Reason Woolley's Letters in John Culver's Pension Case

Reason Woolley, Citizen of Caseyville, MS
by Linda Rudd

Reason was b. about 1822 in Mississippi. He married Elizabeth Buie b. about 1824 in Yazoo County, Mississippi. She was the daughter of John Buie. According to the 1860 Copiah County Slave Schedule, Reason owned six slaves.

Reason wrote at least three letters to the pension board protesting John Culver receipt of pension payments from the United States government. John received his pension because he began losing his eyesight while serving with the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry during the Civil War. John Culver was totally blind by 1868. Reason reported that John Culver had been blind since 1841.

Caseyville, Miss
March the 9th 1882

Commission of Pensions
Washington D. C.

I want to inform the government that the pension claim that John Culver has agance(sp) the government is fraud from the fact that he was weak eyed before the war. He was weak eyed before he ever went in to the U. S. Army. I have ben(sp) living in this neighborhood fifty years. I have none(sp) him a long while before the war and he was weak eyed ever since. I remember that his Master had to stop him from driving his wagon for the reason that he could not see well enough to drive. It can be proven by all of his old neighbors that he was weak eyed long before the war. And by men that overseed(sp) him before the war. It can be proven that Dr. Daniel McLean treated his eyes before the war, by the Dr. Chrildren who lives in this neighborhood. And after Dr. D. McLean died Dr. Buie treated his eyes which can be proven, he is dead. It can be proven both by white and black that he was weak eyed before the war. The parties that are interested ses(sp) that he only had common sore eyes before the war but that will not do. Calvin Blue ses(sp) that he boarded at John Culver's Master's about 1842 and 3 and that he was waring(sp) green shades over his eyes then at that time. The reason they made all the proof the government required was that they used his own relation for witness. And others that I think is interested. And others that I think is interested. And they keep it a seakret(sp) untill they got the money they had made some threats against parties who found out what John Culver was to get and they told it. They did not want the amount found out for the parties wanted the largest porsion(sp) of it them selfs(sp). I think John Culver knew all about it. For parties has told him that he ought not let them take his money that way and he said it was no ones business what he did if he gave it all to them. If the government will look after it, it will not be any troubled to find out it is fraud. Some of the postmasters are accused of having something to do with it and received pay for there(sp) trouble. If the government want any information about this case, I will assit in leting(sp) the government know ever(sp) one of the witnesses in this case new . He came back from the war and stop in Adams County and made a crop and his eyes was as good for a year as they ever was after the war. I thought that it was my duty to inform the government of the defraud. Please write me a few lines and let me know whether you received my letter or not.

Direct your letter to Caseyville, Miss., Lincoln County.

R. Wooley

Oct. the 13th 1882

To the Commissioner of Pension
Washington, D. C.


I will write you a few lines to inform you that George McNeill and John Culver the pensioner employed a man to go round and see some of the main witnesses to see if they could hire them to not state against them in the defraud case and also he was sent to me. And he said to me that he had come to see me on George McNeill and John Culver Pension case. And told me that there could be money made now verry(sp) easy out of them by me not writing any more to the government and fore(sp) me to keep out of the way of the if they ever sent anyone hear(sp) to investigate this case and he stated to me that he thought it was best to do it. I stated to the him how would I feel when the government called on me for me to say that I never knowned(sp) his eyes to be bad. When I knowned(sp) him to be blind a long time before the war. I told him that I would not do it for a barrel of gold. The old negro is not as much the blame as George McNeil and John Gilchrist. They was the strong secessionnst partie that wanted to divide the Union before the war and now they are handling this money. We are ready and wiling(sp) to help stop this defraud on the government.

This authority pronounced his claim good without the first evidence of the Newnited(sp) States. This authority ought to be stoped(sp) for he received a porsion(sp) of the money or he would not have done this. And we hear that he drawed 2 thousand and 2 hundred more. And he drawed 85 hundred at first in 1882. And hear is 14 of as good witness as there is in the state standing ready for you to come on and investigate the case. John Culver was not in the army but eight months before the Surrender and he went to Natchez and joined Company K, Regiment 58. He never fired a gun nor done nothing and have ben(sp) blind ever since 1841.

Write me soon and let me know how you stand on the matter.

Direct your letter to Renola, Franklin County, Miss.

Reason Woolley

Reason's accusations were not substaniated by his witnesses nor by any other evidence. John Culver received his pension payments.


John Culver Federal Military Pension Records
Private John Culver of the 58th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry

WPA Narrative of John Wooley

Buie Homepage

Remembering Their Names