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Pension Issues

Wrisley vs. Waterbury (1869), 42 Vermont 228. Jacob Wrisley was a soldier in the service of the United States in Virginia in the winter of 1863-1864. At this time the government was offering $402 as bounty and a furlough to those soldiers who should reenlist; that prior to February 1, 1864, he was informed that the town of Waterbury was paying a bounty of $300 for volunteers to its credit; that, in consequence of this information, relying on having $300 from Waterbury, together with what the United States offered, he reenlisted February 1, 1864. Wrisley soon took his furlough and naturally wanted his bounty. Mr. Janes, the first selectman of the town, told him the quota was full but said if he would let his name remain to the credit of Waterbury, "if they had another call and raised any more men and paid a bounty, they would pay him as much as they did them, and that if they had to raise any more men, if they paid any bounty, they would pay the plaintiff as much."

The application for the town meeting in the month of November, 1863, was "to see what course the town will take to fill the quota of men required of the town of Waterbury, under the last two calls of the general government for soldiers." The warning was to see if the town will pay any additional bounty to volunteers from said town, and if any, how much, and the vote was "to pay each volunteer from this town a bounty of $300 when mustered into the United States Service." The court held (Wilson J.) that under the circumstances existing the $300 bounty was confined to such as should enlist to the credit of the town on the quota under the call or calls made before the date of the vote, and also that the unauthorized promise of the selectmen to pay a soldier such bounty as the town might pay to others on future calls would not bind the town, though it paid a bounty to others on future calls.

Source: Theodore Graham Lewis, History of Waterbury, Vermont, 1763-1915, p. 207.