Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

June 22, 1886

To the Senate:

I return without approval Senate bill No. 1383, entitled "An act granting a pension to Harriet Welch."

The beneficiary named in this bill asks for a pension as the widow of Syreannous Welch, who was wounded in 1864 while in the service, and was pensioned therefor in 1867. In 1876 his rate of pension was increased. In 1877 he appears to have applied to have his pension again increased. It is alleged that upon such application he was directed to appear before an examining board or a surgeon at Green Bay, Wis., for examination, and in returning to his home from that place on the 7th day of September, 1877, he fell from the cars and was killed, his remains having been found on the track the next morning.

No one appears to have seen the accident, but it is claimed that he could not depend upon his wounded leg, and that it "gave way many times and caused him to fall." From this statement the inference seems to have been indulged that his death was attributable to the wound he had received thirteen years before.

The widow's claim based upon this state of facts was rejected by the Pension Bureau on the ground that the accident resulting in death was not the result of his military service, and on an appeal taken to the Secretary of the Interior from that determination the same was sustained.

Though this widow admits that prior to her marriage with the deceased soldier she had married another man whom she could only say she believed to be dead, I believe her case to be a pitiable one and wish that I could join in her relief; but, unfortunately, official duty can not always be well done when directed solely by sympathy and charity.


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

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