Military Monday: Servicemen’s Dependents Allowance Act of 1942

The Servicemen’s Dependents Allowance Act of 1942, signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provided a much needed allowance to the wives, children, and certain dependent relatives of servicemen in the lower grades (privates, private first class, technician 5th grade, corporal, technician 4th grade, and sergeant) of the Army. Relatives and dependents were divided into two classes. Class A consisted of wives, children and divorced wives to whom alimony was still payable, and Class B consisted of parents, grandparents, siblings, and grandchildren.

My father grew up in the home of his maternal grandparents, Henry and Olivia (Moten) Newsome. When his grandfather’s health deteriorated to the point that he had to be permanently hospitalized (he was admitted to the Austin State Hospital), some of the financial care of his  grandmother rested on his shoulders. Therefore when he was drafted into the Army on 4 December 1945, he completed the Application for Dependency Benefits below listing his grandmother as a Class B dependent so that 49% of his financial support went to her each month.

Application For Dependency Benefits


Below is a front and back transcription of my father’s — applicant copy — of the original application:


(Servicemen’s Dependents Allowance Act of 1942, As Amended)

I. (a) Soldier
(Last name) –  Taylor
(First name) –  John
(Middle name) –  W
(Army serial number) –  38 754 049
(Present Army grade – private, corporal, sergeant, etc.) –  Private
(Soldier’s Army mailing address) —
(Single, married, divorce) –  Single
(Race) –  Colored
(Soldier’s home address: Number and street or R.F.D.) –  422 Gunter St.
(City, town or post office) –  Houston
(State) –  Texas

I hereby apply for the family allowances authorized by law for the following name relatives and/or dependents who are related to me in the manner stated in paragraphs II and III below.


II. List: Wife (W), child (C), former wife divorced to who alimony is still payable (W.Div). (If there are none in class A, write “None” in the name column.)



III. List below the father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, stepfather, stepmother, either husband or wife, person in loco parentis (foster parent), brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, adopted brother, adopted sister, who are dependent upon the soldier for substantial or chief portion of their support. (If there are non in class B or B-1, write “None” in name column.)

(Last) –  Newsome
(First) –  Olivia
(Middle) —

Number and street or R.F.D. –  Rt.2, Box 192
City, town, or P.O. and postal zone No. –  Brenham
State – Texas
Relationship –  GM.
Date of birth of minors —
Degree of dependency (percent) —  49%

IV. Enter on the lines below the full name and address of the person or persons to whom the checks are to be made payable.
Make checks payable to —
Name —  Olivia Newsome
Address number and street or R.F.D. —  Rt. 2, Box 192
City, town, or P.O. and postal zone No. —  Brenham
State –  Tex.

W.D., A.G.O. Form No. 625
1 January 1944
This form supersedes W.D., A.G.O. Form No. 625, 21 October 1942, which may be used until existing stocks are exhausted.


Members of immediate family now serving in the military or navel service

V. The following named member of (my) (the soldier’s) immediate family are now serving as soldiers, sailors, marines, or coast guardsmen (not officiers) in the military of naval service.

VI.  I hereby swear or affirm that all the foregoing statements are correct and that every member of class B or B-1 for whom I claim the family allowance is dependent, to the degree indicated, upon the soldier whose name appears in paragraph I above, for support.

(Signature) —


Subscribed and sworn to before me this — 5 — day of  – Dec.,  1945 at — 22.00

(Title) — W. E. LOHMAN, 1st LT. WAC.


Once this application was approved, Momma Olivia would have started receiving a monthly allowance at the end of the next succeeding month from the date on the application. The allowance that would be paid to her came from money that was deducted from my father’s pay and from the government. Even though this application did not state what her monthly allowance would be, I hope my father’s compiled service record I recently requested from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will provide that information and much more!

This military application for dependency benefits was a GREAT genealogy find! Not only did it provide me the Houston address of my father before he was drafted in the Army, but it also helped me to pinpoint which Washington County, Texas town (Brenham)  my great-grandmother lived in between the 1940 and 1950 census decades!


Source Citation:

Marshall, G.C. (1944). Application for dependency benefits. TM 12-223, Reception Center Operations. Washington, D.C.: War Department. Retrieved November 28, 2012 from

Do you remember where you were on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 pm?

On Thursday, April 4, 1968, at 6:01 pm, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down while standing on the balcony outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Do you remember Where you were (and what you were doing) on the evening of April 4, 1968?

I was eight years old at the time,  and at 6:01 pm I was at home having dinner with my family when news of his death came to us by TV. My oldest brother was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. He had made it back to his dorm room just in time before angry riots about Dr. King’s assassination broke out across campus.

At age 8, I knew nothing about the hardships the Memphis sanitation workers were going through that brought Dr. King to Memphis. But what I do know was how quiet and still my family was for the rest of the evening as we listened to Walter Cronkite give graphic details about how he died and how Memphis policemen were frantically looking for his killer.

As I learned more about what happened to Dr. King, I felt as though the world was on fire, as news of his death sparked riots around our nation. Then to see Mrs. King just a few days later on TV dressed in black leading thousands of people in a funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta was very emotional and heart-wrenching for a child like me to watch.

Life Magazine, 1968January 15, 2012, was Dr. King’s 83rd birthday, and today the third Monday in January, is his official federal holiday! Its been a long time since I thought about where I was the day he died until I came on April 12, 1968, LIFE MAGAZINE (featured at the top of this post) that my father purchased for 35¢ featuring Dr. King and exclusive pictures about his death in Memphis. Once I picked myself up off the floor over this 108-page issue costing 35¢ in 1968, I was visually carried back in time to one of the saddest moments in American history, as well as how this young black Baptist preacher was a true change agent for freedom and justice for us all!

After Dr. King’s death he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. But two of the best  honors of all came:

So, do you remember where you were on the evening of April 4, 1968, at 6:01 pm? If you do, share your moment in history with me!