by Hazel White
First published in the Perry County Genealogical Society Newsletter, August, 1989 Volume 11, number 2, pages 35 & 36.

The question of which John Combs had Pension #S35,851 is so easy to settle that one wonders how disagreement ever arose. But, arise it did.

In the Combses Genealogy on page 65, Josiah Combs says, "National Archives (Pension papers)...establish that John was one of the eight brothers... John's pension case is No. S35,851, Virginia."

On page 68 Josiah lists John's second marriage to Margaret and 3 dependents as Margaret age 18, her child Hyskiah, daughter Sallie and her sons Harvey and Thomas. He says that Margaret and Sallie appear to have married Combses.

On page 90 Josiah says that John Combs of Boyle County, Kentucky is not to be confused with the above John, that he is the son of William and cousin to the "eight brothers", and that he died in 1848. (Elsewhere in the book Josiah casts doubt that this William had any other son than William jr.).

Josiah's first conflict: On page 91 he lists among John of Boyle's children Sally with two sons, Harvey and Samuel and Margaret, unmarried.

In Pension file S35,851 is an entry of declaration to obtain pension. It listed wife, Margaret, 55 years, Sally, 27 years, a widow with children, Samuel, Harvey and Thomas.

Among John of Boyle's children, Josiah lists Nancy who married Joseph Goode. This is an important item to the story. To solve the confusion, we turned to the source that Josiah is supposed to have examined. We found some amazing facts.

First, there was only one John Combs, pensioner in Kentucky. We have a xeroxed copy of page 136 of pension payment records. The Pension Application File does have other John Combses, but S35,851 is the only one in Kentucky for that name. Others were in Georgia, South Carolina and New England. The 1840 Washington County, Kentucky census roll lists John Combs, age 81, Revolutionary War pensioner in the household of Joseph Goode.

In December, 1807 in a Lincoln County, Kentucky marriage bond, John Combs granted that Joseph Goode might marry his daughter, Nancy. In May, 1848 John's will was probated. He left his property to Joseph and Nancy and named Joseph as executor.

The pension file shows that John died 27 April 1848. Josiah says that John of Boyle died in 1848. He says that the other John(to whom he assigns this pension) died "not far from 1840".

The pension shows that John received $8 per month. Washington County, Kentucky court records show that Joseph Goode made oath that he was administrator of John Combs, deceased, "the identical person who was a pensioner...

Joseph also made a request in the Washington County court that the balance of John's pension be paid to him. He appointed James P. O'Hara of Mackville his lawful attorney to receive this balance. Another record shows that O'Hara received $15.20 payment for 1 month, 28 days, pension due to John Combs.

What more is needed? It seems so obvious that John of Boyle (as Josiah designated him) was identical to John, pensioner S35.851.

In regard to Josiah's book, one finds so many contradictions that we wonder if he really was ready for it to be published. Had he lived would he have let it go to print as is?

Before stopping we would like to thank Dr. Carson Gibbs of Maryland for going to the Archives and locating this information and more for us.

Last, we would like to throw out a puzzle. Who was Biddy Nance? Did our John really marry her first? If so, can we prove it with more than family tradition? True, there is a marriage bond, but it is not connected to our John. If our John did not marry Biddy, is Margaret his first wife? Josiah says that "the other John" married Margaret in 1790. What evidence is there? Also, we have three overlapping lists of John's children. Can anyone furnish a proven list?

So, we settle one issue and raise two. Can anyone help?