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Gertrude Janeway
Gertrude Janeway
General information
Birth: 3 July 1909
Blaine, Tennessee, USA
Death 17 January 2003 (aged 93)
Blaine, Tennessee, USA
Nationality: United States
Spouse: John Janeway
Alfred Vineyard

Gertrude "Gertie" Janeway (née Grubb; 3 July 1909 – 17 January 2003) was an American woman who was the last living widow of a Union soldier from the American Civil War.[1][2]


Gertrude Grubb was born in Blaine, Tennessee and courted by John Janeway (1845–1937) in beginning when she was 16. Her mother, widowed when Gertrude was only 13, would not allow her to marry until she was 18. She married John Janeway, an officer in the 14th Illinois Cavalry, in 1927 when she was 18 and he 81. The marriage ceremony took place in the middle of a dirt road with family and friends in attendance. They lived together in a log cabin in Blaine, Tennessee, until John Janeway's death in 1937.

On 31 January 1940, "Gertie" Janeway married Alfred Vineyard in Grainger County TN. In 1943 Gertrude divorced Alfred Vineyard (1902–1966) and went back to using the name Gertrude Janeway.


She was a member of the Green Acres Missionary Baptist Church. Gertrude continued to live in the cabin for nearly 70 years after her husband's death. She received a $70 pension check for veterans' benefits from the government every two months until her death in 2003.

On 9 April 2011, The Economist commented on her as an example of the length of pension obligations:

"When Gertrude Janeway died in 2003, she was still getting a monthly check for $70 from the Veterans Administration—for a military pension earned by her late husband, John, on the Union side of the American Civil War that ended in 1865. The pair had married in 1927, when he was 81 and she was 18. The amount may have been modest but the entitlement spanned three centuries, illustrating just how long pension commitments can last."

See also

  • Maudie Hopkins – last known Confederate war widow (died 2008)
  • Alberta Martin – penultimate Confederate war widow who has been identified (died 2004)