Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

August 14, 1888

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 1076, entitled "An act granting a pension to the widow of John Leary, deceased."

This bill does not give the name of the intended beneficiary, but merely directs that the name of the widow of John Leary, late first sergeant in Battery F, Third Artillery, United States Army, be placed upon the pension roll, and that she be paid the sum of $20 per month.

John Leary first enlisted in the Regular Army July 26, 1854, and reenlisted in August, 1859. He was slightly wounded July 1, 1862, and appears to have been discharged March 25, 1863, on account of syphilitic iritis. In April, 1863, he entered the general service and acted as a clerk in the Adjutant-General's Office until April 1, 1864, when he was discharged.

Neither he nor his widow ever filed a claim in the Pension Bureau, but an application on behalf of his minor children was filed in 1882.

The soldier died on the 8th day of December, 1872, of pneumonia, and his widow remarried in 1876.

The application on behalf of the children was denied on the ground that the death of the soldier was not due to any cause arising from his military service. The youngest child will reach the age of 16 in September, 1888.

It is stated in the report of the Senate committee to whom this bill was referred that the second husband, to whom this widow was married in 1876, is now dead, and it is proposed to pension her as the widow of John Leary, her first husband, at the rate of $20 per month.

In the unusual cases when a widow has been pensioned on account of the death of her first husband, notwithstanding her remarriage, which forfeited her claim under the general law, it has been well established that she was again a widow by the death of her second husband, that beyond all controversy the death of the first husband was due to his military service, and such advanced age or disability has been shown on the part of the widow as prevented self-support.

In this case the name of the widow is not in the bill; there is hardly room for the pretense that her first husband's death was due to his military service, her age is given as over 40 years, and $20 a month is allowed her; being considerably more than is generally allowed in cases where a widow's right is clear, with no complications of second marriage, and her necessities great.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives