor heirs of James Spencer, decd".

And that was all I knew about James Spencer, Shackleford Cardin, and their wife Harriet O. until I was contacted by Cardin researcher Glenda Etress Blackerby in December 2007. Glenda was looking for information on Shadrack Cardin, possible son of James S. Carden and Charity Rutland, and was wondering if my Shackleford and her Shadrack were the same person. It was she who told me that Harriet O. Cardin, widow of S.W. Cardin, had received a widow's pension based on his service during the Mexican War. I immediately ordered a copy of her pension application from the National Archives, and here is what I found out!

On February 8, 1888, Mrs. Harriet O. Cardin, widow of Shackleford W. Cardin, filed an application for a widow's pension pursuant to the Act of January 29, 1887. Her husband Shackleford Cardin served in the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848 as a Private under Captain Coleman in the 1st Alabama Volunteers. He survived the Mexican War, but later died during Confederate service in the Civil War. Harriet did not remarry after Shackleford's death, so she was eligible to apply for pension based on Shackleford's service in the Mexican War. I don't know whether she also tried to apply for a pension based on his Civil War service.

Below is a summary of the new facts I gleaned from Harriet's pension application:

How did I receive this information? I went onto the National Archives website at and ordered a Form 85A Full Pension File Pre-Civil War (NATF85: Full Pension File) for pension file no. WC-4923 from the Mexican -American War for Harriett Cardin, widow of veteran Shadrack W. Cardin. I gave them the name of the unit in which he served, the name of his widow, and their research and photocopying fee, and they sent me the file in about 3 weeks. I have transcribed each page they copied for me, and my transcriptions are available at the links below.

More Pension Application for Harriet O. Cardin

Page 1: Pension File Cover Cards

Page 2: Application Tri-Fold

Page 3: Personal Affidavits, Part One

Page 4: Personal Affidavits, Part Two

Page 5: Final Briefs


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