Thursday, December 8, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday: "New Pension Legislation" That Could Affect Jean La Forêt

This is an article cut out of a newspaper.  It is actually two pieces that have been pasted together.  The complete piece is 3 1/4" x 21 3/4".  No date or newspaper name appears.  After some diligent searching, my best guess is that this was published in 1922, but I was unable to determine a specific newspaper from which it was clipped.  The article was pasted in the same small notebook that holds Jean's typed announcement about his life story and will.

The subject of the article is pension legislation for soldiers and sailors who participated in the Spanish-American War, April 21–August 13, 1898; the Philippine Insurrection, February 4, 1899–July 4, 1902; and/or the Boxer Rebellion, August 1899–September 1901.  Also eligible for benefits were the servicemen's widows and dependent parents.

Since this article was in Jean La Forêt's notebook, it is logical to hypothesize he was the person who clipped it.  Because it deals with pensions for three specific conflicts and he made the effort to save it, it is also logical to hypothesize that Jean must have been involved in at least one of those conflicts.

Looking over Jean's diary, it does not appear he could have been present at the Boxer Rebellion.  His stated locations between May 25, 1899 and January 20, 1902 leave no time for him to have been in China.

The Philippine Insurrection, or Philippine-American War, officially began on February 4, 1899.  Jean wrote that he reported for duty at Mare Island, California on May 25, 1899.  He might have been in the Philippines during the war, but it could have been for only a short period.

The Spanish-American War, however, looks more promising.  Jean's journal had a gap between May 24, 1897, when he sailed on the Independence, and his report date at Mare Island.  Coincidentally, the entire period of the war fits in that gap!  Maybe he was too busy to write, or maybe he didn't want to write about the fighting.  But I suspect that when I get around to ordering a copy of Jean's service file, I'll discover he fought during this war.  Perhaps he was already in the Philippines for the Spanish-American War and so was also there for the beginning of the Insurrection.

It looks as though Jean was interested in his eligibility for a pension, but so far I have seen no documents indicating that he actually applied for one, only that Emma did so after Jean died.  Even though he appears to have been feeling his mortality, maybe he just kept putting off the pension paperwork and never got around to it.

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