Helen Viola Jackson, the last known surviving widow of a Civil War veteran, has died at the age of 101. Her death was confirmed by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War on Monday.
Jackson died last month at Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri, according to the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival. A play about Jackson’s life was performed at the 2019 Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival.
Jackson was age 17 when she married James Bolin, who was 93 years old at the time of the marriage. Bolin and Jackson were married for three years before his passing in 1939. Bolin reportedly fought on the Union side of the war.
According to her biography, Jackson kept word of her marriage with Bolin a secret until 2017. Jackson was a caretaker for Bolin at the time of the marriage.
“Mr. Bolin explained that he did not have any money to pay me for taking care of him. Therefore, he asked for my hand in marriage so that he could leave his pension to me,” Jackson said in her biography.
Before Jackson’s death, Maudie Hopkins was the last known surviving Civil War widow. She died in 2008.
The Civil War ended in 1865, 156 years ago.