RIP Irene Triplett, the last living person to receive a US Civil War pension

Triplett’s father, Mose, fought for the Confederacy and then joined the North and fought as a private. After the war, he had “a reputation for orneriness.”

[He] kept pet rattlesnakes at his home near Elk Creek, N.C. He often sat on his front porch with a pistol on his lap.

“A lot of people were afraid of him,” his grandson, Charlie Triplett, told the [Wall Street] Journal.

Pvt. Triplett married Elida Hall in 1924. She was 34 when Irene was born in 1930; he was 83. Such an age difference wasn’t rare, especially later, during the Great Depression, when Civil War veterans found themselves with both a pension and a growing need for care.

Irene Triplett received a monthly pension of $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

She died Sunday from complications following surgery for injuries from a fall, according to the Wilkesboro, N.C., nursing home where she lived.

She was mentally disabled, and lived in the poorhouse with her mother, and later in a series of care homes.

She saw little of her relatives. But a pair of Civil War buffs visited and sent her money to spend on Dr Pepper and chewing tobacco, a habit she picked up in the first grade.

www.wsj.com/articles/…

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner