In 1902 a series of depositions were taken by the Commissioner of Pensions in order to determine Jacob's legal widow. The following information is derived from those depositions:
Jacob William Fingar, born in 1829, married Julia Ann Clum, who was his second cousin, on February 5, 1850. In 1862 he enlisted in the Army, as a Second Lieutenant. They had 5 children, only 2 of whom were living when he enlisted. He served just over 90 days, resigned, and was discharged. While he was in the service, his wife Julia moved from the Fingar farm to Philmont, New York. It is claimed that Jacob left her without any money when he enlisted, and Julia worked in the cotton mill for 20 years to support herself. The depositions disagree, but Jacob either did not return home after being discharged, or, he did return home but his wife would not have him. (The depositions disagree here too, some say he had been chasing other women before he enlisted, others say he had not.) He then moved around from place to place, was drafted but fled to the Canadian border, and lived for a time in Vermont under the name J.W. Hoffman. He married Lorana Parks about 1867 even though he was not divorced from Julia. In 1879 Lorana divorced him and in 1884 he married Delcena Marsh (whom he had been boarding with) and remained with her until his death. Just before marrying Delcina, he adopted a 4-year old girl, and named her Myrtle Fingar. He applied for a disability pension on the grounds of blindness in 1891. One deposition says he tried to make up with Julia 2 or 3 years before he died. He died in 1896 in Syracuse, New York.
After his death Delcena found out about Jacob's first wife, and since Julia would be the legal widow, Delcena went to visit her to ask her to apply for a widow's pension and share it with her. Julia said No, she would not share it with Delcena.
As an added note of interest, the Hudson, N.Y. Evening Register of December 11, 1902 printed this: "Julia A. Fingar of Philmont has been granted a pension of $8 a month."
Here is an approximate time line of Jacob's life, taken from depositions:
|19 Dec 1829||Born|
|5 Feb 1850||Married Julia Ann Clum|
|1856||Son Sylvanus Born|
|1861|| Daughter Emma Born|
|15 Oct 1862||Enlisted in Army|
|30 Jan 1863||Resigned from Army|
|1863||Lived in Richmond, Massachusetts|
|1863-1865||Lived as J.W. Hoffman in Rutland, Vermont|
|1866||Lived in North Pownal, Vermont|
|1866||Lived in Columbus, Ohio|
|~1867||Married Lorana Parks (possibly Dec 22, 1867)|
|1867-1870||Lived in Locke, New York|
|1870-1874||Lived in Auburn, New York|
|10 Feb 1879||Divorced from Lorana Parks|
|1880||Boarder with Delcena Marsh|
|1884||Adopted a 4-year old girl, named her Myrtle Fingar|
|1884||Married Delcena Marsh|
|1 Jul 1891||Applied for disability pension|
|1893, 1894||Jacob tried to make up with Julia|
|1895||"J.W. & P.R. Fingar insurance" (his brother Peter) - city directory|
|14 Nov 1896||Died in Syracuse, New York|
|March 1897||Delcena visited Julia|
|Jan 1901||Myrtle stole a watch from Delcina Fingar|
|Dec 1902||Julia received an $8 a month widow's pension|
The following documents tell the story...
Divorce of Lorana Fingar from Jacob Fingar, 10 February 1879
Deposition A, Julia A. Fingar, 23 July 1902
Deposition B, Julia A. Fingar, Recalled 25 July 1902
Deposition C, Sylvanus Fingar, 24 July 1902
Deposition D, Catherine Clum, 23 July 1902
Deposition H, Jane S Harder, 25 July 1902
Deposition K, Peter R. Fingar, 24 July 1902
Deposition A, Delcena Fingar, 4 October 1902
A letter to Delcena from Julia, 19 July ????
Conclusion of the Special Examiner, 29 July 1902
Some additional information, found in the Syracuse Evening Herald in 1901:
Locked up in a cell in the woman's department at police headquarters last evening, pretty Myrtle Fingar cried as though her heart would break. She was very, very repentant and promised to be a good, honest girl hereafter if they would only let her out.
The theft of a gold watch from her stepmother, Mrs. Delceena Fingar of No. 208 Maltbie street, yesterday morning, was the cause of her imprisonment. She had a good home with Mrs. Finger and was treated as though she were Mrs. Fingar's own daughter. On Friday morning before her stepmother got up, she went into her room and took Mrs. Fingar's gold watch and chain from the bureau. Then she left the house and came downtown. She spent the greater part of the day with a girl friend who lives in Lincoln avenue.
After supper she came downtown again. She formed the acquaintance of a young pugilist who is best known by his nickname of "Phil the Dago." Together they went to Coyne's saloon in East Washington street. According to the girl's story, they had some drinks in a room. When they awoke this morning "Phil the Dago" was gone and so was the watch. The theft of the watch was reported to the police by Mrs. Fingar yesterday morning. Acting Detective "Watty" Lee was assigned to the case. He had only a meager description of the girl to work with, but nevertheless he succeeded in finding her. She was taken to police headquarters where she told her story. She said that she gave the watch to "Phil the Dago." The police found "Phil" and he told the same story. The watch was recovered last night. - Syracuse Evening Herald January 27, 1901