The Trials of Phoebe Covert

Phoebe was my g g grandmother, born 1835 Phoebe Platt in Susquehanna County PA.  She married Charles Covert October 6 1853 in Windsor, Broome Co. NY.  The young couple lived on a farm and started their family.  Elizabeth born Aug 1854, Julia Etta July 1856, James Mar 1858, Lyman Apr 1860, and Lucy Apr 1862.
Her husband Charles was itching to go to the aid of the Union and join his two younger brothers Abram and Benjamin, who had already enlisted in 1861.  So Charles enlisted Aug 19,1862,  leaving behind Phoebe and his five babies.  He first went to Gettysburgh where he was wounded in the head, but not seriously enough to be able to rejoin his company  to Alabama, where he soon contracted measles was hospitalized and died of congestive fever Mar of 1864.  Not knowing his two brothers had already died in 1862, his parents were left to mourn the loss of their only sons.
Phoebe received word that her husband was gone forever and she was left destitute with their five small children.  She applied for a pension but it was a very slow and  long process.  Phoebe had to prove that these children were the children of Charles and that she was married to Charles.  She traveled on horseback and walked to get her affidavits that were required. From the Minister that married them, her mother-in-law and her mother that attended the birth of her oldest daughter, (I might add here that her mother-in-law died soon after in 1866),  the doctor that attended the birth of her 2nd and 3rd children, her mother who attended the birth of her 4th and 5th children.  Phoebe also had to get affidavits from others to verify that these folks that signed the affidavits were honest and trustworthy people.

By now Phoebe was overwhelmed and finally had to put her precious children in a Home far away in New York City when she could no longer care for them.  Her own sister had died in childbirth, so her mother could not help her, and both of Charles parents had died.  Although Charles grandmother was still living, she was not well enough to help her either.  The government required a guardian by law for the children and she asked Charles’ Uncle Lyman Welton to be guardian.  Women were not allowed at that time to handle financial matters.  Phoebe was finally to receive monthly pension of $8. for herself and $2. for each of her children.  By 1870 Phoebe was desperate so when a proposal of marriage came from a widower with a young daughter who promised to help her retrieve her children she decided to remarry even knowing she would lose her own pension, but when the money for the children came he would not help her.  In 1872 Phoebe then turned to Uncle Lyman for help, she left her husband and was at long last reunited with all but her oldest daughter Elizabeth. The whereabouts of Elizabeth is a mystery as no researcher has found her to this day.

They were all together in the Binghamton NY census as of June 1880 but Phoebe died suddenly in July of 1880 at 45 years of age.   Her mother lived another 12 years and they are buried side-by side.
Phoebe’s son James had disappeared by 1895 it is said that he went west,  Julia married and had 3 children,  Lyman married and had one son, and Lucy married but was unable to have any children.  Perhaps one day we will find out what happened to Elizabeth.

My g g grandmother Phoebe is a hero to me for the struggles and heartaches that she endured and she never gave up.

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