Last surviving widow of a Civil War soldier dies

Married the 93-year-old soldier in 1936
Helen Viola Jackson

Helen Viola Jackson

MARSHFIELD, Mo. – The last surviving widow of a Civil War soldier has died.

Helen Viola Jackson of Marshfield, Missouri was just 17- years-old when she married 93- year- old James Bolin in 1936. She was a caregiver for the Civil War veteran, who served in the Union army. Jackson claimed Bolin proposed to her so he could pass on his pension to her after he died, to repay her for her services. This was during the Great Depression when many Americans were struggling.

The young bride says she and her husband’s relationship was strictly platonic and she never even moved into his house. They were only married for three years before Bolin died in 1939. Jackson kept her story and the marriage a secret until 2018, out of fear people would judge her or her late husband. She never remarried, and never tried collecting his pension.

Numerous historical societies have corroborated her story. Helen Viola Jackson was 101 when she died last month in a Missouri nursing home.