Mary Eliza Mincey, the Fifty-First Regiment’s Last Widow

Private George Mincey enlisted in Company F, 51st Regiment NCT on March 10, 1862. He only served with the regiment for three months before he was discharged for an unspecified reason.

In June 1893, George married his second wife, Mary Eliza Floyd, at Galivants Ferry, SC. “Liza” was only 24 when she married the 53-year-old Mincey. Despite the age difference, the couple had two children before George Mincey died in 1901.

Sometime after George’s death, Liza settled in Lumberton. She lived quietly there. When she was 68 years old, she signed up for Old Age Assistance under the new Social Security program. Liza began receiving $20 a month from the government.

By 1958, at the age of 89, Liza was in poor health and flat broke. She decided she would apply for a widow’s pension under North Carolina’s Civil War pension system. She filed her application in Robeson County on August 19, 1958. Although Liza didn’t strictly meet all the requirements for a pension, the review board was feeling charitable and approved her application just ten days later. The pension provided $75 per month to the needy widow. Unfortunately, Liza died three months later, 12 days short of her 90th birthday.

Liza began drawing a Civil War widow’s pension 93 years after the war ended, making her the 51st North Carolina’s last pension recipient.

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