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Monday, May 15, 2006

The Pension Mounts

William Talbot Hammond was the great-great-great-grandfather of Evans Goodling, Jr., and served for 12 days in the War of 1812 as a substitute for his brother Mordecai. When Goodling went to the National Archives to find William's pension record, he found instead evidence of his failed attempts to swindle the federal government—in one case by adopting his brother's name.

The file recounted the attempts — at various times and under various names — of William Hammond to obtain a pension.

“It shows how he became tangled up in all the stories that he had made up in various communications with the pension office in order to justify his claim,” Goodling said.

One thing the file showed was the dry wit of the pension examiner assigned to the case.

Noting that there was evidence that both Mordecai Hammond and his widow Zilla were dead, the examiner wrote that the primary item to be determined was whether Mordecai “has revived expressly for the purpose of obtaining a pension.” [Link]

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