Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

March 01, 1897

To the Senate:

I return herewith without approval Senate bill No. 719, entitled "An act to restore a pension to Harriet M. Knowlton."

Major William Knowlton, a most worthy volunteer soldier, died of wounds received in battle on the 20th day of September, 1864.

In 1865 his widow, the beneficiary named in this bill, was pensioned at the rate of $25 a month, commencing on the day of her husband's death, with an additional allowance for four minor children dating from July, 1866.

She continued to receive this pension and allowance until November, 1867, when she married Albin P. Stinchfield.

Thereupon her name was dropped from the pension roll, she having by her remarriage lost her pensionable condition, and her children were pensioned at a small monthly rate from the date of their mother's remarriage until June 1, 1880, when the youngest became 16 years of age.

The beneficiary, after living with her second husband about twenty-two years, secured a divorce from him in the year 1889, and it is now proposed to pension the divorced wife as the widow of her deceased soldier husband at the rate she received while she was actually his widow, thirty years ago.

Her pensionable relation to the Government terminated with her remarriage, and her divorce from her second husband could not upon any ground of principle restore it. A departure from this rule, even in aid of cases of hardship, can not fail to establish precedents inviting the abandonment of reasonable and justifiable pension theories.


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

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