August 29, 1863
Responsible for providing State Aid to widows and children in Greene, in 1863, Aaron Winslow needed guidance. Winslow had received a request for Aid from Harriet Wardwell, but he was unsure what to do about it.
Winslow writes to Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon for advice.
He informs the Adjutant General that Harriet Wardwell is married to Isaac Wardwell, and that the couple is new to Greene. They had formerly resided in Dover.
Isaac Wardwell enlisted as a private in Company A of the 6th Maine Infantry Regiment in December, 1861. Winslow recounts to the Adjutant General that, "Wardwell went as a substitute for a Mr. Lord of Winthrop Me – Lord paying Wardwell $375.00 cash together with the State of Me State bounty amounting to $577.00."
A Union private also received $13 per month.
The money Wardwell collected to go in Lord’s place amounted to "a pretty smart sum," by Winslow’s standards. Wardwell, who had been sick, was still alive, and Winslow calculated that the Private received $102 upon his discharge in January, 1863, and another $13 per month as compensation for his disability.
The Maine Legislature in March, 1862, ordered that all towns, cities, and plantations were to pay 75 cents per week to a wife, and 25 cents per week per child, who were dependent upon a deceased or disabled military man for a period up to one year from the death or disability. Greene taxpayers would be reimbursed by the State, according to the law, but Winslow was uncertain about when that repayment might come.
Winslow did not want to shirk his statutory duty, but he wonders whether Dover should be the more appropriate town, especially because "she intends to go to Dover after getting a sum of money from this town."
Faced with spending – at least for the short term – as much as $20 of Greene’s money to Harriet Wardwell, Winslow asks Hodsdon what to do.
And, if it makes a difference, Winslow adds, "I am a Republican and always have been."
Wardwell, meanwhile, recovered his health and returned to the Army, joining the 11th Maine Infantry Regiment, where he was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant. He survived the war.
- Would Isaac Wardwell’s residence and disability make any difference in deciding to pay state aid to his wife and child?
- Why might Wardwell be concerned about another draft if he was discharged for being disabled?
- Should Winslow be influenced by Wardwell’s bounty benefits and disability payments influence in deciding whether to provide the State Aid?
- Should the taxpayers of Greene have been subject to making the State Aid payments to Mrs. Wardwell and her child?
- What difference could Winslow’s party affiliation have been to Hodsdon in deciding the issue?