To this day there is a woman in Florida collecting Civil War pension. She is the only individual to still receive any. Irene Triplett is 89 years old and she is the daughter of a United States Civil War veteran. Irene Triplett is the daughter of private Mose Triplett (At times documented as Moses Triplett), who fought both a Union and Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He started off as a confederate soldier in the 53rd North Carolina Infantry in 1862 at the age of 16. He deserted directly before the Battle of Gettysburg after escaping from a hospital. He switched to fighting for the Union when he ended up in Tennessee the year after.
Irene Triplett was Mose Triplett’s daughter from his second wife, whom he married in 1924, Elida Hall. Elida was about 50 years younger than her husband. As drastic as that may sound it was commonplace in the twenties.
Irene, born in 1930, wasn’t even alive until after the Civil War had ended. When her father died in 1938, Irene was only eight years old. Mose’s surviving wife and daughter both suffered from mental disabilities and did not support themselves. The pair lived in government and private nursing homes in North Carolina until Elida, Irene’s mother, died in the late sixties. Irene’s most recent move was in 2013 after breaking her hip. She packed up and moved into a skilled nursing facility.
A Veteran’s Daughter
Since Triplett is the daughter of a veteran, she receives a pension check from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a direct effect of legislation that Abraham Lincoln passed offering confederate pension to those who served as confederate soldiers; something already offered to union veterans. Irene is among the fewer than 100 pensioners from 19th-century wars. She is the sole receiver, however of pension checks from the Civil War. Her monthly checks from the federal government total to $73.13, roughly $880 per year.
The Civil War may have ended before she was even alive, but she’s a reminder that we must always pay the piper or, in this case, pensioners.