Branchville. Perry County, Indiana January 25, 1909
The Honorable Theodore Roosevelt, President
of the United States.
You will kindly forgive me for taking the liberty, esteemed Sir, to write a few
words to you. I am an 82 year old soldier's widow. I and my husband were married
in Germany in the year 1852, and came to this country in 1854, to Perry County Indiana,
and I have lived here since then.
When the [Civil] war broke out, my husband, Christian Saalmann, voluntarily enlisted
in the 35th Regiment, Company D, Indiana Volunteers, in Autumn, 1861. But unfortunately
he was taken prisoner in the battle at Chickamauga on the 22nd of September, 1863.
And died in captivity at Andersonville, Georgia in August, 1864, after extreme suffering.
And left me with four small children in wretched poverty. Those were hard and difficult
years, which this poor soldier's widow with her children had to get through.
In 1890, I applied for a pension, received 8 dollars, but I had already made the
mistake, married again, the man was rich, but he treated me and my children badly,
took my children the ___? way, I could not endure that, so I left him. Then [I]
was married again but he died soon thereafter in 1891, since then I am alone, and
I have to support myself with my hand work, I have no income, no means. And now:
honorable Mr. President I appeal to your Christian heart to help us.
I had engaged the gentleman Lige Cox, representative from Indiana, to restore my
pension, he also promised to do his best; he did everything he could in that regard,
but it was denied to me.
Please, would you be so kind, to influence enough of your friends in Congress that
they consent to a little pension for me? If you, through the influence of your sympathetic
heart, could persuade Congress to give $800,000 for the relief of those poverty-stricken
in Italy, so surely will you also have sympathy for an 82 year old soldier's widow,
who must not suffer poverty in your own country? here in America?
In the hope that you will do something for me, I shall close. God's rich blessings
be called down upon you, I plead for help.
My address is: Dorothea Esarey, Branchville, Perry County, Indiana