Helen Viola Jackson

America’s last known Civil War widow has died at age 101.

It is our sad duty to report the death of Helen Viola Jackson, the last documented widow of a Civil War soldier, on 16 December 2020, at the age of 101 years. She had been a resident of Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri for many years.

Helen Jackson married Private James Bolin, Company F, 14th Missouri Cavalry, on 4 September 1936. He was 93 years old; she was 17. Her father had volunteered her to stop by his house each day and assist him with chores as she headed home from school.

Bolin did not believe in accepting charity and, after a period of time, asked Helen for her hand in marriage in order to provide for her future by leaving her his Union pension. She accepted and Bolin recorded the wedding in his personal Bible. Bolin died in June 1939 and Helen never remarried; she never applied for the pension.