Wednesday, August 6, 2014

WM. K. CLEMMER’S SPECIAL PARDON, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks



William Kinser Clemmer supported the Southern cause during the Civil War between the States. 3rd Great Grandfather was born in Augusta County, Virginia and enlisted April 23, 1864 in Staunton when he was 46 years old. Wm. K. was a private with Co. D, 3rd Battalion Valley Reserves per Confederate Soldier Records housed at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.

After the War between the Union and Confederacy ended, President Andrew Johnson pardoned all ‘rebels’ who participated in the war in an amnesty proclamation May 29, 1865. However, there were 14 groups of individuals that were excluded from the amnesty and Wm. K. was among them because he owned property valued at more than $20,000—this being Exception 13. In order for 3rd Great Grandfather to regain his U.S. citizenship he needed to petition the President directly for a special pardon. President Johnson desired to heal the nation but also wanted the ‘excepted’ groups to know they had indeed committed a crime. Great Grandfather had his own reasons for seeking a special pardon. It would protect him from being prosecuted and confiscation of his property.

Virginia’s Governor Pierpont recommended the pardon. William K. Clemmer signed the ‘Amnesty Oath’ July 19, 1865 in Staunton, Virginia.


I had planned to include a transcription of William K.’s petition but find I couldn’t decipher all the words in the document so I’ll provide the document and give you the gist as best I can.


·         The petition was addressed to Attorney General of the U.S., the Hon. James Speed dated Sept. 9th 1865.
·         Declares William K. Clemmer is a native of Virginia and a citizen of Augusta County where he has lived all his life
·         49 years of age
·         Farmer by occupation
·         Over the military age of 45 years when he enlisted
·         Was in the field for about six weeks or two months
·         Originally opposed to the War
·         Never held any office under the Government of the U.S. or Virginia
·         Was not educated at West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy
·         Never belonged to the U.S. Army
·         His property may be worth $20,000, or may not
·         William K. Clemmer accepts the result of the War
·         Intends to be a loyal citizen of the U.S.
·         Signed by W. K. Clemmer

President Johnson granted Great Grandfather’s pardon Sept. 16, 1865.


The above documents are from the record group ‘Amnesty and Pardon Records’ at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. I obtained scanned images of the documents from Fold3.com and Ancestry.com.


Lineage: Myself, My Father, Grandmother Lucy Leora Clemmer, Great Grandfather James Clyde Clemmer, 2nd Great Grandfather Joseph Henry Clemmer, 3rd Great Grandfather William Kinser Clemmer

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