Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

May 28, 1886

To the House of Representatives:

I hereby return without approval a bill which originated in the House of Representatives, numbered 1582, and entitled "An act for the relief of Eleanor C. Bangham."

The claimant in this case is the widow of John S. Bangham, who was mustered into the service of the United States as a private on the 26th day of March, 1864, and was discharged by general order June 23, 1865.

It appears that during his fifteen months of service he was sick a considerable part of the time, and the records in two of the hospitals to which he was admitted show that his sickness was epilepsy. There are no records showing the character of his illness in other hospitals.

His widow, the present claimant, filed an application for pension March 12, 1878, alleging that her husband committed suicide September 12, 1873, from the effects of chronic diarrhea and general debility contracted in the service. Upon the evidence then produced her claim was allowed at the rate of $8 a month. She remained upon the rolls until July, 1885, when a special examination of the case was made, upon which it was developed and admitted by the pensioner that the deceased soldier had suffered from epilepsy from early childhood, and that during a despondent mood following an epileptic fit he committed suicide.

Upon these facts it was determined by the Pension Bureau that the pension should not have been granted, and it was withdrawn. It was so satisfactorily proven that the disease which indirectly caused the death of the claimant's husband was not contracted in the service that, in my opinion, the conclusion arrived at on such examination should stand.


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

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